Disney Food Post Weekly Round-Up: August 8, 2010

Via Napoli Dining Room

It’s been another news-filled week for the Disney food world! Here’s the latest:

Also, a quick reminder for those of you coming back from Disney trips: we’d love to see your pics over on the Disney Food Blog flickr page! And now, on with the round-up!

Future Probe reviews Epcot’s Coral Reef Restaurant.

Disney Parks Blog reports on a new brunch and Bloody Mary bar at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Disneyland’s Downtown Disney.

Designing Disney takes us back to the Cafe des Visionnaires of yesteryear in Disneyland Paris.

Disney Daddy shares the details from his Lunch with an Imagineer at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. These days you can experience Lunch with an Imagineer at Flying Fish Cafe!

All Ears‘ Deb Martin Koma interviews Marianne Hunnel about this year’s Food and Wine Festival.

Main St. Gazette takes an in-depth look at a fun vegetable garden in Epcot from the 2010 Flower and Garden Festival, which happens to include eats like Ursula’s Onions, Peter Pan’s Peas, Mickey’s Beanstalk Beans, Kanga’s Purple Kale, and Stitch’s Strawberries!

Makin’ Memories Photo Blog showcases dessert pics from the recent Tables in Wonderland Great Movie Ride dinner.

A Taste of Disney shows us how to make Jiko’s filet mignon with mac and cheese and red wine sauce.

Chip and Co looks at Disney World restaurants from a senior citizen’s perspective.

Of course there are lots of reports from Via Napoli‘s early days! Check out Mousesteps, Jeff Lange, WDW Radio, Jack Spence’s Report, Zannaland, Disney Every Day, The Daily Disney, Laughing Place, Theme Park Insider, WDW News Today x2, Orlando Attractions, WDWMagic, and Inside the Magic for even more pics and reviews.

“The Best Thing I Ever Ate in Disney!” Entrees

Here’s the next post in our series based on the Food Network’s (very cool) show, The Best Thing I Ever Ate. As many of you know, due to some keen suggestions from readers we’re splitting our series up into different sections: breakfast, appetizers & side dishes, snacks & drinks, entrees (lunch & dinner), and desserts.

Today, we’re taking a look at entrees! I’ve done my favorite brand of informal polling (i.e. posted questions on twitter and facebook ;) ) to find out others’ experiences of the “Best Thing They Ever Ate” in Disney parks and resorts.

The following are the answers received from our readers about their favorite main courses and entrees! If your favorites aren’t here, please add them in the comments section below!

Steaks

It’s no secret that Disney World does steak well. You’ve seen my votes for Five Best Steaks in Disney World, and a lot of these made the list in our poll as well! Here are the top contenders according to our facebook and twitter readers:

Mushroom Filet Mignon with White Truffle Butter Sauce and Micro Chevril.

Le Cellier:

  • BBQ Filet Mignon: This steak, recently pulled from the menu, was the restaurant’s signature filet served with cream cheese mashed potatoes and doused in barbecue sauce.
  • Filet Mignon with Mushroom Risotto: The current incarnation of the filet is this version. Situated on a bed of delicious mushroom risotto and covered in a white truffle-herb [Read more…]

The Five Best Steaks in Disney World

I started out this evening writing a post about the best underrated steaks in Disney World, but then realized that I hadn’t even done the five best steaks in Disney World, yet! So here you go! (Also, please note that this post isn’t about the best steakhouses in Disney World — that’s another post altogether…which Jeff promised me he’d help write…right, Jeff?)

The Five Best Steaks in Walt Disney World

Yachtsman Steakhouse Cowboy Steak

Yachtsman Steakhouse is a tidy little nondescript restaurant churning out some really incredible food. All light woods, white tablecloths, and windows, you really don’t know what to expect when you walk in; but do me a favor and order yourself a steak.

The Cowboy Steak is just about my favorite cut of meat. It’s a ribeye that still has its bones, and it has incredible flavor all on its own. However, I always order it with some melted garlic butter on top, which makes it even better.

Sadly, the Cowboy Steak isn’t on the menu at “press time,” but they change the steaks up quite regularly at Yachtsman Steakhouse, so think happy thoughts and maybe it’ll be there when you are.

Cowboy Steak with Potato Gratin

Le Cellier Filet

Ah, yes. How would I dare do a “best steaks” post without include this darling of the Disney set? Luckily, I’m right there on the bandwagon with everyone else who loves the Le Cellier Filet with Wild Mushroom Risotto and White Truffle-Herb Butter Sauce.

The filet is always tender, and coupled with that superstar mushroom risotto it just can’t go wrong.

Le Cellier Filet — Dinner Portion

Jiko Filet

Found in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Jiko is a bit of a dark horse in the favorite steak category. But anyone who’s tasted it knows that their Oak-grilled Filet Mignon with Macaroni and Cheese and Red Wine Sauce is a force to be reckoned with.

The macaroni and cheese adds a sharp taste while the red wine sauce adds a tangy accompaniment to the smooth Filet. It really is an orchestration of flavors that anyone can enjoy. I mean, just look at that picture! Don’t you want to dive in?!?

Filet and Mac and Cheese at Jiko

Shula’s Steak House Cowboy Steak

What can I say — another cowboy (did you know I currently live in Texas?). Shula’s Steak House is a fascinating place for so many reasons — Don Shula himself, the 48-ounce eat-it-all-and-you-get-your-name-on-a-plaque steak, the menu on a football, and so much more. But today we’re just talking about steak, and the steak is luxurious. Shula raises his own cattle, and there is a bit of a “Dolphin Difference” at this place. The meat isn’t dressed in any special way, but the taste is out of this world.

Cowboy Ribeye

Flying Fish New York Strip Steak

While there are several restaurants that I could slide into this final spot, Flying Fish Cafe wins the slot because it’s innovative and eager-to-please. It’s an incredible steak at a seafood place — pretty hard to come by, yet I’m always hearing recommendations about it! When I finally tried their signature Char-crusted Certified Black Angus New York Strip Steak with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Root Vegetables, and Pole Beans with Classic Sauce Foyot, I understood what all the shouting was about.

It has a different taste to it than any other steak I’ve eaten in Disney restaurants. The char-crusting gives it a depth that might be a bit too much for some folks, but for a steak-lover like me makes it just unique enough to edge out other favorites.

Flying Fish New York Strip Steak

By the way, I didn’t know what Pole Beans were, either. Apparently they’re just beans that are grown on poles or trellises. See, I learn so much by writing this blog.

Let the Discussion Begin

I know that there are a lot of you meat-heads (ha ha) out there who have different ideas about the best steaks in Disney World, so let’s hear ‘em! Like I said, I’m putting together a post about the most underrated steaks in Disney World, and I can always use suggestions!

Let me know your favorites in the comments section below :-)

“The Best Thing I Ever Ate in Disney!”: Appetizers & Sides

We’ve just started a fun new series based on the Food Network’s (very cool) show, The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Due to some keen suggestions from readers, we’re splitting our series up into different sections: breakfast, appetizers & side dishes, snacks, entrees (lunch & dinner), and desserts & drinks.

Today, we’re taking a look at Appetizers and Side Dishes! I’ve done my favorite brand of informal polling (i.e. posted questions on twitter and facebook ;) ) to find out others’ experiences of the “Best Thing They Ever Ate” as far as appetizers and side dishes at Disney.

Soups

Soups were by far the #1 mentioned appetizer/side when I reached out to facebook and twitter folks for their favorites.

Portobello Soup at Artist Point

  • Most beloved are the soups found at Boma in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. These vary every day, but the varieties specifically mentioned by readers as the Best Thing They Ever Ate! were: Mushroom Soup, Mulligatawny Soup, and Butternut Squash Soup. (Personally, the chicken corn chowder is my favorite!).
  • Of course, you can’t post a series like this without a few votes for Le Cellier Steakhouse‘s famous Cheddar Cheese Soup! This comes heartily recommended by Disney Food Blog readers — and yours truly, of course!
  • The Grand Floridian also racked up a couple of votes from our readers! The cashew cream soup from Victoria and Albert’s comes was noted, as was the cheesy tomato soup at the Grand Floridian Cafe (yum — doesn’t that sound good?!?).
  • Finally, that delicious Mushroom-Soup-That-Doesn’t-Taste-Like-Mushrooms was voted [Read more…]

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

Chef Donald

You guys remember when we covered the Top Ten Disney Dining Tips, right? Overwhelmingly, the tip that was mentioned the most by Disney Food Blog readers was making Advanced Dining Reservations for high priority meals at Disney parks and resorts.

While this might be obvious to many, not everyone knows which Disney restaurants fill up the fastest when it comes to reservations. Having a little frame of reference on this might be extremely helpful as you’re planning your Disney dining and trying to determine what meals are high priority for you. So, I’ve prepared a little primer on which Disney restaurants are the toughest to book, along with great alternatives if you don’t happen to get your favorites!:

1. Le Cellier

Le Cellier Steakhouse has been, for years, one of the toughest tickets in Disney World for both lunch and dinner. Seriously, I have heard Le Cellier cast members mention more than once that they’re continuously booked up for lunch and dinner 6 months in advance, with walk-up reservations rarely an option. In my opinion, this is due to three things: [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: May 16th, 2010

Disney's California Food & Wine Festival Discoveries

Welcome to the round-up this week! Some pretty cool news popped up this week — Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports is selling tickets to the Wine & Dine Half Marathon’s After-Party! Let me know if you’ll be there!

And we’re still adding posts to our coverage of Disney’s California Food and Wine Festival — check it out!

Finally, be sure to check out our Guide to WDW Table Service Restaurants! It includes detailed information about every table-service restaurant as well as an index of Disney Food Blog mentions of each restaurant! Very useful if you’re planning where to dine in Disney World. Now — on to the round-up!

Progress City USA has a pretty “juicy picture” from 80’s Disneyland…

Cakewrecks has a series of “Mickey wrecks.”

Touring Plans heads to Jiko in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

etckt has more great photography in his review of Italy’s Tutto Italia.

The Disney Blog has news of progressive kids’ cooking classes in Downtown Disney on June 12th.

Main Street Gazette showcases one of our favorite menus in Disney World.

Meet the World has an awesome series on Club 33 in Disneyland: Part I: Before Arriving, Part II: Arriving and Exploring, Part III: the Food.

Theme Park Insider visits Disneyland’s Troubadour Tavern.

Only WDWorld shares a tour of Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge — this is a tour anyone can take, so feel free to visit yourself!

Chip and Co shares some favorite counter service meals in WDW.

Disney Food Post Round-Up: April 11th, 2010

Chocolate Fondant With Praline from Remy - (c) Disney Cruise Line

Bonjour, my foodie friends! This weekwe heard about the Disney Dream’s exclusive adults-only restaurant — Remy! If you’re booked for a Disney Dream cruise, I’d love to hear if Remy will make the cut for your dining arrangements. (Check out the full press release and photos at StitchKingdom)

And don’t forget — Disneyland’s Food and Wine Festival starts THIS COMING WEEKEND! (Check out DisneyGeek’s cool pic of the Festival Showplace banners!) You know I’m gonna be there in just two short weeks to start my reporting, but in the meantime, check out all the exciting events that are scheduled to take place: Disney’s 2010 California Food and Wine Festival.

Finally, I want to take a moment to thank and “toast” a brilliant person, Alain Littaye, who has written one of my favorite Disney-related blogs, Disney and More, for three years. I’m sad to see the blog end, Alain, but I look forward to seeing your stamp on many Disney-related projects in the future. Thank you for sharing your immense knowledge of and interest in Disney with your readers.

And now, on with the Round-Up!

The WDW Today Podcast kindly brought me on as a guest last week to discuss Food Quality vs. Atmosphere in Disney World Restaurants. I clearly need to take some public speaking lessons, but the discussion is still very interesting!

Disney World Basics looks at one of Disney’s strategies to create healthier options for dining in the parks — Kids’ Picks!

Main Street Gazette heads over to the Rose and Crown Dining Room for a delicious dining review!

The DVC Life takes a look at whether Jiko in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is worth the $100+ price tag.

Chef Druck Musings shares some secrets about her favorite character meals in Disney World.

Thanks to Zannaland for posting this very cool interview about a fellow blogger! (Wink, wink) The ensuing comments about tart-n-tiny candy is my favorite part.

The Disney Blog reports the potential shuttering of the final Goodings Supermarket near Disney World.

Disney Parks Blog celebrates the top honors received in Orlando Magazine by several Walt Disney World restaurants.

The Disney Chick makes Gourmet Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies from the Main Street Bakery. Go on. You know you want to click. ;-)

OC Register has a fun story about what Disneyland’s doing with the leftover fry oil from their kitchens! Here’s a hint: it has to do with Park transportation… .

Chip and Co shares some dessert options for people with Diabetes dining in Disney World restaurants.

DisUnplugged heads to Disneyland’s Plaza Inn for dinner!

My Three Favorite Desserts in Disney World

You know I like to get consensus before I post a “best of” post on the Disney Food Blog, but every once in a while I have to be completely, utterly biased…and one of those times is now.

Dessert is my thing. I love it. I look forward to it at the end of every meal in Disney World. I can’t get enough of it. And I’ll order it even when I’m not hungry just to take a few bites. As a result, I’ve tried quite a few of ‘em, and want to share with you my very favorites.

By the way, I’d love to hear your favorites as well. In fact, please do comment with your favorite dessert so I don’t feel quite so guilty about monopolizing this post with all of mine.

My Three Favorite Disney Desserts

Third Favorite Dessert in Disney World: Liberty Tree Tavern’s Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake
I’ll admit this stuff looks boring. Get it out of the box, heat it up, put a bunch of sauces on it, and serve. But, friends, I gotta tell ya… it’s spectacular. Order one all for yourself. Tell your kids they can get Mickey bars outside.

Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake

Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake

Second Favorite Dessert in Disney World: ‘Ohana Bananas Foster Bread Pudding
While I miss ‘Ohana’s potatoes, and I feel the meat is often overdone, and the service has been known to be unpredictable…the dessert is always, always [Read more…]

WDW Moms Panel: Good Eats When Going Solo at Disney

Earlier this week, we had a guest post giving some tips and tricks on dining solo in Disney World. Today, in our fifth post in the Walt Disney World Moms Panel mini-series, I asked the moms what they would eat in Disney World if they were blissfully alone for a whole day. Get ready for some delicious answers!

From Mom Anna S.

Without children in tow, I would start my day off at the Grand Floridian Café for some lobster eggs Benedict. This is about the most delicious and indulgent way to start your day at Walt Disney World! Although I will admit, my sweet tooth would be crying out for the stuffed croissant!

Kaki Gori from Epcot's Japan

Kaki Gori from Epcot's Japan

It’s off to EPCOT to explore the shops that my children usually are too bored to enjoy, and lunch at the best location on the planet for “fast” food – the Yakitori House. A Japanese Curry for lunch, followed by a Kaki Gori at the shaved ice stand, is a perfect balance of flavors and textures – sort of a fire and ice combo.

After an exhausting day shopping, I am off for my favorite meal anywhere on Walt Disney World property – the filet mignon and macaroni and cheese at Jiko. Arguably the best meal I’ve had anywhere, my mouth waters just thinking about the level to which the Jiko chefs have elevated this simple meal.

The day does not end until I swing back into the Magic Kingdom, where I’ll enjoy my dessert – the world famous Dole Whip with fresh pineapple spears on the side. Although, with no children tagging along, I’ll have a WHOLE Dole Whip to myself, and I may not have room for the sweet juicy pineapple!

From Mom Erin F.

I’m lucky enough to go on an annual solo vacation to Disney World; I’ve been three times so far, with the fourth trip coming up in January. My dream breakfast is beignets at Port Orleans Resort French Quarter — calories don’t count on vacation! Then it’d be anything hot and fried –- mini donuts at Blizzard Beach, fried dough, etc.

One thing I really enjoyed on my last solo trip was going to the Territory Lounge at Wilderness Lodge — I got a raspberry mojito and the flatbread from Artist Point.

My dream dinner? Jiko!

From Mom Jennifer W.

If left alone for one day at WDW the choices for incredible food would be endless. It’s funny to think that when I first started going to WDW I thought the only meals available were character meals! However, over the years I have learned that there is so much more!

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace

But with that said, I honestly think I would start my day at one of my favorite breakfast spots … the Crystal Palace at the MK. It just does not get any better than biscuits and gravy, potatoes, eggs, and sausage, and of course if there is room, how can one resist the Mickey Mouse waffles?

I would then need to walk some distance before enjoying lunch! I think this would be eaten at the Cantina de San Angel in Mexico. Just a quick lunch where I would enjoy a wonderful taco salad and perhaps a tasty margarita as well. And no afternoon at WDW is complete without a Mickey Mouse ice cream. Frozen to perfection, I truly can say I love these.

Okay now dinner? Ohhhh that is so incredibly hard to choose! I think for this particular day I’m going for a fantastic meal at Jiko! On my last visit there, I was amazed by everything I tried. The seafood and steak dishes were by far my favorite. As I walked home completely full and satisfied I think I would call this a great day, but wait – on the way out of the park there are those darn Rice Krispy treats with chocolate on them! Oh well, everyone needs a midnight snack!

From Mom Jodi G.

I’d go with a light breakfast, and then have lunch at the Brown Derby. The grapefruit cake and the Cobb salad are my favorites.

For dinner, I’d just roam around the World Showcase eating the best from each country – crepes, funnel cakes, pretzels… etc.

From Mom Kara B.

After much thought, I decided the California Grill would be a great way to celebrate ME! I could spend as much time as I wanted leisurely enjoying an elegant multi-course meal with no little kids bugging me to eat fast so we can go back to the Magic Kingdom.

Goodies at the Wishes Dessert Party

Goodies at the Wishes Dessert Party

The views there are worth a million bucks, so I’d have to have a window seat so I could soak in all beauty of the Seven Seas Lagoon and its surroundings, especially the Magic Kingdom. And then there is the outdoor balcony areas, which before the fireworks are so wonderfully peaceful looking out at the entire WDW resort area; a true moment of zen to gather one’s thoughts and think of all the good in the world.

I also have to admit I was tempted to put down the Wishes Dessert Buffet, which I have yet to try. I think it would be a great way to socialize and meet people, indulge on sweets, and catch a premium seat to watch Wishes.

PS: I’d also love to have room service in Cinderella’s Castle Suite.

From Mom Joanne M.

Oooh, fun question. I would head to (or hopefully I’m already staying there) Stormalong Bay at the Beach and Yacht Club and start with a delicious cocktail at the poolside bar. Then I would head over to the Flying Fish on the Boardwalk. I have to be honest and tell you it’s not because it has my favourite dish, but because we had to cancel our August reservation because my daughter was sick. It’s long been on my list to try, and I would love to enjoy it at a relaxed pace.

From Mom Heather R.

Alone – I can’t even imagine it!

I’m not generally a big breakfast gal, so anywhere I could grab a decent cup of coffee an everything bagel with smoked salmon would make me happy. I used to say Starring Rolls in Hollywood Studios, but unfortunately the last time I was there the lox was no longer an option.

The Famous Flying Fish at Flying Fish Cafe

The Famous Flying Fish at Flying Fish Cafe

For lunch, a bowl of clam chowder at Columbia Harbor House always makes me happy.

Dinner is always my biggest meal of the day, and what a tough decision! I think I’ll go with the Flying Fish, a perrennial favorite. I’d start with the Chardonnay-steamed Maine Coast Blue Hill Bay Mussels. Although I’m not always a huge fennel fan, these are delicious. Strange as it sounds at a seafood restaurant, the Char Crusted New York Strip Steak there is fantastic and in my opinion, among ofthe best steaks to be had in Disney.

I don’t usually indulge in sweets, but if I were to make an exception, the beignets at Port Orleans are really yummy.

And a drink/treat? Definitely a Grey Goose Slush from Epcot.

Gosh, I just realized I’ve spent my whole hypothetical day running back and forth to different eateries! Now that really IS blissful!

From Mom Whitney P.

I’m always on a quest to try something new when I’m at Disney, rather than visiting old haunts, so I’d probably make a bee-line to the new Kouzzina, showplace of fellow Mississippian Cat Cora.

The Birth of a Dole Whip Float

The Birth of a Dole Whip Float

Even though I’m not much for eating table service alone (although some of my fellow Disney Panel Moms–and Dads–do), I’d have to make an exception for this restaurant. I love to make meals out of an array of appetizers, so I’d probably order her Kouzzina spreads of Chickpea Hummus, Kalamata Fig, and Harissa Yogurt along with the Spanakopita! (And that’s what I’m planning on doing when I go with my family in October!)

My favorite drink? Hands down Disney’s Pina Colava, a raspberry sauce-laced pina colada. It’s a given when I’m at Brown Derby, but I’ve also enjoyed it at Sanaa and Teppan Edo. It tends to be seasonal, but if it’s not on the menu, I’ll ask anyway!

And no visit to Magic Kingdom would be complete without a Dole Float, a favorite of mine and fellow Disney Mom Margaret.

From Mom Beth C.

I would go during the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival and sample all of the treats from around the world. I did this last September and really enjoyed myself. I finally had the opportunity to eat at the Tangierine Café in Morocco. I had been wanting to try this restaurant for years but my schedule when touring with my family never worked out. This was the perfect opportunity to try this cafe. The food was delicious and fresh and eating it out side listening to the Moroccan music was a perfect way to enjoy a lunch alone.

From Mom Jo Y.

Well first I’d have to have a funnel cake, we don’t have them here in the UK so I have to have one every single trip. Just plain though, no strawberries or ice-cream.

Earl of Sandwich

Earl of Sandwich

Counter Service would have to be Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney; I would order The Full Montagu with beef, turkey, cheese and salad followed by a delicious cupcake.

Whilst in DTD I’d nip over to Goofy’s Candy Company to make my own rice crispy treat. I would cover it in milk chocolate, rolled in choc chips and drizzled in caramel.

Dinner would be at Narcoossee’s, where I’d dine on filet mignon with potato gratin followed by key lime crème brulee. If I still had room after that I’d visit the Magic Kingdom for a pineapple Dole Whip float from Aloha Isle, and then waddle back to my resort!

From Mom Kim L.

I would begin with breakfast at Boma. I’d request a cozy table near the window. Afterwards, I would walk around the resort.

For a mid-day treat, I am heading to the Grand Floridan for afternoon tea in the Garden View Lounge. I would choose strawberries and cream along with lemon pound cake. I highly recommend the Princess Breakfast tea.

My evening would end with a delightful meal at The Artist Point in the Wilderness Lodge. Dim lighting and delectable food provide a perfect way to wind down.

From Mom Kay B.

If traveling alone I would definitely choose spots that not only have great food but also good entertainment. Top spots that I would head to include 50’s Primetime Cafe in Hollywood Studios, where I would not be able to pass up their pot roast, milk shakes, and s’mores for dessert!

Teppan Edo's Sake-Rita

Teppan Edo's Sake-Rita

There are two EPCOT restaurants I would head to and those are the German Biergarten, where I can get my schnitzel and spaetzle, and of course good beer, while watching the show.

Teppan Edo is my other choice for this park since you can watch dinner being prepared right in front of you. I love all the food, chicken, and steaks and seafood, so anything goes here, but it must be accompanied by one of their specialty “umbrella” drinks to make it complete!

In the Magic Kingdom I would head to Casey’s Corner and enjoy a good dog and fries while watching the people on Main Street and listening to the piano player……all the time hoping the ducks won’t take a nibble out of my leg. :)

Absolute snack musts are a bag of popcorn and a hunk of peanut butter fudge from any of the Disney fudge spots!

From Mom Amber V.

If I had a day at Disney World all alone to enjoy my favorites, I would start with Tonga Toast for breakfast at the Kona Cafe. I would be sure to get all of my favorite snacks — dole whip float, popcorn, and Mickey Bars at some point throughout the day.

My choice for lunch would be something quick like a hot dog at Casey’s or a BLT salad from Columbia Harbor House, because I would want to save room for a fabulous dinner at my absolute favorite restaurant — Jiko. Barbecue chicken flatbread, filet mignon with macaroni and cheese, and the pistachio creme brulee is my idea of the perfect meal to end a fabulous day at Disney!

From Dad Doug I.

I do this often, as work travel and book research trips leave me solo in Orlando.

Nothin' like a little popcorn on a Solo Disney Day

Nothin' like a little popcorn on a Solo Disney Day

Typically I seek out whatever is new, but while I love many of the character meals and some of the ones that involve a show (like 50’s Prime Time or Whispering Canyon Cafe), many are ones where going solo just makes me feel a bit out of place. So some of my favorite solo dining places that I like to frequent include:

Breakfast: Kona Cafe at the Polynesian (Strictly for the Tonga Toast!)
Lunch: Flame Tree BBQ or Tangierine Cafe
Dinner: California Grill
Snack: Popcorn from the carts as you enter the Magic Kingdom. Walt would have wanted it that way!

Dirty Little Confession: While I like all that, I have to confess that I have dined, on more than one occasion, at “Snackapalooza!”. Don’t waste your time searching for it on a park map. I coined this phrase for those times where instead of going to a restaurant, I ‘surf’ the World Showcase promenade, getting a few different nibbles from the national pavilions. I love getting a bite here, a bite there, and sampling cuisines from around the globe!

From Mom Margaret F.

I have been fortunate enough to enjoy a few solo trips to Disney world, and while I was first worried that I would be lonely or look out of place, I quickly discovered how much I have still missed while rushing after my children on our family trips.

The Porch at Tony's Town Square

The Porch at Tony's Town Square

I love eating at Tony’s Town Square and sitting on the outside porch. In an odd way, with all the crowds passing by, it is remarkably peaceful to me.

While the food is delicious, it is such a great place to watch the excitement and joy of the guests as they first enter Magic Kingdom, or to listen to the recaps of their amazing day as they exit the park. Watching the kids (and mom and dad) jump in glee at the sight of Main Street and Cinderella Castle continues to remind me why I love Disney so much.

One of my favorite treats is to grab a Dole Whip Float and sit on a bench near the Castle hub and watch all of the guests stop for a picture by the Partners statute. As I enjoy the best treat on property, it makes me smile to see so many guests stop and admire Walt and Mickey hand in hand, and hopefully Walt knows how much joy he continues to bring to so many everyday.

Thanks again to all the “moms” who are participating in the interviews!

Don’t forget, if you’d like to share your “most magical Disney Dining moment,” send me an email! I’m collecting stories and will post them in the next post of “Chicken Soup for the Disney Foodie soul!”

Dining Alone in Disney

I’m honored to bring you a guest post by one of my favorite travel bloggers, Gray at SoloFriendly.com. Thanks again, Gray, for sharing your insights and tips on dining alone in Disney World!

Counter Seating at Wolfgang Puck

Counter Seating at Wolfgang Puck

Many travelers, even those who are excited by the prospect of enjoying some alone time at Disney World, get queasy at the thought of having to eat alone. This, despite the fact that Disney has fabulous restaurants and legendary customer service.

Don’t be nervous just because you’re a “party of one”! I have eaten alone in many restaurants in Disney World and 99.9% of the time have received the most exemplary service. Go ahead and eat at Quick Service restaurants if you’re on a budget, but don’t cheat yourself out of the wonderful table service restaurants if you can afford it. A delicious sit-down meal prepared by one of Disney’s talented chefs will certainly enhance any solo trip to the World.

To overcome any solo dining jitters, you need a distraction. This could be recording your day’s experiences in a journal, catching up on a good book, or flipping through the photos you took on your digital camera. Disney even builds in some nice distractions for us solos, you just have to look for them. Here are some suggestions for getting the most out of solo dining at Disney World:

  • Have your table service meal during a less crowded time. This could mean eating at an off hour.
    Chefs de France Window Tables

    Chefs de France Window Tables

    Chefs de France, for instance, is far more enjoyable when there are fewer guests in the dining room. It’s quieter and more peaceful, and the odds of scoring a table by the window (for people-watching) are greatly enhanced.

    Resort restaurants tend to be less crowded during lunch, when everyone is at the parks. I had a wonderful meal at Sanaa on my last trip, right around noon, and I was only one of maybe three tables of diners in the whole restaurant. Again, you have a greater chance of scoring a good seat this way, but you also feel less conspicuous.

  • Eat at a restaurant with bar or counter seating. If you are a social person, this affords you the opportunity to interact with other diners.
    Todd English's bluezoo Restaurant

    Todd English's bluezoo Restaurant

    One of my favorite meals at Disney World was at Wolfgang Puck Cafe in Downtown Disney, when I sat at the counter in front of the chef’s station and had a lively and friendly chat with the chef while he prepared meals.

    Other great restaurants with bartop dining include
    Bluezoo at the Dolphin resort (a wonderfully grown-up restaurant), the House of Blues in Downtown Disney, Jiko at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, and the Flying Fish Cafe on the Boardwalk.

  • Enjoy a dinner show. You have many options at Disney World for dinnertime entertainment, including the Spirit of Aloha Show at the Polynesian Resort, the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue at Fort Wilderness, as well as smaller-scale entertainment such as watching a movie at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater or belly dancers at the Restaurant Marrakesh.
  • Go for a great view. The Disney Food Blog recently highlighted the best restaurants for watching the Wishes and Illuminations fireworks shows during dinner; those are great choices.
    Relax with the show at the Coral Reef Aquarium

    Relax with the show at the Coral Reef Aquarium

    You could also grab a water-view window at one of the Downtown Disney restaurants or dine at the Coral Reef Restaurant, where you can gaze upon a living coral reef with 85 species of tropical fish swimming around. (For a more peaceful experience at the Coral Reef, try lunch here, when it’s less crowded; and don’t sit right next to the aquarium, or you’ll find children constantly bumping into you as they run up to press their faces against the glass.)

As with anything, practice makes perfect. The more you dine out alone, the more comfortable and enjoyable it becomes.

From the Editor: Thanks again, Gray! DFB readers, if you’re interested in more info about solo dining in Disney, stay tuned for the next post in the Walt Disney World Moms Panel Mini-Series where the moms chime in on their choices for meals if spending a day blissfully alone at Disney World!