What’s New Around Walt Disney World: November 18th, 2014

Ready for another trip around the World? We’re heading to three parks and a few resorts to check out holiday treats, gingerbread feats, and new menu eats! And which Counter Service location is now serving up steak? Just read on to find out and see What’s New!


Red and green aren’t the only colors taking over Disney World now that the holiday season has launched around here… hues of blue decorate the festive snacks at this year’s brand new “Frozen” Gingerbread Display at the Contemporary Resort!

Contemporary Resort Gingerbread Display

Contemporary Resort Gingerbread Display

We tried the Blue Raspberry Cake Gelato

Blue Raspberry Cake Gelato

Blue Raspberry Cake Gelato

Read our review and see all the other treats available at the new display here!

Get ready for all your favorite Disney World bakery items (we’re talking Krispy Treats, Candy Apples, and Mickey Macarons) to be dressed up for the holiday season in spots like the Main Street Confectionery, Seashore Sweets, and Big Top Treats.

Holiday Bakery Case

Holiday Bakery Case

Ornament Candy Apples

Ornament Candy Apples

More candy apples!

More candy apples!

Holiday cupcakes

Holiday cupcakes

Red and Green Mickey Macarons

Red and Green Mickey Macarons

And now let’s look into some ways the Parks are getting into the [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: February 13, 2011

It’s hearts week in the USA as Valentine’s Day approaches! Happy Hearts Day everyone! In Disney food news, we’ve got a few interesting tidbits to share:

And now, on to the round-up!

WDW for Grownups has compiled some great Disney World dining tips from their facebook fans.

Progress City USA shares the news about a new book, Four Decades of Magic: Celebrating the First Forty Years of Disney World, written by some extraordinary Disney historians and bloggers.

Main Street Gazette heads to Yak & Yeti in Disney’s Animal Kingdom (and doesn’t quite [Read more…]

A Cozy Meal at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano

This post is in honor of StudiosCentral.com‘s “Disney’s Hollywood Studios Awareness Week,” so…be aware! ;-)

Mama Melrose Lobby Decor

I’ve mentioned on the blog before before that I’ve never truly understood the theme of Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. According to the storyline, Mama Melrose came to the United States from Italy, but wanted to become a Hollywood star. Moving to California, she didn’t “make it” as an actress, so she opened a restaurant, decorated it as a shrine to all things Hollywood, and started serving her Italian family favorites.

So, although the story is a bit thin for Disney in my opinion, it’s still fun to wander around the restaurant to see how they’ve carried off the Italy-meets-California theme. The dark wood and red [Read more…]

Fantasmic! Lunch Dining Packages Announced

Disney World has extended their popular Fantasmic! Dining Packages into the lunch hours! Lunch packages with reserved seating at the show are now available at The Hollywood Brown Derby and Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. Here are the details:

  • Packages can be booked on all dates when Fantasmic! is scheduled
  • Guests should arrive 30-45 minutes prior to the show time to take advantage of their designated seating
  • When there are two performances on the same night, the package is valid for the first performance only
  • Make reservations by calling (407) WDW-DINE (939-3463) up to 180 days in advance
  • Don’t forget to pick up your VIP voucher for Fantasmic! at the end of the meal

Source: Disney Parks Blog

Disney Food Post Round-Up: March 14th, 2010

Epcot Morocco Baklava

Epcot Morocco Baklava

I’m trying out something new this week, guys. Every once in a while, I’m going to use a relevant pic other than my standard “Eat Here” photo into the Weekly Round-Up. Hopefully this’ll be fun. :-) Now, on to the round-up!

To start out, here’s some cool NEWS!!: Have you heard about Chef Cat Cora’s book-signing and cooking demo in Orlando next weekend? Check out the specs here!

Touring Plans has a guest blog by yours truly all about the Monorail Crawl — a fun way to experience the lounges at the Monorail Resorts.

StudiosCentral analyzes prices at Disney’s Hollywood Studios restaurants to determine whether or not the restaurants are a good value cost-wise.

DisneyGeek shares his incredible pics, including several food photos, from Disneyland’s D23 Anniversary Event! Keep scrolling through after the linked page to see more.

The Plain Chicken has developed her very own recipe for the Butterfinger Cupcake from Disney’s Hollywood Studios Starring Rolls Cafe. We’re thrilled that she first heard about the delicious confection right here on our blog!

Imaginerding takes a look at Minnie Mouse’s bookshelves — with a special look at her cookbooks!

Babes in Disneyland has a pic of some Cheshire Cat-tail Candy in Disneyland! I totally missed this post last week, but I’m hoping they’re still there!

EverythingWDW does a Q&A about the newest Disney World dining plan — the Quick Service Dining Plan.

Tasty Chomps is tempting me with photos of the baklava…and other good stuff…from Tangierine Cafe in Epcot’s Morocco.

Watch Me Eat visits Epcot’s Club Cool.

The Disney Parks Blog shares the news that Disney World chefs were in the White House this week cooking for the Greek Prime Minister!

Deb Wills from AllEarsNet tweeted the following pic of Flame Tree Barbecue’s new queue line.

Chip and Co shares a review of breakfast at Epcot’s Akershus Restaurant. This one’s especially good for those of you who have little princesses.

Disney Every Day visits the Main Street Bakery for breakfast. Yum-o cinnamon rolls!

DisUnplugged‘s Culinary Quest family compares and contrasts Disneyland Resort’s Rancho del Zocalo and Cocina Cucamonga. I love the venn diagram at the end!

In The Daily Disney from the Orlando Sentinel, food writer Heather McPherson highlights the recipe for the oh-so-tempting Chocolate Crusted Key-Lime Pie from the Grand Floridian Cafe. If anyone wants to make this and send it to me, feel free.

Disney Food Post Round-Up: February 21, 2010

Eat hereIt’s been a busy week, everyone! Just in case you missed them, here are a couple of headlines from the Disney Food Blog in the past few days: highlights from the Dinner:Impossible visit to Walt Disney World last week, and the options for foodies at the upcoming Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.

Also, check out Touring Plans for an analysis I did on whether Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ restaurants are a good value.

Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide reports that the preliminary list for the James Beard Award in the Best Chef Category includes Victoria and Albert’s Chef Scott Hunnel.

Orlando United shares some photos of WDW’s Crystal Palace with the refurb walls down.

DLRP Today reports that Disneyland Resort Paris’ Pizza Planet will become a Buzz Lightyear Buffet.

The Disney Chick takes you through the creation of one of my favorite Disney World desserts, Liberty Tree Tavern’s Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake.

DisneyShawn gives a peek into the imagineering of Mrs. Potts’ Cupboard and the Friar’s Nook in WDW’s Magic Kingdom.

Disney Parks Blog shares a dessert recipe from the Saratoga Springs’ Turf Club Restaurant.

AllEarsNet has a gorgeous photo-blog from Nine Dragons Restaurant in Epcot’s China.

Main Street Gazette writes about the Yakitori House in Epcot’s Japan.

DisUnplugged brings us to the Troubadour Tavern in Disneyland.

The Daily Disney from Orlando Sentinel shares a Coconut Curried Chicken Stew recipe from Boma at WDW’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Have a great week!

Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano

Tucked into the back of Disney’s Hollywood Studios is Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano, an Italian restaurant with a very special theme.

Mama Melrose Sign

What is the theme, you ask? “Where Italy meets California in the heart of the Backlot,” of course. What does that mean? Well… most of us don’t really know or understand what it means… but here’s the general backstory: Mama Melrose moved from Italy to Hollywood to pursue acting, but was persuaded by friends to open a restaurant instead. (At least, this is one of the stories I’ve heard.)

So the kitschy “Italian home-cooking” restaurant — which would be at home in New York City’s Little Italy with its checked tablecloths, mis-matched furniture, and pizza oven — is (strangely) augmented by scads of Hollywood memorabilia from Mama’s collection. [Read more…]

Hidden Mickeys in Disney Restaurants

The research for this blog began when I noticed a hidden Mickey tucked into a chair at Boma during my Animal Kingdom Lodge Culinary Tour; it’s been all downhill from there! Of course, thanks to all of the Facebook fans and twitter followers who responded to my call for “food-related hidden Mickeys” back in October!

Where possible (and if necessary), I’ve tried to include a photo of the Mickey and a photo of the surrounding area so that it’s easier to find. Not possible with all, unfortunately…

Here we go:

Liberty Tree Tavern in the Magic Kingdom
This was one of my earlier findings, and it’s definitely one of my favorites. You can find it on one of the decorative wooden racks in the lobby of Liberty Tree Tavern — it’s to the right and toward the back as you walk into the lobby.

Blueberry Hidden Mickey at Liberty Tree Tavern

Blueberry Hidden Mickey at Liberty Tree Tavern

Decorative Rack Containing Blueberry Hidden Mickey

Decorative Rack Containing Blueberry Hidden Mickey

Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge
Ah, the original! I’m not sure if this even qualifies as “hidden,” but I liked it! Some chairs have it, and some chairs don’t — cross your fingers that you get a good one!

Boma Hidden Mickey in Chair

Boma Hidden Mickey in Chair

TRex in Downtown Disney
One of Disney’s newer restaurants (stay tuned for my review, coming soon!), TRex includes a moving (yep–moving) Octopus Bar. Look closely at the tentacles, and you’ll see what I saw…

Tentacle Hidden Mickey at TRex

Tentacle Hidden Mickey at TRex

A Wider Shot of the Octopus Bar for Context

A Wider Shot of the Octopus Bar for Context

Beaches and Cream at the Beach Club Resort
My Dad found this one, but was assured that it’s authentic! It was also mentioned on facebook (Thanks, Kristina!) as a fan favorite! Look up and to the right as you enter the restaurant to see this onion ring hidden Mickey in the decorative border.

Onion Ring Hidden Mickey at Beaches and Cream

Onion Ring Hidden Mickey at Beaches and Cream

Context Shot for Beaches and Cream Hidden Mickey

Context Shot for Beaches and Cream Hidden Mickey

Goofy’s Candy Company in Downtown Disney
OK, this isn’t technically a restaurant, but you can get some pretty good noms here anyway! NOTE: You can also spot this hidden Mickey in the decor around the Goofy’s Candy Company section of MouseGears in Epcot! (Psst…look closely and you’ll see even more hidden characters…)

Hidden Mickey at Goofy's Candy Company

Hidden Mickey at Goofy's Candy Company

The Rest of the Hidden Characters at Goofy's Candy Company

The Rest of the Hidden Characters at Goofy's Candy Company

Reader Favorites
Thanks again to those who answered the call! Here are some reader-suggested food-related hidden Mickeys!

@aryssabrooke from Twitter
At Behind the Seeds tour at Epcot, you can see how they make Mickey shaped pumpkins and watermelons.

@ArmandNoUsagi from Twitter
I have to say my favorite is at Teppan Edo, When the chef makes a Mickey volcano out of an onion.

Allison Palmer-Gleicher from Facebook
The bread Mickey head in Tony’s — over by the Lady and the Tramp picture behind the fountain.

Tinker Kell from Facebook
My favorite one is on the dog statue near the check-in desk at Mama Melrose’s.

Calling All Hidden Mickey Spotters!
I know for a fact that I haven’t seen nearly all of the Disney dining hidden Mickeys, so I hope you can help me out! Contact me via twitter, facebook, or email with a photo or remembrance of your favorite food-related hidden Mickey, and I’ll add it to this blog. The blog itself will be placed (with great honor) in the special posts section in the right-hand column so that you can keep tabs on the updates.

WDW Moms Panelists Consider: What Are Some Underrated Disney World Restaurants?

Here’s our third post in the Walt Disney World Moms Panel mini-series! You’ve met some of the moms and heard about their most magical Disney dining moments and their thoughts about the best dining values in Disney World. Today we get to hear what restaurants the moms think might not grab the spotlight as much as they should…

From Mom Erin F.

The Wave Trio of Desserts

The Wave Trio of Desserts

The Wave – really nice stuff and good wine flights. Good tasting desserts, and they have really lovely food.

Another one that I tried – Raglan Road – had really delicious food. And I was very pleasantly surprised by the food on the plate (I had shepherd’s pie). The Strawberry Salad was poppin’ in your mouth delicious. If they can make a basic green salad so tasty, they’ve got something good going on.

From Mom Amber V.

The two places that come to mind are the Grand Floridian Cafe and Maya Grill. I think they both get lost in the shuffle, especially if you aren’t staying at the Grand Floridian or Coronado Springs. When we ate at Maya Grill, we were able to walk up and get a table without an ADR, which was a surprise. We found the menu, service and atmosphere to be really wonderful. The Grand Floridian Cafe is a great choice for a refreshing, light lunch and is also a nice respite from the parks.

From Mom Anna S.

It seems to me that the one restaurant I can ALWAYS get a reservation for is Restaurant Marrakesh at EPCOT, and I love it there. We have had some of the best, most attentive servers of our Disney dining experiences there, and there is never the feeling that you are being rushed so they can turn the tables over. The kids enjoy the music and dancing, and the food is delicious. We eat here at least every other visit.

From Mom Jennifer W.

Flying Fish Cafe! I rarely hear anyone talking about makings ADRs here, and it is one of the best restaurants at WDW! It is a bit on the pricey side but worth every dime. The chef will even come to your table to personally discuss your order if you like. The atmosphere is a calming change from the hustle and bustle of many restaurants and the food is top notch. I highly recommend The Flying Fish to all my friends who are looking for something different at WDW.

From Mom Kara B.

Walt Disney On-Screen at Sci-Fi Dine In

Walt Disney On-Screen at Sci-Fi Dine In

Disney provides a chance to experience something new and exciting around every corner, so often for us a magical Disney experience may be more about the experience rather than the actual food. For example, Sci-Fi is an absolute must see for us every trip, regardless of the constant criticism regarding the food. Stick with hamburgers and milkshakes and all is good (I’ll gladly share that their tofu entree is de-lic-ious!). However for us, it is clearly the atmosphere that makes this restaurant a must-do. In the middle of a hot trip (we visit in June), escaping into the cool “night” air is so relaxing. The kids sit in the front seat; my husband and I sit in the back. We feel like we are on a date because the kids are shockingly silent watching those campy movies. In fact, the entire restaurant is eerily quiet. Again, total relaxation. And of course, we all get those silly drinks with light-up ice cubes and use them at home for a fun souvenir.

From Mom Joanne M.

1. Fulton’s Crab House, Downtown Disney. Awesome view, fantastic food, and great selection. We love going there for lunch before heading to DisneyQuest. It’s not on the Disney Dining Plan, so we’ve never had a problem getting a table.

2. Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian Resort. The food is great, and where else can you simply turn your head and watch Wishes?

3. Kona Cafe – I have to say I’m not sure that this one is underrated, but I was so pleasantly surprised by the dining experience I have to mention it. The service was fabulous and attentive, menu varied, and great food! And the Kona Kone is the coolest dessert on Disney property!

From Mom Heather R.

In the Magic Kingdom I think the Plaza Restaurant is a real hidden gem. The location is quite convenient, and while the menu is somewhat limited, the food is excellent and the portions are quite large. My Chicken Strawberry Salad was not only delicious, but HUGE – easily shared between two people.

At the Fort Wilderness Resort, the Trail’s End Restaurant serves up home cooking style food at a very reasonable price, and since it’s a buffet (and a reasonably priced one at that!) it offers a good bang for your buck.

The Grand Floridian Cafe (guess where?) is also a real hidden gem. I can’t recommend any one particular standout menu item, but I know that every meal I’ve had there has been very good, service was attentive, and I leave intending to visit again. In a way I like it when that happens, because if I eat somewhere and have a particularly fantastic dish, I’m very likely to never try anything else! It’s good to branch out. :)

From Mom Whitney P.

Where do I begin? The Boardwalk Pizza take-out window is one of the best values, with a pepperoni pizza slice at $3.99! Its crust is like no other pizza on property! My indulgence is opening packet after packet of parmesan cheese and topping it off. I like to eat it outside at one of the nearby tables and people-watch. That, with a view of the water, is a great dining experience whether you’re alone or with your family.

If you’re looking for night-life, I recommend Kimono’s at the Swan. I’m a fan of karaoke and can sing with the best of them–from the comfort of my seat! It has the most extensive sushi menu on property, in my opinion, and if no one has the guts to get on the small stage and belt something out, you can sing along with the evening’s hostess.

From Mom Jo Y.

My family love Kona Cafe at the Poly, last trip I had the most delicious steak there, I much preferred it to Le Cellier and recommend it to everyone. I love how they have sample desserts on show as you enter the restaurant and if you time it right you can wander down to the beach afterwards to watch Wishes!

From Mom Kim L.

The Paint Room at Backlot Express

The Paint Room at Backlot Express

My family loves to eat at the Backlot Express at Disney’s Hollywood Studios when we are looking for a counter service meal. There’s always a quiet corner with fascinating props to view.

Also, Olivia’s Cafe at Old Key West serves wonderful dishes in a relaxing atmosphere. This is a hidden gem.

From Mom Kay B.

I think one of the most underrated food spots is Citricos. This is an unbelievable restaurant that is constantly being overshadowed by Victoria and Alberts at the Grand Floridian. It is family friendly yet can still be a romantic spot with a table in the inner room by the windows. The food is excellent from appetizers through desserts and the service has always been outstanding. They also have a nice wine room that can be reserved for a little more intimate dinner opportunity.

Another table service restaurant that is often forgotten and shouldn’t be is Artist Point in the Wilderness Lodge. This is another outstanding location for food, service and ambiance.

In the counter service category I would say that Flametree in the Animal Kingdom park is not remembered and this is the one place we will go and not try to get dining reservations because we would all rather just eat at this counter service location. The barbecue is excellent, served in large portions, and then the area to sit in is quiet and relaxing. We take the path down to the lake and sit under the cool trees to catch a breeze on a hot day.

From Dad Doug I.

I think that Biergarten does not get it’s due as a fun dinner venue. While I can think of a few German classics that should be added to the menu, the buffet combines a lot of great choices, as well as some americanized selections for choosy kids. And the entertainment value is a nice plus. Finally, I love that you can meet people in their long table seating arrangements.

I also like San Angel Inn more than most. Having grown up in Mexico City, I think that some of the selections there are more authentic Mexican than you can typically find in the U.S., but it seems to get panned for cuisine, often by guests looking for more Tex-Mex style choices (which I love too!).

From Mom Jodi G.

I think sometimes the resort restaurants are overlooked, and the restaurants at Animal Kingdom Lodge are top-notch.  Jiko, in particular, is my favorite restaurant on property.

Sleepy Hollow's Homemade Ice Cream Sandwich

Sleepy Hollow's Homemade Ice Cream Sandwich

From Mom Beth C.

The Sleepy Hollow in Magic Kingdom is a great spot to grab a treat. They have homemade chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches. You can watch them bake the cookies right there! Sleepy Hollow is located right over the bridge as you cross into Liberty Square. It is a great place to get a snack before the parade or fireworks or if you are walking to the other attractions in this area.

From Mom Margaret F.

One location that our family really loves and I think misses some of the spotlight is Mama Melrose at Hollywood Studios. While it is often crowded, I think it often does not get the attention it deserves. We love the feel of the restaurant, with the warehouse setting and open kitchen. It is very family friendly and comfortable. The menu slection is top notch. The flatbread choices are delicious, and the bruschetta is superb. The pasta choices have a perfect blend of herbs and spices. My favorite here is the sirloin with grilled asparagus and red wine sauce. Mouth-watering for sure!

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!”