Tips from the DFB Guide: Dining Solo in Disney World

When most people think of Walt Disney World, they automatically think of visiting with friends or family, which is lots of fun.

dfb2015_guide_3d

But there’s another way that I really love to tour Disney World. And that’s solo.

Sure. It’s always awesome to experience the magic with others…to catch their smiles, impressions, opinions. But sometimes out of necessity, and sometimes out of preference, I find myself visiting the ‘World alone.

It may sound lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. After all, what better way to take advantage of that single rider line? ;-) You can also spend as long as you want drinking in every detail of attractions and other surroundings.

But even if you’re totally OK with doing attractions by yourself, dining may feel like another matter altogether. You may be tempted to just stick with a table for one in the counter service spots.

And that’s all good, if that’s what you want. But if you’re looking to enjoy some of the great dining choices Disney has to offer, we have some terrific Tips from the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining for making this an awesome experience. And this is just one of the many unique ways of enjoying the World that we cover in the guide. There’s a chapter for everything, so be sure to check it out!

And if you find this information helpful, then be sure to pick up your copy of the Guide today for $4 off using code “2015” right here!

Dine Overlooking a Great View

There is no shortage of great Disney restaurants with equally great views! Why not choose one of them for your next solo meal?

One of my favorites is Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Request a window seat and enjoy an ever-changing view of the animals that call Sunset Savanna home.

Watch the Wildlife as You Dine at Sanaa

Watch the Wildlife as You Dine at Sanaa

And while you enjoy the live action through the window, the food incredible as well! The menu features East African and Indian-inspired dishes, and I can never pass up the opportunity to enjoy their incredible Butter Chicken.

Slow-cooked in Gravy, Simple and Well-seasoned Butter Chicken and Chicken Vindaloo

Ya Gotta Try the Butter Chicken!

Prefer serenity to scenery? Grab a table at one of Flame Tree Barbecue’s many pavilions. (Flame Tree Barbecue has been closed for refurbishment, but we expect it to re-open very soon.)

Eat at the Counter

Many Disney table service restaurants feature chef’s counters or bars where you can dine while you watch all of the exciting action of the kitchen. Sitting at these high-energy spots was a favorite tip that I received from my friend Gray at SoloFriendly.com. And if I’m choosing some of my favorite bar seating, it has to be [Read more…]

News! Enjoy “Eat Local Week” in Disney World

Fun news for those of you visiting Disney World this week!

EatLocalWeek Orlando Logo

Slow Food Orlando is sponsoring Eat Local Week in The City Beautiful — and it’s happening right now!

While the event showcases eating, drinking, and shopping local throughout the Central Florida Region, there are opportunities to celebrate local growers and producers by dining in some of our favorite Disney Restaurants.

Enjoy menus featuring locally-sourced ingredients all this week, showcasing ingredients from Florida farms, ranches, and fisheries.

And the list of participating Disney restaurants includes some of our tried and true favorites. Choose from The Wave…of American Flavors or California Grill in Disney’s Contemporary Resort. We’ve enjoyed delicious seasonal dishes in both.

California Grill view

A Beautiful View and the Season’s Best Flavors at California Grill

At Disney’s Grand Floridian, dine slow-food style at the beautiful Citricos. Or hop over to Disney’s BoardWalk for dinner at Flying Fish Cafe — hands down, one of my absolute favorite spots! (Read our latest review of Flying Fish here.)

Crab Cake

The Flying Fish Cafe is Always an Excellent Choice, Especially for Seafood, Like Their Killer Crabcakes

But we aren’t finished! Yachtsman Steakhouse, known for perfectly prepared steaks and seasonally-inspired sides, will also be participating. Finally, end your Eat Local tour at [Read more…]

Celebrate National Margarita Day Tomorrow, Walt Disney World Style!

We are happy to start a little early celebrating National Margarita Day tomorrow, February 22! Now, this is a holiday I can get behind!!!

If you’ve been here for any amount of time at all, then you know I lurve a good Margarita. (If you’re new here at DFB — welcome…and FYI, I love margaritas!) And some of my very favorites can be found right at Walt Disney World.

Grab some limes and tequila and let’s take a look at our must-drink margs!

Avocado Margarita at La Cava del Tequila

The AguacateAvocado Margarita — from La Cava del Tequila has been one of my very favorites from the first time I sampled it!

It’s a wonderful, made-to-order concoction that blends Avocado, Lime Juice, White Tequila, and Melon Liqueur for a flavor that’s like no other!

Avocado Margarita

Avocado Margarita

My favorite thing about this drink is the perfect balance of the creamy consistency with a sweet flavor — not to mention the tequila :-). A little Agave Nectar and the liqueur balance the flavors nicely.

And thanks to an awesome reader, you and I can even make this one at home today with this recipe, and celebrate this holiday in style!

Blood Orange Margarita at Flying Fish Cafe

Blood Orange is one of my favorite flavors. After all, with the complex, less sweet, almost bitter taste it imparts, it’s a little more interesting than plain old orange…orange.

And it’s especially delicious when paired with other flavors in a margarita. We’ve enjoyed versions of this festive cocktail at San Angel Inn Ristorante, but my favorite one can be found at Flying Fish Cafe.

Blood Orange Margarita

Blood Orange Margarita

If you’re anything like me, if you order this, it’ll be gone pretty quickly! SO good!

Italian Margarita at Via Napoli

One thing that you can count on at Disney when it comes to food and drink is a fun, fusion approach to some of your favorites. Case in point: the Italian Margarita in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion!

I first discovered this delicious drink at Via Napoli, the Italy Pavilion’s fantastic spot for pizza.

Italian Margarita

Italian Margarita

But it’s proven to be so popular, it’s also been available at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival in recent years! And fortunately, you can still order it at Italy’s Gelato Stand.

Italian Margarita at the Food and Wine Festival's Italy Booth!

Italian Margarita at the Food and Wine Festival’s Italy Booth!

Flavored with a smooth combination of [Read more…]

Guest Review: Flying Fish Cafe at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn Resort

With an open kitchen and whimsical decor, Flying Fish Café boasts an impressive menu where diners enjoy a relaxing, “seaside” setting at the BoardWalk Resort in Walt Disney World.

Join us in welcoming back Guest Author Paul Kuconis! His latest review features a steak dinner (that’s right, landlubbers!!) at this restaurant.

The Epcot Resorts provide a very nice respite from the hustle and bustle of Future World and World Showcase, not to mention awesome restaurants and watering holes.

My travel agent’s favorite restaurant is Flying Fish Café. Every time they visit Walt Disney World they book an Advance Dining Reservation (ADR). So, I figured, why not, let’s try it. This trip we decided to give it a whirl!

Using the My Disney Experience app I made a 4:30PM dinner reservation for two. Rather early, but given the temperature, humidity, and heat index, it turned out be a good move.

The Long, Hot Walk

The Long, Hot Walk

We decided to walk over rather than take the boat. Either way, both involved no air conditioning!

We Hit the Boardwalk

We Hit the Boardwalk

We reached the Boardwalk and stepped back in time. After a quick stop at the ESPN Club for a soft drink, to cool off, and to kill some time, we ventured on.

Flying Fish

Flying Fish

Atmosphere

There it is! Nicely tucked away. The setback pulls the restaurant away from the hustle and bustle of the Boardwalk and provides a little quiet. Depending on your approach, the Café can be easily missed. After checking the posted menu we headed inside.

Flying Fish Door Pulls

Flying Fish Door Pulls

The flying fish theme begins right at the front door.

But, before we head inside, a question; why the name ‘Flying Fish’? It fits with the Boardwalk theme and evokes the roller coaster ride of yesteryear at Coney Island called Flying Turns.

While we waited to be seated I took in the décor.

Ferris Wheel

Ferris Wheel

Fish Hook Light Fixture

Fish Hook Light Fixture

Murals of Yesteryear Fun

Murals of Yesteryear Fun

Roller Coaster Motif

Roller Coaster Motif

Seating Area

Seating Area

The Bar

The Bar

Flying Fish Light Fixture

Flying Fish Light Fixture

It was at this point I started to think of the name ‘café’ and how it contrasted to the structure itself (I don’t want to call it a ‘restaurant’). Dictionary.com defines café as: 1) a restaurant, often with an enclosed or outdoor section extending onto the sidewalk (nope, didn’t see that), 2) a restaurant, usually small and unpretentious (not from my view), and 3) a barroom, cabaret, or nightclub (not really). Maybe more of an oxymoron? Or just a play on words? Something to ponder.

As we waited by the reception desk I scoped out the seating area and determined where I wanted to sit.

Kitchen

Kitchen

This spot looks good to me. Now, can I convince the Cast Member to seat us here?

Reception Desk

Reception Desk

I asked, and was granted, seating at the Chef’s Counter, the closest thing to the Chef’s Table you can get. (Editor’s Note: Flying Fish does do a “Chef’s Counter” meal, but outside of that seating, other guests are able to have their meals here at the Chef’s Counter.)

My View From the Chef's Counter

My View From the Chef’s Counter

My Place Setting

My Place Setting

Disney does it up well. Granite counter top and linen napkin with the Flying Fish motif embroidered. Nice touch!

Eats

First off, we looked over the wine list.

Black Stallion Chardonnay Menu Item

Black Stallion Chardonnay Menu Item

We selected the Black Stallion Chardonnay.

Black Stallion 2012 Chardonnay

Black Stallion 2012 Chardonnay

We enjoyed it very much, noting a lovely nose of green apple, lemon zest, and vanilla followed by flavors of citrus, brown butter, pear, and flint. The 2012 Chardonnay is soft and round on the palate with bright fruit and creamy notes that lead into a long, elegant finish.

Now we get down to the business of the menu and what to order.

The Menu

The Menu

During my visits to Walt Disney World, I always check out Cast Member name tags. I want to know their name and am curious as to where they moved from. Tim, our server for the evening, grew up in the city next to where we live. In fact, he is familiar with our neighborhood. How cool is that!

Potato Bread

Potato Bread

Tim brought us Potato Bread to munch on while we perused the menu. A very interesting bread with a nice, airy texture with pieces of potato throughout. That’s the cool thing with many Disney restaurants. They do not serve just ‘bread’ or ‘rolls’; at least at the restaurants I have visited.

Choosing the appetizer was rather easy. I like to try different offerings where possible to enjoy the Chef’s take and development of the ingredients. So I selected the crab cake.

Flying Fish Café Crispy Crab Cake Menu Item

Flying Fish Café Crispy Crab Cake Menu Item

Wow! Look at the plating! We eat with our eyes as we ‘see’ the food before we taste it. If it is visually appealing it enhances the experience.

My Crab Cake Appetizer

My Crab Cake Appetizer

Almost too pretty to eat. Nah! Because of the extreme heat, humidity, and heat index I wanted to eat light tonight. This was not a heavy appetizer.

No Filler Here

No Filler Here

The slaw was made with cabbage, red and yellow peppers, carrots, and finely shredded cucumber and the light vinaigrette provided a nice amount of acidity to balance the crab cake. Mix that with the dots of roasted tomato coulis (adding a little sweetness) along with the slight hint of heat from the ancho chile remoulade (WOW!), that makes for a nice, balanced bite, with no single flavor overpowering the other — especially the crab cake — the star of the dish. Topped with micro basil, it brings the whole thing together. Nicely done! Oh, and there was more crab than filler in the cake — can’t beat that!

Now for the entrée. A tough choice. All offerings looked sooooo good. What they need to do is offer a ‘menu sampler’. Tiny bites of everything. Why not, they do it with beer! Where is the suggestion box?

Char-Crusted Angus New York Strip Steak Menu Item and more!

Char-Crusted Angus New York Strip Steak Menu Item and more!

Well, this is a first! This was supposed to be a picture of the daily quote. I neglected to take a full, clean shot of my menu item. But you can get the general idea of the entree. I settled on the steak over Panzanella Salad.

One of Those Steaks is Mine

One of Those Steaks is Mine

One of the advantages of sitting at the Chef’s Counter is [Read more…]

Review: Dinner at the Flying Fish Cafe on Disney’s BoardWalk

Welcome back to the Flying Fish Cafe!

While all the dining talk on Disney’s BoardWalk has centered around the opening of the brand new Trattoria al Forno as of late, I wanted to bring you back to the Flying Fish, which is not only my favorite restaurant on BoardWalk, but also one of my very favorites in all of Disney World. Period.

During the interim between the closing of Kouzzina and the opening of Trattoria al Forno, the Flying Fish served a stint as a breakfast location, previewing some of the dishes that are now on the breakfast menu at Trattoria al Forno.

But this signature restaurant is now back to its regular dinner-only schedule, and if you haven’t enjoyed dinner at Flying Fish before, I’ve gotta say it: it’s practically a must-do.

Flying Fish

Flying Fish

Come see what I mean…

Atmosphere

The decor of the Flying Fish pays tribute to two things: first, the atmosphere honors its place on Disney’s BoardWalk through some insanely fun murals depicting things like turn-of-the-century roller coasters, those old school parachute swing rides, and other carnival-style attractions.

Boardwalk murals

Boardwalk murals

Boardwalk murals

Boardwalk murals

The theme is continued as you move further into the restaurant with a gorgeous backlit ferris wheel, and the most enviable seating space of all right underneath the circus tent.

Backlit Ferris Wheel

Backlit Ferris Wheel

Circus Tent seating

Circus Tent seating

The second design element plays on the star of the culinary scene here: seafood. And nowhere is that theme more evident than in the parachuting fish “flying” above as you dine!

Flying Fish!

Flying Fish!

Notice the bait hooks mixed in with some of the underwater themed lighting fixtures.

Lighting fixtures

Lighting fixtures

With everything going on, you may not notice the open kitchen (unless you’re seated at the Chef’s Counter directly in front of the show), but try to take a moment to observe, since what happens in this kitchen is some of the best of Disney culinary feats in action.

Bar seating in front of the kitchen

Chef’s Counter in front of the kitchen

Of course, if you’re just looking for a quick dinner, the bar area is very comfortable, too.

Bar seating in front of the kitchen

Bar area

I have no idea if “upscale-whimsy” is an interior design term, but if it is, that pretty much sums up the Flying Fish. It manages to be both sophisticated and super fun at the same time.

Eats

The name of this restaurant gives guests an idea that there is a focus on seafood at the Flying Fish, but don’t let that scare you or anyone in your party off who isn’t a seafood fan. Remember, I said this was one of my favorite restaurants, and seafood isn’t exactly my ultimate choice in cuisine. There’s plenty of meat and pasta to go around, too.

But I’m getting ahead of myself… let’s start with the complimentary bread served with butter, which was hard to hold back on thanks to the unique touches of herbs and cheese tucked inside the nooks of the rustic bread.

Bread

Bread

My friends and I enjoyed some the bread while scoping out the [Read more…]

News! Allergy-friendly Menus Currently in Testing at Select Disney World Restaurants

Disney World continually seeks ways to help guests with food allergies feel more at ease during their travels. If you or any member of your traveling group has a food allergy, you may be interested to hear about a current test underway at a few dining locations in Disney World.

For a limited time, select Disney World restaurants are offering menus specifically geared towards those with food allergies to allow ease of ordering directly from the menus. Test locations at the resorts include World Premiere Food Court at All Star Movies Resort, Flying Fish Café at Disney’s BoardWalk, and Kona Café and Captain Cook’s at the Polynesian Village Resort.

Kona Cafe

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, The Hollywood Brown Derby, Sci-Fi Dine-in Restaurant, and ABC Commissary are taking part in the test.

ABC Commissary - Outside View

ABC Commissary

In these beginning phases, ABC Commissary’s menu [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Sushi!

We are back with another fun series of food photos, courtesy of Disney Food Blog Readers! That’s right, we love to show off the talents of folks who post their gorgeous photos on Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza, our Flickr group!

As you know, Sushi continues to be popular at Disney and everywhere else! Let’s take a look at some of the beautiful and fresh options for this Japanese delicacy that you’ve captured on film around Walt Disney World.

Spicy Kazan at California Grill

Fans of sushi who are also lovers of Disney dining know that one of the most awesome places to get sushi in Walt Disney World is California Grill. This uber popular fine dining spot, located high atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, is known for fresh, seasonal ingredients, Pan-Asian influences, and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. And don’t forget to stay for the fireworks!

But when it comes to eats, this Spicy Kazan Roll looks pretty awesome. And if you’re a sushi-nonconformist like me, be sure to try the Pork Nigiri!

Photographer: Natasha Joyan

Spicy Kazan Roll from California Grill

Spicy Kazan Roll from California Grill

Tuna at Flying Fish Cafe

The Flying Fish Cafe remains one of my top choices for dining when I’m in Walt Disney World. I never pass up a chance to eat at this stellar restaurant. With food that’s always something special and a whimsical, carnival-like atmosphere, it always rates highly in my book.

One of the most popular appetizers that you can get here is the Yellowfin Tuna Tartare and Crispy Tempura Tuna-Vegetable Sushi Roll. We’ve tried it and it’s awesome!

Photographer: Stan4dSteph

Tuna at Flying Fish Cafe

Tuna at Flying Fish Cafe

Sushi at Wolfgang Puck Cafe

Another great spot for California cuisine is Wolfgang Puck Cafe and Dining Room at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney WestSide. And along with other house specialties like their [Read more…]

News! Flying Fish Cafe Luncheon and Interactive Cooking Demonstration

Flying Fish Cafe at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn has just announced a NEW 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Event. And it looks like they’ve saved the best for last!

Join the Flying Fish Cafe for an exciting afternoon of gastronomical wonders while you explore the art of food and wine pairing. This event features an Interactive Cooking Demonstration & Luncheon hosted by Chef de Cuisine Tim Keating;  Flying Fish Café Maitre d ‘Table/Cellar Master, Stig Jacobsen; and Max Macalman (Author, The Cheese Monger, and aficionado of all things Fromage).

Look for Chef Tim in the front of the Flying Fish’s Dining Room where he will present the afternoon’s Creations in Cooking School-Style. Guests will be free to mingle, observe, and ask questions during the demonstration. Stig Jacobsen will be providing Wine Pairing Notes, David Abdy will be talking all things Heritage Pork from Florida, plus Max Macalman will be talking through: Cheese as Dessert.

Max McCalman, Maître Fromager and the Presenter for The Tasting

When: Saturday, November 9th, 2013 from 1-4PM
Where: Front Dining Room of Flying Fish Café at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort
Cost: $135/per person (includes gratuity) plus tax
Reservations: Contact Joanne Berube; 407-939-5102 (Tuesday-Saturday 8:30am-4:30pm ET) or the Flying Fish Cafe’s Special Events Line at 407-939-2398.

Seating is limited to just 36 guests! As it is the last weekend of the festival AND Wine & Dine Half-Marathon Weekend, we suggest reserving your space now!

Chef Tim’s Wine & Food Pairing Demonstration Menu

“Bubbles”
Amuse Bouches – Small Bites best-suited with the Crisp Flavor Profiles of Champagne & Sparkling Wines

“Crisp and Curious White”
Unveiling the Secrets of the Flying Fish Café Signature Crab Cake…and a TK Crab Cake with a Twist!

Crab Cake

“Making Red Wine & Fish Work”
Yet another unveiling of the Flying Fish Café Signature [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: August 4, 2013

It’s been a SUPER busy week for Disney Food news!! :-)

Look for Scottish Salmon at the Scotland Booth!

With the release of 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival menus, we’ve seen a lot of new dishes that we can’t wait to sample.

Of course, the new Disney World Fall Free Dining offer was terrific news for many of our readers who were able to save valuable vacation dollars on their Walt Disney World packages.

Let’s check out what else is happening in the “World” of Disney dining!

Disney Food News

We’ve got lots of news to catch up on!

Of course, 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 Casey’s Corner Artist Autograph Session with Miniaturist Robert Olszewski, Wine Dinners at Citricos, New Year’s Eve at Monsieur Paul, 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!

Facebook friend Lauren shares “Sci-Fi Dine In Theater- always a favorite with my boyfriend and me! Nothing beats the super fun, retro atmosphere… I adore it!”

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater!

And check out this picture of the 24 Layer Chocolate Cake at Disneyland’s Steakhouse 55! Facebook Friend Lynda shares “OH YES I DID and it was AWESOME!!!!”

24 Layer Chocolate Cake!

Thanks for sharing your Disney food memories!

Deal of the Week! Bundle DFB Disney Dining Guides for More Savings

Check out how you can have the best Disney vacation ever…and pay even less! The Disney Food Blog Dining Guides are an awesome way to plan your next Disney vacation!

DFB Guide + Snacks Bundle:
With our popular DFB Guide + Snacks Bundle, you’ll get our:

  • DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2013 Edition, our
  • DFB Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks, 2013 Edition,
  • DFB Guide to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios Snacks,  AND our
  • DFB Guide to Epcot Snacks, 2013 Edition

All for a significant discount! Learn more about the DFB Guide + Snacks Bundle here!

On to the Round-Up!

Mickey Fix finds a mod Donald Duck coffee mug. Perfect for your morning caffeine fix!

Donald Duck Mug!

Eating Around WDW heads to the Lava Lounge!

Walt Disney World for Grownups sips a Lapu Lapu at Disney’s Polynesian resort.

Main St Gazette stops by Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe to taste-test the Steak and Pork Platter.

Running at Disney enjoys the Cobb Salad at The Hollywood Brown Derby!

Babble shares Club 33 photos and tips from our own Dining in Disneyland columnist, Heather Sievers!

Disney Cruise Line Blog shares a snack idea using Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bars and Cookies. Try it on your next Disney cruise!

News! Wine Dinners at Flying Fish Cafe During the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The Flying Fish Café Team at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort has announced Winery Series events that will take place during the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival — including an event hosted by Mr. and Mrs. John Lasseter!

Wine Series Events — Epcot Food and Wine Festival

These Flying Fish Cafe wine dinners are extremely popular and offer an intimate meal with the chef and wine maker.

Adding one of these meals to your Epcot Food and Wine Festival itinerary will make for a memorable visit! This is one of our favorite restaurants on property — it’s consistently delicious and offers a really great relaxed atmosphere with truly excellent service.

Check out what dinners are available this Fall during your Food and Wine Festival trip!

Flying Fish Cafe Tables and Murals

“Riesling/Pinot German Wine Dinner” – Thursday, September 26, 2013

Johannes Selbach–Owner/Wine Maker
Weingut Selbach-Oster, Zeltingen-Mosel, Germany
6pm Reception – 6:15pm Dinner

“Gems of Italy” – Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pierluigi Gaeta, Marketing Director-Vias Imports Ltd., NY
Featuring extraordinary selections from Italy’s Top Wine Producing Regions
6pm Reception – 6:15pm Dinner

“Moet & Chandon” – Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mr. Josh Phillips of Moët & Chandon, Epernay-France
6pm Reception – 6:15pm Dinner
*Book this event through Epcot Food and Wine Festival at 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378).

“Lasseter” – Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mr. & Mrs. John Lasseter, Owner/Founder Lasseter Vineyards, Sonoma, [Read more…]