Review: “Frozen” Premium Package and Dessert Party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

We’ve got a holiday surprise for you today… . I’ll give you a hint — it involves Frozen, dessert, and more Christmas lights than you can possibly imagine!

Well, maybe it’s not really a surprise — after all, you already saw the title at the top — but still!

Osborne Family Lights

Osborne Family Lights

On a recent trip to Walt Disney World to check out some of the early holiday decorations and events, I bought a ticket for the Frozen Holiday Premium Package. This package includes reserved viewing in the Premiere Theater for the “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration”, plus a unique Holiday Lithograph and Frozen Pin. There’s also a Frozen Dessert Party — which includes an all you care to enjoy spread of sweets and beverages. And the party was taking place right underneath the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights in a reserved area!!

Can I be honest? I really didn’t care about the Frozen stuff. I don’t have a “Frozen-aged” kid at the moment, and while I saw the movie, I didn’t need to see it a bajillion times. So the big reason why I booked this party — besides wanting to show YOU guys what it was all about, of course — was to get a VIP vantage point for the Osborne lights.

Seriously, most of the time when I go to the Lights, I’m shoulder to shoulder with everyone else there. It’s PACKED many nights, so I was thinking it might be worth the money for the dessert party if I’d be able to enjoy the lights without re-living my “on-the-subway-going-to-work-during-rush-hour-in-NYC” days.

Unfortunately, the evening that I attended the event, the weather was…well…crap. One of those Orlando days when it just pours…and pours…and pours…with no break at all.

Anna and Elsa Cupcakes!

Cupcakes AND Lights?!?

BUT — the show must go on. And so, with the dessert-eating portion of the event moved to a covered location (Studio Catering Co.), we still had the opportunity to view the Osborne Family Lights. But they were not “dancing” due to the weather and TORNADO WARNINGS (wha???!!!???!?!). And, did I mention it was pouring? So it wasn’t all that hard to find a spot to watch whatever WAS happening out there, since everyone else was smart enough to go back to their hotels during said tornado warnings.

Fortunately, our friend, Mealtrip, took some pics on his Frozen party night that show you what the event looks like when the weather behaves itself!

Let’s head back to the Streets of America for a close up of the festivities.


If you’ve purchased tickets for the Frozen Holiday Premium Package, you’ll want to head to Guest Services first, where you’ll pick up your credential. Hold onto this. It gets you into the different experiences included in your package.

Frozen Dessert Party Credential

Frozen Dessert Party Credential

Consult the back of the badge for a map of the route you should take to get to the area where the party is set up.

Back of Credential with Map

Back of Credential with Map

In addition, you’ll find a rip-off coupon-type thing at the bottom of the credential; you’ll need this to pick up your Special Pin and Lithograph. I waited until the end to pick mine up so I wouldn’t risk setting it down someplace, but I’ll go ahead and show it to you now.

Pin and Lithograph

Pin and Lithograph

So, in order for this to make sense, I’m going to show you what the Frozen Dessert Party should look like — and then what it looked like for me.

Normal Frozen Dessert Party Setup

When it’s not raining, you can expect to attend the Frozen Dessert Party in a special reserved area on the Avenue of the Americas. For those who know DHS well, it’s called the “teardrop.”

Here’s a shot of the seating area at dusk before the lights came on. You can already see the crowds building in anticipation of the lights coming on.

Seating at Dusk Before the Lights Come On

Seating at Dusk Before the Lights Come On

And once they’re on — lookout! This area can become extremely crowded. And that can become the opposite of fun very quickly. But the seating area of the dessert party gives you a fair amount of elbow room to enjoy the display.

Seating with the Lights On

Seating with the Lights On

Another View of the Lights and Seating

Another View of the Lights and Seating

Tables and Lights

Tables and Lights

Here’s a shot of a Beverage Table.

Beverage Table and Gorgeous Lights

Beverage Table and Gorgeous Lights

Tables laden with sweets are positioned with [Read more…]

Disney Recipe: Chocolate Crusted Key Lime Tart from Disney World’s Grand Floridian Cafe

If it were up to me, I’d have a slice of Key Lime Pie Every. Single. Time. I set foot in Florida.

Fortunately, Disney has me covered with lots and lots and LOTS of options for this favorite!

But one of the best comes with a fun twist, thanks to the extra special crust. I’m talking about the Chocolate Crusted Key Lime Tart at the Grand Floridian Cafe in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

Big on equal parts richness, sweetness, and sour power, this is a great version of the Sunshine State classic. I’ve always loved lime and chocolate together!

Key Lime Tart at Grand Floridian Cafe

Key Lime Tart at Grand Floridian Cafe

If you need a little sunshine in your life today, how about heading to the market for the ingredients? You’ve just gotta have some key lime pie to bring on the Summer.

Chocolate Crusted Key Lime Tart

Grand Floridian Cafe


Yield: 10 servings

Crust [Read more…]

Guest Review: Ten Everyday Eats That Just Taste Better At Disney

Welcome guest author Michelle R.! She’s sharing her thoughts on everyday food that’s just better in Walt Disney World.

food tastes better at disney

Anyone who has ever flown long distances is familiar with jet lag. The time zone adjustment can take a few days or even weeks for mind and body to work out. I’ve discovered a little known vacation malady known as food lag. It’s similar to jet lag but normally occurs upon arrival home after a vacation. Days or weeks can go by before normal home food is appealing again.

Ten Normal Foods That Just Taste Better At Disney

While on vacation, meals are enjoyed in nice restaurants under relaxed or exciting circumstances. Throw Disney in the mix and you can get some serious food lag following your trip. The most ordinary foods taste much better when prepared and served at Disney parks and hotels.

I’ve listed 10 and all of them were so delicious, I couldn’t eat them for weeks after coming home.

Hot Dogs

While waiting for a parade to start, we grabbed a hot dog at Casey’s Corner on Main Street USA and split it. It was the best half hot dog I’ve ever eaten. The cheese, deep orange and flavorful, was in the middle of the meat and the bun soft and fresh. It was hot without burning and frankly, the most delicious hot dog I’ve ever had before or since.

Hot Dog and Fries from Casey’s!

Turkey Legs

If you’ve ever had to fight relatives at Thanksgiving for the turkey leg, go ahead and give it up now. Head to Disney and grab a turkey leg. Serving over 1.6 million drumsticks a year, there is plenty to go around and are they ever delicious!

Turkey Leg at Disney


With a plethora of Waffle Houses and IHOPS in every town across America, you’d think eating waffles at Disney wouldn’t be a big deal.

Is it the extra thickness or the fact they’re shaped like Mickey heads? Is it the generous supply of butter and real maple syrup? I’m not sure, but waffles at Disney absolutely spoiled me for home waffles for several months following our last trip.

Mickey Waffle with Butter!

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are good just about anywhere, especially Grandma’s house. But again, Disney mashed potatoes are extraordinary.

Whether you’re at Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Boma, Disney chefs seem to bring a little extra fluff and flavor to this ordinary food.

Mashed Potatoes at Liberty Tree Tavern

Fish and Chips

All kids and many adults like fish sticks; but they love fried fish at Disney. Epcot’s Rose & Crown Pub serves the very best although folks say that Columbia Harbour House in the Magic Kingdom is every bit as good.

Again, wherever you are in Disney, the fish and chips are going to be good.

Fish and Chips from Epcot’s Yorkshire County Fish Shop


Mama Melrose’s in Disney’s Hollywood Studios serves a wonderful brick oven baked pizza in a homey atmosphere. Followed by Fantasmic’s display of fireworks, water and music, you’ll be convinced no pizza could ever top the one you had just before the show.

Carne d’Italia Flatbread

Lemon Ice

Disney sells a prepackaged lemon ice that can be bought at almost any convenience store in the country, yet for some mysterious reason, this same lemon ice that quenches thirst and refreshes is 10 times more delicious within the confines of Disney.

Frozen Strawberry Lemonade

So far I’ve covered six ordinary foods and one refreshing treat, but I’ve saved room for desserts. Dessert at Disney is [Read more…]

Three Must-Try Disney Pies!


Today, in honor of this most momentous occasion, we couldn’t resist sharing with you a few of our very favorites. Whether they inspire you to bake a pie of your own, or plan a trip and let Disney do the baking for you — well, you’re welcome.

1. Peanut Butter, Banana, and Candied Bacon Pie From Boardwalk Bakery

So many truly wonderful things have come out of BoardWalk Bakery since it reopened after a major renovation last year.

While some classics remain, others, like the Cheesecake Brownie, received makeovers as well. But the real story are the amazing newcomers to the menu! One of my favorites, hands down, is the Peanut Butter, Banana, and Candied Bacon Pie.

Peanut Butter, Banana, and Candied Bacon Pie

Peanut Butter, Banana, and Candied Bacon Pie

The tart starts with a Chocolate Short Dough Crust. Peanut Butter is introduced to the party via the Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Filling, which is pie poetry. Because as much as I love rich peanut butter filling, this lighter approach is killer.

This sweet and salty goodness is wrapped up in a Chocolate Glaze. Add to that a little mound of creamy Banana Topping, and a sprinkling of Candied Bacon, and you’ve got a winner!

peanut butter, banana, and candied bacon pie cross section

peanut butter, banana, and candied bacon pie cross section

Sound awesome? Make a similar version at home with this recipe!

2. Lobster and Scallop Fisherman’s Pie From the Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Many of the pies that stand out from the crowd at Disney are savory rather than sweet. Case in point: the beloved Lobster and Seafood Fisherman’s Pie from the Ireland Marketplace Booth at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Lobster and Seafood Fisherman’s Pie

Lobster and Seafood Fisherman’s Pie

We’ve been enjoying this delicious for the last several years and hope it comes back again this year!

This hearty, casserole-like main course consists of large chunks of [Read more…]

Review: Blue Bayou in Disneyland

Today, we are headed back to one of the most interesting dining experiences in all of Disneyland — Blue Bayou!

Entrance Sign

This historic spot has been wooing Disneyland guests with its odd mixture of mysterious New Orleans charm and marauding pirate adventure ever since it first opened in 1967. Where does the fusion come from? Well, it’s a little strange. The restaurant is in New Orleans Square, but it’s situated at the beginning of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride path…so it’s kind of a mash-up. ;-)

We took in dinner at the Bayou a while back, and I was much more interested in the atmosphere than the food. In fact, the meals sort of reminded me of conference food (if you’ve ever been to a catered conference for hundreds of people, you know what I mean).

But, as we all know, one of Blue Bayou’s biggest claims to fame is that outrageous Monte Cristo Sandwich, which is only available for lunch. And so, that’s the meal that we made our advance dining reservation for this time.

Let’s head in!


As I mentioned, you’ll enter Blue Bayou from New Orleans Square. You’ll be glad for the break from the busy activity of the narrow streets you’ve left behind.

Blue Bayou Sign

If you’ve done any research at all before your trip to Disneyland, then you already know that, among other must haves, the Monte Cristo Sandwich here rates high on the food requirement list when you visit the Park That Started It All.

Outside Menu -- Click to Enlarge

After checking in at the window in the front of the restaurant, you’ll wait for your buzzer to buzz in a tiny lobby. Once your name is called, you’re headed…right back outside it seems! But this time, you’ve been transported to a Louisiana bayou, and night has fallen. Give your eyes a little time to adjust from that bright California sunshine, and then have a look around.

Behind you, you’ll see a two-story building built in the finest tradition of The Big Easy.

Looking Across the Patio

You’ll be seated on the patio of this building, beneath paper lanterns and a thick canopy of live oaks dripping with Spanish moss.

Seating Under the Live Oaks and Lanterns

And while there are wonderful details all around that immerse you in the bayou theme, here’s where I make my seating TIP: [Read more…]

DIY Disney Recipe: Key Lime Pie from Olivia’s Café at Disney’s Old Key West Resort

DFB guest chef Carol E. returns today with a traditional recipe for the Key Lime Pie from Olivia’s Café at Disney’s Old Key West Resort. Get your baking supplies ready!

Being a Florida native (Yes, native!! I was one of about 7 people actually born here…everyone else is a transplant. Ha!), I was excited to dive into this recipe!

Key Lime pie is one of my all-time favorite desserts! Did you know that Key lime pie is the official pie of the state of Florida? That’s right, not only are we awesome because we have Walt Disney World in our state, but we also have our own official pie! Florida rocks! :-)

Even better, you can get our official state pie at Walt Disney World — and this is one of the best versions of it on property! This Florida tradition is served perfectly chilled every day at Olivia’s Café!

Olivia's Cafe.

Olivia Cafe's Dining Room.

Key Lime Pie Recipe

While there are a lot of different recipes for Key lime pie, the traditional one is the best! It only takes three ingredients to make the pie filling. If you make it right, it will be pale yellow in color and it will have the perfect balance of creamy sweet and tart goodness.

Key Lime Pie at Olivia's Cafe.

I was excited to find the traditional Key lime pie recipe from Olivia’s Café in the Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs cookbook to share with you!

While Olivia’s Café has taken the pie to the gourmet side now by making it in an individual “tart” style and adding a meringue topping with dollops of raspberry and mango purees, we’ll be sticking to their original recipe from the cookbook — topped off with whipped cream.

Key Lime Pie Cross-Section.

So let’s get baking! But before we get started, I do want to warn you that this is a plan ahead recipe. You need at least 3-4 hours in the fridge, but better if left in overnight before serving!

It’s actually a super quick and easy recipe to make. It will take you more time to cool and chill the pie than it will to actually make it!



-5 large egg yolks

-1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

-2/3 cup Key lime [Read more…]

Snack Series: Key Lime Tart at Epcot’s Sunshine Seasons

There are plenty of well-loved spots to eat all over Walt Disney World. (Don’t I know it!) But one spot that we love — and you do too, judging from your reviews, emails, and comments — is Sunshine Seasons in Epcot.

So recently, after a trip Soarin’ over California, ;-) I stopped by there for a bite to eat, and found a little snack that I can’t wait to share with you!

If you aren’t familiar with Sunshine Seasons, you need to be! It’s a huge counter service spot located on the first floor within The Land Pavilion in Epcot’s Future World. Set up as a food court, there are countless freshly made and interesting food options featured everyday at the various stations, plus many more grab n’ go desserts and snacks.

Epcot's Sunshine Seasons

I’d heard a lot from readers about the Key Lime Tart here, and I was looking forward to trying it. Overall, you’ve got a subtantial graham cracker crust filled with key lime filling and topped with toasted meringue.

Key Lime Tart

When I [Read more…]

Review: Olivia’s Cafe at Disney’s Old Key West Resort

Olivia’s Cafe over at Old Key West in Walt Disney World is just about the most homey restaurant in Walt Disney World. Its only rival would be Trail’s End, and I see them both as a great place to meet up with old friends year after year.

These are the types of restaurants that inspire memories of heading off on summer vacation, reuniting with friends you haven’t seen in a while, and enjoying some good food together in an atmosphere that’s as familiar to you as your own kitchen. I guess that’s what Disney was going for with the Disney Vacation Club, and they’ve achieved it at Olivia’s.


In fact, when I walked into Olivia’s, it almost felt as though the needle scratched off of the record in the jukebox and everyone turned to stare at the newcomer. Because I’m not a regular at Old Key West, it really did feel like I was a bit out of place at this restaurant that’s frequented by Disney Vacation Club members who are owners at Old Key West.

Olivia's Sign

Olivia's Open Sign

Of course, that was only my perception. After checking in, we were [Read more…]

Olivia’s at Old Key West Resort

Tucked into the beautiful dock-side Turtle Krawl district at Disney World’s Old Key West Resort is Olivia’s restaurant. This relaxed table-service spot is probably one of the more underrated dining spots in Disney World.

One of the Photo Walls at Olivia's

One of the Photo Walls at Olivia's

The atmosphere is right-off-the-beach — casual and classic Florida keys. The walls are covered with memorabilia, including sections dedicated to the Old Key West Resort’s Disney Vacation Club family album. After all, Old Key West was Disney’s premier Vacation Club property and has quite a family tree by now!

Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you can stroll in anytime for a bite. And although you can make advanced dining reservations for Olivia’s, you may not need them during less busy seasons at Disney World.

Dining Table and Photo Wall

Dining Table and Photo Wall

Olivia's Has a Relaxed, Casual Atmosphere

Olivia's Has a Relaxed, Casual Atmosphere

Olivia's Menu

Olivia's Menu

The menu is just as casual as the decor, and there are some delicious options to try. For breakfast, consider the Banana Bread French Toast with Bahamian Banana Rum Butter Sauce and Vanilla Whipped Cream; for lunch, consider the Key West Salmon Salad; and for dinner, try the crab cakes and pork chop with barbecue sauce and cheddar grits!

Crab Cake Appetizer

Crab Cake Appetizer

Mixed Greens Salad

Mixed Greens Salad

Grilled Pork Chop with Chipotle Barbecue Sauce and Smoked Cheddar Grits

Grilled Pork Chop with Chipotle Barbecue Sauce and Smoked Cheddar Grits

Finish off your meal with a yummy dessert. My mom’s favorite is the Key Lime Tart!

Key Lime Tart

Key Lime Tart

Key Lime Tart on the Inside

Key Lime Tart on the Inside

And, after your meal, take a few minutes to wander around the grounds of this beautiful resort, or jump on the next boat for Downtown Disney — the Disney Transportation boat will bring you to Disney World’s shopping and entertainment district in no time! Have a great time!