News! “Food Truck Park” Coming to Disney World’s Downtown Disney in Summer 2014

You’ve been watching us for months review the four new food trucks in Disney World’s Downtown Disney!

Disney Food Trucks Logo

Disney Food Trucks Logo

Disney stormed onto the trendy food truck scene as part of Downtown Disney’s makeover into Disney Springs, bringing World Showcase of Flavors, featuring goodies from the Epcot Food and Wine Festival and Epcot Flower and Garden Festival; Superstar Catering, bringing eats from Disney’s Hollywood Studios; Namaste Café, showcasing treats from Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge; and Fantasy Fare, a bright red delight bringing menu items from Disney’s Magic Kingdoms all over the world (including hand-dipped corn dogs from Disneyland)!

Time to line-up at Superstar Catering

Time to line-up at Superstar Catering

For the first few months, the trucks were found in various spots around Downtown Disney — and even in the Parks during particularly busy holiday periods. We haven’t been able to find a definitive schedule or location for them, in fact!

But maybe that’s changing! We recently spotted this sign in Downtown Disney!

Food Truck Park coming to Downtown Disney Orlando

Food Truck Park coming to Downtown Disney Orlando

Yep! Looks like the trucks may be [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland First Look: Starbucks Opens in Downtown Disney!

The walls are down and the doors are open! Disneyland’s Downtown Disney has just welcomed one of the most unique Starbucks stores in the nation.

Downtown Disney Welcomes Starbucks

Downtown Disney Welcomes Starbucks!

This LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified store is beyond gorgeous.  First off, you may be wondering what LEED is; I myself had to look it up to get some more information.

LEED certification encourages “green” building, using sustainable products in the construction of the building.  It also requires Energy Star performance ratings on appliances, lighting, machinery, etc.

Welcome to Starbucks Anaheim

Hand Painted “Welcome to Starbucks Anaheim, California” Mural

This Starbucks has all that and more. Let’s take a look inside!

Atmosphere

Both the interior and exterior of the store are lined with upcycled box car wood.  It has been sanded and stained to a beautiful golden brown color. You can actually see the holes where the bolts originally held the box cars together.

Starbucks Panoramic View

Other design elements include hand painted murals and a tree stump that was cut into a bench for seating.  Starbucks wanted to bring in hand crafted elements that compliment their hand crafted beverages.

Up-cycled Box Car Wood with Hand Painted Murals

Up-cycled Box Car Wood with Hand Painted Murals

More Box Car Wood

More Box Car Wood with Mural

The focal centerpiece of the store is a 9 panel LCD screen that features original content from the areas of the world that Starbucks sources their coffee.

9 Panel LCD Screen Featuring "Water Color" Images of Coffee Resources

9 Panel LCD Screen Featuring “Water Color” Images of Coffee Resources Used by Starbucks

The images have been modified to look as though they are watercolors, and change every minute or so.  The only other Starbucks in the nation to features this same screen is in New York’s Times Square location.

All Content on the LCD Screen is Original to Starbucks.

All Content on the LCD Screen is Original to Starbucks

All Content on the LCD Screen is Original to Starbucks

When designing the store, Starbucks knew that its visitors would be in the area expecting some Disney magic.  Looking to impress guests and spread some of their own pixie dust,  elements were added to this new store that have yet to be introduced to any other Starbucks location.

The main feature is the interactive digital chalkboard.  I immediately noticed this when I walked in the doors.  It does two different things. First, it acts as a drawing board allowing guests to use their fingers to write messages, draw pictures or play a fun game of tic tac toe.

about a game of Tic Tac Toe?

How about a game of Tic Tac Toe?

Of course I couldn’t resist trying it out for myself…

Disney Food Blog Was Here!

Disney Food Blog Was Here!

Second, it creates its own pictures using images it “sees” in front of it.

Sure enough, I watched for a few minutes and I noticed that the man sitting near it was all of a sudden featured in a chalk type drawing right there on the board.  Very cool!

Hey Guy! Look, you're on the screen!

Hey Guy! Look, you’re on the screen!

By the way — it has a disclosure right there on the wall stating that they are using scenes and people in that area of the store to create the unique chalkboard drawings, so you’ve been warned that you might be part of the artwork.

Video Disclosure

Video Disclosure

Above the barista work space, Starbucks has added a light up map featuring locations where they source their coffee.

Light Up Coffee Sourcing Map

Light Up Coffee Sourcing Map

Seating

This particular Starbucks has very little indoor seating.  In fact the only seating is really a few small benches and the round stools that can be seen in front of the interactive screen.

Indoor Seating

Indoor Seating

Instead, the seating was designed to be a patio experience; “alfresco” is what I was told specifically. The patio was built around a large pre-existing tree.  Not wanting to uproot this long time resident, Starbucks made it the focal point of the patio.

The seating around it is very inviting.  In fact, if it weren’t for the World of Disney being right next door, you might easily forget that you were just steps away from the Main Gates.  I can definitely see this area being at full capacity most, if not all of the time.  It’s a great spot to take a break.

"Alfresco" Seating

“Alfresco” Seating

Another element unique to this store is the living wall towards the back of the patio.  The wall features 1000 native plants and acts as a backdrop to more patio seating.

Living Wall with Patio Seating

Living Wall with Patio Seating

 Menu

In addition to their regular beverage menu, this particular Starbucks location has a “Starbucks Reserve”  menu.  They have a special reserve coffee bar that serves up some rare and exotic coffee blends that can not be found at most Starbucks locations.  The Reserve menu changes on a regular basis.

The Starbucks Reserve Coffee Bar: Serving Up Unique & Exotic Blends

The Starbucks Reserve Coffee Bar: Serving Up Unique & Exotic Blends

You can also find the familiar refrigerated cases that serve up prepackaged foods, snacks, bottled water, juice, milk and more.

Starbucks Refrigerator Case

Starbucks Refrigerator Case

Pastries and and treats can be found as well.

Starbucks Pastries

Starbucks Pastries

 Merchandise

This location has the typical Starbucks branded gear available for purchase. You can buy coffee, water bottles, cups, mugs, etc.

Starbucks Branded Merchandise

Starbucks Branded Merchandise

They also have a location-specific Orange County mug.

Starbucks Orange County Mug

Starbucks Orange County Mug

I was hoping to see some Starbucks/Disney colab merchandise, but alas it was no where in sight.  I did ask if it was in the works and the answer was, “We aren’t ruling out the possibility.”  So, basically, don’t hold your breath!

Grinds to Go
Reserve coffees can be purchased to take home.

Starbucks Reserve Coffees Available to Take Home

Starbucks Reserve Coffees Available to Take Home

And…. If you need some additional energy to go, you can grab boxes of VIA, tea or coffee to take with you.

VIA, Teas & Coffee for Purchase

VIA, Teas & Coffee for Purchase

Overall

Overall, I think that Starbucks did a great job designing a location that fits right in at the Happiest Place on Earth. The design elements are modern and playful, a perfect Disney fit.  I also love that it provides a great little spot for fueling up before a long day in the parks.  It’s also the perfect retreat if you need a break…

Just a few hours in and already a super long line.

Customers Gladly Welcoming Starbucks to Downtown Disney Anaheim

Customers Gladly Welcoming Starbucks to Downtown Disney, Anaheim

Welcome to Downtown Disney, Starbucks!

Have you had a chance to visit the new Starbucks in Downtown Disney?  If so, did you have a favorite design element? Did you try the Reserve coffees or play with the digital chalkboard? Let us know in the comments below.

Heather Sievers is the Disney Food Blog’s Dining in Disneyland columnist. See more of her columns here!

Review: Splitsville Luxury Lanes at Disney World’s Downtown Disney

Ready to get yer game on? We’re heading back to Splitsville Luxury Lanes in search of good eats and good times!

Splitsville Orlando just celebrated its first birthday this past December, so we were excited to experience it again now that it’s really settled in to Downtown Disney’s West Side.

Splitsville definitely changed the West Side landscape immediately upon its arrival, because this place is HUGE. Two floors with outdoor and indoor seating, five bars, a billiards area… oh, and the small matter of thirty bowling lanes!

Atmosphere

You can tell you’re in a festive place even before setting foot inside Splitsville’s doors. Music is always playing in the outdoor seating area, and it’s often provided by live musicians.

Splitsville outdoors

Splitsville outdoors

The other hint as to what’s going on here is the colorful display of bowling balls.

Splitsville Bowling Balls

Splitsville Bowling Balls

Do I bowl? Not really. Do I totally want one of these? You bet!

Mickey and Minnie Bowling Balls

Mickey and Minnie Bowling Balls

Upon entering the building, you immediately hear music and the sound of pins being downed by bowling balls. Because there is a LOT to take in right away, these signs directing you where to go for dining and/or bowling are especially helpful.

Splitsville entrance

Splitsville entrance

Splitsville entrance

Splitsville entrance

We headed left to the Dining Check-in and mentioned our Advanced Dining Reservation. Yes, Splitsville does take ADRs, and it’s nice to have one on a weekend, especially. But — thanks to the enormous size — it can be a great place to try to score a walk-in! We were seated right away (even though we arrived about 15 minutes in advance of our ADR), but we couldn’t resist taking a look around.

Colorful lockers and rows of bowling shoes remind you that this isn’t only a restaurant, my friends. It’s the highest end bowling alley dive you’ve ever been to.

Lockers at Splitsville

Lockers at Splitsville

Rows and Rows of Bowling Shoes are encountered when you walk into Splitsville

Rows and Rows of Bowling Shoes are encountered when you walk into Splitsville

As your eyes take in all there is to see – including the enormous escalator joining the first and second floors, the entire vibe is almost over stimulating. The fun and casual attitude of the staff, however, helps you to relax right away and feel at home.

Bowling Lanes at Splitsville

Bowling Lanes at Splitsville

There are nods all over the place to the [Read more…]

Tables in Wonderland Event! Splitsville Luxury Lanes Dine Around

Tables in Wonderland Members – this one’s for you! Announcing the Splitsville Luxury Lanes DINE AROUND!

Splitsville Logo Family 2012 v5

Splitsville in Downtown Disney

Splitsville in Downtown Disney

When:
Thursday, February 20, 2014
6:00-8:00pm

Where:
Splitsville Luxury Lanes in Downtown Disney’s West Side

Price:
$90.00 per person, including tax and gratuity

This special event will feature some of Splitsville’s finest foods (with paired beverages!).

Sushi at Splitsville

Sushi at Splitsville

Cheeseburger Slider

Cheeseburger Slider

It will also feature [Read more…]

Construction Update: Two Starbucks Locations Coming to Downtown Disney Orlando

As Downtown Disney begins its transformation in earnest into what will be Disney Springs, signs of change are popping up everywhere!

Disney Springs Artwork on construction walls

Disney Springs artwork on construction walls

Disney Springs Artwork on construction walls

Disney Springs artwork on construction walls

Disney Springs Artwork on construction walls

Disney Springs artwork on construction walls

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the two (that’s right… two) areas that are adding Starbucks locations for guests to grab their skinny half-calf extra hot no foam sugar-free vanilla lattes.

Starbucks arriving to Downtown Disney in the spring

Starbucks arriving at Downtown Disney in the spring

We thought we’d give you a glimpse of their future homes so you can know where you’ll be able to find your triple venti upside-down Caramel Macchiato after polishing off a Full Montague at Earl of Sandwich.

First up: Starbucks at the Marketplace. This location will be [Read more…]

News! and Review: The Smokehouse at House of Blues Opens in Orlando’s Downtown Disney

Last week we let you know that The Smokehouse, a Counter Service location at Downtown Disney’s House of Blues, was “Coming Soon.”

We’re happy to say that now it’s here, bringing BARBEQUE to the good people on the West Side of Downtown Disney! Let’s take a look at this new hangout!

Welcome to The Smokehouse!

Welcome to The Smokehouse!

Atmosphere

With the addition of The Smokehouse, House of Blues is practically a mini-complex! Everything that was previously part of House of Blues still exists: from Crossroads (the Table Service restaurant) to the box office and performance venue, and the merchandise store.

The Smokehouse across from Disney Quest

The Smokehouse across from Disney Quest

Coming from Cirque du Soleil, you’ll find Crossroads first on your left. Next comes the outdoor bar and new courtyard for The Smokehouse, then the venue, and finally the box office (tickets) and retail location. The Smokehouse juts out a bit in front of the courtyard.

Left to right: end of The Smokehouse, the venue, and the box office

Left to right: end of The Smokehouse, the venue, and the box office

Side view of The Smokehouse from the box office

Side view of The Smokehouse from the box office

Amid the assortment of artwork and wonderfully random sculptures in the outside area, The Smokehouse itself is rather simple, yet keeps with the rustic theme and feel of the area with its “tin” structure.

The building

The building

The sign on top tells you everything you need to know!

BBQ!

BBQ!

Guests are welcome to enjoy the ample seating in the courtyard behind the beautiful wrought-iron gates. It’s a great spot in the daytime, but I’m really looking forward to enjoying it in the evening when all the lights shine.

Wrought-Iron entrance into the courtyard

Wrought-Iron entrance into the courtyard

Seating... love the lights!

Seating… love the lights!

Courtyard seating

Courtyard seating

You’ll enjoy a bit more of the cool, unique art that this space [Read more…]

What’s New Around the World!

What’s new in regards to eats and treats in Disney World? What’s changed? Have any menu items bid us farewell? Read on to find out what has caught our eye lately!

Animal Kingdom

The Dawa Bar in Africa’s Harambe Village has moved and received a makeover! Check out the full scoop here.

Dawa Bar

Dawa Bar

And thanks to Avatarland, we bid adieu to the Camp Minnie-Mickey character greeting area. This space had two snack kiosks: one for funnel cakes and the other for hot dogs and pretzels.

Camp Minnie Mickey Kiosk

Camp Minnie Mickey Kiosk

You can still grab a terrific hot dog over at Restaurantosaurus… a Mac & Cheese Dog, to be precise! And those beloved Mickey Pretzels can be found in the Harambe Fruit Market (including the Jalapeno Cheese-stuffed Pretzel!).

Mr. Kamal’s (a kiosk devoted primarily to vegetarian selections) recently revamped the menu. Pick up samosas, falafel sammies, and hummus with veggies!

Mr. Kamal's Updated Menu

Mr. Kamal’s Updated Menu

It’s worth scoping out Bradley Falls (directly across from Mr. Kamal’s), to see if it is open on your visit. It’s typically open during busy days, and the most recent menu showed that the Edamame and Asian Noodle Salad are options there along with a brand new Thai Coconut Soup! Check out some of these [Read more…]

2013 Holiday Snacking Around the World!

Merry Christmas from DFB! It’s the most wonderful time of the year at Walt Disney World… and we’ve got the goodies to prove it!

Just take a look at some of your favorite snack stops around the World! From Magic Kingdom’s Big Top Treats and Main Street’s Confectionary, to Downtown Disney’s Candy Cauldron and Goofy’s Candy Company, to Sweet Spells at Hollywood Studios… signs of the season are everywhere :).

2013 Holiday Bakery Case

I’m loving these gorgeous Candy Apples, created to look like ornaments!

Candy Apple "Ornaments"

The merry Mickey and Minnie Candy Apples are back this year, too, as is the Snowman.

Holiday Minnie and Mickey Candy Apples

Holiday Candy Apples -- the full line-up!

Krispy Treats take a festive turn with Santa Hats… and how cute are the glittering marshmallow pom-poms?

Santa Krispy Treats

Even the pretzel rods and a few of the marshmallow wands have a touch of holiday spirit!

Pretzel Rods at Big Top Treats

Decorated Marshmallow Wands

The Cake Pop trend shows no signs of slowing down. Snowmen and Reindeer Cake Pops steal the show this year.

[Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: December 15, 2013

In this week’s news, we shared the arrival of TWO more food trucks at Downtown Disney Orlando. With Fantasy Fare and World Showcase of Flavors now serving from their mobile eateries, we have even more bites to taste-test on our next trip(s) to Walt Disney World! Are you wondering if the hand-dipped corn dogs lived up to their hype? Find out here!

Fantasy Fare Food Truck

Craving more news? You’ll want to click on the links below to find out more about Advance Dining Reservations at Beaches and Cream, holiday treats, and more.

Disney Food News

Of course, there’s more! Check out all the latest Disney Food News — even the stuff we don’t mention in posts on the blog! — on our Disney Food News Pin Board, including restaurant closures!

DFB Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other edible awesomeness — in or from Disney, share a photo with us on facebook or twitter so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

Reader Sherron tweeted “having this and grateful I have you to guide me. Thank you!” Yum; peppermint cupcakes at BoardWalk Bakery are delicious…and sparkly!!

Peppermint Cupcake at BoardWalk Bakery

Reader Jessica sent us this treat: a toffee brownie Mickey ear hat from Trolley Treats in Disney California Adventure. We lurve these!

Mickey Ear Hat

Thanks for sharing your treats with us!

The “DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays 2013″!

Tis the season for the DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World® Holidays 2013 e-Book!

And since we want you to save some cash right NOW, we have a steep discount for DFB readers (as always!). Get the brand new guide today for $3 off the regular purchase price for a limited time! How? Use code JINGLE at the check-out!

The DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays 2013 e-Book features 270 pages of all the info you need to know before you head to Walt Disney World for the holiday season, including NEW events and holiday happenings, over 250 photos, and an informative FAQ section. It includes:

  • Detailed descriptions and photos of every holiday event and activity happening at the parks and resorts this year — including tips on how to make the best use of your time and money when visiting!
  • A fully comprehensive holiday dining section with listings of holiday snacks, treats, meals, and menu items offered this year — from popcorn kiosks all the way to Signature Restaurants.
  • A clickable 3-Month Schedule of Holiday Events so you can see at-a-glance what looks interesting to you.
  • Our recommendations on ways to SAVE while you’re in Disney World this holiday season.
  • A section dedicated to all “New for 2013″ events, dining options, and activities.
  • A Preview of the 2014 Holidays in Disney World
  • And more!

For more detailed information and sample pages from The DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays 2013, head over to the DFB Store!

And if you want an even BETTER deal, snap up our DFB Holiday Bundle! This includes the DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays AND our original DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2013!

Mickey Mouse Gift Basket

With a 100% 30-day, money-back guarantee on all of our guides, you have nothing to lose! :-) Find more great DFB Disney Dining Guidebooks at DFBStore.com!

On to the Round-Up!

Mickey Fix helps us cross off special names on our Holiday Gift List with a unique idea — the Mickey Mouse Gift Basket!

All Ears takes a photo tour of Disneyland. Check out the holiday treats!

Yesterland shares vintage photos of Burger Invasion and Corn Dog Castle in Disney California Adventure.

Mouse on the Mind stops by the new Joffrey’s coffee kiosk in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

News and Review! Holiday Menu Items at Earl of Sandwich

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… I love being on the Earl of Sandwich email list. Not only do you get a free sandwich for your birthday month (which I just redeemed!) but you also get emails letting you know about seasonal specials.

When this one recently arrived, I got pretty excited!

Holiday eats have descended upon Earl of Sandwiches across the country, and I headed into our local Disneyland store to check ‘em out! Note that these are also available at the Walt Disney World Earl of Sandwich!

Holiday Turkey Sandwich

We all know that the Holiday Turkey Sandwich is here to stay as it became a permanent menu item last year. And even though it’s always there, I still get super excited whenever I get a chance to have one.

Piled high with turkey, stuffing, gravy & cranberry sauce, this sandwich is comfort food at its best.  A hand held Thanksgiving meal, the Holiday Turkey Sandwich is toasted to perfection and really can not be beat.

Holiday Turkey Sandwich

Holiday Ham Sandwich

New to the holiday sandwich family this year is the Holiday Ham Sandwich.

With heaps of ham, fresh pineapple rings & a holiday apple glaze type sauce, this sandwich is sure to be a huge hit.  Served warm and toasted just like all of its Earl relatives, the flavors in this new sandwich really pop.

In my opinion, you can’t really go wrong with a pineapple/ham partnership.

Holiday Ham Sandwich

Peppermint Brownies

Peppermint Brownies have also made a comeback.  They taste just as great as they did when they made their debut last year. Chocolate goodness sprinkled with [Read more…]