Three Ideas For an Unconventional Disney World Date Night

Call us romantics, but we think that Walt Disney World is a GREAT place for a date night!

Watch the Fireworks from the Polynesian Resort Beach!

Do You Love to Watch Magic Kingdom Fireworks From the Polynesian’s Beach During Your Disney Date Night? We Do!

But we like to take a very broad approach to date night here at Disney Food Blog. So we decided that it would be all kinds of funnnz to come up with some radical departures for how to spend your Day o’ Love. I mean sure, chocolate-dipped strawberries and Champagne are awesome, and a fancy meal is sure to impress. But more than anything, we just wanna have fun!

If you’re with us, check out our Top 3 Ideas for Your Unconventional Date Night, Disney World Style!

Swap a Fancy Meal for FastPasses

Fancy meal? Whatevs. Who wants to get dressed up and sit around for hours?? You’re at Disney — get out there and enjoy it!

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Snuggle Up for a Ride on Disney’s Newest Attraction, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train!

Instead of dinner at a signature restaurant, skip straight to the fun, and schedule FastPasses for three of your favorite rides together (and make sure at least one of them is a dark ride. ;-) )

Spaceship Earth, How We Love You

Spaceship Earth, How We Lurve You

Getting hungry after all those adventures? Share your favorite savory snacks. The Lucky Combo from Joy of Tea in Epcot’s China Pavilion would be perfect!

Lucky Combo from Joy of Tea in Epcot's China Pavilion

Lucky Combo from Joy of Tea in Epcot’s China Pavilion

Or split a Waffle Sandwich from Sleepy Hollow Refreshments in Magic Kingdom.

Chicken Waffle Sandwich from Magic Kingdom's Sleepy Hollow Refreshments

Chicken Waffle Sandwich from Magic Kingdom’s Sleepy Hollow Refreshments

They’re definitely big enough to share!

Get the Kids Involved!

Spending more time together as a family always figures high on our list of priorities. And kiddos especially love some one on one time with Mom and Dad. So how about taking a different approach to your next evening out. Make a “date” with your littles!

One fun idea would be to split up for fun Mom/Son, Dad/Daughter “dates”. Go on separate dinner dates and let the kids choose the restaurants! ESPN Club at Disney’s BoardWalk is a great choice for your budding baseball or soccer star!

ESPN Club (with a line to get in on Game Day!)

ESPN Club is a Great Place to Take Your Favorite Sports Fan!

But save room, because you can all meet up for some ice cream later and compare notes! How about sharing a No Way Jose from Beaches and Cream four ways?? (Want more ice cream suggestions? Check our our Ice Cream Gallery!)

No Way Jose at Beaches and Cream

Split a No Way Jose from Beaches and Cream!

Top off the evening with an outdoor movie at your resort before tucking in for pleasant dreams.

Play with Your Food

Have you always wanted to [Read more…]

DFB Reader Questions Answered: Best Restaurants to Celebrate a Grown-Up Birthday at Walt Disney World

Today, we’re pulling another great question out the Disney Food Blog mailbag. You guys ask some great ones, and lots of times, we’ll get several emails and inquiries about the same subject.

Spontaneous Birthday Treat at Citricos

Spontaneous Birthday Treat at Citricos

Today, we’re going to delve into the wonderful world of birthday celebrations for grown-ups!

Celebrating Grown Up Birthdays in Walt Disney World

Our DFB reader asks:

We will be vacationing at WDW in May. My 25-year old son will have a birthday while we are there. We would like to have a special meal to celebrate, something fun but also really good!

I love this question! Disney brands itself a great place for all kinds of celebrations. And when it comes to birthdays, why should kiddos have all the fun?

When planning a special meal to celebrate a birthday at Walt Disney World, the most basic advice is probably a great starting point: what does the birthday boy or girl enjoy?

Birthday Dessert

Birthday Dessert

Does he like fine dining, or would he prefer a great night out at a sports bar? Does she like a quiet, elegant setting, or a spot with intricate themeing? Or are they a kid at heart who can Celebrate Mickey with the best of them?

Fantastic ideas abound for fun birthday celebrations at Disney World, but let’s go with my three favorite ideas. At the very least, it might lead to some good brainstorming when it comes time to plan your own special dinner party!

Signature Dining

For the Disney fan who enjoys a fine dining experience, there would be no other place to celebrate a birthday than where these two things meet — Disney’s signature dining restaurants.

If you’re looking for the pinnacle of fine dining, consider booking a table at Victoria and Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

Victoria and Albert's Main Dining Room

Victoria and Albert’s Main Dining Room

The ultimate in Disney fine dining, this relaxed, refined restaurant has won countless awards for its upscale take on modern American fare and its stellar wine menu. To make it an even more special experience, book the Chef’s Table!

Another great option is California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The restaurant sits atop the hotel, and boasts panoramic views. It’s a great spot for viewing Wishes, Magic Kingdom’s fireworks spectacular!

Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli is as Good as Ever

Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli at California Grill

Food here is always fresh and inventive, celebrating the farm to table movement and the Asian fusion style that placed California on the culinary map.

For something a little off the beaten path but no less delicious, check out Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Jiko at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

In a relaxing atmosphere that mimics the [Read more…]

Tip from the DFB Guide: How to Outsmart the Heat and Crowds at Disney World This Summer

We’re coming into the very hot, very crowded summer months at Walt Disney World. And that gives me a chance to share with you one of my favorite tips from the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining!

2014 dfb guide 3d cover

So, dining in the theme parks is awesome and convenient, since you’re probably already there. BUT, it can also be a hassle…because you’ll get hungry for lunch, well, just about same time that everyone else does!

So one of my favorite tips for dealing with crowds during lunch at Disney Parks? Escape the Parks for lunch at a nearby resort.

The food is as good (and sometimes it’s better) than what you’ll find in the Parks. And with all of that wonderful air conditioning comes another pleasant surprise. Since most guests are busy running to and fro to attractions, you’ll often find little to no wait at Resort restaurants.

When I’m at Magic Kingdom, I love to hop a boat and head for lunch at Trail’s End Restaurant. Located at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort Campground, getting there by boat is actually a smart move, since the restaurant is located all the way at the back of the resort.

Grab this Sticky Bun Sundae -- or another mouth watering menu item -- at Trail's End on your Magic Kingdom Day

Grab this Sticky Bun Sundae — or another mouth watering menu item — at Trail’s End on your Magic Kingdom Day

ESPN Club is a short walk from both Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and it’s a great place to catch up with what’s going on in the world of sports while you cool down!

Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge has amazing food, and it’s an easy commute from Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

You Just Might View Some Animals While You Take in Lunch at Sanaa

You Just Might View Some Animals While You Take in Lunch at Sanaa

And don’t forget [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: June 4, 2014

For this round of “What’s New,” we’ve got food news (and menu changes galore) from every single Disney World park… and beyond! So settle, in, make yourselves comfy, and join us to see What’s New!

Animal Kingdom

We’ll start with the fact that Dole Whip (with or without rum, y’all) can now be found at Tamu Tamu Refreshments in Animal Kingdom’s Africa! (Yep; we’ve had confirmation from Dole that it IS indeed authentic Dole Whip Pineapple Soft Serve.)

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Pineapple Soft-serve (Dole Whip!) menu

Pineapple Soft-serve (Dole Whip!) menu

But we don’t want to miss the chance to mention that Tamu Tamu has also brought back some old favorites with a recent menu refresh: The Slow-cooked Pulled Beef Sandwich is back (hooray!), along with the return of the Quinoa Salad. The Roasted Chicken Salad and gorgeous Fresh Fruit Salad made the cut from the previous menu.

Tamu Tamu Menu

Tamu Tamu Menu

Inside the pulled beef sandwich

Inside the pulled beef sandwich

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad

And I’m very happy to say that the Fresh Fruit Bowl is back in time for summer!

Fruit Bowl at Bradley Falls Kiosk

Fruit Bowl Salad

The Fruit Salad has returned to Bradley Falls, too.

Bradley Falls menu

Bradley Falls menu

Remember, Bradley Falls operates seasonally, so if it’s closed during your visit, it’s good to know you can head over to Tamu Tamu for a Fresh Fruit Bowl.

Have you seen (or heard?!) this awesome Musical Tumbler found at various food locations throughout Animal Kingdom? Get the full scoop here!

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

The Royal Anandapur Tea Company is a perfect spot to grab a cup of hot tea (assorted varieties available) or coffee. However, they’re currently offering some flavored Iced Teas in light of the warmer temps.

Royal Anandapur Tea Company Menu

Royal Anandapur Tea Company Menu

Though not food-related, I’d like to offer this next picture as a small tribute. Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade wrapped up its nearly 13-year run as Animal Kingdom makes way for all sorts of new adventures. I don’t think I’m speaking solely for myself when I say this unique, beautiful and fun parade will be missed.

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade

Magic Kingdom

The Lunching Pad has added one more option to its gourmet hot dog selection: the BLT Hot Dog joins the Coney Island Dog and the Philly Cheese Steak Dog.

Lunching Pad Menu

Lunching Pad Menu

Now, here’s something you don’t see everyday… this next bit is not a new item, but rather a new [Read more…]

Getting the Best Spot for the Big Game: Strategizing and NEW VIP Seating at Disney World’s ESPN Club

So apparently there’s a this thing that happens in the winter called football.

It’s not my personal bag of chips, but my husband is all but obsessed with it. We’ve spent many an hour during our Disney vacations strategizing about how to make sure he’ll get to see his beloved Giants games on TV while we’re in Florida. (Well, probably not such an issue this year … but I digress.)

The finest place at Disney World to watch any big televised sporting event is the ESPN Club, located on the Boardwalk, just past the International Gateway exit from Epcot. And they’ve just introduced a brand new VIP seating option for game day… . More about that in a minute.

They’ve got cold brew on tap, the best wings in town, and most importantly, approximately a billion television sets tuned to sports channels.

ESPN Club -- With a line to get in on Game Day!

Heck, they’ve even got TVs in the bathrooms.

Restroom Stall TV

And like any good sports bar, there’s lots of friendly banter among fans of rival teams.

Sounds perfect, right? The only problem is that because it’s such an awesome place, and because the number of venues to watch non-market games at WDW is fairly limited, the ESPN Club tends to fill up quickly. Without a plan, you’ll end up shut out of ESPN, scrambling to find a cab to watch your game at an off-site Applebee’s.

Don't Miss The Chance to See the Game in Disney World!

Here are some tips to make sure that you get in to watch your game in style:

NEW VIP Seating and Reservations

During football games, ESPN is now offering a VIP seating option.

With VIP seating, you can make reservations for your game of choice. This is particularly notable, because this is the only way to secure a reservation at ESPN Club. Theoretically, you can do this through the main Disney Dining Line (407-WDW-DINE), but when I called to give it a shot, they had no idea what I was talking about. I had much better luck calling ESPN Club directly at 407-939-1177. The cast member who answered there was super knowledgeable about game times and was happy to take a reservation.

The restaurant is open from 11:30 a.m.-1:00 a.m., so that’s when they’ll be [Read more…]

The Weirdest Burgers in Disney World

Yesterday we featured an awesome, interesting Disney burger, and we figured today would be a good day to delve into a few more of these finds!

Over the past few years, it seems like the culinary staff throughout the resort has made it a mission to reinvent the humble hamburger.

Once upon a time, there were rows and rows of nondescript fast food hamburgers. Now, you can find all manner of interesting flavor combos.

Whether you’re planning a vacation as you read, or you’re just looking for some serious burger inspiration, check out our list of some of the most unusual burgers we’ve had at Walt Disney World!

PB&J Burger

Sports fans who love Disney know that the BEST place to catch a game while you’re at the resort is the ESPN Club at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn.

But just as impressive as the myriad of televisions (even in the bathroom!) is the innovative menu of upscale sports bar food. One of the most interesting entrees is the PB&J Burger.

Inside the PB&J Burger at ESPN Club

Yep, that’s correct. Two of the world’s most comforting foods — peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and burgers — create a fusion of flavors like nothing you’ve ever had. And with the salty flavors of Bacon and spicy notes from sliced Jalapenos to add even more interest, there’s a lot going on here!

You’ve got to try it at least once (that’s about all I could take). And be sure to ask for extra napkins!

Battered Burger

Another burger that you’re not likely to see replicated in too many places is the Battered Burger at Cookes of Dublin in Downtown Disney.

Battered Burger and Chips from Cookes of Dublin

This small counter service spot shares a

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Disney Food Post Round-Up: May 12, 2013

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you fantastic moms, mothers-in-law, grandmas, and moms-to-be out there!

Disney Mother's Day Cookies

We love that Disney is featuring some yummy “just-for-mom” cookies and rice krispie treats in their candy shops this month! Have a wonderfully sweet day!

And let’s start that day with a little Disney food news…that’s always sweet!

Disney Food News

Read on for this week’s news from your favorite Disney destinations…

And 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 Celebration Cakes at Epcot, a fall refurbishment for Cinderella’s Royal Table, and new menus at ESPN Club, Kona Cafe, and Beaches & Cream.

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!

This week, we get a glimpse of some fun birthday celebrations such as this one sent in by Facebook Friend Alynne. She says “This was my son’s 4th birthday cake I ordered in advance at the Enchanted Garden Restaurant at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. It was super yummy!”

Birthday Cake at Enchanted Garden in Hong Kong Disneyland!

Another friend from Facebook, Hal, sent this delicious treat from their son’s birthday. It’s “a build your own sundae birthday celebration at Le Cellier”!

Build Your Own Sundae at Le Cellier!

Be sure to check out lots more Disney birthday goodies in our Disney Birthday Treats Gallery!

Deal of the Week! Pre-Order A 2013 Disney Dining Guide and get the 2012 Edition for FREE!

When you pre-order your copies of the DFB Guide to the 2013 Walt Disney World Holidays and/or the DFB Guide to the 2013 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival for an exclusive discounted rate, you’ll be able to instantly download the 2012 Guides and start your planning — TODAY.

Then you will be automatically emailed the 2013 Guides when they’re published. Get two editions for the price of one and start planning right away.

Pre-Order — DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World® Holidays 2013

The Holiday season in Disney World is packed with magic: Holiday meals and snacks, special events, and seasonal shows, for starters! How will you see all the attractions, save money, AND take in the extra festivities in your already jam-packed vacation?

We’ll guide you through all the holiday events, activities, and dining so that you can get the biggest bang for your buck in Walt Disney World!
List Price: $14.95. This price includes the 2012 Guide as an instant download. You will automatically be sent the 2013 Guide as soon as it’s published.
Enter Discount Code: PreHoliday
DFB Reader Discount: $3! (20% off)
Your Exclusive DFB Price: $11.95 — get the 2012 Guide instantly, and the 2013 Guide as soon as it’s published!

Pre-Order — DFB Guide to the 2013 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

46 days of special events, 29 food and beverage tasting booths, and celebrity chefs to meet? How do you fit it all in without breaking the budget? Make sure you make the most of your time and money at Disney World’s Food & Wine Festival!

List Price: $14.95. This price includes the 2012 Guide as an instant download. You will automatically be sent the 2013 Guide as soon as it’s published.
Enter Discount Code: PreFoodWine
DFB Newsletter Reader Discount: $3! (20% off)
Your Exclusive DFB Price: $11.95 — get the 2012 Guide instantly, and the 2013 Guide as soon as it’s published!

On to the Round-Up!

Walt Disney World for Grown Ups sips on rum drinks at Walt Disney World! What’s your favorite rum drink at Disney?

Mickey Fix leads us to some great merchandise this week. How about a Build on Brick Lego mug or Gaston’s Tavern Stein?!

Cake Wrecks shares photos of an awesome Millennium Falcon cake!

Daveland highlights one of my favorite past Disney restaurants — Casa de Fritos — for Cinco de Mayo.

Yesterland remembers Bountiful Valley Farm in Disney California Adventure.

Disney Travel Babble highlights new celebration cakes available at select Epcot restaurants.

Main Street Gazette stops by the Landscape of Flavors food court at the Art of Animation resort.

Disney Parks Blog announces a Celebration of Greece at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks, including wine education and tasting seminars on May 25.


News! Menu Updates at Disney Restaurants

It’s that time of year again!! Disney World restaurants are updating menus left and right!

Thankfully, we have wonderful readers who help keep us all up-to-date with these changes. Here are a few of the updates… . And stay tuned for our review of the NEW Le Cellier Steakhouse menu coming up soon!

Beaches & Cream

According to a server, menu changes took place approximately two weeks ago at the Beach Club’s Beaches & Cream Soda Shop. Check out the addition of a Vegetarian Falafel on flatbread which replaces the Grilled Vegetable Sandwich.

Beaches and Cream Menu. Click image for larger version.

Here’s a pic of the new Falafel sandwich, thanks to ThatMattLynn on twitter!

Falafel Sandwich at Beaches and Cream

Also, prep for a Kitchen Sink Sundae price increase by $2 — it now costs $28.99. Thanks to Brent Hannon for the info!

Ice Cream Menu at Beaches and Cream. Click image for larger version.

Artist Point

Artist Point in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge has a few menu updates this Spring, according to DFB reader Elyssa Henry!

She says, “My husband and I just ate at Artist Point for the first time and it was AMAZING! Thanks for the previous reviews. They helped guide our choices. I also wanted to let you know that they just added two items to the menu and our server, Paul, told us tonight was their debut.”

Artist Point Cedar Plank Salmon

It sounds like the Wild Columbia River Cedar Plank Roasted King Salmon is back on the menu, and there’s also a seasonal dessert to sample: pistachio coffee cake and sea salted caramel vanilla panna cotta.

Kona Cafe

The Polynesian Resort’s Kona Cafe has a new dinner menu, which features a new cheese plate as an appetizer.

For entrees, a pan-seared chicken with [Read more…]

Review: The Peanut Butter and Jelly and Bacon and Jalapeno Burger at ESPN Club

On a recent trip to Disney World, we headed over to one of our favorite stand-by restaurants — ESPN Club at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn — for some grub.

But this visit brought something a bit unexpected…and because I write this blog I absolutely HAD to try it and share it with you!! But first, let’s set the stage…

Atmosphere

If you love sports and are at Disney for any amount of time, you will eventually make your way to ESPN Club. :-)

And why wouldn’t you? This is everything you want a sports bar to be. And more.

ESPN Club -- Outside

Once inside, you can choose from two main seating areas. Both the bar and the dining room feature plenty of seating — and lots and LOTS of televisions!

Bar Seating

The dining room also features a HUGE screen and sound booth. Check out the broadcast desk and the big comfy lounge chairs! Someday I will eat my wings there…

Dining Room Seating

Sound Booth

There’s a taste of the atmosphere, and you should be sure to check out our most recent ESPN Club Review for even more photos of the restaurant!

But this post is about something completely unexpected, like I said…

Eats

Yep, as soon as I got my menu I knew I had a mission that needed to be tackled.

Don’t worry; I still ordered my ESPN Dingers, but this next one was the main entree… [Read more…]

Review: ESPN Club in Walt Disney World

Editor’s Note: As of May 2013, hot dogs are no longer being offered and the nachos are served with BBQ Pork.

It’s been TOO LONG since I’ve done an ESPN Club review for ya, so we finally headed over there on a recent visit. It wasn’t from lack of trying, mind you — I actually like this restaurant a lot and we enjoy going there. But other restaurants kept getting in the way. ;-)

But now it’s time for this paradise of bar food to get its day in the spotlight…here we go!

Atmosphere

Your first impression of ESPN Club will be that you’ve died and gone to Sports Bar Heaven. Seriously, as you will see, no detail is left untouched. This is a world created for the die hard sports fan. From the menu to the television placement (more to come!) you need never miss a second of the game while you’re here.

ESPN Club (with a line to get in on Game Day!)

But never fear, even though the feel is straight-up sports bar, it’s very kid-friendly, with the standard Disney kids’ menu offered. And with an arcade off to the side, chances are you’ll wave goodbye to the kids and not see them again until dessert anyway!

As you walk in, you can choose from seating in the bar area to the right or the dining room to the left. The bar area has ample TVs situated all around the room — even at your table.

Bar

And what goes better with the game than beer? Here are a few of the draft selections, including the very popular local Orange Blossom Pilsner.

Beer on Draft

Although we were there on a quiet weekday, make no mistake: this place gets packed fast when there’s a big game on. And while it’s a fantastic venue to catch the play-offs or a World Cup match, be prepared to [Read more…]