DFB Podcast Episode 17: AJ’s and Brad’s Dream Disney Meals

Happy Holidays, Disney foodies! Exciting news today for all you hungry commuters, walkers, runners, snow-shovelers, gym-goers, Disney holidays road-trippers, and other assorted podcast listeners!

Just a note to let you know that after a (long — yes, we’re sorry!) hiatus, WE’RE BACK! The 17th episode of our DFB Podcast is now up and ready for downloading!

In this episode, AJ and Brad cover the latest Disney food news and discuss their dream meals at Disneyland and Walt Disney World — they each choose an appetizer, an entree and a dessert from anywhere at either resort to complete a dream Disney meal. We also answer two listener questions, and reveal the answer to our Episode 16 trivia question (and stump you with a new one)!

Here’s the Podcast page for Episode 17. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSS or on iTunes!

Take a listen and as always, let us know what you think! The podcast has its own Twitter account — tweet us at @DFBPodcast!

First Look! The NEW California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Oh my goodness, you guys! We got a chance to check out the newly revamped California Grill last night and IT. IS. AMAZING!

The popular restaurant, which sits high atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, is the one that started it all. It was Disney World’s first foray into sleek, signature dining.

But even the most contemporary California vibe can become outdated. And so it was time for a little freshening.

Last night, we got a first look at the brand new re-imagined California Grill.

We’ll have even more pics for you later today — and a longer review for you next week! But I couldn’t wait to share these initial pics of the transformation! Come with us and take a look!

New California Grill Atmosphere

The facelift is evident before you ever set foot on the fifteenth floor. The check in desk, located on the second floor, has also received an updated look.

Second Floor Check In Desk for California Grill

A new font and background replace the signature cursive. Colorful stripes in warm colors replace the painted tile background.

After a quick trip up in the elevator reserved for California Grill guests, we stepped out into the entrance. A right turn, and we were greeted by a gorgeous, post-storm sunset.

California Grill view

Sweeping vistas have always been a hallmark of California Grill, but they’ve been made even more stunning with the introduction of floor to ceiling windows, which allow for plenty of natural light and incredible, 360-degree views.

California Grill New Dining Room

California Grill New Dining Room

Previously, the space was dominated by bright, bold geometric patterns. In re-imagining the space, Imagineers decided to look to the Contemporary’s mid-century roots for inspiration.

Taking elements from the work of iconic Disney artist Mary Blair, the entire space was [Read more…]

News! Changes to Disney World Tables in Wonderland Dining Discounts for 2014

We’ve got some news about one of Disney World’s popular dining discounts!

Tables in Wonderland, Walt Disney World’s fee-based dining discount program offered to Florida residents, Annual Passholders, and Disney Vacation Club members, is a great way to save money if you are a frequent diner at Walt Disney World.

The program offers 20% savings on food and beverages, including alcoholic beverages, at more than 100 Walt Disney World restaurants.

Today, we’re getting news of an update to restaurants that will either stop offering the Tables in Wonderland discount in the near future, or will be subject to more blackout dates when using the card.

Victoria and Albert’s to Discontinue Offering Tables in Wonderland Discount

According to the Tables in Wonderland website, Victoria and Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa will continue to honor the Tables in Wonderland discount through July 14, 2014. However, as of August 1, 2014, the ultra-luxurious dining spot will no longer accept the Tables in Wonderland card.

Victoria and Albert's Main Dining Room

Currently, Tables in Wonderland members may still [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: March 31, 2013

So much awesomeness happened this week, but the best part of it ALL was THIS!!!

Madam Leota's Cracked Crystal Ball

Our DFB columnist, Heather, was able to have dinner in the Haunted Mansion, and she documented it all for us! Take some time to check out this truly epic post and be sure to give Heather some props for putting the article together. I’m not sure if I would have had the presence of mind to video that dessert…

Disney Food News!

Here’s what’s been happening this week!

And there’s more where that came from! 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!

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!

We love this pic sent in by RayRach320 of our favorite Elephant Cupcake in Disney’s Animal Kingdom! She wants to know if it’s OK to eat it for breakfast (and the answer is YES!).

Animal Kingdom White Chocolate Elephant Cupcake

Thanks to DFB Guest Author Corey Patterson for sending over this awesome pic of the Grand Floridian Easter Eggs — Storybook Circus edition!!

Grand Floridian Edible Easter Eggs!

DFB Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks 2013 — Coming Soon!

DFB Mini Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks 2013 Citrus Swirl Page

Stay tuned this week for the launch of our DFB Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks 2013 Edition!!

I won’t say too much about it now, but I will let you know that there are dozens more snacks, more photos, updated prices and snack credit info, and more!!

We’ll have details — and discount codes!! — for you later this week, but for now — here’s a sneak peek at our Citrus Swirl page in the Guide!

On to the Round-Up!

WESH.com shares some favorite Disney parks on-the-go breakfasts!

Staten the Facts offers a fun round-up of some great Disney desserts.

The Passporter Moms Podcast shares tips on touring the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival — with updates on the eats from yours truly!

In College Adventures of a Conservation Education Presenter, a Disney cast member and DFB reader features some awesome Disney dinnerware found in Australia!

All Ears gives a kids perspective of the new TRYit menu items at Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival.

Disney Parks Blog features the Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor in Disneyland.

Main Street Gazette shares the Bread Service at Sanaa!

DFB Podcast Episode 14: Best Disney Hotels for Dining!

Hey all!! Episode 14 of the DFB Podcast is now available for your listening pleasure!!

Yep — we know that secretly you all choose your hotel based on what restaurants you can get to within walking distance (doesn’t everyone?!?).

So we wanted to make your decision making process as easy as possible and just share our favorite Disney hotels for dining. It takes the guesswork out of it for you, ya know? ;-)

SO — listen in to hear some of our favorite Disney hotels in Disney World AND Disneyland…based on restaurants alone. (Of course, this is the most important criteria for a hotel. It goes 1.) Good restaurants, 2.) Beds and stuff.)

And we also throw in some awesome listener questions (and our basically-decent-if-a-little-bit-too-long answers) and some Disney TRIVIA — which gives you the chance to win one of our DFB Guides to Disney World Dining! Woo!!!!!

Alrighty…time to take a listen! And don’t forget to rate us on iTunes!

Best Disney World Restaurants for First Time Disney Visitors

Everyday we receive lots of mail from you, our awesome DFB readers, asking for restaurant suggestions and recommendations. And while we certainly have our favorites, we know that you do, too!

So when a Disney first-time visitor recently asked what restaurants we would recommend for their upcoming trip, we couldn’t think of a better panel of experts to ask than YOU!

When I put the question out on the Disney Food Blog Facebook page, I was overwhelmed by the huge and immediate response that I got!

Let’s take a look at your recommendations for the restaurants first timers must experience on that inaugural Walt Disney World trip!

If you have other thoughts or ideas — or, better yet, stories of your favorite restaurants during a first-time visit — please share them with all of us in the comments section! More suggestions are always better!

Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

When it comes to first time Disney dining, the winning restaurant recommendation is, hands down, Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Many of you agree that anyone visiting the Happiest Place on Earth for the very first time MUST experience a buffet that includes lots of character interaction.

Chef Mickey's is highly recommended by our DFB Readers!

But the suggestion is practical, too. Readers pointed out that a character dining experience offers terrific value for your Disney dollar, with an all-you-care-to-eat option.

A View of the Castle from Chef Mickey's

And with the addition of characters, you have a less rushed (and air conditioned!) meet and greet opportunity that guarantees you’ll see lots of characters without waiting in long lines in the parks.

Also, don’t forget that Chef Mickey’s is walking distance from the Magic Kingdom. This is a great
place to start or end your Magic Kingdom day!

Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland

Judging from the reader response, we’d say that Disney definitely hit the mark with one of its newest restaurants, Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland.

Be Our Guest Restaurant Bridge Entrance

Set in Beast’s Castle (from Disney’s animated classic, Beauty and the Beast), the huge eatery is a counter service location for lunch and table service location for dinner (see our “Everything on the Menu!!” Review Here!).

Be Our Guest Restaurant Ballroom

The menu has a French flair — and chefs worked hard to create tasty, interesting meals for the younger set as well.

Be Our Guest Restaurant also has the distinction of being the only spot within Magic Kingdom where guests can order beer and wine. While it broke with tradition when Disney announced the decision to offer adult drinks in the otherwise dry park, they felt it was necessary in keeping with the French-inspired menu.

The Beast occasionally greets visitors in his study during dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Many guests celebrate special occasions at Be Our Guest Restaurant, and if that’s you, be sure to mention it to your server. He may actually bring you a celebratory taste of “The Grey Stuff” — mentioned by Lumiere in the film!

This cookies and cream panna cotta truly is “delicious!”

The Grey Stuff -- It's Delicious!

Guests seem to be loving this spot for many reasons, and Advanced Dining Reservations for dinner remain hard to come by.

While we’ve tasted just about everything here and agree that the food’s quite good, most of you especially love it for the incredible, immersive themeing. So, remember that even if you can’t get a reservation for dinner, you can still enjoy the restaurant itself — including getting a peek at all three dining rooms — if you dine here for a counter-service lunch!

braised pork -- coq au vin at Be Our Guest Restaurant -- for LUNCH!

Here’s a TIP: if at all possible, snag a table in the West Wing and keep an eye on the [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: February 24, 2013

Happy Princess Half-Marathon Weekend!! We had a great time in Disney World last week, and we’ve got TONS of awesome new finds to share with you over the next few weeks! Stay tuned!!

NEW Disney Parks Popcorn Boxes!

One fun find was this new design on Disney Parks paper products, like popcorn boxes, plates, cups, and more. The red design is out, and this new yellow-with-silhouettes design is in! Whaddya think?? This design will be the same across Disney World and Disneyland.

Disney Dining News

Now here’s a bit more Disney Dining news for ya!

We’ve got additional food news, including restaurant closures and LOTS more, on our Disney Food News Pin Board! Head over and check it out!

Great Deal on DFB Guide + Snacks Bundle!

Here’s my favorite deal ever on our DFB Disney Dining Guide Books: Three awesome e-Books bundled for over 30% off! Limited time only…

Three Great e-Books: Over 30% Off!

Our DFB Guide & Snacks Bundle offers:

  1. The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013, PLUS
  2. The DFB Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks, AND
  3. The DFB Mini-Guide to Epcot Snacks

All three are being sold together for the first time — and for a massively discounted price. Just $29.95 instead of the regular price of nearly $42.00.

Our Snack Guides vibrantly display and review over 250 Disney World snacks (!!), but also showcase some our favorite under-the-radar treats and eats in the parks. Get your DFB Guide & Snacks Bundle — including the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2013, the DFB Guide to Epcot Snacks, and the DFB Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks — for over 30% off here.

Find out more about the DFB Guide & Snack Bundle here!

DFB Reader Finds!

If you find a fun new food — or other 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!

Susan emailed us this beautifully dressed Mickey Waffle from the All-Star Movies Resort.

Mickey Waffle with syrup!

And Erin Foster, our Disney Food for Families Columnist here at DFB, sent over this cool pic of what the Princess Half-Marathon runners found in their breakfast box this weekend!


Runners Breakfast Box for Princess Half-Marathon Weekend!

On to the Round-Up!

Mickey Fix features a fun Mickey and Friends Popcorn Tin!

Changing Latitudes drinks around the world in Epcot!

Cake Wrecks features cool Mickey Wazowski and Yoda cakes in their Sunday Sweets post!

Disney Hipsters share the experience of being “Celebrities of the Day” at Hollywood Brown Derby!

Main Street Gazette heads to Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner for sausage in a pretzel roll! Yum.

Disney by Mark reviews lunch at ‘Ama ‘Ama at Disney’s Aulani resort in Hawaii.

Disney Parks Blog shares Top Ten Wedding Cakes made by the pastry chefs for Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings.

Disney World Food…for MEN?

Erin Foster is the Disney Food for Families columnist and a behind-the-scenes guru here at Disney Food Blog! Check out more of her posts here.

Not long ago, AJ wrote a post about the classic Japanese snack, Pocky, found in the Japan pavilion at Epcot.

The one tidbit of information in this post that got the most comments was the mention that among the multitude of Pocky flavors is Men’s Pocky. That’s right — Pocky, FOR MEN.

While Men’s Pocky is a product of Japanese culture primarily, this discussion got me wondering if there were any other “male-specific” foods sold at Walt Disney World.

The only other official “men’s” food I could come up with were menu items at the Garden View Lounge at the Grand Floridian:

  • The Gentleman’s Tea Platter: duck & cherry terrine, chicken & pork roulade, and country pate with a side of English Blue Stilton cheese), and
  • The Prince Edward’s Tea: the same as the Gentleman’s tea, but with the addition of scones, Devonshire cream, and a glass of port.

I’m guessing that there are special offerings for men so that the gents who get dragged to tea by their lady friends can still have their man cards intact. :-)

Real men need special food to save them from the terror of the crustless sandwich at the Garden View Tea Room.

For those masculine types that want their foods to proclaim their Royal man status, there is no shortage of [Read more…]

Review: Tokyo Dining in Epcot’s Japan

Craving sushi or just need a relaxed and elegant spot for lunch or dinner? It’s time to book Tokyo Dining!

Although we have recommended Tokyo Dining a number of times as a decent spot for catching Illuminations, I’ve never posted my own review of this restaurant. So we made it a priority to head over and dig in — for the sake of the blog. ;-)

This spot is located on the second floor of the Mitsukoshi Department Store building in Epcot’s Japan, adjacent to the Hibachi-style Japanese steakhouse, Teppan Edo.

And while we know it’s a terrific place to stop by for sushi (and it’s rarely crowded), they’ve got plenty on the menu for non-seafood palates as well. Let’s take a look!


Like a growing number of World Showcase restaurants, Tokyo Dining and Teppan Edo now have an outdoor check-in area for busy days. On our visit, it wasn’t that crowded; so the cast member told us to head on upstairs to check in.

Check-in Desk Outside Teppan Edo and Tokyo Dining

We were met by two very gracious Japanese cast members, signed in, and directed to wait in the lobby of the two restaurants.

The quiet, sleek, and spacious waiting area is a welcome respite from the relative activity of the theme parks. It’s very restful.

Waiting Area

Once your name is called to be seated, you’ll be directed to one of two main dining rooms at Tokyo Dining.

The first room features an on-stage sushi kitchen, where you can watch chefs as they prepare dishes for guests.

Additional Seating and Open Sushi Kitchen

The other dining room features some seriously cool indirect lighting, plus plenty of natural lighting and panoramic views of World Showcase.

Here’s a weird tip: the tables by the windows have super cushy padded chairs, while the others are less comfortable. Just an FYI…and one good reason to request a seat by the window.

Another good reason? Illuminations. Yep; you really can see the fireworks from here (albeit they can be slightly obstructed by trees or people standing on the balcony outside).

Dining Room Seating

We were here during the day, however, so I was happy to take in the views from my cushy window seat. ;-)

View From Dining Room

We had lots of items to choose from, so after taking in our surroundings, it was time to settle down and decide [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: December 16, 2012

Well, my friends, I hope you’re all WAY ahead of me when it comes to holiday shopping and wrapping! We’ve only got about a week and a day left, so I’m scrambling.

But that’s no reason to skip celebrating the latest Disney Food News this week! :-)

Splitsville in Downtown Disney

Disney Dining News

Here’s some of the tempting Disney Dining news this week…

We’ve got additional food news, including an upcoming renovation at the BoardWalk Bakery and ESPN Club, Breakfast Option at Tomorrowland Cafe, Frozen Sangria at Epcot’s Ice Cream Kiosks, DVC Member Gatherings with refreshments, new menu at Artist’s Palette at Saratoga Springs, restaurant updates at Disney’s Vero Beach and Disneyland, and LOTS more, on our Disney Food News Pin Board! Head over and check it out!

DFB Reader Finds

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

Facebook Friend Emily James sent in this fun picture – ice cream treats, anyone?!

Ice Cream Treats

Chad Iannacone shares this fascinating find! He says “BottleCan! This is a clear can shaped bottle with a metal can top.. crazy! At China market in Epcot.” I saw these when I was in Epcot, too — plenty of flavors to choose from!

Is it a bottle or a can in Epcot's China?

MEGA SALE on our DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays e-Book!

Headed to Disney World during the holidays this year or next year? Take advantage of our lowest price ever on our best-selling DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World® Holidays 2012 e-Book!

With 230 pages of detailed information and multiple bonus extras, it WILL save you time and money during the busiest season in Walt Disney World! And whether you’re going this year, or getting a jump on planning for next year, don’t tackle the Disney holidays without it!

Take advantage of this deep savings sale NOW, with a discount for DFB readers. Get the 2012 guide today for our lowest price ever$4 off the regular purchase price for the next 7 days! How? Use code GINGERBREAD at the check-out!

On to the Round-Up

Mickey Fix showcases some Star Wars Cookie Cutters — perfect for your cooking baking this season!

Bedfordshire On Sunday claims that Wells and Young Double Chocolate Stout will be sold throughout Walt Disney World soon (and that it will replace Guinness!).

Orlando Sentinel features Orlando restaurants open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Main Street Gazette takes a look at the stuffed sandwiches at Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner!

FoodBev.com reports that Ready Pac Foods has joined a partnership with Feeding America around their new Disney-themed Cool Cuts salads and mini-meals.

Walt Disney World for Grown-Ups hangs out at the Laguna Bar at Coronado Springs Resort.

Disney Parks Blog makes tamales – a Christmas Eve tradition for many families.