Treats From the Mini-Guide: Casey’s Cup of Chili

The new Disney Food Blog Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks lets you know what snacks are available for a Disney Dining Plan snack credit — including snacks that aren’t found on the menu!

Let me share this little tidbit with you — while it’s not listed on every menu, you can use your snack credit for a bowl of chili at Casey’s Corner. Oh, yes you can!

Casey's Corner Chili

Take your chili to the indoor bleachers where you can watch classic Disney film shorts, or sit under an umbrella-shaded table outside. Either way, you’ll know you’ve hit a snack-credit home run!

Don’t miss other delicious snack items in the Magic Kingdom! We’ve included over 70 photos and reviews of our favorite snacks throughout the Magic Kingdom theme park in the new DFB Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks!

As bonus items, we’ve also included custom snack crawls, an index of snacks by location and snack credit, and even a list of great snack pairings! The colorful photos will show you just what you’ll get for your vacation dollars or snack credits!

Discover it all here in The Disney Food Blog Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks!

Don’t forget to use code “MAGIC” for 20% off your Mini-Guide!

Do you know of other unpublicized snack credit options? Let us know in the comments below!

Guest Review: Coronado Springs Resort’s Pepper Market

Bill Iadonisi returns with a colorful and impressive review of the Pepper Market at the Coronado Springs Resort. Take it away, Bill!

When guests vacation to Walt Disney World, they are looking forward to going on their favorite attractions, seeing World-Class shows and entertainment, and of course meeting the Disney Characters. A trip to Disney is an exciting adventure for all. But for many, the rides and attractions are just the tip of the iceberg.

I know that for myself, dining at Disney is a whole world of fun! With menu options from around the world and a huge diversity of food choices, the dining scene is a theme park unto itself.


While most guests hanker to dine in the parks, the resort venues are just as impressive. We know the classic restaurants such as Citricos, the California Grill and Jiko, but the resorts are also home to some of Walt Disney World’s “sleeper” restaurants.

These eateries are hidden gems with mostly low crowds, fantastic menus and easy access. Many times when the parks are booked, you can usually walk right in or have just a short wait before dining. Some of my favorites are the Kona Café and the Captain’s Grille. And here we will review; Coronado Springs Resort’s Pepper Market restaurant.

Atmosphere and Ordering Process

Pepper Market is an open food court located in the main building area of Coronado Springs Resort, called “El Centro.” It is a counter-service restaurant, although your drinks are brought to the table by a server.

But what makes this eatery special is its extensive menu and expansive dining area. Even during crowded times, you can usually find a table. It is themed after a south of the border-feel marketplace. Huge and airy, it is also very colorful, bright and gives the feeling of space versus claustrophobia — something we love in Disney restaurants.

Dining Area

As you make your way to the entrance, (next to Coronado’s table-service restaurant, the Maya Grill) you walk on terracotta tiles and past wrought iron fences adorned with green plants. Everything is vibrant and very colorful. It puts a smile on your face before you are even seated. At the entrance is a [Read more…]

Disney Food for Families: Counter Service Dining with the Adventurous Child

Disney Food for Families columnist Erin Foster has a very adventurous eater in her family — her daughter, Josie! Here are some great suggestions for kids who want something a bit different than the standard kids’ meal fare!

I’ve written before about my finicky, fearful daughter Louisa who never met a chicken nugget she didn’t like.

As it turns out, her twin sister Josie has a completely opposite dining profile. Josie will try anything, loves exploring new foods, and craves variety to spice up her meals. An endless stream of pizza bores her. If you have an adventurous eater in your life, you’ll want to find options beyond the ubiquitous pizza, pasta, hot dogs, and nuggets.

Josie enjoying the meat of a giant bird

In recent years, Disney has done a somewhat better job of providing a range of healthy and innovative foods on their childrens’ menus. Here I’m going to focus on some of the out-of-the-pizza-box Walt Disney World children’s counter service meal and snack options for those looking to avoid the kid food basics while on the go.

Counter Service Dining with an Adventerous Child at Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom

Columbia Harbor House and Cosmic Ray’s offer mixed greens with chicken for [Read more…]

Review: Gasparilla Grill at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Tucked into one of Disney World’s most iconic resort hotels — The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa — Gasparilla Grill is one of the only restaurants open 24 hours in Walt Disney World!


Gasparilla Grill is the the counter service location at the Grand Floridian and is sandwiched between the Grand Floridian Cafe and the Grand Floridian Kids’ Club.

It offers both hot and cold (grab-and-go) items as well as bakery items and soft-serve ice cream.

Gasparilla Entrance

Gasparilla Food Area

You’ll find plenty of seating inside and outside. Outdoor seating has a fantastic view of [Read more…]

Guest Review: Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant

We travel to the future with Guest Reviewer Bill Iadonisi in his review of the Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant. Finding the restaurant actually open, Bill stopped in for a quick service bite to eat!

It’s been quite a while since I have dined at the Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station. One reason is that this counter-service eatery has for several years been opened seasonally; if the crowds at the Magic Kingdom swell, it will open to handle the overflow of hungry guests. But today, my friend John (Disney Food Blog readers know him as Chef BigFatPanda!) and I decided to have lunch and do a review.

Entrance walkway


When the Magic Kingdom first opened, this was known as the Plaza Pavilion, which served pizza and burgers. In 2004, it was closed for refurb and returned as the Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station. For you history and trivia buffs, “Tomorrowland Terrace” was the name of the Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant that once occupied the [Read more…]

Review: Captain Cook’s Snack Company

UPDATE: Dole Whip is no longer being served at Captain Cook’s, is no longer self-serve, and is no longer available 24 hours a day. You’ll now find Dole Whip at the Pineapple Lanai in Disney’s Polynesian Village in addition to Aloha Isle at the Magic Kingdom. You can also find Dole Whip available intermittently at Animal Kingdom’s Tamu Tamu Refreshments, and at Epcot during some special events. On the upside, you can also get a Dole Whip Float at Pineapple Lanai!

There are two important things you need to know about Captain Cook’s Snack Company and why I consider it to be one of Disney’s best kept secrets:

1. It offers two of Disney’s most beloved menu items — Tonga Toast and Dole Whips.
2. It’s open 24. Hours.

Those two are reason enough to visit, but when you add in the fact that the place serves up some pretty unique and delicious eats, there’s no reason NOT to escape the crazy of the Magic Kingdom for a quick boat ride over to the Polynesian Resort and a visit to Captain Cook’s.

Entrance Sign

This joint looks pretty much like a fast-food location decorated in stereotypical Hawaiian style. Because that’s what it is. But it’s also so much more!

Counter-Service Restaurant

It was one of the first locations to pioneer [Read more…]

Review: Animal Kingdom’s Restaurantosaurus

I’ll admit it — this is one of my very favorite counter-service restaurants in Walt Disney World. Where else can you find this level of detail and theming while dining on the best chicken nuggets in the world?


I have an unnatural love for Dinoland in the Animal Kingdom in the first place, and the extremely detailed theming and story behind Restaurantosaurus always makes me want to spend an hour or two just wandering around and looking at all of the decor in the different rooms.

Outdoor tables

The story behind Restaurantosaurus lies with the graduate students/paleontologists who live in the building. You’re not likely to see them, but you sure will see evidence of them. Who do you think “re-named” the restaurant and hauled those chairs and coolers up to the roof to enjoy the sunshine?

Throughout the restaurant, you’ll learn more about the students and their work.

Be sure to look closely, though — there are plenty of classic puns and jokes that you might miss if you don’t actually [Read more…]

Disney Food for Families: An Ode to the Sand Bucket

Disney Food for Families columnist Erin Foster discusses a great bonus you can find with some kids’ meals on Walt Disney World property!

It’s long been said that Disney is in the details. One of my favorite Disney details is the container for children’s meals at some of the counter service restaurants at Walt Disney World. What is this magical container? The sand bucket!

Buckets ready to be called into action

There are restaurants located near the pools or sandy areas at Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, the Yacht & Beach Clubs, and the Caribbean Beach Resort that serve their kids’ meals either in, or with, a new, [Read more…]

Counter-Service Money-Saving Tip from the DFB Guide

As many of you know, we just launched the 2013 Edition of our awesome Disney Dining e-BookThe DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining! And we’ve got some great Disney dining info from the e-Book for you today!

Cosmic Ray's Bacon Double Cheeseburger with Fries

First up, one of our favorite counter-service money-saving tips! Some folks would rather not have the side items with their counter-service meal, but they feel strange asking to get the entree alone. Well guess what! Not only is that not strange, it can also save you some dough!

If you’re thinking that you’d rather skip the fries, ask the cast member for the “entree-only,” without the side dishes. This should knock off the cost of the fries or other side dish and leave you paying only for the main event!

So I guess this means that not only will you save money, but also calories… we could be onto something here!

Find this and over MANY other top money-saving tips for eating in Walt Disney World in The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2013 e-Book! We also have a full chapter dedicated to how to find and make use of Disney World dining discounts, coupon programs, membership programs, and more!

Find it all here in the The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2013! Get $4 off today with code 2013!

What are some of your favorite money-saving tips in WDW? Let us know in the comments below!

Disney Food for Families: A Parent’s Dilemma — Multi-Line Quick Service

Disney Food for Families columnist Erin Foster ponders how to avoid lost kids and cold food at the multi-line quick service locations like Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe and Sunshine Seasons.

While I am obviously a fan of Disney dining in general, there is one particular aspect of eating at Walt Disney World that, as a parent, I find maddening: the multi-line quick service restaurant.

For those of you new to eating at WDW, some of the quick service (otherwise known as counter service) restaurants are set up with one order/payment line for all types of food items served there. The out-of-Disney-World analogy to this would be McDonald’s or similar fast food restaurants where you walk up to the cashier and tell him you want a burger, your husband wants chicken, and your daughter wants a salad. You pay and they give you all your food on one tray. Makes sense, right?

Epcot's Electric Umbrella. Single-line quick service. Many foods, one place to order.

However, many quick service restaurants on Disney property do not follow this model. Instead of one place to order all the items sold at that location, there are multiple lines. One line to order burgers, one line to order chicken, one line to order salads, and so on. The out-of-Disney-World analogy to this is the mall food court.

Multi-line, food-court-style, quick service restaurant.

So, Here’s the Problem

The multi-line quick service restaurant became my personal pet peeve way back in 1998, during our first trip to WDW with our oldest daughter, who was not quite two years old at the time. We were staying at [Read more…]