Review: Victoria Sponge Cake at Yorkshire County Fish Shop in Epcot’s UK Pavilion

It’s somewhat rare that anything changes at Yorkshire County Fish Shop in Epcot’s UK Pavilion.

And I don’t mean that as a bad thing. When you’ve got a great classic like Fish & Chips as the main event, I’m of the opinion that Yorkshire County Fish Shop falls squarely under the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” category.

So when I strolled past a few weeks ago on the way to meet some friends at Rose & Crown Pub and Dining Room and noticed that the dessert option had changed to Victoria Sponge Cake filled with jam and buttercream (you can now also find whole fruit options as well), I knew I wanted to get back as soon as possible and give it a try.

Yorkshire County Fish Shop

Yorkshire County Fish Shop

Yorkshire County Fish Shop menu

Yorkshire County Fish Shop menu

Prior to the Victoria Sponge Cake, the dessert option on this limited menu was an English Bay Sugar Cookie, and before that, the common dessert option was a package of shortbread cookies for… well, for as long as I can remember. So the Victoria Sponge Cake is a definite departure from the cookies.

Unfortunately, I can’t claim to be familiar with a traditional English Victoria Sponge Cake. But I can tell you that the version you’ll receive at Epcot comes, understandably, in a “To Go” package, custom made for the search for seats at this popular stop.

Victoria Sponge Cake in package

Victoria Sponge Cake in package

Victoria Sponge Cake in package

Victoria Sponge Cake in package

Before I dug in, I wanted to give you a chance to see inside. Between [Read more…]

Guest Review and DFB Challenge: Eat Around the World at Disney’s Epcot

Ready to dine around Epcot? Yep, me too! Join me in welcoming guest author Anita Theiss with her review of some great Epcot eats!

World Showcase Snacks

My husband and I recently spent a day at Epcot celebrating our anniversary. While there, we decided to taste a little something from each of the nations represented in the World Showcase. An “Eat Around the World” challenge, so to speak. It was a lot of fun, and we really enjoyed discussing which foods we liked best and which we liked the least. We followed a few simple rules for our self-assigned challenge.

Eat Around the World Rules

Rule One, choose one country-specific food item (no generic cookies or fries) to order from each nation and share it. (We had a slight breech of etiquette on this rule when we got to France, but more on that later.) Sharing meant that we could discuss what we thought of the item, and it kept us from eating too much.

Rule Two, go to counter service restaurants, kiosks, or food stands only. It just didn’t seem right to take up a reservation spot for just one item.

Rule Three, rate each food item on a scale of one to ten, with one being not quite so palate pleasing, and ten being the best thing to ever grace your taste buds.

Nachos in Mexico

Our digestive expedition started in Mexico at La Cantina de San Angel with an order of nachos. The nachos come with ground beef, beans, cheese, tomatoes, jalapeños, and sour cream. We ordered them with the tomatoes and jalapeños on the side -— my husband loves them, but I am not a fan.

Nachos

Nachos

I enjoyed the nachos, but we both found them to be a little heavy on the cheese (if food can be too heavy with ‘plastic cheese’) and not heavy enough on the meat and beans. They had just the right amount of spice, and the chips were crisp. The portion was perfect for a meal, but these nachos are a great shareable snack as well. My husband gave them a 4, and I gave them a 6.

Troll Horn in Norway

We moved on to Norway and stopped at the Kringla Bakeri Og Kafé. There were several items on the counter that looked good, and I could not decide between the Troll Horn and the Viking Mousse. I asked the cast member behind the counter which of the two she recommended, and she suggested the Troll Horn, which is filled which cloudberry cream.

Troll Horn

Troll Horn

The cloudberry cream was smooth and sweet, but not too sweet, and the pastry was tender but a little bland. The sugar crystals sprinkled on top added a nice sweetness and crunch, but overall the Troll Horn was just meh (how do you like that technical culinary term?). We both gave it a 4 on our grading scale — not horrible, but we won’t be rushing back to Norway to get one during our next trip.

Egg Roll in China

After a ride on Maelstrom (RIP), we headed to China. We stopped at Joy of Tea to place an egg roll order. An order of egg rolls actually includes two nice-sized pork and veggie egg rolls, which was a pleasant surprise considering how very delicious they were. (My husband had already snagged his and started munching when I took the picture which is why there is only one pictured.)

Egg Roll

Egg Roll

The egg roll wrapper was both tender and crunchy, and the filling was flavorful with seasoned pork and crisp veggies. There were packets of soy sauce (and other condiments) which just added another layer of fabulous flavor. We both gave the egg rolls an 8.5; we would definitely get them again and feel that they would be an excellent use of a snack credit if you are on the Disney Dining Plan since they are easily shared.

Bratwurst in Germany

We moved on from China to Germany for a stop at Sommerfest. To be honest, I had my heart set on wrapping my lips around a Nudel Gratin for days, but I was starting to get full and knew that such a dish would be both rich and heavy. So, I passed on the Nudel Gratin (which I now regret — I really should have persevered) while my husband ordered a bratwurst. He loves a brat, and this one did not disappoint.

Bratwurst

Bratwurst

Bratwurst Cross Section with Mustard

Bratwurst Cross Section with Mustard

The bratwurst comes on a very large crusty bun topped with loads of sauerkraut. He said the sauerkraut was alright and the bratwurst itself was delicious, but he felt that there was just too much bread. The bun was quite large and had a pretty tough and crusty consistency. He still enjoyed it and gave it a score of 6.

Gelato in Italy

After a quick shopping break in Germany, we headed to Italy, which had me a little worried because there is no counter service restaurant. But as we were walking into Italy, I spotted Gelati — a nice little gelato stand, so I stopped for a cup of chocolate gelato.

Gelato

Gelato

It was smooth, thick, creamy, quite tasty, and reminded me of a cold version of hot chocolate. It would definitely hit the spot on a hot summer day in Florida. My husband had a taste or two of it, but he is not much of a chocolate fan and didn’t like it as much as regular ice cream. I, on the other hand, much prefer the thicker consistency of gelato to its thinner American counterpart and gave it a 7.

Sweet Cream Cheese Pretzel in American Adventure

After Italy, it was time for a return to our homeland of America. Now during our last trip to Disney a few months ago, I fell in love with the [Read more…]

Disney Food Throw Down: Best Fish and Chips in Walt Disney World

There are some pretty serious debates about where in Walt Disney World you’ll find the best fish and chips. Today, we thought we’d throw a little fuel on that fire by taking a closer look at some of our favorites.

Yorkshire County Fish Shop

Mention that you’re visiting Walt Disney World and you’re hankering for this traditional British fare, and it’s a sure bet that somebody’s gonna have an opinion. And chances are good that you’ll be told to make a beeline for the UK Pavilion in Epcot.

When you get there, you’ll find two different spots that offer fish and chips. We’ll take a look at Yorkshire County Fish Shop first.

Located just before you cross the bridge into France, Yorkshire is a walk-up window where they keep it simple: you can order fish and chips, a cookie, or your choice of a few beverages.

Yorkshire County Fish Shop

Yorkshire County Fish Shop

And thank goodness for simplicity, because even with it, the lines here can get loooooooonnng. But there’s a really good reason for that…the fish and chips are pretty great.

Fish & Chips

Fish and Chips from Yorkshire County Fish Shop

Because this spot is so busy, the fish is usually pretty fresh. The crunchy batter isn’t too greasy or heavy, and the chips really are more chip-py than french fry-like.

Cross-section of fish

Cross-section of fish

And since it’s counter service, you can score delicious, filling food with no advance dining reservation. We also hear from lots of you that a stop at Yorkshire is a WDW ritual worth keeping during every visit!

BUT — seating can be hard to find on busy days. We’ve enjoyed our Yorkshire fish and chips sitting on a curb or while standing a time or two.

Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room

And that brings us to the next contender: Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room right next door.

Whether you’re just after a pint or you’re looking to enjoy a meal, this traditional British pub is an extremely popular stop. If you’d like to dine here, we strongly recommend you book an advance dining reservation.

Outside of the Rose and Crown

Outside of the Rose and Crown

At Rose and Crown, you can order fish and chips off of the pub menu, or you can order them in the restaurant as well. Size and price vary depending on where you’re enjoying your fix. ;-)

But having them served at a table service restaurant means that you have more choices. With a menu that includes other fish and chip shop standards, like mushy peas, you can round out the meal a bit.

Classic beer-battered fish and chips with tartar sauce.

Fish and Chips from Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room

Seating choices include comfy a/c inside, or gorgeous views of World Showcase Lagoon on the patio.

Cookes of Dublin

But then, there’s the relatively new kid on the block who has brought some serious fish and chips game. Yep, we’re heading to Downtown Disney for a trip to [Read more…]

Tips From the DFB Guide: Our Top 3 Tips for Late Night Disney World Dining

You’ve just arrived at Walt Disney World and it’s late, and you’re starving. Or you’ve finished at the Park for the day, it’s late, and you’re starving. Or you’ve wrapped up a fun time at Fantasia Golf and — well, you get the gist.

2014 dfb guide 3d cover

Where do you go in Walt Disney World when you’re starving and want to score a late night bite?

Well, there are lots of places, actually! But today, I thought we’d take a closer look at three of our favorites featured in the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining e-Book!

Raglan Road Irish Pub

While there are several spots at Downtown Disney where you can enjoy a late night bite to eat, Raglan Road is one of our favorites.

The menu features a mix of comforting, traditional Irish pub food with some fusion flavors, like curry. We have lots of favorites here, but one of the best dishes on the menu is the Fish and Chips! And no worries if you follow a gluten-free approach to eating — their Gluten-Free Fish and Chips are just as fantastic as the traditional version (some even like them better).

Fish and Chips at Raglan Road

Fish and Chips at Raglan Road

But menu is only half the draw here. You’ll also find live music and traditional Irish dancing nightly.

Although it can be tough to get a walk-up table during the earlier evening hours, it’s a little easier to grab a spot later at night. The full menu is available until 11PM; order from the bar menu from 11PM until “late”.

Gasparilla Island Grill

Regardless of the hour, night or day, you can find something to eat at Gasparilla Island Grill.

Located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, it’s a monorail stop away from both Magic Kingdom and the Ticket and Transportation Center. You’ll find a full array of grilled items, salads, pizza, and flatbreads. We absolutely loved the Margherita Flatbread when we tried it on a recent visit!

Margherita Flatbread from Gasparilla Island Grill

Margherita Flatbread from Gasparilla Island Grill

Enjoy the full dinner menu until [Read more…]

Review: Fish & Chips at the Yorkshire County Fish Shop in Disney World’s Epcot

Are there any Disney experiences that are such important vacation traditions for you that, had they not taken place, you’d almost feel as though you hadn’t really been to Disney?

Allow me to give you an example: “I haven’t really been to Magic Kingdom until I’ve been on the Haunted Mansion.” Or, of course, any of these great first day at Disney traditions!

Well, mine ways always: “I haven’t been to Epcot until I’ve had Fish & Chips from the United Kingdom Pavilion.”

Is anyone with me here?

Let’s head back to the Yorkshire County Fish Shop for its signature dish!

Atmosphere

The Yorkshire County Fish Shop blends in fairly seamlessly with the rest of the Pavilion. The shop itself stands independent of the seating areas, and can be identified by its forest green signage, which identifies (just about) everything on the menu: Fish & Chips!

Yorkshire County Fish Shop

Yorkshire County Fish Shop

Yorkshire County Fish Shop

Yorkshire County Fish Shop

It’s not at all unusual to find a line here at any time of day, but the midday lunch rush and the half hour before Illuminations are particularly busy.

Upon receiving your order, the next part of your adventure is finding a place to sit. There isn’t a ton of seating in the area, and the tables to the right (facing the Fish Shop) are rather large, not leaving a lot of options for smaller parties or more tables.

Tables to the right of the shop

Tables to the right of the shop

If you can score a table, you’re rewarded with some of the best views World Showcase can offer. However, be warned — you may also be visited by some birds… they are not even remotely shy here.

Even with more ample seating, it would likely be a struggle to find a place, because it’s nearly always hoppin’. There is a bit of additional seating with smaller tables towards the back of Rose & Crown Pub and Dining Room.

Walkway to the back

Walkway to the back

This group of tables is separated from the Rose & Crown seating by a small wall, and it offers a bonus of being right by the water.

Back of Rose & Crown and Yorkshire County Fish Shop

Back of Rose & Crown and Yorkshire County Fish Shop

While these benches aren’t only for guests of the Fish Shop, they do offer enviable seating when you’re enjoying your fish & chips while waiting for Illuminations to begin.

View of World Showcase from the UK Pavilion

View of World Showcase from the UK Pavilion

For my part,  when I spent some (admittedly far too brief) time in London, I picked up fish & chips at a few stands that never had any sort of seating, and I just found a random place to sit wherever I could. So that’s exactly what I do at the UK Pavilion. I pass the gardens across the street and head towards the back.

Back of the UK Pavilion

Back of the UK Pavilion

Bench in UK Pavilion

Bench in UK Pavilion

We found a seat… now it’s time to tuck in!

Eats

Like I said, the signs on the Fish Shop tell you just about everything you need to know about the menu, specializing in only one entree…

Yorkshire County Fish Shop Menu

Yorkshire County Fish Shop Menu

Fish & Chips!

Fish & Chips

Fish & Chips

Prior to grabbing your spot, you’ll want to stop by [Read more…]

Review: Raglan Road at Downtown Disney Orlando

In the mood for comfort food with a twist? Then we have just the lunch review for you today — Raglan Road at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney!

Even though there’s no live entertainment during the day, stopping by the Irish pub for a bite of lunch is a great idea if you really want to take in the beautiful decor and have a truly relaxing meal.

If you’d like to see more about our most recent visit, read on.

Atmosphere

When we say that Raglan Road is an Irish pub, we mean it. Like, parts-of-it-were-brought-from-Ireland authentic. There’s more than just fancy Disney Imagineering going on here.

Raglan Road -- Outside

Raglan Road — Outside

Once you enter through the front doors, the hostess podium is forward and to your left. Head out the left-hand door just before it, and you’ll be seated on the outdoor patio, which boasts its own bar and often, its own entertainment.

Entrance Foyer

Entrance Foyer

To your right is a charming gift shop that stocks a host of Raglan Road-themed products. You’ll also find goods from Ireland, all manner of merch bearing the logo of Guinness beer. There’s beautiful jewelry, pantry items, cookbooks, and more. It’s a wonderful spot to browse.

Gift Shop

Gift Shop

The Master Chef here at Raglan is Kevin Dundon, and you’ll find his cookbooks — including the brand new one — at the gift shop. On my last visit, Chef Dundon was in town and came out to chat with my family! So fun! What an honor. :-)

Kevin Dundon's in the House!

Kevin Dundon’s in the House!

Bar seating in this pub is extensive. With two bars, your chances of finding an empty seat are decent at night (and great during the day). And the bar is fully part of the pub — there’s no separate bar area — so you can enjoy the entertainment from tables or bars, whichever you prefer.

The bars themselves are 130 years old, and were brought to the US from Ireland!

Oneof the Two Bars

One of the Two Bars

Other materials were either salvaged in Ireland, or were crafted there. The sense of antiquity is enhanced by plenty of rich, dark wood and brass trim.

One of the Two Bars

Bar Number Two

And this is a pub! So you can expect a wide range of beer, whiskey, and other spirits available for your enjoyment. Lots of the beer options are available on tap, but selections change up regularly, so be sure to ask about the current options.

Draught Beers

Draught Beers

The dancing podium stands in the center of the circular dining space, and solo dances by different members of the Irish step dancing troupe are performed here to live music. You can also catch dance performances on the stage in front of the fireplace, which has been enlarged since I took this photo.

Leaded glass above lets in plenty of light, and tints it in rosy, cool colors during the day.

Dancing Podium and Live Music Stage at Raglan Road

Dancing Podium and Live Music Stage at Raglan Road

The cupola soars, letting in even more light. The high ceilings, bare wood, and tile floors also ensure that [Read more…]

Guest Review: Ten Everyday Eats That Just Taste Better At Disney

Welcome guest author Michelle R.! She’s sharing her thoughts on everyday food that’s just better in Walt Disney World.

food tastes better at disney

Anyone who has ever flown long distances is familiar with jet lag. The time zone adjustment can take a few days or even weeks for mind and body to work out. I’ve discovered a little known vacation malady known as food lag. It’s similar to jet lag but normally occurs upon arrival home after a vacation. Days or weeks can go by before normal home food is appealing again.

Ten Normal Foods That Just Taste Better At Disney

While on vacation, meals are enjoyed in nice restaurants under relaxed or exciting circumstances. Throw Disney in the mix and you can get some serious food lag following your trip. The most ordinary foods taste much better when prepared and served at Disney parks and hotels.

I’ve listed 10 and all of them were so delicious, I couldn’t eat them for weeks after coming home.

Hot Dogs

While waiting for a parade to start, we grabbed a hot dog at Casey’s Corner on Main Street USA and split it. It was the best half hot dog I’ve ever eaten. The cheese, deep orange and flavorful, was in the middle of the meat and the bun soft and fresh. It was hot without burning and frankly, the most delicious hot dog I’ve ever had before or since.

Hot Dog and Fries from Casey’s!

Turkey Legs

If you’ve ever had to fight relatives at Thanksgiving for the turkey leg, go ahead and give it up now. Head to Disney and grab a turkey leg. Serving over 1.6 million drumsticks a year, there is plenty to go around and are they ever delicious!

Turkey Leg at Disney

Waffles

With a plethora of Waffle Houses and IHOPS in every town across America, you’d think eating waffles at Disney wouldn’t be a big deal.

Is it the extra thickness or the fact they’re shaped like Mickey heads? Is it the generous supply of butter and real maple syrup? I’m not sure, but waffles at Disney absolutely spoiled me for home waffles for several months following our last trip.

Mickey Waffle with Butter!

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are good just about anywhere, especially Grandma’s house. But again, Disney mashed potatoes are extraordinary.

Whether you’re at Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Boma, Disney chefs seem to bring a little extra fluff and flavor to this ordinary food.

Mashed Potatoes at Liberty Tree Tavern

Fish and Chips

All kids and many adults like fish sticks; but they love fried fish at Disney. Epcot’s Rose & Crown Pub serves the very best although folks say that Columbia Harbour House in the Magic Kingdom is every bit as good.

Again, wherever you are in Disney, the fish and chips are going to be good.

Fish and Chips from Epcot’s Yorkshire County Fish Shop

Pizza

Mama Melrose’s in Disney’s Hollywood Studios serves a wonderful brick oven baked pizza in a homey atmosphere. Followed by Fantasmic’s display of fireworks, water and music, you’ll be convinced no pizza could ever top the one you had just before the show.

Carne d’Italia Flatbread

Lemon Ice

Disney sells a prepackaged lemon ice that can be bought at almost any convenience store in the country, yet for some mysterious reason, this same lemon ice that quenches thirst and refreshes is 10 times more delicious within the confines of Disney.

Frozen Strawberry Lemonade

So far I’ve covered six ordinary foods and one refreshing treat, but I’ve saved room for desserts. Dessert at Disney is [Read more…]

Review: Columbia Harbour House at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Today, we are enjoying lunch in one of my very favorite corners of Magic Kingdom — Columbia Harbour House!

This restaurant is an original fixture of Magic Kingdom, although it opened way back in 1971 as Nantucket Harbour House. It was soon re-christened Columbia Harbour House, which echoes references to both Disneyland and the film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. (Pause for sigh of nostalgia.)

Without knowing better, you may be tempted to pass right by this quick service spot, thinking that it’s a garden variety bastion of fried food. But while there are some battered options here, you’ll also find some lighter fare that’s worth a closer look. (Actually, I think the fried stuff is pretty rad, too.)

Menu Posted at the Entrance

Today, we’re exploring that fabled upstairs dining room, and we’re ordering up one of the eatery’s classic combos!

Atmosphere

With its long-standing history and incredible attention to detail, Columbia Harbour House should not be dismissed as just another counter service spot.

One of the most interesting things to note about the restaurant is, in fact, its outside view. From the Liberty Square Side, it appears to fit in perfectly with its environs. It reminds me of a spot right on the harbor of some quaint New England town.

Outside View

But be sure to approach the restaurant from its Fantasyland side as well for a completely different view, which is decidedly more European. From that side, it looks like something straight out of Bavaria.

Columbia Harbour House -- Fantasyland View

Once inside, you definitely feel like you’ve [Read more…]

Guest Review: Epcot’s Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room

Today we are welcoming guest author Rebecca Dolan with a dining review of the Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room. Read on…

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.

Atmosphere

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 building’s three sides at Rose and Crown.

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.

Stopping in for an evening pint.

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.

Get a load of that view!

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…]

Guest Review: Seafood Dine-Around at Walt Disney World

Join us in welcoming guest author KJ Simpson with a Walt Disney World Seafood Adventure!

Crab Cakes at Narcoossee's

A recent trip to Walt Disney World opened up a whole new world of culinary delights for me: seafood!

In my many previous visits, I had never tried any seafood dishes. This year, for a variety of reasons, I began incorporating seafood into my diet. As part of this new culinary adventure, I decided to sample some of the many dishes from the sea that are available throughout the parks and resorts.

If you’re curious about some of the offerings that can be found throughout Walt Disney World, read on as I embark on this seafood adventure…

And don’t forget to share your favorite Disney seafood dishes in the comments below!

Yorkshire County Fish Shop

No seafood tour would be complete without a stop at the very popular Yorkshire County Fish Shop, in the United Kingdom area of Epcot’s World Showcase, for an order of Fish & Chips.

There’s often a line at the Yorkshire County Fish Shoppe- this is a popular spot!

It’s a classic — two pieces of battered fish, served in a quick-service style over chips (also known as fries, here on this side of the pond). It’s even wrapped in faux-newspaper to give it a whimsically authentic appearance.

While not the healthiest of seafood meals, it was certainly one of the tastiest! There’s not a lot to go wrong here, and this was a perfect afternoon snack to share. The malt vinegar — a traditional accompaniment to the English fish fry — added the perfect tang and gave a whole different taste dimension to the fish.

The classic - Fish & Chips.

Sharing this while sitting in the seating area off to the side overlooking World Showcase Lagoon was a splendid afternoon respite! If you eat outside here, be forewarned: enjoy the view, but beware of the aggressive birds, ducks, and squirrels. They apparently love the food here as much as we do, and are not shy about wanting you to share.

Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie

Next was a visit to the newly-refurbished bakery in the France pavilion, Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie.

The expanded menu has a new seafood offering: Bisque de Homard, or Lobster Bisque.

Les Halles

This was a satisfying soup, smooth and creamy without being too heavy. Tomato was the more dominant flavor here, but the seafood added a richness and [Read more…]