Disney Food for Families: Getting Kids to Try New Foods at Walt Disney World

It’s no secret that my daughter Louisa is more than a little produce averse. There was a period of about four years when NO fruit or vegetable crossed her lips, and even now at age 12 she still has to be cajoled into having more than a bite or two of something as innocuous as sweet potato or banana.

Frozen bananas, a gateway fruit.

So you can imagine my surprise when, on a recent trip to the Animal Kingdom’s Yak & Yeti restaurant, she consumed nearly the entire plate of wok-fried green beans we had ordered for the table. It was one of those parenting moments where you hold your breath and move slowly so as to avoid breaking the spell.

Yak & Yeti wok-fried green beans. My hero!

Those Yak & Yeti yummies didn’t turn Louisa into an inveterate bean eater, but she is now occasionally willing to nibble on a tempura string bean if we’re out for Japanese. Based on our prior track record with legumes, I’m going to count that solidly in the win column.

The Theme Park Food Effect

What was it about the Yak & Yeti beans that made Louisa such a fan? Yes, they were quite tasty, and yes, the green part was handily obfuscated by a crunchy, yumtastic fried breading coating; but we had tried similar ploys in the past to no avail. My theory is that the Yak & Yeti beans were flavored by the spice of (cue the orchestra) The Theme Park Food Effect.

Much like campers will say that meals eaten on the trail are the BEST, you know that their experience is colored by the fact that their senses are overwhelmed and they’re starving from an [Read more…]

Disney Food for Families: Great Disney World Restaurants for Boys

Much fuss is made about the ballyhooed princess dining experiences at Disney World. So much fuss, that parents of young boys sometimes find themselves wondering, “What does Disney have that’s special for me?”

The down and dirty dino loving boy will be right at home at the T-Rex Cafe.

Well, never fear sports fans; I’m here to tell you that while, yes, the girly girls are pretty visible in the parks (it’s hard to miss the Florida sun glinting off a tiara), there are plenty of Disney dining experiences where the men in your family will feel right at home.

Let’s break it down …

Character Meals

There are 10 different character dining venues at Walt Disney World proper. Of these, only three and a half of them have princess themeing. The rest are totally gender-neutral.

Boys are certainly welcome at any of the princess meals, and many boys love them just as much as the other character meals (PLUS they’re given a neato plastic sword at the Royal Table); but honestly, they do skew more heavily toward girl interests.

All of the other character dining restaurants appeal equally to boys and girls. Your best options for boys in the character dining department are the following (characters are always subject to change): [Read more…]

Disney Restaurant Photo Packages Now Part Of PhotoPass+. Is It Worth It?

We can’t wait to share some of the great new dining info that you’ll find in our updated e-Book — The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2012! In honor of the grand launch, let’s dig in!

New PhotoPass+ Option

For starters, we’ll take a look at the recently released PhotoPass+ option! It’s a new way to get all of your PhotoPass, Disney Attraction, and Dining photos in one handy package. But is it worth it just because it gives you access to your dining photos?

A Photo Package at Cinderella's Royal Table. Add Your Family Here.

Of course we analyzed this for you! The $199.95 package can be a good option for guests that hail down lots of PhotoPass photographers or tend to really want to show folks back home what they looked like on Test Track, however it’s not [Read more…]

What is Your Most-Missed Extinct Disney Food?

We’ve been talking a lot about new restaurants and new menu items these past few weeks, but for many Disney food fans the long-lost favorites really stick in their memories.

I decided that we need to pay tribute to some of these famous dishes and want to find out: What are your most-missed extinct Disney dishes? I’ll start the ball rolling with a few of my own!

Fried Boursin Cheese at 50’s Prime Time Cafe

UPDATE –> This one is back!! Woo!! This is, no doubt, my most missed dish in a Disney restaurant. While it’s meant to be shared, you know I ordered one all for myself when I visited 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Fried Boursin Cheese at 50\’s Prime Time Cafe

This is basically herb cheese spread that’s fried and served with fruit and bread crisps. Pretty standard, eh? But that warm, creamy cheese coupled with the sweet fresh fruit was the perfect starter!

Maui Scalloped Potatoes at ‘Ohana

There have been several appetizer changes at ‘Ohana in the past several years, but the most devastating has to be the switch from scalloped potatoes to noodles. (You can read the whole, sad story here…in fact, please do, because I’m uncharacteristically funny in that blog post and it will change your whole perception of me, I promise.)

RIP Scalloped Potatoes (photo courtesy Brett Young)

Meyer Lemon Curd Dessert at Jiko

You know I love Lemon Curd, so to have an entire dessert based around the stuff at Jiko in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge was quite a find. And when they added [Read more…]

Disney Food for Families: Tips for Disney Dining with Young Children

In my mind, a vacation isn’t a vacation if you’re doing the same old chores you do at home, but at a different locale. I spend enough time packing lunches and cooking dinners all year long; I want a break from this when travel. That means I want to eat in restaurants when I’m on the road.

Tigger Meets a New Friend at Crystal Palace

This mindset was one of the factors that made Walt Disney World such a wonderful destination for my family when my daughters were small. There are dozens upon dozens of restaurants to choose from and they’re ALL kid friendly (with the one tiny exception of Victoria & Albert’s).

When I figured out that I could have gourmet food and wine while my toddlers were gleefully welcomed with high chairs, plain pasta, and coloring pages, I was hooked.

But while there are abundant dining options at Disney World, there are some types venues that work slightly better than others for families with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. There are also some tips and tricks that can make dining with small fries even happier in this happiest of places.

Preparation Is Everything

Before you arrive at Walt Disney World, there are several steps you can take to make your on-site dining run more smoothly: [Read more…]

2011 DFB Choice Award Winners!

It’s time to announce the winners of the second annual DFB Choice Awards!!

The awards are 100% based on Disney Food Blog reader choices. Nominations and final winners are selected by DFB readers who participate in the process. Everyone is welcome to participate! If your favorites didn’t win this year, be sure to nominate and vote for them next year! :-)

Thanks to those of you who took the time to nominate your favorites, and to vote for the winners!

Without further ado, here are this year’s DFB Choice Award winners!

[Read more…]

Reader Poll: Rather Eat Thanksgiving Dinner at Home or at a Disney Restaurant?

Happy Thanksgiving!

My family is considering having Thanksgiving in Disney World next year, and I wanted to hear some opinions about that! So we asked our Facebook Page Fans:

Would you rather have Thanksgiving Dinner at home, or at a Disney restaurant?.

Our readers chimed in with their holiday preferences! While dining at home was a strong contender due to family traditions, leftovers, cost-savings, aversion to holiday crowds, and a palate for a real home-cooked meal, ordering Thanksgiving dinner at a Disney restaurant was the clear winner!

And these voters didn’t care where they ate at Disney — they just wanted to be in the middle of the magic for the holiday. In fact, we think some of you might be happy with one of these!:

Disney Turkey Leg

Here are some of the other suggestions we received!: [Read more…]

“You Know You’re Dining in Disney When…” Part Two!

We freely admit that our first “You Know You’re Eating in Disney World When…” post amused us so much that we had to do a Part 2! After all, where else can we dine with a beloved mouse in the kitchen!

Our “You know you’re eating in Disney World when…” thoughts were bountiful, and we’d love to hear yours too! Who knows…there may just have to be a third post in the series!

Leave us a comment with your personal “You know you’re eating in Disney World or Disneyland when…” experience! ;-)

You Know You’re Dining In Disney When…

Your beverage glows in the dark!

Disney's Blue Glow-Tini

You find it appropriate to have your server correct your manners (and, frankly, get kind of annoyed when they don’t!).

Take your elbows off the table!

You order ketchup and have multiple bottles delivered to your table by a dozen patrons seated near you.

Whispering Canyon Cafe Ketchup Delivery

There’s a train [Read more…]

Best Disney World Buffalo Wings

The Buffalo Bills are currently 2 and 0 right now — undefeated — and this is something we Bills fans do not take lightly. So I thought I’d celebrate (with the Bills, you never know when your next chance to celebrate might come…months?…years?…) by showcasing my top two picks for Buffalo Wings in Walt Disney World!

This post has been a long time coming, because for a while there I hadn’t really seen any Buffalo Wings in Disney World. Slowly but surely, I’ve visited enough places to put together my list of top picks, but I’m eager to hear your suggestions in the comments. (The more suggestions you make, the more Buffalo Wings I get to try!!!)

Also, as a disclaimer, I live in Texas now, so I only get Wing City Grille and Anchor Bar wings about twice a year — go easy on me if my palate isn’t as honed as it once was! ;-)

Where to Find the Best Wings in Walt Disney World

#1: House of Blues

Over in Downtown Disney, House of Blues serves their Buffalo Wing appetizer with a bleu cheese slaw.

The wings are crispy and hot with a strong, spicy flavor. On my scale of mild to hot, I’d definitely put these at mild-medium, but that also means that the heat isn’t charring your mouth to the point that you’re unable to taste the food anymore.

House of Blues Chicken Wings

House of Blues wings have a really great Buffalo Wing flavor, and they don’t try to do anything fancy with them so all you get is good old wings. Personally, I could use a little more sauce with them, but I’m also the person who [Read more…]

Chefs and Beverage Presenters at the 2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The list of Visiting Chefs and Presenters has been announced for the 2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! Are your faves on the list?

Visiting Chefs and Speakers include Cat Cora, the Food Network’s Iron Chef known for her Greek and American cooking. WDW guests love Kouzzina! You’ve seen Robert Irvine on several Food Network shows including 2011’s Restaurant: Impossible. Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern may shock picky palates with his Bizarre Foods but he’s also a huge fan of Walt Disney World! And Keegan Gerhard, host of multiple Food Network Challenges, will surely present something mouth-watering!

Visiting Chefs - click image for larger version

And the renowned Walt Disney World Chefs (insert huge applause!) include Chef Brian Piasecki, Chef de Cuisine at the California Grill! Chef TJ Sudiswa has wowed many guests dining on a Special Diet. Once at ‘Ohana, he’s now [Read more…]