Review: New Menu at Liberty Tree Tavern at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! It’s time to head back to one of our favorite spots — Liberty Tree Tavern!

Ah, how we love thee, Liberty Tree. Located in Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square, there are plenty of reasons why this park original is still one of our favorites. First of all, although we can embrace and even enjoy change (within moderation ;-) ), Liberty Tree Tavern has literally been around since the beginning. And that makes it a shoe-in for a spot in some of our collective earliest memories. A show of hands out there — how many of you recollect this Colonial-inspired dining room as one of your first Disney meals?

But then, it keeps us coming back as grown-ups for delicious comfort food! The a la carte menu served at lunch features one of DFB’s Favorite Burgers, the Angus Chuck Cheeseburger! And who could possibly resist the Pilgrims Feast at lunch? Because Thanksgiving Dinner served all year ’round is A-OK with me!

Recently, we learned of updates here (what?!?!) to the dinner menu. And while I don’t usually need an excuse to make an advance dining reservation at Liberty Tree, I figured it was the perfect reason to visit.

Join us to see what’s new — and what remains the same — when you dine at Liberty Tree Tavern for dinner!

Liberty Tree Tavern Entrance

Liberty Tree Tavern Entrance

Atmosphere

To step into Liberty Tree Tavern is to step back in time. The restaurant offers seating in six different rooms (none of that modern open floor plan stuff here).

Seating and View

Seating and View

Of course, an argument could be made that the throwback nostalgia here is part Colonial, part 1970s. But you know what? We’re totally fine with it. While some rooms offer paneling a plenty…

Decor

Seating and Wood Paneling Decor

Others are awash in white. Still, ample wood accents and parquet floors lend warmth and a feeling of antiquity. [Read more…]

Review: Whispering Canyon Cafe at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort

We’re heading back to Whispering Canyon Cafe for dinner!

This fun spot, located at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort, is the perfect place to dine with the whole family. What can you expect at Whispering Canyon? Generous portions, comfort foods, lots of all you care to enjoy options, and antics aplenty.

If I’m not enjoying breakfast here during a Walt Disney World visit, then you’ll probably find me at the dinner table at least once a year. And that was the case recently. Let’s check it out.

Atmosphere

If you’re trying to locate Whispering Canyon Cafe, you can’t really miss it. It’s immediately to your left as soon as you walk through the doors of the Wilderness Lodge.

Whispering Canyon Sign

Whispering Canyon Sign

Because it’s not all that removed — or removed at all — from the lobby, that means that when the antics really get going, you’re probably going to hear them throughout the space. [Read more…]

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

On my last weekend trip to Walt Disney World, I decided on the out-of-the-way Olivia’s Cafe at Disney’s Old Key West Resort as our dinner destination prior to attending Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in the Magic Kingdom.

My family was looking for a place to relax and fill up on a good meal, and somewhere that we could get a last minute Advance Dining Reservation.

While this resort exudes comfort and a family-friendly atmosphere for Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members, we found the service equally welcoming for non-guests of the hotel. Since we had our own vehicle, transportation to the restaurant was simple. (And our teen son, who traveled from a theme park, had no trouble taking a bus there. He even got there early!) We used our MagicBand to show our reservation at the entrance gate and then proceeded to a parking area very close to the restaurant.

Entrance to the resort

Entrance to the resort

Parking was very near the  porte-cochère

Parking was very near the porte-cochère

Covered walkway

Covered walkway

Nautical elements evoke a seaside atmosphere at the entrance to Olivia’s.

[Read more…]

Review: Lunch at Carnation Cafe in Disneyland

We’re heading back to one of Disneyland’s most historic dining spots — Carnation Cafe!

Carnation Cafe

Carnation Cafe

Carnation Cafe is a great spot to enjoy a yum breakfast (even though some of my very favorites, like Cinnamon Roll French Toast and Croissant Eggs Benedict are no longer around).

But recently, I headed over for lunch to indulge in some of the must-have menu items I’d been hearing about. [Read more…]

Review: Dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

We are back for another visit to Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Tree Tavern — and this time, it’s for dinner.

What’s the difference between lunch and dinner? Well, it’s major, actually. Lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern is an a la carte offering — you order what you want off the menu. I’ll often go for their Angus Chuck Cheeseburger. And the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake is one of the best desserts on property. (Here’s the recipe.)

But dinner is a completely different deal — and still quite good. You’re treated to a family style feast consisting of roasted meats and all the trimmings.

I haven’t covered dinner at LTT here on the blog for a long time…for two reasons: 1.) It’s always the same. The food rarely changes, and everyone gets the same thing, so our previous reviews are still totally valid when it comes to the food. 2.) For some reason, every time I’ve been there for dinner in the past year, something has happened to keep me from getting the photos I need to blog the post. Either a member of my party gets sick or one of the kids has a meltdown…or we’re with a huge group and the food is decimated before I can take a picture.

So, I made it a focus on my last trip to get over there and make it happen! Here we go!

Atmosphere

Liberty Tree Tavern is a Magic Kingdom icon. It’s been there since the Park opened, and there are many Disney fans who count a meal here among their earliest Disney memories. It’s located on Liberty Square, near the Hall of Presidents and other exhibits celebrating Colonial American History.

Liberty Tree Tavern Entrance

Liberty Tree Tavern Entrance

Liberty Tree Tavern offers seating in six different rooms, each themed to a notable historical figure. They include Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Paul Jones, Paul Revere, Betsy Ross, and George Washington. You can see a more in-depth atmosphere review here.

John Paul Jones

A door in the John Paul Jones Room

Decor

Model Ship and John Paul Jones Portrait

If your kiddos are studying American history, it’s fun to take a look around each of the rooms to see some of the more well-known stories come to life. Ben Franklin’s kite and George Washington’s wooden teeth appear in their respective rooms.

Kite in Ben Franklin Room

Kite in Ben Franklin Room

And if there are any invasions or revolutions that require your help, you’re all set. Grab your cloak and three corner hat, and you’re off!

Coats and Hat Hanging at the Ready

Coats and Hat Hanging at the Ready

Seating throughout the vast network of rooms is made up of booths and tables. Primarily you’ll find ladder back chairs that are fairly comfortable surrounding rectangular and round tables.

Seating

Seating

Seating

Seating

If you prefer some natural light, be sure to request a seat in one of the outer facing dining rooms. But don’t plan on parade- or people-watching. The glass is bubbled and wavy, so you’ll just see blobs of color.

Seating and View

Seating and View

Eats

As I mentioned before, if you dine at Liberty Tree Tavern for dinner, you’ll be partaking in a prix fixe, family style meal. That means that each person in your party will pay a set price — one price for adults, and a lower price for children. (Children under 3 are free.)

Your meal includes everything listed below, including a standard beverage and dessert. The format is all-you-care-to-enjoy, so there’s no reason to ever leave a Liberty Tree Tavern dinner table hungry.

Liberty Tree Tavern -- Click to Enlarge

Liberty Tree Tavern Menu — Click to Enlarge

We began with a [Read more…]

Review: Lunch at Crystal Palace in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Welp, boys and girls — it’s time to head into Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and take in lunch at Crystal Palace! This is a beloved character spot for many Disney fans, and a must-do character experience for lots of you.

Me? I hadn’t been to Crystal Palace in foreva…not since an ill-fated late-night visit a couple of years ago when the food was AW-FUL! Yep, it was the end-of-the-night dregs of the buffet and we were pretty much just grossed out. (Have you ever seen a buffet about 15 minutes before a restaurant is about to close? Not pretty.) We ate very little and left as soon as we could. Sad, since we do love dining with Pooh and friends.

But it was time to revisit the 100 Hundred Acre Wood — after all, we’d had lots of great meals here previously — and I made reservations with some friends for lunch.

We have tons of shots to show you, so let’s get started!

Atmosphere

You’ll find Crystal Palace to the left of Main Street USA’s end, just as you approach Cinderella Castle. The beautiful glass building, inspired by ornate conservatories of the late Victorian Age, is a slice of Disney history as well. The restaurant has been around since opening day in 1971.

Entrance to Restaurant

Entrance to Restaurant

And here’s a tip if you’re looking for an extra-special experience during your Disney vacation: try and book Crystal Palace for an early breakfast. You’ll be one of the first guests into the Park when you do this, and visiting a nearly empty Magic Kingdom is an event to remember.

Once you step inside, you’ll see whitewashed walls that carry the bright, light decor throughout. Artwork depicting inspiration for the architecture as well as photos of lush palms cover the walls.

Artwork and Framed Photos

Artwork and Framed Photos

The soaring atrium above is gorgeous — especially on a sunny day!

Crystal Palace Atrium

Crystal Palace Atrium

After you check in, you’ll wait for your table outside on the shaded veranda. But once you step in, pause a moment to take it all in.

Dining Rooms

Dining Rooms

Tons of windows and glass domes allow for plenty of natural light in the two dining areas.

Dining Room from Another Angle

Dining Room from Another Angle

And really — look up. Because the windows are really stunning. I love the beautiful stained glass detail.

Stained Glass Windows

Stained Glass Windows

The decor puts you in mind of a Victorian conservatory, with its outside-but-inside feel. Lush flowers and what reminds me of patio furniture finish the area.

Evening Light

Afternoon Light

Crystal Palace is, of course, a character dining experience, and you’ve stumbled onto a party!

Center Atrium -- Up Close

Center Atrium — Up Close

In fact, visit here, and you’ll take part in a Friendship Day Celebration with Winnie the Pooh and his friends.

Banner -- Up Close

It’s Friendship Day!

Just check out these gorgeous flower topiaries of the whole gang!

Pooh and His Hunny Pot

Pooh and His Hunny Pot

Eeyore Topiary

Eeyore Topiary

The sweet little figures appear to be made of dried roses, and foreshadow the characters you’ll meet while you dine.

Piglet Topiary

Piglet Topiary

Bouncing Tigger Topiary

Bouncing Tigger Topiary

And beautiful hanging arrangements of tropical flowers complete the classic conservatory feel.

Fresh Flowers

Fresh Flowers

Seating is standard and fairly comfortable. Heavy, padded chairs share the space with booths, but some tables are situated a bit too closely for our comfort.

Seating for Two

Seating for Two

Seating along windows gives you a glimpse of guests waiting to be seated! But beyond them, you’ll also see a beautiful view of [Read more…]

Review: Lunch at Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure

We are back in Disneyland today with another fun look at Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure!

Flo's V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure's Cars Land

Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure’s Cars Land

This diner is a throwback to all that was good and cool about eating while on the Great American Roadtrip, when Route 66 was in its heyday. And since it opened, Flo’s has quickly become a favorite for its incredible themeing and terrific eats.

While breakfast is phasing out at Flo’s, we recently had the chance to take in lunch here as well, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it! Read on for all the details and lots of pics…

Atmosphere

Visiting Flo’s anytime of the day is a treat, because there’s just so much rich detail to experience. But we especially love the views at night, when the whole place is decked out in neon lights.

Flo's V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure

Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure

There’s some fun lighting inside, too! The entrance, which is a rotunda of sorts, features soft lights that change colors. I caught this pic when the room was decked out in bubble gum pink. Check out the cool chandelier!

Period Chandelier

Period Chandelier

One thing to note about Flo’s — it’s enormous! And the seating areas all have different themeing, so be sure to schedule a little extra time for this lunch stop if checking out incredible Disney detail is something that you enjoy.

The restaurant is actually much larger than it looks from the outside. That’s because part of the seating area is themed as a car clinic — both inside and out. Here’s the outside view.

Ornament Valley Mechanical Clinic

Ornament Valley Mechanical Clinic

And here’s the inside!

Mixed Seating

Mixed Seating in the Mechanical Clinic

Don’t you love the X-ray machine? It’s one of my favorite imagineering touches.

Diagnostic Machine

Diagnostic Machine

Much of the front seating section is decorated with touches that are a throwback to the 1950s, and a lot of the memorabilia centers around Flo — a member of the illustrious Motorama Girls.

The story goes that Flo gave up her glamorous career to settle down in Radiator Springs, where she opened up the coolest diner, ever.

I Love These Booths!

I Love These Booths! Check out the headrests!

The Mechanic Room is a tribute to Doc Hudson’s glory days as a championship racer. With rich details like dark wood and leather-esque booths, it has a more [Read more…]

Disney Recipe: Veggie Tater Bake from Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure (A Vegetarian Recipe!)

It’s always a good idea to have a vegetarian meal or two tucked into your recipe box, don’t you think? And if Shepherd’s Pie or Cottage Pie are your thing, you’ve gotta try this veggie version!

Flo's V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure

Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure

Offered at Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure’s Cars Land, Flo’s Veggie Tater Bake has been delighting herbivores and carnivores alike since the restaurant first opened two years ago!

Veggie Tater Bake

Veggie Tater Bake

Whether you’re looking for fresh ideas for Meatless Mondays or Fridays during Lent, or you have special friends you’d like to impress with your vegetarian cooking skills, we definitely think you should give this hearty casserole a try!

Veggie Tater Bake

Flo’s V-8 Cafe, Disney California Adventure
Serves 6

Ingredients: [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

Waffles

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

Pizza

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…]

Review: Crossroads at House of Blues at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney

So the big news from last week was the opening of a brand new counter service spot at Downtown Disney’s House Of Blues — the Smokehouse!

While we’ll be sure to stop by from time to time, it’s been a while since we reviewed the main house here as well! Let’s check out the dining room at Crossroads at House of Blues at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney for lunch.

We were surprised by the quality of food on our first visit. While just about everything was good, the classic Buffalo Chicken Wings and the White Chocolate Bread Pudding were the real standouts.

But since our last visit, House of Blues has partnered with celebrity chef Aarón Sánchez to completely overhaul the food offerings. While the emphasis at House of Blues is still on live music, the new Crossroads menu has taken the previously Southern-tinged menu in a slightly different direction.

Atmosphere

As I mentioned, if you haven’t been to House of Blues since the Crossroads menu came to the Walt Disney World location, you won’t find the surroundings to be much different than before. The menu didn’t coincide with a revamp of the restaurant itself.

In Blues We Trust!

Funky, rustic, slightly dark, and whimsical…those are the words that come to mind. You’re supposed to feel as though you happened upon House of Blues on some country road while traveling through the Deep South. And they succeed with transporting you.

Folk Art Outside

Like other Downtown Disney restaurants, House of Blues features multiple bars. The outside bar is a great spot to grab a drink and hang out with friends before or after a performance. It features “hand-lettered” menus and tole painting, as well as brackets and other finishes that appear to have been salvaged and repurposed.

Outdoor Bar

Next to Crossroads Restaurant, you’ll find the Club, which is the main performance venue for House of Blues. The hall holds up to 2,000 guests, and draws top-name talent regularly. It’s a great place to see a show if you haven’t had the chance.

Club — House of Blues Concert Venue

In addition to other performances, House of Blues also offers a regular Gospel Brunch. Held each Sunday at 10:30 am and 1:00 pm, you can read our review of Kirk Franklin’s Gospel Brunch in Disneyland’s Downtown Disney District here.

Gospel Brunch Information

But, snazzy musical performances would have to wait for another day. We were here for lunch, and we were hungry.

We made our way into the restaurant and were greeted with more folk art. At the hostess stand, you get a healthy dose of this interesting fusion. Gothic arches and cherubim call to mind a place of worship.

Entrance

Seating is nothing fancy — just utilitarian wooden chairs and tables.

Seating

Even booths are wooden. Nothing cozy here in the way of seating, but the booths are [Read more…]