DFB Challenge: The Walt Disney World Beer Crawl

Alrighty, Guys — it’s time for another fun Disney Food Blog Challenge. And this one is definitely for the grown ups!

Everyone’s aware that craft Beer has become increasingly popular. Sure, through the years, you always had the garden variety options…

Lovely Beer!

Lovely Beer!

But these days, Craft Beers and International Selections are where it’s at. So we thought that it was high time we take a closer look at some of the interesting beer that you can get throughout Walt Disney World.

In the interest of interactive fun, we decided to come up with another DFB Food — er, Beverage — Crawl, dedicated to the world of beer, and all that it encompasses.

And we know that there are LOTS of you out there who are serious about your study and research of this important subject. We are in it for the fun. ;-) So we definitely want YOUR comments below on what you think the Can’t Miss Beers of Walt Disney World are!

Because this is a rather weighty subject, we’ll spread it out over a 3 day visit. But feel free to consolidate as your tolerance level allows.

Grab some beer nuts, and let’s go!

Day One: Explore Epcot

We’ll start our 3-day Beer Crawl in the best place for sampling a wide variety of food and drink — Epcot!

When beer is the main attraction of the day, it’s a good idea to get some sustenance first thing. We love to enter Epcot via the International Gateway Entrance and start our day with a stop in Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in the France Pavilion for a petit déjeuner of French Pastries and Coffee or Chocolat Chaud.

We especially love the Frangipane Triangles!

Frangipane -- Cross Section

Frangipane — Cross Section

If you’d like a full-on breakfast platter-type situation, head to Sunshine Seasons (although the Croissant Berry Bread Pudding gets our vote).

Fueled up and ready to go, it’s time to hit World Showcase!

Moosehead in the Canada Pavilion

We all have our traditions, and one that we love to embrace is the First Beer of the Day in Epcot. And that honor almost always goes to Moosehead as we begin our Drinking Journey around the World! Find it at the Canada Beer Stand located near the entrance to Le Cellier Steakhouse.

The beer offerings in Canada

Stroll the area, making time to check out the Totem Poles before you head to your next stop.

Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room in the UK Pavilion

With a small breakfast and your first brew under your belt, it’s time to stop for lunch and more beer in one of our favorite Epcot dining spots.

The Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room in the UK Pavilion offers a wide array of beer and cider from the British Isles. Make your advance dining reservation ahead of time for a sit down meal, or take a gamble with finding a spot in the pub (it can get pretty crowded in there). Note that you can also get beers at a counter outside the restaurant and pub.

Sampling British beers is your goal here, so we recommend the Imperial Sampler, which normally includes pours of Bass, Harp, Strongbow, Boddington’s, and Guinness.

Imperial Sampler

Alternatively, you can choose from a long list of Pub Blends, which are half-and-half mixes of some of the beer on tap. You’ll never go wrong with a Black and Tan — half Bass Ale and half Guinness.

Of course, if you have a favorite beer among those on tap, enjoy a pint of that one instead. We especially love to order a Guinness, served with its famous Shamrock Head!

Shamrock Design on Top of Guinness

And if you visit on a weekday, don’t forget to say “hello” to Carl the Bartender!

Japan

With a little lunch under your belt, it’s time to hit up the Japan Pavilion for another unique stop on your beer tour. Kirin Frozen Beer comes with a fluffy, semi-frozen head that keeps your beer cold a little longer in that warm Florida sun.

While the picture below is from Tokyo Dining, you can also get a portable version in a plastic cup at Kabuki Cafe.

Frozen Kirin Beer in Epcot's Japan

Frozen Kirin Beer in Epcot’s Japan

Take in some time listening to the drummers or checking out the [Read more…]

Review: New and Old Favorites at the Dawa Bar in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

The last time we visited Animal Kingdom’s Dawa Bar here on the DFB, it was to show you a little bit around what was then its new location.

It hadn’t moved very far… you can still find the Dawa Bar tucked under the same roofing that provides shade for guests waiting to dine at Tusker House, though now — facing Tusker House — you’ll see the Dawa Bar on your right instead of your left.

Aside from the small location switch to accommodate Animal Kingdom construction and a fresh coat of paint, not much has changed at the Dawa Bar (with the exception of the Bloody Mary menu added last fall). And I’m inclined to say that’s a pretty good thing. Today we’re trying some of those classic drinks that bring guests back to the Dawa Bar time and time again (and grabbing one of those Bloody Marys while we’re at it).

Dawa Bar

Dawa Bar

Atmosphere

I’d mentioned the high rate of return for Dawa Bar guests, but I think over the past year some new folks have made the discovery, too. Maybe I’m just imagining it, but it does seem to me that the new location has brought more guests to this fabulous little oasis.

Dawa Bar

Dawa Bar

It’s just a lot easier to see the bar while strolling in Harambe Village from its current location, whereas previously it was tucked toward the back and somewhat hard to spot unless you knew it was there. For that reason, it seems to have lost just a bit of its “hidden gem” status, but it’s managed to keep that “this is my Disney vacation home away from home” feel — in no small part thanks to the great bartenders and relaxing vibe.

Bartender at Dawa Bar

Bartender at Dawa Bar

Dawa Bar-tender :)!

Dawa Bar-tender :)!

The cooling shade is another draw here, and the stools and neat chairs invite you sit and stay a while.

Mismatched chairs

Mismatched chairs

Even though it’s probably the least comfortable, you’ve gotta love the conga chair. Even if you don’t sit in it, you can still appreciate the artistry of the carvings on the bottom.

Conga Chair!

Conga Chair!

But no matter where you sit, it’s much more about what you sip!

Eats

The “eats” here are actually nothing but beverages. And though today we’ll be focusing on the specialty drinks, you’ll always find a terrific selection of African wines and beers here, proudly featuring Tusker Lager.

Menus and bottle assortment

Menus and bottle assortment

You can have any of the drinks you’re about to see served to you in a Mask Tumbler if you’re looking for a souvenir from your time at the Dawa Bar. These hit the scene around the same time the Musical Tumbler arrived at various spots around Animal Kingdom. It’ll up your beverage cost by about $6 per drink.

Mask Tumblers

Mask Tumblers

One of the cocktails that has been a hit for a long time here is the Sugar Cane Mojito. Now, one reason I personally haven’t sampled the Sugar Cane Mojito previously is because I’m really not into mojitos in general. But this drink’s reputation precedes itself, and from the moment it was placed in front of me I started to understand why.

It’s a gorgeous drink — strikingly clear. I was mesmerized by the sunlight shining through the drink. (And, no, I hadn’t started drinking, yet. ;-D)

Sugar Cane Mojito

Sugar Cane Mojito

Even though the general components are the same as a typical mojito (plenty of mint, and in this case the rum is African Starr mixed with Sugar Cane Syrup — complete with a stalk of sugar cane), I really did enjoy this one.

As mentioned above, the Dawa Bar added Bloody Marys to the mix last fall, and the different twists are [Read more…]

The Year in Review: Top 10 Disney Food News Items of 2014!

We are standing on the cusp of a brand New Year, and we can’t wait to see what 2015 holds in store for us — and Disney!

Top10DisneyFoodNewsStories

But we can’t wave goodbye to the old year without looking back on some of the biggest food news that happened throughout Disney Parks.

Most of this year’s big news happened at Walt Disney World, but we have a few memorable moments to share with you from Disneyland as well as other Disney Parks around the globe.

Today, we bring you a look back at 2014’s Biggest Disney Food News Stories! We have a LOT to cover — let’s get started!

First up, a little something I like to call…

The Beginning of Finally Doing Something with Pleasure Island

It’s the story we feel like we’ve been watching for years — what’s happening at Downtown Disney Orlando’s now defunct Pleasure Island??

Well, 2014 finally saw some solid progress, and the Disney Springs story seems to be coming to life.

An Artist's Rendering of Disney Springs

An Artist’s Rendering of Disney Springs

Lots of changes have made a trip to Downtown Disney a challenge in the last couple of years. But as the year draws to a close, the parking garages are open, and we are seeing some of the plans take shape!

2014 kicked off with a surprise restaurant opening of sorts — the House of Blues added a new counter service offering, The Smokehouse. We say surprise because we told you about the restaurant for the first time just days before the walls came down and the doors opened for business!

The Smokehouse at The House of Blues

The Smokehouse at The House of Blues

The Smokehouse is strictly a walk-up window venue. But the covered outdoor seating is pleasant, and you can often take in live music as you enjoy barbecue favorites, like their Beef Brisket Sandwich, St. Louis Ribs, or Smoked Turkey Legs.

Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich with House-made Cole Slaw

Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich with House-made Cole Slaw from The Smokehouse

But it wasn’t all good news for Downtown Disney this year. Guests at T-Rex Cafe last Spring were in for some decidedly unpleasant dinner excitement, as one of the restaurant’s humongous fish tanks sprang a leak during dinner service!

However, no one was injured and all of the fish were reportedly rescued. We’re glad that all turned out happily in the situation, but we’ll never look at those huge fish tanks quite the same way again!

Also in the Spring, we said hello to a spot that’s quickly become one of our most favorite spots to shop in all of Walt Disney World — the Marketplace Co-op!

Disney Centerpiece

Disney Centerpiece

We have found some totally awesome stuff in the store’s Disney Centerpiece Section, including dishes, glasses, and other tableware that celebrate all of our Disney cult favorites. Whether you’re a Dole Whip fan or love memorabilia celebrating Tomorrowland, chances are you’ll find something that you’ve just gotta have!

Orange Bird Section

Orange Bird Section

Starbucks also continued to [Read more…]

DFB Reader Spotlight: Make Your Own Epcot Food and Wine Festival Tray!

So, you all know that you’re the best readers in the history of blogging. Here’s a little story sent in via email (with pictures, of course) to prove it.

As many of you are aware, I highly advocate bringing your own tray to Epcot for the Food and Wine Festival every year. After all, there usually isn’t a great place to sit and eat at every booth; so it can be helpful to have a method for carrying all of your goodies and drinks around with you as you’re looking for a good stopping point in the shade. As it turns out, this is true for the rest of the parks as well!

Disney Food Blog Reader, Jocelyn Martins, explored the Epcot Food and Wine Festival (and other Walt Disney World parks) with her own Disney Food Blog Tray!

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 2.35.04 PM

That’s right; she took our unique bumper sticker and attached it to the food tray she brought from home. Totally L.O.V.E. that she brought it to Disney with her!!!

Jocelyn reports that she loved using the tray and apparently other guests admired it, too. She was asked several times where to get one! Take a look…

DFB Tray with Eats and Drinks

“I had to grab just one more pumpkin ice cream macaron sandwich, but couldn’t pass on the martini either… thank goodness I had my own DFB Tray to balance on the stroller!” (We knew we loved her.) Head to L’Artisan des Glaces in Epcot’s France for your own ice cream treats.

Pumpkin Ice Cream Macaron Sandwich and Coconut-White Chocolate Ice Cream Martini with Whipped Cream Vodka

Pumpkin Ice Cream Macaron Sandwich and Coconut-White Chocolate Ice Cream Martini with Whipped Cream Vodka

“Luckily I knew  from the DFB to look for the Harambe Popcorn Cart because our most-awesome-ess server, Neil, at our Tusker House Breakfast had worked there forever and had no idea where I could find the Jungle Juice Slushies.”

DFB tray for Jungle Juice Slushies & Rum

DFB tray for Jungle Juice Slushies & Rum

Jocelyn then used her homemade DFB Tray to [Read more…]

What’s New Around Disney World: September 4th, 2014

We’re staring down the last of the dog days of summer as Disney World gears up for Fall… Join us on a tour around all four east coast Parks as we check out What’s New!

MAGIC KINGDOM

Fall Fun

With September upon us everyone is anticipating autumn and special seasonal events like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (currently underway) and the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (more on that a little later in the post :). So it’s not surprising to see Magic Kingdom all decked out for the occasion!

Magic Kingdom autumn decorations

Magic Kingdom autumn decorations

(Love seeing this sign pop up [Read more…]

Review: New Breakfast Items at Animal Kingdom’s Pizzafari and Dawa Bar

I think the start of the day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is something pretty special.

Since the entryway intentionally helps you meander a bit through the tree-lined pathways, there is an air of peacefulness about it you just don’t find in the other parks. And If you do find yourself here in the early morning hours, you’ll need sustenance to help energize you for a full day of touring.

New Breakfast Menu at Pizzafari

Pizzafari in Discovery Island (heading on the pathway towards Africa) is one of the only places that offers a hot breakfast in the park. In the past (and as recently as our last visit in June), we were unimpressed — to say the least — with Pizzafari’s breakfast options.

But the morning menu recently underwent a refresh, so we were interested to give the new offerings a try.

Pizzafari sign

Pizzafari sign

Atmosphere

Yes, we’re here to check out the new menu. But it’s practically impossible to walk into Pizzafari and not take some time immediately to notice and enjoy the brightly colored artwork that covers pretty much every inch of the place!  Below are just a few of my favorite [Read more…]

What’s New Around the World!

What’s new in regards to eats and treats in Disney World? What’s changed? Have any menu items bid us farewell? Read on to find out what has caught our eye lately!

Animal Kingdom

The Dawa Bar in Africa’s Harambe Village has moved and received a makeover! Check out the full scoop here.

Dawa Bar

Dawa Bar

And thanks to Avatarland, we bid adieu to the Camp Minnie-Mickey character greeting area. This space had two snack kiosks: one for funnel cakes and the other for hot dogs and pretzels.

Camp Minnie Mickey Kiosk

Camp Minnie Mickey Kiosk

You can still grab a terrific hot dog over at Restaurantosaurus… a Mac & Cheese Dog, to be precise! And those beloved Mickey Pretzels can be found in the Harambe Fruit Market (including the Jalapeno Cheese-stuffed Pretzel!).

Mr. Kamal’s (a kiosk devoted primarily to vegetarian selections) recently revamped the menu. Pick up samosas, falafel sammies, and hummus with veggies!

Mr. Kamal's Updated Menu

Mr. Kamal’s Updated Menu

It’s worth scoping out Bradley Falls (directly across from Mr. Kamal’s), to see if it is open on your visit. It’s typically open during busy days, and the most recent menu showed that the Edamame and Asian Noodle Salad are options there along with a brand new Thai Coconut Soup! Check out some of these [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: January 12, 2014

2014 is already proving to be a delectable year at Walt Disney World!

Spice Road Table Menu

We’re SO excited to bring you a FULL review of Epcot’s NEW Spice Road Table tomorrow. Are you just as hyped as I am?!

But for now, check out some of the fruity treats and drinks that we sampled!

Renovated venues are also in the mix this Disney Food News week; of course, we headed to End Zone Food Court at All-Star Sports to sample the new burger bar. Yum!

On our (and your!!) travels around Disney World, new eats have been spotted at some of our favorite locations — including Friar’s Nook and Pinocchio’s Village Haus.

Join us by following the links below. We can’t wait to share all of the details with you!!

Disney Food News

  • Spice Road Table in Epcot’s Morocco opened yesterday. We stopped by on Friday for a first look and a review of some treats, including Chef-crafted Ice Cream! Stay tuned for our first in-depth look and review — headed your way tomorrow!
  • With the re-opening of the End Zone Food Court at All-Star Sports Resort, we recently checked out the Create Your Own Burger Bar!
  • Speaking of burgers, there’s a brand new Bacon Cheeseburger Mac ‘n Cheese entree at Friar’s Nook in the Magic Kingdom. It’s hearty and delicious!
  • Thankfully our favorite Animal Kingdom hang-out — Dawa Bar — has been relocated (and not closed!) to a new location. Check it out!
  • Pinocchio’s Village Haus in the Magic Kingdom has a new treat — Jiminy Cricket’s Slush.

Of course, there’s more! Check out all the latest Disney Food News — even the stuff we don’t mention in posts on the blog! — on our Disney Food News Pin Board, including restaurant closures!

DFB Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other edible awesomeness — in or from Disney, share a photo with us on facebook or twitter so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

Deirdre enjoyed an Oreo Bon Bon cupcake from the BoardWalk Bakery. We love when Facebook friends share their treats with us!

Oreo Bon Bon Cupcake

Oreo Bon Bon Cupcake

Facebook friend Christian sent us the S’mores Bake from Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue in Disneyland — “Pouring s’more chocolate on the HUGE s’mores bake at Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue in Disneyland. Baked fresh. The server recommends ordering this 30min in advanced during our meal.”

S'more chocolate!

S’more chocolate!

Thanks for the Disney food pics; keep em’ coming!

Pre-Order The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2014 and get the 2013 Guide FREE!

Headed to Disney World soon? Pick up our 2014 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining e-Book for $4 off using code DINE! With this pre-order, you’ll get the 2013 Guide instantly — for free!

dfb guide 2014

This comprehensive e-Book offers over 400 pages of expert information, color photographs, advice, reviews, and details about Dining in Disney World. And these awesome bonus items are included:

  • Downloadable worksheets for planning your trip.
  • Seven sample one-day dining itineraries to help you with brainstorming.
  • A comprehensive index of bars and lounges.
  • An index of some of our favorite Top 5 lists.
  • Food-themed scavenger hunts — one for each Disney World theme park!
  • Disney Dining Trivia to play while waiting in line, or waiting for a table.

Pick up your copy today with code DINE for a $4 discount! As a downloadable PDF, the [Read more…]

Review: Animal Kingdom’s Newly Renovated Dawa Bar

Animal Kingdom’s Dawa Bar is considered by many to be something of a hidden gem. Tucked into a corner of the always-bustling Harambe Village in the Africa section of the park, the location is prime for anyone going to or from Kilimajaro Safari.

But it’s always blended so well into its surroundings that one could really walk right past it and not even know.

Tusker House Restaurant and Dawa Bar in Harambe Village

Tusker House Restaurant and Dawa Bar in Harambe Village

I stopped by recently to see what was new. As it turns out, it was a whole lot! The Dawa Bar has been relocated!

New location of the Dawa Bar

New location of the Dawa Bar

Atmosphere

Now, when I say “relocated,” it actually hasn’t moved all that far :) . You will still head to the same area of Harambe Village – just head to your left upon entering Africa from Discovery Island, and directly across from Tamu Tamu Refreshments and Mombasa Marketplace.

Dawa Bar in it's new location

Dawa Bar in its new location

However, the bar is now directly to the right when facing the Tusker House Check-In line, whereas it was previously on the left.

Tusker House check-in line on the left, Dawa Bar on the right

Tusker House check-in line on the left, Dawa Bar on the right

So, basically, when you see the sign that says this:

"Directions" to the Bar

“Directions” to the Bar

Instead, do this: ——–>. ;)

Aside from the location, what else is new? For starters, the bar itself has received [Read more…]

Disney Dining Tip from the DFB Guide: Dining at Bars and Lounges in Walt Disney World

When it comes to Disney World, bars and lounges aren’t just adults-only destinations — and they don’t just serve drinks.

In fact, here’s a Best Kept Secret in Disney dining planningDisney bars and lounges can be great places to get a meal with the whole family. These hidden gems are often less crowded than standard restaurants, too!

In The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013 e-Book, we have an entire section reviewing every single bar and lounge in Walt Disney World. It’s well worth a read to find out great spots to get a full meal or a snack — even with no Advance Dining Reservation!

Now let’s take a peek at a few of our favorites…

English Bulldog with Chips at Rose and Crown Pub in Epcot's UK Pavilion

Bars and Lounges Inside the Theme Parks

A Disney World trip can be hectic (meeting characters, dashing to attractions, and racing off to dining reservations!), so finding a place inside the parks to escape the hoopla is key to a relaxing vacation!

With signature cocktails, cheese plates, fondue, burgers, donuts, pasta, and more, you’ll find some truly inspired menus at Disney World’s bars and lounges. Sometimes you’ll even be able to order from the full menu of a nearby restaurant.

In Epcot, we can highly recommend stopping in to Tutto Gusto in Italy, Rose and Crown Pub in the UK, or La Cava del Tequila in Mexico.

Fireplace Area Seating at Tutto Gusto

At Tutto Gusto, order from an awesome menu of meats and cheeses, paninis, pastas, and more. A relaxing atmosphere and full tables allow for an easy meal for the whole family.

Cheeses, Meats, and Shrimp Cavatappi at Tutto Gusto Lounge in Epcot's Italy

Rose and Crown Pub, attached to Rose and Crown Restaurant, features a fun menu that — gasp! — the kids might even like! We can highly recommend the Scotch Eggs and the British Bulldog sausage (see our review of the British Bulldog here — and the photo at the top of this article)!

Scotch Eggs at Rose and Crown

If you’re there on a weekday, seek out Carl the Bartender and ask him to show you his amazing magic trick!

Carl the Bartender and the tipping pint

At La Cava del Tequila, sample a few Mexican appetizers like chips and salsa, queso, and guacamole along with your margaritas!

Chips and queso at Cava del Tequila

Another favorite place to unwind in the parks and get a great meal is at Tune-In Lounge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Here, you can get great shakes for the kids, fun signature drinks for [Read more…]