Disney Food for Families: Ideas For a Disney Food Gift Basket!

Let’s face it, while you’re off on your Walt Disney World vacation, there are often folks back home working hard to keep things in order: the teenage neighbor who stops in to water your plants, the kennel manager who makes sure your pup gets lots of love, the UPS guy who holds onto your packages for you, the teacher who prepares a special homework packet for your child so you don’t feel quite so guilty for taking him out of school, or the handyman who shovels the unexpected snow off your driveway. They all deserve a gift of thanks for their extra effort.

Lucky for you, Disney is the perfect place to shop — and it’s the perfect place to shop for food-related gifts. Hey, your dog-walker has to eat doesn’t he? Here are some ideas for thank-you gifts that you can get during your Disney travels.

Holiday Food Items as Gifts!

In the season of giving, Disney creates plenty of tasty holiday-themed treats that are perfect gifts for folks who need just a little something.

Candy cane tree, peppermint bark

Holiday cocoa

Gingerbread, available at the resorts with gingerbread displays

Emily J. on the Disney Food Blog Facebook page suggests using Disney holiday-themed [Read more…]

Disney Food for Families: Feed the Birds (and Other Creatures, Too)

There’s a spot at Walt Disney World where there’s no restaurant, but lots and lots of food. I’m speaking of Conservation Station at the Animal Kingdom — a public area where guests can learn about how the non-human residents of the parks eat.

After my foodie daughters have had their fill at the Tusker House buffet, we often hop on the nearby Wildlife Express train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch, the home of Conservation Station, to see what the animals are having for lunch. It’s a wonderful educational opportunity — a chance to see that a balanced diet is important for all species.

Rafiki's Planet Watch

What to Expect

Once you get to Rafiki’s Planet Watch, the animal food preparation center is located toward the back of the Conservation building. There is a large, open window into a sunny, and scrupulously clean, food prep area.

During guest viewing hours, you will find [Read more…]

Feed Our Small World

In recent months, there have been a number of It’s a Small World-themed food items spotted in the parks, most notably an absolutely gorgeous teapot and mugs set.

Teapot

Disney Partners with Charity to Help End Child Hunger

But beyond just decoration, Disney is now using the It’s a Small World brand to help a wonderful food-related charity: Feed Projects.

Feed is an organization that works to support programs and organizations dedicated to eliminating hunger and malnutrition in the world, particularly among children. It’s a Small World is a perfect fit for this mission. A percentage of sales of special Feed/Small World items goes to supporting projects to end hunger.

Back in July, Disney Food Blog mentioned one of the Feed merchandise items, the Feed Our Small World cookbook. Sales of the cookbook will allow Feed to provide Vitamin A supplements for 450,000 children for a year. The book is available in the parks and through Amazon.com.

The Disney Store retail locations are carrying tee-shirts for children and tote bags for mom, embellished with the [Read more…]

Disney Food for Families: Bringing Home Treats to Share

When my daughters were in preschool and early elementary school, there were many situations where we were required to provide a snack for a group of kids: a class, a team, or a party. In order to break up the monotony of the crackers and orange slices routine, we started to bring back group snacks from our trips to Walt Disney World.

Suckers to Share!

While there are countless Disney snack options, not all of them are suitable for group. When buying for a crowd, my criteria to consider are:

  • Relatively low cost
  • Not messy
  • Easy to transport home
  • Able to be divided/shared
  • And if we can make them nut-free, so much the better.

Also, because these are meant to be special souvenir Disney treats, I also wanted them to be identifiably Disney – showing a character or the castle, for example. Believe it or not, there are not many food items that meet all of these criteria, but here are some of the tried and true options we came up with over the years.

Chocolate-covered, Mickey-shaped pretzels. A big hit with kids and adults:

Chocolate-covered Pretzels

Mickey-shaped suckers. Great to include in favor bags: [Read more…]

“Jingle Smells” and Other Foodie Vinylmations Available Now

There’s a feast of food-related Vinylmation available on DisneyStore.com and in Disney Store retail locations. This is a great way to do some holiday shopping for Disney foodie friends, even if you can’t make it to the parks this winter.

Smellable Holiday Vinylmations

Now available is next best thing to edible Vinylmations, smellable Vinylmations.

“Jingle Smells,” which retail for $11.95 each, are Vinylmations actually embedded with scents of the holiday season: gingerbread, marshmallow, candy cane, and chocolate.

My Jingle Smells haven’t arrived in the mail yet, but from all reports I’ve seen, these cutie patooties do actually smell like their namesakes. To add to the deliciousness quotient, the Jingle Smells are topped with a little cap that allows them to accept a hook and function as an ornament. You know what, I think I’m going to go order some more now.

Peter Pan “Never Grow Up” Vinylmation Set

And here’s the second in the “Kidada for Disney Store” series. This one, a combination 9″ and 3″ set, is called “Never Grow Up.” The larger figure features Peter Pan fighting his shadow while cavorting on a giant ice cream sundae. (I think I had [Read more…]

Disney Food For Families: The Disney High Chair Situation

Disney Food for Families columnist Erin Foster knows that high chairs are of high importance to many families visiting Disney parks and resorts! Check out the specs here!

I made several trips to Walt Disney World when I had three children under the age of four. One of the main reasons our family chose Disney travel destinations was because the parks seemed designed specifically to the needs of folks like me: exhausted parents who need a break from cooking.

You want to eat in a real restaurant with three small kids? Sure, no problem. You need three high chairs to make that happen? Yep, we’ve got you covered.

Chairs ready for guests to grab at Epcot's La Cantina de San Angel

In my own “Disney high chairs” days, I never failed to find as many clean, working chairs as I needed. My girls are much older now, but over the past several months I’ve been keeping an eye out both in the Walt Disney World parks and on the Disney Magic cruise ship to see if Disney has maintained their ability to provide adequate seating for their smallest restaurant guests.

I surveyed more than two dozen restaurants and am [Read more…]

Adventures by Disney Mediterranean Magic: The Pizza Farm

Disney Food for Families columnist Erin Foster takes us with her on her summer vacation, European travel – Disney style. This was a three-part trip which included two Adventures by Disney packages (Barcelona Escape and Mediterranean Magic), plus a Mediterranean cruise on the Disney Magic, all sandwiched together. Her trip of a lifetime included culture, relaxation, breathtaking scenery, and of course, plenty of food.

Welcome sign.

I went to a pizza farm this summer.

Well, we weren’t exactly picking pizza off trees during my Mediterranean Magic Adventures by Disney trip last month, but we did the next best thing — making pizza at a family-run farm that grew all the components of our meal right there on site.

For those of you unfamiliar with Adventures by Disney, this is an arm of the company which offers high-end group tours of locales in Europe, Asia, South American, Central America, North America, and Africa. There’s no Mickey Mouse stuff on your Adventure, just world-class service provided by Disney-trained guides who give you unprecedented access to activities and attractions. The pizza farm experience is included in the 2012 Central Italy Family Vacation tour. If you’re looking for a taste of what to expect on that trip, read on.

Snacks at the Pizza Farm.

Visiting The Pizza Farm

The pizza farm visit occurred on [Read more…]

Chip and Dale Pretzels: The Ultimate Take-Home Snack

Disney Food for Families columnist Erin Foster sings the praises of her favorite Disney treat.

Other Disney snacks are more luscious, richer, chewier, and chocolate-ier. I have a place in my heart for some of these sultry sirens (I’m talking to you Disney fudge). But when it comes time to choose a snack to take home with me, I’m going with the Chip & Dale pretzel every time.

Snack-size bag.

Yes, it’s a packaged pretzel. In most cases, it’s the most basic of snack foods, hardly worth mentioning; but if it’s a Chip & Dale pretzel, then it’s so much more. Truly this is the ultimate in [Read more…]

Disney Food for Families: Condiments Make the World Go Round

Disney Food for Families columnist Erin Foster knows what’s important for her family when it comes to Disney counter-service…

It’s a rare child that doesn’t feel passionate about condiments. Here are a few of the examples you might have heard from your kids… “I won’t let any type of sauce touch my food.” Or,“I’ll eat anything, as long as it’s covered in ketchup.” “Hot sauce is heavenly.” “Relish looks like alien slime.” “Plastic cheese makes everything better.” “Salsa, not ketchup.” “Mustard, not salsa.” “French fries are fine, but only if dipped in maple syrup.”

Yep, condiments are the weird and wonderful place where kiddie crazy food idiosyncrasies come out to play. Luckily, Disney has the condiment basics covered at most places.

You guys know AJ can't live without her plastic cheese

At any of the counter service restaurants where burger/dog/nugget staples are served, you’ll find traditional accompaniments like ketchup and mustard. And while they may not be out on the table, you can ask for these items at nearly all of the table service restaurants on property. But if you keep your eyes open, you’ll find many more options available.

So, if your child, or you, will ONLY eat food covered in soy sauce (hey, it happens), I’ll tell you where you’ll be able to get your fix.

Topping Bars

A few Disney counter service restaurants, such as Cosmic Ray’s and Tortuga Tavern in the Magic Kingdom, offer what Disney calls a “toppings bar.” This is code for a salad-bar-like spread of fresh fixin’ add-ons.

Tortuga Tavern toppings

Once you get your burger (at Cosmic Ray’s) or taco salad (at Tortuga Tavern), you can head over to the toppings bar to get unlimited embellishments to enhance your entree. The toppings typically include items like [Read more…]

Foodie T-Shirts Take Over Disney!

If you’ve got a love of food and want to wear your heart on your sleeve, or rather your stomach on your chest, then Disney has a way to make that happen.

We saw the launch of food-themed clothing a while back with these fun cupcake patterns and, of course, the Turkey Leg T-shirt:

But the trend continues! The recently retooled merchandise shop at Epcot’s America pavilion now stocks a selection of non-Disney food-themed tee shirts and baseball caps. These items evoke Americana nostalgia, much like the shop’s new candy selection. Take a look:

Buckeye Donuts.

Joe's Cable Car Restaurant.

Otto's Sausage Kitchen and Meat Market.

Fuggedaboutit Pizzaria.

Gino's Deep Dish.

Loveless Cafe.

Capone's Root Beer.

Chicago Style Hot Dog.

Superdawg Drive In.

Manny's Cafeteria and Deli.

Over in the Germany pavilion, they’ve also got a collection of German food-themed [Read more…]