Disney Food for Families: Great Disney World Restaurants for Boys

Much fuss is made about the ballyhooed princess dining experiences at Disney World. So much fuss, that parents of young boys sometimes find themselves wondering, “What does Disney have that’s special for me?”

The down and dirty dino loving boy will be right at home at the T-Rex Cafe.

Well, never fear sports fans; I’m here to tell you that while, yes, the girly girls are pretty visible in the parks (it’s hard to miss the Florida sun glinting off a tiara), there are plenty of Disney dining experiences where the men in your family will feel right at home.

Let’s break it down …

Character Meals

There are 10 different character dining venues at Walt Disney World proper. Of these, only three and a half of them have princess themeing. The rest are totally gender-neutral.

Boys are certainly welcome at any of the princess meals, and many boys love them just as much as the other character meals (PLUS they’re given a neato plastic sword at the Royal Table); but honestly, they do skew more heavily toward girl interests.

All of the other character dining restaurants appeal equally to boys and girls. Your best options for boys in the character dining department are the following (characters are always subject to change): [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: April 29, 2012

It’s official, everyone! The big news this week: Starbucks is coming to Disney Parks! Whether you love it or hate it, the coffee king will be opening six locations soon — one in each domestic Disney park.

Later today, stay tuned for pictures of the new Art of Animation Food Court and Menus! We’re reporting live from Disney World this week!

Disney Food News

We’ve got more food news (including a new chef at Mama Melrose’s, opening date for Disneyland’s Candy Palace and Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor, plus a new confectionery, Trolley Treats, coming to Disney California Adventure) on our Disney Food News Pin Board, where Disney Food News is updated on a regular basis!

DFB Podcast Episode 3

We’re excited to finally announce the third episode of the DFB Podcast, which you can download now!

Thanks to everyone who’s listening for being so generous with your time, comments, and support!

In this episode, we share Disney Food News, answer listener questions, reveal our trivia winner from last week (and ask a new trivia question), and discuss non-buffet character meals in Disney World and Disneyland!

Click here to go to the Podcast page for Episode 3. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSS or on iTunes!

On To The Round-Up

DisneyCaribbeanBeach.com shares the recipe for Poolside Lemonade – a fave cocktail at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.

disZine shares how to get free cupcakes when Sprinkle Cupcakes helps promote DreamWorks’ upcoming dramedy, People Like Us!

Main Street Gazette enjoys the groovy Tie Dye cheesecake at Pop Century’s Everything Pop food court.

Daveland goes back to Disneyland’s Plantation House where fried chicken was the specialty.

Walt Disney World for Grown-Ups finds beer, wine, and mixers at the WDW value resorts.

Studios Central previews snacks in R2-D2 containers for the 2012 Star Wars Weekends.

Disney Wedding Podcast chats with AJ about incorporating Disney food into a wedding reception or other catered event.

Wesh.com shares DFB tips on celebrating your special occasions at a Disney restaurant.

All Fare’s Food Blog reviews the Animal Kingdom’s Flame Tree Barbecue!

Guest Review: The Mara

I’m happy to welcome back Bill Iadonisi with another enlightening review. This time he explores the counter-service eatery, The Mara, at the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jambo House. Take it away, Bill!

Hello Disney Food Blog fans! I know it’s been long between reviews, so let’s get started on this month’s eatery! I have always said that Disney’s resorts hold some of the best places to eat on property. Usually much quieter and less hectic then the restaurants in the parks, and many times you can just walk in and sit down.

Today we are going to the dark continent of Africa for this review. Well, maybe a quick safari trip to Disney’s Jambo house is what we’ll do. The main attractions at this beautiful resort are the breathtaking views of the African Savanna from select rooms. But it’s also home to some of Disney’s finest restaurants.

Although not a five-star eatery, Jambo House’s counter-service establishment, The Mara (named after the Mara River in Africa) is a wonderful place for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and it does all three equally well.

The Mara Story - click image for larger version

Atmosphere

So before we explore the eats, let’s take a look at the décor.

Themeing and Decor
Located very close to the Jambo House pool, the Mara is themed (like all Disney eateries), but not as strongly as, say, Pizzafari or even the Flame Tree Barbeque.

Entrance

Inside is a spacious dining area with a colorful mural of African flora and fauna on the two back walls.

Spacious Dining Area

The tables and chairs are plain and Spartan, but overhead are metallic cut-outs that resemble tree leaves, and several support posts that have large wooden beams resembling tree limbs make it appear as though you are [Read more…]

Top 5 Disney Dining Plan Quick-Service Values for 2012

It’s time to re-visit our Top 5 Quick-Service 2012 Disney Dining Plan* Values! Last year, our choices were great bargains because they offered good portions and quality food — and they were less attractive when paying out-of-pocket!

Since then, prices and options have changed, so it’s time to re-evaluate for 2012!

Wolfgang Puck Express at Downtown Disney

While shopping at Downtown Disney, use your quick service credit at Wolfgang Puck Express! The Pennette Chicken Alfredo with peas, bacon and parmesan at $15 is very filling (an easy meal to split)!

Pennette Chicken Alfredo

Here are some other smart choices:
Spaghetti & Meatballs with tomato-basil-garlic sauce and fresh herbs $16; Oven Roasted Salmon served with fennel, tomatoes, arugula, roasted potatoes and horseradish cream $18; or the Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf accompanied by mashed potatoes, port wine sauce and crispy onion rings $15.

Quality and quantity make WPE the place at Downtown Disney to get the best value with your DDP credit!

Katsura Grill

We’re assuming that Katsura Grill, which opens TODAY at the Japan Pavilion in Epcot, is on the Dining Plan as a counter-service location. If we’re right, it will be a great value for a counter-service credit. (By the way, since it’s replacing the Yakitori House, we’re guessing that it will be on the Dining Plan; but we don’t know yet for sure!)

On the new menu the Sushi Combos, including the California Roll and the Spicy Tuna Roll, top out at $12.99, as does the Tonosama combo, with comes with teriyaki beef, chicken, and salmon. The Teriyaki Salmon is $11.99, while the [Read more…]

Disney Food for Families: Counter Service Dining with the Adventurous Child

Disney Food for Families columnist Erin Foster has a very adventurous eater in her family — her daughter, Josie! Here are some great suggestions for kids who want something a bit different than the standard kids’ meal fare!

I’ve written before about my finicky, fearful daughter Louisa who never met a chicken nugget she didn’t like.

As it turns out, her twin sister Josie has a completely opposite dining profile. Josie will try anything, loves exploring new foods, and craves variety to spice up her meals. An endless stream of pizza bores her. If you have an adventurous eater in your life, you’ll want to find options beyond the ubiquitous pizza, pasta, hot dogs, and nuggets.

Josie enjoying the meat of a giant bird

In recent years, Disney has done a somewhat better job of providing a range of healthy and innovative foods on their childrens’ menus. Here I’m going to focus on some of the out-of-the-pizza-box Walt Disney World children’s counter service meal and snack options for those looking to avoid the kid food basics while on the go.

Counter Service Dining with an Adventerous Child at Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom

Columbia Harbor House and Cosmic Ray’s offer mixed greens with chicken for [Read more…]

Disney Food For Families: The Fab Four of Kid Food — Pizza, Pasta, Hot Dogs and Chicken Nuggets

Disney Food for Families columnist and Disney World Moms Panelist Erin Foster has more great info about kids’ dining in Disney World!

Casey's Corner Hot Dog, Fries, and Fixins

If your family is like mine, then at some point at least one of your children will go through a picky eater phase — where he or she will ONLY eat a certain type of food, texture of food, color of food, or food prepared in a certain way.

Luckily the chefs at Walt Disney World are well acquainted with the picky eater syndrome. They’ve seen it all before and can accommodate most childhood food idiosyncrasies. That’s one of the reasons WDW became such a frequent destination for us; dining out with our fussy daughter was a breeze compared to other vacation spots.

The Fab Four of Kid Food

Some common variations on the picky eater theme are the kids who will only eat pizza, or pasta, hot dogs, or chicken nuggets. While these favorites are, of course, readily available in the parks, they are not all available at [Read more…]

Guest Review: Animal Kingdom’s Flame Tree Barbecue

Guest reviewer Bill Iadonisi is back with another great counter-service review! This time, Bill takes us to a beloved Animal Kingdom eatery — Flame Tree Barbecue. Take it away, Bill!

Hello again Disney Food lovers! As promised, here is the second in the continuing reviews of Disney’s amazing quick-service restaurants. From our last review of the Columbia Harbor House, we trek over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom to talk about a personal favorite of mine, the Flame Tree Barbecue restaurant. Located in Discovery Island on the path to Dinoland U.S.A, you will find [Read more…]

Guest Review — Theme Park Throw Down: Counter Service

After long deliberation, Nick T. of Disney & Beyond has ranked the four Walt Disney World Theme Parks based on his interpretation of the quality of their counter service offerings! Every once in a while we like to stir things up on the Disney Food Blog, so we’d love to hear your opinion on the matter — did Nick get it right, or would you change some things around?  Take it away, Nick!

Backlot Express

Just over a month ago, a friend and I, both avid readers of The Disney Food Blog, got into a debate about the best overall counter service options in Walt Disney World’s parks. What started as a fun, simple discussion quickly turned heated, and I started to wonder what the reaction would be if I shared my opinions with the world. Thanks to AJ, now I can. I’d simply like to rank, in my humble opinion, the four Disney World theme parks based on counter service offerings.

For this list, I have taken into account both food and atmosphere. The food part is obvious, but I take atmosphere into account because I feel that is what makes the experience uniquely Disney, and it can actually add to the dining experience. But enough of this chit chat, yak yak, and flim flam. Just refrain from hibernating and enjoy the show. (Some Disney Fudge to whoever is the first to recognize that line.)

ABC Commissary

4. Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Yes, I rank the park formerly known as Disney-MGM Studios as the worst overall in park counter service. Why? Well, to me, both the food selection and the atmosphere of the counter service restaurants in the park are quite [Read more…]

DIY Disney: Disney Recipes for Your Summer Picnic

I’m thrilled to announce the first, official Disney Food Blog column — Chef BigFatPanda’s DIY Disney Recipes! Every month, our resident Chef BigFatPanda will put together his amazing step-by-step, photo-filled posts where he and Chef Mickey show you their adventures in the kitchen cooking up Disney goodies! Today, we launch the column with three great recipes that you can pack up and take on a Disney-inspired picnic (perfect for 4th of July!). Enjoy…

Hello! Chef BigFatPanda here! How are you? Don’t answer cause I can’t hear you, but I’ll assume you’re reading this with peachy vigor. I like that. Peachy Vigor! I’m going to use that from now on.

So, did you hear? I am so excited to get my own column here on the Disney Food Blog. No longer am I a guest, but a cast member (or whatever AJ wishes to call it). Thanks so much to everyone!

I wanted to do something a bit different for this post, so I chose some fairly simple yet overlooked Disney recipes that can truly be incorporated into a delicious summer meal. I am going to make the Barbecue Sauce from the Flame Tree Barbecue in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, grilled Asparagus just as they make it in Disney’s Grand Californian Resort’s Storyteller Café, and Coquina cookies, originally from the Cinnamon Bay Bakery at Disney World’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Add these Disney recipes to a rice, pasta, or potato side and you have a complete and colorful summer meal just in time for Summer Nightastic!

Flame Tree Barbecue Sauce

As usual, the recipe’s instructions will be bolded for easy reference should you wish to print this out and skip my banter.

Ingredients for Flame Tree Barbecue Sauce

You will need:
1 cup Ketchup
¼ cup Rice Wine Vinegar
¼ cup Water
¼ cup Packed Light Brown Sugar [Read more…]

Flame Tree Barbecue: Lunch With a View

Flame Tree Barbecue has long been a favorite counter-service location in the Animal Kingdom Theme Park for Disney World guests.

Flame Tree not only offers incredible value and an interesting atmosphere, it also has one of the best views in Disney World!

Atmosphere
Found in Animal Kingdom Theme Park’s Discovery Island section, right next to the entrance to Dinoland, you’ll find a long, flat, open-design building that usually has several lines of Disney guests sticking out of it and snaking back to the main thoroughfare.

Flame Tree Barbecue Queue Line

Jump into one of those lines and use the time to take in the interesting [Read more…]