Review: Dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

It’s time to make another visit to Be Our Guest Restaurant! And this time, we’re dining in Beast’s Castle for dinner. Yay!

While I’ve had several opportunities to enjoy lunch at Be Our Guest, a dinner advance dining reservation is always a little tougher to get. Dinner here is currently the most difficult Disney World restaurant reservation to snag, requiring hopefuls to book at exactly six months out or take their chances with walk-up availability or cancellations.

That said, once you’ve been to Be Our Guest for dinner, there’s really not all that much reason to go back. See, the menu and actual dining experience at this must-do restaurant haven’t changed all that much since our very first, Eat All the Food, multi day experience when the restaurant opened in 2012.

But during my recent Epcot Food and Wine pilgrimage, I decided pretty last minute to attend a Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party one night. And it just happened to be the night Disney decided to open up Be Our Guest to dinner reservations during the party. I was able to grab a dinner reservation for 10PM, but was actually able to go early and be seated around 8:30PM. Most likely this was because not many people knew the restaurant was open, so walk-ups were fewer.

So let’s head on into the Beast’s castle for dinner at Be Our Guest!

Don't miss out on Be Our Guest!

Don’t miss out on Be Our Guest!

Atmosphere

Before we dig in, let’s take a look around. Because if you haven’t dined at Be Our Guest, you should know that this restaurant is nearly as much an attraction as it is a place to dine.

When you arrive, check in at the “podium” to the left of the walkway to the castle.

 

Be Our Guest Restaurant Check-In Area

Be Our Guest Restaurant Check-In Area

There are three dining rooms at Be Our Guest (more about those later), and you can request your favorite at check-in. It’s not guaranteed, but they’ll do their best to seat you there.

When your name is called or your buzzer goes off, you’ll be directed down the main walkway into the Beast’s Castle. Be sure to take in all of the detail along the way.

Be Our Guest Entrance

Be Our Guest Entrance

Be Our Guest Gargoiyle

Be Our Guest Gargoiyle

Gargoyle Light Post and Waterfall

Gargoyle Light Post and Waterfall

Guests familiar with the film Beauty and the Beast will recognize the stunning recreation of many elements of Beast’s Castle as they make their way to the main entrance.

Don't be late for dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant!

Don’t be late for dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant!

The feeling is eery, austere in places, and beautiful throughout. As you enter through heavy wooden doors, you’re greeted by one of Be Our Guest’s most famous elements — the gorgeous Beauty and the Beast mosaic.

Mosaic of Beauty and the Beast

Mosaic of Beauty and the Beast

At this point, you’ll check in with another cast member at another podium (FYI, they’ll be using some French pleasantries since you are now in France) and may need to wait a few minutes before you’re taken back to your table.

That’s OK, though, because there’s even more to take in! To your left, you’ll see a gallery flanked by suits of armor. Pay attention; they’re enchanted of course, so they’re whispering to one another. [Read more…]

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Recipe: Butter Chicken from the Africa Booth

We now have nearly all of the pieces in place for the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

And I don’t know about you guys, but around here, we’re pretty excited. :-D

Africa Booth

Africa Booth

The Festival will last longer than ever in 2016 — get ready to Eat and Drink Around the World from September 14 through November 14!

Of course, we love all of the Special Events and Low Cost Seminars and Demonstrations. And this year, we already have our seats booked for the brand new Mix It, Make It, Celebrate It Workshops. This new hands on experience promises to make the festival more interactive than ever. [Read more…]

Our Favorite Magic Kingdom Restaurants

Magic Kingdom, how we love you. You are, for many of us, the source of our earliest Disney Memories. Heck, some of us remember when you were the ONLY Park. (Am I showing my age here?)

Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

But even though you’ve been around the longest, we’re no less fond of you. In fact, coming back to ride old favorites or experience new attractions always feels a bit like coming home. [Read more…]

Guest Review: Disneyland’s Pasta in the Park for Avengers Half Marathon Weekend

Welcome DFB Reader Megan Figuly today with a guest review of Pasta in the Park at Disneyland!

On Friday, Nov. 13 I attended the Pasta in the Park Party for the Avengers Half Marathon weekend. The event was held at Big Thunder Ranch in the Disneyland Park.

Big Thunder Ranch

Big Thunder Ranch

Atmosphere

Beginning at 7 p.m., guests with pre-purchased tickets were allowed in. The area was tented and had long rows of tables set
up. A DJ played music and asked Avengers trivia questions. In the back were two lines for character meet and greets: in one line was Hawkeye and Black Widow; in the other — Thor and Captain America.

[Read more…]

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.

Atmosphere

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.

Atmosphere

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.

Philosophy

Philosophy

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.

Condiments

Condiments

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!

Atmosphere

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.

Seating

Seating

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.

Eats

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…]