2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Details

Details are trickling out about the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival!

Epcot Food and Wine Festival

To book any and all activities and events, reservations open on August 11 at 7:00AM. Call 407-WDW-FEST (939-3378). Theme park admission is usually required, along with a reservation and extra payment for the event.

Check out the Disney Food and Wine Festival Page for info and more updates.

Culinary Adventures — Signature Dining Experiences
Celebrity chefs pair up with Walt Disney World restaurant big cheeses to develop a 5-course meal. Schedule and celebrity chefs include:

10/1 6:30 p.m. Jiko–The Cooking Place — Suvir Saran
10/1 7:00 p.m. Portobello Italian Trattoria — Tony Mantuano
10/13 6:15 p.m. Ragland Road — Kevin Dundon
10/15 5:30 p.m. Flying Fish Café — Tim Keating
10/16 6:30 p.m. bluezoo — Todd English
10/22 6:30 p.m. The Wave — Frank Brough
10/25 6:30 p.m. Victoria & Albert’s — Scott Hunnel
10/29 6:30 p.m. California Grill — Brian Piasecki
10/30 6:30 p.m. Wonders Retreat — Jean Claude Boisset vs. Jean Charles Boisset Wines
11/5 6:30 p.m. Cítricos — Phillip Ponticelli

Price: $100.00-$375.00 per person, plus tax. Gratuity included. Theme park admission is not required.

Food and Wine Pairing Meals
An old favorite returns.

Saturdays, 2:30–4:00 p.m. — Tutto Italia Ristorante
Mondays, 3:30–5:00 p.m. — Tokyo Dining
Tuesdays, 3:30–5:00 p.m. — Restaurant Marrakesh

Price: $55.00 per person, plus tax. Gratuity included. Theme park admission is required.

Mexico Tequila Tastings
A NEW addition!
La Cava del Tequila, Mexico Pavilion

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 3:00 p.m.

Price: $35.00 per person, plus tax. Gratuity included. Theme park admission is required.

[Read more…]

Online Dining Reservations (ADR) Launched at Disney World!

Hey all! Just heard (6-26-09) that the Disney system is cancelling double booked time slots. Would love to hear your experiences!

You can now make your Disney World dining reservations online!

Disney has integrated the online ADR option into its restaurants section, so just click on your preferred restaurant and book the reservation. Here’s an example for Yak and Yeti.

Here’s a screen-shot of the system:

Online ADR Screenshot

Online ADR Screenshot

Here’s what you see when the system finds a reservation for the time and restaurant you requested (note that they also give you other options to choose from). I like that, because I signed into the system and Disney knows I’m an Annual Passholder, they tell me what discount I can get with that perk:

Found Reservation During Time Requested

Found Reservation During Time Requested

And what you see when your reservation request is NOT available. Again, they give you other options:

What You See When The Requested Reservation is NOT Available

What You See When The Requested Reservation is NOT Available

Once you’ve got your online ADRs booked, you’re taken to the Shopping Cart screen. This gives specific instructions at the top, then lays out all of your ADRs. You are now welcome to add dietary and other requests:

Shopping Cart Screen

Shopping Cart Screen

Dietary Requests Screen looks like this:

Dietary Requests Screen

Dietary Requests Screen

Other Requests Screen looks like this:

Other Requests Screen

Other Requests Screen

Once your ADR is confirmed, you get this screen:

Confirmation Screen

Confirmation Screen

Once confirmed, the system will send you an email about your reservations. If you need to cancel a reservation, simply log back into the system, pull up your reservations, and cancel according to confirmation number.

NOTE: If you book two reservations for the same time, you get the following screen warning you of your error. Disney does not make you confirm that the reservations are for two different parties, however. Just heard (6-26-09) that the Disney system is cancelling double booked time slots. Would love to hear your experiences!

If You Book Two Reservations for the Same Time...

If You Book Two Reservations for the Same Time...

I shall investigate further! Until then, book away! Send your reviews of the system to webmaster@disneyfoodblog.com and I’ll post them—surely they’ll be helpful to other planners.

Thanks to Touringplans.com for the info!

Note–You can now make online reservations at The Diamond Horseshoe for the period of August 16th through October 3rd (dinner will be table-service, all-you-can-eat).

ONLINE ADR SYSTEM REVIEWS FROM AROUND THE WEB
@cherylp3 twittered that the system didn’t work very well for her in the Safari browser. Also confirmed that, if you log in, the system sends a confirmation email.
@gdpinvestigator twittered that the system took a bit longer than he’d like, and that you could likely make ADRs quicker by calling.

Free Dining at Walt Disney World–The Pros and Cons

The pros and cons of this offer are different for everyone, so I thought I’d take a minute to give you my specific “set of learnings” from my previous free dining experiences:

  1. Free dining means I get to use up all of my table service credits in three days by eating at California Grill every night
  2. Free dining means that Yachtsman Steakhouse stops serving Ribeye because it takes up too much space on the grill
  3. Free dining means I leave for the airport with about 20 bottles of water because I wasn’t able to use all of my snack credits (blame California Grill)
  4. Free dining means I get to discover that Casey’s Corner hot dogs and french fries are the best hot dogs and french fries in Disney World, and that’s that.
  5. Free dining means I should leave more tummy room to use snack credits on Dole Whips!
  6. Free dining means I have to book my advanced dining reservations even earlier than before!
  7. Free dining means that the ghost town that was September in Disney World has now turned into a literal free-for-all! Use fastpass!
  8. HAVE FUN!

Tusker House Breakfast (or…Duck a l’Harambe)

I hadn’t had Tusker House breakfast in years. I had great memories of going to the little counter-service eatery right after the park opened, getting my breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, shredded potatoes, and a biscuit, and sitting out at one of the tables, lazily watching commando dads and exhausted kids taking “monster steps” toward the Kilimanjaro Safari queue line. Sigh. Those were lovely mornings.

The Duck of the Hour

The Duck of the Hour

No sooner had I developed a routine, however, when Disney pulled the rug out from under me and established Tusker House as a table-service buffet rather than my beloved counter-service stop. They moved the Duck Breakfast there, too–no longer dubbing it “Donald’s Breakfast-o-saurus,” as was it’s name when hosted by Dino-land’s Restaurant-o-saurus, but “Donald’s Safari Breakfast,” implying its new home next to the Kilimanjaro Safari ride.

Tusker House Buffet Area

Tusker House Buffet Area

Now, don’t get me wrong; I love ducks as much as the next guy. And I love having breakfast with ducks…and mice, and dogs, and chipmunks, too. But I was a little perturbed that my slow, lazy, relaxing Tusker House breakfast was about to be turned into a typical loud, crazy, take-a-buzzer-and-hope-to-get-a-seat-within-an-hour character buffet meal.

Oatmeal and Mealie Pap

Oatmeal and Mealie Pap

Luckily, my first experience at Donald’s Safari Breakfast was a good one. We were seated after only about a 10 minute wait, and despite the hoarde of cheerleaders occupying an entire section of the restaurant, we were waited on quickly and efficiently and were doted upon by the characters twice during our hour in the restaurant.

Beef Bobotie, Veggie Quiche, Coconut Sweet Potato Casserole

Beef Bobotie, Veggie Quiche, Coconut Sweet Potato Casserole

The “complimentary” Jungle Juice was also a considerably successful attempt to brighten my experience (I LOVE that stuff!).

Jungle Juice

Jungle Juice

Tusker House is serving some fun, ethnic breakfast items along with the standards, and the massive size of the restaurant keeps the crowds from being unbearable. I think I’ll consider it a must-do character breakfast from here on out–alongside our favorite Crystal Palace!

Go! Enjoy! And say Hello to the duck for me!

Getting It Your Way

Disney is on a customization kick. You can get customized t-shirts, customized park tickets, customized dining plans…you can even customize your Mickey Ear Hats now!

So this is why I insist I should be able to customize my meals as well! I’m one of those picky eaters who never orders directly off the menu. I’m always adding here, substituting there…it’s likely very annoying, yet oddly commonplace for the restaurant waitstaff to have to deal with vacationers like me.

The Perfect Sundae

The Perfect Sundae

But Disney CMs overall are well-trained to endure crazies like myself, and make me feel entirely comfortable to customize my meals willy-nilly. One of my favorite places to do this is Beaches and Cream, where they’ll gladly create for me my very own dessert creation! This is a ginormous brownie topped with ice cream, hot fudge, and peanut butter. C’mon. You know you want it!

Beaches and Cream Counter

Beaches and Cream Counter

Beaches and Cream is located at Disney’s Beach Club resort, in the Epcot resort area. There are only a few tables in this ice cream parlor (which also serves burgers, hot dogs, and the like), and they don’t take reservations, so arrive during off-hours to cut your wait. Open 11am-11pm.

And don’t forget to order the famous Kitchen Sink, made with every flavor of ice cream, topping, and candy they have in the joint and topped with a whole can of whipped cream!

Kitchen Sink (c Rough Guides)

Kitchen Sink (c Rough Guides)

Butterscotch Sundae

Butterscotch Sundae

“Book Early” Series: Le Cellier

Le Cellier

Le Cellier

Lots of folks just glide right by the large, wrought-iron gate leading to the beautiful replica of Vancouver’s Victoria Gardens in Epcot’s Canada Pavilion. They figure it’s just a garden, of which there are MANY in Disney World, so why stop to gawk when you could move on to Soarin’?

Breadsticks

Breadsticks

Le Cellier, that’s why. French for “the cellar,” Le Cellier is the Canada Pavilion’s table-service steakhouse restaurant that’s known for its filet with mushroom risotto,

Cheddar Cheese Soup

Cheddar Cheese Soup

cheddar cheese and Moosehead Beer soup, and delicious breads. Le Cellier has been on top for a while now, and quality and service haven’t seemed to suffer for the many years I’ve been dining there. It’s dark, cellar-like dining room provides plenty of cover for Disney big-wigs who have been rumored to hold business meetings on the premises.

Sausage and Corn Polenta

Sausage and Corn Polenta

Le Cellier is part of our “Book Early” Series, because it’s practically impossible to get a dinner reservation here, and only slightly more possible to get a lunch reservation.

Filet with Mushroom Risotto

Filet with Mushroom Risotto

The place is booked solid six months in
advance, and, in my opinion, Le Cellier could easily pay an extra cast member full-time wages to turn away potential walk-in diners.

When you do get a seat, indulge in that Cheddar Cheese soup, the new sausage and corn appetizer, and the lovely filet mignon (though we like the good ol’ burger, served with black diamond cheddar, just as much). If you still have room

Burger and Fries

Burger and Fries

for dessert the maple creme brulee is wonderful, but I tend to grab the seasonal cobbler most of the time!

Disney + Food = Happiness

We all love pictures, so I’ll post as many as I can. PLEASE send in yours as well–webmaster@disneyfoodblog.com–and be sure to let me know how to credit your work in the blog!

My favorite thing to do in Disney World is eat. And you should admit right now that you love it, too. I don’t know about you, but my Disney Vacation starts with restaurant planning, and I’ll take any opinions I can get (especially if there are pictures attached to the opinions!).

'Ohana Barbeque

'Ohana Barbeque

Here’s hoping that this blog will give you a little “taste” of what’s available for your tummies at Walt Disney World. Whether you’re eating table-service (where a waiter brings your food) or counter service (as in: fast food), there are high-brow, low-brow, hoity toity, and down home options. Whatever type of food you want, you can likely get it (or something close to it) at Disney World.