Disney Recipe: Macaroni and Cheese from Jiko at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

I have a super special treat for you today!

I know I’m not the only person in love with the Macaroni and Cheese at Jiko, right? This signature restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge — and this dish in particular! — regularly tops my list when I’m visiting Disney World.

And when you run into me having dinner here, chances are better than great that I’ll be enjoying their Oak-Grilled Filet with a side of their amazing Mac and Cheese.

While the filet is a mainstay on their menu, the side dishes that it’s paired with tend to change up regularly. But Jiko created a legend with the filet and cheesy goodness combo; it had legions of fans! So normally, even if the mac and cheese isn’t on the menu, you can request it.

Oak Grilled Filet with Mac and Cheese

Oak Grilled Filet with Mac and Cheese

And now you can make it at home too!

Jiko’s Macaroni and Cheese

Jiko — The Cooking Place, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients: [Read more…]

The Best (and the Worst!) Pizza in Disney World

Ahhhh…Pizza. Most of us love the stuff, whether it’s high end, low end, or homemade.


But one thing’s for sure — you and I both know that not all pizza is created equal — and this is definitely true when it comes to Disney.

Today, we’re awarding some Pizza Pie Superlatives. From Best to Worst and Everything In Between, let’s take a look at a few.

And when we’re finished with the awards, I’ve love to hear if you agree! Leave us a comment with your best and worst!

Best All-Around Pizza in Disney World

If you’ve been reading Disney Food Blog for any amount of time, the winner in this category will come as no shock to you. The hands-down best pizza in all of Disney World are the pies you find at Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion.

With authentic ingredients right down to the flour, tomatoes, and water they use, these are some serious pies that come closest to the real deal from Naples, Italy. They also taste the most like my favorite New York Style pizza (Lombardi’s!!!!) — the gold standard, as far as I’m concerned!

Quattro Fromaggi Pizza from Via Napoli

Quattro Fromaggi Pizza from Via Napoli

You can’t go wrong with any of the pizzas you order here, whether you’re getting a personal size, or you’re sharing with the table.

Build Your Own Pizza with Prosciutto

Build Your Own Pizza with Prosciutto (and/or Other Ingredients…Whatever)

We give high marks to the Quattro Formaggi White Pizza, as well as the Build Your Own with Prosciutto. But really, there are no wrong choices here!

Worst Disney World Pizza

When it comes to pizza that you can safely — no, you definitely should — skip, we’ll chalk this up to… [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: February 23, 2014

It’s finally time!!!

The new mug!

The new mug!

The Disney World refillable mugs have changed design after years of the old version! You can read all about it — and see more pics! — here.

Also, Spring is in the air! For starters, we dug up the menus for this year’s Epcot Flower and Garden Festival. We can’t wait to taste our way around Epcot’s Outdoor Kitchens.

On the festival front, we also learned that Disney is expanding the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival to include an extra week!

There’s even more fun food news from Disney; click on the links below!

Disney Food News

Of course, there’s more! Check out all the latest Disney Food News — even the stuff we don’t mention in posts on the blog! — on our Disney Food News Pin Board, including restaurant closures, and more!

DFB Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other edible awesomeness — in or from Disney, share a photo with us on facebook or twitter so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

How about some great cupcakes?!! Facebook friend Kristie sent us some Valentine love — a Red Velvet Cupcake from Pizza Planet. Take a look!

Red Velvet Cupcake

Red Velvet Cupcake

These homemade Frozen-themed cupcakes are fantastic! Jerry shared this picture of his daughter’s amazing creations, including Olaf the Snowman!!

Frozen Themed Cupcakes

Frozen Themed Cupcakes

As always, we can’t get enough of your Disney food finds. We can’t wait to see what our readers share with us next!

The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2014 e-Book Grand Launch

The fully updated DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2014 e-Book is an instantly downloadable PDF guide, featuring over 450 full-color pages of photographs, information, and advice about our favorite subjects — food and dining in Walt Disney World.


It’s guaranteed to help you navigate your way to delicious dining on your next trip! And if you’re ready to get yours now, head on over to DFBGuide.com to pick it up!!

For our Grand Launch Sale, use code: 2014 to get a $4 discount for a limited time! And at the end of this post, we have details on even more savings!

Here Are Just Some Of What You Get With Our 2014 Guide:

  • Over 450 Pages of Disney Dining and Planning information, tips, reviews, and recommendations!
  • An in-depth Disney Dining Restaurant Reviews section, covering all Disney restaurants, food kiosks, bars, and lounges
  • An updated Disney Dining Plan section and price analysis for 2014
  • NEW Disney food and restaurant photos
  • An updated Disney Snacks chapter, including our list of dozens of must-try snacks AND our Top 11 Must-Have Snacks for 2014.
  • An updated section on birthday parties and specialty cakes in Disney World
  • A comprehensive, 10-page chapter of What’s New in Disney World in 2014, including new restaurants, menu updates, and more
  • Details about how the My Magic+ Planning System and FastPass+ will affect your vacation planning
  • Our picks for the 11 Great Snacks you must try this year
  • Scavenger Hunts, Trivia, and Top 5 List updates
  • Bingo Cards
  • Updates on all pertinent facts such as dining hours, prices, resources, phone numbers, and restaurant closures/openings
  • All new restaurant additions, closures, refurbishments, and added dining experiences
  • And much more!

But, of course we’re offering a discount for our Grand Launch week!! Again, to celebrate the launch and to thank you for your support of the blog, we’ll be offering the Guide for $4 off its standard rate for a limited time! Order your copy now at DFBGuide.com and use code: [Read more…]

Disney World March Dining Events: The Wave Discovery Dinner and Jiko’s Wine Dinner

Disney fans, check out The Wave Discovery Dinner (for Tables in Wonderland members only) and a Wine Dinner at Jiko — both events will be held in March at the Walt Disney World resort!

The Wave Discovery Dinner

Tables in Wonderland has announced a January Discovery Dinner at The Wave…of American Flavors at the Contemporary Resort for January.

Discovery Dinner Details - click image for larger version

Discovery Dinner Details – click image for larger version

The Wave Discovery Dinner Details

Here are a few details for ya…

Location: The Wave…of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Date: Thursday, March 20, 2014 6:30PM Reception; 7PM Dinner
Cost: $110 per person includes tax and gratuity
Dress Code: Casual Evening Attire

To celebrate Central Florida’s strawberry season, this event will feature family-owned Lott Farms. Tim Mahr (Vice President of Sales for the Southern Division of Martin Ray Winery) will be the wine speaker.


Welcome Reception
Strawberry Tequila Shooter with Lime Caviar
Strawberry Sweet Tea Braised Short Rib Slider
Kumamato Oysters in Strawberry Gelee with Micro Wasabi

First Course
U-12 Scallop Crudo with Strawberries Five Ways and McGregor Farms Opal Basil

Second Course [Read more…]

Review: Jiko at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

You guys…Jiko still rocks.

Animal Kingdom Lodge’s signature dining spot has it all — unique, interesting food that’s constantly changing to reflect seasons and trends. Ambiance that changes with the evening light. Impeccable service.

We have returned to Jiko again and again since my husband and I celebrated our first Valentine’s Day together. On a recent visit, we met friends at Jiko for a special dinner in hopes that our streak of great experiences would continue.


Jiko is located on the ground floor of Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Head downstairs from the lobby, past Victoria Falls Lounge. You’ll find Jiko adjacent to Animal Kingdom Lodge’s other table service spot, Boma.

Menus -- Click to Enlarge

A bank of windows overlooks a beautiful water feature just outside of the restaurant. The rocks and running water provide a soothing backdrop to your dining experience. And if you happen to be seated near the window, be sure to try and spot the hidden Mickey in the rock formations!

Outside View

Back inside, you’ll pass a bar area and the outside wall of the Cape Town Wine Room en route to the main dining room. This is a great time to discuss the truly amazing wine offering at Jiko. The restaurant offers only African wines and is home to the largest collection of South African wines outside of the African continent.

Bar Area and Wine

Pause as you enter the restaurant and take in the view before you. The interior created by well-known restaurant designer Jeffrey Beers evokes themes from The Lion King. The colors, although understated, are rich and mimic nature.

A View of the Restaurant from the Front

Dozens of bird sculptures are suspended in realistic fashion from the ceiling and provide a wonderful sense of movement. I have yet to walk into Jiko with someone seeing the birds for the first time and not see his or her face light up. They’re a beautiful touch.

Ceiling and Bird Detail

A “jiko”, or cooking place, is [Read more…]

What Disney Restaurant Do You Want In Your Kitchen?

Who’s up for a little kitchen reno? My brain’s clearly going a little haywire today, and I was thinking: if I could choose one Disney restaurant to remodel my kitchen after, which spot would it be?

So my fun question to you today is: Which Disney restaurant would inspire your dream kitchen makeover? I’m always happy to kick off the discussion, so I’ll share a few of mine, too!

50s Prime Time Cafe: Mom’s Kitchen!

Nostalgia abounds in what would be my “modern kitchen with a nod to the past!”

One of the 50s Prime Time Cafe Dining Rooms

While I might not go full-on formica, I’d definitely have some fun, retro elements in there like a 50s style fridge (with all the bells and whistles of today!).

Add in a couple of awesome garage sale finds as decor, and some killer wallpaper, and you’re all set!

Cinderella’s Royal Table: Medieval Castle with a View, Please

Looking to get your prince or princess on? For sheer grandeur, Disney-style, how about a kitchen based upon our favorite fortress, Cinderella Castle?

The dining room at Cinderella’s Royal Table offers plenty of inspiration: suits of armor, intricate tapestries, and family crests adorn the space.

Dining Room Windows at Cinderella's Royal Table

Fancy a kitchen with a gothic arch or two? How about mullioned windows? Check out this awesomeness!

Gothic-y Castle Kitchen!

Book a table during your next visit to get lots of ideas.

‘Ohana: Unlimited Meat, Bread Pudding, and a Killer Fire Pit

Why not build a Polynesian hideaway in your house? ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort is a perfect inspiration, and this kitchen would involve tradewinds, lava rock, and a fire pit! [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: June 9, 2013

Disney parks are heating up for summer and we’re all about preparation here at DFB!!

A classic Mickey Premium Bar is sure to cool you down...

If you’re headed to Orlando or Anaheim in the next few months, be sure to have these awesome Disney ice cold snacks on your list of must-eats!

They’ll keep you calm, cool, and collected for another round on Toy Story Midway Mania for sure.

Disney Food News

Take a bite out of this week’s food news from Disney!

  • There’s a new self-service iced coffee option at Captain Cook’s Snack Company in Disney’s Polynesian Resort.
  • Check out the review of the new Chicken Provencal dish at Be Our Guest Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom!

Of course, there’s more! Check out all the latest Disney Food News — even the stuff we don’t mention in posts on the blog! — on our Disney Food News Pin Board, including N’Awlins Brunch Fest at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, World of Color Picnic Meals Discontinued at Disneyland, Raglan Road receives award, New Sandwich at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe, and Jiko announced South African winemakers dinner.

DFB Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other edible awesomeness — in or from Disney, share a photo with us on facebook or twitter so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

We love it when readers spot new menu items or new-to-us food! Reader Tomara sent us news of a Chicken Deluxe Sandwich at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe in the Magic Kingdom. This sandwich replaces the Chicken Wrap.

Deluxe Chicken Sandwich!

Facebook friend Cindy shared a bit of Hawai’i with us. “I recently returned from a great trip to Disney Aulani. I love your cupcake reports and wanted to let you know they are not to be missed in Hawaii. Here is a photo of the Pineapple Macadamia Nut cupcake. Enjoy!”

Pineapple Macadamia Nut Cupcake!

Have you spotted an interesting Disney food related item? Don’t forget to share it with us!

Coming Soon! The DFB Guide to Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios Snacks!

With over 250 pages of delicious snacks, the DFB Guide to Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios Snacks will be the third — and long-awaited — book in our DFB Guide Snacks Series! It will be released VERY soon…but I wanted to share a little sneak peek for you!

As always, you can look forward to an instantly downloadable PDF guide with comprehensive information and advice on well over 200 delicious snacks that you can savor at the Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios parks in the Walt Disney World resort. (And that’s just so far…we’re not finished with the guide yet, so there may MANY more than 200 featured by the time we’re done!)

Watch for our grand launch of the DFB Mini-Guide to Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios Snacks — Coming Soon! 

And, in the meantime, head on over to the DFBStore.com to get some great deals on our best-selling Disney Dining Guidebooks, like the DFB Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks and the DFB Guide to Epcot Snacks!

Check out how you can have the best Disney vacation ever…and pay even less!

On to the Round-Up!

Mickey Fix is running an awesome contest for just a few more days! Enter for free to win a $50 Disney Gift Card!

Staten the Facts dines at Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Orlando Sentinel shares how Disney Chefs have helped to create healthy school lunches at Orange County schools.

NASDAQ reports that Montalvo Tequila has secured placement in Epcot’s Mexico pavilion.

Merryweather’s Cottage shares instructions for a Do-It-Yourself Disney travel mug made from a park map! Love this!

Disney Parks Blog shares 50’s Prime Time Cafe wallpaper for download.

Main Street Gazette stops by the BoardWalk Bakery for a cheesecake brownie.

AKL Resort highlights the new lunch options at Sanaa.

The Most Popular Disney World Restaurants (and Alternatives When They’re Full)

Many Disney guests agree that the most important Disney Dining Tips lists include one specific piece of advice:

Making Advance Dining Reservations is an absolute must when it comes to planning.

While many seasoned Disney travelers are aware of this, there are lots of folks who visit the parks and are stunned to find no tables available at their top restaurant choices. Don’t worry, it happens to all of us at one time or another…and we’ve got solutions for you!

Today, we’ve updated our list of the most popular Disney restaurants, and terrific alternatives if you can’t score a table at your coveted spot!

Let’s take a look at the most elusive restaurants to book these days…

Dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Scoring an advance dining reservation at Be Our Guest Restaurant for their table service dinner can be a daunting task.

Be Our Guest Restaurant Ballroom Dining Room

From the time that they first announced the restaurant’s soft opening until now, we have heard from many readers who haven’t been able to secure a spot at Magic Kingdom’s newest restaurant. Here are a couple of reasons why:

Newness: The biggest reason for this remains the novelty of the place. Be Our Guest and all of New Fantasyland is still the hottest ticket in Walt Disney World since its grand opening in December 2012.

Incredible, Immersive Themeing: The impeccable themeing means that stepping into Beast’s Castle is truly like climbing through a portal into Beauty and the Beast. You almost expect to look down and find your food animated!

The Grey Stuff — It’s Delicious!

Novelty: The French-inspired cuisine that’s served at Be Our Guest is unlike anything else available in all of Magic Kingdom. In addition, there is huge novelty surrounding the fact that you can now order beer and wine in the formerly dry Magic Kingdom (for dinner only).

So, what to do if you can’t [Read more…]

News! Jiko Wine Dinners in May at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

If you’re a fan of Jiko – The Cooking Place AND wine, plan to attend a wine dinner this May! These exclusive dinners come around rarely, since Jiko actually arranges for winemakers to come directly from South Africa to present to guests.

On May 4th, Jiko will present a South African Winemakers Tour. And The Wines of Warwick Estates will be presented on May 16, 2013.

South African Winemakers Tour

Who: Abrie Beeslar, Kanonkop; Peter De Wet, Excelsior; Gavin Slabbert, Raats Family Wines
When: Saturday, May 4th; 6:00pm
Reception Location: Arusha Terrace

Reception Menu:
Spinach and Mushroom Dumpling, Paneer Cheese, and Harissa Sauce
Fire Roasted Corn Cake with Applewood Smoked Bacon
Braised Beef Short Rib, Cracked Pappadom, and Peppadew-Cucumber Raita
Excelsior Chardonnay, Robertson

South African Wine at Jiko

First Course
Grilled Moroccan Spiced Quail, Chickpea Puree, and Wilted Greens
Side By Side Chenin Blanc Tasting
Raats Original Chenin Blanc, Coastal Region
Raats Chenin Blanc, Coastal Region

Second Course
Tunisian Olive Oil Poached Butterfish, Chorizo Bobotie, and Crispy Okra
Side By Side Chenin Blanc Tasting
Raats Original Chenin Blanc, Coastal Region
Raats Chenin Blanc, Coastal Region

Watermelon and Tomato Salad, Sherry Vinaigrette
Kanonkop Kadette, Stellenbosch

Ostrich, Herb Pasta, and Spring Vegetable Medley
Kanonkop Pinotage, Stellenbosch

Chocolate Chile Molten Cake and Drunken Cherries
Excelsior Cabernet Sauvignon, Robertson

Wines of Warwick Estates

When: Thursday, May 16, 2013; 6:00pm
Reception Location: Sunset Lounge

Reception Menu:
Braised Curried Tomatoes, Toasted Millet Bunny Chow, and Gooseberry Marmalade
Rooibos Honey Smoked Quail, Compressed Orange, and Sweet Potato
Cinnamon-Dashi Oysters and Chili Pearls [Read more…]

Walt Disney World Annual Passholder Dining Discount Program Adds New Restaurants

Disney World Annual Passholders visiting the Walt Disney World Resort can now enjoy a Disney dining discount at additional restaurants!

Jiko Dining Room

Additional restaurants now offering a 10% discount include:

The discount can not be applied on the following 2013 dates:
January 1; February 14; March 31; May 12; July 4; November 28; December 24; December 25; and December 31.

For more information about Annual Passholder Disney World Dining Discounts, see our Disney Dining Discounts Page!

Where do you use your Annual Passholder dining discount? Let us know [Read more…]