Review: The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a little gem in the middle of a busy theme park.

When it was time to meet up with friends recently for a quiet dinner during our otherwise frenzied Epcot Food and Wine Festival trip to Disney World, I was happy when we all agreed to head there for a late night bite. While the restaurant can be a bit inconsistent (I tend to hear both good and bad reviews of this place), I’ve had good experiences on my visits.

I hoped that it would continue to measure up to the pedestal I have it on! Let’s head into that fabled dining room, home to Hollywood’s Golden Age elite, and see if it does…

Atmosphere

If you haven’t had a meal at The Brown Derby, it’s time to head on over. I waited a long time before I took in my first meal there, and once I did, I was sorry I hadn’t tried it sooner.

Your journey back in time to the Golden Age of Hollywood begins before you enter the restaurant. The grand entrance beneath the classic red awning looks like something right out of early 20th century Hollywood.

Brown Derby Entryway and Awning

And that is, of course, intentional. The Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios was inspired by the restaurant located at the famous corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street.

Sign Outside of Building

Inside the waiting area, the decor is tasteful and clean Spanish Mission, with light walls and dark wood accents. A few comfy leather club chairs might be available for your wait if you’re lucky.

You also start to glimpse the famous collection of caricatures that line walls throughout the restaurant.

Brown Derby Lobby

If you need [Read more…]

Homemade Ice Cream Sandwich Available at New Location in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Great news! You can now get one of my favorite Disney World treats at TWO spots in Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich

Those incredible homemade ice cream sandwiches — yummy ice cream sandwiched between two humongous cookies — are still available at Dino Bites in Dinoland; but now you can find them at the ice cream kiosk near the entrance to Africa from Discovery Island as well.

This Ice Cream Kiosk Now Sells Ice Cream Sandwiches!

This location only sells a hand full of ice cream treats and bottled drinks, so it should be a quick wait in line! And while the menu board says [Read more…]

Review: Biergarten in Epcot’s Germany

We haven’t been to Biergarten in a while here on DFB, so I think it’s time to pay this fun spot a visit!

You’ll find it in Epcot’s Germany Pavilion, and this is THE place to find sausage and beer. They have other stuff, too…but if you don’t like sausage and beer, you may not get the most out of this restaurant.

Let’s take a look!

Atmosphere

Nestled in the back of the Germany Pavilion, Biergarten can be hard to find. It’s to the back, left of the pavilion, so look for a check-in desk in that general area.

Outside View

As you head past and actually through Sommerfest, the German counter service offering, you enter an area that looks a little like a courtyard, but with a ceiling.

First View Inside

But once you’re fully into the restaurant, the view opens up, and you are transported to evening in a Bavarian Village town square that has been set up in preparation for a party. And you’re invited!

Stage Area and Seating

Here, you get the full scope of the [Read more…]

Review: ABC Commissary at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

I have a confession to make: I’m not in love with the ABC Commissary, and I haven’t been for a while now. So when I’m on the Backlot at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and I’m looking for a bite, I tend to head over to Backlot Express.

I also find the general atmosphere here kinda boring, which is clearly a sign of superior themeing, since it’s supposed to be…basically…someone’s work cafeteria, right? :-)

Well, armed with an enthusiastic menu recommendation from my friend Matt Hochberg of Studios Central, I headed over there on a recent trip to see if I’d find anything I liked.

Atmosphere

As you approach the ABC Commissary, you really do feel like you’ve stumbled onto a block of buildings occupied by the people who run this “studio.”

ABC Commissary - Outside View

A palm tree promenade (that’s admittedly kind of cool) and marble flooring ushers you into the restaurant.

Palm Trees Line the Entrance

The walkway is also lined with these glass partitions etched with the ABC logo and interspersed with memorabilia from the network’s shows.

Glass Partitions Give a Good View of the Seating Area

Props Megaphone from ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition"

If you look hard enough, you might just see an [Read more…]

Review: Rainforest Cafe a la Disney

Welp, I finally got a chance to have another meal at Rainforest Cafe!

These restaurants often get a bad rap food-wise. While this is a really fun place to shop and explore, a lot of people wonder how good the food can actually be in such a themed restaurant. (Disney meals are precious and expensive things, and I hate to waste even one!)

But I hadn’t been to an RC for a while, and it was time to head back into the jungle! Come with me and find out how it was…

Atmosphere

This is a review of the Rainforest Cafe located in Downtown Disney District at Disneyland. However, the Disney Rainforest locations (one in Disneyland, two in Disney World) are actually quite similar.

The menus themselves — and many of the decor elements — are the same, so keep that in mind if you are only planning to visit one of the two Disney World locations.

Outside Sign - Close Up

One main difference: each location has a slightly different exterior. This Disneyland eatery has a sort of temple-in-the-jungle feeling to it.

Rainforest Cafe - Outside

As you walk in, you find yourself in a very large gift shop with all manner of [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: September 9, 2012

Cheers to food and beverage news from Gaston’s Tavern (finally)! With the announcement of the signature brew and those gooey cinnamon rolls, I’m looking forward to stopping by with friends. Care to join me?!

LeFou's Brew at Gaston's Tavern

Disney Food News

Read on for yummy restaurant and food news from Disney!

  • Disney will release new collector’s pins with the opening of Be our Guest Restaurant and Gaston’s Tavern!
  • Gaston’s Tavern at the Magic Kingdom will offer the non-alcoholic LeFou’s Brew along with signature cinnamon rolls!
  • Backlot Express in Disney’s Hollywood Studios has a new menu with Buffalo chicken nuggets; and ABC Commissary has changed up their offerings as well. (More on that soon!)

We’ve got more food news (including restaurant closure updates, new menu at ABC Commissary, Margarita/Tequila Flight Promo at La Hacienda and San Angel Inn, new drinks at Animal Kingdom, and LOTS more) on our Disney Food News Pin Board!

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Update — Lunch With John Lasseter

A new signature event has been added to the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival line-up. On October 19, Citricos will host a lunch perfect for Pixar fans at 12:30 for $130.

John Lasseter and his wife Nancy will present their California wines at this event. Chef Philip Ponticelli will pair Lasseter wines with seasonal cuisine.

A DFB Mini-Guide to the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival e-Book Review

Thanks to Disney by the Numbers for reviewing our DFB Mini-Guide to the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Pick up your copy of the DFB Mini-Guide to the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival today, and start planning.

Don’t forget our great DFB Deals of the Week on this Guide (get $3 off this week)!

DFB Podcast Episode 8 and 9 Now Available


We’re pleased to announce that the eighth and ninth episodes of our podcast have been released! In these episodes we’re chatting about Best Breakfasts in Disney, and the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Head over to DFBPodcast.com for the details… . And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSS or on iTunes!

On to the Round-Up

Walt Disney World for Grown-Ups looks at a new food truck – The Tailgate Grill – at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Walt Disney World.

Cookie Madness bakes up some BoardWalk Brownies!

Cake Wrecks looks at Darth Vader cakes that have definitely gone to the Dark Side.

The Walt Disney World Restaurant Tour takes us to Raglan Road at Downtown Disney Orlando.

Main Street Gazette cooks up a 50’s Prime Time Cafe recipe – Grandma’s Chicken Pot Pie!

Daveland dines at the Carthay Circle Restaurant in Disney California Adventure. Gorgeous pictures!

Eating (and Drinking) Around the World toasts La Cava’s third birthday!

Review: Backlot Express at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Now with New Menu AND Buffalo Nuggets!)

Time to head to one of my favorite counter service spots in Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Backlot Express! And there’s a brand new menu in place! We’ve have more for you on that in just a few paragraphs. But first, let’s take a look around…

Atmosphere

From the name alone, you can quickly deduce that this counter service mainstay is, in fact, located in the Backlot area of the theme park. (I know. What would you do without me?)

To locate it, head straight back and to the left as you enter the park. You’ll know you’re getting close when you pass the Sounds Dangerous and Star Tours attractions.

The premise here is that you’ve wandered into a functioning part of the Disney’s Hollywood Studios backlot, where they store all of the props, paint all the sets, fashion all of the haywire stunt gear, and fix all of the machinery needed to put on the show. It’s a glorified warehouse…but that “glorified” part is where Disney’s imagineers shine.

Outside View

As you head in to order you’ll walk past the outdoor seating area, which is nicely shaded. You begin to feel the vibe of the place even here, with mismatched patio chairs and interesting outdoor props, like giant plaster statues, and classic automobiles.

Shaded Seating Area

It’s completely fascinating to wander around and through this huge spot. Imagineers have created the theme to feel as if you’re about to run into someone who’s working on a film while you’re there. There are all kinds of props everywhere, even hanging above you.

Dragon Prop - You Never Know What You Might Find Here!

You’ll also see lots of [Read more…]

Where in the World are these Ice Cream Sundae Props?

So, I just noticed these clever (and HUGE) props on my last visit to Disney World. Just goes to show that no matter how many times you’ve been there, there’s still something left to discover!

You get 6,000 Disney Food Blog Points* if you can guess what park these are in. You get 12,000 Disney Food Blog Points* if you can tell me what Disney attraction is right next to [Read more…]

Review: Snacks at Epcot’s Kabuki Cafe

Ya know those times when you’re just strolling through Epcot and you really need some Miso soup…like, stat?

No?

Well, if you did, this would be the place for you, my friend.

Epcot's Kabuki Cafe

Epcot’s Kabuki Cafe is a quick service kiosk offering varied menu items, from sweet to savory. Located in the Japan pavilion, it replaced the wildly popular Kaki-Gori Stand when it opened. But Kaki-Gori fans can be assured that the sweet, chilly treat is still available here.

The menu varies based on the season — when it’s busy in Walt Disney World, you’ll find a larger variety of savory food offerings. Otherwise, there are just a few items to choose from…

Menu - Click to Enlarge

As you probably know, I love Kaki-Gori, the shave-ice-and-fruit-syrup treat that resembles a sno-cone…without the cone part.

All of the flavors are still here, and so are the [Read more…]

Review: Black Forest Cake Roulade at Epcot’s Sommerfest

I’ve always spied the desserts at Sommerfest in Epcot’s Germany with envy. Apple Strudel, Bavarian cheesecake, and…Black Forest Cake Roulade! For any cherry and chocolate lover (like yours truly), this was a must-try…

Atmosphere

Located just off to the side of Germany’s picturesque cobblestone town square, Sommerfest has all the look and feel of a 16th century German town. You will feel like you’ve left Florida behind as you walk among the buildings, smell the sausages and sauerkraut, and hear the polka music wafting in.

Sommerfest in Epcot's Germany Pavilion

There are a few tables inside, but this is a great spot to grab a bite and eat outside al fresco style.

Eats

Sommerfest really is a hidden gem among the counter service options in World Showcase. You can choose from a couple of sausages (Bratwurst or Frankfurther), both served German-style with sauerkraut. And those lovely hand-twisted pretzels (NOT the same as the other Disney soft pretzels, mind you) is also an option.

But today was the day I was finally going to indulge in that Black Forest Cake Roulade I’d been eying for a year or so.

Sommerfest Menu - Click to Enlarge

A rolled cake, sandwiched together with whipped cream around a cherry compote, and then covered in chocolate flakes. You totally want to dig in, right?


Black Forest Cake Roulade

The outside was coated with [Read more…]