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…]

Review: Epcot’s Garden Grill Restaurant

Based on a previous guest review of this restaurant, I couldn’t wait to go try it out!

Now, to be fair, it’s not as though I’d never been to the Garden Grill Restaurant before… Well, that’s not entirely true. Before this visit, I hadn’t been to the current incarnation of the restaurant. In fact, back in the 80’s, I went to The Land Grille Room, which was what the restaurant was called before its renovation into the Garden Grill Restaurant. (Check out my friend Andy’s creation of a recipe from The Land Grille Room here!

Born as the Good Turn Restaurant and then morphed into The Land Grille Room, this restaurant has had many personalities (my memories include dark red booths and full-blown sculptures of Mickey Mouse made out of butter). Today, it’s a family-style character dinner featuring Chip, Dale, Mickey, and Pluto!

Garden Grill


Perhaps the most impressive attribute boasted by Garden Grill is that it’s a rotating restaurant. That’s right — you go around in circles while you’re eating!

But don’t worry; this isn’t as though you’re having dinner on the Teacups. The restaurant rotates s-l-o-w-l-y during your meal, allowing views of the different scenes from the Living With the Land ride taking place below the restaurant.

There are two seating styles in the restaurant, and…listen up — it makes a BIG difference where you sit. I know I’m picky about seating, but in this case, I strongly suggest that you request a semi-circular booth on the lower level of the restaurant.


This isn’t just for comfort’s sake (though the cushioned booths ARE more comfortable than the hard chairs at the tables). The booths give you an unobstructed view of the scenes you’re passing by from the ride below, and the high backs also [Read more…]

You Know You’re Eating In Disney World When…

Let’s face it. There are a few foodie experiences at Walt Disney World and Disneyland that we don’t normally find at our hometown restaurants!

We thought it would be fun to put a few “You know you’re eating in Disney World when…” thoughts together, and we’d love to hear your additions!

Leave us a comment with your own “You know you’re eating in Disney World or Disneyland when…” experience! ;-)

You Know You’re Eating In Disney World When…

There are strangers eating in the back seat of your car.

Who's in the Back Seat?!?

You memorize the color of the soap in the bathroom while your kids willingly set the table.

Setting the table

You can’t wait to take a bite out of a mouse ear.

That's better!

You get bragging rights for eating dinner while watching fireworks.

Fireworks and castle from Narcoossees

You ask a yellow bear if [Read more…]

Candlelight Processional Dinner Packages On Sale Now!

The Candlelight Processional Dinner Package provides guests with a lunch or dinner meal at select Epcot restaurants and guaranteed seating to the popular Candlelight Processional holiday spectacular. Recently Disney’s added in a VIP viewing of IllumiNations, Reflections of Earth, to make this a really great deal!

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 25 – December 30, 2011 in the American Gardens Theatre in Disney World’s Epcot.

Package Details

Does not include park admission. Includes your choice of an appetizer, entree, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage or 1 full buffet from the restaurant’s menu. Prices exclude tax and gratuity.

Disney Dining Plan
Standard and Deluxe Dining – 2 table service credits per person for any meal/restaurant
Premium and Platinum Dining – 1 table service credit per person for any meal/restaurant

Out-of-Pocket Costs
Lunch – Adult $32.99 Child $17.99
Dinner – Adult $50.99 Child $25.99

Nine Dragons
Lunch – Adult $38.99 Child $12.99
Dinner – Adult $49.99 Child $15.99

Restaurant Marrakesh
Lunch – Adult $38.99 Child $12.99
Dinner – Adult $49.99 Child $15.99

Rose and Crown
Lunch – Adult $38.99 Child $12.99
Dinner – Adult $49.99 Child $15.99

Via Napoli
Lunch – Adult $38.99 Child $12.99
Dinner – Adult $49.99 Child $15.99

San Angel Inn
Lunch – Adult $38.99 Child $12.99
Dinner – Adult $49.99 Child $15.99

Coral Reef
Lunch – Adult $51.99 Child $13.99
Dinner – Adult $64.99 Child $17.99

Teppan Edo
Lunch – Adult $51.99 Child $13.99
Dinner – Adult $64.99 Child $17.99

Tokyo Dining
Lunch – Adult $51.99 Child $13.99
Dinner – Adult $64.99 Child $17.99

Tutto Italia
Lunch – Adult $51.99 Child $13.99
Dinner – Adult $64.99 Child $17.99

Chefs de France
Lunch – Adult $51.99 Child $13.99
Dinner – Adult $64.99 Child $17.99

Garden Grill
Dinner – Adult $52.99 Child $26.99

Le Cellier
Lunch – Adult $53.99 Child $14.99

La Hacienda de San Angel
Lunch – Adult $64.99 Child $17.99


11/25 – 11/27: Mira Sorvino
11/28 – 12/01: Michael W. Smith
12/02 – 12/03: Whoopi Goldberg
12/04 – 12/06: TBA
12/07 – 12/09: Isabela Rossellini
12/10 – 12/12: Neil Patrick Harris
12/13- 12/14: TBA
12/16 – 12/18: TBA
12/19 – 12/21: Trace Adkins
12/22 – 12/24: Susan Lucci
12/25 – 12/27: Blair Underwood
12/28 – 12/30: Marlee Matlin with interpreter: Jack Jason

Instead of waiting in a loooonnng line (to get a leftover seat) for this memorable holiday tradition, book a package now. Call (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463!

Thanks to Heidi M. at White Glove Destinations for the heads up

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…]

News: Refillable Mugs, Extended Dining, and Via Napoli Pizza-by-the-Slice

Hey Disney die-hards and foodie fans! Here is some news for your nourishment.

New Refillable Mugs
New refillable mugs for the 2011 “Let the Memories Begin” promotion are on sale now for $13.99 at your WDW resort.

2011 Refillable Mug

Lids (and handles) are now in blue, black, yellow and pink. Yes, pink! I know a few moms that will be grabbing up the “princessy” mugs! ;-)

Make sure each member of the family gets a different lid color. That way Mom doesn’t have to sip Dad’s coffee and Dad won’t be taking unintentional gulps of Mom’s diet soda. Note that not all the resorts appear to have the black lids. Let me know which mug types you spot during your WDW resort stay!

Extended Dining Options
It’s almost Spring Break time! WDW is extending dining times at Boma, Cape May Cafe, Chef Mickey’s, Garden Grill, Le Cellier Steakhouse, ‘Ohana and [Read more…]

Disney Food for Families: Coping With Fears

Kids can be caught off guard by some of the themed elements at Disney restaurants. Erin Foster’s next Disney Food for Families column describes what restaurants might pose a problem and how to cope.

Wooly Mammoth

When my daughter Louisa was four years old, she was already a veteran of several Disney trips. These trips included at least a dozen character meals, dinner at the raucous Whispering Canyon Cafe, and even the foot-stomping Hoop Dee Doo Revue.

She handled all these experiences with kiddie aplomb, so it never occurred to me that we would ever have any problems at Disney restaurants. I was shocked when we got to the Animal Kingdom’s Rainforest Cafe and mid-appetizer, Louisa had a full-on, quivering-lip meltdown.

As it turns out, we had been seated directly next to the life-sized, chest-thumping, screeching, audio-animatronic gorilla. In her preschooler mind’s eye, that gorilla was inches away and effectively alive. She was terrified. My husband ended up getting his meal and hers packed to go; they left the rest of the family and went back to finish eating in the hotel room.

I later learned that, of course, she had company in experiencing sensory overload at the Rainforest Cafe and that there are several other WDW restaurants that have the potential to unsettle [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: September 26, 2010

Coming to you LIVE from Walt Disney World, here’s this week’s Disney Food Post Round-Up!


First, two reminders for this week:

  1. The Epcot Food and Wine Festival is beginning on October 1st (that’s Friday!). Here’s our quick-click guide that includes menus, photos (even pics of the food you can get THIS YEAR!), and more:
    2010 Epcot Food & Wine Festival Guide and Map
    International Marketplace Booths & Menus
    Free & Low-Cost Attractions and Demos
    Special and Signature Attractions
    Eat to the Beat! Concerts
  2. The WDW Foodie Fest is happening one week from today! On Sunday, October 3rd, we’ll hold our first ever Disney Food Blog meet-up! Come find us at Ariel’s in the Beach Club Resort between 11am-2pm. Scavenger Hunt through the Food and Wine Festival starts at 11! Read more and register at the WDW Foodie Fest Website!

This Week’s News

MNSSHP Wicked Witch Cupcake

A few news items this week, coupled with some great new stuff I’ve found at WDW:


And now, on to the round-up:

Tim Rogerson, the Disney artist extraordinaire (whom we interviewed HERE!), has a cool new time-lapse video of his 2010 Epcot Food and Wine Festival signature artwork!

2719 Hyperion takes us to the original Captain Cook’s Hideaway.

Frugal Dinks brings us their review of Epcot’s La Hacienda de San Angel Restaurant.

The Disney Chick makes sunflower seed bread from Epcot’s Garden Grill!

Main St Gazette dines at Rose and Crown!

Eating Around the World goes to Biergarten!

Zannaland has a pic of the new Duffy the Bear rice krispie treat!

Disney Parks Blog has an awesome video from Disneyland detailing how they made their Haunted Gingerbread House for this year’s Haunted Mansion overlay!

Epcot Dining Extended One Hour For Limited Time

backlot noticeHeaded to Disney World March 28th-April 10th and still haven’t gotten your Le Cellier reservation? You’ve just won the lottery today!!

Disney Parks Blog has announced it’s testing the idea of an extra hour of dining for three Epcot restaurants for a limited time:

Give it a try from March 28 through April 10, and let us know what you think — you can book your “extra hour” table at Coral Reef Restaurant, Garden Grill or Le Cellier.

Are you interested in taking advantage of this latest test? Let us know where you’re booking, and send a review when you get home! Can’t wait to hear the stories! Fingers crossed this becomes “Disney law!”

For more breaking news, visit our Disney Food News bulletin list.

Guest Review: Garden Grill Restaurant

Jeff Kocan, an incredible writer and blogger over at www.CigarettesandCoffee.com (he was the evil photographer of this little ditty — don’t look if you’re hungry), kindly penned and photographed this review of the Garden Grill Restaurant in Epcot’s The Land. This rotating restaurant is in many of our childhood memories, but these days, it’s got a new “spin.” (Couldn’t help it.) Take it away, Jeff!

Garden Grill Restaurant

For too many Walt Disney World visitors, The Land pavilion on the east side of Epcot’s Future World is probably best known as the building you rush through twice per visit – once to get Soarin’ Fastpasses and once to redeem them. It’s worth spending a little extra time here, though, as the building also houses an above-average food court, a more-fun-than-it-sounds agricultural boat ride, and one of the park’s most unique restaurants, the revolving Garden Grill.

The Garden Grill has been around since Epcot’s (or, if you will, EPCOT Center’s) opening day on October 1, 1982. Back then it was known as the Good Turn Restaurant; it became the Land Grille Room in 1986 before taking its current name in ’93. Lunch service here ended in 2008, and the restaurant now exclusively hosts Chip and Dale’s Harvest Feast, a family-style character dinner.

Chip and Dale's Harvest Feast

The Atmosphere
I tend to think of the Garden Grill as one of Disney World’s “forgotten” character meals — it certainly isn’t mentioned as frequently as, say, Chef Mickey’s or Cinderella’s Royal Table. That said, during our Sunday-night visit, the restaurant was full and the adjacent waiting area was packed with diners waiting for their buzzers to buzz. Said waiting area is essentially a vacant corner near the public restrooms, and aside from a couple benches, the ground is the only available seating. Germophobes may prefer to stand.

Once you’re in the restaurant itself, you’re treated to an experience unlike any other in the parks: [Read more…]