The Year in Review: Top 10 Disney Food News Items of 2014!

We are standing on the cusp of a brand New Year, and we can’t wait to see what 2015 holds in store for us — and Disney!


But we can’t wave goodbye to the old year without looking back on some of the biggest food news that happened throughout Disney Parks.

Most of this year’s big news happened at Walt Disney World, but we have a few memorable moments to share with you from Disneyland as well as other Disney Parks around the globe.

Today, we bring you a look back at 2014’s Biggest Disney Food News Stories! We have a LOT to cover — let’s get started!

First up, a little something I like to call…

The Beginning of Finally Doing Something with Pleasure Island

It’s the story we feel like we’ve been watching for years — what’s happening at Downtown Disney Orlando’s now defunct Pleasure Island??

Well, 2014 finally saw some solid progress, and the Disney Springs story seems to be coming to life.

An Artist's Rendering of Disney Springs

An Artist’s Rendering of Disney Springs

Lots of changes have made a trip to Downtown Disney a challenge in the last couple of years. But as the year draws to a close, the parking garages are open, and we are seeing some of the plans take shape!

2014 kicked off with a surprise restaurant opening of sorts — the House of Blues added a new counter service offering, The Smokehouse. We say surprise because we told you about the restaurant for the first time just days before the walls came down and the doors opened for business!

The Smokehouse at The House of Blues

The Smokehouse at The House of Blues

The Smokehouse is strictly a walk-up window venue. But the covered outdoor seating is pleasant, and you can often take in live music as you enjoy barbecue favorites, like their Beef Brisket Sandwich, St. Louis Ribs, or Smoked Turkey Legs.

Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich with House-made Cole Slaw

Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich with House-made Cole Slaw from The Smokehouse

But it wasn’t all good news for Downtown Disney this year. Guests at T-Rex Cafe last Spring were in for some decidedly unpleasant dinner excitement, as one of the restaurant’s humongous fish tanks sprang a leak during dinner service!

However, no one was injured and all of the fish were reportedly rescued. We’re glad that all turned out happily in the situation, but we’ll never look at those huge fish tanks quite the same way again!

Also in the Spring, we said hello to a spot that’s quickly become one of our most favorite spots to shop in all of Walt Disney World — the Marketplace Co-op!

Disney Centerpiece

Disney Centerpiece

We have found some totally awesome stuff in the store’s Disney Centerpiece Section, including dishes, glasses, and other tableware that celebrate all of our Disney cult favorites. Whether you’re a Dole Whip fan or love memorabilia celebrating Tomorrowland, chances are you’ll find something that you’ve just gotta have!

Orange Bird Section

Orange Bird Section

Starbucks also continued to [Read more…]

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival: Festival Center Tour

Whew! The 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is half over, and it feels like it just began!

There’s been a ton to do and see, but we couldn’t let another day slip by without showing you around one of the must-visit spots — Festival Center.

Festival Center

Festival Center

Located in the old Wonders of Life Pavilion in Future World East, the venue comes alive each year for the Food and Wine Festival. This is your spot to attend low-cost seminars and demonstrations and other special events. You’ll find Festival information, Intermissions Cafe, and some great shopping here as well.

Festival Center Sign

Festival Center Sign

We recently toured the spot to bring you pictures of every corner. There’s a LOT to cover, so let’s get started!

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival — Festival Center

Festival Center is THE place to begin your Food and Wine Festival Adventure. Helpful Cast Members provide you with information regarding all aspects of the Festival — from Marketplaces to Special Events.

Check out this map [Read more…]

What NOT to Eat at the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Can you believe it? We are nearing the halfway point of the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival already!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

So far, we’ve shown you delicious dishes — both brand new options and returning favorites — that are featured at the International Marketplaces located around World Showcase. But I’m thinking that leaves another question:

What are some of the items that we would definitely cross off the list?

Of course, in a perfect world, where there would be unlimited time, money, and stomach space, I know you’d gladly try everything on offer. But here in reality, those dollars (and Disney Dining Plan snack credits) must be spent wisely.

So while we’ve told you several dishes and beverages that we don’t think you should miss at this year’s Festival, today, I thought we’d run down the list of items that we plan to cross off. Because, well, something’s gotta give. :-) I’ll also give you some suggestions for what we’d get in place of these items.

Ghirardelli Sundae at Fife & Drum

In the past, Fife & Drum Tavern in the America Pavilion has had Festival success with extra menu additions like the Frozen Red Stag Lemonade. (That one proved to be so popular, it was added to the menu permanently.)

But while the Ice Cream Sundae with Ghirardelli Chocolate Sauce on the menu this year is good, it’s not “skip another awesome menu item” good.

The sundae is Vanilla Soft Serve with a few pumps of Ghirardelli Chocolate Sauce. There are way more tempting options all over World Showcase.

Ice Cream Sundae

Ice Cream Sundae Made with Ghirardelli Chocolate Sauce

Instead, why not go for a frozen treat with international flair? Skip the soft serve, and go for some Kaki Gori at the permanent Japan stand, Kabuki Cafe.

Guylian Seashell Truffles at the Desserts & Champagne Marketplace

So, here’s where we make a bit of a confession. If there were one booth I’d outright skip at the Festival it would probably be Desserts & Champagne.

It’s not that there’s anything wrong with it. It’s just that I find so many more compelling options circling World Showcase Lagoon. Case in point: one of the menu items here is Guylian Seashell Truffles. This is not a dish. This is something that the Cast Member takes out of the box and hands to me.

Guylian Belgian Chocolate Seashell Truffles

Guylian Belgian Chocolate Seashell Truffles

Sure, they’re only $1.75. But they can be bought at the grocery store…and when we are Food and Wine Festival-ing, we are definitely passing on this in lieu of more exotic fare.

If you’re looking for a truly satisfying chocolate dish, head to the Ireland Marketplace and try the amazing Warm Chocolate Pudding with Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur Custard, which is more than worth the price difference.

Dole Squish’Ems at Refreshment Port

If you want to stop at the Refreshment Port for a Croissant Doughnut, we are totally on board with that.

But one featured Festival food we will not be making time or money for is the Dole Squish’Em. The prepackaged, applesauce-based snack may be a big hit with the preschool crowd.

Dole Fruit Squish Ems

Dole Fruit Squish’Ems

But unless you’re under 3 (or you really, really like flavored applesauce), we wouldn’t worry about checking this box off your passport. If you’re looking for a fruit fix, the [Read more…]

Epcot Food and Wine Festival: Festival Center and Chase VIP Lounge Photo Tour

Greetings from the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! For those of you coming to Walt Disney World over the next month and a half for the festival, here’s a quick tour of the Food and Wine Festival Center!

Festival Center - Outside View

Located in Future World (within the old Wonders of Life Pavilion – go left at MouseGear), this is where you’ll head for many of the culinary demonstrations and seminars.

You’ll also find HGTV events here, as well as some terrific Festival merchandise.

Let’s take a little tour, shall we?

Festival Center Sign

Festival Center Attractions

When you come down the ramps to enter the building, you’ll find helpful Cast Members at the Information Booth ready to answer all of your questions and steer you in the right direction.

This is also where you’ll find your Food and Wine Festival Passports – great for gathering stamps to commemorate your mission to eat and drink your way around the World!


The info booth is also where you’ll go to get wristbands for celebrity chef meet-and-greets and book signings. 2 signings per wristband this year!

The check-in area is where you’ll go when you’re ready to check in for any seminars or demonstrations that you’ve signed up to attend. TIP: Head to the check-in area if you don’t have a reservation for an event, but you’d like to attend. They just might have some openings!

Demo and Seminar Check In

This interactive [Read more…]