Tips from the DFB Guide: Healthier Options in Walt Disney World

Many of us regard a trip to Walt Disney World as an opportunity to take a break from healthy eating, and counting calories, carbs, etc.

dfb2015_guide_3d

But sometimes, you don’t necessarily want to check nutritional discipline at the Purple Gates.

You may think that healthy eating at Walt Disney World is an oxymoron. But more and more, that’s simply not so.

Sure, you can indulge to your heart’s content. But whether you’re looking to sub out just one meal or snack a day for a health-savvy option, or you plan to stick to your guns in the nutrition department while you’re amidst the magic, we have some great tips for finding healthy and tasty options at Walt Disney World!

They come courtesy of the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2015! And if you find these tips to be helpful, pick up your copy of the Guide today for $4 off using code “2015” right here!

Head for the Grab and Go

Not too long ago, Disney World was a sea of hamburgers, fries, and soda pop. And some people think that’s what it STILL is.

But, honestly, things have changed.

Disney Grab and Go Healthy Options

Disney Grab and Go Healthy Options

Sure, you still have lots and lots of choices in the burger genre. But they’ve definitely expanded beyond the fast food mentality when it comes to quick eating options.

My best tip for eating healthy — and this goes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time — is to head for the Grab and Go section.

Sunshine Seasons Fruit and Cheese Plate

Sunshine Seasons Fruit and Cheese Plate

You’ll spy Grab and Go spots in lots of places. There are always robust choices in the Resorts. There, you’ll find everything from prepared salads, sandwiches made with lean meats, and even sushi. Check out Landscape of Flavors at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort for a great selection! And when it comes to a Park option, Sunshine Seasons offers choices that can’t be beat.

Grab and Go Sushi

Grab and Go Sushi at Landscape of Flavors

So if you have the resolve to pass the pizza and burgers by, a healthy meal is totally in your grasp!

Be Mindful About Restaurant Choices

If you have healthy eating in mind, then you probably shouldn’t pencil in a counter service lunch at Casey’s Corner. ;-)

Don’t get me wrong — Corn Dog Nuggets and Plastic Cheese are totally boss. But let’s face it — planning ahead to eat at a restaurant that offers lots of fresh choices and grilled options is probably a better idea when you’re trying to stay on the healthy bandwagon.

Fortunately, better-for-you options abound at Walt Disney World. One of my favorite spots to grab a healthy counter service lunch is Tamu Tamu Refreshments at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You can’t go wrong with their Chicken or Vegetable Curry.

Tamu Tamu Vegetarian Curry

Tamu Tamu Vegetarian Curry

Another option that I can recommend is the Japan Pavilion at Epcot. Whether you choose Miso Soup from Kabuki Cafe, a counter service meal at Katsura Grill, or you opt for [Read more…]

Best Disneyland Restaurants for First Timers

Okay. So I tried to come up with the Top Three Disneyland Restaurants for First Timers. But there was no way I could limit my picks to just three. So then, I said, hey, let’s try for the Top Five.

Even still.

So in the end, I cut myself off at Eight. :-)

Disneyland's Matterhorn

Matterhorn!

There is so much good food in Disneyland. Really, it was super hard not to just give you a list of pretty much every restaurant there, and call it a day.

But if you must narrow it down, these are the restaurants that I love. These are the spots that I’d go to every single time if I could. (And mostly, I do.)

Heading to Disneyland, or just dreaming about a pilgrimage there? Check out my picks for the places you have to visit during your very first trip. Whether you’re looking for a meal or a snack, you can’t go wrong with putting these spots on your list.

Cafe Orleans

If I could only eat at one spot in Disneyland for the rest of my life, I’m fairly sure that spot would be Cafe Orleans. Located on New Orleans Square, it’s offers some of the beautiful patio seating that Disneyland is known for.

Outdoor Patio at Cafe Orleans

Outdoor Patio at Cafe Orleans

But I’m going to be honest — Cafe Orleans claims the distinction of offering not just one or two, but three of my favorite Disneyland dishes. (And that’s pretty much all I ever eat there.) First, when you visit here, I insist you order the Pommes Frites. Tossed with Garlic and Parmesan, they’re served with a Cajun Remoulade ramekin. I also insist you order TWO remoulades. At least. Per person.

Cafe Orleans Pommes Frites

Cafe Orleans Pommes Frites

While I love their gumbo here as well, it’s the Monte Cristo Sandwich that I can’t live without. Pockets of bread layered with Ham, Turkey, and Swiss Cheese are lightly battered and deep-fried. Served with Berry Puree for dipping, this is pretty much something everyone should eat at least once in life.

Disneyland's Famous Monte Cristo

Monte Cristo at Cafe Orleans

Not a meat-eater? There’s also an All-Cheese Version. No. Seriously. There is.

Behold. The Three-Cheese Monte Cristo. Did I mention the Double Creme Brie?

Three-Cheese Monte Cristo at Disneyland's Cafe New Orleans

Three-Cheese Monte Cristo at Disneyland’s Cafe New Orleans

But save room for dessert — because you can’t pass on the Mickey Beignets served with Dipping Sauces.

Mickey Beignets with Sauces

Mickey Beignets with Sauces

Have this meal just once, and you can say “I’ve been to Disneyland” properly as far as I’m concerned.

Blue Bayou

But Cafe Orleans has an older, slightly more posh sister — Blue Bayou. And while I usually skip it in favor of Cafe Orleans, if you’re visiting the ‘Land for the first time, you really need to experience this place.

Because more than anything, Blue Bayou is an experience; it’s as much an attraction as a restaurant.

Blue Bayou Atmosphere

Blue Bayou Atmosphere

Because the restaurant is fashioned to look like a verandah on a river’s edge. Look below you into the water, and you see travelers, en route to explore the mysteries of the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Honestly, the food is less important here to me than the “view.” I have enjoyed the New Orleans Signature Gumbo. And in this setting, it’s even better.

New Orleans Signature Gumbo

New Orleans Signature Gumbo

And yep, to be honest, I like to order the Monte Cristo here, too!

Le Special de  Monte Cristo Sandwich

Le Special de Monte Cristo Sandwich

It’s a little fancier (and more expensive), but just as delicious.

Napa Rose

Some of my Disneyland dining choices are obviously sentimental; either I love the restaurant, the food, or both. But it’s not like they’re the tip-top of the culinary pyramid or anything. But then, there’s Napa Rose.

I Love the Napa Rose Outdoor Lounge Area

Start Your Napa Rose Adventure With a Glass of Wine on the Outside Patio

Nestled inside Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, Napa Rose stands as a testament to fine California fusion cuisine, inspired by fresh farm-to-market ingredients.

Chef Sutton's Chili Base

Chef Sutton’s Chili Base — Even Base Ingredients are Created in House From Scratch

Chef Andrew Sutton is in charge here, and his menus make use of the freshest items. Prepare to be [Read more…]

News! Pineapple Lanai Opens at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (Dole Whip!!)

Well, when we visited the newly refurbished Captain Cook’s at the Polynesian Village Resort, we said we’d be back soon… and here we are, because the brand new Pineapple Lanai is now open!

Pineapple Lanai sign

Pineapple Lanai sign

So, why is Pineapple Lanai so important? It’s the new home to Dole Whip at the Polynesian! (For anyone unfamiliar with this beloved treat, check out a little Dole Whip info here. Then be sure to schedule some of your own personal snacking research on this pineapple soft serve — you’ll be glad you did!)

Pineapple and Vanilla Swirl Dole Whip in Tiki Bowl

Pineapple and Vanilla Swirl Dole Whip in Tiki Bowl

We’d love to take you on a quick tour of this new space.

Atmosphere

You’ll find Pineapple Lanai on [Read more…]

“The Best Thing I Ever Ate in Disney!” Snacks (Vol. II)

We’re back with another installment in The Best Thing I Ever Ate in Disney series!

Snacks are a big deal around here. Heck, we plan entire events and crawls around them! And it’s clear Disney thinks snacking is where it’s at, too. We’re seeing more and more small plates restaurants open. Spots like Tutto Gusto, Spice Road Table, and The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge cater to the grazing crowd.

Today, we’re talking about some of our favorite snacks that we enjoy nearly every time we visit Walt Disney World or Disneyland. Dig out your stretchy pants, or plan to do an extra lap on the treadmill, and let’s do this!

Cheshire Cake Cup

Who doesn’t love a ginormous cupcake? You know I’m a big fan of these edible works of art. But at the end of the day, I pretty much see them as frosting delivery systems. So you can imagine my delight when I got wind of Cake Cups at Magic Kingdom’s Cheshire Cafe!

Layers of alternating cake and frosting make a parfait-style dessert that’s hard to resist.

Cheshire Cake Cup at Cheshire Cafe

Cheshire Cake Cup at Cheshire Cafe

I know, I know. I talk about these a lot. But I figure if there’s something I NEVER miss when I’m at the Magic Kingdom, I should take every opportunity to suggest it so you don’t miss it either. ;-)

Frosting!!

Frosting!!

Two new, equally gorgeous varieties have recently made an appearance — White Rabbit and Queen of Hearts versions! Expanding the cake cup line? We are ALL IN.

White Chocolate Rabbit and Queen of Hearts Strawberry Shortcake Cake Cups

White Chocolate Rabbit and Queen of Hearts Strawberry Shortcake Cake Cups

These are the closest snacks I’ve found to them just giving me a bowl of frosting and a spoon, soooooo, yeah.

Dole Whip

Next up is one of my favorite Disney snacks of all time, the classic Dole Whip.

Oh, sure, you have your cult classics. Your Turkey Legs. Your Mickey Bars. And they’re great. But if there’s one snack I must have every time I’m at either Disneyland (umbrellas and cherries!!!!) or Walt Disney World, it’s some variety of Dole Whip.

This creamy pineapple-flavored soft serve made news here on Disney Food Blog for a different reason last year, when we brought you word not of what it is — but what it isn’t! Seems that our favorite Disney chilly treat is now Vegan, Dairy Free, and Gluten Free!

Dole Whip Float at Disneyland's Tiki Juice Bar

Dole Whip Float at Disneyland’s Tiki Juice Bar — My Favorite!

So if you’re looking to indulge in a creamy, delicious snack, but [Read more…]

Top 7 Must-Try Disneyland Frozen Treats

Summer is right around the corner!!

Top 7 Disney Frozen Treats

And when the mercury climbs, there’s no better way to cool off at Disney than with one of their top-notch frozen treats!

But how do you choose just one??? Well, let’s be honest. We don’t. We choose, you know, seven.

Today, we’re taking a look at a few of our favorites, all in the name of helping you decide! Aren’t we nice like that? I don’t know about you, but I’m already feeling refreshed!

Hand-Dipped Ice Cream Bars at Clarabelle’s

One of my favorite frozen treat genres is the ice cream bar. After all, there are several foods with sticks on this list!

But one of the best, hands down, is the Make Your Own Ice Cream Bar at Clarabelle’s in Disney California Adventure.

Choose your Bar — Vanilla, Chocolate, or Mixed Berry Sorbet. And then choose your Dip from Milk or Dark Chocolate. After that, play with toppings by adding one, or all of them! And you walk out with the ice cream bar of your dreams.

Hand Dipped Ice Cream Bar -- You Create It!

Hand Dipped Ice Cream Bar — You Create It!

The only way they could improve on the concept is by offering [Read more…]

Review: Tiki Juice Bar (and Dole Whip!) in Disneyland

Indulge me for a moment as we head over to Disneyland and talk Dole Whips. The refreshing, mysteriously creamy frozen pineapple soft serve is one of the treats that I enjoy at some point during every single trip to Disney, regardless of which coast I happen to be visiting.

But there’s just something even more special about it when you can score your Dole Whip fix from the Tiki Juice Bar in Disneyland.

I mean, there’s no “original” here. Dole’s partnership started with Disney after both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom were opened, and I remember the Dole logo from my earliest trips to Disney World, too.

Still, with the Tiki Juice Bar as a fixture and the fact that it’s actually part of the Enchanted Tiki Room Attraction — the original tie-in for the Disney-Dole partnership — how could you go wrong?

And if you haven’t had the pleasure of a Disneyland Dole Whip, you’re in for another surprise. Let’s take a look!

Atmosphere

The Tiki Juice Bar is an open-air, counter service kiosk, located adjacent to the Enchanted Tiki Room in Disneyland’s Adventureland. In fact, it’s part of the the Tiki Room’s pre-show. That’s one of my favorite parts of visiting!

Tiki Juice Bar

And there are some seriously fun touches here. This tiki helps to hold up the corner of the hut, fittingly. I love the little tiny guy, don’t you?

Tiki at the Tiki Juice Bar!

Look around, and you see lots of ways that the Dole logo and name are worked into the decor. This bamboo-framed print of a [Read more…]

You Might Be a Disney Food Fan If…

We here at DFB we welcome and embrace our fellow Disney Food Lovers!

But sometimes you might not necessarily know when you’ve joined our ranks! So we’ve created this simple list of ways to recognize when you’ve crossed over to the dark side. ;-)

Do you fit any of these criteria? I can’t wait to hear from you about what your Disney Food Fan qualifications might be!

Let us know in the comments below what makes YOU a TRUE Disney Food Fan!

Here are a few of our favorites…

1. “No Be Our Guest reservation available? Time to change our flights.”

Yes. It happens. And don’t pretend you haven’t thought about it.

Be Our Guest Restaurant!

2. Your favorite t-shirt says “I ❤ School Bread“.

Yes. Yes it does.

3. Your “friends” who don’t know what a Citrus Swirl is have now been downgraded to acquaintances.

Unacceptable.

Citrus Swirl

4. You have been known to enjoy both the Grand Marnier Slush and the Grey Goose Slush…at the same time.

Who hasn’t?

Grand Marnier and Grey Goose Slushes in Epcot's France Pavilion.

5. Rides? What rides?

So much [Read more…]

Ten Best Frozen Drinks in Disney World

It’s getting hot out there, guys!

And sometimes, when it feels like it’s 100 degrees and you’re sweltering in line, you need more than a cold drink. You need a frozen drink!

Fortunately, there are lots of palate-pleasing options found in all corners of Disney World. And we’ve got great options whether you’d like to go alocholic or non-alcoholic! Refreshment is just a menu choice away…

Today, we’re taking a closer look at our very favorites!

Frozen Lemonade

Sweet-tart and chilly, Frozen Lemonade calls to mind seaside treats from our favorite resort towns. And there’s nothing like it for reviving you on a super hot, sticky Florida day.

The secret is in the balance. A too-sweet treat can leave you feeling not so great while you’re standing in the bright sun. That little kick of sour rounds out the flavors and makes the beverage a true refresher.

Raspberry Lemonade Slush at Magic Kingdom

If you’re a lover of frozen lemonade, I have great news for you: there are tons of different varieties to try around the parks and resorts! You could make your own personal frozen lemonade crawl. (Hey! That’s a great idea…)

One of our favorites is the Raspberry Lemonade Slush that you find at Magic Kingdom’s Cheshire Cafe, located on the outskirts of Fantasyland. You can find a similar drink across the castle hub at Sunshine Tree Terrace in Adventureland. And if you’re looking for frozen lemonade in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you can find an awesome, slurpee-type version at Herbie’s Drive-In.

If you prefer your frozen lemonade with a little kick, one of our favorite adult versions is available at Animal Kingdom’s Dino Diner Snacks. The Frozen Bacardi Raspberry Rum Lemonade has been inspiring random cravings for me ever since I tried it. :-)

Frozen Bacardi Raspberry Rum Lemonade at Animal Kingdom's Dino Diner

Check out other locations to score frozen lemonade slushes when you’re parched in the parks.

Dole Whip Float

Part beverage, part Dole Whip soft serve, this is one of Disney’s classic must-eat treats! The Dole Whip Float combines sweet-tart soft serve pineapple goodness with pineapple juice to provide one of the most refreshing icy drinks in the Kingdom.

Breakfast of Champions!

You CAN get this with vanilla or orange dole whip as well — either choice will cut the tartness a bit. But I prefer pineapple-on-pineapple, myself! Find this great treat at Aloha Isle in Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland.

Ice Cream Martinis

Looking for a new entry on your Drinking Around the World card? THE newest frozen drink concoction in Disney World can be found — where else? — World Showcase!

Head to Epcot’s newest eatery, L’Artisan des Glaces in the France Pavilion for the beautiful and crave-inspiring Ice Cream Martini.

Ice Cream Martini from L'Artisan des Glaces in Epcot's France Pavilion

The drink-sundae fusion is made by combining [Read more…]

My Favorite Food Kiosks at Walt Disney World! What Are Yours?

I get lots of emails and questions about the food I personally love in Disney World, and today I’m sharing some of my favorite Disney Food Kiosks!

You know the ones — those cute little structures that are almost restaurants, but not quite? Here are a few of the BIGGEST TASTES you can get at the smallest places in Disney World! :-)

I hope you’ll share some of your favorites in the comments, too!

Aloha Isle

There is no way I could have a list of favorite kiosks without putting Magic Kingdom’s Aloha Isle right up front! The welcoming little stand, located in Adventureland, is home to one of Disney’s most beloved treats, after all.

Aloha Isle at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

That’s right — we’re talking Dole Whips!

And whether you like yours in float form, swirled with vanilla, or are you’re a purist, most Disney fans don’t consider their trip complete until they’ve made at least one stop here.

Dole Whip Float! A Must-Eat snack for every Disney guest.

As for me, I prefer about one visit to Aloha Isle for each day I’m at Disney. :-) No kidding, even though I’m usually eating non-stop on every Disney trip, this is one snack I never skip.

Fife and Drum

At the midway point while you’re walking around Epcot’s World Showcase, you’ll encounter another of our favorite stops, Fife and Drum.

This unassuming little stand looks like just another drink stop, but be sure to swing by and check out the menu for some seriously fun eats. Fife and Drum is home to some items you won’t find anyplace else! But there are not-to-be missed classics here as well, like the cult favorite Smoked Turkey Legs.

Fife and Drum Tavern

If you’re a pretzel fan, you have three different varieties to choose from. The stuffed Jalapeno Cheese Pretzel has a great spicy kick! And you’ll also find the sweet Cream Cheese Pretzel (decadent!) and the Mickey Soft Pretzel (cute!) here, too. This is one of the few places in Disney World to find all of these kinds of pretzels sold in one spot.

Jalapeno Cheese Pretzel!

There are also some amazingly tasty drinks here as well. We’ve told you about the Jim Beam Red Stag Lemonade, a wonderful little frozen drink with a punch, thanks to black cherry-flavored bourbon.

You can get your root beer float fix here, too, made with vanilla soft serve.

Root Beer Float

But the piece de resistance of slushies can also be found in this humble spot: I give you the American Dream! This incredible frozen drink combines [Read more…]

UPDATE!: The Original DFB Jungle Juice Float in Animal Kingdom

I dreamed up the Jungle Juice Float on a recent trip to Disney World! And today, we bring you the first-ever taste test provided by guest author Julie B.! Here’s what she has to say…

I thought I’d give it a whirl with soft serve at Camp Minnie Mickey to recreate the Dole Whip style! But AJ was right to head to a closer ice cream cart (my frozen juice was a little thawed by the time I made it just to Camp Minnie-Mickey).

Jungle Juice!

The Float was quite delicious! But the soft serve was very vanilla-y, so it overpowered the juice a little.

Soft Serve Ice Cream.

The nice thing about a Dole Whip float is that little pucker you get from the pineapple juice, but since this juice is [Read more…]