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…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: October 28, 2012

Um…how cool are these Darth Vader s’mores?! I know I just posted about the Darth candy mold (and other super fun Star Wars and Marvel gift ideas) on Friday, but I couldn’t help showing it off again!

Darth Vader S'mores

So, in Disney Food News this week we were pleasantly surprised to discover updates to Walt Disney World’s standard bar menu found at the watering holes and restaurants throughout the parks and resorts.

We’ve also got my personal review of the new Frozen Beer in Epcot’s Japan pavilion. But there’s more to Disney than drinks… check it out!

Disney Food News

Disney World has new adult beverages, plus seasonal treats!

We’ve got additional food news (including a souvenir stein at Sleepy Hollow, new name for Fresh A-Peel in Downtown Disney, new Le Cellier dessert item, new menu item at Sci-Fi, restaurant closure updates, and LOTS more) on our Disney Food News Pin Board!

DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2012 Review!

The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2012 is our comprehensive, 300-page e-book packed with Disney Dining tips for your next vacation. Wondering if the book will help with your upcoming trip? Check out our latest review!

We’d like to thank Richard Bernato at WDW Radio for the glowing review:

I bet that no one, in or out of Walt Disney World has researched and constructed such a study as her Guide to Walt Disney World Dining.

There is virtually no aspect about Disney Dining, planning for it, paying for it, and oh by the way enjoying it, that you will be unable to find in the guide. And having the book for its advice and information will certainly be a major contributor to you and your family’s very happy and satisfying vacation.

You can read the rest of the review here, and don’t miss the DISCOUNT with code WDW Radio!

Learn more about the DFB Guide here!

DFB Food Finds

If you find a fun new food in or from Disney, share a photo with us so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds!

This week, our colleagues at Disney Hipsters shared this spooky pic of a skeleton brownie at The Mara in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge! I haven’t seen this one anywhere else!

Skeleton Brownie at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Updates

The 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is still going strong, and we’re updating our coverage daily with World Showcase booth and special event reviews, new photos, and other Festival updates!

Rose Margarita, The Opening Cocktail at Tequila Lunch

Here’s some of the latest…

Find all of the latest Epcot Food and Wine Festival News and Reviews here, and stay tuned for our take on several seminars and events around the festival.

On to the Round-Up

David Lebovitz shares his perspective on Disneyland Paris eats (including some long-awaited macarons)!

Daveland takes a look at vintage photos of coffee locations in Disneyland before there was Starbucks.

Disney History Institute visits backstage at the vintage Golden Horseshoe in Disneyland.

AKL Resort orders room service at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Main Street Gazette re-visits the 2012 Epcot Food & Wine Festival with an at-home recipe for Frozen Jim Beam Red Stag Lemonade.

Eating (and Drinking) Around the World visits the 2012 Food & Wine Classic at the WDW Swan and Dolphin.

Disney Parks Blog takes us on a behind the scenes look at the Haunted Mansion’s gingerbread house in Disneyland.

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Recipe: Le Cellier’s White Truffle Butter Sauce

It’s almost Epcot Food and Wine Festival time (the best time of the year!). So far, we know the Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booth Menus, and we even know the special events that will be offered at the festival. As we lead up to the big opening day, I’ll be posting reviews and recipes from the main event. Today, we have an incredibly indulgent recipe for you…

2011 Canada Booth

You know that I am a huge fan of Le Cellier Steakhouse in Epcot’s Canada pavilion. And when I go there, I often order the Mushroom Filet Mignon!

This fantastic filet — one of my favorites in Disney restaurants — is topped with a white truffle butter sauce that’s pretty freakin’ awesome. I love it so much that I recently discovered that I can order extra when I’m at the restaurant (and I do)!

Mushroom Filet Mignon with White Truffle Butter Sauce and Micro Chervil

This dish is scheduled to be featured in the Canadian Booth at the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, so I wanted to share a recipe for the sauce so you can make it at home!

If you’ve been dying to try it yourself but don’t have a trip planned, then this is [Read more…]

News! 2013 Disney Dining Plan Pricing and Updates

Details for the 2013 Disney Dining Plans are being unveiled!

You can see updated pricing for the 2013 plans below (thanks to reader Pudge the Fish for this!). And there are price changes as well as clarifications that you need to know about if you’re planning a 2013 trip.

The major stand-out seems to be that Le Cellier in Epcot is listed as two table service credits for both LUNCH and dinner meals.

2013 Disney Dining Plan Pricing

As always, the price has gone up on many of the plans. See calculations below…

Quick-Service Dining Plan
(all year long)
$37.58 per night ages 10 and up
$14.32 per night age 3 to 9

2012 was $34.99 and $11.99.

See more info on the Quick Service Dining Plan page.

Be Our Guest Restaurant will be a new addition on the 2013 Disney Dining Plan

Standard Dining Plan
(Value and Regular Season)
$55.59 per night ages 10 and up
$17.16 per night age 3 to 9

2012 was $51.54 and $15.02.

(Peak Season)
$56.94 per night ages 10 and up
$18.16 per night ages 3 to 9

2012 was $53.54 and $16.02.

Read all about the Standard Dining Plan!

Deluxe Dining Plan
(Value and Regular Season)
$99.97 per night ages 10 and up
$26.84 per night ages 3 to 9

2012 was $85.52 and $23.79.

(Peak Season)
$102.27 per night ages 10 and up
$28.91 per night ages 3 to 9

2012 was $89.52 and $25.79.

We’ve got all the details on our Deluxe Dining Plan page.

Le Cellier Lunch

The 2013 brochure now shows Le Cellier Steakhouse in Epcot as a two table-service credit restaurant for lunch! Since March 2011, the restaurant has been a one-credit location for lunch and a two-credit location for dinner.

Other Clarifications

There have been a few changes made to the Disney Dining Plan brochures for 2013 as well.

Special Dining Events
The brochure this year spells out clearly that “special dining events with special menus offered at certain table-service locations” are not included in the [Read more…]

News! 2012 Candlelight Processional Lunch and Dinner Packages On Sale Now

It’s time!! The Candlelight Processional Dinner Packages are finally on sale!

This coveted ticket provides guests with a lunch or dinner meal at select Epcot restaurants and guaranteed seating to the popular Candlelight Processional holiday spectacular.

At the event, the Christmas story is told by a celebrity narrator while a 50-piece orchestra and choir accompany the re-telling. The event is held on select nights from November 23 – December 30, 2012, in the American Gardens Theatre at Disney World’s Epcot.

Package Details

The package includes your choice of an appetizer, entree, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverage or 1 full buffet from the restaurant’s menu. Guests also have access to an special Illuminations Fireworks viewing area.

Prices [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…]

Top 5 Disney Dining Plan One-Credit Table-Service Values for 2012

Now that you’ve booked your 2012 Disney World vacation, it’s time to make your Advance Dining Reservations. Which restaurants are credit-worthy?

The vacation package add-on called the Disney Dining Plan is a meal plan with a set price in exchange for a certain number of credits. Many table-service meals in Disney World cost one credit, but are you getting the best value?

Stick to the one-credit restaurants, order the most expensive meal on the menu, and maximize your savings! Let’s get to my top picks for best value at “one table-service credit” Walt Disney World restaurants. I think some of them will surprise you!

Criteria Used

When we looked at values, our main criteria was price. These restaurants offer a great bang for your buck when paying with the Disney Dining Plan.

We also looked at enjoyment level and food quality, but these criteria were secondary and tertiary to cost. Note that these aren’t necessarily our favorite restaurants, but they are good values for one Disney Dining Plan credit.

Tutto Italia

Tucked into the Italian pavilion at Epcot, Tutto Italia Ristorante boasts regional cuisines from Italy in an Old World setting. Table service is attentive, although the fine-dining atmosphere can lead to longer waits.

This restaurant serves up a Roasted Rack and Leg of Lamb ($34) as an entree. End your meal with Copetta Sotto Boscue, a dessert specialty comprised of berries, zabaglione cream, gelato, and chocolate sauce, which has an out-of-pocket price of $14. When both of these items are ordered, Tutto Italia becomes quite possibly your best one-credit table-service value in Walt Disney World.

There’s also a Veal Roast which would run you $31 out-of-pocket but… perfectly worth one dining credit!

Veal

Tutto Italia is closed for refurbishment until [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…]

Best Disney Soups

We threw out an inquiry asking for favorite Disney soups and got back a crockful of great ideas! Soups are satisfying meals and hearty snacks and can really warm you up on a chilly park day. Disney’s been working overtime creating memorable ones!

The Best Disney Soups

Thanks to our DFB readers and Facebook Friends for sharing their soup suggestions via the Disney Food Blog Facebook page!

Gorgonzola Onion Soup with Pear and Bacon Garnish at Grand Floridian Cafe

The hands down favorite soup mentioned was the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup at Epcot’s Le Cellier. Honorable mentions go to the soup selection at Boma and the French Onion Soup at Les Chefs de France.

Let’s take a look at the winners, then drool over the runners-up and a few of my own new favorites!

Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup

Made with Moosehead beer and bacon, the Canadian Cheddar Cheese soup is one of the reasons you should secure a coveted reservation at Le Cellier!

Sooth your soup craving and try the Cheddar Cheese Soup recipe at home.

Cheddar Cheese Soup at Le Cellier Steakhouse

Kathy B. exclaims “It is the BOMB!!!”

Margaret C. even has a cost-saving tip. She suggests [Read more…]