Review: “Best of the Fest” at the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Marketplace Booths!

It’s here! The 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is officially underway!

We’ve been super busy over the last couple of days, taking in low-cost demonstrations and special events. I can’t wait to share all of it with you (FYI: Parisian Breakfast = AWESOME!)!

But first, while opening weekend was a whirlwind of activity, we made it a point to check out every Marketplace Booth and try it all! It’s always our goal to do this so that YOU know which dishes are not-to-be-missed and can plan accordingly.

2013 Best of the Fest Marketplace Booth Dishes

While this “Best of” list started out a lot longer than this, we wanted to give you a breakdown of the cream of the crop — our very favorite dishes so far from the 2013 Marketplace Booths. Some of these are returning from past years, and some are brand new! Let’s go with the Best of the Fest for 2013!

Belgium: Potato and Leek Waffle with Braised Beef

Belgium features three different waffles in their lineup this year — one savory and two sweet. This Potato Leek Waffle comes with Braised Beef that reminds me of Sunday roasts.

Potato and Leek Waffle with Braised Beef

The waffle is delicious by itself — but top it with the braised beef and MELTED BUTTER!!!! and it’s heavenly!

South Korea: Kimchi Dog

We’ve been raving about the South Korea Kimchi Dog since we first sampled it at the preview event for this year’s festival. The Spicy Hot Dog (which is specially made for Epcot just for the festival!) is topped with a fresh Kimchi Slaw and drizzled with a Spicy Mustard Sauce.

Kimchi Dog with Spicy Mustard Sauce

It has a bit of a kick, but it’s [Read more…]

News! Changes to Disney World Tables in Wonderland Dining Discounts for 2014

We’ve got some news about one of Disney World’s popular dining discounts!

Tables in Wonderland, Walt Disney World’s fee-based dining discount program offered to Florida residents, Annual Passholders, and Disney Vacation Club members, is a great way to save money if you are a frequent diner at Walt Disney World.

The program offers 20% savings on food and beverages, including alcoholic beverages, at more than 100 Walt Disney World restaurants.

Today, we’re getting news of an update to restaurants that will either stop offering the Tables in Wonderland discount in the near future, or will be subject to more blackout dates when using the card.

Victoria and Albert’s to Discontinue Offering Tables in Wonderland Discount

According to the Tables in Wonderland website, Victoria and Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa will continue to honor the Tables in Wonderland discount through July 14, 2014. However, as of August 1, 2014, the ultra-luxurious dining spot will no longer accept the Tables in Wonderland card.

Victoria and Albert's Main Dining Room

Currently, Tables in Wonderland members may still [Read more…]

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…]

Top 5 Disney Dessert Recipes!

I know you’ve got a big event planned soon and you’re looking for the perfect recipe to try out…right?

OK, even if you’re not, I think today’s post might inspire you to start planning a dinner party! Let’s check out my top 5 favorite Disney dessert recipes! Which ones have you sampled in the parks?

Bananas Foster Bread Pudding at ‘Ohana

Alrighty — it’s time to start out with a BANG! There are few things that I love to eat in all of Disney World more than the Bread Pudding at ‘Ohana.

This Polynesia-meets-churrascaria restaurant can be somewhat unpredictable in terms of quality. But one thing is always certain: the dessert is PERFECT. Seriously…every single time!

The bread pudding is served warm with a heaping scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, and the most incredible sauce ever. I could easily eat a bowl full of it.

Bananas Foster Bread Pudding at 'Ohana

It was a happy day when I discovered the ‘Ohana bread pudding recipe, and with it, the power to make this one at home!

Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake at Liberty Tree Tavern

Say what you will about Liberty Tree Tavern, the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake is a must-order!

While Liberty Tree Tavern dinner is served family style and consists of roasted meats and traditional sides, lunch features an a la carte menu…and it’s awesome. There are many dishes on the menu that I look forward to having when I visit, but I never leave without ordering dessert, and it’s always Ooey-Gooey Toffee Cake!

Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake at Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom

Less a cake and more like a rich, shallow, muffin-shaped chocolate chip cookie, I fell in love with this treat the first time I tasted it! And I could have kicked myself for having passed on it before then. The flavor combo of [Read more…]

Best Disney World Restaurants for First Time Disney Visitors

Everyday we receive lots of mail from you, our awesome DFB readers, asking for restaurant suggestions and recommendations. And while we certainly have our favorites, we know that you do, too!

So when a Disney first-time visitor recently asked what restaurants we would recommend for their upcoming trip, we couldn’t think of a better panel of experts to ask than YOU!

When I put the question out on the Disney Food Blog Facebook page, I was overwhelmed by the huge and immediate response that I got!

Let’s take a look at your recommendations for the restaurants first timers must experience on that inaugural Walt Disney World trip!

If you have other thoughts or ideas — or, better yet, stories of your favorite restaurants during a first-time visit — please share them with all of us in the comments section! More suggestions are always better!

Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

When it comes to first time Disney dining, the winning restaurant recommendation is, hands down, Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Many of you agree that anyone visiting the Happiest Place on Earth for the very first time MUST experience a buffet that includes lots of character interaction.

Chef Mickey’s is highly recommended by our DFB Readers!

But the suggestion is practical, too. Readers pointed out that a character dining experience offers terrific value for your Disney dollar, with an all-you-care-to-eat option. [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: March 3, 2013

The 2013 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival begins THIS WEEK!

2013 Flower and Garden Festival UK Booth! Check out all of the food menus here!

We’re so excited to see 12 food and beverage marketplaces added to the mix this year and can’t wait to share our full review with you!

In the meantime, be sure to check out the newly updated Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Menu here!

Disney Dining News

More fun Disney Dining News for ya…

We’ve got additional food news, including restaurant closures, concept art for Main Street Bakery, Disneyland AP discount at Earl of Sandwich, and LOTS more, on our Disney Food News Pin Board! Head over and check it out!

DFB Podcast Episode 13

The new DFB Podcast Episode is here!

In the 13th episode of the DFB Podcast, AJ and Brad bring listeners the latest Disney Food News; discuss some great money-saving tips at Walt Disney World and Disneyland; answer a few listener questions (including whether or not the Disney Dining Plan is worth the dough), and reveal the winner of our Episode 12 trivia question (AND compel you with a brand-new trivia question!).

Got a Disney dining question? Send it to podcast@disneyfoodblog.com with “Question” in the subject line and we’ll add it to our list to answer on the podcast!

More Money Savings! Want some more tips on saving money? Find a whole chapter of our top money-saving tips for eating in Walt Disney World in The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2013! We also have several full pages dedicated to how to find and make use of dining discounts, coupon programs, membership programs, and more! It’s all at DFBGuide.com.

Thanks for listening!! Please rate and review the podcast on iTunes, follow DFBPodcast on Twitter, and leave your comments below!

Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other 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!

DFB Reader Gena shared what happens when you ask for ketchup at Whispering Canyon Cafe in the Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World!

Don't ask for ketchup!

And Kat tweeted “The mandarin chicken salad at Yak and Yeti quick service [in Disney’s Animal Kingdom] is surprisingly tasty!”

Mandarin Chicken Salad!

Thanks for sharing your photos and memories with us!!

Disney Food Post Round-Up

Walmart has a Star Wars Chocolate Easter Bunny Stormtrooper! Take a bite out of the Dark Force!

Daveland shares vintage photos of The Plantation House in Disneyland.

Eating (and Drinking) Around the World highlights Disney food enjoyed during the Marathon Weekend.

Stuff from the Park digs up some Disneyland-inspired recipes!

Such the Spot creates a copycat recipe for Earl of Sandwich’s All-American! Nice job, Disney Mom Darcie!

Main Street Gazette stops for a frankfurter at Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Running at Disney enjoys lunch at Sanaa.

Have a great week, all!! We’ll see you tomorrow with our review of the newly revamped Epcot restaurant, Monsieur Paul!

New! Le Cellier Light-Up Menus in Disney World!

OK, I gotta tell you about this! We heard about another interesting update to the Le Cellier menus in Disney World’s Epcot and had to check it out!

We reported recently on the fact that Le Cellier has now gone to an all-day menu — but guests will have another surprise to explore when they arrive!

Here’s the new light-up menu!

This is a great option for darker restaurants like Le Cellier — the perfect way to see your menu with out eye strain. The menu itself is lit from behind! Here’s the menu — dark — just as you’re opening it…

…and here it is as it lights up automatically when you open it all the [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: January 20, 2013

How’s your 2013 going?

Beignets Now in the Magic Kingdom at Tomorrowland Terrace!!

Mine’s going great — there’s so much happening food-wise at Disney parks and resorts right now, and so much coming down the pike!!

We’ve got a TON of great news for you on the round-up today, including a review of the brand new Les Halles Bakery in Epcot’s France, the dates for the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, a peek at the Tomorrowland Terrace’s new breakfast menu, the new all-day menu at Le Cellier, and more!

To quote Peter Pan, “Here we gooooooo!!”

Disney Dining News

Catch up on food news from Disney…

We’ve got additional food news, including Citricos Italian Wine Dinner at the Grand Floridian, restaurant closures, Martha’s Vineyard Menu at Yacht and Beach Club Resort, Habit Heroes re-opens in Epcot, Spirit of Aloha closing for brief renovation, and LOTS more, on our Disney Food News Pin Board! Head over and check it out!

Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other 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!

Sara McCaslin tweeted one of our favorite Disney indulgences – cheese plates! This one is from the Flying Fish Cafe.

Flying Fish Cheese Plate

And via email, we received this message from Susan Tribelli: “I have to say my husband, who is a culinary school graduate, thought the Grand Floridian cafe had gone downhill, but we got the fish, which I thought was super good.”

Red Grouper at Grand Floridian Cafe

DFB Podcast Episode 12

For our podcast listeners (and those of you who aren’t listeners, yet, but are about to become listeners!!), we have the 12th episode of the DFB Podcast ready for downloading!

In this episode we cover the latest Disney Food News and have a discussion about dinner shows in Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

We also answer a couple of listener questions, and reveal the answer to (and winner of!) our Episode 11 trivia question.

And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSS or on iTunes! (We love your comments, reviews, and feedback!

Take a listen from the DFB Podcast Episode 12!

On to the Round-Up!

WDW for Grown-Ups shares four delicious breakfast options at Walt Disney World.

Cake Wrecks features adorable cakes including Wall-E and Piglet. Sweet!

Studios Central looks into the origin of Toluca Legs Turkey Co. at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Disney Hipsters laments about the lack of good vegetarian eats at the Liberty Tree Tavern in the Magic Kingdom.

Yesterland returns to Disneyland’s Blue Ribbon Bakery!

Eating (and Drinking) Around the World re-visits favorite Disney dining adventures from 2012.

DisneyParks announces a Robert Olszewski Product Release & Signing for the Plaza Restaurant/Plaza Ice Cream Parlor sculpture. Wow!


How MyMagic+ Will Affect Disney Dining

Planning your Disney World vacation is about to change—big time. While making your Advance Dining Reservations 180 days in advance will still be important, MyMagic+ is going to make it easier to pre-plan your trip and maybe even save your Disney dollars at the same time!

We’ve outlined the basics of the new Walt Disney World Resort technology below, followed by a healthy dose of Disney dining tips for making the most of the new system — including how it will change your Disney Dining planning, and how you might save money using MyMagic+!!

How MyMagic + Will Affect Disney Dining

MyMagic+: The Basics

This past week, MyMagic+ — a new, tech-savvy planning process for your Disney vacation — officially rolled out across the Walt Disney World resort. Relying on RFID technology, this will create a “more immersive, more seamless and more personal experience” for guests, according to Disney Parks Blog.

A major piece of the MyMagic+ puzzle is the new My Disney Experience website and mobile app, which help guests plan their trip. The interactive tools allow guests to log in to book advanced dining reservations and ride times for popular attractions as well as parade and fireworks viewing locations with FastPass+. They’ll also make it easy to change those plans on the fly from any smartphone or Guest Relations kiosk.

All of that MyMagic+ data—including ride and meals times—will be encoded onto the new must-have Disney accessory: the MagicBand. These high-tech bracelets will replace the Key to the World card, becoming a room key, theme park ticket, PhotoPass card, FastPass and charge account in one.

MyMagic+ MagicBand

MyMagic+ MagicBand in action

Right now, guests saying at WDW resort hotels, Annual Passholders, and those who purchase PhotoPass will automatically receive a complimentary standard MagicBand. Upgraded wristbands, decorated with characters, will also be available for an additional fee.

Guests who stay off property will receive an RFID-enabled card, which will act as a park ticket, charge account and FastPass+ ticket, but they will have to purchase a MagicBand separately.

Don’t Forget Your MagicBand!

The new technologies will likely have a significant impact on your dining strategy, so we’ve put together a quick primer on how to make the most of MyMagic+:

Pay and Go

The most immediate and obvious impact of the MagicBand will be the ability to pay for snacks and quick service meals with the flick of a wrist.

Literally tap the RFID bracelet (or card for non-resort guests) against the sensor at the register to settle the bill on purchases of $50 or less quickly and efficiently. No more digging around for the Key to the World!

Schedule Your WHOLE Day

With the current system, FastPass dictates your return window based on how many FastPasses have already been distributed. On some days, it’s possible to arrive at Soarin’ at 9:30 a.m. only to be locked into a 6:35-7:35 p.m. return time. That presents a problem for those [Read more…]

Disney Recipe: Maple Crème Brûlée from Epcot’s Le Cellier Steakhouse

I’ve tried a lot of Disney Crème Brûlée, and this one is definitely near the top of the list!

Time to head over to Epcot and into fan (and DFB!) favorite Le Cellier Steakhouse for today’s Disney recipe!

The Maple Crème Brûlée here has got to be one of the most-often ordered desserts on the menu, and it’s very clear why! The super creamy custard has exactly the right amount of sweet maple flavor — and it’s perfect for the holidays!

So while we can’t provide a Moosehead or a serenade by Off Kilter to complete the virtual trip to Epcot’s Canada Pavilion, this decadent dessert will go a long way to putting a smile on your face!

Maple Crème Brûlée from Epcot's Le Cellier Steakhouse

Maple Crème Brûlée

Serves 6
Ingredients:
2 3/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
9 egg yolks [Read more…]