Dining in Disneyland: Frozen Fun Food at Disney California Adventure

Frozen Fun has taken over the Backlot area of Disney California Adventure, and with it come some pretty tasty snacks.  Let’s head inside of Olaf’s Snow Fest and see what Arendelle has to offer.

Olaf's Snow Fest

Olaf’s Snow Fest

The lighting inside of Olaf’s Snow Fest is very pink, so it made for a tough photo spot. Adorable nonetheless though!  A snack area in the corner is set up so that visitors to Arendelle can recharge after playing in the snow.  Although there is only one spot to order, the area is organized to look like separate food booths with different offerings.

Arendelle Eats

Arendelle Eats

The menu is set up in the center of the snack area.

Snow Fest Menu Board

Snow Fest Menu Board

On my recent visit, I tried just about everything they had to offer!

Arendelle Offerings

Arendelle Offerings

The first [Read more…]

Review: Disney World Resort Quick Service Pasta Options

Thanks to DFB Author Wendy for a look at some great counter-service carb-loading options for your runDisney races this year!

Are YOU running the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler (or any of the other runDisney races this year)? If so, you might be interested in participating in a good old-fashioned carbo-load before your race!

Even if you’re not tackling those ten on October 5th… odds are good you’ll be putting in plenty of miles at the Parks at some point, no matter what.

It’s time to fuel up, people ;)!

Spaghetti time!

For those running one or more of the east coast races this season, there are plenty of places all over Disney World property where you can take part in the time-honored runners tradition of a pasta “carbo-load.”

Today we’re going to focus on some of your pasta options in the resort Quick Service restaurants.

Counter Service Pasta Options at Walt Disney World Resorts

Let’s start with this terrific trend: Create-Your-Own-Pasta stations are cropping up in a few of your favorite Quick Service restaurants!

Create Your Own Pasta

Art of Animation’s Landscape of Flavors already has a reputation for innovative and delicious dining, and you can read a full review of the Create-Your-Own-Pasta experience here.

Add-ins for Create Your Own Pasta at Landscape of Flavors

Spaghetti Carbonara with Broccoli

The Riverside Mill at Port Orleans Riverside also offers this fun option!

Riverside Mill

Create Your Own Pasta Options at Riverside Mill

Unique to the Grand Floridian’s recently refreshed Gasparilla Island Grill is a [Read more…]

Full Review: The NEW California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Update: Scroll to the end of the Eats section (yep, waaayyy down there!) for a mini-review of opening night, courtesy of one of our favorite DFB guest writers, Julie B!

We are headed back to the fifteenth floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort today, as we take a closer look at the brand new California Grill!

The outpouring of Disney food fan love has just been astounding throughout the last eight months as we’ve continued to watch the newly re-imagined California Grill take shape. Folks who love the restaurant and its amazing menu have been anxious for news. Would it retain its panache? Would beloved dishes from the old menu make the cut? How would we survive with no Yoshie??

We are happy to report that, if possible, California Grill is even more spectacular than before. We were happy to show you a first look at all that was new after last Thursday’s media event. Today, we’re unveiling more details. If you haven’t already, get ready to make those advance dining reservations. I think you’re going to like what you see.


Settle in. This is going to be a long one!


Immediately, as you step out of the elevator onto the fifteenth floor, you are enveloped by the cool vibe of California Grill. You know at once that you’re in for a special experience.

If you weren’t aware of it already, now you know: wine matters in this restaurant. A lot. Wine coolers aren’t dressed up to be anything else; they’re unapologetically part of the decor here. This makes sense, as the restaurant now boasts 1,600 bottles of wine in the state-of-the-art wine display.

You’ll find around 250 wines on the list, with 80 available by the glass. And with more than 20 sommeliers on staff, you are literally enveloped in a wealth of wine knowledge.

Wine, Anyone?

Straight ahead, you’ll find the trademark view of Seven Seas Lagoon. With any luck there will be a spectacular sunset over the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa during your visit like there was for ours.

This area continues to serve as the lounge for the restaurant. You can still score a table here with no advance dining reservation, and the full restaurant menu is available for ordering.

Entrance and Bank of Wine Fridges

The bar area continues to be highlighted by the ceiling’s circular cutout. While the shape is the same, the whole bar has been overhauled with new finishes. Comfortable seating beckons you to relax and have a cocktail or two.


To quote one of my Disney friends, nothing here is the same as it was! The lights are wonderfully whimsical. While modern, there’s still a retro feel here. In fact, the lights remind me a lot of old pictures I’ve seen of the Contemporary from the 1970s.

Seating Area is Ready for Guests

Tables are set for service. I was glad to see that the [Read more…]

News! California Grill Opens September 9th; Reservations Available Monday, August 26

Circle this upcoming Monday, August 26, Disney Food Fans! That’s the day when we will finally be able to begin booking advance dining reservations for the newly renovated California Grill!

The NEW California Grill!

The signature restaurant, which sits high atop Walt Disney World’s Contemporary Resort, has been closed since early 2013 as it underwent a complete makeover.

It’s scheduled to open on September 9th, and will feature a new menu — including some awesome desserts!

Sundae Sampler Dessert Trio at California Grill!

Look for the new menu to continue to feature seasonal ingredients, but with a somewhat lighter hand.

While fan favorites like the flatbreads will continue to be around, Chef Brian Piasecki also plans to utilize the wood-burning oven for new dishes. These include Baked Local Prawns with Charred Lemon, and Savory Meatballs with Herbed Orzo.

Read our review of these [Read more…]

Review: Dinner at Il Mulino New York Trattoria in the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel

It’s been a while since we had taken in a dinner at Il Mulino, so let’s head over for some Italian, shall we??

The upscale restaurant has a reputation for serving some of the best Italian food in all of Walt Disney World. And that makes sense, since it is modeled after the critically acclaimed New York restaurant of the same name.

Since we love Italian food, I thought it was time to head back and see if that opinion still held. After all, with the opening of Via Napoli and Tutto Gusto in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion — and the re-opening of Tutto Italia with a new menu — there is suddenly a little more competition.

We headed there on a recent trip with high hopes that it would be just as delicious as ever!

Menu Cover


The vibe of Il Mulino is New York chic. Rather than feeling like you’re in a corner of Walt Disney World property, it seems like you’re a thousand miles away in a cityscape. Clean, modern lines in the bar and throughout the restaurant hint at the urban feel, while exposed beams and brick warm up the space.

Bar Area

While we visited at a fairly quiet time, the bar can be a very gregarious gathering place with the amount of convention traffic that the Swan and Dolphin Hotels see. If you have the chance to stop for a drink here, I’d definitely recommend it! The bartenders have been friendly and entertaining in my experience.

Bar Seating

Low, comfortable couches offer a nice contrast to traditional bar seating, and make for a cozy gathering place.

Additional Bar Seating

This curious display of food, wine, cooking utensils, and even [Read more…]

Review: Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot’s Norway Pavilion

Ready to meet some Disney princesses?!? We’re headed over to check out lunch at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot!

Akershus offers a terrific alternative to the extremely hard-to-get advance dining reservation for Cinderella’s Royal Table. A mainstay of World Showcase’s Norway Pavilion, the grand restaurant offers old world Scandinavian charm and character dining encounters with a cast of Disney Princesses.

You still get to eat in a castle (albeit a much smaller one), and you still get to meet at least five Disney princesses. (Cinderella is usually included.) Plus, the price is going to be quite a bit lower than it is in Cinderella Castle. Time to take a closer look.


Located to the right as you make your way back through the Norway Pavilion, Akershus is is situated across from Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe, Norway’s charming counter service location.

Akershus Sign

The inside (once you GET inside…more on that later) offers a welcome respite from the bright, hot Florida sunshine. Immediately upon entering, you pick up on the medieval decor. Heavy, ornately carved wooden “thrones” can be found in the entryway.

Akershus is modeled after a medieval castle outside of Norway’s capital city, Oslo. The fortress was completed in the 14th century, and the interior features the same white walls as the Disney replica.


The whitewashed stone walls lend to the cheerful, cool feeling. The low windows look out on the pavilion and allow for lots of natural light to flood the pretty space.

First Dining Room and Seating

In the main dining room, you get a real sense of the [Read more…]

Review: Biergarten in Epcot’s Germany

We haven’t been to Biergarten in a while here on DFB, so I think it’s time to pay this fun spot a visit!

You’ll find it in Epcot’s Germany Pavilion, and this is THE place to find sausage and beer. They have other stuff, too…but if you don’t like sausage and beer, you may not get the most out of this restaurant.

Let’s take a look!


Nestled in the back of the Germany Pavilion, Biergarten can be hard to find. It’s to the back, left of the pavilion, so look for a check-in desk in that general area.

Outside View

As you head past and actually through Sommerfest, the German counter service offering, you enter an area that looks a little like a courtyard, but with a ceiling.

First View Inside

But once you’re fully into the restaurant, the view opens up, and you are transported to evening in a Bavarian Village town square that has been set up in preparation for a party. And you’re invited!

Stage Area and Seating

Here, you get the full scope of the [Read more…]

Lady and the Tramp Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

Join me in welcoming Maxime from the Designing Disney Blog with a fun, Disney-inspired recipe creation!

Everybody remembers that romantic moment in Lady and the Tramp with the yummy plate of spaghetti, right?

Here’s a fun, easy recipe to recreate it!



1 pound ground sirloin
1/4 cup minced fresh onion
2 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 (25.5-ounce) jar fat-free tomato-and-basil pasta sauce, divided
Cooking spray
5 cups hot cooked spaghetti (about 8 ounces uncooked pasta)
5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
5 tablespoons chopped fresh basil


Combine the first 6 ingredients and 2 tablespoons of pasta sauce in a medium bowl.

Combine ingredients

Shape the meat mixture into 25 (1-inch) [Read more…]

DIY Disney: 2010 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Polpetini, Italy Pavilion

About twice a month, our resident Chef BigFatPanda puts together his amazing step-by-step, photo-filled posts where he and Chef Mickey show you their adventures in the kitchen cooking up Disney goodies! Today, Chef Big Fat Panda’s DIY Disney Recipes column brings us a savory, original recipe from this year’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival! Take it away, Chef!

Hey everyone! I’ve got something very good in store for you this time.

In my home — in my neighborhood — my family is semi-famous when it comes to Meatballs. In fact, a popular restaurant located in The Villages, FL, recently adopted our meatball recipe and now serves “Mama Maria’s Meatballs”. Maria is my cousin and took full credit, but that’s a whole other story :-)

Polpetini Ingredients

So, as this is The Disney Food Blog, I am not able to just say: here is my family’s recipe. We gotta stick to the whole Disney recipe thing. But guess what? The recipe used for the Epcot Food & Wine Festival Italy booth‘s Polpetini (meatballs) this year is almost identical to [Read more…]

Disney’s California Food & Wine Festival Specialty Items

We headed back into Disney’s California Adventure to sample two of the Food & Wine Festival‘s signature items this year. Signature items are located at counter-service spots around the park, and the two we sampled were found in Taste Pilot’s Grill and Award Weiners.

These signature dishes are sized larger than the tapas that can be found at the “Taste of California” area in the Festival Center. They are served as standard counter-service meals, including a side dish — usually fries, chips, or apple slices. The cost for the larger items is reflective, sometimes topping out in the teens!

Mangia Meatballs
The Mangia Meatballs are a cross between an Italian Sausage and a meatball sub sandwich. The three meatballs on a cornmeal hoagie roll were accompanied by marinara, onions, and peppers, creating a slightly spicy dish.

While the meatballs tasted pre-packaged and had a mushier texture than I was anticipating, the marinara with onions and peppers was quite good. The whole thing was topped off with fresh mozzarella cheese — un-melted — which added positively to the taste. Overall, I wouldn’t get it as an entree if I had other choices, but it wasn’t the worst meatball sub I’ve ever had. I’d give it a 6 out of 10. This dish can be found at Award Weiners.

Mangia Meatballs at Award Weiners

Meatball Close Up

Pulled Pork Sandwich
The pork sandwich surprised us both. We were expecting dry, over-cooked meat with too little taste (so often the case with mass-produced pulled pork), but the sandwich was actually quite good. The serving of pulled pork was extremely generous, and the taste — with just the right amount of BBQ sauce [Read more…]