Review: New Snacks at Liberty Inn in Epcot’s World Showcase

While we count down to all the delicious snacks at this fall’s Food and Wine Festival, Liberty Inn at Epcot’s World Showcase has a couple new things to try!

Liberty Inn is located in Epcot’s World Showcase, which is basically a buffet of international treats! With all the available options, you might be tempted to skip over colonial fare here. However, Liberty Inn is a solid choice for a quick-service meal with picky eaters — getting a decent New York Strip Steak for less than $12 doesn’t hurt either.

Liberty Inn is attached to the impressive American Adventure building with indoor and outdoor seating. If you find yourself wandering the World Showcase without an advance dining reservation, this could be the perfect way to beat the heat!

After your meal, step next door to watch the talented a cappella group, Voices of Liberty perform!

Liberty Inn sign

Liberty Inn sign

[Read more…]

Review: Smoky Cheddar Grits at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Welcome back to Animal Kingdom’s Smiling Crocodile!

Now, you may be thinking, “Huh? What do you mean ‘welcome back’? I’ve never heard of the Smiling Crocodile.”

Well, the Smiling Crocodile previously went by a name you may be more familiar with:  the Gardens Kiosk. In fact, several Animal Kingdom snack stands have received mini-makeovers in the form of new names and, in several cases, updated paint colors; spots like the Eight Spoon Cafe (formerly the Beastly Kiosk), Mahindi (which was Harambe Popcorn) and Warung Outpost (previously known as Upcountry Beverages).

In most cases, though, the changes have been in name and fresh coats of paint only while the menus have remained the same. The Smiling Crocodile, however, is one of the exceptions to the rule. Last summer brought a menu refresh to this kiosk featuring the Trek Power Salad and Farmers Salad along with some unique and refreshing beverages.

The Smiling Crocodile

The Smiling Crocodile

But our recent visit to the Smiling Crocodile was to check out its refreshed menu and try one of the new items: Smoky Cheddar Grits. Care to join us? [Read more…]

REVIEW: Rancho del Zocalo in Disneyland’s Frontierland

Join me in Disneyland’s Frontierland as we go back to one of my much-loved counter service spots: Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante!

Disneyland Rancho del Zocalo Sign

Disneyland Rancho del Zocalo Sign

Before we dig into the eats, let’s take a look around first; because if you’re like me, I think you’ll like what you’re about to see… [Read more…]

Review: Zuri’s Sweets Shop in Animal Kingdom’s Harambe Market

We’re meandering back through the brand new Harambe Market in Disney’s Animal Kingdom to take you on a full tour and review of some of the treats at Zuri’s Sweets Shop today!

The shop, located outside the main gate of the new eating area, is your stop for all kinds of prepackaged sweets and snacks. You’ll find an assortment of familiar Disney snacks with Animal Kingdom-specific branding as well as a number of out-of-the-ordinary bulk items. But you’ll also find a confectionery counter with freshly made candy, cookies, and other sweets.

We shared a first look at Zuri’s the day it opened. As you may recall, the big story there was the “Match the Species” Treats — aka the “poop” candy. While the treats made a big sensation, they were gone almost as quickly as they arrived. (We’ve spoken to store managers about this, and they claim that the snacks sold well and they aren’t sure why they were pulled from the case. They suggest telling guest services that you’d like to see them come back.)

I can’t wait to show you all that we’ve tried over the course of a couple of visits! But before we get to that, let’s have a look around.

Atmosphere

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Harambe Market in person, be sure to take a look at our tour of this new spot. Disney has managed, once again, to create a brand new part of Animal Kingdom that looks like it’s been there since opening day. The themeing here is extraordinary.

Market

Harambe Market

You’ll find Zuri’s Sweets Shop standing across the “street” from the main area that [Read more…]

#OnTheList: Tonga Toast at Captain Cook’s in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

This post is part of the DFB #OnTheList series, where we feature eats you’ve GOT to have while you’re at Disney! Let us know what’s on YOUR Disney Food Bucket List @DisneyFoodBlog #OnTheList!

Who’s ready for some TONGA TOAST?!

Really, is there a better way you can think of to start the day than with this Disney World breakfast staple? Of course, you can only find it at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, but fortunately it’s available in not one, but TWO, locations there: Kona Cafe and Captain Cook’s. (Oh, and just so we’re clear before moving any further, for those who have noticed Tonga Toast on the menu for breakfast at Rainforest Cafe, it’s totally not the same thing.)

Today we’ll be enjoying Captain Cook’s version (as well as discussing the differences from the way it’s served up at Kona Cafe). But no matter where you go to grab your Tonga Toast, you’re just one Monorail ride away from the Magic Kingdom, making Tonga Toast a must-have breakfast tradition for many Disney World guests regardless of their chosen Resort.

Now, it’s no secret that a LOT of changes have taken place at the Polynesian Village Resort with its Extreme Resort Makevoer ;). Now that the dust has just about settled (in the Great Ceremonial House, anyway), let’s take a quick look around first!

Atmosphere

As mentioned, you can order Tonga Toast at two Polynesian Village Resort restaurants, and if you’re arriving via bus or car, you’ll need to make your way past the entrance into the Polynesian Village Resort lobby. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen the entrance unsurrounded by refurbishment walls on one — if not two — sides, here’s what it (along with some general landscaping) looks like these days.

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort Entrance

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Entrance

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort Scenery

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Scenery

We’ve visited the updated lobby previously, but here’s another few glances at the new look. [Read more…]

Review: Lotus Blossom Cafe in Epcot’s China Pavilion

We’re stopping by Lotus Blossom Cafe today for a quick dinner and a line-free dining experience!

The counter service spot, located in Epcot’s China Pavilion, isn’t a frequent stop for me. That’s because, to be honest, there are just lots and lots of other things I’d rather eat around World Showcase. And during my few previous visits, I haven’t been exactly wowed by their offerings.

But, you never know what you’re going to get with Disney restaurants; and since this is the Disney Food Blog after all, here we go!

Atmosphere

Lotus Blossom Cafe is set back a bit within the China Pavilon. Really, among all of the beautiful Pavilions that make up the countries of World Showcase, China holds its own. The detail and decor here is stunning.

Epcot's China Pavilion

Epcot’s China Pavilion

And even the Lotus Blossom Cafe is no exception from a decor perspective. [Read more…]

Guest Review: Studio Catering Co. at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Editor’s Note: Studio Catering Co. closed in early April 2016 to make way for construction of Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. 

Join me in welcoming Bob Sikon with a guest review of a counter service eatery at Disney’s Hollywood Studios — Studio Catering Co.!

I have to confess, if my wife and I eat a meal at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, we typically stop in to visit the ABC Commissary. Oh, we’ve eaten meatloaf at 50’s Prime Time Cafe and cobb salads at The Hollywood Brown Derby, but our trips to the Studios usually include the commissary’s burgers.

If not that, we’ll enjoy a mere Quick Service snack of Butterfinger cupcakes from Starring Rolls Cafe or a couple of carrot cake cookies from Writer’s Stop.

This last trip, however, we tried something new – an early dinner at Studio Catering Co.

Welcome!

Atmosphere

Another confession – in all our past visits, we had never given Studio Catering Co. even a little bit of thought. Part of the reason is that it is sort of hidden without really being hidden. In other words, it is clearly there, but if you didn’t know it was there, the signage wouldn’t help you much.

Exterior Menu Board – click image for larger version.

Despite that, the thing that struck us from the moment we approached the restaurant was the amount of available space. There is PLENTY of seating. Look at the size [Read more…]

News and Review: Captain Cook’s Temporary Location at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

ALOHA from Disney’s Polynesian Resort!

Capt. Cook’s is the Polynesian’s Quick Service option — famous for Tonga Toast in the morning, and Pork Sandwiches and Nachos in the afternoon into the evening (more on their also-famous Dole Whips later in the post). You can typically find a few unique and stellar cupcakes here, too.

Well, its original location is currently closed for refurbishment from now until later this summer. We’re definitely looking forward to the new-and-improved digs, but in the meantime we thought we’d swing by to give you a quick look at the temporary location.

Captain Cook's Refurbishment Sign

Captain Cook’s Refurbishment Sign

If you head to the original location for Captain Cook’s, you’ll see signs directing you to the temporary location. From the original space, it’s just to the right of the set of stairs that bring you to Tambu Lounge.

Temporary Location

Temporary Location

The first thing to greet you is the main seating area.

Main seating in temporary location

Main seating in temporary location

Main seating in temporary location

Main seating in temporary location

Captain Cook’s signature tables made the move…

Tables

Tables

And additional seating can be found to the left of the main area.

Additional seating

Additional seating

Past the seating, you see the food area.

Main seating with food area behind

Main seating with food area behind

The kitchen space appears roomy.

Facing the kitchen

Facing the kitchen

Flow in the costumer area is a bit [Read more…]

News! Casey’s Corner in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Reopens with Updated Indoor Seating Area

We looooove telling you about news that can make your Disney trip even more comfortable and relaxing, and today we’re on a roll!

We’ve all been there… walking around Casey’s Corner with an armful of cardboard trays filled with hot dogs, French Fries, and a couple of enormous Cokes, searching indoors and out for a place to sit while hoping we don’t drop anything.

Welp, after a refurbishment that started in January, the Corner has reopened and is sporting some brand new digs! Yep — as far as we can tell, there are no more bleachers and no more movies…now we’ve got real, honest-to-goodness indoor seating (not just a few scattered tables) at Casey’s!

Casey's Corner

Casey’s Corner

Let’s take a quick look at the refurbished restaurant first. The entryway welcomes guests as always (just polished up a bit), and the menu remains unchanged (hooray!).

Casey's Entryway

Casey’s Entryway

Casey's Corner

Casey’s Corner

Casey's Corner Menu

Casey’s Corner Menu

And, of course, all of those nods to vintage baseball that make Casey’s what it is remain.

Casey's Baseball Memorabilia

Casey’s Baseball Memorabilia

The big surprise comes when you enter the indoor seating area.

This spot used to house a few tables, but the “Casey at the Bat” bleachers and a movie screen spinning old school Disney sports cartoons were the focal points of the area. The banners and scoreboards are still there…

Mudville Banners

Mudville Banners

Scoreboard

Scoreboard

However, the bleachers have been removed to make way for more tables, and the movie screen has been removed.

Refurbished Indoor Seating

Refurbished Indoor Seating

Refurbished Indoor Seating Area

Refurbished Indoor Seating Area

Casey’s is a beloved spot for many reasons [Read more…]

Review: Create-Your-Own Burger Bar at the NEW All Star Sports End Zone Food Court

Recently we visited the newly reopened End Zone Food Court at Disney’s All Star Sports Resort. Now we’re back to review one of the new features on the menu: the Create-Your-Own Burger Bar!

Atmosphere

After a lengthy refurbishment, the new space was revealed! Featuring earth tones and a clean, fresh design, the food court maintains its fun sports theme.

End Zone Food Court

End Zone Food Court

End Zone Food Court

End Zone Food Court

While the theme is found in more subtle details now than it was previously, the element of fun is still very much present in the basketball court walls and the Disney characters who’ve joined in the mix!

Basketball Court Walls

Basketball Court Walls

Disney pals in the booth panels

Disney Pals in the booth panels

Eats

Along with the new space came a revamped menu! You can still find standbys such as pizza, hot dogs, and the Best Chicken Breast Nuggets on Earth (*not the actual name, just my opinion ;) ).

Today, though, we’re excited to share a review of one of the newest features in the food court: the Create-Your-Own Burger Bar!

Create Your Own Burger

Create Your Own Burger

First, guests have their choice of beef or chicken for their [Read more…]