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 Advanced 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 other castle restaurant (the first being Cinderella’s Royal Table, of course!). Here are a couple of reasons why:

Newness: The biggest reason for this remains the relative novelty of the place. Be Our Guest and all of New Fantasyland are still a hot ticket in Walt Disney World since the expanded land’s 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 (the original or the live-action version!). You almost expect to look down and find your plate come to life!

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, Be Our Guest was the first place in formerly-dry Magic Kingdom to order beer and wine, and that added to the location’s novelty.

So, what to do if you can’t get a reservation at Be Our Guest?  [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

Salad
Watermelon and Tomato Salad, Sherry Vinaigrette
Kanonkop Kadette, Stellenbosch

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

Dessert
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…]

DFB Readers Choose! Best Disney Restaurants for Quiet Dining

Need a relaxing date night? Have a sleeping baby? Want to simply get away from the crowds and the bustle of the Disney parks for a while?

We asked our friends on the Disney Food Blog Facebook Page for their recommendations on quiet dining in Disney World and Disneyland, and we want to hear YOURS, too!

The locations mentioned the most in Walt Disney World were: Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

In Disneyland, Facebook Friends gave the most shout-outs to Blue Bayou in Disneyland Park and Napa Rose at the Grand Californian Resort.

Best Disney World Restaurants For Quiet Dining

Let’s take a peek at these top Disney Food Blog reader choices for quiet dining in Disney World!

Jiko

For romance, delicious dishes, and a peaceful meal inspired by low lighting and a calming water feature view, head over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jiko.

Jiko View

Facebook Friend Adhiraj G. recommends “Jiko later in the evening! great view, great service and quiet (in a relaxed sort of way)!”

Filet and Mac and Cheese at Jiko (Mac and Cheese can be ordered by request)

A window-side table offers a beautiful view during daylight hours while savoring the gourmet cuisine. Keep an eye on the soothing “sunset wall” at the back of the restaurant, which cycles through the [Read more…]

News! Jiko Wine Dinner August 16, 2012, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

The Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jiko has announced a Wine Dinner for August 16th!

Partnering with Cape Classics, the premier importer of South African wines, 6 courses of delicious creations from our Chefs will be paired with excellent wines for an unforgettable evening.

Time: 6pm
Reservations: Email Victoria.j.thompson@Disney.com to reserve your spot!

Let’s check out the menu!

Reception

Butter-poached South African Lobster Tail Lobster Bisque, Imoya, and Saffron Cream
Buffalo Samosas Potato, Sweet Corn, and [Read more…]

What Are Your Favorite Disney World Hotel Restaurants?

I love hearing from you about your favorite restaurants and experiences in Disney parks and resorts. So as I gear up for another trip to Walt Disney World in the very near future, I’m sharing with you a few of my favorite restaurants at Disney resorts (aka: hotels)…and hoping you’ll share right back!

Beaches and Cream

What are your favorite Disney World Hotel Restaurants, and why? What are the spots that keep you coming back, visit after visit?

I’ll tell you mine, and then I want to hear all about yours…

Beaches and Cream

If you know me, you know that Beaches and Cream Soda Shoppe is truly my go-to place (and it’s my parents’ go-to place…chances are you’ll see AJ’s Dad and AJ’s Mom there if you’re in Disney World at the same time they are)!

Nestled between the Yacht Club and Beach Club resorts, this table service restaurant — which does NOT accept reservations — is just like the soda fountains that you grew up going to (or hearing about)! This is THE place at Disney for burgers and ice cream treats, like my absolute favorite, the No Way Jose.

The ooey gooey peanut butter and hot fudge confection is pretty amazing, don’t you think?

No Way Jose

Flying Fish Cafe

The Flying Fish Cafe at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn consistently wows me every time I dine there. With unique decor, awesome service, and inventive food, this spot currently holds one of the top spots on my list of hotel restaurants…and never disappoints.

Whether you choose seafood or a land lover’s option, you will leave happy! And fun desserts, like this Trio of Concession Sweets (a nice tribute to their spot on the Boardwalk) are just [Read more…]

Disney World Crème Brûlée Gallery

I’ve had numerous requests from folks asking for a round-up of where you can get Crème Brûlée in Disney World, and finally we’ve put this gallery together!

Garde Manger Caramelizes Creme Brulee

For those who haven’t indulged before, classic Crème Brûlée is a dessert created from baked and cooled custard topped with (usually) blowtorched sugar forming a candied crust.

Disney pastry chefs have bent over backwards figuring out how to put their own personal touch on this decadent recipe… Let’s take a look at some of the interesting ones!

Please note that Disney dessert menus change all the time, so some of these may no longer be available on your visit.

Be sure to let us know in the comments below about your favorite Crème Brûlée desserts in Disney restaurants!!

White Chocolate Crème Brûlée

Check out Portobello‘s yummy version! The white chocolate shavings really made this dessert!

White Chocolate Crème Brûlée

Pistachio Crème Brûlée

A classic at Tony’s Town Square in the Magic Kingdom is this beloved Pistachio Crème Brûlée. And I fully agree with it’s cult favorite status — it was delicious!

pistachio creme brulee

Pistachio Creme Brulee

Key Lime and Regular Crème Brûlée Duo

Narcoossee’s serves this dessert as a duo — two for one deal!! The true winner is the Key Lime — it’s the perfect dose of tart and tangy with the [Read more…]

Tip from the DFB Guide: Free Tours at Animal Kingdom Lodge Restaurants

We’ve added lots of fun and new dining info to our updated e-Book — The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013. One of my favorite tips in the book is the recommendation of the free tours at the Animal Kingdom Lodge restaurants! Yep, free!

After you read all about this great Disney Dining Tip, learn more about our DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining grand launch — including a limited-time discount code — here!

Animal Kingdom Lodge Restaurant Tours

The Animal Kingdom Lodge in Walt Disney World is known for quality table-service restaurants that offer some exotic menu items and exquisite, African-themed decor. But there’s a way to explore the restaurants without actually dining there!

Learn The Meaning Behind the Decor At Jiko Restaurant

Jiko, Boma, and Sanaa offer half-hour culinary tours each day! These tours cover some of the decor and meaning behind the architecture of the restaurants, and also explain certain menu items. You may even get to sample some of the restaurant’s dishes.

You can see our review of the Boma and Jiko Tour here.

Seating at Sanaa

When you don’t have time to eat at each restaurant, [Read more…]

What is Your Most-Missed Extinct Disney Food?

We’ve been talking a lot about new restaurants and new menu items these past few weeks, but for many Disney food fans the long-lost favorites really stick in their memories.

I decided that we need to pay tribute to some of these famous dishes and want to find out: What are your most-missed extinct Disney dishes? I’ll start the ball rolling with a few of my own!

Fried Boursin Cheese at 50’s Prime Time Cafe

UPDATE –> This one is back!! Woo!! This is, no doubt, my most missed dish in a Disney restaurant. While it’s meant to be shared, you know I ordered one all for myself when I visited 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Fried Boursin Cheese at 50\’s Prime Time Cafe

This is basically herb cheese spread that’s fried and served with fruit and bread crisps. Pretty standard, eh? But that warm, creamy cheese coupled with the sweet fresh fruit was the perfect starter!

Maui Scalloped Potatoes at ‘Ohana

There have been several appetizer changes at ‘Ohana in the past several years, but the most devastating has to be the switch from scalloped potatoes to noodles. (You can read the whole, sad story here…in fact, please do, because I’m uncharacteristically funny in that blog post and it will change your whole perception of me, I promise.)

RIP Scalloped Potatoes (photo courtesy Brett Young)

Meyer Lemon Curd Dessert at Jiko

You know I love Lemon Curd, so to have an entire dessert based around the stuff at Jiko in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge was quite a find. And when they added [Read more…]

Risotto Around the World

Ah…time to talk about one of my very favorite side dishes EVER!!! Risotto is often overlooked, but the creamy savory goodness that is risotto could easily take center stage in a dish (and does in some of these highlighted below)! Disney chefs have mastered the art of making this slow-cooked yumminess — rice patiently mixed with flavorful broth — and whether it’s mixed with meat, fish, or vegetables, risotto doubles as as a sophisticated recipe and mouth-watering, comfort food.

I was looking through our Disney Food Blog Flickr group and saw so many gorgeous photos of risotto that I simply had to do a post about this dark horse side dish. (Of course, I’ve added a few of my own photos as well…;-D.)

Let’s take a tour around the world…

Butternut Squash Risotto from Artist Point

This butternut squash risotto topped with pork belly is easily in my “top 5″ risottos in Disney World. Offered at Artist Point in the Wilderness Lodge, the hint of sweet from the squash and tartness courtesy of the cranberry drizzle create amazing (and memorable!) flavors. Sigh. I miss it.

butternut squash risotto

Dungeness Crab Risotto with Blood Orange Sauce and Pea Shoots; from Artist Point

This ample portion of risotto is mixed handsomely with crab creating a decadent appetizer. (Looks amazing!!!) Dishes at Artist Point tend to change seasonally, yet Dungeness crab seems to be used in many dishes — like these crab cakes we highlighted earlier this week!
(Photographer: Roger Weeks)

Dungeness Crab Risotto

Mushroom “Risotto” (in reality this is white corn, but I love that they made a “risotto” out of it), served along side Seared Bison with, Turnips, Chestnuts, and Pinot Noir Juniper Emulsion; from California Grill

This striking presentation from the California Grill has a slight [Read more…]