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…]

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

Atmosphere

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.

Seating

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
Biergarten
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

Narrators:

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…]