Disney Food Post Round-Up: February 7, 2016

Happy Super Bowl Sunday! Go teams! No matter who you’re cheering for it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy our weekly round-up of the most delicious Disney food news. (I’m a Bills fan, so as long as the Giants, Pats, Cowboys, and Dolphins stay out of the big game, I’m happy ;-D)

Warm Peanut Butter Brownie -- Cross Section

Warm Peanut Butter Brownie — Cross Section

We are still celebrating the grand launch of the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2016 e-book! The Guide is fully updated for 2016 vacations and is available for purchase and download to help you make the most of your dining plans at Walt Disney World! You can use code HAPPYPLACE to get a $4 discount off the cover price!

We love answering your questions and this week’s reader question was “Where can we get a good breakfast if we are NOT into characters or buffets?” You can check out our answer here.

We have a lot to share with you this week, so let’s jump right in…

Disney Food News

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Recommended Disney Dining Plan One-Credit Restaurant Values

We previously shared with you our picks for the Best Disney Dining Plan Value in Disney Signature Dining. Today, we continue our series exploring which Disney Restaurants offer the best value for your Disney Dining Plan credits!

Disney Dining Plan One Credit Recommendations

One of the biggest questions that we get here at DFB is whether or not the Disney Dining Plan is a good deal. To begin answering the question, we armed ourselves with calculators and menus and ran the numbers to see which spots had the most expensive average entrees.

But it’s more than that, isn’t it? I mean, no matter how much the average check runs, if the food or the atmosphere doesn’t appeal to you and yours, it won’t be a good value, no matter how you slice it.

With the calculations in mind, we were curious to determine which One-Credit Disney Table Service Restaurants offered the best deal or value price-wise — but also could be recommended by the experts here at DFB for atmosphere and food quality. All of the restaurants that we considered are One-Credit spots, meaning they’ll require just one credit to dine with the Disney Dining Plan.

Here are our picks for the restaurants that give you the best overall bang for your Disney Dining Plan buck when it comes to single credit table service spots.

Best Friends Character Breakfast at ‘Ohana

When we set out to determine which one-credit restaurants offered you the most in terms of sheer cost, one trend emerged immediately: you can’t go wrong by spending your credit on a Character Meal.

Mickey at 'Ohana

We Can’t Resist Eating with this Guy!

And with only one exception (Cinderella’s Royal Table), all Disney World character meals require only one DDP table service credit.

And while character meals are not one size fits all — you should definitely check out our tips before booking one — they’re for sure an experience everyone can enjoy with a little planning.

As for our favorite, this year we are really enjoying character meals that are served family-style like ‘Ohana’s breakfast. These include Garden Grill at Epcot, which you can now book for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

Chip

Chip n’ Dale Visit with You During Meals at Epcot’s Garden Grill

Or enjoy the Princesses at Akershus. You can still enjoy the koldtbord selections and all you care to eat, but meals come plated.

Princess Cinderella at Akershus in Epcot's Norway

Princess Cinderella at Akershus in Epcot’s Norway

But my favorite remains the Best Friends Character Breakfast at ‘Ohana. For a combination of cute characters (Mickey in a Hawaiian Shirt, and Lilo is awesome!) and delicious food, it just can’t be beat.

Mickey Waffles!

Mickey Waffles!

And while buffets are great for a bounty of offerings, sometimes it’s nice to sit back and let the food come to you — especially if there’s a baby or toddler along for the ride.

Boma

Hot on the heels of character meals though, you should probably also consider other buffets or all you care to enjoy service formats if you’re truly interested in “getting your money’s worth”.

Boma Buffet

Boma Buffet

Boma at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge doesn’t offer characters — but I don’t see that as a bad thing. The food here is  interesting and delicious. Don’t miss the Soups or the Carving Stations at Dinner! (Here’s the recipe for that killer Coconut Curry Chicken Stew!) Breakfast offers some great pastries and more.

Breakfast Pastries from one of our favorite buffets -- Boma in Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge!

Breakfast Pastries from one of our favorite buffets — Boma in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge!

Then of course, there’s the Zebra Domes. :-)

Zebra Dome

Zebra Dome Yum

The restaurant serves breakfast and dinner, and we’ve enjoyed both. And because Boma doesn’t feature characters, I find the ambiance to be a little more relaxing as a result.

But don’t forget spots that offer all you care to enjoy, but do the heavy lifting for you. If you wish that everyday was Thanksgiving Day (but without the clean up!), then make your advance dining reservation for Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom. Besides getting a hearty helping of history, you’ll also see endless platters of Turkey with all the trimmings.

The Full Spread!

The Full Dinner Spread at Liberty Tree Tavern!

And that is truly something to be thankful for.

Be Our Guest Dinner

But if you’re looking to spend those credits wisely, then don’t leave Magic Kingdom just yet. Because any Disney Food Bucket Lister will tell ya — you’ve gotta book dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant at least once.

Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom

Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom

For starters, this spot is truly magical. If you’ve ever wanted to tumble through a movie screen and join in the action, this is your chance to do it, as Beast’s Castle has been reproduced in painstaking detail.

Want to see the last petal drop at Be Our Guest Restaurant? Planning ahead is key!

The Enchanted Rose in the West Wing

But then, there are some pretty great reasons to eat here as well. Of course, the menu is French-inspired. We’ve tried pretty much everything, and give high marks to the Potato Leek Soup, the Pork Chop, and of course, the Grilled Strip Steak!

Grilled Strip Steak

Grilled Strip Steak

And if you enjoy a glass of wine or a beer with dinner, take advantage of ordering one here — the only spot in Magic Kingdom where you can enjoy this indulgence.

Chimay Blue at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Chimay Blue at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Choosing Dessert may be tough. We enjoyed most of the options, but the Master’s “Grey Stuff” dessert will be the most high-profile.

Les Chefs de France

What’s that? You’d like to go to the REAL France?

Well, I can’t deliver that to you at Disney, but I can get you pretty close to the real deal. If you travel over the Epcot, that is. When you get there, head to World Showcase for some of the best spots to spend those table service credits.

Front of Les Chefs de France at Night -- Isn't It Amazing??

Beautiful Les Chefs de France in Epcot’s France Pavilion

While many of the restaurants in this international village boast steep pricetags, we love some better than others. And in terms of beautiful atmosphere and consistently delicious food, Les Chefs de France gets a gold star from me.

I know, I know. Epcot international dining can be less than authentic. But all of the restaurants in the France Pavilion are owned by the Bocuse Group, and I’ve enjoyed lots of fare that reminded me of my time traveling as a student through France and Switzerland.

A la flamme Alsacienne

A la flamme Alsacienne

Service can be slow and reserved. But the restaurant offers a beautiful setting.

Teppan Edo

But as I mentioned, you aren’t limited merely to France in Epcot. There’s a whole world out there, of course. When it comes to fun and value, consider Teppan Edo.

Teppan Edo in Epcot's Japan Pavilion

Teppan Edo in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion

This Japanese Habachi-style experience is as much food theatre as it is eating. The chefs here are wonderful at all of the tricks that you might expect to see in a Japanese steakhouse. We especially like the fire-based ones. :-)

And the food is bountiful. While I’m partial to ordering the Steak, I also love the combos here. Steak and Chicken or Steak and Shrimp give you the opportunity to enjoy different textures and flavors.

Steak and Chicken at Teppan Edo

Steak and Chicken at Teppan Edo

And with bountiful sides, I guarantee you won’t leave the table hungry.

And there you have it! With so many varied experiences, flavors, and settings, it’s hard to go wrong with Disney Dining. But you won’t go wrong if you decide to try a few of our favorite one-credit options!

2016 book cover dfb guide

Ready for All of Our Best Tips?

We’ve got TONS of Disney World Dining Tips — including LOTS of restaurant suggestions for your every need — in our big, bold 2016 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining!

With more than 530 pagesThe DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining is full of tips and planning tools developed by Disney World experts over 20+ years of visits. We’ve done the research for you, so you’ll know just which spots will uniquely suit your family’s needs!

With sample dining itineraries, plus our “Disney Dining at a Glance” section, featuring “Where Can I Find?” options, you’ll have everything you need to plan your best vacation yet. Click here to get your copy of The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining E-book — and use code HAPPYPLACE for an extra $4 discount for a limited time!

Now, I’d love to hear from all of you guys! What are your best picks for value when it comes to DDP one credit table service spots? Leave a comment with your favorites!

DFB Podcast Episode 27: Resort Snackage!

We are back with our first Podcast of 2016!

Welcome to Episode 27: Resort Snackage!

dfb podcast

What’s It About?
In this podcast we go over some of our favorite snack options at Disney World and Disneyland Resorts!

Sometimes it feels like all of the snack credit attention goes to the parks, so wanted to showcase some of the other awesome options you can grab outside of the usuals.

We go over several unique-to-the-resorts options including breakfast items and pastries from your favorite resorts like Pop Century, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Grand Californian, and more!

Listen right now at DFBPodcast.com, or subscribe via iTunes, RSS, or Stitcher!

Oreo Bon Bons

Oreo Bon Bons

Want more DFB? Order the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2016 edition today for $4 off using code HAPPYPLACE! Visit DFBStore.com to order your must-have DFB guidebooks! Plus, follow Disney Food Blog on Instagram for your daily dose of Disney food deliciousness!

Thanks for listening! Please rate and review the podcast on iTunes and leave your comments below!

Disney Food Post Round-Up: January 17, 2016

Don’t let those winter doldrums get you down – we’re here with the best Disney food news of the week to cheer you up! If you’re looking to add a little extra spring in your step we suggest stopping by our @DisneyFoodBlog Periscope account for some Disney Parks fun! You never know where we might be!

Love this comfort food!

Love this comfort food!

This is the perfect time of year for comfort food – especially for breakfast – and we recently shared a recipe for a great cinnamon roll! Chip’s Sticky Bun Bake from Epcot’s Garden Grill is the perfect way to start your morning (while you read the DFB, of course).

We have a lot to share with you this week, so let’s jump right in…

Disney Food News

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How Using Your Disney Dining Plan at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival Just Got Better

We all know it: having the Disney Dining Plan while visiting the Epcot Food and Wine Festival can be pretty awesome.

2015 Epcot Food and Wine Logo

Because, after all, in the past, you could save up your snack credits and use them to Eat Your Way Around the World. And the only thing better than the Food and Wine Festival is enjoying it for the price of your already-purchased Disney Dining Plan!

But if you can believe it, using your Disney Dining Plan at the Food and Wine Festival just got even better. Recent changes in how Disney Dining Plan credits can be spent will make enjoying all that the Food and Wine Marketplace Booths have to offer even more fun than before.

Want to know more about how to use your Disney Dining Plan at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival? Read on!

Turn Your Quick Service Meals Into Food and Wine Booth Eats!

This is probably the most exciting change to the Disney Dining Plan: you can now use your Quick Service Meal Credits to purchase up to three different snacks, and call it a meal!

Swap your Counter Service Credit for Snack Credits and get more of these.

Swap your Counter Service Credit for Snack Credits and get more of these.

There are rules about the way this works, however. In order to swap your Quick Service Meal Credit for snacks, you have to do it all in one transaction. So unfortunately, that means you can’t go to the Hawai’i Booth and order something, then mosey over to the Belgium Booth for something else.

Belgian Waffle with Warm Chocolate Ganache and Whipped Cream

Belgian Waffle with Warm Chocolate Ganache and Whipped Cream

But if you think about it in terms of your group or family pooling credits, it’s just a matter of logistics. After all, you can use Dad’s credits at the Canada Booth so that everyone can have their own Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup. Then use Mom’s for three different items at another booth. And really — that’s pretty awesome. Because that soup has been known to incite family spoon feuds.

Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup

Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup

Start Your Planning Today! The DFB Guide to the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival e-Book is now available!

2015 DFB F&W Guide Cover 3D

Want even more great tips? This 200+-page guide to the Festival offers insider tips and advice as well as all of the details you need to know to plan your best Festival visit ever. Order your 2015 edition today!

Your purchase includes several bonus items as well — including a full daily schedule of events at the Festival and a printable World Showcase Booth Menu Checklist to carry with you as you Eat around the World!

Use code Chefs at check-out for a $3 discount!

Be sure to check our main Epcot Food and Wine Festival Page frequently for updates, and also check out Epcot Food and Wine Festival 101 for even more information about the festival!

Want More Epcot Food and Wine Festival Info?

We’ll have all the coverage and information you need right here on Disney Food Blog! Here’s what we know so far…

2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Index

2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booth and Menu Index 
2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Special Events
2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Low-Cost Seminars and Demonstrations
2015 Eat to the Beat Concert Schedule
Epcot Food and Wine Festival Fans Facebook Page
2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Wine and Dine Half Marathon
2015 Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic
Food and Wine Festival 101
2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Menus and FOOD PHOTOS
2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Gluten Free Items

How to Book Epcot Food & Wine Festival Events

To book all special events and demonstrations, call 407-WDW-FEST (939-3378) (join the Disney Food Blog Newsletter to find out as soon as we do about all the details!). Culinary Demonstrations, Beverage Seminars, Mixology Seminars, and general admission for some special events will be bookable online at www.epcotfoodfestival.com as well as by phone.

Tables in Wonderland members, Annual Passholders, Disney Vacation Club Members, and Golden Oak Residents will be eligible for a discount (per person, per event) for beverage and mixology seminars and culinary demos taking place Mon-Thurs during the festival. Discounts are by phone only at 407-WDW-FEST (939-3378). Stay tuned to DisneyFoodBlog.com and the Disney Food Blog Newsletter for details.

And now we’d love to hear from all of you — are you excited to use your Disney Dining Plan in this new flexible way at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival? Leave a comment and tell us what you think about the changes!

Photo Tour: Animal Kingdom Starbucks Now Open

Starbucks opened today in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, completing the line-up of Starbucks locations in Walt Disney World parks (the others being Magic Kingdom’s Main Street Bakery, Epcot’s Fountain View, and Hollywood Studios’ Trolley Car Cafe along with Downtown Disney’s two locations).

On a recent tour of the building’s exterior (formerly a merchandise store), we noticed what looked like coffee beans added to the design elements. Africa is one of three main regions from which Starbucks sources their coffee!

As you approach the Starbucks from the front of the park (located between Discovery Island and Africa), this is the first Entrance of two that you will encounter.

Starbucks Entrance

Starbucks Entrance and Peter, a Super Helpful and Friendly Cast Member Decked Out in the Team Uniform

You’ll notice that the name “Creature Comforts” has stuck, which kind of make sense, right? I love the two little monkeys with their coffees flanking the sign. ;-)

Creature Comforts

The Store’s Official Name is Creature Comforts. And Yes, They Do Serve Monkeys Apparently.

But just in case you’re not sure where you are, a subtle mermaid logo sign is posted near the door.

With [Read more…]

Even More Top Disney Dining Tips from the Experts!

We are back with some great advice some of the best experts around when it comes to planning your Disney Dining — DFB Readers!

Top Disney Dining Tips from the Fans

Seriously, you guys are the best, and I’m always excited to learn new things from your experiences! So when it came time recently to update our Top Tips for Disney Dining, we turned to you for input and advice. And you responded with tons of great suggestions.

Check out just a few of them below, as we offer you even more Top Disney Dining Tips from the Experts!

Have a Plan…and Don’t Blow Those Snack Credits on Things You Can Get at Home!

It was important enough for several different DFB readers to mention — and expound on! Do not waste those precious Disney Dining Plan snack credits on something as ho hum and common as a piece of fruit or a bottle of water.

And…I have to agree here. You can get a banana and a Dasani in your supermarket at home. But when was the last time you waltzed into Kroger and picked up a Carrot Cake Cookie or Schoolbread?

Yep, they can sometimes pile up on you toward the end of the trip. So spend a little time planning beforehand so you don’t waste a single one. Here’s a TIP: DFB Snack Guides can come in handy for this endeavor; we have one for every park at Walt Disney World with our recommendations for the best snacks!

Carrot Cake Cookie at Writer's Stop in Disney's Hollywood Studios

Make Those Snack Credits Count with a Carrot Cake Cookie

Get the Dining Plan…And Don’t.

One of the most interesting suggestions for stretching your Disney Food Budget came from @Greg_Crowder: he suggested that you go halfsies on the Disney Dining Plan. He writes: “2 of us had the free plan a couple of years ago and 2 didn’t. The snacks and counter [service] meals were plenty for all 4 people.

Butterfinger Cupcake at Starring Rolls Cafe in Disney's Hollywood Studios!

Butterfinger Cupcake at Starring Rolls Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios Are Totally Shareable!

It’s true that Disney portions can be pretty big, and eating lots of large meals and rich snacks and then walking 100 miles a day may be a tall order. So if you’re willing to share, this can be an excellent way to keep costs down. It also means that you pre-pay, so your spending money goes a little further.

Just note that if you’re all staying in the same room, you all need to be on the same plan; so this tip only works if your compadres are in a different room.

Don’t Forget About Resort Restaurants.

Many readers chimed in that visitors should never forget to check out resort dining options, saying that you should definitely venture out of the Park for incredible food. Resort restaurants offer some of the most amazing dining on property.

Slow-cooked in Gravy, Simple and Well-seasoned Butter Chicken and Chicken Vindaloo

Slow-cooked in Gravy, Simple and Well-seasoned Butter Chicken and Chicken Vindaloo at Sanaa — Be Sure to Schedule a Meal Here

Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge was mentioned lots of times. For instance, reader David Mendoza says: “Whether you are staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge or not, make the trip to the Sanaa restaurant. Wonderful food and such a picturesque setting, watching the beautiful animals as you dine on some of the most awesome food in Disney World! A real must see! And when you are done you can take a stroll and get even closer to the animals. Truly a wondrous place.”

I couldn’t agree more! (Read my latest Sanaa review here.)

Allergies and Food Sensitivities? No problem.

We’ve written about it lots of times — Disney is tops when it comes to serving guests with allergies, food sensitivities, and special diets. And our readers are eager to agree that Disney routinely goes above and beyond to ensure their guests have the best experience possible, regardless of their dietary limitations.

Jiko Allergy-Friendly Menu -- Appetizers -- Click to Enlarge

Example of Jiko’s Allergy-Friendly Appetizer Menu

Ann Hooghuis Dealy weighs in by saying, “If you have food allergies or sensitivities [Read more…]

News and Rumors: Potential Updates to the Disney Dining Plan

Disney World guests utilizing the Disney Dining Plan will want to be aware of some rumored changes taking place to the popular plans available for Disney Resort guests starting today, May 31, 2015 (though it is rumored that Disney will not post the changes officially until June 4th).

Disney Dining Plan

Please note that at this time we have not received official confirmation from Disney regarding any of these changes. We just wanted you to be aware of the rumors in the case that you’d be able to put them into practice this week in the parks.

Participants on the Dining Plan will be able use their dining credits in the typical ways (i.e. guests on the standard Disney Dining Plan will still receive 1 Table Service Credit, 1 Quick Service Credit, and 1 Snack Credit per night of stay and can use those credits accordingly at designated locations); however, there may be additional opportunities that will allow for more flexibility.

Snack Entitlements

The most commonly rumored change says that a “snack credit” will now include all single-serve items and beverages such as Caramel Apples — not including Character designs — and large Mickey Cookies among other previously ineligible items. Also included may be Quick Service restaurant side items and breakfast items, like sides of bacon or sausage.

Caramel Apples

Caramel Apples

These may include: [Read more…]

News: Discounted Walt Disney World Play, Stay, and Dine Packages

Get a discounted Play, Stay & Dine package at Walt Disney World! According to Disney, guests can save up to $400-600 with this discounted offer valid for most Disney-owned resorts, theme park tickets, and Disney Dining plans.

Disney Dining Plan Frequently Asked Questions

Valid for stays December 14 through December 20, 2014 and January 5 through March 7, 2015, your package must include at least 3 nights (maximum of 14 nights) at a Disney resort, a minimum of a 2-day theme park ticket, and a dining plan for the length of your stay.

Your first night must be within the above dates. For example, check in March 7 and your entire stay will be included in the discounted package.

While Value resorts can be booked with any dining plan, all other resorts must include the regular Dining Plan or Deluxe Dining Plan. Take a look at Disney Dining Plans before booking your trip, and read up on the DFB Disney Dining Plan FAQs.

Please note that the offer excludes Villas at Grand Floridian, Bay Lake Tower, Polynesian Villas, Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation Resort, campsites, and 3-bedroom villas.

Packages must be booked by [Read more…]

Top Tips for the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival kicks off this week! Get ready for 53 days of food and fun, starting this Friday, September 19!

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Tips

We know that you are just as excited as we are! But it’s a pretty big undertaking. With Special Events, Low Cost Demonstrations and Seminars, and of course, International Marketplace Booths, it can quickly become overwhelming.

Today, we thought we’d lend a hand by giving you a few of our tried-and-true Top Tips from our DFB Guide to the 2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book. We’ll help you make this the best Epcot Food and Wine Festival yet!

1. Plan Ahead

If you don’t read or heed any other tip in this post, pay attention to this one: it pays to plan ahead when mapping out your visit to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

It’s a good idea to check out all of the Marketplaces and their Menus before you ever set foot inside of Epcot. After all, the portions may be appetizer-sized, but visits to just a couple of spots could mean you’re stuffed before you’re finished exploring!

Will the Mushroom Filet at the Canada Marketplace Be Part of Your Plan?

Will the Mushroom Filet at the Canada Marketplace Be Part of Your Plan?

If you have an idea about what’s offered at the kiosks and how much things cost, then you’ll be better equipped to make decisions and stick to a budget. Be sure to keep an eye on DFB’s 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival main page for links to booths, menus, prices, and more.

Disney also gives you some great tools to plan ahead. This year, they’ve published ahead of time a full listing of gluten-free items. We also expect that vegetarian dishes will be marked on the menus. And don’t forget to pick up a Festival Passport at the Festival Center! It’s a fun way to keep track of the dishes you’ve tried!

Collect Those Awesome Stamps in Your Food & Wine Festival Passport!

Collect Those Awesome Stamps in Your Food & Wine Festival Passport!

Worried about your budget? You may want to pick up a Food and Wine Festival Gift Card and have it pre-loaded for convenience.

Food and Wine Festival Gift Card

Food and Wine Festival Gift Card

Not only is this a quick way to pay at the booths, but it also makes easy work of tracking how much you’ve spent.

2. Know How to Beat the Crowds

There’s a reason that the festival is celebrating its 19th year — it’s kind of a big deal! So don’t be surprised when you encounter larger crowds than you might expect during the Fall at Disney World.

But there are ways to deal with the crowds. First, know that [Read more…]