Dining in Disneyland: The New Smokejumpers Grill at Disney California Adventure

While the Disneyland Resort continues to prepare for the much anticipated Diamond Anniversary later this month, some of the refurbishments are already starting to open.  Formerly known as Taste Pilots’ GrillSmokejumpers Grill at Disney California Adventure has its doors open and is ready to serve hungry adventurers.

Smokejumpers Grill

Smokejumpers Grill

Atmosphere

Located right next door to Soarin’, this counter service restaurant specializes in burgers and chicken sandwiches.  Enormous in size, Smokejumpers has plenty of seating both indoors and out.

Outside Seating

Outdoor  Seating ( I predict a 2nd side to the left of the restaurant once the wall for Soarin’ comes down)

This indoor seating area is located at the entrance of Smokejumpers Grill.

Just Half of the Indoor Seating at Smokejumpers

Just a Small Portion of the Indoor Seating at Smokejumpers

There is also indoor seating both to the left and right of the ordering kiosk/kitchen.  Below shows the seating to the left. It is basically identical with some different decor on the right side.

More Indoor Seating

More Indoor Seating

My absolute favorite thing about the new Smokejumpers Grill (besides the french fries) is the [Read more…]

Review: AMC Dine-In Theater at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney

Have you ever been at Walt Disney World and thought, “Gee, dinner and a movie sounds like a fun night out.” Well, in true Disney style, they have this entertainment option covered as well, with AMC Dine-In Theater.

One of only a handful of AMC theaters across the country that offer the “Fork and Screen” option, I think it’s an intriguing addition to the Downtown Disney landscape.

Vacay is the perfect time to indulge in stuff like that. But for the Disney warriors out there, it’s also a great option for fun multitasking! I mean, why settle for dinner + a movie, when you can have dinner WITH your movie?

Atmosphere

You enter the Dine-In portion of AMC from what I think of as the “far side” of the building — the side nearest Planet Hollywood. It’s actually kind of confusing. I’ve gotten lost before. And with parking being the nightmare that it is at Downtown Disney right now, thanks to the construction for Disney Springs, plan for a few extra minutes before meeting your friends. ;-)

Entrance

Entrance

Upon entering the bright, airy lobby, you’ll first notice the bar area, McGuffins. It’s named for a plot device term coined by Alfred Hitchcock. (See? You learned something new, didn’t you?) The space is bright and inviting, a perfect spot for chilling before your show starts.

Bar

Bar

And that brings me to the first half of this equation — the movie. Let’s talk a little bit about how the movie + eating thing goes together.

First off, you can order your movie tickets ahead of time, or you can place your order at a kiosk in the lobby.

Ticket Kiosks

Ticket Kiosks

Once you order your tickets, a screen will pop up for you to select your seats.

Seating Diagram on Ordering Kiosk

Seating Diagram on Ordering Kiosk

Tickets in hand, I set about to explore a bit.

The lobby is more than just a place to wait for your movie to start. You can order a drink or appetizer while you wait, or you can even order a full meal here and skip the movie experience altogether.

Seating is mixed. You can settle in at a place by the bar, choose from high tables and chairs like this, or select regular tables. There are also comfy couches to continue on with the feeling that you’re in an upscale lounge.

Additional Bar Seating

Additional Bar Seating

The Dine-In Theaters are separated from the rest of the theaters, so it’s easy to find your way around.

Entrance to Dine-In Theaters

Entrance to Dine-In Theaters

You’re advised to arrive about 30 minutes before your movie starts. That way, you have plenty of time to [Read more…]

Review: Onion Rings and Chocolate Mousse at Animal Kingdom’s Flame Tree Barbecue

So, many of us agree that Flametree Barbecue in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is pretty awesome.

Awesome barbecue, great views, weird animals-eating-other-animals/circle-of-life vibe goin’ on…what’s not to love.

But although I usually head here for a full meal (and a big meal at that), this place can also be a good snack stop if you’re in the mood to take a load off and sit by the water for a bit during a looooooong Disney day. So let’s head over and check out some between-meal goodies for your next trip…

Atmosphere

You’ll find Flame Tree Barbecue on Discovery Island as you veer right toward Dinoland (DINOLAND, YAY!).

Flame Tree Barbecue Sign

The roped-off queue lines are your first hint that this place is pretty popular. It’s rare to find it looking this desolate, but that’s another good reason to visit in the late afternoon for a snack instead of at prime meal time!

One of my favorite things at Flame Tree, besides the ‘cue, is the quirky and daring (for Disney) themeing. Depicted in statuary, signs, and even the pavilions is this creepily awesome Circle of Life theme. It’s all in such totally cheerful colors that I wonder how many people actually stop to really see what’s going on here.

And don’t forget that Flame Tree has one of our favorite views of any counter service joint. The  [Read more…]

Top 12 Salty Snacks in Walt Disney World — What’s Your Favorite?

We talk a lot around here about Disney’s sweet snacks, and with good reason: nothing says indulgence like a bit of Disney ice cream or a monster cupcake.

But everyone knows that sweet snacks are even better with a salty chaser! ;-)

Salty indulgences abound at Disney World, too! And we think it’s time to give them their day in the spotlight!

So without further adieu, we’d like to take a brief look at some of our favorites in our salute to the Top 12 Salty Snacks in Walt Disney World!

Disney Popcorn

Alrighty, folks, we have to start with the obvious one: Popcorn.

How can you discuss Disney World salty snacks and not mention it? In fact, how can you go to a Disney park and not end up munching on this snack favorite?

We love popcorn in all its personalities — from the standard bucket you buy as soon as you walk into Magic Kingdom, to caramel corn at Big Top Treats or Karamell-Küche. And when popcorn started popping up on Disney menus a while back, we were all for it!

NEW Disney Parks Popcorn Boxes!

But the best version remains that classic Disney popcorn box full of buttery (flavored) yellow kernels of fluffy goodness. Do yourself a favor and don’t leave without trying a box.

Chicken Waffle Sandwich

Over at Sleepy Hollow Refreshments, you’ll find a lovely little assortment of waffles to satisfy your salt craving.

What? You ask. Waffles = salt? When they’re in the form of waffle sandwiches — they sure can be!

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Waffle Sandwich in Disney World

And my favorite when I’m satisfying a savory craving is the Spicy Chicken Sandwich. Sweet/spicy chicken with a touch of coleslaw offers a treat with complicated flavors, but a sure comfort food factor.

The perfect combo of sweet, salty, and slightly spicy, this sandwich will leave you full, happy, and ready to tackle the rest of those Disney miles! Just know that this thing can be uber messy, so bring lots of napkins!

Nachos

I dearly love a plate of nachos, don’t you? And when I’m in the mood for this Tex-Mex treat, I head to La Cantina de San Angel in the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot.

Nachos with Cheese, Beef, and Jalapenos at Cantina de San Angel

The salty trifecta of chips, plastic cheese, and seasoned ground beef is perfection! And if you’re looking to add to it — try washing them down with a margarita, of course!

Want some less-fussy nachos? Head over to Casey’s Corner for an awesome version with just nacho cheese — or with chili and cheese! We’re also fans of the versions at Big River Grill and ESPN Club on the Boadwalk. Where do you find your favorite nachos in Disney World?

Tomato Basil Soup

If you’re in the mood for a good bowl of soup (fitting during the relatively cold Orlando days this past weekend), then head to Pinocchio Village Haus for their [Read more…]

Review: 50s Prime Time Cafe (The Cheese is Back!!)

I never say no to a meal at 50s Prime Time Cafe, but I hadn’t been in WAY too long. So when I got a little email tip from a reader last week (thanks, Courtney!!) I knew I had to head over there…and quick! A menu change was about to make my dreams come true!

Located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this place is pure nostalgia. You really feel like you’ve stumbled into the 1950s when you enter this eatery — from the decor to the menu, everything screams mid 20th Century Americana.

Fancy meatloaf and mashed potatoes or fried chicken? Then you’re in the right place! Grab a napkin and set of silverware, remember to keep your elbows off the table, and join me for a fun, interactive helping of comfort food in this well-loved table service spot.

Atmosphere

Stepping into this restaurant truly is like stepping back in time.

50s Prime Time Sign - Outside

I never cease to be amazed at the way this restaurant immerses guests in the 1950s home atmosphere. You begin your meal by waiting in Dad’s Living Room. Be sure to take a moment and look around; I bet you’ll find something you’ll remember from your parents’ (or grandparents’!) house — I always do!

Dad's Living Room - The Waiting Area

Fancy a drink from Dad’s Liquor Cabinet? Then sidle up to the Tune-In Lounge Bar for a house specialty, or order something once you arrive at your table.

Full Bar at Tune In Lounge

Here’s a tip: If you can’t get an Advanced Dining Reservation here, hang out at the bar. You can order food there, too.

Another of Dad's Living Rooms - Seating for the Tune-In Lounge

When it’s time to [Read more…]

Review: Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe — Vegetarian Style!

We all know that Pecos Bill’s is a terrific place to grab a burger and fries, right?

But on a recent visit I really wanted to try out a few new-to-me items that I’d been hearing about: the corn on the cob, and the onion rings.

So what began as casual curiosity ended up being a completely vegetarian meal. And how did a burger joint fare as a vegetarian option? Read on…

Atmosphere

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe (known to many just as “Pecos Bill’s”) in the Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland is extremely popular. I would venture a guess that this dining location and Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe see the majority of the counter-service traffic in the Magic Kingdom.

Pecos Bill Sign

Straddling Adventureland and Frontierland, the restaurant’s architecture seems to include both Caribbean and Western influences.

Sign from Frontierland Side

But the story of Pecos Bill clearly signals that the heart of this eatery is firmly planted in the Old West. The Great State of Texas, to be exact!

Story of Pecos Bill - click image for larger version

Don’t forget to always respect the Code of the West!

Inside, you’ll find beams on the low ceilings and soft light (sometimes it can get downright [Read more…]

Guest Review: Beaches and Cream at Disney’s Beach Club Resort

Today, we welcome Heather Jones with a guest review of one of our favorite Walt Disney World spots — Beaches and Cream!

On our last visit to Walt Disney World, my family and I had the pleasure of spending a night at the Beach Club Resort. One of the things I was most excited about was finally getting a chance to eat at Beaches and Cream.

I had heard so much about the place, from their great burgers to the unbelievable Kitchen Sink, I couldn’t wait to try it out!

Beaches and Cream

Atmosphere

Beaches and Cream is located where the Beach Club and its sister resort, the Yacht Club, meet; and the restaurant looks out to the Stormalong Bay pool complex.

Stormalong Bay

They don’t take reservations at Beaches and Cream, and I had heard that it could get really crowded at peak mealtimes; so we decided to head over in the middle of the afternoon to avoid the lunch rush.

Beaches and Cream is a cozy (read: tiny) soda fountain and burger joint. The tin ceilings, old-fashioned pendulum light fixtures, and pastel color scheme give it a nostalgic 1950s feel. Whimsical borders and [Read more…]

Review: 50s Prime Time Cafe

Let’s go back in time to the 1950s when TV was the latest technology and food was simple and delicious. Meatloaf, fried chicken, pot roast — you can’t go wrong!

Over at 50s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, get ready for a fun, interactive meal in Mom’s kitchen. That’s right — the whole place is decorated like a kitchen straight out of the 1950s, including accessories, decorations, calendars, and even those old black-and-white TVs!

But make sure you eat all your veggies and keep your elbows off the table… you never know when Mom’s watching!

Atmosphere

When you walk into 50s Prime Time Cafe, you’ll find yourself right in between Dad’s Living Room and Mom’s Kitchen. Dad’s Living Room is the waiting area for the restaurant, while Mom’s Kitchen is the main dining room. Here’s a tip: When you check in, ask for a TV table. While they can’t guarantee it, cross your fingers — you’ll see why later!

Hopefully you’ll have a bit of time to explore Dad’s Living Room while you wait for your table. Everything in the room(s), from the wallpaper to the knick knacks to the furniture, is vintage and [Read more…]

Fresh Look at Disney World: A Disney Dining Trip Report

Mark Weaver and his family had never been to Disney World together before their March 2010 trip, and that was Mark’s first time back to the “World” in 10 years! As I’m sure you’re getting used to my “frequent visitor” perspective on these restaurants, I’m honored to share with you this dining trip report from a foodie who’s looking at WDW with fresh eyes. Thanks, Mark! (When Mark’s not dining in Disney World, you can find him contributing awesome news articles and features over at DisZine.com)

Our dining experiences at WDW were amazing. Sadly we missed 2 of our ADRs (and went home early) thanks to everyone getting sick on the last 2 days of our trip; however, we still had a great time and ate a lot of great food. Here’s an overall review of where and what we ate!:

Disney’s Pop Century Food Court:
After we checked in, we headed here to get some food that didn’t come from the cooler in the back seat of our car (YAY!). Overall, it was pretty good. I had the Parmesan Chicken which was very well done. The chicken was fully cooked — very crunchy, and the pasta with alfredo sauce was pretty good as well. I was able to get extra sauce at no extra cost which went very well with the breadstick. Speaking of the breadstick, I was actually surprised that it was not just a plain breadstick. It was seasoned with herbs and matched well with the entire dish.

Pop Century Parmesan Crusted Chicken

My wife had the vegetarian lasagna, which she enjoyed more than [Read more…]