Epcot Food and Wine Festival Review: The Parisian Afternoon — Sandwiches, Macarons, and Bubbles

We’re spending a leisurely afternoon at the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

While we love taking a turn around World Showcase to try all the great eats, it’s always fun to take in a few of the Festival’s Special Events each year as well. And you can always count on a terrific experience when you book events in Epcot’s France Pavilion.

Join us today as we head up the spiral staircase for a special Parisian Afternoon at Monsieur Paul.


Monsieur Paul is a hidden gem in Epcot’s France Pavilion. Nope — I’m not speaking figuratively. I mean, it’s actually hidden. To find it, head back through France as though you’re going to visit Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie. It’s a little easier to find than it used to be, though, thanks to the awning that bears the restaurant’s name.

Monsieur Paul Entrance

Monsieur Paul Entrance

You’ll find the check-in desk right inside the door. For Festival Special Events, the host or hostess will ask for your name, and then cross it off the printed list. At this time, you’ll head up the Art Nouveau staircase… [Read more…]

Review: Cookes of Dublin at Disney World’s Downtown Disney

We’re stopping in for a quick, midday bite to eat at Cookes of Dublin!

You’ll find this little fish and chips shop at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney, adjacent to Raglan Road Irish Pub. In fact, it’s part of that complex and shares a kitchen with the Pub.

Cookes has been a consistently reliable stop for a quick, hot meal every time we’ve visited. And we think they serve some of the best Fish and Chips around. But I simply can’t resist their Irish Vintage Cheese and Bacon Dip (and you shouldn’t, either).

But on a recent trip, we decided to branch out a bit and try a few other menu options! Let’s check out what we sampled this time out.


You’ll find Cookes of Dublin around the corner from Raglan Road. If you’re coming from the Downtown Disney parking lots directly in front of Raglan Road, you’ll veer right, just past the gift shop and Hole in the Wall Bar.

Cookes of Dublin -- Outside

Cookes of Dublin — Outside

As you wait in the queue to order, be sure to take in Cookes Philosophy. This spot is more quick service than counter service; you can expect a bit of a wait while your food is cooked to order, but it won’t take long.



This is a really, really small space, but it’s not without charm. Trim on the floor and the counter are vintage-looking tile in classic Slytherin colors (probably coincidental), and there are plenty of brass accents as well.

Cookes Ordering Counter

Cookes Ordering Counter

Once you place your order, you can proceed to the right side of the ordering area, where you’ll pick up condiments and fill your drink cups.



You’ll find a full array of toppers for your meal, including some familiar favorites. After all, you can’t have [Read more…]

Guest Review: ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

Join us in welcoming back Guest Reviewer Katie Roth with a review of ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Note that this review was written before the most recent round of ‘Ohana Menu Changes. Currently the Chicken Skewer is not being served at the restaurant. Aloha!

I have been staying at the Polynesian for years, but I had never eaten at ‘Ohana until last year! I know, I know…utter blasphemy! I was psyched that my husband and I decided to take an impromptu trip to Disney World AND were able to score a dinner reservation at ‘Ohana.

I admit that it was I that brought my husband into the light of Disney, and I just love getting to share my favorite experiences and eats with him whenever we visit Walt Disney World. Knowing how much he loves grilled meat, I absolutely could not wait to eat here with him!

To help control our excitement, we went to Tambu Lounge to temper those jitters. My husband went all out and ordered the Lapu Lapu while I went with a pineapple mojito (regular mojito with fresh pineapple chunks added). We loved our drinks and were primed for dinner ;)

Lapu Lapu!

In my opinion, ‘Ohana’s location lends itself to be one of those ‘would have missed it if I didn’t know it was there’ restaurants. The location of the restaurant is on the upper terrace of the Great Ceremonial House lobby tucked away behind the Tambu Lounge. If you are in front of Kona Café then you have gone too far!

As I’ve seen in the past couple of years, the easiest way to spot ‘Ohana is by the long line of people checking in for their Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) or those hopeful souls asking about a walk-in reservation. When it comes to Disney food (particularly at ‘Ohana), never leave fate to chance.

Lately, I have been eating a lot less meat and more fish for health reasons. I informed the host at the check-in station that I would like a vegetarian/pescetarian meal to which he replied would be no problem. I have heard great things about the vegetarian offerings at ‘Ohana and couldn’t wait to try them out! Just remember, if you are going to make a special request like this, check in early and let them know.

Once you are checked in, you will be given a buzzer and told to wait by the Tambu Lounge for your “cousin” (server) to take you to your table. If this is your first time to the restaurant, they will take you on a [Read more…]

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival: NEW Menu Item Spotlight

The 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is RIGHT around the corner! With the countdown at just about a week now, we know that you’re just as excited as we are.

food and wine festival logo

Today we wanted to spotlight the NEW items that are coming to the menus at the World Showcase Marketplace booths this year. And with more than 30 new dishes and sips to sample this year, there’s plenty to experience!

We have a TON of stuff to cover, so to keep it all straight we’re gonna go alphabetically! Ready? Here we go! (And don’t forget, you can check out ALL of the menus from the World Showcase Booths — and many food photos — at our World Showcase Booth Page.)

Africa Marketplace

We had the chance to try a sample of the brand new South African Bobotie with Turkey and Mushrooms from the Africa Marketplace and loved it! The egg dish packed a spicy punch when we tried it at a preview.

South Africa Bobotie with  Turkey and Mushrooms

South Africa Bobotie with Turkey and Mushrooms

Lovers of South African wines will also appreciate the addition of the Fairview Pinotage to the menu.

America Adventure Coffee Cart

If you love the flavors of Fall, get ready to try the Apple Maple Spice Latte at the America Adventure Coffee Cart in the America Pavilion. It’s available hot or cold!

Joffrey's kiosk to the left of American Adventure

Stop by the America Adventure Coffee Cart for an Apple Maple Spice Latte

Australia Marketplace

Always a fan favorite, the Australia Booth will feature a new lineup of beverages this year, including Cooper’s Brewery Original Pale Ale, Chateau Tanuda Grand Barossa Dry Riesling, St. Kilda Chardonnay, and Nine Stones Shiraz. The menu looks to complement classic Food and Wine Festival dishes like the Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Garlic Shrimp with Roasted Tomatoes, Lemon Myrtle and Rapini.

Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies -- Australia Booth

New Beverage Selections Complement Classic Dishes, Like Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies

Belgium Marketplace

At the Belgium Marketplace, we’re seeing another hot trend — hard cider. We think that the Stella Artois Cidre will be a big hit with festival goers who are looking for a refreshing alternative to beer.

Stella Artois Cidre

Stella Artois Cidre

Block & Hans Kiosk

The Block & Hans Kiosk features a regular assortment of craft beer, but for the festival, they’ll add wines to the mix as well. Enjoy a bevy of American wines, which will include all of the following!

  • Robert Mondavi, Fume Blanc
  • The Great American Wine Company, Chardonnay
  • The Great American Wine Company, Red Blend
  • Robert Mondavi, Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Domaine Chandon Brut Sparkling Blanc de Noir
  • Still River Winery Apple Ice Wine
Chandon Blanc de Noir at Block & Hans

Chandon Blanc de Noir at Block & Hans

Great American Wine Company by Rosenblum -- Chardonnay -- at Block & Hans

Great American Wine Company by Rosenblum — Chardonnay — at Block & Hans

Brazil Marketplace

While Brazil brings back a favorite menu item from 2013, the Pork Belly, there are several new items to savor as well.

Moqueca de Pescado: Regal Springs Premium Tilapia with Coconut Lime Sauce and Steamed Rice

Moqueca de Pescado: Regal Springs Premium Tilapia with Coconut Lime Sauce and Steamed Rice

  • Moqueca de pescado: Regal Springs Premium Tilapia with Coconut Lime Sauce and Steamed Rice
  • Pao de Queijo: Brazilian Cheese Bread
  • Cocada: Brazilian Coconut Candy
  • Tannat Reserve

We enjoyed the [Read more…]

Review: Lunch at Landscape of Flavors in Disney World’s Art of Animation Resort

Today, we are taking in lunch at one of Disney’s newer counter service locations, Landscape of Flavors at the Art of Animation Resort.

Landscape of Flavors took Walt Disney World by storm when it opened a couple of years ago. It was similar to other value resort counter service spots and food courts, in that it offered quick service food from various stations. But right from the start, Landscape of Flavors offered fresh flavors and customizable options that set it apart.

And with it, there came a bit of a wait.

Today, we’re heading back to see what is the same, what has changed, and if the wait times for food that we feared have come to pass.

Let’s head in!


One of the most interesting things about Landscape of Flavors is its entrance. You actually access the restaurant through the Ink and Paint Gift Shop.

You Shop Your Way Through the Ink and Paint Shop to Get to Landscape of Flavors

You Shop Your Way Through the Ink and Paint Shop to Get to Landscape of Flavors

Go past the wares, and here you are!

Landscape of Flavors Sign

Landscape of Flavors Sign

Seating is ample, to say the least. More than 500 spots await you once you receive your food, and there are more tables and chairs outside.



The beautiful lights overhead are painted to represent scenes from each of the four films highlighted at the resort: Finding Nemo, Cars, Lion King, and The Little Mermaid.

Overhead Lights

Overhead Lights

I know that was a pretty quick tour of the surroundings, but I promise you there’s a lot to look at in the ordering area! So let’s get to it.


Like many other Disney food court-type counter service spots (think Everything Pop or Sunshine Seasons), Landscape of Flavors offers different stations for different types of food. The difference here is that the options have an international flair that’s a little more interesting than some other spots.

But don’t worry; there are flavors to appeal to picky and discriminating eaters alike.

During breakfast, stations change up with morning meal options. Today, we’re taking a look at a few of the stations you’ll find for lunch and dinner. I was visiting for lunch at the time.

The name of the game here is customization! Nearly everything can be made according to what you like. You can order a custom salad from the Salad Station.

Salad Station

Salad Station

I absolutely love their Create Your Own Pasta Station! I had one of my favorite meals here on a recent trip.

Create Your Own Pasta Station

Create Your Own Pasta Station

I also snapped a picture of the [Read more…]

Top 3 Restaurants for Kids in Disneyland

Visiting Disneyland can certainly make you feel like a kid again! But what about if you’re visiting with…you know…real, live, actual kids?

We talk a lot about good options for grown ups, but today, I thought we could hit up our very favorite spots in Disneyland for when you have some small fry with you (which, for many of us, is most of the time!). So let’s tick off the Top 3 Restaurants for Kids in Disneyland.

Grab your Mickey Ears, and let’s go!

Goofy’s Kitchen

If you have a small child in tow on your Disneyland trip, a character meal is practically a requirement.

After all, most kiddos love meeting larger than life characters. But kids and adults alike can agree that long lines in the hot sun don’t make for magical memories. So our first suggestion is that you book your advance dining reservation asap for Goofy’s Kitchen.

The Entrance to Goofy's Kitchen

The Entrance to Goofy’s Kitchen

Why? Because we think the food is better here than at many other character meals.

Located in Disneyland Hotel, choose from brunch or dinner character dining at this popular spot. And the characters are especially fun at Goofy’s. Because in addition to Goofy, you just never know you might drop by!

Of course, you can totally expect to see the man himself.

Chef Goofy at Goofy's Kitchen

Chef Goofy at Goofy’s Kitchen

But you might just see a prince or a princess as well! And MANY other friends!

Aladdin and Jasmine at Goofy's Kitchen

Aladdin and Jasmine at Goofy’s Kitchen

Parents will appreciate the terrific seating options here. Sure, there’s no monorail whizzing above your head like you’ll find at Chef Mickey’s. But there are tables located both inside the sunny dining room and outside on a shaded patio. Ahhhh…how I love California.

One Room of Goofy's Kitchen Restaurant

Goofy’s Kitchen Seating — Inside

Outdoor Seating at Goofy's! Love It!

Outdoor Seating at Goofy’s! Love It!

And even though the characters are fun and the atmosphere is adequate, the eats are [Read more…]

News! Closing Date Announced for Pollo Campero and Babycakes NYC at Disney World’s Downtown Disney

News on the Disney Springs front!

The mega food outlet occupied by Pollo Campero, Bodie’s All-American, and Babycakes NYC has an official closing date now. The Downtown Disney Marketplace spot will shutter its doors on Wednesday, March 19.

Pollo Campero at Downtown Disney Orlando

Pollo Campero at Downtown Disney Orlando

The combo restaurant will close to make way for the continued re-imagining of the Downtown Disney area as it morphs into Disney Springs.

Speculation has abounded regarding what businesses and restaurants will survive and make it through to Disney Springs. Already we have seen the rollout of four food trucks — portending the closure of some restaurants while capitalizing on a hot trend at the same time.

Fantasy Fare Food Truck

Fantasy Fare Food Truck

Pollo Campero, Bodie’s All-American, and Babycakes NYC join the casualty list that also includes [Read more…]

Review: California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

On a recent trip to Walt Disney World, I met a group of friends at the Contemporary Resort’s California Grill for what promised to be a memorable dinner.

It was my first trip to the hallowed culinary spot since the dramatic re-imagination of both the restaurant itself and the menu earlier this year. I’m a big fan of Chef de Cuisine Brian Piasecki, and I was anxious to see what he and his team had put together for the opening.

Having heard mostly good things about the new menu, and lots of raves about the decor refresh (see some breathtaking photos here!), I was really looking forward to this special night out. Would the restaurant deliver on expectations? Well, kind of…and kind of not. Let’s delve into the full story.


If you’ve never been to California Grill, getting there is a bit of an odyssey. Although the restaurant sits high atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, you’ll begin your journey on the hotel’s second floor, where the check-in desk is located.

Second Floor Check In Desk for California Grill

From there, you’ll be directed to an elevator where a cast member will escort you up to the restaurant. This way, the staff can practice a little crowd control, as the restaurant’s lobby and bar can get quite crowded at times.

You emerge from the elevator and are greeted by sleek design, accented by cool colors and rows and rows of wine fridges. Form follows function, as California Grill’s stellar selection of wines is well known.

Entrance and Wine Fridges

Time your visit just right, and another hallmark of the Grill’s atmosphere greets you —


— A beautiful sunset through the picture windows directly ahead of you. I was lucky on this visit, as I got to see both the sunset AND the fireworks through those floor-to-ceiling windows!


As I mentioned before, California Grill underwent an extensive renovation earlier in 2013. If you haven’t been to the restaurant since then, you will find that almost everything looks completely different from before.

We shared lots and lots of photos with you from the reno in that previous post, including pics of the private dining rooms. Be sure to pop over there if you’d like to see even more decor detail. For now, we’ll just give you a quick tour.

Step away from that glorious sunset, and you realize that you passed the beautiful bar area as you entered. It’s just to the left as you step off the elevators and head into the restaurant.

Directly in front of the bar, there’s also a limited lounge seating area. This means that you can, theoretically, score a table without an advance dining reservation, or meet here for appetizers and drinks on a whim. That said, the lounge is first come, first served, and you can imagine the scramble for seats during the fireworks. So look alive if that’s your plan!


Where the view is concerned, there are really no bad seats in all of California Grill! But the window seats on the Magic Kingdom side offer the best view if you’re going for fireworks. As part of the renovation, new windows were installed that block ultraviolet light, and electronically-controlled shades ensure that guests are never blinded by that bright Florida sunshine.

Views and Tables

A glance across the seating area gives you a good overview of the [Read more…]

Review: Tony’s Town Square at Magic Kingdom

Time for a visit to a great little table service stop in the heart of all the magic — Tony’s Town Square in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom!

This spot has it all — Disney history, beautiful themeing, and if you play your cards right, some of the best views in the entire resort!

But while I love the restaurant itself, the food hasn’t always been the main draw in the past.

We’re checking in today for lunch to see what’s new, and if my love affair with that the patio seating remains firmly intact!


Tony’s is located right on the Town Square (natch) of Magic Kingdom — as soon as you pass below the train station and enter Main Street USA. You can’t miss it.

Tony's Sign

Pass by the Town Square Theater where you can meet Mickey, and you’re there!

Tony's Entrance

Inside, you’ll check in at the hostess stand and await your table. While a walk up spot isn’t unheard of, it’s best to make an advance dining reservation here — especially if you’d like to take advantage of Tony’s biggest draw. We’ll get to that in a few minutes.

Tony's Check-In

The waiting area was given a bit of a refresh last year, when the Town Square Theater opened as the new spot for Mickey’s meet-and-greet.

The space retains its turn-of-the-century charm, but the finishes are newer. You’ll also get your first dose of the restaurant’s star characters and theme! The animated classic Lady and the Tramp plays continually on the flat screen television.

Tony's Waiting Area

Once your table is ready, you’ll be shown to one of three main seating areas. The restaurant is [Read more…]

Review: Dinner at Boma in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Boma…Flavors of Africa is a tried-and-true Disney fan destination.

Many guests number it among their must-have advance dining reservations for it’s fun atmosphere, unique menu, and cult favorite dishes.

On a recent visit to Walt Disney World, we had the pleasure of eating at Boma not once — but twice…in the SAME DAY! Yep — we had breakfast and Boma AND dinner at Boma!

While I’ll be sharing the details of our Boma breakfast in a later post, today we’re taking a look at the rockin’ spread available for dinner.


Located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Boma is just one of three incredible restaurants at this resort — it’s a true food-lovers haven here.

Boma Sign

You’ll find Boma on the ground floor beneath the lobby level, adjacent to both The Mara and Jiko. (Sanaa is located in nearby Kidani Village.) And while The Mara is the resort’s counter service location, Jiko is a signature restaurant, and Sanaa features a table service fusion of flavors, Boma serves as the resort’s buffet offering.

But while many Disney buffets are more about character interaction than cuisine, a trip to Boma is all about the food. A sign in Animal Kingdom’s lobby provides a little background on the meaning of the restaurant’s name — and encourages you to make your ADR for Boma well in advance!

Boma Background Information

The term boma loosely refers to a fence fashioned of sticks, and you’ll see this motif throughout the restaurant’s interior. A wrought-iron version of a boma borders either side of the wide, winding path into the restaurant.

Walkway into Boma

Here, the fence borders a low wall separating the seating area from the [Read more…]