Welcome to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, where you can leave the world of today and visit the worlds of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy! And where there’s always something new to check out. That’s where we come in.
When I first heard about the tea offering, I knew I wanted to try it out. Steakhouse 55 has always been one of my favorite Disneyland Resort restaurants. I especially love the atmosphere here, so I was really excited to have a new Steakhouse 55 experience. Breakfast at Steakhouse 55 is what I believe to be one of the very best breakfasts on property. Dinner is wonderful too, so I was sure afternoon tea would be a delight as well!
I tried to book immediately, but it was full almost a month out! So, I booked my month out and waited patiently. Checking in for tea is the same process as a meal. Just head on up to the podium and you will be escorted back to the dining room.
When the time came, I was joined by my best pal. We took the first reservation of the day, which was at noon, and when we got there it was basically empty. By the time we left, there was not one open table! [Read more…]
The retail shop and tea counter is the brainchild of Joffrey’s, a name that you’re most likely familiar with if you enjoy coffee and tea while out and about at Walt Disney World. Joffrey’s is the official coffee of Disney World and Disneyland, and operates many kiosks and stands throughout Disney parks and resorts.
Let’s take a look around!
Tea Traders Cafe is located in The Landing area of Disney Springs. If you’re trying to get your bearings, it’s the ground that was once known as Pleasure Island.
You’ll find the expansive shop right beside [Read more…]
Nestled in Epcot’s Italy pavilion at Walt Disney World, Tutto Italia Ristorante is open for lunch and dinner. Welcome back DFB guest author Rebecca Dolan with a review!
Epcot’s Italy had long been one of our family’s favorite places to dine since we started visiting in the ‘80s. We were huge fans of the pavilion’s original restaurant L’Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante, and were admittedly a little crushed when we heard it was going to be closed and replaced with Tutto Italia. (Yes, this happened like seven years ago, but the wound is still fresh.)
Tutto Italia Ristorante
We’ve been back to Tutto a few times since with mixed experiences, so we ventured back a few months ago to give it another go.
You’ll find Tutto Italia off the Italy pavilion’s central piazza. Enter under the large black awning (that says Tutto Italia, of course). The understated lobby area is small, so be prepared to stand while waiting for a table if it’s crowded. The lobby also connects to the Tutto Gusto wine bar, which makes for a nice place to enjoy an early glass of wine if your wait is long.
Off the front of the building is a patio with some seating (how very Mediterranean of them) which is great for a balmy Florida evening, though probably less so for a scorching July afternoon. In fact, Tutto Italia is one of the few full-service restaurants along the world showcase to offer outside seating.
Inside, the dining room looks much like it did in this building’s previous incarnation as Alfredo’s. Murals still decorate the walls and giant crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling, otherwise it’s lots of dark wood and booths that make the room seem small and crowded.
The menu features a number of familiar Italian classics like fried calamari, antipasto, lasagne, ravioli, and risotto. For those not into carb-loading at lunch, there are a few meat and fish entrees as well.
Each meal starts out with a plate of pillowy focaccia bread plus olive oil for dipping and whole green olives for munching. I’m a big fan of the olive oil here, which always seems to be more fruity and flavorful than what I can get in the store.
I also took this opportunity to order the “tropical blend” iced tea. I’m not sure how Italian that really is, but I’m a sucker for flavored iced teas and this fruity brew did not disappoint. A glass of sangria, however, had a little too much of some alcohol in the mix, which kept its fruitiness from coming out. We kept trying to ask exactly what was in it to no avail.
Being an Italian family, we can never visit Tutto Italia (or any Italian restaurant for that matter) without ordering the antipasto platter. The version here came piled with cured meats, cheeses, farro salad, artichoke hearts, eggplant caponata, marinated mushrooms, and sweet peppers. It was easily enough to feed four, and could be shared by more depending on your appetites.
We also ordered the Fior de Latte mozzarella, which was accompanied by roasted sweet peppers. It was indeed creamy and delicious, but both, as it turned out, were components of the antipasto platter. So, it was unnecessary repetition.
After finishing our appetizers we put in our entree orders. Curiously, the orders came out less than 10 minutes after we ordered. Sure pasta isn’t exactly time intensive, but the quick turn around made us wonder how much of the meal was pre-prepared. That might have accounted for the fact that much of it was cold. So, you may want to take a bite before your server walks away.
I went for the spaghetti, which came topped with beef and veal meatballs and pomodoro sauce. I rarely order spaghetti and meatballs out since they almost always fail to live up to expectations. And, while this was definitely not my grandmother’s spaghetti, it was better than most restaurant versions I’ve encountered. The sauce was thick and low on chunks (there are few things I hate more than chunky sauce) and the pasta was just firm enough. The meatballs were ok, if a little dense.
The penne caprese, topped with tomato sauce and cubes of mozzarella, is similar to the spaghetti. The big difference (aside from the pasta shape, of course) is the sauce that’s lighter tasting and flecked with bits of cherry tomato and basil. Nothing mind blowing, but nothing to complain about.
The lasagna was pretty standard, with layers of pasta, chunky meat ragu, and creamy bechamel sauce. Carnivores will appreciate the generous amount of meat tucked between those pasta sheets, but as a cheese lover, I was disappointed that the ricotta and mozzarella cheese I’m used to weren’t there. The flavor was fine, even without the cheese, but between the too-soft pasta and too-much bechamel, the texture was mushy.
The Polenta Valsugana was a big [Read more…]
The Grand Floridian Resort is home to several fine dining experiences. Today, guest author Rebecca Dolan reviews the resort’s Citricos restaurant.
I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on Citricos all these years.
My family and I tend to shy away from Disney’s fine dining experiences. Truth be told, we’re often just too tired (read: lazy) to put on “real” clothes after a day at the parks. But, this meal is even worth putting on your nice khakis for.
Citricos is set on the second floor of Walt Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort at the back of the main building, where it shares a check-in foyer with Victoria & Albert’s.
A set of iron gates is an artistic touch to delineate the waiting area from the bar and dining room.
Past them is the first dining area and bar. This is bordered by large windows overlooking the rest of the hotel and the Seven Seas Lagoon to the right, with a large wine room, bar, and display kitchen to the left. A bit further back is a glass-and-wood enclosed “chef’s domain” — a private dining rom.
The rear part of the dining room is perhaps what Citricos is known for architecturally. The round room is enclosed by what are essentially floor-to-ceiling windows, offering an amazing view of the property, the lagoon, and even part of the Magic Kingdom.
Though it’s a bit obstructed, you can even catch a glimpse of the [Read more…]
What food items do you wish you could find at Disney Parks, but just aren’t there?
In other words,
What CAN’T you get to eat or drink in Disney parks?
Some folks wanted old-school items to return, like the cheese omelet from Electric Umbrella and those yummy character-shaped filled chocolate truffles (remember those? I liked the peanut butter ones.). But the rest of the answers were clamoring for things folks have been missing (or haven’t yet found) in Disney parks, like:
- Good Maryland-style crab
- Spanish food
- Sweet Tea
- Philly Cheesesteak
- A good gyro
- A make-your-own salad bar
- Good Italian food
- “Decent ribs”
- Mr. Pibb (only available at McDonald’s on property)
- Toblerone bars
- And…everyone’s most emphatic answer…GOOD PIZZA!
Personally, I’ve got my sights set on some good Buffalo Chicken Wings, though I’ve been told I can find those at the ESPN Club on WDW’s Boardwalk.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear:
1. What favorite items do YOU wish you could find in the parks?
2. If you’ve got an idea where folks can find any of the items listed above, please chime in! I figure, between all of us, we’ve been to every restaurant and food stop in the Disney parks. If those items are available, someone who reads this blog will know about it!