DFB Podcast Episode 4 Now Available: Best Disney Restaurants for Atmosphere

Hey all! Thanks again for your fantastic reviews and comments about our new DFB Podcast!

Just wanted to drop a line this afternoon to let you know that the fourth episode of our DFB Podcast is now posted and ready for downloading!

In this episode we cover the latest Disney Food News, discuss some Disney restaurants with exceptional atmosphere and themeing, answer a few reader questions, and reveal the answer to our controversial Episode 3 trivia question (as well as give you a brand new trivia question)!

Click here to go to the Podcast page for Episode 4. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSS or on iTunes!

Take a listen and let us know [Read more…]

What’s Your Ideal “Disney Dining Plan”?

So, yesterday there’s a bit of a to-do about the Disney Dining Plan. Apparently there’s a typo in Disney’s official PDF describing the Standard Disney Dining Plan, indicating that an appetizer is available with all table-service meals.

Incorrect Info in DDP PDF

Based on calls to Disney Dining (speaking to supervisors and managers), Erin heard that this is, indeed, just a typo and not a change in policy. But if it WAS true, that’d be awesome!

And this got me thinking… what if we could design our very own Disney Dining Plan based on the way we and our families eat in Disney World!?

What Would YOUR Ideal Disney Dining Plan Look Like?

So what if they introduced a “Magic Your Way Dining Plan,” where guests could build their own individualized plan off of a base plan? Let’s dream a little, shall we?


Customize your counter service : table service : snack ratio!
One thing that we keep hearing: the Standard Dining Plan is too little, the Deluxe Dining Plan is too much (and yup, we know…it TOTALLY works just fine for some folks.) So, what if you could change things up a bit?

Not a big fan of sit-down breakfast? You could add more counter service meals or snacks in to make for a light first meal o’ the day. What if your little ones have no interest in sitting still for table service? Not a problem! Which brings us to another pie in the sky option…

Different people in your party could have different dining plans!
Maybe your 3-9 year old eats like a linebacker and doesn’t order off of the children’s menu. Or maybe he or she eats like a bird, and you’d rather choose a different level for him or her. Or maybe you have a [Read more…]

Disney Food For Families: Teachable Moments at Disney Restaurants

Learn from the Chefs at Victoria & Albert's Chef's Table

My 15-year-old daughter was recently invited by a classmate’s family to a super swanky dinner event at a super-duper swanky restaurant in New York City.

When she was telling me about it the next day there was a lot of “who wore what” and “what was on the menu” discussion. And then she said this to me, “Thanks for taking us to Victoria & Albert’s. I knew what to expect at the dinner last night because we had been to V&A’s.”

After I got over the shock of such an overt expression of gratitude and politesse from a teenager, I allowed myself a brief moment of parental pride. My plan to use Disney restaurants as a manners training ground had worked!

Using Disney Restaurants as Manners Boot Camp

I understand that using Victoria & Albert’s as etiquette boot camp is a bit over-the-top, but the concept could be applied to any signature restaurant at Walt Disney World. Before I get going, let me say that while of course you can (and should) teach manners at restaurants in your home town and at your own dinner table, the Disney signature restaurants are an ideal learning environment for adult behavior.

The Disney signature restaurants have all the elements of posh and polite, PLUS all the elements of easy-going and family-friendly. The restaurants put you in a position to succeed, with no fear or threat of derision or embarrassment if you don’t. The Disney signature venues are the perfect stepping stone on the path to civilized behavior.

Here are some things your children can learn and practice at a signature venue: [Read more…]

Disney Food for Families: Tips for Disney Dining with Young Children

In my mind, a vacation isn’t a vacation if you’re doing the same old chores you do at home, but at a different locale. I spend enough time packing lunches and cooking dinners all year long; I want a break from this when travel. That means I want to eat in restaurants when I’m on the road.

Tigger Meets a New Friend at Crystal Palace

This mindset was one of the factors that made Walt Disney World such a wonderful destination for my family when my daughters were small. There are dozens upon dozens of restaurants to choose from and they’re ALL kid friendly (with the one tiny exception of Victoria & Albert’s).

When I figured out that I could have gourmet food and wine while my toddlers were gleefully welcomed with high chairs, plain pasta, and coloring pages, I was hooked.

But while there are abundant dining options at Disney World, there are some types venues that work slightly better than others for families with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. There are also some tips and tricks that can make dining with small fries even happier in this happiest of places.

Preparation Is Everything

Before you arrive at Walt Disney World, there are several steps you can take to make your on-site dining run more smoothly: [Read more…]

“You Know You’re Dining in Disney When…” Part Two!

We freely admit that our first “You Know You’re Eating in Disney World When…” post amused us so much that we had to do a Part 2! After all, where else can we dine with a beloved mouse in the kitchen!

Our “You know you’re eating in Disney World when…” thoughts were bountiful, and we’d love to hear yours too! Who knows…there may just have to be a third post in the series!

Leave us a comment with your personal “You know you’re eating in Disney World or Disneyland when…” experience! ;-)

You Know You’re Dining In Disney When…

Your beverage glows in the dark!

Disney's Blue Glow-Tini

You find it appropriate to have your server correct your manners (and, frankly, get kind of annoyed when they don’t!).

Take your elbows off the table!

You order ketchup and have multiple bottles delivered to your table by a dozen patrons seated near you.

Whispering Canyon Cafe Ketchup Delivery

There’s a train [Read more…]

Review: Epcot’s Bistro de Paris

One of Disney World’s “signature” restaurants, Bistro de Paris is a truly elegant getaway from stereotypical theme park dining.

The restaurant is the concept of French chefs Roger Verge, Paul Bocuse, and the late Gaston Lenotre; these three also created concepts for — and originally ran — Chefs de France downstairs from the Bistro and the Boulangerie Patisserie next door. Today, Chef Bocuse’s son keeps an eye on the proceedings here.

Bistro is expensive and high-end, and service is usually excellent. I’ve heard raves about this restaurant, but I’ve also heard that it can be disappointing. My review lands somewhere in the middle.


The entrance to the restaurant can be tough to find! Guests must walk into the France pavilion and all the way around Chefs de France before coming to a small, residential-looking door marked with a small Bistro sign and menu. I can imagine wandering around the pavilion for quite some time if I were looking for this place in the dark!

Once you enter, things become much more…refined. The general feeling of the Bistro lobby is one of richness.

Entryway Ceiling


The deep red carpeting, brass fixtures, milk-glass light treatments, and drop-dead gorgeous art nouveau staircase and “chandelier” are [Read more…]

Counter-Service Money-Saving Tip from the DFB Guide

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

Cosmic Ray's Bacon Double Cheeseburger with Fries

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guest Review: Animal Kingdom’s Flame Tree Barbecue

Guest reviewer Bill Iadonisi is back with another great counter-service review! This time, Bill takes us to a beloved Animal Kingdom eatery — Flame Tree Barbecue. Take it away, Bill!

Hello again Disney Food lovers! As promised, here is the second in the continuing reviews of Disney’s amazing quick-service restaurants. From our last review of the Columbia Harbor House, we trek over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom to talk about a personal favorite of mine, the Flame Tree Barbecue restaurant. Located in Discovery Island on the path to Dinoland U.S.A, you will find [Read more…]

Thanksgiving and Christmas Menus in Walt Disney World Restaurants

Chef Robert Getchell

I had the chance to chat with Chef Robert Getchell from Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Sanaa Restaurant recently about the holiday menus that are available at Walt Disney World restaurants this year!

Holiday Menus in Walt Disney World
Here are the details on holiday dining in Disney restaurants from Chef Getchell:

Most restaurants will offer their whole regular menu, or a slightly limited version of their regular menu, along with a “special for the day.” Specials will be themed to each restaurant, but at the same time will be very familiar to the guests as a traditional family meal.

For example, Sanaa will be offering an African-spiced turkey breast, dark meat gravy, cranberry and dry cherry chutney, and butternut squash as our special for holiday dining.

Other examples of holiday menu items include an Oak rotisserie turkey dish at California Grill; and a smoked turkey breast with sage butter, smokey butternut squash, and [Read more…]

My Photo Shoot With Tigger

One thing I love about Disneyland character meals is that they always have such a variety of characters present! In WDW, you often have a set cast of characters who are all associated with one another in some way — the fab five, the 100 Acre Wood characters, princesses, etc… . But in Disneyland, many of the character meals are haphazard in a fantastic way! Captain Hook is hob-nobbing with the Fairy Godmother; Minnie’s hanging out with Rabbit; Baloo is leading a dance party with Aladdin — it’s so much fun!

Also, because Disneyland table-service restaurants aren’t quite as packed as Disney World’s (you can get a reservation for most of them a week ahead of time) you can often spend a good amount of time with the characters themselves!

For example, at a recent visit to the Minnie and Friends Breakfast at the Plaza Inn in Disneyland, Tigger and I had plenty of time to get to hang out and goof off!

Plaza Inn -- Disneyland

First, I got to watch him dance with a new friend…

Then he showed off [Read more…]