What’s New Around Disney World: January 23, 2015

The year isn’t the only thing new around Disney World… we’re on the lookout for new eats, sweets, and refurbishment feats. Please keep your hands, arms, feet, and legs inside your ride vehicle at all times as we tour all four Disney World Parks to see What’s New!

Something's always just around the corner at Disney World!

Something’s always just around the corner at Disney World!

Animal Kingdom

We’re starting out with another WILD trip to Animal Kingdom, which includes a couple of menu updates. At Yak & Yeti Restaurant, Firecracker Shrimp and Ahi Tuna Nachos for Two join the appetizers (the Dim Sum Basket for two remains), and Ginger Salmon with Japanese Udon has been added to the noodle dishes. Chicken Tikki Masala is among the new specialty entrees, and Malaysian Seafood Curry arrives under Wok selections.

Yak and Yeti Restaurant

Yak and Yeti Restaurant

Be sure to check out the Specialty Drinks for some fun new beverages: Pink Himalayan, Kiwi Kimono, and a Rickshaw Rickie.

Right next door at Local Food Cafes (also known as Yak & Yeti Counter Service), Korean Stir-fry Barbecue Chicken has replaced the Sweet and Sour Chicken.

Local Foods Cafe menu

Local Foods Cafe menu

At Dino Diner in Dinoland, U.S.A., the Snow Cone has been switched out for Nachos, served with just cheese or as Nachos Supreme (at least for these cooler months).

Dino Diner

Dino Diner

Dino Diner

Dino Diner

Tamu Tamu Refreshments has undergone another menu refresh, currently offering the Slow-cooked Chicken Curry, Vegetarian Curry, and Roasted Chicken Salad.

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

This isn’t entirely unexpected, as the menu here seems to go through a standard rotation. So, if you’re disappointed that the Slow-cooked Pulled Beef Sandwich is no longer available, Hakuna Matata. It could very well make its way back around in a few months.

And, as we discussed a few weeks back, Flame Tree Barbecue is closed for refurbishment with a tentative reopening of April 1st. Find out where you can find some of your favorite Flame Tree foods at other locations around the park!

Flame Tree Barbecue closed for refurbishment

Flame Tree Barbecue closed for refurbishment

Speaking of refurbishments, construction of [Read more…]

Money-Saving Tip: The “No Kids Meal Challenge”

Let’s welcome back guest author Katie Drake with an interesting food challenge: saving cash by NOT ordering kids’ meals! Sounds counter-intuitive? Read on…

The Kids’ Meal Dilemma

Tell me I’m not the only parent this has happened to: you sit down for lunch, and instead of eating their chicken nuggets and apple sauce, your child is eager to get moving to the next ride.

So you and your spouse pick at the nuggets, eventually throwing most of the meal away. And 30 minutes after lunch is done, you hear the dreaded whine: “I’m hungry.”

No Kids Meal Challenge

The No Kids Meal Challenge at Walt Disney World

I’m not a plate cleaner myself, but I do hate seeing so much food – and money – go to waste. So on our recent trip to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, our group of three families agreed to a challenge: no kids meals.

Instead, the three sets of parents would share their meals with the five kids in the group, supplementing with snacks if we were still hungry.

We figured this would save us some cash, result in less food being thrown away, and leave more room in our tummies for the Mickey-shaped pretzels and Dole Whips we always seem to buy anyway.

No Kids Meals Group

We figured this would work:

  1. because Disney’s portions are generally pretty big,
  2. our kids are still fairly small (ranging in age from one to five years old),
  3. we’re never actually hungry in the parks anyway since there is so much good stuff to eat by way of snacks.

Always prepared, the moms did supplement our meals a bit. String cheese, juice boxes, crackers, apple sauce, and fruit snacks all made their way into the parks with us, and they were available whenever any child showed the slightest hint of hunger away from a meal or other snack. [Read more…]

Disney Food Menus and Maps Now on Official WDW Website

While the Disney Website re-vamp gave a lot of us headaches for a while, I’m very pleased to see that they’ve added two planning tools to the dining section that have been sorely needed.

Menus
You’re not the only one who faithfully prints out the menus for all your ADR restaurants and pores over them for weeks deciding exactly what you’re going to order. Apparently, enough of us are obsessed enough with Disney food that Walt Disney World has seen fit to pander to our idiosyncrasies and finally post many of their restaurant menus on their website! What’s so great about that, you ask? Two things:

  1. The menus are authoritative, so they’ll likely be up to date.
  2. They’re PDFs of the actual menus used in the restaurants! That means there’s just that added bit if Disney Magic and themeing that you get to glimpse before your trip!

Here are a couple of screen shots of how you can get to the menus on the Disney website. You begin by searching “Dining,” and clicking on the restaurant for which you’d like details. From there, you’ll see a screen that looks like this:

Location of Menus on Disney World Website Restaurant Pages

Location of Menus on Disney World Website Restaurant Pages

Simply click on the menu for the meal you’re curious about, and out pops a cool PDF that looks exactly like the menu you’ll get in the restaurant in Disney World. Here’s Liberty Tree Tavern’s dinner menu:

Menu PDF Pulled Up When Choosing Menu Option From WDW Website

Menu PDF Pulled Up When Choosing Menu Option From WDW Website

Unfortunately, Disney doesn’t yet have ALL menus available, but you’ll find that about 80%-90% of what you’re looking for is there. Remember that buffet menus change daily, so those are often not posted.

Maps
Disney has also added what many of us consider to be the quintessential planning tool, maps, to its individual restaurant pages.

Map Section of Disney Restaurant Web Pages

Map Section of Disney Restaurant Web Pages

Simply click on the “map” icon; when the map is pulled up, scroll down the list to the left until you find the restaurant you’re looking for. Its location will be highlighted on the map!

This is a great planning tool to help you determine where you’ll need to be in your touring plan (e.g. what rides you’ll want to be scheduling for before and after lunch) around the time of your restaurant ADR.

Visual When Opening Map From Restaurant Page on WDW Website

Visual When Opening Map From Restaurant Page on WDW Website

Happy Planning!
The Disney World website is getting more and more user friendly, and the inclusion of these tools, along with the interaction of the Mom’s Panel and other informative additions, makes me optimistic that the site has the potential to be a truly useful planning tool–even for veteran Disneyphiles!

If you’ve seen or used other great Disney dining planning tools, I’d love to hear about them!