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…]

News: ABC Commissary Offers New ‘Fast Casual’ Dining and Dinner Menu

ABC Commissary at Disney’s Hollywood Studios hasn’t often wowed us in the past. But that may be changing.

The dining spot has previously been strictly counter service in the classic Disney sense of the word. (Check out a recent review here.) You know the set up — order your food from the overhead menu boards, and then step forward with your receipt to collect your tray of drinks and food.

These days, however, ABC Commissary is trying a slightly different approach.

Billing the spot as “fast casual” for the dinner hour, the restaurant takes the same tack as one of our favorites, Wolfgang Puck Express in Disney Springs. The concept is pretty simple: order your food from a cast member and receive a pager. But unlike spots that expect you to come collect your food when the pager goes, off, your food will find you.

Ordering stations

Ordering stations

Guests choose a seat once they’ve ordered their food, and cast members will deliver the food and drinks to their table. Cast members are also available for other needs during your meal. Flag them down for condiments or anything else you might need. [Read more…]

Best Restaurants for Thanksgiving and Christmas in Walt Disney World

Will you be celebrating Thanksgiving or Christmas in Walt Disney World?

mickey-christmas-holiday-santa-krispy-treat-2016-1

Lucky you! What a fun way to spend the holiday season — with so much to be thankful for in such a cool place!

As you can imagine, the crowds tend to swell at Disney during holiday weeks like Thanksgiving and Christmas as lots of Disney fans choose to celebrate their holiday there. And Disney answers the call with tons of Thanksgiving spirit throughout many of their restaurants.

Whether you’re looking for a traditional meal, a gourmet twist on familiar favorites, or something that’s a complete departure from established customs, you’ll find lots of options for celebrating these special food days. Let’s check out a few of our favorites.

The Traditional: Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom

We all know it’s true. When you’re craving Thanksgiving dinner at Disney, there’s one spot you can always count on to deliver: Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square.

Liberty Tree Tavern Entrance

Liberty Tree Tavern Entrance

And we’re not just talking about on Thanksgiving Day, or merely around Thanksgiving. You’ll find the traditional feast on the lunch and dinner menu, every day of the year. [Read more…]

Review: Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe at Magic Kingdom

We are heading to one of Walt Disney World’s busiest park counter service locations to see what’s new for lunch — Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe.

Located on the edge of Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland near where it transitions to Fantasyland (it’s just to the right of the castle), Cosmic Ray’s is an excellent bet for finding something to please everyone, especially if your party includes members who are less adventurous in their tastes.

But if you do like more interesting fare, don’t be afraid of this intergalactic hotspot! In addition to tried and true favorites like Chicken Nuggets and Bacon Cheeseburgers, you’ll usually find some outta this world (see what I did there?) options as well.

Besides, Cosmic Ray’s is home to one of Disney’s legendary toppings bars. And you KNOW how much I love a good toppings bar.

Wanna see what I’m talking about? Let’s head in.

Atmosphere

Much like the rest of Tomorrowland, Cosmic Ray’s is at once retro and futuristic — although the retro vibe is more 1980s than anything. Purple, teal, and silver will send you searching for your Swatch Watch.

Cosmic Ray's Sign

Cosmic Ray’s Sign

We’ll get to the ordering set up in just a sec, but first, let’s check out the seating. There’s a reason I want you to see this area first — one of the galaxy’s most famous acts takes center stage while you enjoy your meal. [Read more…]

Review: The BEST (and Some Not So Great) Burgers at Disney Springs’ D-Luxe Burger

Today, we’re heading back to Disney Springs for a lunch break at D-Luxe Burger!

With so many options newly opened at Disney Springs, sometimes it can be hard to make a decision. But we LOVE LOVE LOVED D-Luxe for their delicious Burgers, Hand-Cut Fries, interesting array of Dipping Sauces, and Gelato Shakes from our very first visit opening day.

Pricey? Yes, a bit. But we thought the uptick in quality made it WAY worth the pricetag.

The quick service spot has been open for a few months now, and you might not be surprised to know we’ve been back a few more times ;-)

Join us as we share photos and impressions of our follow up visits!

Atmosphere

If you’re looking for D-Luxe, you’ll find it centrally located in Town Center, Disney Springs’ newest neighborhood. Park in the Orange or Lime Garage; the walk is about the same distance from both.

D-Luxe and That Gorgeous Florida Sky

D-Luxe and That Gorgeous Florida Sky

As you’re looking at Guest Services in the heart of Town Center, D-Luxe is just to the left.

D-Luxe Burger

D-Luxe Burger

Step inside and you’ll see rustic finishes and lots of “evidence” to support D-Luxe’s backstory as the former site of a Florida cattle ranch. You can read more details and see a full tour here. [Read more…]

Review: New Menu at Liberty Tree Tavern at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Editor’s Note: The Patriot’s Platter is now available as a lunch, all-you-care-to-enjoy option. Also, the Platter now includes Turkey Breast, Sliced Prime Rib, and Carved Pork Roast once more, as of late October 2016.

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! It’s time to head back to one of our favorite spots — Liberty Tree Tavern!

Ah, how we love thee, Liberty Tree. Located in Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square, there are plenty of reasons why this park original is still one of our favorites. First of all, although we can embrace and even enjoy change (within moderation ;-) ), Liberty Tree Tavern has literally been around since the beginning. And that makes it a shoe-in for a spot in some of our collective earliest memories. A show of hands out there — how many of you recollect this Colonial-inspired dining room as one of your first Disney meals?

But then, it keeps us coming back as grown-ups for delicious comfort food! The a la carte menu served at lunch features one of DFB’s Favorite Burgers, the Angus Chuck Cheeseburger! And who could possibly resist the Pilgrims Feast at lunch? Because Thanksgiving Dinner served all year ’round is A-OK with me!

Recently, we learned of updates here (what?!?!) to the dinner menu. And while I don’t usually need an excuse to make an advance dining reservation at Liberty Tree, I figured it was the perfect reason to visit.

Join us to see what’s new — and what remains the same — when you dine at Liberty Tree Tavern for dinner!

Liberty Tree Tavern Entrance

Liberty Tree Tavern Entrance

Atmosphere

To step into Liberty Tree Tavern is to step back in time. The restaurant offers seating in six different rooms (none of that modern open floor plan stuff here).

Seating and View

Seating and View

Of course, an argument could be made that the throwback nostalgia here is part Colonial, part 1970s. But you know what? We’re totally fine with it. While some rooms offer paneling a plenty…

Decor

Seating and Wood Paneling Decor

Others are awash in white. Still, ample wood accents and parquet floors lend warmth and a feeling of antiquity. [Read more…]

Review: Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

It’s been way way WAY too long since I last took in a meal at Narcoossee’s, one of the signature restaurants at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. (With three signature restaurants at that resort, it’s hard to get to all of them on a regular basis! So much rich, wonderful food — SO expensive!)

The restaurant has topped our list of Disney Food News for a couple of brand new offerings lately. You can now enjoy Sunday Waterfront Brunch here. And soon, you’ll be able to take in an evening Wishes Dessert Party from the dock nearby.

But during a recent (extremely quick!) visit to Walt Disney World, I decided it was time to enjoy dinner here once again.

The fairly small restaurant, perched on the edge of the resort where water meets land, boasts stunning views, a relaxed atmosphere, and a seafood-inspired menu. But it tends to be overshadowed by other signature spots, like the nearby California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, or Victoria and Albert’s at the Grand Floridian. And so it largely flies under the radar.

My question is always this: in a resort that has two other signature restaurants, is there room for a third?

Read on to learn more about our evening here.

narcoossees sign

Atmosphere

If you’re heading to Narcoossee’s, be prepared for a walk. This is that circular building on stilts that juts out into Seven Seas Lagoon next to the dock at Grand Floridian, so it’s far far away from the entrance to the resort (but a quick walk from the boat dock if you’re coming from Magic Kingdom). [Read more…]

Review: Sunshine Seasons at Epcot’s The Land Pavilion

We are heading into a guest-favorite spot in Epcot to grab a quick lunch — Sunshine Seasons!

So, if you haven’t been to Disney World yet, let me assure you that Sunshine Seasons deserves a moment of your time. It doesn’t look like much, but this counter-service location in The Land pavilion features some unique, fresh items as well as a treasure trove of bakery treats that are not to be missed.

Atmosphere

Have you ever visited The Land Pavilion in Epcot’s [Read more…]

Review: Dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

We are back for another visit to Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Tree Tavern — and this time, it’s for dinner.

What’s the difference between lunch and dinner? Well, it’s major, actually. Lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern is an a la carte offering — you order what you want off the menu. I’ll often go for their Angus Chuck Cheeseburger. And the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake is one of the best desserts on property. (Here’s the recipe.)

But dinner is a completely different deal — and still quite good. You’re treated to a family style feast consisting of roasted meats and all the trimmings.

I haven’t covered dinner at LTT here on the blog for a long time…for two reasons: 1.) It’s always the same. The food rarely changes, and everyone gets the same thing, so our previous reviews are still totally valid when it comes to the food. 2.) For some reason, every time I’ve been there for dinner in the past year, something has happened to keep me from getting the photos I need to blog the post. Either a member of my party gets sick or one of the kids has a meltdown…or we’re with a huge group and the food is decimated before I can take a picture.

So, I made it a focus on my last trip to get over there and make it happen! Here we go!

Atmosphere

Liberty Tree Tavern is a Magic Kingdom icon. It’s been there since the Park opened, and there are many Disney fans who count a meal here among their earliest Disney memories. It’s located on Liberty Square, near the Hall of Presidents and other exhibits celebrating Colonial American History.

Liberty Tree Tavern Entrance

Liberty Tree Tavern Entrance

Liberty Tree Tavern offers seating in six different rooms, each themed to a notable historical figure. They include Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Paul Jones, Paul Revere, Betsy Ross, and George Washington. You can see a more in-depth atmosphere review here.

John Paul Jones

A door in the John Paul Jones Room

Decor

Model Ship and John Paul Jones Portrait

If your kiddos are studying American history, it’s fun to take a look around each of the rooms to see some of the more well-known stories come to life. Ben Franklin’s kite and George Washington’s wooden teeth appear in their respective rooms.

Kite in Ben Franklin Room

Kite in Ben Franklin Room

And if there are any invasions or revolutions that require your help, you’re all set. Grab your cloak and three corner hat, and you’re off!

Coats and Hat Hanging at the Ready

Coats and Hat Hanging at the Ready

Seating throughout the vast network of rooms is made up of booths and tables. Primarily you’ll find ladder back chairs that are fairly comfortable surrounding rectangular and round tables.

Seating

Seating

Seating

Seating

If you prefer some natural light, be sure to request a seat in one of the outer facing dining rooms. But don’t plan on parade- or people-watching. The glass is bubbled and wavy, so you’ll just see blobs of color.

Seating and View

Seating and View

Eats

As I mentioned before, if you dine at Liberty Tree Tavern for dinner, you’ll be partaking in a prix fixe, family style meal. That means that each person in your party will pay a set price — one price for adults, and a lower price for children. (Children under 3 are free.)

Your meal includes everything listed below, including a standard beverage and dessert. The format is all-you-care-to-enjoy, so there’s no reason to ever leave a Liberty Tree Tavern dinner table hungry.

Liberty Tree Tavern -- Click to Enlarge

Liberty Tree Tavern Menu — Click to Enlarge

We began with a [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Turkey!

Can you believe that just a week from today, we’ll be digging into all of those familiar Thanksgiving favorites? A meal like that is worth celebrating with an installment of Disney Food Pics of the Week!

If you haven’t already, check out our Flickr page — Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza — where DFB readers share all of their Disney Food Photos. Want to add to the delish? Just head over and post your pics for a chance to have them featured in our Disney Food Pics of the Week Series! Let’s take a look!

Pilgrim’s Feast at Liberty Tree Tavern

Photographer: Nancy RK

One of my absolute favorite restaurants in all of Walt Disney World is Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom. And this time of year, who can pass up the chance to eat the Pilgrim’s Feast?

Enjoy Thanksgiving All Year 'Round with the Pilgrim's Feast at Liberty Tree Tavern

Enjoy Thanksgiving All Year ‘Round with the Pilgrim’s Feast at Liberty Tree Tavern

Turkey Leg

Photographer: Theresa E.

Like we could leave out what many consider THE way to enjoy turkey when you’re at Disney? We know that some of you can’t resist enjoying a

[Read more…]