Review: Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Today, I’m heading back to Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe!

I hadn’t been to this corner of Magic Kingdom for a while to eat, and it was time to visit again.

Atmosphere

The legend of Pecos Bill is an interesting one.

But first and foremost, where the Tall Tale Inn — Pecos Bill’s for short — is concerned, it’s the story of two restaurants in one. That’s because Pecos Bill’s straddles two different Disney “lands”: Frontierland and Adventureland.

Pecos Bill Sign

Pecos Bill Sign from the Adventureland Entrance

And depending on which side you enter from, you’ll either feel like you’ve stumbled in from a Western frontier town, or a just colonized Caribbean island. It reminds me a bit of the dual personalities of another Magic Kingdom counter service favorite, Columbia Harbour House. (Check out pics of the two styles you see there — one Fantasyland, one Liberty Square — in this review.)

pecos bills

Pecos Bill Sign from the Frontierland Entrance

You’ll see nods to both settings inside as well. More on that in a minute.

But back to the story. You can read all about Pecos Bill in the story about how the Tall Tale Inn came to be. (And fans of classic Disney film will recognize Pecos Bill’s likeness at the top from Melody Time, the Disney anthology featuring the Pecos Bill short.)

Story of Pecos Bill - click image for larger version

Story of Pecos Bill – click image for larger version

And you should really brush up on the Code of the West. Just in case you’re tempted to, you know, spit or something. Be sure to check out other fun Codes we found on a tour of Magic Kingdom in this post.

Pecos Bill's Code of the West

Pecos Bill’s Code of the West

But don’t just grab a burger and rush through it here! (I know, I know. FastPasses and all that.)

Remember the story above? Of course you do. It was two pictures ago! Well, there are some really cool “artifacts” at Pecos Bill’s that you’ve gotta see.

Check out this pistol and group of playing cards, courtesy of superstar sharpshooter Annie Oakley. The display commemorates one of her most famous tricks, splitting playing cards and shooting them through in mid air.

Revolver and Bullet-Riddled Playing Cards

Revolver and Bullet-Riddled Playing Cards

And of course, there’s memorabilia from Bill’s best girl, Slue-Foot Sue. She autographed these gloves just for him. :-)

A Lady's Gloves -- Autographed and Framed

Slue-Foot Sue’s Gloves

In fact, you can see the gloves in this pic. They hang right around the corner in the seating area from a portrait of Slue-Foot Sue herself!

Regarding seating, it’s plentiful, and you’ll find a fun mix of decor here, befitting its setting at the corner of two Lands. Here, it looks like a tavern in a Texas frontier town.

Seating

Seating

Additional Seating

Additional Seating

But here, the setting is more like Adventureland. Caribbean Island? Mexico? It’s a little of this and a little of that with hanging lanterns, potted flowers, and a verandah overlooking the seating area.

Gorgeous "Outdoor" Seating -- Indoors

Gorgeous “Outdoor” Seating — Indoors

There are also [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.

Atmosphere

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.

Lounge

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.

Eats

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…]

Dining in Disneyland: Monster U “Style” Burger at Tomorrowland Terrace

Halloween Time at Disneyland is most certainly my favorite time of the year.  The decor, the ride overlays, the merchandise, and the FOOD!

Big Mickey Pumpkin

I always look forward to trying out new holiday offerings, but this one I was a little nervous about because I don’t really have fond memories of eating at Tomorrowland Terrace.

It’s been a really long time since I’ve eaten here and I’m happy to report that I did have a pleasant experience.  In fact, in the near future, we should probably feature a full review of this counter service eatery here on the blog.  I’ll put it on my “to do” list.

For now though, let’s take a look at the Monster U “Style” Burger and Fries meal that they’re featuring through October 31st.

Halloween Time Monster U Style Burger Signage

Halloween Time Monster U Style Burger Signage

The Cheeseburger comes topped with Burger Sauce, Lettuce, Tomato, Pickles, and Grilled Onions.  It’s served with a side of french fries covered in Parmesan Ooze.

Monster U Style Burger with Fries

Monster U Style Burger with Fries

The burger itself was [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…]

Review: Restaurantosaurus at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

When I’m in the mood for a “wild” lunch, I love to head to Restaurantosaurus at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Seriously — it’s one of my favorite counter service spots in all of Disney World!

This enormous restaurant, located in DinoLand USA, is super-themed…but you really have to look hard to see some of the great sight gags and imagineering details.

I recently met a friend for lunch here. It’s always fun to stroll around — I find something new every time I visit. But Restaurantosaurus usually boasts some interesting choices on its menu. I love their Chicken Nuggets, but who knows?…I may surprise you today!

Time to check in and see what’s new!

Atmosphere

While visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you may be tempted to write off Restaurantosaurus as just another fast food joint. That would be a mistake. There’s more to this place than just food. The quirky themeing transforms the eatery into an attraction.

Outside

Outside

And the fabricated history of DinoLand USA and Restaurantosaurus is fascinating. For the complete story, check out this history of the area. (You can read part two here.)

But for now, here’s the short version: Restaurantosaurus began life as the cafeteria for college students participating in a dig nearby. To subsidize their grant income, the students opened the Restaurant (isn’t that a great name?) to the public.

And where did the additional “osaurus” in the name come from? It seems that this is a running gag perpetrated by those zany college kids. Look around, and see if you can find just how many instances in which “osaurus” has been added to words. But the granddaddy of them all is, of course, adding it to the name of the restaurant.

The dormitory and restaurant grew over time, with residents adding whatever sound structures they could to expand the space. And just when you thought there was no use for that old Airstream…

Outside View of the Airstream

Outside View of the Airstream

Step inside, and you find the main hall, which houses the kitchen and ordering area. You can see it gets pretty busy during peak times. This picture was taken when the restaurant first opened for the day!

Ordering Area

Ordering Area

But before we settle down to consider our selections, let’s take a look around. Be sure to check out the lights. They’re one of the few design elements that feel like they’re here on purpose, rather than being scavenged. With the little dinosaur cut outs, they’re intricate and interesting.

Lighting

Lighting

Carve out some time just to meander while you’re here. There’s just so much to take in.

Decor

Decor

Homey kitchen items are stored close by, ready to be put to good use.

Kitchen Stuff

Kitchen Stuff

Check out the pictures and other mementos that the students have displayed.

Decor

Pictures, Postcards, and Knickknacks

As with other Disney restaurants, Restaurantosaurus is most likely much larger than you realize at first. There are several seating areas, all themed as different rooms. The feel is that the building was expanded over time.

Seating

Seating

My favorite spot remains the area affectionately known as “The Hip Joint”. Ha ha!!

The Hip Joint Sign

The Hip Joint!

This student hangout houses a half-court gym and lots of recreational equipment. And to expand seating, here’s where you’ll find that [Read more…]

Review: Peacock Alley at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando

OK, I totally have ANOTHER awesome waffle sandwich to share with you today!!

And you can find it in an unlikely location…the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort. Nestled in Bonnet Creek, within the main gates of Walt Disney World, it’s a great mix of convenience and refinement. Plus, there are some seriously killer views of Disney’s theme parks from its balconies.

Today, we’re grabbing a casual lunch at the resort’s main lounge — Peacock Alley.

Peacock Alley Menu Cover

This spot’s namesake is the fashionable Peacock Alley of the Waldorf Astoria in New York City (the original was given the name due to the colorful peacock feathers the ladies wore in their hats); but while it’s elegant, you can definitely choose this location for a relaxed and casual lunch.

Atmosphere

Everything about Peacock Alley makes me want to take a deep breath, sink into a comfortable chair, and relax. The cool colors and motif of peacock feathers surrounds you throughout (even on the carpet!).

View of Peacock Alley

The view is of the Waldorf’s pool area and golf course. And you  may even catch a glimpse of Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Seating

There is a luxuriously appointed bar on one wall, and there’s even a peacock etched in the mirror.

Peacock Alley Bar

Check out this awesome [Read more…]

Guest Review: Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe in the Magic Kingdom

Join me in welcoming guest author Katie McFarland Roth with a review of Cosmic Ray’s – a futuristic eatery in the Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland. Enjoy!

Atmosphere

Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café is a great counter-service option available in the Magic Kingdom. The portions are heaping and the food is pretty good (for quick-service).

In general, Cosmic Ray’s is a pretty chaotic place to eat. There are always people zooming in and out; and trying to get to the toppings bar with your tray of food is sometimes more dangerous than when Simba was running with the wildebeests.

Word of advice: if you’re traveling in a party with more than 1 person, send 1 person off to find a table for everyone!

Cosmic Ray's Sign

It can be nuts trying to find a place to sit during busy mealtime hours. Almost as nuts-y as trying to find the entrance doors to this restaurant!

Cosmic Ray's Seating -- and Sonny Eclipse!

Something new to me was the graffiti wall in the restaurant that patrons liked writing their hometowns on! I wonder if they start fresh every day? Maybe every hour with the traffic this place gets!

Graffiti "Wall" ...with very surprised photo subject!

Eats

There are three different areas, or “bays,” which people can order from; Chicken (#1), Burgers (#2), and Sandwiches (#3).

Ordering Area at Cosmic Rays

There aren’t very many main dish options at each station (4-5), but considering there are [Read more…]

Review: Golden Oak Outpost in Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland

Looking for some quick eats while touring Disney World’s Frontierland? Are the lines at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe formidable? We have just the stop for you: Golden Oak Outpost.

Located near Splash Mountain, the little counter service stop offers a couple of hearty entree options as well as a few desserts.

I’ve stopped here several times on my travels, especially when this used to be the home of McDonald’s French Fries in Magic Kingdom (“There’s Gold in Them There Fries!”). But I’ve never done a review for you, so let’s get started!

Atmosphere

Golden Oak Outpost sports the same rustic, Wild West feel that you encounter throughout Frontierland.

The name — Golden Oak — is a reference to Walt Disney’s Golden Oak Ranch in California. The name is found elsewhere at Walt Disney World in the ultra upscale neighborhood of single family homes that are being built adjacent to Fort Wilderness Campground nearby.

Golden Oak Outpost at Magic Kingdom

Seating for Golden Oak Outpost is all outside. There are several tables and stools grouped next to the tiny quick service spot.

Outpost Seating

If it’s pouring rain or way too hot to sit outside, head over and [Read more…]

Guest Review: Riverside Mill Food Court at Disney World’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort

Please welcome guest author Emma Stewart as she reviews the Riverside Mill Food Court at Port Orleans Riverside Resort in Walt Disney World!

Imagine you’re strolling through the bayou twilight: crickets chirping, fireflies glowing, a water wheel spinning lazily next to the river.

Stroll on up just past the water wheel and around the corner, and you’ll find a cheerful-looking building that is the perfect spot for dinner.

Welcome to Riverside Mill, the food court at Port Orleans Riverside Resort. Now when it comes to food courts, usually you’ll just stick to the one at whatever resort you happen to be staying . But my family will often make an extra trip just to enjoy the Mill’s cozy charm and delicious entrees.

Riverside Mill from the Outside.

Atmosphere

The dining area at Riverside Mill is quite spacious, with lots of lofty wooden beams. The most striking part about it is the mill apparatus that stretches over the drinks station and all the way to the other side of the room, where the water wheel is right outside the windows.

The Dining Area.

The cogs and wheels above you turn lazily, and it feels like it could be a real, working mill! In fact, as far as the more engineering-minded persons in my family have been able to discern, it seems to be a working mechanism that does turn the water wheel outside!

Mill Workings over the Beverage Station.

The dining area is carpeted, which is unique for a food court and may be what makes the space feel so cozy.

I also love the mismatched chairs grouped around every table. Back by the window, furthest from the food service area, there are two big round tables tucked away – my favorite spot!

A Moss-like Carpet adds to the Riverside Ambiance.

Riverside isn’t one of the resorts that tends to attract huge conventions or tour groups, so the food court is usually very quiet and relaxed. Though depending on when you go, you may find yourself singing and dancing along with the cast members up by the cash registers!

There’s a pre-recorded loop with a very charismatic voice that invites you to get up and join in on the Riverside celebration. The song goes: “It’s time to clap our hands (Clap! Clap!) down at the Riverside!” Then the next verse goes: “It’s time to slap our knees down at the Riverside!” and so on. Really cute!

Eats

The Riverside Mill is your typical market-style Disney food court, so there are multiple stations where you can order different eats – sandwiches and wraps, hot foods from the grill, or pizza and pasta.

Salads and Sandwiches, Straight Ahead!

Comfort Food!

Sandwiches Ready to Go!

At the pasta station flames sizzle up out of the pan as the chefs cook up your order right before your eyes. They have a create-your-own option where you can pick and choose exactly what sort of pasta [Read more…]

Top 12 Salty Snacks in Walt Disney World — What’s Your Favorite?

We talk a lot around here about Disney’s sweet snacks, and with good reason: nothing says indulgence like a bit of Disney ice cream or a monster cupcake.

But everyone knows that sweet snacks are even better with a salty chaser! ;-)

Salty indulgences abound at Disney World, too! And we think it’s time to give them their day in the spotlight!

So without further adieu, we’d like to take a brief look at some of our favorites in our salute to the Top 12 Salty Snacks in Walt Disney World!

Disney Popcorn

Alrighty, folks, we have to start with the obvious one: Popcorn.

How can you discuss Disney World salty snacks and not mention it? In fact, how can you go to a Disney park and not end up munching on this snack favorite?

We love popcorn in all its personalities — from the standard bucket you buy as soon as you walk into Magic Kingdom, to caramel corn at Big Top Treats or Karamell-Küche. And when popcorn started popping up on Disney menus a while back, we were all for it!

NEW Disney Parks Popcorn Boxes!

But the best version remains that classic Disney popcorn box full of buttery (flavored) yellow kernels of fluffy goodness. Do yourself a favor and don’t leave without trying a box.

Chicken Waffle Sandwich

Over at Sleepy Hollow Refreshments, you’ll find a lovely little assortment of waffles to satisfy your salt craving.

What? You ask. Waffles = salt? When they’re in the form of waffle sandwiches — they sure can be!

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Waffle Sandwich in Disney World

And my favorite when I’m satisfying a savory craving is the Spicy Chicken Sandwich. Sweet/spicy chicken with a touch of coleslaw offers a treat with complicated flavors, but a sure comfort food factor.

The perfect combo of sweet, salty, and slightly spicy, this sandwich will leave you full, happy, and ready to tackle the rest of those Disney miles! Just know that this thing can be uber messy, so bring lots of napkins!

Nachos

I dearly love a plate of nachos, don’t you? And when I’m in the mood for this Tex-Mex treat, I head to La Cantina de San Angel in the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot.

Nachos with Cheese, Beef, and Jalapenos at Cantina de San Angel

The salty trifecta of chips, plastic cheese, and seasoned ground beef is perfection! And if you’re looking to add to it — try washing them down with a margarita, of course!

Want some less-fussy nachos? Head over to Casey’s Corner for an awesome version with just nacho cheese — or with chili and cheese! We’re also fans of the versions at Big River Grill and ESPN Club on the Boadwalk. Where do you find your favorite nachos in Disney World?

Tomato Basil Soup

If you’re in the mood for a good bowl of soup (fitting during the relatively cold Orlando days this past weekend), then head to Pinocchio Village Haus for their [Read more…]