News! Epcot’s Garden Grill to Begin Serving Lunch AND Breakfast

Exciting news! According to DisneyWorld.com, Epcot’s Garden Grill Restaurant will be even more available for guests to spin-and-dine beginning November 8, 2015!

Garden Grill Sign

Garden Grill Sign

Check out the screen shot below! [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: Best Character Dining for YOU!

Character Dining! What’s a trip to Walt Disney World without at least one meal shared with your favorite Disney Characters?

dfb2015_guide_3d

There’s simply no better way to kill two birds with one stone at Disney. You enjoy a hearty meal — oftentimes, it’s all-you-care-to-enjoy — and you get to interact with your favorite characters. Best of all — they come to you! There’s no waiting in line for hours to see them.

But you may think that a character dining experience isn’t for you if you don’t have kids in your party, or if your kiddos are as tall as you now. Or maybe you fear that the excitement and stimulation — not to mention all those trips back and forth to the buffet — will leave you and your toddler exhausted before you even get to the Parks.

Well, I happen to think that there’s a character dining experience just right for you, regardless of who makes up your unique party. So today, let’s look at a few tips that I’ve put together from countless Character Dining Meals — courtesy of the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2015!

And if you like what you see here, there are a lot more where these came from! To see all of our advice for choosing just the right Character Dining Experience, pick up your copy of the Guide today for $4 off using code 2015 right here!

Character Dining With a Toddler: ‘Ohana Best Friends Breakfast

You’ve decided that the time is right for your pre-schooler to enjoy breakfast with Character Appeal for the first time. Now, how in the ‘World do you choose the meal that’s right for you?

Well, one thing to keep in mind is that most of the character dining experiences offer a buffet spread. This is great news when it comes to value. But juggling trips to the buffet, photo ops with characters, and a toddler who is stimulated to the max can be a challenge. So one of my favorite tips is to enjoy character dining that offers a sit-down…and stay down…meal. And one of the best is the Best Friends Breakfast at ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

To begin, well. Mickey in a Hawaiian Shirt. Best.

Say Aloha to Mickey and Friends at 'Ohana

Say Aloha to Mickey and Friends at ‘Ohana

But then, you have platters of Pastry and Bread, Fresh Fruit, and a Bountiful Breakfast Skillet brought to your table! And it’s as much as you want. And you don’t have to get up a SINGLE time to get any of it!

Family Breakfast Platter at 'Ohana

Family Breakfast Platter at ‘Ohana

Friendly servers also roam the dining area with Mickey Waffles! And you can ask for seconds. And thirds.

Mickey Waffles

Mickey Waffles

They even have Stitch waffles for the younger set.

Stitch Waffles for the Littles

Stitch Waffles for the Littles

Mickey, Lilo, and Stitch share relaxed times with you and pose for lots of pictures. And there’s no end to the smiles during the Coconut Races. It’s one of my favorite ways to kick off a Disney Day!

Character Dining For Grownups: Garden Grill

You may have witnessed the — shall we say, exuberant — spirit that pervades Chef Mickey’s at breakfast and dinner time. This character dining experience at Disney’s Contemporary is one of the Resort’s most popular, and can be viewed from above as you whirl by on the Monorail. It can get right down raucous with excited children and loud music and the inevitable napkin twirling.

And that’s totally fine, if you’re up for it. But if you aren’t, you may leave with a splitting headache.

If you’re an adults-only group, there’s probably a good chance you’d prefer to keep it on the quiet side. You know what? You can still enjoy character dining and all the great photo ops. And Garden Grill in Epcot’s Future World is a great spot for it.

Garden Grill is located in The Land building. And while the character dining is super fun, the restaurant has another unique attribute: it revolves!

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill -- The Farmhouse

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill — The Farmhouse

Not at supersonic speed, of course. You won’t be getting motion sickness while you dine. But you will enjoy an ever-changing view of the Living with the Land attraction as you enjoy your dinner. And in between the changing tableaus, expect a few fun visitors!

Farmer Mickey

Farmer Mickey, Chip & Dale, and Pluto Join You for Dinner

As for eats, there isn’t a lot of traipsing about, as the Garden Grill is family style meal. You’ll enjoy Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Harvest Feast, an all-you-care-to-enjoy meal of [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: June 4, 2014

For this round of “What’s New,” we’ve got food news (and menu changes galore) from every single Disney World park… and beyond! So settle, in, make yourselves comfy, and join us to see What’s New!

Animal Kingdom

We’ll start with the fact that Dole Whip (with or without rum, y’all) can now be found at Tamu Tamu Refreshments in Animal Kingdom’s Africa! (Yep; we’ve had confirmation from Dole that it IS indeed authentic Dole Whip Pineapple Soft Serve.)

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Pineapple Soft-serve (Dole Whip!) menu

Pineapple Soft-serve (Dole Whip!) menu

But we don’t want to miss the chance to mention that Tamu Tamu has also brought back some old favorites with a recent menu refresh: The Slow-cooked Pulled Beef Sandwich is back (hooray!), along with the return of the Quinoa Salad. The Roasted Chicken Salad and gorgeous Fresh Fruit Salad made the cut from the previous menu.

Tamu Tamu Menu

Tamu Tamu Menu

Inside the pulled beef sandwich

Inside the pulled beef sandwich

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad

And I’m very happy to say that the Fresh Fruit Bowl is back in time for summer!

Fruit Bowl at Bradley Falls Kiosk

Fruit Bowl Salad

The Fruit Salad has returned to Bradley Falls, too.

Bradley Falls menu

Bradley Falls menu

Remember, Bradley Falls operates seasonally, so if it’s closed during your visit, it’s good to know you can head over to Tamu Tamu for a Fresh Fruit Bowl.

Have you seen (or heard?!) this awesome Musical Tumbler found at various food locations throughout Animal Kingdom? Get the full scoop here!

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

The Royal Anandapur Tea Company is a perfect spot to grab a cup of hot tea (assorted varieties available) or coffee. However, they’re currently offering some flavored Iced Teas in light of the warmer temps.

Royal Anandapur Tea Company Menu

Royal Anandapur Tea Company Menu

Though not food-related, I’d like to offer this next picture as a small tribute. Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade wrapped up its nearly 13-year run as Animal Kingdom makes way for all sorts of new adventures. I don’t think I’m speaking solely for myself when I say this unique, beautiful and fun parade will be missed.

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade

Magic Kingdom

The Lunching Pad has added one more option to its gourmet hot dog selection: the BLT Hot Dog joins the Coney Island Dog and the Philly Cheese Steak Dog.

Lunching Pad Menu

Lunching Pad Menu

Now, here’s something you don’t see everyday… this next bit is not a new item, but rather a new [Read more…]

Review: Dinner at Garden Grill Restaurant in Disney World’s Epcot

We’re heading back to Epcot’s Future World for dinner at Garden Grill Restaurant!

This is a DFB favorite, and it comes together as Chip ‘n Dale’s Harvest Feast. The dinner features an all-you-care-to-eat meal served Family Style.

If you’ve ever shied away from eating in Future World in favor of the more varied cuisine available in World Showcase, it may be time to give Disney World’s only rotating restaurant a chance.

Please join me, Chip ‘n Dale, Pluto, and the main Mouse himself (MICKEY!) at the Harvest Feast for some food and fun!

Garden Grill Sign

Garden Grill Sign

The Atmosphere

The atmosphere? Well, that depends… You see, the Garden Grill rotates over the various scenes of the Living with the Land attraction, so what you see depends on where in the rotation you are in the moment.

It takes about one hour to make the full rotation, so it’s slow enough that you don’t really notice the feel of it while you are dining — at least, I didn’t. I was too busy enjoying the views!  Take a look…

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill -- The Farmhouse

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill — The Farmhouse

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill -- The Farmhouse

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill — The Farmhouse Dog!

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill -- Rainforest

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill — Rainforest

Transition from Rainforest to Desert

Transition from Rainforest to Desert

Garden Grill Mural

Garden Grill Mural

We enjoyed all of this from our table on the lower level of this two-level restaurant. It’s definitely a score if you are seated on the lower level, which is fashioned with booths as opposed to the chairs and tables on the upper level.

Garden Grill booth

Garden Grill booth

The booths provide more of a “front row seat” experience for the attraction, so it’s worth asking at check-in to see if you can get one. I wasn’t expecting a booth since it was just my husband and me, but several of the booths are divided with drop-leaf tables, allowing for a larger family on one side, and a pair on the other. The drop-leaf, of course, can be raised to accommodate a larger group, if needed.

Larger Booth -- Family Side

Larger Booth — Family Side

Larger Booth -- Side for a pair

Larger Booth — Side for a pair

Of course, the special touches are in full effect here — check out this table setting! Remind you of a certain character?

Mickey Table Setting :)

Mickey Table Setting :)

Speaking of… The one thing with the ability to distract you from the attraction views is… well, it’s actually FOUR things: the Characters!

Here’s Chip striking a pose in front of the Prairie Desert.

Chip strikes a pose

Chip strikes a pose

Pluto stopped by to say “Hello!”

Pluto!

Pluto!

Dale plotted how he might sneak some of our food…

Dale Plotting...

Dale Plotting…

… but I informed him it was people food, and not well-suited for chipmunks. (That makes for a sad chipmunk!)

Sad Dale

Sad Dale

Okay, this next shot is not a shining example of terrific photography ;) . But I hope it conveys that moment of excitement when you first spot THE EARS over a nearby booth (c’mon, you can admit it!), and realize who will be at your table shortly…

EARS!

EARS!

Farmer Mickey Mouse — in OVERALLS, no less!!!

Farmer Mickey

Farmer Mickey

At the start of the meal, I was a bit [Read more…]

Great Places to Celebrate your runDisney Race!

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is upon us! And it got us thinking… where would we most like to relax and celebrate after a runDisney race in Disney World? There are lots of things to consider when planning your post-race celebration. So, lace up, friends, and read on!

Chef Mickey’s

Located in the heart of the Contemporary Resort, Chef Mickey’s fun-filled buffet is also character meal featuring the Fab Five… which, of course, includes the Big Cheese himself, Mickey Mouse!

Chef Mickey's!

Chef Mickey’s

Pros:
• A great buffet with an abundance of choices to fill most any post-race craving;

• If your race happens during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January, this is the place where you can get your picture taken with a character that likely matches the one on your medal! (Minnie for 10K finishers, Donald for Half Marathon finishers, Mickey for full Marathon finishers, and Goofy for those just goofy enough to run both the half and the full!)

Chef Mickey

Chef Mickey

Cons:
• There will be a fair bit of standing (for character pics) and walking (to and from the buffet)… something to keep in mind for tired legs;

• Chef Mickey’s is not open for lunch (when most runners will finish the full marathon), so you’ll need to wait for dinner or next morning’s breakfast to celebrate.

OTHER CHARACTER MEALS FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION:
• Epcot’s Akershus in the Norway Pavilion: We’re thinking of all of you Princesses running the February races with [Read more…]

What’s Your Favorite Restaurant in Each Walt Disney World Park?

One question I get asked ALL the time: “What are your favorite Disney restaurants?”

Favorite Walt Disney World Theme Park Restaurants

And my answer is always the same: “My favorites are always changing, because the only consistent thing about Disney restaurants is that they’re inconsistent!” That said, I do have a few that I head back to over and over again… .

It’s fun to seek out new things, to be sure. And Disney is always introducing new restaurants! But still, it’s always comforting to go back to the same place each visit and have your favorite meal.

So today, my question for YOU is: What is your favorite restaurant in each of the four Walt Disney World Parks? What table would you park your feet under during each and every visit if you could? (Or do you?)

I’ll share my picks first, and then I can’t wait for you to jump in by adding your answers in comments below!

Liberty Tree Tavern at Magic Kingdom

Ah, Liberty Tree. You have been around since the dawn of time. (Or at least since pretty much the first day that Magic Kingdom was opened.)

Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom

Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom

And while lots of fantastic places to eat in Magic Kingdom have come about since then, I’d still eat at Liberty Tree Tavern during every single visit if I could.

Lots of Disney fans prefer dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern, which is a family-style, all you care to eat affair, offering carved meats and sides. Having traditional Thanksgiving foods all year around is a treat, after all! But I really prefer lunch, because I can get my favorite: the amazing Liberty Tree Tavern Burger!

Liberty Tree Tavern Burger

Liberty Tree Tavern Burger

And there’s no better way to finish the meal than one of my favorite Disney desserts, the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake! This has been on and off the menu in recent months, but we’re always glad when it’s on-again.

Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake at Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom.

Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake is a Must Have

Sometimes I have to resort to [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Cookies!

We are back with another fun series of food photos, courtesy of YOU!

That’s right, we love to show off the talents of our DFB readers who post their gorgeous photos on Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza, our Flickr group! And today we’re back to one of my favorite topics: Disney Cookies!!!

Let’s take a look at some of the yummo — and beautiful — Cookie Creations that you’ve captured on film at Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

Macarons from Boulangerie Patisserie Les Halles

If you haven’t stopped into the new Boulangerie Patisserie Les Halles to check out all of the délicieux eats there, you’ve got to get it onto your schedule. When I saw this little box of beautiful Macarons, I knew I knew I had to try them!

Photographer: Hilary_JW

Macarons at Boulangerie Patisserie Les Halles

Mickey Cookie at Disney California Adventure

I love that you can get this cute little Mickey Cookie on both coasts! But it’s pretty spectacular to be chomping off his little ears with a view of Carthay Circle behind you! Gorgeous pic!

Photographer: PadresFan619

Mickey Cookie and Carthay Circle!

Mickey Mousse!

Sometimes, the kiddos get the best desserts, you know? For example, this little guy, known as Mickey Mousse at Epcot’s Garden Grill, is the sweet ending on the menu for the younger set.

But Angela thinks it was just as good, if not better, than the grown ups’ dessert! Cookies and cream mousse, topped with not one but two Oreo Mickey ears? I’d have to [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: Should I Book a Disney Character Meal?

Dining at Walt Disney World is very often an experience rather than just a meal. It’s become a rite of passage to dine with characters during a visit to Disney — and there’s stiff competition to secure Advance Dining Reservations at some of these table-service restaurants.

Mickey strikes a pose!

Meeting Cinderella, rubbing Pooh’s tummy, hugging Mickey Mouse, and posing with Chip and Dale are some of the memorable moments that can be discovered while dining at Character Meals.

Tigger Lounges and Signs an Autograph Book at the Plaza Inn

But is a character meal right for your group? On one hand, adults and kids alike enjoy meeting characters from Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood, Cinderella’s Castle, and more! Yet on the other, character meals can be costly — both in time and money!

We’ve been to countless meals in which Disney characters hobnob with guests, and now we can help you determine if a character meal fits well into your next Disney vacation!

Chef Mickey serves up fun and food at the Contemporary Resort!

In our The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013 e-Book, we have an informative section on character meals. Pick up your copy here for an extra $4 off using code 2013 for a limited time! Your vacation is an investment and we want you to have the best trip possible!

So let’s take a look at whether a character meal makes sense for YOUR family…

Should I book a character meal?

Let’s get right to some important dining considerations that we’ve included in the DFB Guide to help you plan your meals.

Meet the princesses at a character meal!

1. Do you have kids who may be afraid of characters?

Character meals can be a good place for children to get to know the Disney characters. However if one (or more) of your children are not fond of the characters then consider dining at a restaurant with a fun theme instead.

Not sure if your kiddo hates characters? Here’s how to find out without too much trauma: [Read more…]

News! 2012 Candlelight Processional Lunch and Dinner Packages On Sale Now

It’s time!! The Candlelight Processional Dinner Packages are finally on sale!

This coveted ticket provides guests with a lunch or dinner meal at select Epcot restaurants and guaranteed seating to the popular Candlelight Processional holiday spectacular.

At the event, the Christmas story is told by a celebrity narrator while a 50-piece orchestra and choir accompany the re-telling. The event is held on select nights from November 23 – December 30, 2012, in the American Gardens Theatre at Disney World’s Epcot.

Package Details

The package includes your choice of an appetizer, entree, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverage or 1 full buffet from the restaurant’s menu. Guests also have access to an special Illuminations Fireworks viewing area.

Prices [Read more…]

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…]