Disneyland Must-Eats: Fried Chicken at the Plaza Inn

I’m not sure how to emphasize how good the Plaza Inn‘s Fried Chicken is. Let me just say this: it is the best fried chicken I have ever eaten. (Yes, that includes Homecomin’, which is incredibly tasty as well.)

Fact: Plaza Inn’s Fried Chicken — literally — is the best.

Plaza Inn Sign

Plaza Inn Sign

Plaza Inn is located on Disneyland’s Main Street, U.S.A., and its exterior is quintessentially Disney. So many great details on the awning and posts, not to mention the swirls of wrought iron on the sign. [Read more…]

Review: New Sandwiches at The Mara in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Jambo from The Mara in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge!

It wasn’t all that long ago that we were here, pointing out three Must-Eat Snacks at the Lodge’s Counter Service option and sipping on some new-to-The-Mara Frozen Jungle Juice. But the Jungle Juice wasn’t the only new thing we found on that visit, which is what we’re excited to share with you today.

Longtime standouts at The Mara for lunch and dinner include unique items such as African Potjie Stew and tasty Soups of the Day alongside classic Burgers, Flatbreads, and Chicken Breast Nuggets.

That said, they aren’t afraid to switch things up every once in a while — and that’s a VERY good thing! Every so often, your basic Hot Dog or sandwich gets a bit of an African-inspired twist, as is the case with two of the three new items we’re trying today.

The Mara at Animal Kingdom Lodge

The Mara at Animal Kingdom Lodge

So, come right back into The Mara with us!

Atmosphere

The Mara gets its name from the Masai Mara National Reserve, located in southwestern Kenya on the border of Tanzania.  The small food court is only accessible from outside the resort, on the lower level and near the pool. Once inside, you’ll immediately notice the ceiling artfully mimicking the tree tops and some soft ambient lighting that creates interesting shadows. [Read more…]

News and Review: Fried Chicken at Prince Eric’s Village Market in New Fantasyland

We love a Disney Prince who knows his way around a kitchen, so when we spotted a new menu item at Prince Eric’s in Disney World’s New Fantasyland, we were all over it.

Prince Eric’s Village Market is a small counter service spot located — no surprise! — across from the Under the Sea — Journey of the Little Mermaid attraction in Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland. This tucked-away location is a bit off the beaten path when it comes to seeking out some eats.

Here’s the thing: the Village Market started out as a better-for-you-fare stand focusing primarily on grab-and-go fruits along with ice cold bottled drinks and Shaved Ice, which you can currently find in Tomorrowland instead.

And though the Prince is still dishing out grapes, pineapple chunks, pickle spears and bottled beverages, we’ve learned more recently to expect the unexpected from this small snack location.

Prince Eric's Village Market

Prince Eric’s Village Market

Case in point: our this-week discovery of Honey-Breaded Fried Chicken! [Read more…]

Review: Dinner at Homecomin’ in Disney Springs

We’re back at Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ Florida Kitchen for another visit today!

So…I’m noticing we’ve been there kind of a lot. It’s turning into my go-to restaurant — the place that pops to mind if I have a meeting, or a date night, or just get kind of hungry. And, you know…that’s saying something.

From the surroundings, to the service, to the food (and drinks!), this place is…pretty great.  They offer fantastic cocktails and a decent counter service menu; and their table service options are some of the best in Walt Disney World.

I was recently in Disney Springs on a family trip, and decided that my traveling companions needed to check out this place for themselves. Wanna come along? I thought you might. :-)

Atmosphere

And oh, hey, it’s Homecomin’ now, y’all. Not Homecoming. To drive home that down-home, rural Florida feeling, Chef Art Smith officially decided to drop the “g”. Just FYI.

Outside View

Outside View

We’ve shown you around a couple of times, so I’ll just give you the highlights during this visit. For a full look at the space, inside and out, be sure to check out our very first review of Homecomin’ that shares our first impressions from our first two visits. [Read more…]

Review: Grab-and-Go Menu Available at Art Smith’s Homecomin’!

We’re so excited to share that one of our favorite new restaurants in Disney World — Chef Art Smith’s (awesome!) Homecomin’offers grab-and-go options! (Oh, and yes, apparently the name has changed from “Homecoming” to “Homecomin’.” Just FYI.)

Y’all know that Disney Springs has added lots of quality food stops, including Top Chef Master (and master of Mexican cuisine in America) Rick Bayless’ Frontera Cocina and the fully updated Paddlefish. But even before its opening, Homecomin': Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine — the official full name of Art Smith’s labor of love in Disney Springs — captured our attention.

The backstory here is that Chef Art is originally from Florida, and the restaurant is a charming homage to the state of his birth. From colorful murals depicting Florida agricultural life to booths reminiscent of church pews, Homecomin’ is clearly full of Art’s very big love.

Chef Art Smith on Opening Day

Chef Art Smith on Opening Day

[Read more…]

New DFB Video: Where to Find the BEST Disney Fried Chicken

Who doesn’t love really great Fried Chicken!?!

It’s one of my favorites! And fortunately, there are some fantastic spots to get it at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. And we’re telling you all about some of our favorites in our next DFB YouTube Channel Video!

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

I’ll admit it — Fried Chicken is one of my favorite comfort food guilty pleasures. But it’s also one of those foods that restaurants don’t always do a great job executing. But we’ve found some great spots to share with you! [Read more…]

Review: Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming Florida Kitchen at Disney Springs

We’re back at Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming Florida Kitchen for another visit today!

You might be scratching your head and wondering, “But AJ, you guys were just there a little bit ago. Why a return so soon?” Well, lots of reasons, actually. But the primary one is this: Once is never enough when it comes to reviewing Disney restaurants. Restaurants in the ‘World are notoriously inconsistent, and while Homecoming impressed us initially, I always like to duck into a new spot after it’s been open for a bit, just to see if the shine and sheen are still around. In fact, we review spots over and over, so we can always make the best recommendations for our readers.

In addition, dear friends of mine invited me to tag along for a catch up session, and Homecoming was the agreed upon choice for dinner. And like I’m gonna say no to Fried Chicken? Not likely.

Besides, there’s plenty to cover on this menu, and a follow up visit gave me a chance to show you a few new things.

Let’s check out how Homecoming is doing, a few months along in the journey.

Atmosphere

The premise of Homecoming Florida Kitchen (HFK) is pretty cool, actually. Chef Art Smith is a native Floridian, who even spent some of the early years of his career as a Cast Member at Disney. So it’s befitting that the restaurant’s name is Homecoming, as he returns to his home state.

Sign

Sign

The restaurant is a celebration of Old-Meets-New Florida in so many ways. The architecture echoes Florida Vernacular style, with lots of windows to let the light in, and deep overhangs from the hip roof to keep the heat out. [Read more…]

Guest Review: Cross-Country Disney Day — Iconic Treats from Six Disney Parks in One Day

Wow!!! Guest author (and an awesome friend who always sends me the best photos of Disney food!) Lori Fries, takes us on a whirlwind, coast-to-coast tour of six parks in one day. Let’s see what food she sampled!

If you are like me, you love BOTH Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort. I achieved my top item on my bucket-list and went to all 6 parks — four in Disney World and two in Disneyland — on the same day!

Six Parks, One Day Treats

Six Parks, One Day Treats

Picking one snack in each park brings with it a unique set of challenges. For the first time in modern memory, I didn’t want to go to a park and pick what I felt like eating at the time. Seasonal treats have always held a special place on my Must Do Disney Food List, but I wanted to go with iconic treats.

There is an entirely different set of things I love to eat on both coasts. I could go to Epcot and fill my stomach around World Showcase. My trip was even during the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival! That is a different challenge.

Would I pick things only served on a stick to make an easy getaway to the next destination? Nope. That would rule out some classics like the Mickey pretzel.

Here is what I did. My first stop was Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Animal Kingdom

Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar
To me, vanilla ice cream covered in chocolate in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s silhouette screams Disney snack at its finest.
You can find them at ice cream carts and restaurants throughout the parks in both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Not only can you get them from all the parks but all the resorts as well. I also knew that the carts are opened before the official park opening.

[Read more…]

Review and Preview: The Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic Causeway Booths

We’re gearing up for one of our favorite weekends of the year — the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic!

The Causeway

The Causeway

The event is in its seventh consecutive year, and promises to be bigger and better than ever. In 2016, the Food and Wine Classic will include 50 food and wine stations, 10 seminars, fun themed areas, and opportunities to meet some of the award-winning chefs who bring their artistry to life in the resort’s 17 restaurants! [Read more…]

First Look! Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming Florida Kitchen in Disney Springs

We’re here for a FIRST LOOK at Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine!

Newly open in the Town Center of Disney Springs (yesterday was Opening Day), Homecoming is the latest venue opened by a Celebrity Chef in Disney World.

While the restaurants backed by Chef Morimoto (Morimoto Asia) and Rick Bayless (Frontera Cocina) make up other terrific recent additions to Disney World’s shopping and dining district, Homecoming is especially significant to Disney World and Florida as Chef Art Smith has strong connections to both.

Hailing from Jasper, Florida, Chef Smith is also a former Disney Cast Member via the Disney College Program! So, as you can imagine, even though Chef Smith heads up restaurants in other areas of the country, the name Homecoming has an extra special meaning.

Homecoming sign

Homecoming sign

We’ll be back with our full review of this new spot next week, but in the meantime, we couldn’t resist sharing this FIRST LOOK with you.

Oh, and just look who dropped by to say, “Welcome!” [Read more…]