News! Aunt Polly’s is OPEN (for a limited time) in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Disney History buffs are going to love this news out of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom!

Cinderella Castle in the early morning light

More Fun Dining News Out of Magic Kingdom Today!

After a hiatus of, oh, about forever — it seems that Aunt Polly’s on Tom Sawyer Island is serving food and beverages once more!

This is one for the books! After all, it’s been eons since we’ve seen anything substantial for sale here. Even the vending machines that have been in place here in recent years hadn’t been in service.

But thanks to Disney Food for Families columnist Erin Foster for giving us the heads up that Theme Park Insider is reporting the spot is open for business!

Now, before you get too awfully excited, you should know that the menu is limited. Very limited. Make the trip over to Tom Sawyer Island looking for sustenance, and you’ll find Sandwiches (Turkey and PB&J), Veggies and Hummus, Chips, Fresh Fruit, and an Assortment of Cold Beverages, including Lemonade. Note that, at least for now, they are not offering fountain drinks.

While it doesn’t sound like much, there are two reasons to love this move by Disney: [Read more…]

Guest Review: ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

Join us in welcoming back Guest Reviewer Katie Roth with a review of ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Note that this review was written before the most recent round of ‘Ohana Menu Changes. Currently the Chicken Skewer is not being served at the restaurant. Aloha!

I have been staying at the Polynesian for years, but I had never eaten at ‘Ohana until last year! I know, I know…utter blasphemy! I was psyched that my husband and I decided to take an impromptu trip to Disney World AND were able to score a dinner reservation at ‘Ohana.

I admit that it was I that brought my husband into the light of Disney, and I just love getting to share my favorite experiences and eats with him whenever we visit Walt Disney World. Knowing how much he loves grilled meat, I absolutely could not wait to eat here with him!

To help control our excitement, we went to Tambu Lounge to temper those jitters. My husband went all out and ordered the Lapu Lapu while I went with a pineapple mojito (regular mojito with fresh pineapple chunks added). We loved our drinks and were primed for dinner ;)

Lapu Lapu!

In my opinion, ‘Ohana’s location lends itself to be one of those ‘would have missed it if I didn’t know it was there’ restaurants. The location of the restaurant is on the upper terrace of the Great Ceremonial House lobby tucked away behind the Tambu Lounge. If you are in front of Kona Café then you have gone too far!

As I’ve seen in the past couple of years, the easiest way to spot ‘Ohana is by the long line of people checking in for their Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) or those hopeful souls asking about a walk-in reservation. When it comes to Disney food (particularly at ‘Ohana), never leave fate to chance.

Lately, I have been eating a lot less meat and more fish for health reasons. I informed the host at the check-in station that I would like a vegetarian/pescetarian meal to which he replied would be no problem. I have heard great things about the vegetarian offerings at ‘Ohana and couldn’t wait to try them out! Just remember, if you are going to make a special request like this, check in early and let them know.

Once you are checked in, you will be given a buzzer and told to wait by the Tambu Lounge for your “cousin” (server) to take you to your table. If this is your first time to the restaurant, they will take you on a [Read more…]

Review: Lunch at Spice Road Table in Epcot’s Morocco Pavilion

Happy (almost) First Birthday, Spice Road Table!

Spice Road Table hit the scene in Epcot’s Morocco Pavilion almost one year ago now, so we thought it would be a great time to pay another visit to this beautiful restaurant and see how things are going.

Since it’s opening, this Table Service location has offered Mediterranean tapas (small plates) and a unique wine and beer list. However, Spice Road Table recently changed its approach a bit with the addition of Advance Dining Reservations and acceptance of the Disney Dining Plan, as well as a new focus on entree-sized menu options.

So now is a great time to show you what’s evolved, and what’s remained the same at Spice Road Table!

Atmosphere

While we will be discussing some of the recent changes at Spice Road Table, the atmosphere definitely falls under the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” category.

Spice Road Table

Spice Road Table

The decor remains stunning, from the restaurant itself to the waterfront views it provides of World Showcase Lagoon. You can get an idea of those views as you approach Morocco from the bridge that connects Epcot’s France and UK Pavilions.

Spice Road Table View from the water

Spice Road Table View from the water

The first thing to greet you as you step inside is the bar area, made remarkable by bold blue on the walls and the view of the water wheel outside.

Spice Road Table Bar -- straight ahead as you enter

Spice Road Table Bar — straight ahead as you enter

Spice Road Table Bar

Spice Road Table Bar

From here, you’ll be seated either indoors or outside (preferences can be stated at the check-in podium, and are honored as availability permits). While the indoor seating area is small and narrow, it is beautiful, featuring intricate woodwork surrounding the booths.

Indoor seating

Indoor seating

Indoor seating

Indoor seating

Gorgeous — there’s no other word for them — Moroccan lanterns and decorative items are on display near the ceiling.

Spice Road Table Indoor Lanterns

Spice Road Table Indoor Lanterns

Decor

Decor

But the most striking decorative element is the view of the water from the large windows lining the inside of the restaurant. (It’s worth noting that most of the indoor booths, with a few exceptions, are situated facing the windows for great water views from just about anywhere in the space).

Indoor seating

Indoor seating

Spice Road Table Setting Indoors

Window seat

But Spice Road Table might be best known for it’s outdoor seating area, offering prime views for the nightly IllumiNations fireworks spectacular (and likely the very reason Spice Road Table began offering Advance Dining Reservations, since the spot is in higher demand in the hour before IllumiNations begins).

Outdoor seating

Outdoor seating

Beautiful lighting fixtures are key decorative elements outside as well.

Spice Road Table Outdoor Lanterns

Spice Road Table Outdoor Lanterns

Hanging lantern

Hanging lantern

And it’s a cool fact that the [Read more…]

Review: Hummus with Vegetables and Pita at Mr. Kamal’s in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

On the pathway from Africa to Asia in Disney’s Animal Kingdom stand two unmarked kiosks that are definite gems for those searching for vegetarian fare, or even just a nice change of pace: Mr. Kamal’s and Bradley Falls.

Today, we’re paying a visit to Mr.Kamal’s (and, since Bradley Falls is open seasonally for peak crowds, Mr. Kamal’s is typically your best bet).

Of course, we’ve visited Mr. Kamal’s before, most recently after it changed to its current vegetarian menu. We sampled the Falafel Sandwich and Samosas, and were impressed with the Asian Noodle Salad as well.

Still, there was one item we’d yet to try at Mr. Kamal’s – the Hummus with Vegetables and Pita. You can pretty much figure out exactly what’s coming to you from the name :).

Mr. Kamal's menu

Mr. Kamal’s menu

Hummus with Veggies and Pita

Hummus with Veggies and Pita

(By the way, if the menu is missing the Asian Noodle Salad or Edamame on your visit, just make a very short trip across the street to Bradley Falls. It picks up those items from the menu when it’s open.)

The presentation is simple, as are the flavors. The olive-garnished hummus is accompanied by [Read more…]

Photos and Review Part 3: Spice Road Table Market in Walt Disney World’s Epcot

Today, we’re back with more photos from Spice Road Table, Epcot’s newest restaurant!

Spice Road Table and Shops in the Morocco Pavilion

Spice Road Table and Shops in the Morocco Pavilion

The table service spot has been enjoying rave reviews from our staff and guests alike since its soft opening on Saturday. Business has been brisk, and we have enjoyed bringing you photos and reports of many of the menu items!

Spice Road Table

Spice Road Table

But Spice Road Table is only part of the story. When the new restaurant debuted, it was part of a newly renovated and expanded waterfront presence in Morocco.

Returning is the popular Art of Henna, where guests can have their very own temporary henna tattoos applied.

Getting Your Henna Tattoo is Part of the Fun!

Getting Your Henna Tattoo is Part of the Fun!

The entire front portion of the Morocco Pavilion has undergone a bit of a shift-around since Spice Road Table moved in. The Mo’Rockin stage, home to the popular Moroccan live band that plays here throughout the day, has moved to the other side of the walkway.

Mo'Rockin Stage

Mo’Rockin Stage

Also returning is the waterfront gift shop. Souk-Al-Magreb, Gifts of Morocco is your one-stop shop for authentic Moroccan clothing and other items. But it’s also a fantastic find if you’re looking to recreate some of the flavors you just experienced at Spice Road Table.

Souk-Al-Magreb, Gifts of Morocco

Souk-Al-Magreb, Gifts of Morocco

Today, we’re taking a little look around this interesting spot to get a look at all the Mediterranean delicacies that you can head home with as souvenirs!

Souk-Al-Magreb, Gifts of Morocco

Enter Souk-al-Magreb via the door from the World Showcase Promenade, or or you can take a stroll through the shop directly from Spice Road Table. If you come through the front door, the first thing you’ll see food-wise is this wonderful little display of spices in tagines. I kept thinking that the collection would cost a small fortune in the Spice Route Days!

Spice Display

Spice Display

Behind the curio housing the spices, the back of the round table holds a [Read more…]

Review: Victoria Falls Lounge at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Today, I thought I’d invite you to come along for a visit to the serene and scenic Victoria Falls.

Well, OK, I’m not springing for airfare to Africa, but we’re going to the Victoria Falls Lounge, which is pretty nice in and of itself.

Victoria Falls Sign

This gathering spot, located in Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, is a great place to meet with friends, enjoy a quiet solo drink, or await your table at nearby Jiko or Boma. I love meeting friends here, and I thought you’d enjoy taking a closer look with me.

Atmosphere

One of the coolest things about Victoria Falls is its name and its relationship to the lounge’s location. It’s actually suspended between levels of the hotel, below the main lobby, and yet overlooking Boma. It’s situated very much as a waterfall would be. Cool, eh?

View of Victoria Falls from Above

Open iron railings allow light from all sides to pool in, and the stacked columns display colors of the savanna as well as the sunset. I especially love the indirect lighting that peeks up from within the stacked columns.

Bar Area and Painted Columns

Tables for two overlook Boma, and are especially great for [Read more…]

Review: Dinner at Boma in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Boma…Flavors of Africa is a tried-and-true Disney fan destination.

Many guests number it among their must-have advance dining reservations for it’s fun atmosphere, unique menu, and cult favorite dishes.

On a recent visit to Walt Disney World, we had the pleasure of eating at Boma not once — but twice…in the SAME DAY! Yep — we had breakfast and Boma AND dinner at Boma!

While I’ll be sharing the details of our Boma breakfast in a later post, today we’re taking a look at the rockin’ spread available for dinner.

Atmosphere

Located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Boma is just one of three incredible restaurants at this resort — it’s a true food-lovers haven here.

Boma Sign

You’ll find Boma on the ground floor beneath the lobby level, adjacent to both The Mara and Jiko. (Sanaa is located in nearby Kidani Village.) And while The Mara is the resort’s counter service location, Jiko is a signature restaurant, and Sanaa features a table service fusion of flavors, Boma serves as the resort’s buffet offering.

But while many Disney buffets are more about character interaction than cuisine, a trip to Boma is all about the food. A sign in Animal Kingdom’s lobby provides a little background on the meaning of the restaurant’s name — and encourages you to make your ADR for Boma well in advance!

Boma Background Information

The term boma loosely refers to a fence fashioned of sticks, and you’ll see this motif throughout the restaurant’s interior. A wrought-iron version of a boma borders either side of the wide, winding path into the restaurant.

Walkway into Boma

Here, the fence borders a low wall separating the seating area from the [Read more…]

Review: The Mara at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

The Mara is absolutely a “go-to” spot for me at Walt Disney World. It’s a great place to get away from it all and just take a breather in the middle of one of my favorite Disney resorts.

Located at Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jambo House, The Mara counter-service restaurant offers exotic eats inspired by the diverse flavors of the African continent, while also providing more traditional American fare for the less adventurous eaters in your crew.

And don’t even get me started on all of the special Disney food cult favorites that we’ll make a trip here just to snag!

But I just realized that for all of my visits to Mara, I didn’t actually have my own review of the spot up on the blog! Time to remedy that right away.

Atmosphere

Located on the ground floor, The Mara is just a stone’s throw away from Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Uzima Springs Pool. It’s accessible through an outside entrance near the doors to Jambo House’s other restaurants, Boma and Jiko.

Outside Menu and Information Stand

The Mara is named for the Masai Mara National Reserve in North Tanzania, a game conservation area established in 1948.

The reserve serves as home to dozens of native animals and over 470 species of birds, making it an excellent place to observe the big game with which Africa is associated.

The Mara Story

The indoor seating area takes its themeing from the wetlands and grasslands of the Reserve, with colorful murals painted on the back walls, and a canopy of trees overhead. With the predominant background color of blue, the setting is soothing with plenty of natural light flooding in, which gives you the impression of a cool space.

Indoor Seating

There is also ample outdoor seating at tables that are shaded by umbrellas and plenty of foliage and trees.

Outdoor Seating

On your way over to the ordering area, you’ll find last minute pool gear and an assortment of bagged candy available for purchase. This is a great option near the pool since the gift shop, Zawadi Marketplace, is relatively far away if you forget your pool noodle or need some extra sunscreen!

Gifts and Gear

On the day we visited, we found the restaurant to be fairly uncrowded and quiet as we headed to the food area to make our selections. This is often the case with the Mara for me, but perhaps I’m just visiting during “off-hours.”

Eats

You’ll find The Mara open from 7 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. daily, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Mara Menu and Info -- Click to Enlarge

The menu features many [Read more…]

First Look! Mortimer’s Market on Buena Vista Street in Disney California Adventure

Walking into the newly opened Buena Vista Street, one of the first things you see (if the Red Trolley is not parked at its station) is Mortimer’s Market

Designed as a place to pick up some “healthier” snack options, Mortimer’s hits you before you have the chance to grab a churro or popcorn!

Mortimer's Market

Mortimer’s Market Back Story

The “story” behind Mortimer’s is that this fresh fruit and veggie stand was run on Buena Vista Street by “Mortimer McKenzie.” Mortimer was said to be a small man with a high voice; friendly and unassuming, with an enthusiastic personality. 

A certain young animator might have found inspiration for a very famous character here…

Shelving Decor & Beverage/Fruit Cooler

For those who don’t know the story of how Mickey Mouse was created, he was originally called “Mortimer” Mouse! Walt’s wife thought that Mickey might be a better name, and the rest is history…

And before we jump into atmosphere and eats, I wanted to share another fun part of Mortimer’s and the rest of Buena Vista Street! To bring the story of Walt’s first few days in 1920’s California even more to life, Imagineers have introduced a wandering troupe of characters, or “citizens,” to interact with guests…

Citizens of Buena Vista Street

And these “citizens” of Buena Vista Street play a role at Mortimer’s too. While I was perusing the market, this friendly police officer walked through to ask all the cast members how “biz was going” on this “fine afternoon.” It was hysterical.

"Officer Clyde Blue"

Officer Clyde Blue Checking in on Business at Mortimer's

He then proceeded to hang out in front of the market and write some “tickets” to people who were doing good deeds or just looking nice. I literally saw him give a ticket to someone for having a “good hair day!” My friend Amanda’s daughter was written up for “Exemplary neonatal vehicle navigation.” Hysterical.

Behave yourself & You might just get written up for it!

Now, back to your regularly scheduled review!

Atmosphere

Mortimer’s is pretty small, but it is packed with fun decor.

Vintage food cans, “Branded” crates of fruits & veggies, printed aprons, food scales, and even a bin of “vintage” Buena Vista Bugle newspapers adorn the shelves of the quaint market. 

I zoomed in on the Buena Vista Bugles to notice the headline & date. The papers are dated May 4th, 1927, with the headline from the grand opening of the Hollywood Tower Hotel; the inspiration for the Tower of Terror. After doing a little research, I found that the [Read more…]

Guest Review: Tangierine Café in Epcot

Welcome back guest author Melissa Sue Sorrells Galley with a review of the Tangierine Café in Epcot’s Morocco!

Today we’re heading to one of my all-time absolute favorite places in Walt Disney World, Epcot’s Morocco at night, to do one of my all-time absolute favorite things ever: eat.

Morocco at night

Atmosphere

As you enter the Morocco pavilion, you’re immediately transported by the sights, smells, and sounds of a Moroccan marketplace, which sets the scene for the delicious meal you’re about to enjoy.

Nejjarine Fountain

Located on the France-side of the Morocco pavilion, the Tangierine Café is a [Read more…]