Tips from the DFB Guide: How MyMagic+ is Impacting Disney World Dining

When we all had our first glimpse of Magic Bands a couple of years back, did any of us have an idea that MyMagic+, Disney’s all-inclusive planning system, would impact so significantly the way we dine in Disney World?

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As soon as we saw those super cute bracelets (how many colors do you have??), we had an inkling that they’d spell major changes in the way we enjoy our Disney mealtimes. Almost immediately we put together this post, which gave our predictions for the MyMagic+-ful future.

Fast forward a couple of years, and we’re definitely seeing the impact of Disney’s commitment to the technological overhaul. So today, we thought we’d share with you some seriously helpful information from the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2015!

And if you find these tips to be helpful, pick up your copy of the Guide today for $4 off using code 2015 right here!

So let’s talk about some ways that MyMagic+ is impacting your Disney World Dining!

Schedule Meals and FastPasses — Without Conflict

This is probably one of my favorite things about MyMagic+. Use of the My Disney Experience app to preschedule my Advance Dining Reservations and my ride FastPasses means that the two don’t ever conflict.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Choose Between Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Be Our Guest? Now You Don’t Have To!

In the past, when the FastPass machines simply spit a time out for your return, there were times that I had to choose between Soarin’ and La Hacienda de San Angel’s Crema de Elote. (And seriously. You do know that the food always, always won, right?)

Corn Soup -- Up Close

Sorry — But I Will Always Choose La Hacienda’s Corn Soup Over Soarin’

But in the time since MyMagic+ was introduced, I’ve been able to schedule attractions around meetings, meals, and anything else I’d like! Seriously — I’ve ridden so many more rides since MyMagic+ came on line!

Touch to Pay is Awesome!

If you ask me — and pretty much all of the DFB Staff! — we agree that the Touch to Pay using our Magic Bands is one of our favorite things about MyMagic+ System.

Touch to Pay at a Counter Service Location

Touch to Pay at a Counter Service Location

Across the board, we love that you no longer have to search through your bag or wallet for a Key to the Kingdom card or credit card to pay.

Touch to Pay at Raglan Road

Touch to Pay at Raglan Road

Teenagers especially love the freedom of being on their own in the parks, knowing that [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: Best Character Dining for YOU!

Character Dining! What’s a trip to Walt Disney World without at least one meal shared with your favorite Disney Characters?

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There’s simply no better way to kill two birds with one stone at Disney. You enjoy a hearty meal — oftentimes, it’s all-you-care-to-enjoy — and you get to interact with your favorite characters. Best of all — they come to you! There’s no waiting in line for hours to see them.

But you may think that a character dining experience isn’t for you if you don’t have kids in your party, or if your kiddos are as tall as you now. Or maybe you fear that the excitement and stimulation — not to mention all those trips back and forth to the buffet — will leave you and your toddler exhausted before you even get to the Parks.

Well, I happen to think that there’s a character dining experience just right for you, regardless of who makes up your unique party. So today, let’s look at a few tips that I’ve put together from countless Character Dining Meals — courtesy of the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2015!

And if you like what you see here, there are a lot more where these came from! To see all of our advice for choosing just the right Character Dining Experience, pick up your copy of the Guide today for $4 off using code 2015 right here!

Character Dining With a Toddler: ‘Ohana Best Friends Breakfast

You’ve decided that the time is right for your pre-schooler to enjoy breakfast with Character Appeal for the first time. Now, how in the ‘World do you choose the meal that’s right for you?

Well, one thing to keep in mind is that most of the character dining experiences offer a buffet spread. This is great news when it comes to value. But juggling trips to the buffet, photo ops with characters, and a toddler who is stimulated to the max can be a challenge. So one of my favorite tips is to enjoy character dining that offers a sit-down…and stay down…meal. And one of the best is the Best Friends Breakfast at ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

To begin, well. Mickey in a Hawaiian Shirt. Best.

Say Aloha to Mickey and Friends at 'Ohana

Say Aloha to Mickey and Friends at ‘Ohana

But then, you have platters of Pastry and Bread, Fresh Fruit, and a Bountiful Breakfast Skillet brought to your table! And it’s as much as you want. And you don’t have to get up a SINGLE time to get any of it!

Family Breakfast Platter at 'Ohana

Family Breakfast Platter at ‘Ohana

Friendly servers also roam the dining area with Mickey Waffles! And you can ask for seconds. And thirds.

Mickey Waffles

Mickey Waffles

They even have Stitch waffles for the younger set.

Stitch Waffles for the Littles

Stitch Waffles for the Littles

Mickey, Lilo, and Stitch share relaxed times with you and pose for lots of pictures. And there’s no end to the smiles during the Coconut Races. It’s one of my favorite ways to kick off a Disney Day!

Character Dining For Grownups: Garden Grill

You may have witnessed the — shall we say, exuberant — spirit that pervades Chef Mickey’s at breakfast and dinner time. This character dining experience at Disney’s Contemporary is one of the Resort’s most popular, and can be viewed from above as you whirl by on the Monorail. It can get right down raucous with excited children and loud music and the inevitable napkin twirling.

And that’s totally fine, if you’re up for it. But if you aren’t, you may leave with a splitting headache.

If you’re an adults-only group, there’s probably a good chance you’d prefer to keep it on the quiet side. You know what? You can still enjoy character dining and all the great photo ops. And Garden Grill in Epcot’s Future World is a great spot for it.

Garden Grill is located in The Land building. And while the character dining is super fun, the restaurant has another unique attribute: it revolves!

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill -- The Farmhouse

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill — The Farmhouse

Not at supersonic speed, of course. You won’t be getting motion sickness while you dine. But you will enjoy an ever-changing view of the Living with the Land attraction as you enjoy your dinner. And in between the changing tableaus, expect a few fun visitors!

Farmer Mickey

Farmer Mickey, Chip & Dale, and Pluto Join You for Dinner

As for eats, there isn’t a lot of traipsing about, as the Garden Grill is family style meal. You’ll enjoy Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Harvest Feast, an all-you-care-to-enjoy meal of [Read more…]

Tips From the DFB Guide: Secret, Must-Have Orders That Aren’t On Any Menu…

OK, here’s where it gets good.

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I love showing you guys pictures of what you can get at Disney restaurants. It’s the best way for you to judge for yourself whether or not you think a restaurant is right for you.

But sometimes I just gotta share a few secrets that I’ve discovered. Things that aren’t actually ON the menu, exactly, but that are truly worth getting and trying.

And today, I’m sharing another great tip from the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World DiningOrdering “Off the Menu” Items in Walt Disney World Restaurants.

And if you like what you see here, there are a lot more where these came from! To see our whole list of must-have “off the menu” items for 2015, pick up your copy of the Guide today for $4 off using code 2015 right here!

Spicy Tomato Butter at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano

Recently, we’ve been enjoying some truly incredible meals at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. This quirky eatery in Disney’s Hollywood Studios has plenty of traditional Italian fare on offer, but they can also surprise with a creative twist or two.

Strip Steak

Mama Melrose Makes an Incredible Steak and Mac and Cheese Combo!

During my last couple of visits, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy their Spicy Tomato Butter! You’ll find this amazing sauce on their Oak-Fired Mussels, but if you’re not interested in ordering said Mussels, consider requesting some of the Spicy Tomato Butter with your bread.

Bread with Butters and Olive Oil

Bread with Spicy Tomato Butter and Other Accompaniments

And I’m so glad I asked the server for this “off the menu” request, because that butter is incredible! Spicy, savory, and rich, it’s delicious served with bread.

In fact, on one recent visit, the server actually brought it to me slightly melted, like a dipping sauce! Heaven.

Cranberry Sauce at Liberty Tree Tavern

Have you had the pleasure of enjoying dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom? If not, what are you waiting for?? ;-)

Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom

Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom

And if so, then you know that part of what makes it so awesome is that it looks a lot like America’s favorite meal — a Thanksgiving Day Feast!

Roast Pork, Turkey, and Beef with Cornbread Stuffing and Chutney at Liberty Tree Tavern

Roast Pork, Turkey, and Beef with Cornbread Stuffing and Chutney at Liberty Tree Tavern

But there is one key ingredient missing when they bring the family-style dishes to your table; the meal doesn’t automatically include Cranberry Sauce. And I don’t know about you, but it just isn’t Turkey Day without that little gem on the table.

Cranberry Sauce at Liberty Tree Tavern

Cranberry Sauce at Liberty Tree Tavern

But never fear — they have Cranberry Sauce — and it’s pretty fantastic! You just have to request it. It seems that not all guests love it as much as you and I, so it ended up being thrown out quite a lot of the time.

So order it with abandon if you like a little Cranberry Sauce on the side of your meal — they’re happy to bring it to you, included in the cost of the meal!

Fried Mozzarella at Via Napoli

Speaking of Liberty Tree Tavern, they used to have a wonderful Tavern Fried Cheese Appetizer that included Deep Fried Cheese Curds. They were out of this world.

Sadly, you can’t get them in the Colonial American-themed spot — but I DID find something similar at [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: Best Spots for Dining with a Toddler

Many of us have been there. We’re all set to go to Walt Disney World for the trip of a lifetime, and we can’t wait to share this experience with our kiddos!

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But even though Disney is the Happiest Place on Earth, navigating its vastness with a toddler can be challenging at best, and a nightmare at worst.

And few parts of the trip are more challenging than meal times.

While we all agree that certain spots are inappropriate for small children — Victoria and Albert’s restricts patrons to the over 10 crowd — there are some choices that are better than others.

And you may be surprised to know…it doesn’t all come down to characters.

Below, we offer you a few choices from our picks for Best Spots to Eat with a Toddler – a brand new section in our just-released DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2015. Pick up yours today for $4 off using code 2015 right here!

Chef Mickey

We Love Him — But There’s More to Eating at Disney with Kiddos Than Just This Guy!

Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

One of my favorite spots to dine no matter who’s with me is Sanaa. Located in Kidani Village at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, the restaurant is known for its exotic menu of African and Indian Fusion. And when I dine here, you know you’re gonna spy some incredible Butter Chicken on the table!

Tandoori trio -- chose butter chicken, spicy chicken, rice Sanaa

Tandoori Trio with Butter Chicken and Spicy Chicken

While the menu makes it a must-visit spot for guests who enjoy out of the ordinary cuisine, the restaurant is also quiet and rarely crowded — great features for guests who have a small fry in tow.

But the real attraction for toddlers is the view! Forget animatronics on the Jungle Cruise — look out the windows at Sanaa’s sweeping vistas and you’ll see the real deal!

View from Sanaa

View from Sanaa

Sanaa overlooks Sunset Savanna and spying a zebra, giraffe, or other exotic animal is practically guaranteed!

You Just Might View Some Animals While You Take in Lunch at Sanaa

You Just Might View Some Animals While You Take in Lunch at Sanaa

Here’s another TIP: Keep in mind when you make your advance dining reservation that the animals tend to retire early, and it may get dark on the savanna earlier than you think. Planning lunch or an early dinner at Sanaa during daylight hours is your best bet for seeing the wild side of the restaurant.

Play ‘n Dine at Hollywood and Vine Restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Although there are puh-lenty of Character Dining options at Disney, some are better than others when it comes to entertaining babies and toddlers. We’ve chosen two in the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2015, and Play ‘n Dine at Hollywood and Vine Restaurant is one of them.

So, what sets Hollywood and Vine’s Play ‘n Dine apart? The characters! While practically all other Character Dining options at Disney involve either some subset of the Fab Five or Disney Princesses, Hollywood and Vine’s Play ‘n Dine features the original characters from the Disney Junior lineup! That means that your kiddo will come face to face with friends like Pirate Jake, Doc McStuffins, and Princess Sophia!

Jake the Pirate

Jake the Pirate Just May Try to Join You for Lunch!

Seeing these beloved characters up close and larger than life is [Read more…]

News! Lunch FastPass Testing to End at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Scoring a Lunch FastPass from the crazy popular Be Our Guest Restaurant has turned into an epic feat of sorts.

We (and countless others of you) have spent the better part of the last year trying to figure out how to get an elusive FastPass for lunch at Be Our Guest. It’s turned into a a full time endeavor for some guests.

And while those staying at Disney Resorts had a glimmer of hope for getting one, Annual Passholders and guests staying off property were shut out of the system altogether.

But change is clearly on the horizon. Today, we’re getting official word that Lunch FastPasses will no longer be available as of February 25, 2015.

Be Our Guest Restaurant Lunch FastPass Testing Will Be Ending Soon

Be Our Guest Restaurant Lunch FastPass Testing Will Be Ending Soon

According to this banner message that we’ve just discovered on the Be Our Guest Lunch Website given to resort guests, Lunch FastPasses have always and ever been tests. Lunch FastPasses will officially come to an end on February 24. The messages goes on to state that, beginning February 25, [Read more…]

DFB Deal of the Week: Pre-Order the 2015 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining and Enjoy Big Savings!

Want a big discount on our most popular DFB Guide in time for your holiday gift giving needs? Or, you know, just cause you want to start planning your 2015 Disney trip TODAY? ;-D

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It’s yours! Pre-Order the 2015 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining today and use promo code SANTA for $5 off!

We are getting down to the wire!

And if you’re anything like us, you still have a few names to cross off that gift buying list before you can settle down to Peace On Earth, Goodwill Toward Men time!

But with this great deal, you have a quick, easy option to finish your holiday shopping (and maybe snag something for yourself, too) from your cozy spot in front of the fireplace! (Or, more than likely, the carpool lane.)

Pre-Order the 2015 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining and Enjoy $5 Dollars Off!

We know that when it comes to your Disney vacays, planning ahead is practically essential these days. And if you can save time and money in the process — even better!

And that’s why today, when you pre-order the 2015 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining and enter promo code SANTA, you’ll save $5 off of the already low cover price!

But the really cool part? You get two books for the price of one! We’ll deliver the 2014 Guide to you immediately, and alert you as soon as the 2015 Guide is available early next year.

Here are a couple of sample pages for you — just click to enlarge!

DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining Sample Page

Samples Pages of the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2013

What’s in the DFB Guide?

The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining is stuffed FULL of helpful features to help make your trip go smoothly, like:

  • A 5-Step Strategy for Disney Dining Planning, covering everything you need to know from [Read more…]

DFB Cyber Monday Sale: DFB Guide + Snacks Bundle for 50% Off TODAY!

Ho Ho Ho! We’ve been offering you awesome savings on some of our most popular DFB Guides this weekend — but we aren’t finished yet!

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In honor of Cyber Monday, we’re bringing you another irresistible sale, just in time for your Disney Trip Planning and Gift Giving Needs!

The DFB Guide & Snacks Bundle — 1/2 Off for Cyber Monday

We kicked off our holiday savings with a special 1/2 off deal on our most popular e-book, the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World. Use Promo Code TURKEYLEG to secure this great deal.

And on Black Friday, we offered you everything — The Everything Bundle, that is — for 1/2 off! You can STILL take advantage of these savings with Promo Code Everything50 at checkout!

Today, we’re bringing you great savings on our most popular combination of DFB Guides, the DFB Guide & Snacks Bundle. Normally, we offer this collection at an already low cost — nearly 40% off of the combined cover prices.

But in honor of this, the biggest day of the year for online shopping, we’re saving you even more by offering you 1/2 off the Bundle price! In order to take advantage of these special, limited time savings, just use Promo Code Monday14!

dfb plus snacks bundle 2014

Our DFB Guide & Snacks Bundle includes all of the following: [Read more…]

DFB Black Friday Sale: Our Best Deal Ever!

Whew! I hope you had an awesome Thanksgiving Day yesterday! But today feels kind of like a sit-around-the-house-and-plan-a-Disney-trip kind of day, so it’s time to carry on the holiday weekend with a little more celebrating… .

Check out our biggest DFB Guide Discount EVER!

The DFB Everything Bundle — Half Off This Weekend

When it came time to offer you something truly special for our Black Friday Sale, we couldn’t think of anything better…than giving you everything.

Disney Food Blog Guidebooks

Disney Food Blog Guidebooks

And that’s why we’re announcing that, for this weekend, you can purchase the DFB Everything Bundle for 1/2 off the already deeply discounted price! Just enter code Everything50 at the check-out.

What does the Everything Bundle include? The name says it all — Everything! When you purchase the DFB Everything Bundle, you get all of the following DFB Guides:

Save! Announcing the DFB Guide 50% Off Thanksgiving Day Sale

Happy Turkey Day, everyone!! Whether you love holiday shopping or you’d rather avoid the madness altogether, we can agree on one thing: Saving money is a win/win!

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So we are super excited to announce our DFB Guide Thanksgiving Sale!

Get The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining e-Book TODAY for 50% Off!

The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining e-Book is an instantly downloadable PDF guide, featuring over 450 full-color pages of photographs, information, and advice about our favorite subjects — food and dining in Walt Disney World.

Our team of Walt Disney World food experts have put together the most comprehensive guide to Walt Disney World food and dining available. With more than 25 years of experience eating and drinking our way through the Parks and Resorts, we’ve learned a thing or two — and we love sharing our secrets with you!

So What’s the Big Deal?

Order today, and you’ll get our 2014 Edition as an immediate download, AND we’ll email you our 2015 Edition (for free!) as soon as it’s published in late January 2015! That’s a two-for-one deal right there…

…But it gets even better! This weekend only, we’re offering this great deal for 50% off the regular price! Get BOTH guides for under $10 — just use code TURKEYLEG for that 50% off discount.

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It’s guaranteed to help you navigate your way to delicious dining on your next trip! And if you’re ready to get yours now, head on over to DFBStore.com to pick it up!! Don’t forget to use code TURKEYLEG today for the 50% off deal.

And with a brand new, completely updated edition releasing in early 2015, you can get started enjoying the current guide right away, and have the new one at your fingertips as soon as it drops!

What Do You Get with the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining e-Book?

With the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining, you’ll enjoy so many fun and useful features that were created with saving you time and money. We know your Disney dollars are valuable; we want to help you to make the most of them!

Here are just a few of the things you’ll find in our DFB to Walt Disney World Dining: [Read more…]

Snack Series: Caramel Brownie and Caramel Toffee at Epcot’s Karamell-Küche

We are taking another lap around World Showcase today and stopping into Karamell-Küche for a couple of treats!

Who can resist all of that buttery caramel? Super not me.

It’s true. We rarely make it all the way Around the World without stopping for a sweet treat here. Stepping inside is like finally realizing your best candy store dream ever. You don’t have candy store dreams, you say? Well you will after you’ve been here. There are so many outrageously good things to try, and we always finds something new!

Recently, I told you about two other treats we tried here — the Caramel Bacon Square and Caramel S’more.

Today, we’re back with two oldies but goodies to share!

Caramel Brownie

The first treat I want to show you is the Caramel Brownie. I was excited to finally try this one. I have no idea why I hadn’t indulged before. It’s drizzled heavily with that golden Werther’s Caramel, and that turned out to be the best part.

Caramel Brownie from Karamell-Küche in Epcot's Germany Pavilion

Caramel Brownie from Karamell-Küche in Epcot’s Germany Pavilion

The brownie itself was more cakey than fudgy, and it really didn’t have the moistness I was looking for. It was a little dry and crumbly in fact. This alone kind of ruined the treat for me, but that may have just been a bad batch.

Look a little more closely, and you can see that, in addition to the drizzle, there’s caramel baked right into the top of the brownie! It’s like a double shot of golden, buttery sugar.

Caramel Brownie -- Inside

Caramel Brownie — Inside

If you like chocolate and caramel in more of a cake-like form, grab a glass of milk. This one’s for you.

Caramel Toffee

But I also had to try something for the candy lovers out there! And this time out, I chose the Caramel Toffee. The marbleized detail on the top of the square really made it stand out from the [Read more…]