Review: Lunch at The Plaza Restaurant in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

On a recent visit to Walt Disney World, I made it my mission to visit some of my favorite spots. And when it came time to dine in Magic Kingdom, I knew I wanted to visit a classic –The Plaza Restaurant

Sure, Magic Kingdom has the hot ticket, Be Our Guest Restaurant. And I have so many counter service favorites here, it’s hard to keep track of them all. But when it comes to the crossroads of nostalgia, value, and a (fairly) easy advance dining reservation to score, nothing compares to The Plaza.

I bet you’ve passed it on a dozen visits and never given it a second thought. Allow me to show you around a bit, and maybe even change your mind.

Atmosphere

The Plaza Restaurant occupies some primo Magic Kingdom real estate. You’ll find it at the corner of where Main Street USA joins with the bridge to Tomorrowland.

Plaza Sign

Plaza Sign

Its central location makes it accessible to all corners of the park, so it’s a great spot to dine, especially if you’d like to take a break from touring and enjoy your meal at a more leisurely pace.

The Plaza Restaurant -- Outside

The Plaza Restaurant — Outside

The restaurant isn’t very large. It’s made up of two main dining areas. The first room is pretty, comfortable, and bright, with lots of natural light. The mirrors, which feature ornate etching, also reflect the light and make the space feel larger.

Atmosphere and Seating

Atmosphere and Seating

The art nouveau decor is in keeping with the rest of Main Street, and the pastel palette is pretty timeless. I especially love these delicate brass light fixtures.

Lighting

Lighting

Attached to the main dining room is a smaller, octagonal room that’s filled with windows. It looks a bit like a conservatory (without the glass ceiling), or maybe a patio or gazebo that’s been walled in. While it is a beautiful space, the hard floors can make it a bit loud for my taste, and banquette seating means that I’ll spend my meal listening to my neighbor’s conversation. (Totally true. This visit I was seated at that little round table with two big parties on either side of me. I pretty much knew all of their plans by the time I was finished.)

Sunroom Seating

Sunroom Seating

Here’s a nice close-up of a table in the main dining area. Kind of feels like eating in Grandma’s parlor, right?

Window Table

Window Table

Spending time on Main Street USA means that you’re likely to run into some of the town’s most notable characters. This is one of those fun Magic Kingdom traditions that unite us with the customs of the past; we’ve enjoyed visits with the Mayor as we dined before.

The Mayor Often Visits The Plaza Restaurant

The Mayor Often Visits The Plaza Restaurant

But this time out, it was the [Read more…]

Review: Hot Fudge Sundae at Dino Bite Snacks

Guys, it is so hot out there!! And when I’m sweltering and sweating, there’s one thing I know to do: eat more ice cream.

Fortunately, that’s not a hard proposition when you’re in Walt Disney World — just check out our Ice Cream Gallery for the goods!

Dino-Bite Snacks -- Outside

Today, I’m heading over to DinoLand U.S.A. (YAY!!!!!!) in Disney’s Animal Kingdom to one of my favorite ice cream stops, Dino-Bite Snacks!

With its shiny quilted aluminum siding, this little snack shack has a vintage feel that matches the rest of DinoLand U.S.A. It serves up ice cream in a variety of ways, plus churros and other snacks.

Most of the time, a stop for me here means just one thing: a hand-made ice cream cookie sandwich! But I decided to branch out just a bit today and try their new-to-me Old-Fashioned Hot Fudge Sundae.

Old-Fashioned Hot Fudge Sundae

You’ll find Dino-Bite Snacks just to the right of Restaurantosaurus (YAY!!!!!!!!!!!) as you’re facing the counter service spot. It’s not much more than a kiosk, with separate windows for ordering and pick up.

Like I mentioned, the menu is limited only to snacks and beverages. Nothing here would make a meal — unless you fancy an ice cream sandwich in place of breakfast. (I’m not necessarily admitting I’ve done this before, but…)

Hand-scooped ice cream is available, but there are only a few varieties. Choose from vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, or chocolate chip. You can also get a float here as well!

Dino-Bite Snacks Menu -- Click to Enlarge

But we hadn’t tried the hot fudge sundae, so I decided this was the day. Once I ordered my sundae at window number one, [Read more…]

First Look! Clarabelle’s Ice Cream Opens In Disney California Adventure

A few weeks ago, we shared our excitement about Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream, opening up today on Disney California Adventure’s Buena Vista Street. 

Well, it’s time to hop on the Red Trolley and take a ride to check it out. Be sure to notice the fun ad for Clarabelle’s while you’re in the trolley. See you there!

Red Trolley Stop #1 at the Entrance to Buena Vista Street

Red Trolley Clarabelle's Ad: "It's Udderly Fabulous!"

Clarabelle’s Back Story

From the moment I heard about Clarabelle’s, I was really looking forward to checking it out. It has a fabulous little back story. 

In the early 1920’s, it’s said that a young Walt Disney often visited an ice cream shop run by “Clarabelle Cowherd.” The bovine-obsessed Clarabelle ran her ice cream shop using farm fresh dairy products, and used old fashioned churns to make her flavorful hand scooped ice creams. 

It’s said that she was the inspiration for Disney’s humorous Clarabelle Cow character. And I love that Clarabelle’s story is a part of the decor of this new ice cream stop on Buena Vista Street!

Clarabelle's Signage with Ice Cream Cone Inspired Light

Outdoor Wall Signage

Located smack in between the new Fiddler, Fifer, & Practical Cafe and Trolley Treats, Clarabelle’s is a walk-up counter service spot to get some traditional Disneyland Resort goodies as well as something totally new to the parks’ menus: The Hand Dipped Ice Cream Bar.

Clarabelle's Menu

Atmosphere

Clarabelle’s is tiny. With just three registers to place an order, I think on a hot day this cow-crazy cone shop is going to be an E-Ticket attraction sized line. 

Don’t let it’s size fool you, though, because imagineers were able to pack some very snazzy decor into a [Read more…]

Disney World Star Wars Weekends Snacks!

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is once again hosting Star Wars Weekends from May 18 – June 10, 2012, for fans celebrating the George Lucas films.

If you have young padawans that can’t wait to meet Chewbacca (“let the wookie win”) or a budding Jedi that dreams of a lightsaber battle with Darth Vader, this event is for you!

Adults that grew up with the Star Wars empire are equally excited about this special event with the opportunity to purchase unique merchandise and meet celebrities. I’m looking forward to attending my second Star Wars Weekend this year, and not only will I be posing for a picture with an Ewok, I’m going to snag one of these galatically-good snacks as well!

According to the DisneyParks Blog, there are some fun treats awaiting hungry Star Wars fans! My 12-year old son just told me that he likes “all of them,” but he’s headed for the Darth cupcake first.

Darth Vader Cupcake

A special chocolate cupcake featuring Darth Vader will be available for $4.99 at Darth’s Mall, ABC Commissary, Backlot Express, Studio Catering Co., Pizza Planet, and Starring Rolls Cafe.

This is pretty much the regular chocolate, peanut butter cupcake with a Darth head stuck in it, but we’re not complaining! Also, it’s definitely more ornate than last year’s version! “It is useless to resist” the power of the Darth cupcake!

Darth Cupcake

Churro Bucket

Loyal droid R2D2 features his own bucket of churros with chocolate dipping sauce. Get yours at [Read more…]

Guest Review: Beaches and Cream at Disney’s Beach Club Resort

Today, we welcome Heather Jones with a guest review of one of our favorite Walt Disney World spots — Beaches and Cream!

On our last visit to Walt Disney World, my family and I had the pleasure of spending a night at the Beach Club Resort. One of the things I was most excited about was finally getting a chance to eat at Beaches and Cream.

I had heard so much about the place, from their great burgers to the unbelievable Kitchen Sink, I couldn’t wait to try it out!

Beaches and Cream

Atmosphere

Beaches and Cream is located where the Beach Club and its sister resort, the Yacht Club, meet; and the restaurant looks out to the Stormalong Bay pool complex.

Stormalong Bay

They don’t take reservations at Beaches and Cream, and I had heard that it could get really crowded at peak mealtimes; so we decided to head over in the middle of the afternoon to avoid the lunch rush.

Beaches and Cream is a cozy (read: tiny) soda fountain and burger joint. The tin ceilings, old-fashioned pendulum light fixtures, and pastel color scheme give it a nostalgic 1950s feel. Whimsical borders and [Read more…]