Review: Breakfast at the Grand Floridian Cafe

I know I’m not alone in considering the Grand Floridian Cafe to be a hidden gem among resort restaurants.

Located in one of Walt Disney World’s most beautiful hotels, the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, this moderately-priced table service restaurant is rarely so busy that you can’t score a walk-up table. That has held true for me at even the busiest times, such as spring break.

A while back we experienced a delightful dinner at Grand Floridian Cafe, and I had been anxious ever since that time to get back for breakfast.

On a recent trip, we finally had an opportunity to take in our morning meal there.

Atmosphere

The atmosphere at the Grand Floridian Cafe is a little on the nondescript side. It’s not that it’s uncomfortable or unattractive; it’s just that bumped up against all the over-the-top themeing in many Disney spots, this one pales by comparison.

Sign at the Restaurant's Entrance

What you will find is a really beautiful, bright, cheerful spot that melds the Victorian with the Floridian perfectly.

At breakfast, you’ll find plenty of guests sitting back, sipping coffee, and reading the paper. It’s just screams “relaxed,” which may be exactly what you need during a busy Disney vacation.

Seating in the Main Dining Room

It does feel a little on the dated side…but that kinda makes sense, since you’re supposed to feel like you’re surrounded by the 19th, not the 21st, century.

Mirrors give the space a larger feel, and the heavy marble and iron tables remind me a bit of the sunroom seating at Tony’s Town Square in Magic Kingdom. It’s a nice tie-in to the Main Street U.S.A. vintage feel.

There’s also mixed banquette and chair seating here, so everyone can have the seat they prefer.

Mixed Seating and Decor

The view through the windows onto the [Read more…]

More Great Disney Dining Tips from the Experts!

A while back, we polled Disney Food Blog readers — Disney fans who have been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt — on their top Disney Dining Tips.

Not surprisingly, the top tip mentioned was the advice to make Disney Dining Reservations, since you don’t want to be shut out of your favorites or from the most popular restaurants. So this time around we thought it would be fun to ask about their SECOND best Disney Dining Tips!

Read on to see what our Disney Food Blog twitter followers shared as their second best Disney dining tips, and be sure to share in the comments whether you agree or disagree! Share YOUR tips to help your fellow Disney lovers!

Enjoy Some Disney Snacks

We LURVE our Disney snacks around here! And so do our readers! Many of the tips we received were about the favorite classic pre- and post-meal goodies we all love to tuck into in the Parks.

While Brian C. had a unique, sweet option on the mind (“Try the beignets!”), Twitter pal Amber B. writes, “Do NOT skip the Schoolbread!” We can heartily agree!

Norway School Bread

Whether you prefer a sweet or salty treat, there are plenty of cupcakes, cookies and specialty pretzels to choose from.

And if you need a little help selecting the treat you’ll try first, make sure to download our DFB Mini-Guide to Epcot Snacks and our DFB Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks.

Eat at “Off Hours”

Disney vacationers cannot live on snacks alone, though—there are too many great Disney restaurants!

Several of our twitter friends recommended taking advantage of “off” meal times by enjoying a late breakfast/early lunch, or a late lunch/early dinner! This is when the restaurants are less likely to be packed with families sticking to the traditional meal times.

Coral Reef in Epcot is even more serene during non-traditional dining hours!

Paul B. tweets, “Off hours eating leads to taking advantage of shorter attraction lines during the normal meal times.”  So while everyone else is waiting in the lunch line, you’re able to hop onto Splash Mountain with a much shorter wait.

And when you are ready to enjoy your late lunch, not only will you have a quieter, more intimate meal, but you’re more likely to get a coveted window seat or other special seating area (like a car-booth at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater). Dining bonus!

Awesome convertible car booths at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater

Visit the Resorts for Meals

If you’re not able to take advantage [Read more…]

Guest Review: Grand Floridian Cafe Breakfast in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Join us in welcoming Emma S. with a review of the Grand Floridian Cafe’s elegant breakfast.

Visitors to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort are certainly not lacking in restaurant options: from character buffets and tea parties to gourmet, multi-course dinners, the Grand has it all when it comes to dining!

With so many eye-catching choices, there’s one little restaurant that can get overlooked. The Grand Floridian Café occupies a charming corner on the ground floor, offers meals all day long, and usually has availability for walk-ups. One morning my brother and I decided to give the breakfast here a try.

An elegant menu board!

Grand Floridian Cafe Tablescape

Atmosphere

As soon as you enter the Grand Floridian Café, you feel any [Read more…]

What’s Your Favorite Disney Burger?

It’s usually my job to smash though the stereotype that theme parks only serve burgers and fries, but today…it’s time to embrace it! We’re going to talk burgers, all! Are ya ready to share your favorites?

It’s time to update our “best burgers in Disney World” list, and we think there are some seriously unexpected meat-and-bun creations that go far beyond what you would expect from a theme park burger. Let’s take a look at some of the most notable in the bunch.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, though! I’d love to hear your favorites in the comments below!

Favorite Disney Burgers

Picnic Burger at Sci-Fi Dine-In

UPDATE: Please note that the Picnic Burger is not currently being served at Sci-Fi-Dine-In Restaurant, but they often feature a specialty burger on the menu in addition to the Build-Your-Own Burger. 

The All American Picnic Burger is a flame-broiled Angus burger patty topped with…wait until you hear this…a grilled hot dog! On top of this, you get sauerkraut, sautéed onions, ketchup, mustard, and a pickle spear! Yep — this one is HUGE…and messy!

Served at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it’s a picnic on a plate. Go ahead and indulge!

Picnic Burger

Beaches and Cream Burger

The simple Beaches and Cream Burger made our very first “Best Burgers” list way back when, and now their upgraded Bacon and Blue version has made our list again!

Beaches and Cream is your spot for comforting food, including malted milkshakes, chicken noodle soup, awesome ice cream sundaes, and Angus cheeseburgers.

Bacon and Blue Burger at Beaches and Cream

Surf and Surf “Burger” at Landscape of Flavors

This is probably the newest on the list, and hails from Art of Animation Resort’s Landscape of Flavors!

Not technically a burger, the Surf and Surf is actually a Crab Cake topped with fried popcorn shrimp, tomato, lettuce, and Cajun remoulade on a brioche bun. There are plenty of other great burgers to choose from at this new counter-service stop, though, so [Read more…]

New Menu: Grand Floridian’s Beach Pool Bar

Disney chefs worked behind the scenes on new menu items for the Grand Floridian Beach Pool Bar at the Grand Floridian, which recently re-opened! Courtesy of Chef Jack Butler, we have all the details!

Beach Pool Bar Under Construction

After new recipes are developed, they are tested to see which menu items are most popular with guests. Testing took place at Gasparilla Grill before it closed for refurbishment this month.

Gasparilla Entrance

The new menu at the Beach Pool Bar now replaces Gasparilla as the go-to counter-service location for Grand Floridian during renovations. As always during refurbs and menu updates, this is all subject to change.

Let’s check it out!

New Menu Items

Watermelon, Feta, and Arugula Salad with Red Onion Vinaigrette ($7.19)
Chunks of watermelon, feta cheese crumbles, grape tomatoes, and shaved red onion on a base of arugula.

Grilled chicken Caesar salad ($8.39)
This is a holdover from Gasparilla. You can now sub out the chicken for grilled shrimp for an additional charge.

Crab Cake Sandwich ($9.99).
Served with a corn tartar sauce and cucumber salad. The cake itself is an un-breaded version of the Grand Floridian Cafe crab cake.

Crab Cakes at Grand Floridian Cafe

Citrus Chicken Salad Sandwich ($8.99)
Shredded chicken with a citrus tarragon [Read more…]

Reader Poll: Rather Eat Thanksgiving Dinner at Home or at a Disney Restaurant?

Happy Thanksgiving!

My family is considering having Thanksgiving in Disney World next year, and I wanted to hear some opinions about that! So we asked our Facebook Page Fans:

Would you rather have Thanksgiving Dinner at home, or at a Disney restaurant?.

Our readers chimed in with their holiday preferences! While dining at home was a strong contender due to family traditions, leftovers, cost-savings, aversion to holiday crowds, and a palate for a real home-cooked meal, ordering Thanksgiving dinner at a Disney restaurant was the clear winner!

And these voters didn’t care where they ate at Disney — they just wanted to be in the middle of the magic for the holiday. In fact, we think some of you might be happy with one of these!:

Disney Turkey Leg

Here are some of the other suggestions we received!: [Read more…]

Celebrate with a Chocolate Cinderella Slipper

There are plenty of ways to celebrate with dining at Walt Disney World. And especially fitting for little princesses, romantic couples, and chocolate-lovers, the Cinderella Slipper Dessert is a decadent way to celebrate your special occasion. This dessert is exceptionally rich, and I suggest ordering one to share!

Celebrate Like Cinderella

Indulge in the chocolate slipper at Cinderella’s Royal Table, the Grand Floridian’s table-service restaurants (Citricos, 1900 Park Fare, Grand Floridian Cafe, Narcoossee’s, Victoria and Albert’s), or during afternoon tea at the Garden View Lounge overlooking the beautiful Grand Floridian courtyard. You may also enjoy it at the Contemporary Resort’s restaurants California Grill and The Wave.

But you’ll need to pre-order this special treat (and lock in an Advance Dining Reservation at the restaurant of your choice!). See below for specific resort/restaurant phone numbers.

For guests dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom, your slipper special-order will be a white or milk chocolate “glass” slipper filled to the brim (and beyond) with chocolate mousse. A raspberry coulis and fresh berries are artistically added to the plate.

chocolate slipper

Grand Floridian diners will receive a white chocolate version filled with delicious cream and crowned with raspberries. Accompanying the slipper is a [Read more…]

Review: Disney World’s Grand Floridian Cafe

Today we head over to the beautiful Grand Floridian Resort to dine at one of Disney World’s most underrated restaurants, in my opinion. And if it’s not underrated, it’s at least a hidden gem.

The Grand Floridian Cafe is located in the main building of the resort, tucked back off the lobby to your left. You’ll pass it when heading out side toward the marina, Narcoossee’s, and Gasparilla Grill, but you might not even take notice it’s there.

Atmosphere

Decorated in muted shades of pink, mauve, and sea green, the Grand Floridian Cafe is the resort’s requisite “moderately priced restaurant.” There are no characters here, no signature dining qualification, and no 5-diamond rating. But it functions quite well, offers most walk-up guests a seat with no wait, and actually has some pretty darn good food!

GF Cafe

Grand Floridian Cafe Entrance

The dining room is pleasing — even if it does seem a bit dated — and I can tell you from experience that when you find a decent restaurant in Disney World where you can get a walk-up table without an Advance Dining Reservation during Spring Break, it’s like you’ve won [Read more…]

Guest Review: Grand Floridian Cafe

Thanks to Heather Montgomery from Running With Sass for this great review of lunch at the Grand Floridian Cafe in Walt Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort!

The Grand Floridian Café is located on the bottom floor toward the back of the lobby of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. We arrived five minutes early for our 12:45 reservation and were immediately seated after being greeted by a friendly hostess. I was very happy to see we were being seated in the back along the windows looking out over the beautiful Grand Floridian gardens. Having just arrived in Disney World and checked into the Grand Floridian, we were very excited to have our first meal of the trip.

Atmosphere
This café fits in so well with the Victorian era décor. It uses a lot of light colors and florals in its palette, and it also gives off a relaxed vibe for those wanting to escape the busyness of the parks for a little while.

Cafe Atmosphere

All of the tables had a cute little vase on them with a beautiful [Read more…]

“The Best Thing I Ever Ate in Disney!”: Appetizers & Sides

We’ve just started a fun new series based on the Food Network’s (very cool) show, The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Due to some keen suggestions from readers, we’re splitting our series up into different sections: breakfast, appetizers & side dishes, snacks, entrees (lunch & dinner), and desserts & drinks.

Today, we’re taking a look at Appetizers and Side Dishes! I’ve done my favorite brand of informal polling (i.e. posted questions on twitter and facebook ;) ) to find out others’ experiences of the “Best Thing They Ever Ate” as far as appetizers and side dishes at Disney.

Soups

Soups were by far the #1 mentioned appetizer/side when I reached out to facebook and twitter folks for their favorites.

Portobello Soup at Artist Point

  • Most beloved are the soups found at Boma in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. These vary every day, but the varieties specifically mentioned by readers as the Best Thing They Ever Ate! were: Mushroom Soup, Mulligatawny Soup, and Butternut Squash Soup. (Personally, the chicken corn chowder is my favorite!).
  • Of course, you can’t post a series like this without a few votes for Le Cellier Steakhouse‘s famous Cheddar Cheese Soup! This comes heartily recommended by Disney Food Blog readers — and yours truly, of course!
  • The Grand Floridian also racked up a couple of votes from our readers! The cashew cream soup from Victoria and Albert’s comes was noted, as was the cheesy tomato soup at the Grand Floridian Cafe (yum — doesn’t that sound good?!?).
  • Finally, that delicious Mushroom-Soup-That-Doesn’t-Taste-Like-Mushrooms was voted [Read more…]