Disney Food for Families: Top Tips For Dining With a Baby in Disney World

Thankfully, Walt Disney World makes it pretty darn easy to dine with little kids. Meals for children under age three are free in many circumstances, high chairs are available everywhere, and healthier side dishes are now de rigueur in kids’ meals.

And of course you should know that with the one teeny exception of Victoria & Albert’s, even the smallest children are welcome at any Disney restaurant. Don’t even spend a moment worrying about whether it’s OK to bring your baby with you to dinner. It’s absolutely, 100%, fine. No kidding.

But while the restaurants are happy to have your baby on board, from a logistical standpoint, dining with a smaller baby can pose a bit of challenge at Walt Disney World, or anywhere else for that matter.

Disney High Chairs are Plentiful!

Restaurant meals can be particularly arduous if you have a new baby that’s too small to sit at a high chair. What do you do with the baby while you’re eating? How to do you balance feeding the infant and feeding yourself? [Read more…]

Adventures By Disney Dining Review: The Best of the Quest for the West, Part I

I’ve got another Adventures by Disney trip under my cowboy belt. This time I conquered mountains and geysers on the Quest for the West trip, covering the wilds of Wyoming including Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park.

We watched Old Faithful erupt, rafted the rapids, encountered bison blocking our hiking path, marveled at the hot springs, shopped for boots, and learned to fly fish. But if you know me, you’ll have no trouble guessing that what I was really interested in was the food.

Our vittles were outstanding, particularly a wild game chili served at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, but two of the trip’s dining experiences really stood out. Today, in Part I of this review, I’m going to tell you all about Brooks Lake Lodge…

Brooks Lake Lodge Atmosphere

The true dining highlight of this trip was at Brooks Lake Lodge.

The view from my private cabin.

Brooks Lake is what my husband would call a dude ranch, but I’m perfectly comfortable calling it heaven. Nestled at the foot of the Pinnacle Buttes, and one mile from the Continental Divide, Brooks Lake is an all inclusive resort with lodging, Western-style activities, and Western-inspired food.

One of the many cozy sitting areas at Brooks Lake where you can enjoy a snack and conversation.

The meals I had at Brooks Lake were on par with the signature dining experiences at Walt Disney World, with fresh-beyond-fresh ingredients, sublime flavors, and gorgeous presentation.

Executive Chef Antonia Armenta-Miller was present at every meal to answer questions, oversee service, and tweak anything that needed tweaking to meet a guest’s needs. For example, a few of the children on the trip were in the mood for something plain on the day we had a Mexican buffet for lunch. In no time at all, unadorned cheese quesadillas and PB&J sandwiches emerged from the kitchen.

Brooks Lake Lodge Eats

But my palate is a bit more expansive than the kiddos’, and I was just fine with the menu presented. I can’t wait to share it with you!

Afternoon Tea

Our first food experience at Brooks Lake was afternoon tea presented in a sitting room.

The tea room

Tea, coffee, and lemonade are served alongside [Read more…]

Would You Want An Interactive Disney Cake?

A semi-recent post on Wired Magazine’s website provided a round-up of new and upcoming personalized and customizable Disney parks products. The item that caught my eye was a mention of a patent that was approved this summer for an “interactive cake.”

Apparently I’m behind the times, because this story did get some play in the Disney and tech blogospheres about two years ago, when the patent was first filed. But still, the fact that the patent was actually approved is noteworthy in my book.

When I think “interactive cake” my mind’s eye goes to the auto-with-moving-wheels and fire-breathing-dragon sort of cakes that appear from time to time on Food Network programs like Ace of Cakes. However, the interactivity in the Disney patent appears to be limited to images, moving or otherwise, being projected onto desserts via specialized pico projectors.

Now I’m thinking the cake becomes more of a movie screen, like the water spray is the movie screen in Fantasmic. The only time I’ve seen something like that was on an episode of “Ace of Cakes” in which Duff and the gang created a multi-textured all white cake that was used as a screen during the Baltimore Contemporary Museum’s 20th birthday celebration. Film of birthday parties was shown on the birthday cake.

In this figure below (and in the patent text), it looks like Disney could take this one step further. If guests cut or otherwise alter the cake, the image will change. For example, a “river” projected onto the cake could become a “waterfall” if a piece of the cake is [Read more…]

Fun Find: Goofy’s Candy Company Periodic Table of Elements

I’m sure it will come as a surprise to exactly no one that I pay a visit to Goofy’s Candy Company during every Walt Disney World vacation.

In addition to the candy, and the cupcakes, and the fudge, and the create-your-own-snacks, one of my favorite parts about this shop is the wall decor, specifically the Jelly Belly portrait of Goofy and the Disney Periodic Table of Elements.

Goofy's Sign

I’ll tackle the bean art in a future post, but today I’m going to share with you the wonders of the Goofy’s Periodic Table, which is located in the store just below the candy making observation window.

In case the learnings from your 10th grade chemistry class have gone on a vacation of their own (mine are off enjoying the beach with the Latin verb conjugation I once knew), I’ll refresh your memory about [Read more…]

The Caramel Apple Stick Dilemma, SOLVED

I’ve been a HUGE fan of the Walt Disney World caramel apples for many years.

My obsession grew to a new level when, on a recent trip to Disneyland, I saw that the West coast Disney snack artists have turned this formerly simple treat into a true art form.

Not only are the Disney caramel apples delicious, they are also beautiful, creative, and just plain fun.

But all of that begs a practical question. How do they get so many sticks into so many apples? I mean seriously, have you ever tried to shove a pop stick into an apple?

It’s hard, and messy, and after doing three or four of them, you’re ready to stop and just pour the caramel through a funnel into your mouth, bypassing the apple altogether. (Don’t try that at home folks. :-))

Well, as I was perusing the Disneyland treat offerings, I happened upon a caramel apple prep area and, mystery solved, I learned how they get the sticks into the apples. A handy-dandy gadget comes to the rescue… [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)

Disney Food for Families: Getting Kids to Try New Foods at Walt Disney World

It’s no secret that my daughter Louisa is more than a little produce averse. There was a period of about four years when NO fruit or vegetable crossed her lips, and even now at age 12 she still has to be cajoled into having more than a bite or two of something as innocuous as sweet potato or banana.

Frozen bananas, a gateway fruit.

So you can imagine my surprise when, on a recent trip to the Animal Kingdom’s Yak & Yeti restaurant, she consumed nearly the entire plate of wok-fried green beans we had ordered for the table. It was one of those parenting moments where you hold your breath and move slowly so as to avoid breaking the spell.

Yak & Yeti wok-fried green beans. My hero!

Those Yak & Yeti yummies didn’t turn Louisa into an inveterate bean eater, but she is now occasionally willing to nibble on a tempura string bean if we’re out for Japanese. Based on our prior track record with legumes, I’m going to count that solidly in the win column.

The Theme Park Food Effect

What was it about the Yak & Yeti beans that made Louisa such a fan? Yes, they were quite tasty, and yes, the green part was handily obfuscated by a crunchy, yumtastic fried breading coating; but we had tried similar ploys in the past to no avail. My theory is that the Yak & Yeti beans were flavored by the spice of (cue the orchestra) The Theme Park Food Effect.

Much like campers will say that meals eaten on the trail are the BEST, you know that their experience is colored by the fact that their senses are overwhelmed and they’re starving from an [Read more…]

Review: NEW Tipsy Duck Drink in Epcot’s China Pavilion

There’s a new drink at the Joy of Tea stand in Epcot’s China Pavilion – Tipsy Ducks in Love!

Joy of Tea

The cast members at Joy of Tea were selling this VERY enthusiastically. It’s basically iced coffee and tea, plus whipped cream, plus a generous pour of Jim Beam, plus chocolate.

Tipsy Duck

I don’t normally drink bourbon, but the cast members were so, well, enthusiastic about it, that I decided to give it a [Read more…]

New! Ice Pop Stand in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion

Beat the Disney World summer heat at this kiosk in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion that is now serving Ice Pops…for a song!

Ice Pop Stand

These snacks are a pretty good size, and cost only $1.00 each (UPDATE: We’ve just had a note from a reader that these are now $2.00. Still a good price, but not as good as before…). Bargain! Flavor choices are lemon, melon, orange, grape, and strawberry.

Ice Pops in Freezer

They basically taste like good Popsicles. But the price is great! And the wrapper is a pretty sturdy plastic. It maintains its shape, even after the ice/juice is gone. This makes it a GREAT choice for kids because it [Read more…]

Food Photo Tour: Art of Animation Resort Landscape of Flavors Food Court

Life is a highway, and my pit stop this past weekend was Walt Disney World’s brand new Art of Animation Resort in Walt Disney World.

AoA is a value level resort, and like other WDW value hotels the main source of on-site nourishment is a food court, here called Landscape of Flavors.

I gathered dozens (hundreds?) of food photos to share, so you’ll be able to take a look at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert as well as pre-packaged goodies in the photo tour below!

Some of the elements of Landscape of Flavors will be familiar to those who have been to other Disney hotel food courts. There are multiple lines to order different types of food. There are self-serve soda and condiment stations past the registers, toasters for guest use, and a mug wash sink for rinsing your refillable mugs.

And the sides of the service area are lined with refrigerator cases of beverages and a limited selection of prepared items.

As for the actual food, Disney has tried to step it up a notch, offering fresher and more customizable options than in the other resorts. But before I get to that, here’s a tour so you can get the lay of the Landscape.

Overview Photos

You get to the restaurant through the Ink & Paint Shop gift store.

Ink and Paint Shop Gift Store

The seating areas are bright with blond wood tables and chairs.

Seating Areas

Overhead lights represent each of the four films highlighted at AoA: [Read more…]