Disney Food Blog FAQ: How Much Should I Budget for the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival?

It’s here! I can hardly believe it, but the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is finally underway!

Food and Wine Tips Graphic 1

The fun officially kicked off on September 14 and runs until November 14. That’s more than eight weeks of savoring all that this special event has to offer! And we had so much fun eating and drinking along the Promenade to discover our Best of the Fest dishes and drinks to recommend!

But of course, you can’t forget the tons of events that take place during the Festival. From Low Cost Events like Culinary Demonstrations and Beverage Seminars to high end Special Events like Party for the Senses, there’s so much to do at every turn. But here’s the catch — nearly all of it comes with a pricetag.

So that, of course, begs the question: how in the World do you plan for the Food Lover Trip of the Year?

We get it! So we’re here for you with some great tips for Budgeting for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. And if you like what you see, be sure to check out our 2016 DFB Guide to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, completely updated with everything you can expect to enjoy at this year’s event!

The Food and Wine Festival is HERE! But it can be pricey...

The Food and Wine Festival is HERE! But it can be pricey…

How Much Money Should I Budget For a Day at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival?

Well, the answer to that is…it totally depends! [Read more…]

Recommended Disney Dining Plan One-Credit Restaurant Values

We previously shared with you our picks for the Best Disney Dining Plan Value in Disney Signature Dining. Today, we continue our series exploring which Disney Restaurants offer the best value for your Disney Dining Plan credits!

Disney Dining Plan One Credit Recommendations

One of the biggest questions that we get here at DFB is whether or not the Disney Dining Plan is a good deal. To begin answering the question, we armed ourselves with calculators and menus and ran the numbers to see which spots had the most expensive average entrees.

But it’s more than that, isn’t it? I mean, no matter how much the average check runs, if the food or the atmosphere doesn’t appeal to you and yours, it won’t be a good value, no matter how you slice it.

With the calculations in mind, we were curious to determine which One-Credit Disney Table Service Restaurants offered the best deal or value price-wise — but also could be recommended by the experts here at DFB for atmosphere and food quality. All of the restaurants that we considered are One-Credit spots, meaning they’ll require just one credit to dine with the Disney Dining Plan.

Here are our picks for the restaurants that give you the best overall bang for your Disney Dining Plan buck when it comes to single credit table service spots.

Best Friends Character Breakfast at ‘Ohana

When we set out to determine which one-credit restaurants offered you the most in terms of sheer cost, one trend emerged immediately: you can’t go wrong by spending your credit on a Character Meal.

Mickey at 'Ohana

We Can’t Resist Eating with this Guy!

And with only one exception (Cinderella’s Royal Table), all Disney World character meals require only one DDP table service credit.

And while character meals are not one size fits all — you should definitely check out our tips before booking one — they’re for sure an experience everyone can enjoy with a little planning.

As for our favorite, this year we are really enjoying character meals that are served family-style like ‘Ohana’s breakfast. These include Garden Grill at Epcot, which you can now book for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

Chip

Chip n’ Dale Visit with You During Meals at Epcot’s Garden Grill

Or enjoy the Princesses at Akershus. You can still enjoy the koldtbord selections and all you care to eat, but meals come plated.

Princess Cinderella at Akershus in Epcot's Norway

Princess Cinderella at Akershus in Epcot’s Norway

But my favorite remains the Best Friends Character Breakfast at ‘Ohana. For a combination of cute characters (Mickey in a Hawaiian Shirt, and Lilo is awesome!) and delicious food, it just can’t be beat.

Mickey Waffles!

Mickey Waffles!

And while buffets are great for a bounty of offerings, sometimes it’s nice to sit back and let the food come to you — especially if there’s a baby or toddler along for the ride.

Boma

Hot on the heels of character meals though, you should probably also consider other buffets or all you care to enjoy service formats if you’re truly interested in “getting your money’s worth”.

Boma Buffet

Boma Buffet

Boma at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge doesn’t offer characters — but I don’t see that as a bad thing. The food here is  interesting and delicious. Don’t miss the Soups or the Carving Stations at Dinner! (Here’s the recipe for that killer Coconut Curry Chicken Stew!) Breakfast offers some great pastries and more.

Breakfast Pastries from one of our favorite buffets -- Boma in Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge!

Breakfast Pastries from one of our favorite buffets — Boma in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge!

Then of course, there’s the Zebra Domes. :-)

Zebra Dome

Zebra Dome Yum

The restaurant serves breakfast and dinner, and we’ve enjoyed both. And because Boma doesn’t feature characters, I find the ambiance to be a little more relaxing as a result.

But don’t forget spots that offer all you care to enjoy, but do the heavy lifting for you. If you wish that everyday was Thanksgiving Day (but without the clean up!), then make your advance dining reservation for Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom. Besides getting a hearty helping of history, you’ll also see endless platters of Turkey with all the trimmings.

The Full Spread!

The Full Dinner Spread at Liberty Tree Tavern!

And that is truly something to be thankful for.

Be Our Guest Dinner

But if you’re looking to spend those credits wisely, then don’t leave Magic Kingdom just yet. Because any Disney Food Bucket Lister will tell ya — you’ve gotta book dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant at least once.

Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom

Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom

For starters, this spot is truly magical. If you’ve ever wanted to tumble through a movie screen and join in the action, this is your chance to do it, as Beast’s Castle has been reproduced in painstaking detail.

Want to see the last petal drop at Be Our Guest Restaurant? Planning ahead is key!

The Enchanted Rose in the West Wing

But then, there are some pretty great reasons to eat here as well. Of course, the menu is French-inspired. We’ve tried pretty much everything, and give high marks to the Potato Leek Soup, the Pork Chop, and of course, the Grilled Strip Steak!

Grilled Strip Steak

Grilled Strip Steak

And if you enjoy a glass of wine or a beer with dinner, take advantage of ordering one here — the only spot in Magic Kingdom where you can enjoy this indulgence.

Chimay Blue at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Chimay Blue at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Choosing Dessert may be tough. We enjoyed most of the options, but the Master’s “Grey Stuff” dessert will be the most high-profile.

Les Chefs de France

What’s that? You’d like to go to the REAL France?

Well, I can’t deliver that to you at Disney, but I can get you pretty close to the real deal. If you travel over the Epcot, that is. When you get there, head to World Showcase for some of the best spots to spend those table service credits.

Front of Les Chefs de France at Night -- Isn't It Amazing??

Beautiful Les Chefs de France in Epcot’s France Pavilion

While many of the restaurants in this international village boast steep pricetags, we love some better than others. And in terms of beautiful atmosphere and consistently delicious food, Les Chefs de France gets a gold star from me.

I know, I know. Epcot international dining can be less than authentic. But all of the restaurants in the France Pavilion are owned by the Bocuse Group, and I’ve enjoyed lots of fare that reminded me of my time traveling as a student through France and Switzerland.

A la flamme Alsacienne

A la flamme Alsacienne

Service can be slow and reserved. But the restaurant offers a beautiful setting.

Teppan Edo

But as I mentioned, you aren’t limited merely to France in Epcot. There’s a whole world out there, of course. When it comes to fun and value, consider Teppan Edo.

Teppan Edo in Epcot's Japan Pavilion

Teppan Edo in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion

This Japanese Habachi-style experience is as much food theatre as it is eating. The chefs here are wonderful at all of the tricks that you might expect to see in a Japanese steakhouse. We especially like the fire-based ones. :-)

And the food is bountiful. While I’m partial to ordering the Steak, I also love the combos here. Steak and Chicken or Steak and Shrimp give you the opportunity to enjoy different textures and flavors.

Steak and Chicken at Teppan Edo

Steak and Chicken at Teppan Edo

And with bountiful sides, I guarantee you won’t leave the table hungry.

And there you have it! With so many varied experiences, flavors, and settings, it’s hard to go wrong with Disney Dining. But you won’t go wrong if you decide to try a few of our favorite one-credit options!

2016 book cover dfb guide

Ready for All of Our Best Tips?

We’ve got TONS of Disney World Dining Tips — including LOTS of restaurant suggestions for your every need — in our big, bold 2016 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining!

With more than 530 pagesThe DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining is full of tips and planning tools developed by Disney World experts over 20+ years of visits. We’ve done the research for you, so you’ll know just which spots will uniquely suit your family’s needs!

With sample dining itineraries, plus our “Disney Dining at a Glance” section, featuring “Where Can I Find?” options, you’ll have everything you need to plan your best vacation yet. Click here to get your copy of The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining E-book — and use code HAPPYPLACE for an extra $4 discount for a limited time!

Now, I’d love to hear from all of you guys! What are your best picks for value when it comes to DDP one credit table service spots? Leave a comment with your favorites!

Review: Les Chefs De France in Epcot’s France Pavilion

We are enjoying a leisurely lunch today at Les Chefs de France, the table service restaurant in Epcot’s France Pavilion.

This iconic eatery has been the location of many happy meals and memories for me through the years. But as with other Disney spots, it’s always good to check in occasionally. Disney restaurants can be wildly inconsistent; a place that’s spot-on during one meal can go south the next time you visit. So I always make it a priority to check back in at all of Disney restaurants to see if they’ve gotten better or worse, and to show you what they’re serving up lately. You get to choose if they’re worth your time and money.

Let’s go. :-)

Atmosphere

I have very early memories of this restaurant. When you walk by at night, it just looks so cozy inside! And it’s honestly beautiful any time of day.

Les Chefs de France in Epcot

Les Chefs de France in Epcot

Little has changed here since the restaurant first opened when the park did. But that’s ok. Because the whole point here is to look like a classic French bistro that you’d find in Paris. And it really, really fits the bill. [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: March 22, 2015

It’s been a stellar week for Disney food fans! After months of speculation, Disney not only confirmed that Be Our Guest Restaurant would begin service breakfastbreakfast service began before the week was out!

Be Our Guest in the First Light of Morning

Be Our Guest in the First Light of Morning

Currently in a “testing phase” through June 18, we enjoyed our very first early morning trip to the Beast’s castle this week! While we’ve offered you a First Look at just what breakfast is about, we’ll have more details for you in our full review on Monday.

For now, let’s take a close look at all of the interesting news that we’ve brought you this week. Just click on the links to see more detail about each item.

Disney Food News

Check out all the latest Disney Food News — even the stuff we don’t mention in posts on the blog! — on our Disney Food News Pin Board, including Restaurant Closure Updates, Special Events at Disney Restaurants, Seasonal Pop-Up Food Stands, and more!

We’ve got all the latest for you, so check it out before you go.

DFB Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other edible awesomeness — in or about Disney, share a photo with us on facebook or twitter so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

Today, we’re featuring delicious reader finds from the France Pavilion in Walt Disney World’s Epcot!

We can never resist a trip through Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie, and apparently, reader Kristina Dennett agrees wholeheartedly. Check out her delicious assortment of French Pastries! Do you think she’ll share? ;-)

Les Halles Goodies

Les Halles Goodies

When it’s time for coffee, nothing beats a well-crafted Cappuccino. Reader Zara Agnew’s husband ordered one at Les Chefs de France, and it was topped with this beautiful heart. Froth art is the best!

Cappuccino with Love from Les Chefs de France

Cappuccino with Love from Les Chefs de France

Do you have a favorite Disney Food find? Share your photos with us!

The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2015

We recently launched The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2015 e-Book! This valuable resource is fully updated for 2015-16 Disney vacations, and is now available for purchase and download to help you make the most of your dining plans while in Disney World.

dfb2015_guide_3d

The fully updated DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2015 e-Book is an instantly downloadable PDF guide, featuring over 490 full-color pages of photographs, information, and advice about our favorite subjects — food and dining in Walt Disney World.

It’s guaranteed to help you navigate your way to delicious dining on your next trip! And if you’re ready to get yours now, head on over to DFBStore.com to pick it up!!

For our Grand Launch Sale, use code: 2015 to get a $4 discount for a limited time! And at the end of this post, we have details on even more savings!

Note: If you purchased the 2014 Guide last year, scroll down for details on repeat purchase discounts.

Here’s Just Some Of What You Get With Our 2015 Guide:

[Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Gorgeous Desserts!

It’s always so fun to check out the great photos that our members post on the Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza, our Flickr group. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, head over there! We think a virtual trip to Disney is a great way to take a break from your busy day. :-)

And today, we are all about just a few of the beautiful dessert options that you have all over the Disney Universe!

Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake at Liberty Tree Tavern -- One of My Favorites!

Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake at Liberty Tree Tavern — One of My Favorites!

Let’s take a trip to some awesome Disney restaurants and lounges today for the latest installment in our Disney Food Pics of the Week Series!

Banana Kulfi from Sanaa

Photographer: Matthew Cackett

Anytime I can dine at Sanaa in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, I am so there! Located in Kidani Village, it’s a hidden gem with some of the most wonderful food I’ve ever had at Disney (ahem. Butter Chicken.) Desserts are delish, too! Try the Banana Kulfi if you make it here for a meal and it’s on the menu.

Banana Kulfi from Sanaa at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Banana Kulfi from Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Profiteroles au Chocolat at Chefs de France

Photographer: Imsoscared

Can’t make it to Paris but you already have your trip to Walt Disney World planned? Then you’re golden. Because a trip to Les Chefs de France in the France Pavilion will positively transport you to the City of Lights. And the perfect sweet ending to a meal there is the Profiteroles au Chocolat. I can’t resist having them!

Profiteroles au Chocolat from Les Chefs de France

Profiteroles au Chocolat from Les Chefs de France

Minnie Parfait, Dreamers Lounge, Tokyo Disneyland Hotel

Photographer: Duke68012

I haven’t been to Tokyo Disneyland — YET! Give [Read more…]

Guest Review: Dinner at Les Chefs de France in Epcot

Join us in welcoming guest author Eric Lane! Today, he’s sharing a review of Les Chefs de France in Walt Disney World’s Epcot. Bon Appetit!

Based on its location and consistently solid food quality it’s no wonder that Les Chefs is one of the most popular establishments in Epcot.

Atmosphere

Sitting right on the promenade of World Showcase Lagoon, Chefs de France is a prominent restaurant. Built to replicate a French bistro, the large open interior is fronted by a long, glass sunroom. Those walking along the World Showcase Lagoon can see the diners all the way in the back, and those in the back can see all of those walking by.

Les Chefs de France Window Tables

Our reservation was at 8:50PM and a positively bubbly maître d’ seated us right in the middle of the sunroom window. Seats against the glass were for two, we were one row away from the window. Because the whole restaurant is an open room, you can see all the waiters, everyone getting up and down, and all the people walking outside.

Les Chefs de France Back Sunroom at Night

A large floodlight outside provided an amber warmth that calmed all the hustle and bustle.

Front of Les Chefs de France at Night

We ate as the restaurant closed and slowly cleared until it was just our table and about 5 others when we were finished at 9:45PM.

Eats

Since we were at a French restaurant I decided to start with the French onion soup. The cheese was a little sharper than I thought it would be, which caught me off guard. Although unexpected it added a welcome bite to the flavor. The onion and beef flavors were much more subtle, but the cheese didn’t overpower them.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

Another unusual touch was that I got the heel of the bread, which made it a little difficult to cut out a good hunk of bread with my spoon. Overall good, but not enough to stop me from sampling another appetizer next time I eat here.

The next dish was the ungainly titled “Filet de Saumon, pommes de terre ecrasess, au buerre et chboulette, sur coulis de tomate et poivron rouge.” That was the bold faced name of the dish, but instead of saying it while ordering or the direct English translation of “broiled salmon, smashed potatoes with butter and chives, served on a tomato and red pepper sauce” I was able to get away with just asking for the salmon filet. I appreciated that the sauce was not served on the salmon, but placed on the plate before the potatoes and salmon. It let me dip the salmon in the slightly spicy sauce and get just the right amount on the fish for my taste.

Salmon

Salmon

The salmon itself was perfectly cooked and seasoned with a little black pepper and just enough other spices to bring out the flavor of the fish. The potatoes were simple and added nothing of note to the dish other than a starch. It was a good, straightforward main course. (Note; the accompaniments on this dish have changed on the menu since the review was written.)

My friend, who despite not being a foodie is my BDFF (best Disney friend forever), had the baked macaroni with cream and gruyere cheese. She enjoyed it but I absolutely loved it. Flavorful, simple, and among the best [Read more…]

You Know You’re Eating in Disney World If… (Part Three!)

We had a lot of fun with our first two sets of “You Know You’re Eating in Disney World if…” posts, and we couldn’t help putting together one more! (Check out “You Know You’re Eating in Disney World When… Part I“, and “You Know You’re Eating in Disney World When… Part 2!”)

Read on to find out how dining in Disney World might be a little bit different than your typical mealtime!

Are any of the items on our list ringing your bell? Let us know in the comments how you know that –

You Know You’re Eating in Disney World If…

1. You buy the popcorn just to get the container.

Because Everybody needs a little Dumbo purse. Right?

DUMBO!!!!

Style with Dumbo

2. You see a rat in the restaurant…and you want to take a picture with it.

Everybody say, “Cheeeeeeze!” (What? Too much?)

Mickey!!!

Mickey!!!

3. You can have beer in three different countries — before noon.

Oh Epcot. How we love [Read more…]

Disney Recipe: Gratin de Macaroni from Les Chefs de France in Epcot

Macaroni and Cheese — that glorious food that is both side dish and main dish.

But one of my favorite grown up versions is the baked Gratin de Macaroni at Les Chefs de France in Epcot’s France Pavilion.

The dish is so well loved that it’s even made its way onto the menu over the years for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival in the France Marketplace Booth. Will it make the cut for the 2014 Food and Wine Festival? Only time will tell!

But for the mac and cheese lover, this dish has everything! Sharp, tangy Gruyère cheese, golden crust, and it’s plenty big enough to share — if you want to! (Confession: Usually I don’t want to.)

But what are you to do if your next advance dining reservation for this wonderful spot is months off, and you’re craving some of this awesomeness, like, yesterday???

Gratin de Macaroni at Les Chefs de France

Gratin de Macaroni at Les Chefs de France

Why, make it at home, of course! Because with this recipe, the cheesy power is in your hands.

Gratin de Macaroni

Les Chefs de France

Ingredients: [Read more…]

Six Secret Disney Dining Deals

Everyone’s looking to save money and to wring just a little bit more enjoyment out of their Disney dollars. We’re right there with you!

Six Secret Disney Dining Deals

So today, we’re bringing you the details on some of our favorite Disney Dining Deals!

These little-known tricks and tips could save you big on your next Disney World vacation, so let’s get planning!

Prix-Fixe Menus

One of my favorite ways to save a little dough around Disney World is by taking advantage of Prix-Fixe Meals — specialty multi-course menus that let you choose from a variety of the restaurant’s popular dishes for a discounted price.  While you’ll find them here and there in a number of places, lots of Epcot World Showcase restaurants offer them.

For real savings, check out the prix-fixe offering at Les Chefs de France in the France Pavilion.

This beautiful spot is one of my favorite places to dine in all of Disney World anyway, so saving money is a great perk.

Les Chefs de France in Epcot

Les Chefs de France in Epcot

Prix-Fixe Menu at Les Chefs de France -- Click to Enlarge

Prix-Fixe Menu at Les Chefs de France — Click to Enlarge

When you compare the price with the a la carte prices for each item, you can really see the savings!

Appetizers -- Click to Enlarge

Appetizers — Click to Enlarge

Entrees -- Click to Enlarge

Entrees — Click to Enlarge

With desserts set at $8.99, that’s a $7 savings!

Enjoy fan favorites, like Bisque de Homard and the Croque Monsieur. And you have your pick of dessert! We love the Profiteroles here!

Save Room for the Profiteroles!

We Pick Profiteroles!

The savings are a little slimmer at [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: Top 5 Disney Dining Plan One-Credit Values for 2014

Now that you’ve booked your 2014 Disney World vacation, it’s time to make your Advance Dining Reservations.

Top5DisneyDiningPlanOneCreditTableServiceValuesfor2014

But which restaurants are worthy of your precious Disney Dining Plan credits?

What’s the DDP? The vacation package add-on called the Disney Dining Plan is a pre-purchased meal plan. Based on the plan you choose, you’ll receive a certain number of credits to be utilized during your Disney stay. (Remember your college meal plan? Yeah; it’s kinda like that!)

Many table-service meals in Disney World cost one credit per person, but are you getting the best value?

If you reeeeeeally want to get your money’s worth, stick to the one-credit restaurants, order the most expensive meal on the menu, and maximize your savings! Let’s get to the DFB guide’s top picks for best value at “one table-service credit” Walt Disney World restaurants.

Remember: this is primarily based on food cost, but we have taken atmosphere and food quality into consideration a bit as well. We don’t want you eating at a bad restaurant, after all. ;-)

Tutto Italia

Offering regional specialties, Tutto Italia is located in Epcot’s Italy pavilion. With dinner entrees costing about $30, and a pricey dessert topping $13, your one meal here is a great use of a table service dining credit!

Braised Meatballs and Shortrib

Braised Meatballs and Shortrib

Kouzzina

Kouzzina features Mediterranean cuisine showcased on a menu created by Celebrity Chef Cat Cora. A dinner at this BoardWalk restaurant can be costly. With a $35 grilled steak entree and $10 desserts (Baklava!!), Kouzzina is a smart choice for your dining credit use!

Baklava Dessert Close-Up

Baklava Dessert at Kouzzina

Teppan Edo

Teppan Edo is a fun Hibachi restaurant in Epcot’s Japan pavilion. Order the $32 Filet Mignon and a dessert at $5-7 to make the most of your table service credit.

Steak and chicken

Steak and chicken at Teppan Edo

Les Chefs de France

Located in Epcot’s France pavilion, Les Chefs de France serves up delicious cuisine. Dinner entrees cost $20-35 with desserts about $9 each. Use your table service credit here for a memorable meal.

Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee at Chefs de France

Rainforest Cafe

While Rainforest Cafe gets mixed reviews, [Read more…]