Review: The Boathouse at Disney World’s Disney Springs

We’ve been waiting, and it’s finally here! The Boathouse is now open!

The restaurant is located in what will be The Landing Area of Disney Springs (still officially Downtown Disney, but it seems to be getting closer to the changeover everyday.)

The Boathouse opened its doors on Monday, but don’t rush out to get an Advance Dining Reservation just yet. While we’ve had success booking through the Open Table website for May 15th and after, Disney still isn’t offering ADRs — a signal that this is clearly a soft opening period, and a time for the staff and kitchen to work out the kinks.

There’s been a ton of hullabaloo over what we can expect, food and price-wise. We have lots of information and pics to share with you — as well as some information to clarify! So let’s get started.


I’ve been dying to get a peek behind those walls forever — and now they’re down! And the new restaurant is pretty beautiful.

As You Approach the Boathouse

As You Approach the Boathouse

You’ll see the entrance to the restaurant to the left. The big green tower that we’ve all been watching for a while now is the entrance to the Ship’s Store, the Boathouse’s gift shop.


Entrance to Ship’s Store

Between the two entrances on the day we visited, there was this tiny little boat right by the front door. I’m thinkin’ it would be pretty fun to take it for a spin. :-)

Another Tiny Boat

A Tiny Boat By the Front Entrance

Here’s a shot from across the water. This is a great way to sort of get your bearings if you’re still wondering where in the grand scheme of Downtown Disney that The Boathouse is located. This also gives you a glimpse of how The Boathouse has “grown” rather organically. I’m looking forward to hearing the story here. Because we all know — this is Disney. There’s always a story.

The Boathouse as Seen from the Water View

The Boathouse as Seen from the Water View

But The Boathouse will be more than just a place to eat. It will also be home to several boat-themed attractions. In other words, it really is a boathouse.

We gave you a glimpse of Amphicar dress rehearsals taking place the other day ahead of Monday’s soft opening. And today, we have a few more pics to show you! You’ll find the Amphicar Launch around the side of restaurant, to the left of the main entrance.

Amphicar Launch

Amphicar Launch

So you think they just hop in the car and drive it into the water, right? Well, of course, it’s not quite that simple.

See this Amphicar Captain? That wheel behind him is more than just a fancy prop. The captain’s wheel has many gears just behind and under it. When a member of the staff turns the wheel, it actually rotates the turntable that the Amphicars are parked on. When they come in from the lake, they are facing the street. The car wheels are locked down, and the captain turns this wheel, which rotates the car 180 degrees, so that it’s facing the water again. Pretty swift, eh?

Amphicar Captain Stands at the Ready

Amphicar Captain Stands at the Ready

And in case you aren’t tired of looking at these cute little overachievers, here’s another shot. The teal one may just be my favorite.

One of the Amphicars on the Ramp

One of the Amphicars on the Ramp

And…off he goes! Super fun.

One of the Captains Taking an Amphicar for a Spin

One of the Captains Taking an Amphicar for a Spin

But the amphicars aren’t the only game in town. While we haven’t yet seen the 40-foot Italian Water Taxis that are touted as another Boathouse draw, there are plenty of interesting watercraft to check out.

Like this gorgeous option. I wouldn’t mind cruising the harbor in one of these.

Another Beautiful Boat

Another Beautiful Boat

And then, there’s the U-22 Alter Ego, a vintage racing boat. This thing is [Read more…]

Review: Steakhouse 55 at Disneyland Hotel

Ah, Steakhouse 55, a bastion of yesteryear near the Park That Started It All. Going to this place is like a living time capsule. Some historical exhibits celebrate the past by letting you look at it. But at Steakhouse 55, it’s like you’re actually stepping back through the years. And that’s a good thing.

Steakhouse 55

But if we’ve learned anything about Disney, it’s that change is always potentially on the horizon. Recently, they decided that the menu needed an overhaul. Maybe to match to some degree the rest of Disneyland’s emphasis on healthier fare?

We actually visited Steakhouse 55 prior to the recent menu refresh. But there has been so much to tell you guys over the last month, I’m just getting around to sharing my experience! So be aware that if you plan to visit, the menu will look a little different than what you see here.


While Steakhouse 55 underwent a bit of a refresh in the decorating department last year, we didn’t find much different when we visited recently. You’re still greeted by this iconic, enlarged photo of Walt Disney as you enter the space. Rich wood trim and painted paneling hint at the more formal environment. Once you’ve entered, it’s very hard to remember that Goofy’s Kitchen is right next door.

Photo of Walt in Entryway

Photo of Walt in Entryway

You’ll come to the Steakhouse 55 Lounge first. Incidentally, this is a great spot to keep on your radar. Reservations are not required and they feature a bar menu with some delicious and satisfying options.

Recently they’ve also begun offering the full Steakhouse 55 Restaurant Menu in the Lounge as well. Stash this away in your bag of tricks in case you find yourself starving and looking for an upscale dining experience if the steakhouse itself is booked up.


Steakhouse 55 Lounge

You’ll find shades of plum and silver, with plush finishes like satin and velvet. The bar area features a flat screen television, handy for checking out the latest scores.

Full Bar with Seating AND a TV

Full Bar with Seating and Television

Find a spot at the bar, or enjoy comfortable seating in softly upholstered chairs and plush couches and chaises.

Steakhouse 55 Lounge Seating

Steakhouse 55 Lounge Seating

Small tables are perfect for Bar Bites and Cocktails, but might pose a challenge if you’re enjoying a full meal.

More Seating

Additional Lounge Seating

Exit the lounge and you’ll find the main dining room. Low lighting and white tablecloths hint at the more formal setting here.

Inside the Cool and Serene Steakhouse 55

Inside the Cool and Serene Steakhouse 55

But you’ll find the same understated decor, punctuated by those large photographs of famous faces from years gone by.

Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel

Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel

The feeling here is retro chic, and it’s not hard to imagine what this spot may have been like when the name over the door was still Granville’s, and the people in the pictures were sitting at the next table.


I’ve shared with you that Steakhouse 55 is my absolute most favorite spot for breakfast at Disneyland, and Heather has written about her delicious experience dining in the Lounge. But it had been a while since I had taken in dinner here.

Unfortunately, my timing was just a little off. Immediately after we enjoyed this experience, the menu underwent a change.

Here is the menu that Steakhouse 55 featured at the time of our dinner.

Menu: Starters, Soups, and Salads -- Click to Enlarge

Menu: Starters, Soups, and Salads — Click to Enlarge

Menu -- Main Dishes and Side Dishes -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Main Dishes and Side Dishes — Click to Enlarge

Chef Marcel St. Pierre, a Disney veteran who was most recently over the kitchens of Club 33, has taken over at Steakhouse 55. Not surprisingly, he is eager to put his stamp on things here, and to experiment with some popular trends and classic French preparations.

Since the changes, I’ll try to note where the dishes that we ordered have been updated.

We began our meal with fresh, warm Sourdough Bread, served with softened, Unsalted Butter.

Bread and Butter

Bread and Butter

My husband was dining with me. And you long-term DFB Readers know — he never passes up the chance to enjoy a Caesar Salad, and this visit was no exception!

The classic version of the salad was served with Olive Tapenade atop a Parmesan Crisp. This salad has been replaced with Hearts of Romaine — served with Caesar Dressing. Yep. Basically the same. Just fancier.

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad with Olive Tapenade and Parmesan Crisp

Another classic dish that we couldn’t pass up ordering was the legendary Steakhouse 55 Seven Onion Soup. It’s delicious, but even better — it’s food theater. The soup comes together from two different dishes.

You are presented a soup bowl with [Read more…]

Guest Review: Jiko at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in Walt Disney World

We’re welcoming Alex Freeman today as she shares a review of one of our favorite spots – Jiko in the Animal Kingdom Lodge!


Jiko – The Cooking Place, a signature dining restaurant, is located at the Jambo House at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Before you even walk into the restaurant, you are enchanted by the expansive lobby. The minute you walk into Jambo House, you definitely feel as though you have entered into an African savanna lodge. The best part of the lobby is the huge window at the back where you can see the savanna and the walk leading to the African animals.

To get to the restaurant, you must go downstairs. On the way down the stairs, you will walk right past Victoria Falls, a bar/lounge that overlooks Boma, Flavors of Africa. Once you reach the bottom of the stairs, you can either turn left and enter Boma or if you go right, you will come to Jiko. Jiko is a breathtaking restaurant with an open kitchen, a wall of different varieties of wine, and a memorable ambiance. My favorite part of the interior design is the light fixtures.

Love Jiko’s Ambiance!

Dining Room.

Escape to Jiko!


When we checked in at the front desk, we only had to wait a few minutes before we were seated. The hostess that led us to our table was extremely friendly and polite. I wish I remembered her name because she was absolutely wonderful. Once we were seated, I could not wait to start reviewing the menu to see what had changed and what had stayed the same since the last time I was at the restaurant.

While deciding upon which entrees to order, we enjoyed a delicious bread basket which consisted of Dabo Bread and Flaxseed Focaccia. The bread came with a Tandoori butter. I absolutely love the Dabo bread with the Tandoori butter. The honey taste of the bread and the garlicky flavor of the butter is a perfect mixture. I was not a huge fan of the Flaxseed Focaccia. I found the bread to be too salty to mix with the butter.

Dabo Bread and Flaxseed Focaccia.

I was eating with my entire family, so I was able to review four different entrees. We decided to order Guinea Hen, Maize-crusted Atlantic Black Grouper, Oak-grilled Filet Mignon, and the [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: August 31, 2014

Big news this week, all! The Pineapple Lanai at Disney’s Polynesian Village (aka “The Poly”) is open, and guests can once again indulge in one of the “World’s” most iconic treats at this resort.

Pineapple and Vanilla Swirl Dole Whip in Souvenir Tiki Bowl at Pineapple Lanai

Pineapple and Vanilla Swirl Dole Whip in Souvenir Tiki Bowl at Pineapple Lanai

Get yer Dole Whip and Dole Whip Floats here, but they’re no longer self-serve OR 24-hour. Bittersweet.

Also, Disney has confirmed that Starbucks will open in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in February 2015!

Click below for all the details on this week’s Disney Food News!

Disney Food News

  • A brand new Disney World premium dessert party — Villains’ Sinister Soiree — is taking place this Fall at Magic Kingdom!
  • Check out some awesome sale merch at this weekend!
  • Take a look at some irresistible new treats at Jolly Holiday in Disneyland Park — including an adorable take on a Spoonful of Sugar!
  • Satisfy your Starbucks tooth in February 2015 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • Indulge in a Dole Whip or Dole Whip Float at the brand new Pineapple Lanai in Disney World.
  • Le Cellier in Epcot’s Canada Pavilion at Walt Disney World has made a major change to the popular filet mignon!
  • Starbucks coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
  • Signature dining is available at Disney’s Yachtsman Steakhouse restaurant and now two new steak options are featured on the menu.

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, Citricos Wine Dinners at the Grand Floridian, and more!

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!

Today, we are highlighting bacon, including this find from Facebook Friend Don. He says: “This bacon cupcake at The Smokehouse is awesome!”. Remember that this is only available during Disney’s Flower and Garden Festival in Epcot in the Spring!

Bacon Cupcake

Bacon Cupcake

Here’s a homemade version from Facebook Friend Sarah of the Loaded Baked Potato Soup from Disneyland. Yum!

Homemade Soup

Homemade Baked Potato Soup

What’s your Favorite Find? Send it in!

Get a Head Start on Planning With the DFB Disney Dining Guidebooks!

The fully updated DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining e-Book is an instantly downloadable PDF guide, featuring over 450 full-color pages of photographs, information, and advice about our favorite subjects — food and dining in Walt Disney World.


It’s guaranteed to help you navigate your way to delicious dining on your next trip! And if you’re ready to get yours now, head on over to to pick it up!!

This week, use code: 2014 to get a $4 discount for a limited time! And at the end of this post, we have details on even more savings!

Here’s Just Some Of What You Get With [Read more…]

Walt Disney World Steak Gallery

It’s time for another fun addition to our Disney Food Galleries!

disney world steak gallery

We just love to share photos of all of our favorite foods — and collect them into galleries for easy viewing! Whether your craving is for popcorn, ice cream, or a cupcake, there’s a gallery for you!

And today, we’re introducing a brand new gallery for all of you red meat lovers out there! Yep, we’ve gathered a whole buncha steaks from around Disney World to help you make your choices on your next visit.

Remember, some of these may drop off menus from time to time or have side dishes or preparation changed, but hopefully this will give you a good overview of what’s available! Here we go!

Yachtsman Steakhouse

Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht Club is one of my top picks when it comes to steak at Walt Disney World. After all, they decorate with meat — the first thing you pass en route to your seat is the Steak Trimming Room!

Chefs here pride themselves not only on the very best cuts of meat, but appetizers, side dishes, and desserts inspired by market fresh ingredients. Yachtsman combines the very best of seasonal flavors with the traditional steak experience.

My absolute favorite pick at Yachtsman is the 16-ounce Boneless Ribeye. It is always a melt-in-your-mouth choice.

Ribeye with Herb Fries at Yachtsman Steakhouse

Ribeye with Herb Fries at Yachtsman Steakhouse

But we are also big fans of the 12-ounce Prime New York Strip Steak, served here with a rich potato gratin stack.

Strip Steak

12-ounce Prime New York Strip Steak


Shula’s at Walt Disney World’s Swan and Dolphin is the kind of place that you think of when you envision an upscale steakhouse. As your eyes adjust to the dim lighting and you check out the menu — printed on a football! — you’ll settle into the refined elegance of your surroundings.

When I have the chance to dine here, I almost always go for my favorite, the 22-ounce Cowboy Ribeye (are you sensing a theme?). The Bone-in Steak has been excellent on every visit. The flavor is unbelievable!

Cowboy Ribeye

22-ounce Cowboy Ribeye

Looking for a lighter approach to soothe your carnivore cravings? We’ve also enjoyed the Steak Mary Anne. Delicate by steakhouse standards, the 5-ounce medallions are served with a simple demi glace in this case. It’s the perfect plate for the guest who prefers all the flavor of prime, aged beef in a smaller serving.

Steak Mary Anne

Steak Mary Anne

Flying Fish

If you’re a landlubber like me, then finding a great steak at a restaurant known for fabulous seafood is a dream come true. But it’s not impossible if you’re dining at Flying Fish Cafe.

When I visit, I always order the Char-Crusted Black Angus New York Strip. The creamy Sauce Foyot is such a great accent — and they’re never chintzy with it!

Char Crusted Black Angus New York Strip

Char-Crusted Black Angus New York Strip

Can’t decide between surf and turf? You don’t have to! Try the two house specialities side by side with the Entree Duo, which features the Char-Crusted Angus New York Strip Steak and the restaurant’s most famous fish dish, the Potato-wrapped Red Snapper.

Entree Duo of Red Snapper and Strip Steak

Entree Duo of Red Snapper and Strip Steak


Jiko offers some of the most interesting food at Walt Disney World.

And while I enjoy the fusion of African, Indian, and Meditteranean flavors when it comes to appetizers and desserts, I rarely deviate from my favorite entree: the Oak-Grilled Filet.

Oak Grilled Filet with Mac and Cheese

Oak-Grilled Filet with Mac and Cheese

And even when their delicious Mac and Cheese isn’t featured as the dish’s side, you can usually score it as a special request (and I totally recommend that you do). :-)

Liberty Inn

In the mood for steak with no Advance Dining Reservation? Then head to Epcot’s Liberty Inn. Their New York Strip Steak, served with Red Wine Butter, Roasted Potatoes, and Steamed Broccoli, is surprisingly good.

New York Strip Steak Meal

New York Strip Steak Meal

Sci-Fi Dine-In Restaurant

Even though most of my favorite steaks at Disney World are featured at signature restaurants, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a good option at moderately priced restaurants, too, like Sci-Fi Dine-In.

Recently, I was pleasantly surprised by [Read more…]

News! Le Cellier Lunch Menu Changes

With Le Cellier Steakhouse now a TWO table-service credit restaurant for both lunch and dinner on the Disney Dining Plan, the restaurant has changed over to an all-day menu (effective January 16, 2013).

Located in Epcot’s Canada, this signature restaurant’s all-day menu means that guests looking for a burger will no longer find one here. (Total bummer, as it was one of our favorites.) But the lobster mac ‘n cheese will now be available for lunch and dinner.

For starters, Le Cellier’s chopped lobster salad or bowl of the cult favorite Cheddar Cheese Soup are excellent choices. Don’t forget about the poutine fries, too (Hubba Hubba)!

Plus, the seasonal salad now being offered is greens with duck prosciutto, blue cheese, fig-almond cake and a soft-boiled egg.

Poutine Fries...two orders...don't judge

Entrees are still plentiful, and steak-focused. Canadian-raised beef choices include a grilled bone-in ribeye, New York Strip, and the famous (and awesome) Filet Mignon.

That Filet Mignon is a fan favorite with its white truffle-butter sauce and wild mushroom risotto.

Mushroom Filet Mignon with White Truffle Butter Sauce and Micro Chevril

Vegetarians will continue to enjoy seasonal offerings, including a winter squash ravioli with sage brown butter. And the menu includes year-round sustainable seafood by Chef Al Youngman.

For dessert, the Maple Creme Brulee and Trio of Chocolate are [Read more…]

Review: Tokyo Dining in Epcot’s Japan

Craving sushi or just need a relaxed and elegant spot for lunch or dinner? It’s time to book Tokyo Dining!

Although we have recommended Tokyo Dining a number of times as a decent spot for catching Illuminations, I’ve never posted my own review of this restaurant. So we made it a priority to head over and dig in — for the sake of the blog. ;-)

This spot is located on the second floor of the Mitsukoshi Department Store building in Epcot’s Japan, adjacent to the Hibachi-style Japanese steakhouse, Teppan Edo.

And while we know it’s a terrific place to stop by for sushi (and it’s rarely crowded), they’ve got plenty on the menu for non-seafood palates as well. Let’s take a look!


Like a growing number of World Showcase restaurants, Tokyo Dining and Teppan Edo now have an outdoor check-in area for busy days. On our visit, it wasn’t that crowded; so the cast member told us to head on upstairs to check in.

Check-in Desk Outside Teppan Edo and Tokyo Dining

We were met by two very gracious Japanese cast members, signed in, and directed to wait in the lobby of the two restaurants.

The quiet, sleek, and spacious waiting area is a welcome respite from the relative activity of the theme parks. It’s very restful.

Waiting Area

Once your name is called to be seated, you’ll be directed to one of two main dining rooms at Tokyo Dining.

The first room features an on-stage sushi kitchen, where you can watch chefs as they prepare dishes for guests.

Additional Seating and Open Sushi Kitchen

The other dining room features some seriously cool indirect lighting, plus plenty of natural lighting and panoramic views of World Showcase.

Here’s a weird tip: the tables by the windows have super cushy padded chairs, while the others are less comfortable. Just an FYI…and one good reason to request a seat by the window.

Another good reason? Illuminations. Yep; you really can see the fireworks from here (albeit they can be slightly obstructed by trees or people standing on the balcony outside).

Dining Room Seating

We were here during the day, however, so I was happy to take in the views from my cushy window seat. ;-)

View From Dining Room

We had lots of items to choose from, so after taking in our surroundings, it was time to settle down and decide [Read more…]

Best of the Fest: NEW Items at the 2012 Epcot Food & Wine Festival Booths

The time has finally arrived! Today is Opening Day for the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival in Walt Disney World!

Dessert Trio at Desserts and Champagne Booth

But, as many of you know, yesterday was a “soft opening” for the tasting booths in Epcot’s World Showcase…which means I GOT TO EAT STUFF!

Yep — I sampled just about every single item on the menus yesterday (yes, I’m very, very full), and I’d love to share some of my favorite NEW eats for 2012!

2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival NEW Favorites

Remember, if you want to see ALL of the photos I took yesterday and ALL of the food items available at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival this year, you’ll want to head over to our individual booth pages here.

Just click on the country you’d like to see and we’ll share both the menu and all of the food photos!

OK, let’s get started!

Spinach and Paneer Pocket at South Africa Booth

This is a brand new item at the festival this year, and I’ve definitely been looking forward to trying it.

Spinach and Paneer Pocket at South Africa Booth

A savory (and actually quite large!) pocket filled with ample amounts of spinach and paneer cheese, this vegetarian snack definitely makes the list. Get it in South Africa.

“Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce

Well, I was definitely excited when I found out the Canada Booth was going to bring the fabulous Le Cellier filet with truffle butter sauce to the festival. But I was ecstatic when it turned out to be delicious!

Mushroom Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce

I mean, come on — what if they overcooked it? What if there wasn’t enough truffle butter sauce? There was so much that could go wrong.

But it didn’t. The meat was tender and flavorful (and not overcooked — hooray!). And there was…dare I say it?…ENOUGH truffle butter sauce for me. ME! (That’s saying something, since I’m the person who orders an extra side of truffle butter sauce when I’m at the restaurant.)

Lemon Custard Verrine with Blueberry Compote at Desserts and Champagne Booth

You guys know how I feel about lemon curd…and how I feel about lemon curd paired with blueberries…so you can imagine how I feel about the Lemon Custard Verrine with Blueberry Compote at this year’s Desserts and [Read more…]

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Recipe: Le Cellier’s White Truffle Butter Sauce

It’s almost Epcot Food and Wine Festival time (the best time of the year!). So far, we know the Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booth Menus, and we even know the special events that will be offered at the festival. As we lead up to the big opening day, I’ll be posting reviews and recipes from the main event. Today, we have an incredibly indulgent recipe for you…

2011 Canada Booth

You know that I am a huge fan of Le Cellier Steakhouse in Epcot’s Canada pavilion. And when I go there, I often order the Mushroom Filet Mignon!

This fantastic filet — one of my favorites in Disney restaurants — is topped with a white truffle butter sauce that’s pretty freakin’ awesome. I love it so much that I recently discovered that I can order extra when I’m at the restaurant (and I do)!

Mushroom Filet Mignon with White Truffle Butter Sauce and Micro Chervil

This dish is scheduled to be featured in the Canadian Booth at the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, so I wanted to share a recipe for the sauce so you can make it at home!

If you’ve been dying to try it yourself but don’t have a trip planned, then this is [Read more…]

Review: “Dine with an Imagineer” Opportunity at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Finally! One of my Disney dining bucket list items has been crossed off of the list! Along with some wonderful friends, I got the chance to attend a “Dine With an Imagineer” lunch at Disney Hollywood Studios’ Hollywood Brown Derby earlier this month.

Details About Dine With an Imagineer

In case you haven’t heard of it, Dine With an Imagineer is a spectacular opportunity offered for lunch at the Hollywood Brown Derby, and for dinner (on select nights) at the Flying Fish Cafe.

Up to 10 guests get the chance to dine with a real live Walt Disney Imagineer. Your Imagineer will tell you about the work that he or she does, then answer any questions you might have about that work…or anything else that has to do with Disney Imagineering!

Place Setting and Personalized Menu

Cost per person is $60 (taxes and gratuity are added at the table), and the experience has been designed for guests aged 10 and older. You can book this event 180 days in advance, and it’s suggested that you do. It sells out quickly.

We had a gaggle of about 9 Disney fans who attended the lunch, including one VERY smart 11-year-old who had some great questions for the Imagineer. Don’t worry if your group can’t fill the room; Disney will keep taking reservations until the event is at capacity. That means you might have the chance to meet a few new Disney fans!

Now, the first question everyone asks about Dine With an Imagineer is… [Read more…]