Tips from the DFB Guide: Don’t Miss These Holiday Events in Disney World!

Summer may have just officially started, but we are already thinking of the Holidays at Walt Disney World!


Sounds crazy, I know, but we’re just over 180 days — six months! — until the holidays are in full swing, and NOW is the time to make dining plans for your holiday meals — but it’s also the time to consider what other fun activities you’ll enjoy at Walt Disney World this holiday season.

To jumpstart your planning, today we’re talking about some of our favorite Tips from the DFB Guide to the Holidays at Disney World: Three Holiday Events that you can’t miss!

And speaking of the DFB Guide, don’t get to take advantage of our 180 Days Til Christmas Sale! Through June 28, we’re offering three great ways to save when you pre-order the 2015 DFB Guide to the Holidays at Walt Disney World. Check out all of the details about the sale here!

Now, let’s take a look at some of our favorite holiday events that you should definitely plan on working into your Disney holiday calendar…

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Snow on Main Street USA and life-size Toy Soldiers? That’s part of your reality when you attend the long-running and beloved Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

This hard-ticketed event takes place during select evenings from November 8 until December 18, 2015, this year, and brings all of the joy and warm fuzzy feeling of Christmas and the holiday season to Magic Kingdom.

Toy Soldiers During the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade!

Toy Soldiers During the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade!

During the event, guests enjoy special entertainment and character meet and greets. Complimentary cocoa and cookies fuel you up for all the fun. And there are TONS of special, exclusive treats that you can enjoy only during the Party!

Snickerdoodles and hot cocoa

Snickerdoodles and Hot Cocoa

And be sure to grab a front row seat for Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, which features Santa as well as some of your favorite Disney holiday characters. And, of course Anna and Elsa will be there!

Holidays Around the World

Looking to observe the holidays with international flair? Then an evening at Epcot for Holidays Around the World will fit the bill nicely. Enjoy a stroll around Epcot’s beautiful World Showcase as storytellers from around the globe share seasonal tales within several of the pavilions — free with Epcot admission!

Pere Noel

Père Noël

And if you didn’t score a seat for the [Read more…]

Review: Flour and Sugar Cookie Kiosk at the New Downtown Disney Village Causeway

It was fun seeing some of the progress amidst all the Disney Springs construction on a recent trip to Downtown Disney. While the main purpose of my visit was to check out the new Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC, I was also able to do some exploring and check out a few new features in the area, including the recently opened Village Causeway on the Marketplace side.

Village Causeway

Village Causeway

This also gave me a chance to try a little something from Flour and Sugar, one of four new retail kiosks on the Causeway.The reason for interest in Flour and Sugar is that is specializes in cookies — and not just any cookies, but cookies inspired by the Sunshine State. Let’s have a look!

Flour & Sugar sign

Flour & Sugar sign


As mentioned, Flour and Sugar itself is simply a kiosk. We’ll be exploring the stand itself momentarily, but the “atmosphere” I’m mainly referring to revolves around the Village Causeway itself, where Flour and Sugar finds its home.

Village Causeway

Village Causeway

We’ve been keeping an eye on the Causeway since its earliest construction days when it looked like this:

The beginnings of the Causeway

The beginnings of the Causeway (April 2014)

The Village Causeway allows easier access from the area surrounding T-Rex and the Lego Store to the Rainforest Cafe side of the Marketplace. The view below of Fulton’s Crab House is from the start of the bridge on the T-Rex side.

The view from the T-Rex and Lego side of the Causeway

The view from the T-Rex and Lego side of the Causeway

The Rainforest Cafe side of the Causeway

The Rainforest Cafe side of the Causeway

What used to be solely water space now provides a roomy passage, and if you’ve ever been caught in the gridlock around the World of Disney store (also rumored to receive its own expansion one of these days), I don’t need to tell you what a great thing the Causeway is.

Aside from the walkway, there are a few benches here and there to relax and take in the views, and the [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: More Halloween Treats at the Disneyland Resort

It’s been so much fun hunting down all of  the Halloween Treats  at the Disneyland Resort this year.

Halloween is by far my very favorite time of the year.  I have so many photos of spooky delights and although I’d like to try every single item, I’d also like to fit into my Halloween costume in a few weeks. So, instead of a full review on each of these Halloween Time treats, let’s just look at some calorie free photos!  Most of the items I’m featuring in this post can be found in Candy Palace at Disneyland, Trolley Treats in Disney California Adventure, and Marceline’s in Downtown Disney.  If an item is specific to a certain spot, I’ll let ya know!

Let’s start with these adorable Mickey o’ Lantern Cookies!

Mickey Pumpkin Cookies

Mickey Pumpkin Cookies

Followed by some Mickey Bat Cookies!  I love the tiny orange fangs!

Mickey Bat Cookies

Mickey Bat Cookies

New for 2014 are the Haunted Mansion Clock Crispy Clock & Mickey Mummy Crispy Treats. How cute are the little M&M eyes peeking out from behind the mummy’s “bandages?”

Haunted Mansion Clock & Mickey Mummy Crispy Treats

Haunted Mansion Clock & Mickey Mummy Crispy Treats

There’s also a new Jack o’ Lantern Marshmallow Wand.  This one I might have to get my hands on.  Four fluffy marshmallows are dipped in caramel, then coated with white chocolate and covered in orange sanding sugar.  I love that each pumpkin has a [Read more…]

Snack Series: The Macarons Collection from Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in Epcot’s France

We’re headed back for more macarons! Ready?

We’re on our way to that lovely spot where you can get house-made ice cream, mimosas at 9AM, frangipane, and more — Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in the France Pavilion of Disney World’s Epcot.

This spot underwent an enormous expansion a while back. And while there are things that we miss about the old bakery, on the whole it’s been a terrific success!

Not only do we have the amazing new L’Artisan des Glaces to tempt us, but the expanded bakery and pastry outlet means that you can enjoy a full meal.

Or you can continue to stop by for a treat between meals. :-)

Box -- Up Close

Box of Deliciousness

And that’s what we’re doing today as I finally get to sample a treat that’s part pastry and part art.

The Macarons Collection

On my recent visit to Walt Disney World, I knew I had to carve out some time to visit Les Halles for one reason: I had to try The Macarons Collection for myself.

They come packaged in this awesome little box — perfect for taking and enjoying one or two while strolling around World Showcase, and saving the rest for later. The packaging also makes for a great take home treat for you or a loved one — if you can stay out of them on the plane ride/car trip home. (Good luck with that.)

Box of Macarons from Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie

The Macarons Collection from Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie

Open the lid, and you see the assortment of beautiful colors that make up your gift box of goodies.

Under the Lid

Under the Lid

And I’m not kidding about these sweet little treats being as much fine art as culinary art. Just look at them!

Now, here’s where we need to talk. Because some of you out there may be tempted to dismiss macarons as frivolous, tasteless, silly little things.

All the Pretty Flavors!

All the Pretty Flavors!

That would be a mistake. Yes, several of them are beautifully dyed to suggest the flavors that hide inside. But they’re still delicious.

Let’s take a closer look at the [Read more…]

Review: Lunch at Crystal Palace in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Welp, boys and girls — it’s time to head into Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and take in lunch at Crystal Palace! This is a beloved character spot for many Disney fans, and a must-do character experience for lots of you.

Me? I hadn’t been to Crystal Palace in foreva…not since an ill-fated late-night visit a couple of years ago when the food was AW-FUL! Yep, it was the end-of-the-night dregs of the buffet and we were pretty much just grossed out. (Have you ever seen a buffet about 15 minutes before a restaurant is about to close? Not pretty.) We ate very little and left as soon as we could. Sad, since we do love dining with Pooh and friends.

But it was time to revisit the 100 Hundred Acre Wood — after all, we’d had lots of great meals here previously — and I made reservations with some friends for lunch.

We have tons of shots to show you, so let’s get started!


You’ll find Crystal Palace to the left of Main Street USA’s end, just as you approach Cinderella Castle. The beautiful glass building, inspired by ornate conservatories of the late Victorian Age, is a slice of Disney history as well. The restaurant has been around since opening day in 1971.

Entrance to Restaurant

Entrance to Restaurant

And here’s a tip if you’re looking for an extra-special experience during your Disney vacation: try and book Crystal Palace for an early breakfast. You’ll be one of the first guests into the Park when you do this, and visiting a nearly empty Magic Kingdom is an event to remember.

Once you step inside, you’ll see whitewashed walls that carry the bright, light decor throughout. Artwork depicting inspiration for the architecture as well as photos of lush palms cover the walls.

Artwork and Framed Photos

Artwork and Framed Photos

The soaring atrium above is gorgeous — especially on a sunny day!

Crystal Palace Atrium

Crystal Palace Atrium

After you check in, you’ll wait for your table outside on the shaded veranda. But once you step in, pause a moment to take it all in.

Dining Rooms

Dining Rooms

Tons of windows and glass domes allow for plenty of natural light in the two dining areas.

Dining Room from Another Angle

Dining Room from Another Angle

And really — look up. Because the windows are really stunning. I love the beautiful stained glass detail.

Stained Glass Windows

Stained Glass Windows

The decor puts you in mind of a Victorian conservatory, with its outside-but-inside feel. Lush flowers and what reminds me of patio furniture finish the area.

Evening Light

Afternoon Light

Crystal Palace is, of course, a character dining experience, and you’ve stumbled onto a party!

Center Atrium -- Up Close

Center Atrium — Up Close

In fact, visit here, and you’ll take part in a Friendship Day Celebration with Winnie the Pooh and his friends.

Banner -- Up Close

It’s Friendship Day!

Just check out these gorgeous flower topiaries of the whole gang!

Pooh and His Hunny Pot

Pooh and His Hunny Pot

Eeyore Topiary

Eeyore Topiary

The sweet little figures appear to be made of dried roses, and foreshadow the characters you’ll meet while you dine.

Piglet Topiary

Piglet Topiary

Bouncing Tigger Topiary

Bouncing Tigger Topiary

And beautiful hanging arrangements of tropical flowers complete the classic conservatory feel.

Fresh Flowers

Fresh Flowers

Seating is standard and fairly comfortable. Heavy, padded chairs share the space with booths, but some tables are situated a bit too closely for our comfort.

Seating for Two

Seating for Two

Seating along windows gives you a glimpse of guests waiting to be seated! But beyond them, you’ll also see a beautiful view of [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Ice Cream Sandwiches!

It’s no secret — we are BIG fans of Disney Ice Cream Sammies around here! And judging from some of the supercalifragilistic — well, you get my drift — pics that YOU have posted on Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza, you are, too! There are so many kinds of ice cream sandwiches to choose from!

Today, we’re sharing some of your crave-inducing photos as a thank you! for all of our readers who continue to share your great Disney food experiences on our Flickr page, Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza. Let’s see what’s new!

Pistachio Pressed Brioche Ice Cream Sandwich

Photographer: KMFarmer

In short order, L’Artisan des Glaces in Epcot’s France Pavilion has become one of our favorite snack spots. It’s only been open since last year, but we can’t make it around World Showcase Lagoon without some of their ice cream, churned from scratch right on the premises!

Their custom made Pressed Brioche Ice Cream Sandwiches are some of our favorite hot-meets-cold treats!

Pistachio Pressed Brioche  Ice Cream Sandwich

Pistachio Pressed Brioche Ice Cream Sandwich

Mickey Premium Ice Cream Sandwich

Photographer: JLovely

Fancy, new options are always awesome. But I love to throw in a classic item, too, while I’m snacking my way through the parks. And some days, you just can’t beat a Mickey Premium Ice Cream Sandwich!

One of my favorite things about these treats? You can find them almost anywhere at Disney. Whether you’re in the parks or resorts…Disney World or Disneyland…you can always find this deliciously simple treat.

Mickey Premium Ice Cream Sandwich

Mickey Premium Ice Cream Sandwich

Hand Made Ice Cream Sandwich

Photographer: ButRfly512

But then, how can you improve upon perfection? Because IMO, that’s what [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Holiday Treats!

We are back with another fun post featuring YOUR Disney Food Pics of the Week! That’s right — this is the post that we turn over to you guys to showcase all of the amazing food photos that you share on the Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza!

If you’d like to get in on the fun, head over to Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza on Flickr and join the group. We’d love to see even more of your great food shots!

Today, I thought it would be fun to share with you some Holiday Treats that the group has captured on film. Let’s hit it!

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Goodies

You just know it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas when Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party gets underway at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom! Festive decorations, that beautiful castle, snow on Main Street USA — and complimentary Hot Cocoa and Cookies! Sign me up!

Photographer: Hilary White

Hot Cocoa and Cookies at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey Krispie Treats

Rice Krispie Treats are pretty darn irresistible anyway. But make them into [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: Treats at the Jingle Jangle Jamboree

Looking for some fun holiday treats? Look no further, Big Thunder Ranch is currently hosting the Jingle Jangle Jamboree; a one stop shop for fun games, cookie decorating, special snacks & SANTA!

Jingle Jangle Jamboree at Big Thunder Ranch

The menu here is simple, Hot Dogs, Corn on the Cob, “Candy Cane” Cotton Candy, Apple Burritos, Cookie Decorating Kits and various beverages.

Jingle Jamboree Menu

Our visit included the “Candy Cane” Cotton Candy & some Cookie Decorating. Let me break the sad news to you first. The cotton candy here DOES NOT taste like candy canes, it’s just “candy cane striped.” Even the cast member that I bought it from thought that it was peppermint flavored, but alas, that is a rumor. It’s still pretty though!

Candy Cane Cotton Candy on Display

It’s dark and light pink swirled and still


Disney Food Pics of the Week: Cookies!

We are back with another fun series of food photos, courtesy of YOU!

That’s right, we love to show off the talents of our DFB readers who post their gorgeous photos on Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza, our Flickr group! And today we’re back to one of my favorite topics: Disney Cookies!!!

Let’s take a look at some of the yummo — and beautiful — Cookie Creations that you’ve captured on film at Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

Macarons from Boulangerie Patisserie Les Halles

If you haven’t stopped into the new Boulangerie Patisserie Les Halles to check out all of the délicieux eats there, you’ve got to get it onto your schedule. When I saw this little box of beautiful Macarons, I knew I knew I had to try them!

Photographer: Hilary_JW

Macarons at Boulangerie Patisserie Les Halles

Mickey Cookie at Disney California Adventure

I love that you can get this cute little Mickey Cookie on both coasts! But it’s pretty spectacular to be chomping off his little ears with a view of Carthay Circle behind you! Gorgeous pic!

Photographer: PadresFan619

Mickey Cookie and Carthay Circle!

Mickey Mousse!

Sometimes, the kiddos get the best desserts, you know? For example, this little guy, known as Mickey Mousse at Epcot’s Garden Grill, is the sweet ending on the menu for the younger set.

But Angela thinks it was just as good, if not better, than the grown ups’ dessert! Cookies and cream mousse, topped with not one but two Oreo Mickey ears? I’d have to [Read more…]

Review: 1900 Park Fare Dinner at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Today, we’re back at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa to take in dinner at 1900 Park Fare!

You  may remember that the last time we were here, we were…nonplussed…unimpressed…frustrated…should I go on? Basically, we really didn’t have a great experience. But, as I always say, the only consistent thing about Disney restaurants is that they’re inconsistent. And some guests think this restaurant is fantastic — a great alternative to hard-to-get advance dining reservations like Cinderella’s Royal Table.

So we’re back at this character buffet for another try… . While breakfast at 1900 Park Fare left us flat, this time around we’re checking out the dinner spread and hoping for the best!


You’ll find 1900 Park Fare off of the ground floor lobby of the Grand Floridian Resort. As you walk in the hotel’s front doors, the restaurant is located to your left, just past the Concierge desk.

1900 Park Fare Sign

The antique carousel decor flows with the Victorian feel that you encounter throughout the resort. While you can’t see the individual items on this menu board that’s displayed out front of the restaurant, you can definitely see the attention to detail when it comes to theme.

Menu Board Outside of 1900 Park Fare

When you first arrive and check in for your reservation (you DID make a reservation, right?), you’ll be given a pager and told to wait in the Grand Floridian lobby to be called when your table is ready. Note: this often takes A. LONG. TIME. In my experience, I’ve never been seated at this restaurant within 10 minutes of my reservation time. I’m always waiting quite a while to be called to the table. So if you’ve got little ones who are starving, bring some snacks to tide them over just in case.

Once you’re called, you’ll be told to get in line to have your picture taken with this mural. No…you’re not getting your photo taken with a character. Just with the mural. This can be a fun memory for families, but you might want to skip the pic and head straight in for your meal. Be persistent and make sure they know you don’t want to take the photo. They’re pretty serious about getting you into that line.

Trompe l'Oeil Mural Outside of 1900 Park Fare

Once you head into the massive dining room, you’re greeted with more Victorian charm in pastel shades. Even without windows, the sheer size of the dining room makes it feel airy.

There is a main area with high ceilings in front of the buffet, and some smaller dining rooms surrounding it with lower ceilings. I prefer these areas for seating, since they tend to be slightly quieter.

Dining Area

Seating itself is fairly standard, with cushioned chairs and nondescript tables.


The main dining room makes the best use of the carousel theme. There are several large statues of fantasy carousel animals situated atop half walls and surrounded by plants. You should take a moment to look at these, because they’re really beautiful.

Calliope in the Background and Carousel Horse Statue

The wall overtop the entrance to the restaurant plays host to an enormous calliope, reminiscent of the intricate musical instruments that you find on antique carousels. This [Read more…]