Cue the waterworks (and not for the usual reason!)! After months of speculation on the interwebs, Disney Parks Blog confirmed today that Epcot’s beloved IllumiNations Fireworks Spectacular is coming to an end!
Whether you’ve been to Walt Disney World one time or one hundred times, there’s always something new to do. And right now, there’s a ton! Besides the opening of Pandora, the World’s newest land located at Animal Kingdom, there are seven other fun and functional new experiences you’ve gotta try!
Mobile Ordering has been offered since May 2017, and now it’s expanded to more locations! Mobile Ordering allows guests to use their My Disney Experience app to pre-order and pre-pay for meals at counter service locations.
Mobile Ordering lets participating guests bypass the ordering queue and go directly to the Order Pick-Up window. No more waiting in long lines to order your nuggets, y’all!
“We’re all mad here…”
But where, exactly is “here,” you ask? Why, it’s just outside Gasparilla Island Grill at the Grand Floridian Resort, which has brought back the Gone Mad Party on Wednesdays during the month of June!
This Alice in Wonderland-themed shindig made its limited-run debut in 2016, and its return gives guests the opportunity to view the new Happily Ever After Fireworks Spectacular from the Grill’s outdoor seating area from 7:00 – 9:30 pm. [Read more…]
The California Grill in Disney’s Contemporary Resort has re-opened with a new menu and revitalized decor. This week, guest author Paul Kuconis returns with a review from this Walt Disney World restaurant.
My daughter and I last ate at California Grill in May 2012, seated in the Wine Room overlooking Wilderness Lodge and Epcot in the distance. The meal, as usual (and expected) was superb! Soon after this the restaurant was closed for a remodel. And the wait began.
When I found out (in early September, I believe) that California Grill was accepting Advance Dining Reservations I thought I would give it a shot for our October visit. I was able to grab the date and time I wanted. AWESOME!!
So off we head on the boat from Wilderness Lodge to the Contemporary.
You can’t beat this view of the Contemporary right around dusk! Red sky at night, Sailor’s delight. We are in for a nice day tomorrow.
The reception desk is now on the right of the elevator banks, moved from the left.
Right off the elevator — the first new element I saw was the immense wine cooler.
As we waited for our table we took in the sights.
The results of the remodel look fantastic and the contemporary theme was carried throughout. The bar has a nice clean look to it with illuminated shelving and neatly arranged bottles.
The open concept seating remained, providing good views out all the windows.
Even the light fixtures carry the ‘contemporary theme’, right down to different colored globes!
It was nice to see that the open kitchen concept was maintained through the remodel. I enjoy watching the chefs prepare the offerings. And it is done with Military precision. No ‘Hells’ Kitchen’ theatrics here!
You can’t beat white tablecloths and sharp, branded linen napkins. Classy!
OK, enough of the Atmosphere. We came to eat!
Now the fun begins. The menu logo mirrors the signage we saw at the reception desk.
My daughter and I selected a bottle of Landmark Vineyards Overlook Chardonnay. The vineyard is located in Kenwood in the heart of Sonoma (along with Napa and Mendocino) in the North Coast wine region of California. Also in keeping with the California theme.
We made a nice choice. We noticed aromas of dried pit fruits, melon, honey, and tarragon. It was very fruity, with a nice finishing warmth and lingering spiciness.
Luckily we got rolls and butter and that gave me something to eat while I perused the menu.
As usual with Disney, they are not just ‘rolls and butter’. We had a choice of sourdough rolls (my favorite and a staple of San Francisco) and focaccia. The butter was topped with sea salt and a lavender blossom. Visually, perfect! This is important as we ‘see’ the food before we eat it.
The crunchiness of the salt worked well with the butter and spread that on the sourdough roll — it doesn’t get any better. At least until the appetizer arrives!
Appetizer and entrée selections proved to be very difficult. To me, that is the sign of a well thought out menu. So many choices, so little time!
I like to try items I have never had and the [Read more…]
The Grand Floridian Resort is home to several fine dining experiences. Today, guest author Rebecca Dolan reviews the resort’s Citricos restaurant.
I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on Citricos all these years.
My family and I tend to shy away from Disney’s fine dining experiences. Truth be told, we’re often just too tired (read: lazy) to put on “real” clothes after a day at the parks. But, this meal is even worth putting on your nice khakis for.
Citricos is set on the second floor of Walt Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort at the back of the main building, where it shares a check-in foyer with Victoria & Albert’s.
A set of iron gates is an artistic touch to delineate the waiting area from the bar and dining room.
Past them is the first dining area and bar. This is bordered by large windows overlooking the rest of the hotel and the Seven Seas Lagoon to the right, with a large wine room, bar, and display kitchen to the left. A bit further back is a glass-and-wood enclosed “chef’s domain” — a private dining rom.
The rear part of the dining room is perhaps what Citricos is known for architecturally. The round room is enclosed by what are essentially floor-to-ceiling windows, offering an amazing view of the property, the lagoon, and even part of the Magic Kingdom.
Though it’s a bit obstructed, you can even catch a glimpse of the [Read more…]
Today we are welcoming guest author Rebecca Dolan with a dining review of the Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room. Read on…
Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room
When it comes to Epcot’s Rose & Crown, the mantra should be “come for the fireworks, stay for the food.” Sure the menu of British comfort classics has always been on point, but the real draw here has to be the restaurant’s back patio, which offers one of the best fireworks views on the shores of the World Showcase Lagoon.
This combination of no-frills British food and fireworks made Rose & Crown both one of my mother’s favorite Disney spots, and the bane of the Epcot trips of my youth. (Ugh, do we have to watch the fireworks again? I want to eat in Morocco!) But, Rose & Crown and I have come a long way over the past years. And, I now fully support adding it to a Disney dining itinerary.
The first thing you’ll probably notice about Rose & Crown is that it isn’t built in just one architectural style. Instead, the building is a mash-up of three different, popular pub styles.
The main entrance leads into a full-service pub where you can belly up to the bar for traditional beers, ciders, and scotches from the UK. A handful of tables provide a much-needed respite from the afternoon sun.
Outside the pub entrance, to the left, is the check in booth for the dining room. Seating is either on the outdoor patio overlooking the lagoon, or inside the main dining room. Try your best to score an outdoor table if you can (back patio is better than side patio) for the fireworks view.
This will likely prove to be a difficult endeavor, however. After close to three decades of dining here, this trip was the first time our family was actually seated outside.
Now, don’t let that get you discouraged! Even if you can’t get the coveted front row seats, those eating inside are allowed [Read more…]
Update: Scroll to the end of the Eats section (yep, waaayyy down there!) for a mini-review of opening night, courtesy of one of our favorite DFB guest writers, Julie B!
We are headed back to the fifteenth floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort today, as we take a closer look at the brand new California Grill!
The outpouring of Disney food fan love has just been astounding throughout the last eight months as we’ve continued to watch the newly re-imagined California Grill take shape. Folks who love the restaurant and its amazing menu have been anxious for news. Would it retain its panache? Would beloved dishes from the old menu make the cut? How would we survive with no Yoshie??
We are happy to report that, if possible, California Grill is even more spectacular than before. We were happy to show you a first look at all that was new after last Thursday’s media event. Today, we’re unveiling more details. If you haven’t already, get ready to make those advance dining reservations. I think you’re going to like what you see.
Settle in. This is going to be a long one!
Immediately, as you step out of the elevator onto the fifteenth floor, you are enveloped by the cool vibe of California Grill. You know at once that you’re in for a special experience.
If you weren’t aware of it already, now you know: wine matters in this restaurant. A lot. Wine coolers aren’t dressed up to be anything else; they’re unapologetically part of the decor here. This makes sense, as the restaurant now boasts 1,600 bottles of wine in the state-of-the-art wine display.
You’ll find around 250 wines on the list, with 80 available by the glass. And with more than 20 sommeliers on staff, you are literally enveloped in a wealth of wine knowledge.
Straight ahead, you’ll find the trademark view of Seven Seas Lagoon. With any luck there will be a spectacular sunset over the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa during your visit like there was for ours.
This area continues to serve as the lounge for the restaurant. You can still score a table here with no advance dining reservation, and the full restaurant menu is available for ordering.
The bar area continues to be highlighted by the ceiling’s circular cutout. While the shape is the same, the whole bar has been overhauled with new finishes. Comfortable seating beckons you to relax and have a cocktail or two.
To quote one of my Disney friends, nothing here is the same as it was! The lights are wonderfully whimsical. While modern, there’s still a retro feel here. In fact, the lights remind me a lot of old pictures I’ve seen of the Contemporary from the 1970s.
Tables are set for service. I was glad to see that the [Read more…]
It’s time to talk Disney trip traditions!!! Over the years, my “first day at Disney” traditions have changed and evolved. But there’s nothing like looking forward to that thing you love to do first when you get to Disney World or Disneyland.
So my question for you today is this: Do you have a favorite “Welcome to Disney” tradition that you always look forward to? Let us know in the comments below — I might just have to change mine once I get inspired by a few of yours!
In the interest of fairness, I’ll share one of mine, too… 🙂
Take a Deep Breath and Enjoy the View
One of my favorite “first night traditions” in Disney World is shaking off the stress of travel with a deep breath and a relaxing view. The best place to do this in my opinion? Disney’s Polynesian Resort!
“The Poly” offers lots of choices for [Read more…]
I’m excited to say that we just had another awesome Disney Food Blog Snack Attack and IllumiNations Dessert Party a couple of weeks ago!!
It was so much fun to meet so many Disney Food Blog readers and supporters, and we lucked out with absolutely beautiful weather in Epcot for our VIP IllumiNations Dessert Party. Thank you all for coming!
What’s Snack Attack?
Just in case you’re new to DFB, our Snack Attack events are special ticket-only evenings where we combine:
- Our favorite Disney World snacks from all over the parks and resorts, AND
- A private, VIP viewing area for IllumiNations, Reflections of Earth — the Epcot fireworks spectacular!
If you want to attend our next Snack Attack, save the date for October 2, 2013!! Tickets will go on sale soon!
Whaddya Eat at Snack Attack?
Well, we eat all of my favorite snacks…and DFB readers seem to like ’em, too! These are served throughout the event, and are all-you-can-eat! Here’s a little sampling of some of the goodies…
Carrot Cake Cookies from Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios (filled with gobs of cream cheese frosting!)
Zebra Domes from Animal Kingdom Lodge
School Bread from Epcot’s Norway pavilion
Butterfinger Cupcakes from Starring Rolls [Read more…]
Walt Disney World is gearing up for festive celebrations on New Year’s Eve!
With the announcement of two specialty dinners at Monsieur Paul and La Hacienda de San Angel, guests wanting to ring in the New Year at Epcot may want to check out these events. Why choose one of these restaurants? They both provide Epcot guests with a view of fireworks!
Or perhaps you’d rather enjoy the evening knocking down some pins and great eats at Downtown Disney’s Splitsville!
Cost for the New Year’s Eve event here is $195 per person for food only; $275 per person with wine pairings. See the four course dinner menu to be prepared by chef Francesco Santin below:
Monsieur Paul Restaurant New Year’s Eve Menu
Tarte Aux Truffes Noir: Warm black truffle and artichoke tart OR
Salade De Homard: Maine lobster served cold with tomato confit, lime vinaigrette
Pouilly-Fuisse, P. Bouchard 2008
Bar Sauvage Americain, Sauce Au Champagne: Seared wild strip bass with [Read more…]