Review: NEW Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

It’s time to Eat, Drink, and BE MERRY at Hollywood & Vine for MINNIE’S HOLIDAY DINE!

This past weekend delivered the debut Minnie’s Seasonal Dine Character Meals in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. From now through January 3, 2016, dinner at Hollywood & Vine is a holiday meal, offerings guests the very unique opportunity to celebrate the season with a few of our favorite Disney pals!

Once the holidays wrap up, dinner parties with Minnie Mouse and friends will continue; however, the theme will change with the seasons! Starting January 4, 2016, Minnie and the gang will host a celebration of Hollywood and the movies. Spring, summer, and even Halloween will have themed celebrations of their own; and decor, music, and even certain menu items will change along with the party theme.

This isn’t the first time Hollywood & Vine has changed things up from its typical non-character buffet dinner (breakfast and lunch, it should be noted, will continue to feature Disney Junior pals at Play ‘n Dine). Hollywood & Vine has played host to themed, seasonal character dinners in the past with Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine, held in conjunction with Star Wars Weekends for the past two years.

Hollywood and Vine

Hollywood and Vine

But the only Force involved in Minnie’s Holiday Dine is a whole lotta of HOLIDAY SPIRIT… [Read more…]

News: Details and Booking for 2015 Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights Dining Events

Last week, Disney announced that 2015 will be the last year for The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The popular show is wrapping to accommodate construction for two new Lands coming to the park in the future: Toy Story and Star Wars.

The festive synchronized holiday lights and music show will be on display from November 6, 2015 through January 3, 2016.

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

The announcement also revealed that two new extra ticket events will be added this year to celebrate the final run of The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Details have been released for each of these events, which are now open for booking.

Merry and Bright Dessert Party

The Merry & Bright Dessert Party will take place from November 6 through December 30, 2015. Please note that the hours change based on the date you choose:

  • from November 6-December 24, the party runs from 7:00 – 8:30 pm,
  • and from December 25-30, the party runs from 8:30 pm to 10:00 pm.
  • Excluded dates are: November 17, December 9, and December 18.

Guests will enjoy a reserved viewing area, and will also receive a custom stadium blanket as a souvenir.

Price to attend is $69 for adults, $39 for children (including tax and gratuity).

Guests Enjoying the Seating Area

Guests Enjoying the Seating Area

Guests can book by calling (407) 939-3463 or online via the Walt Disney World website.

Osborne Lights -- Peace On Earth

Osborne Lights — Peace On Earth

Merry and Bright Dinner Reception

From January 1 (8:30 to 10:00 pm), and 2nd, 3rd (7:00 to 8:30 pm), the Merry & Bright Dinner Reception will offer a chance to ring in the new year by enjoying small plates (turkey, beef, and shrimp dishes among them) along with specialty drinks, wine, and beer, all from an exclusive reserved viewing area. At evening’s end, each guest will receive “a custom shadow box keepsake featuring their own Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights!”

Seating at Dusk Before the Lights Come On

Seating at Dusk Before the Lights Come On

The price to attend is $99 for adults, $54 for children (including tax and gratuity).

Interested guests may book this event online, or by calling (407) 939-3463.

Osborne Lights

Osborne Lights

Please note that seating for the events is outdoors and uncovered without assigned seating, and an alternate location will be used in the event of rain (usually this is Studio Catering Co.). It is anticipated that these events may book up quickly, due to the popularity of the Dancing Lights.

For more information, be sure to visit the Merry & Bright Dessert Party and Merry & Bright Dinner Reception pages on the Walt Disney World website.

Will you be seeing the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights during its final run? Please let us know with a comment!

News! Disneyland Jungle Cruise Sunrise Safari Breakfast Booking NOW!

As though Jungle Cruise Skippers aren’t busy enough preparing the upcoming Skipper Canteen at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom… they’ll also be helping Disneylanders start their day at the newly announced Jungle Cruise Sunrise Safari Breakfast!

©Disney

©Disney

Taking place on select dates from September 21 through December 2, 2015, guests can enjoy breakfast on the African veldt of the Jungle Cruise attraction in Disneyland! [Read more…]

News! Tickets Now on Sale for Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin’s Food and Wine Classic

Back by popular demand, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin will once again be hosting its popular Food and Wine Classic!

fw-Logo

Mark your calendars for Friday and Saturday, October 30 and 31, as the Classic celebrates its sixth year! Once again in 2015, the Food and Wine Classic will take place during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival — offering you two wonderful ways to enjoy the food of Disney!

There’s so much to enjoy at this event. Let’s take a closer look at all it has to offer.

The Causeway

Stroll the beautiful Causeway connecting the Swan and Dolphin as you enjoy tapas-sized plates from the resort’s restaurants.

The Causeway at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic

The Causeway at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic

In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to sample wine and beer from all around the world. The menu is diverse, celebrating the wide array of food that the Swan and Dolphin has to offer.

Shula's Prime Rib with Mashed Potatoes

Shula’s Prime Rib with Mashed Potatoes

We can’t wait to see what spots like Todd English’s bluezoo and Shula’s Steak House offer in 2015!

And there are always a few fun surprises, like Chef Cib’s Smokehouse. Live music plays as evening falls, so bring your dancing shoes. :-)

Food and Beverage Seminars

The 6th Annual Food and Wine Classic will also play host to several Seminars. Choose from [Read more…]

News! 2015 Epcot International Flower and Garden (PLUS FOOD!) Festival Details Announced

As we say goodbye to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival for another year and anticipate the eats at Holidays Around the World, we welcome news of more fun to come at Epcot this Spring!

Disney Food Blog Epcot Flower and Garden Festival (2)

Details have been announced for the 22nd Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. Mark your calendars for 75 days full of flowers, fun — and food! The 2015 Festival will run from March 4 until May 17.

What can we expect from the 2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival? Read on to find out!

Outdoor Kitchens

For the third year running, the Festival will feature Outdoor Kitchens situated around World Showcase.

The Smokehouse in the American Adventure Pavilion

The Smokehouse in the American Adventure Pavilion

The Outdoor Kitchens have been a welcome addition to the Festival, drawing a whole new crowd for the mammoth event. Reminiscent of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, the kiosks feature flavors of many of the World Showcase Pavilions.

Think the Piggylicious Cupcake Will Return for 2014?

Think the Piggylicious Cupcake Will Return for 2014?

Appetizer portions make it easy to experience lots of variety, and the smaller scale of the event — there are only about half as many Booths as you find at the Food and Wine Festival — makes it easier to try all of your favorites.

Duck Confit with Garlic Potatoes Was a Must-Have at the 2014 Flower and Garden Festival!

Duck Confit with Garlic Potatoes Was a Must-Have at the 2014 Flower and Garden Festival!

We’ve really enjoyed strolling the Promenade, taking in the international array of [Read more…]

Review: Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Treats

I can say this much about our pal, Mickey Mouse

"Celebrate the Season" with Mickey and Minnie!

“Celebrate the Season” with Mickey and Minnie!

He sure knows how to throw a Very Merry Christmas Party!

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

"Celebrate the Season" stage show

Celebrate the Season stage show

Once Upon a Christmastime Parade

Once Upon a Christmastime Parade

Once Upon a Christmastime Parade

Once Upon a Christmastime Parade

Jack Skellington Sandy Claws character meet

Jack Skellington as “Sandy Claws” character meet

Frozen Holiday Wish

Frozen Holiday Wish

Frozen Holiday Wish

Frozen Holiday Wish

From the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, to Holiday Wishes Fireworks, to all the fun in between, including character dance parties and appearances, special stage shows, and a whole, huge [Read more…]

News and Sneak Peek: Special Food and Beverages Coming to the Villains Unleashed Event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

If you plan to attend the Villains Unleashed special event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on August 23, be prepared to make room in your food budget for some delightfully evil dishes!

Villains Unleashed Comes to Disney Hollywood Studios on August 23

Villains Unleashed Comes to Disney Hollywood Studios on August 23

The culinary team has come up with some clever dishes that are sure to bring lots of cackles from guests. Or maybe evil laughs. Mwhahahahahaha! (Sorry. I couldn’t resist.)

We have a few pictures and descriptions for you today, and it all looks pretty awesome. Let’s check it out!

Special “Villains Unleashed” Menu at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

With more than 50 Disney Villains on hand to enjoy, no doubt you can party the night away with your favorite “baddie”. But what happens when all that merriment leads to a frightful appetite?

Disney has you covered — in themed style, of course. Check out these special Villain Hot Dogs, with images of Jafar and Maleficent branded right onto the buns! They appear to be some of our favorites, like the Pork Barbecue Coleslaw Dog and Macaroni and Cheese Truffle Dog from Fairfax Fare, dressed up for the occasion. Yum!

Villain Hot Dogs and Beverages

Villain Hot Dogs and Beverages

And who can resist scary drinks with gummy worms and candied pepper slices?? Specialty beverages — both alcoholic and non-alcoholic alike — will be available at various venues throughout the park.

And get a load of this gorgeous Maleficent Cupcake! The tasty treat features Dark Chocolate Cake, Blackberry Filling, and Blackberry Buttercream. We think it would make a great addition to our Disney Cupcake Gallery!

Villain Cupcake

Maleficent Cupcake

And this tame little apple hides a secret — Witches Brew! With a whole serving of [Read more…]

Review: A Sneak Peek at Harambe Nights in Disney World’s Animal Kingdom!

Karibuni!! Welcome to Harambe Nights!

Harambe Nights

Harambe Nights

We were so excited to attend a “sneak peek” of this all-new hard-ticket event, debuting at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on Saturday, June 7, and running every Saturday evening through August 9th.

While the centerpiece of the evening will be the brand new show, The Lion King –A Concert in the Wild, Harambe Nights will also feature a Welcome Reception, a street party, and an all-inclusive and wide-ranging selection of food.

Concept art for Harambe Nights

Concept art for Harambe Nights

Guests at Harambe Nights will be welcomed into Harambe Village, and into its traditions as reflected in music, story-telling, and cuisine. The primary story will be that of Simba, the Lion King, as it is told by the people of Harambe Village, allowing this well-loved story to be told in a whole new way in honor of the film’s 20th anniversary.

This event promises to be a full sensory experience, engaging sight, sound, smell, and taste. Since we here at the DFB are all about taste ;) , allow me to share a few of the culinary highlights in the order that they will be experienced in the event.

Welcome Reception

Harambe Nights will begin with a Welcome Reception where guests will have their first chance to sample the cuisine with an assortment of appetizers.

I was able to sample two of the four appetizers, including the Safari Cheeseburger Rolls with Tomato Curry Aioli. The playful presentation helped set a celebratory tone.

Safari Cheeseburger with tomato curry aioli

Safari Cheeseburger with tomato curry aioli

I also enjoyed the Moroccan Beef Kefta Meatball with Tamarind Glaze.

Moroccan Kefta with Tamarind Glaze

Moroccan Kefta with Tamarind Glaze

Of-age guests can pair with African-inspired wine and beer. I particularly liked “Goats do Roam” white from the popular South African Vineyard.

Selection of wine

Selection of wine

Selection of beer

Selection of beer

Jungle Juice — that refreshing mix of passion fruit, guava, and orange juice — was available as well.

Jungle Juice

Jungle Juice

Unfortunately, I missed the Pickled Fennel Paneer Cheese with Tomato and the Durban-spiced Chicken Tenders… but there is much more to come!

The Lion King — A Concert in the Wild

After the Welcome Reception, guests will proceed into the brand new Harambe Theater to enjoy The Lion King – A Concert in the Wild. Prior to the show, attendees will be given a special treat.

This snack is seriously one of my new favorite things on earth… LION CHOW!

Lion Chow pouch

Lion Chow bamboo pouch

Lion Chow

Lion Chow

This mix is much more complex than it appears. The sesame bits, candied pecans, raisins, dried fruit, and spiced toasted chips offer a full and surprising range of flavors. It’s sweet, salty, and mildly spicy all at once (I think it’s the candied ginger that delivers that bit of kick).

I’ve got half a mind to start a petition for a Lion Chow kiosk in Animal Kingdom – it’s seriously addicting!

Close-up of Lion Chow

Close-up of Lion Chow

Guests will be able to enjoy their Lion Chow during the performance. We were given the unique opportunity to see three numbers that will be performed in the show. Understandably, we were not able to take photographs or record this portion of the evening.

Honestly, I wouldn’t have been able to capture the power and beauty of the performance even if cameras had been allowed. I can only say that it was a truly special experience watching these performers bring the story of “The Lion King” to new life with such talent and passion. Marsha Jackson-Randolph — the production’s director — called the production an “endeavor of love,” and it shows.

Concept Art for The Lion King - A Concert in the Wild

Concept Art for The Lion King – A Concert in the Wild

Having seen the numbers in rehearsal clothing, I can only imagine what amazing things are in store when the entire concert is presented in full costume with a 25-piece orchestra, 16-voice choir, celebrity narrator and co-narrator, 8 dancers, and pivotal moments of the film presented on screens during select moments throughout. I am sincerely excited for those who get to enjoy it.

Street Party

Once the show ends, the night continues on! Harambe Village will invite guests to join in the Harambe Nights Street Party, which will feature (among other things) live music as well as sound by DJ Khalifa, dance, street performers, glow-in-the-dark face painting (yes!), and a few of your best Disney friends.

Timon and Rafiki

Timon and Rafiki

Stilt walkers

Stilt walkers

DJ Khalifa!

DJ Khalifa

Musicians at the Sneak Peek

Musicians at the Sneak Peek

It will also feature African-inspired food, presented at stations throughout the Village.

We’ll start with the Breads and Salads Station. Fans of Sanaa’s bread service will appreciate the assortment of Naan, Onion Kulcha, and Pappadum breads.

Naan, Onion Kulcha and Pappadum breads

Naan, Onion Kulcha and Pappadum breads

Naan being prepared

Naan being prepared

Accompaniments include Roasted Pepper Hummus, Garlic-Ginger Pickle, and Cucumber Raita. At Boma, I always love the Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, but I really enjoyed that Raita as well.

Cucumber Raita

Cucumber Raita

The salads were simply gorgeous. Even better, they were fresh, flavorful, colorful, and original.

Choices include a Watercress, Melon, Feta, and Berry Balsamic Salad and Roasted Beetroot Salad with Sunflower Seeds. My favorite was the Kachumbari Salad with Tomato, Paneer, Carrot, and Cilantro.

Watercress, Melon, Feta, and Berry Balsamic Onion Salad

Watercress, Melon, Feta, and Berry Balsamic Onion Salad

Roasted Beetroot Salad with Sunflower Seeds

Roasted Beetroot Salad with Sunflower Seeds

Kachumbari Salad with Tomato, Paneer, Carrot, and Cilantro

Kachumbari Salad with Tomato, Paneer, Carrot, and Cilantro

Rarely do I feel that salads are among the highlights of a meal, but here I did.

I was really impressed with the vegetarian options available – not only at the Bread and Salad station, but throughout the selections. One example is the Spicy Vegetable Samosa (a Mango Chutney was available for dipping).

Spicy Vegetable Samosa

Spicy Vegetable Samosa

I neglected to snap a picture of the Creamy Macaroni and Cheese, but I can’t resist sharing some Disney mac and cheese deliciousness with you today!

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

Moving on to the Surf and Turf Station, there are two other [Read more…]

Review: Epcot After Hours Wind Down Event at La Cava del Tequila

Welcome to Epcot, After Hours! The Epcot After Hours Wind Down event kicked off on Thursday, April 17, at 9:20 pm (immediately following “IllumiNations”).

Illuminations Torch

Illuminations Torch

This 21-and-over event features small plates and drinks at the guest’s choice of four restaurants on select evenings: Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room, Spice Road Table, Tutto Gusto, and La Cava del Tequila.

When we announced this event a couple of weeks ago, we got a LOT of diverse points of view in the comments from our readers. Many were concerned that the price for the event ($35) was too high. Others were excited for the opportunity to stay in Epcot after hours, enjoying one of their favorite — often crowded — hot spots!

I attended the Wind Down at La Cava del Tequila in Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion. Let’s see how it went!

Mexico Pavilion After Hours

Mexico Pavilion After Hours

I’ll start with a rundown of my food and beverage experience specific to La Cava, and then we’ll talk about the event itself — what’s good and what could use some improvement. There’s a lot to share, so let’s dive in.

La Cava del Tequila

La Cava del Tequila

La Cava del Tequila

A group of about 10-12 guests gathered for the evening. Walking into an adults-only situation was a refreshing experience — granted, that’s something you typically have at La Cava, but there was a bit of a different feel.

Some of that had to do with the settings in front of us: a tequila flight, a small vodka shot (to “open” our senses, as we learned later), and a Mezcal tequila shot, along with a small bottle of water.

Tequila Flight

Tequila Flight

The lights were up a bit, too, for what we were about to experience. With the covers over our glasses, we all knew to wait to begin (which gave us a nice opportunity to meet the folks around us).

Covered Glass of Tequila Blanco

Covered Glass of Tequila Blanco

We soon found out that we were going to experience something truly unique: a tequila tasting led by Hilda Castillo. This is similar to what was done during the first Food and Wine Festival tequila tasting events, for those of you who have been.

Hilda combines knowledge, passion, and fun to help you feel comfortable and appreciate more of what you’re tasting.

Hilda, Tequila Ambassador

Hilda, Tequila Ambassador

The walls of La Cava are a classroom of sorts, and Hilda showed us how the wall mural displays the tequila process.

La Cava Wall Mural

La Cava Wall Mural

La Cava Wall Mural

La Cava Wall Mural

La Cava Wall Mural

La Cava Wall Mural

With her guidance, we experienced the characteristics of each tequila through color, aroma, and taste: an incredibly strong (I mean, WOW!) Blanco (White tequila), a Reposado (Rested tequila), and an Anejo (Aged tequila).

Because I am no Hilda (though I would like to be when I grow up!), I’ll offer these descriptions below that were provided at our settings.

Tequila Blanco description

Tequila Blanco description

Tequila Reposada description

Tequila Reposado description

Tequila Anejo description

Tequila Anejo description

With every visit to La Cava, I feel a little more comfortable with the world of tequila, because someone is always willing to share their knowledge with you. But I am [Read more…]

Special Report: S’PIN Cocktail for ESPN The Weekend

Fellow blogger and friend Amanda Tinney, who writes Disney Every Day, came across this “extra” bar set up outside Hollywood Brown Derby during ESPN The Weekend — complete with a brand new adult bevvie created for the event — and caught it on film! Thanks, Amanda!

ESPN The Weekend Sign

When you’re in the Walt Disney World theme parks as much as I am, you tend to notice when even the slightest thing is out of place. I recently attended “ESPN The Weekend” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and while making my way from the American Idol Experience towards The Animation Courtyard, I noticed something peculiar. A bar…outside of the Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant, right on the walkway. As I moved closer, I noticed beer, along with assorted bottles of liquor….Wowza! This bar was no joke! And it was definitely [Read more…]