Review: Citricos at Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort

Come along with us on a great date night destination at Walt Disney World — Citricos at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa!

If you haven’t had the pleasure, there are so many reasons to give this wonderful restaurant a try. It’s a little easier to get an Advance Dining Reservation here than other, more popular spots in the Magic Kingdom area.

But with food that rivals the hottest spots at Disney World — and a quiet, comfortable atmosphere — this has become a restaurant we return to again and again. Does it continue to wow? We shall see…

Atmosphere

Citricos is tucked back behind Victoria & Albert’s (another review we’ll be treating you to soon!) on the Grand Floridian’s second floor. And with that “hidden” location, Citricos is often the overlooked signature dining spot here in the Magic Kingdom resort area. Diners often gravitate to California Grill or Narcoossee’s over Citricos in favor of spectacular fireworks views.

But don’t underestimate this place. While the fireworks viewing potential is pretty small here, sometimes being the “odd man out” can make a restaurant even more compelling. Citricos’ strengths come in the form of warmth, elegance, and a very quiet, comfortable atmosphere. I keep saying “comfortable” over and over again, and I’m pretty sure it’s because these dining chairs are some of the best on property! No kidding!

Seating Area

Warm light, sunny colors, and copper details make this an inviting space. (And did I mention the chairs? They’re comfortable.) A full bank of floor-to-ceiling windows lets in plenty of natural light during daytime hours.

Seating Area Near Windows

I like the whimsical, colorful glass touches on the tables. The candle holder and bread plates really add a pop of color to the formal place settings.

Table Setting

It’s always fun to watch the action in the open kitchen. The setting is beautiful, and the staff is poised and professional as they go about dinner service. (Don’t forget to take a peek as you walk to your table to see what items you might want to try!)

Exhibition Kitchen and Expediting Station

Off to the side of the restaurant — just next to the kitchen — is the Chef’s Domain. I’ve had the pleasure of eating in this private dining room recently for a good friend’s birthday dinner, and it’s very nice. You can order from a specialized menu or stick with the regular offerings. For events ranging from a private dinner party to a more elaborate affair, this is a great spot. This must be booked well ahead of time, and there’s a food and beverage minimum cost.

And as a bonus, you can get a really good view of the pastry specialists working at their craft – yum!

Pastry Chef Preparing Desserts

Now, back to our regular old dining room experience! Just walking to our table was enough to excite us about the meal! We were ready to get started.

Eats

The menu at Citricos focuses on [Read more…]

The Most Expensive Meals in the “World”

On the Walt Disney World Moms Panel, we field several questions every day from guests looking for ways to economize on their Disney food budget. These are meaningful and important questions, and we’re happy to help.

But every once in a while I find myself wishing that someone would send in a question like, “My rich uncle has died and left me a gazillion dollars. What’s the most expensive meal I can buy at Walt Disney World?” (Or maybe I’m just wishing that I had rich uncle in poor health :-).)

V&A's caviar. Yummy (and expensive).

The quick answer to the expensive meal question is Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian. This posh-beyond-posh restaurant will set you back at least $125 in the main dining room, or at least $200 in the even-more-posh-beyond-posh Queen Victoria Room or Chef’s Table.

And that’s not including tax, tip, booze, and supplementary extra caviar. I’m sure Uncle Moneybags would approve.

Disney World’s Priciest Meals

But I found myself wondering if there were any “regular” restaurant meals that would inflict nearly this much damage to my shiny red Disney Visa. I decided to figure out the most expensive non-V&A’s meal you could find at Walt Disney World (not counting special event or private event meals).

And as an added bonus, I realized that this would be a good tool for a guest on the Disney Dining Plan who was REEEEALLY looking to get his money’s worth.

So in order to compare apples to apples, or more accurately steak to steak, I decided to construct the most expensive standard three course meal at each Disney World signature restaurant: one appetizer/starter course, one single-serving entree, and one dessert.

Flying Fish, Boardwalk (DDP = Yes)

  • Chardonnay-steamed Mussels, $18
  • Black Angus New York Strip Steak, $42
  • Trio of Concession Sweets, $9

TOTAL: $69

Bistro de Paris, Epcot (DDP = Yes)

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?

Snack-tastic

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.

Atmosphere

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

Lighting

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…]