Review: Pizzafari

Disney’s Animal Kingdom has a dearth of dining establishments. It’s true; we all know it. But what they DO have is…beautiful. While food-wise, Pizzafari could be thought of as leaving much to be desired, exploring the place itself almost makes up for it!

Atmosphere
You’ll find Pizzafari on the path to Africa — just take a left at Discovery Island! And once again, Animal Kingdom comes out on top when it comes to themeing and imagineering decor.

Very rarely will the decor in any corner of the Animal Kingdom be random. Over at Flame Tree Barbecue, you’ve got the intriguing-yet-gross-if-you-think-about-it predator and prey theme. Here at Pizzafari, the theme is a bit more understated, but no less intriguing: [Read more…]

Disney World Free Dining in 2011 Announced

Disney World Free Dining has been announced for the following dates in 2011:

Jan 1 – 5 • 9 – 13 • Jan 21 – Feb 3 • Feb 11 – 17 • Feb 25 – Mar 3 • May 27 – Jun 2 • Aug 19 – Sept 29

While there are many blackout dates, there’s certainly more free dining available than ever before. The booking window for these promotions is through December 20, 2010 — so get on the horn! Call (407) 939-7926 and ask for booking code NL7 to book your room reservations. Then it’s time to plan your Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations!

Like this year, those staying at mods, deluxes, and deluxe villas will get the standard dining plan. Those staying at values will get the quick service dining plan.

See DisneyWorld.com for details!

For information and links to updated menus from every Disney World Table Service restaurant, visit our Disney World Restaurants Guide.

Disney World Free Dining Extension Into 2011

UPDATE: WDW Free Dining 2011 has been announced! Click here for details!

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Len Testa over at the Touring Plans Blog is reporting the possibility of Disney World’s Free Dining promotion being extended into September 2011.

…[the] discount is an extension of free dining, through September 2011. This comes with a considerable number of blackout dates, including Spring Break, Easter and most of Summer 2011.

If the discount comes to pass, it will be announced this Monday, August 16th.

Touring Plans isn’t often wrong about things like this, so I’d set your alarm for “early” on Monday just in case.

Note: According to Mousesavers.com, 2011 Free Dining is already available for guests from the UK.

There are two other potential discounts in the rumor mill; read more about them on Touring Plans.

Dining Planning for Christmas in Disney

The holidays in Disney Parks are an incredibly magical time, and because we’re well into the Disney World dining planning window for folks who are headed to Orlando during the holiday season I wanted to add a few resources to the planning sessions!

Where to Eat

Disney holiday menus will always feature special treats! At the request of several readers, I did a quick poll of our facebook fans and twitter followers to determine the answer to this question, “If you could dine at one Disney World restaurant for your holiday dinner, where would you go?” I was quickly rewarded with some fantastic answers! Here are some of the most popular responses:

Liberty Tree Tavern
This location wins with our readers for Thanksgiving, and it was an overwhelmingly popular choice for Christmas as well. Most readers indicated that the cozy atmosphere at Liberty Tree Tavern and the traditional holiday dinner fare is what would bring them here.

Liberty Tree Tavern Pot Roast

‘Ohana
Mele Kalikimaka! ‘Ohana was tied for first place with Liberty Tree Tavern, so clearly DFB readers share my affinity for the islands! :-) After growing up in the snowy tundra of western New York State, Hawai’i sounds pretty good as a Christmas destination right about now! Plus, this location has [Read more…]

No Park Tickets? No Reservation? No Problem!

The main complaint I hear regarding the re-instated 180-day window for Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations is that it’s impossible to get a seat in a restaurant “on a whim.” I wanted to address that concern and add another challenge: what if you don’t have park tickets, either?

I thought it’d be fun to tackle this situation and suggest a few spots in both Disney World and Disneyland for those who find themselves in this “pickle!”

Beaches and Cream Beef Sandwich Au Jus

Walt Disney World

Nope! I’m not kidding. It doesn’t have to be a hassle to find a good, table-service meal in Disney World — even when you don’t have a reservation or a park ticket! Here are four of my favorite go-to locations at all different price points:

Beaches and Cream $
Welcome back to the 1950’s soda shoppe! Beaches and Cream is located at Disney’s Beach Club Resort and doesn’t even take reservations, so you won’t ever run into the no ADR problem! This spot serves simple, but delicious, [Read more…]

Snack Series: Disney World’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream Cones

We’ve talked about ice cream sundaes and we’ve talked about milkshakes, but now it’s time to devote the day to ice cream cones! Honestly, there’s nothing like that first taste of a true, hand-scooped ice cream cone in a favorite theme park, and here are my four favorite places to get one:

Mickey Ice Cream Cone

Hollywood Scoops: Disney’s Hollywood Studios
This cheerful ice cream spot at the end of Sunset Boulevard sits at the base of the Tower of Terror and next to the entrance to Rock n Roller Coaster. It’s Art Deco styling in mint green, blue, and pink will have you thinking [Read more…]

First Look! Epcot Via Napoli Pictures

Hey all! As we reported, Monday was Via Napoli‘s first day open to walk-in guests, and — lucky us — we got some pics from some wonderful DFB readers! Check out these fantastic photos:

First, a few external shots. You can see that Via Napoli has a completely different “look and feel” from the rest of the Italy pavilion. It’s much more “movie-set” than what you see to the right and left.

How Via Napoli Fits In With The Rest of Italy

A Close Up Shot of the Exterior

Lots of Folks In and Out of Italy Today

Heading inside, you’re greeted by a large lobby and a massive check-in desk. You can see the whole restaurant through the windows of the lobby, and the decor and themeing are colorful as well as light and “airy.” It feels somewhat more like “farmhouse” Italy with a contemporary twist; the brightness of the restaurants, high ceilings, and accent colors remind me a lot of Naples in Disneyland, a sister restaurant to Via Napoli run by the same company — The Patina Group.

Check In Area

Lobby Chandelier

Lobby Tile

Lobby Tile Close Up

Servers

From here, you enter into the expanse of the restaurant proper. To your right, you’ll find a room covered in an “aged” fresco depicting nature scenes, trees, grasses, and blue sky. In the center of this part of the restaurant, you’ll find acqua fresca containers holding strawberry, lemon, and blood orange flavors. Outside some double doors is an [Read more…]

Review: Portobello Restaurant

Located in Downtown Disney, Portobello (formerly the Portobello Yacht Club) is currently in an upswing. Consulting Chef Tony Mantuano — you’ve seen him on Top Chef Masters — has renovated the menu into a short, but delicious list of rustic, hearty Italian trattoria food.

Atmosphere

While simple, the decor offers a neutral and natural setting for a delicious meal. Unlike the more themed restaurants on Disney property, this one seems to prefer that we [Read more…]

Wishes Dessert Party Extended Through December 2010

Our Goodies at the Wishes Dessert Party

Great news! The Wishes Dessert Party (formerly booking only through August) is now taking bookings through December 29th.

The Wishes dessert party is an exclusive event held at the Tomorrowland Terrace in Disney’s World’s Magic Kingdom. It offers ticketed guests a buffet of delicious desserts and a great view of the Wishes nighttime fireworks.

Click here to see my Wishes Dessert Party review and photographs of all of the desserts.

Call 407-WDW-Dine to book your party tickets. Parties sell out fast, so call soon!

Thanks to Angie for the news!