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…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: March 7th, 2010

Eat hereHappy Sunday, all! Just a quick reminder of a couple of updates before we launch into this week’s round-up:

LaughingPlace has the latest on St. Patrick’s Day menus for WDW’s Portobello, Fulton’s Crab House, and Wolfgang Puck Cafe.

CakeWrecks showcases some amazing Alice in Wonderland themed cakes.

SamLand’s Disney Adventures brings a Disneyland popcorn stand into focus.

StitchKingdom posts an info-packed story with the latest news about the D23 Expo, the WDW Fantasyland Expansion, and more. In it, he mentions the upcoming Be Our Guest Restaurant and also showcases some delicious Disney event dessert photos.

PSCalculator reviews Trail’s End Buffet restaurant in WDW’s Fort Wilderness!

Bakerella has some fun Oscar season recipes inspired by nominated Disney films! (Check out the “Up”cakes and Frog Pops.)

Zannaland recaps her experience at the February Tables in Wonderland “Wave Discovery Dinner” in WDW.

Main St. Gazette shares a creamy grits recipe from Olivia’s at WDW’s Old Key West Resort.

Watch Me Eat visits Epcot’s Lotus Blossom Cafe.

A World View visits three of WDW’s best counter-service spots: Flame Tree Barbecue, Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe, and Earl of Sandwich.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel has a unique profile of the New Orleans chef who was inspirational to the Princess and the Frog story.

Disney + Food + Technology = :-D

Disney’s been sampling how technology can enhance theme park dining for years. One of my earliest memories is stopping at the Epcot WorldKey under the golf ball to make dinner reservations via the talking head on the screen.

Today, Disney’s continuing to make progress in the information age. The recently launched online Advanced Dining Reservations system and the following tech-y installments are good examples.

Computerized Ordering
You’ll recall a previous post on the Food Blog about the Contemporary Resort Contempo Cafe’s new computerized ordering system. It resembles the made-to-order (“MTO”) ordering system from my favorite gas station chain, Sheetz, and I thought it was fantastic when I got the chance to use it for the first time in February.

As it turns out, Disney’s been adding these ordering systems in several spots throughout the parks and resorts. I’ve got some photos from Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe in the Magic Kingdom and Captain Cook’s quick service restaurant in the Polynesian Resort, as well as the Contempo Cafe photos.

Contempo Cafe Ordering System Instructions

Contempo Cafe Ordering System Instructions

Contempo Cafe Ordering Computer Stations

Contempo Cafe Ordering Computer Stations

Contempo Cafe Ordering Screen

Contempo Cafe Ordering Screen

Computers for Ordering at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe

Computers for Ordering at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe

Computer Order Screen at Captain Cooks

Computer Order Screen at Captain Cooks

Captain Cooks Order Screen

Captain Cooks Order Screen

Online Ordering
One tech advancement I’m very excited about is Wolfgang Puck Express’ online ordering system. While this isn’t a “Disney innovation,” it is a way to take advantage of technology when dining at Downtown Disney.

If you’re planning on heading to Wolfgang Puck Express in Downtown Disney’s Marketplace, simply visit their online ordering website in advance. No need to log in, just click on “browse menu” and set a date, then make your choices — even substitutions — online.

Wolfgang Puck Express in Downtown Disney

Wolfgang Puck Express in Downtown Disney

Online Ordering advertisement at Wolfgang Puck Express

Online Ordering advertisement at Wolfgang Puck Express

Even if you’re headed to Disney World in a few days, you can pre-order what you’d like for lunch when you arrive and have it waiting for you at Downtown Disney as soon as you land at MCO. Brilliant.

Where have you seen technology at work?
If you’ve experienced online or computerized ordering, or have a comment about another dining technology at work, I’d love to hear your story! Contact me via the email form button above!

“Is This Place Ever Open?”: El Pirata y El Perico

There are a couple of dining spots in Disney World that seem to always be closed — at least when I’m there — and El Pirata y El Perico is one of them!

El Pirata y El Perico

Located near Pirates of the Caribbean in Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland, El Pirata y El Perico (The Pirate and The Parrot) is themed to represent a Caribbean village eatery, and with dark woods, beautiful tiles, and mosaics, it seems to be an extension of the ride itself!

El Pirata y El Perico themeing

El Pirata y El Perico themeing

El Pirata y El Perico Ordering Area

El Pirata y El Perico Ordering Area

It is considered to be “open seasonally,” which can mean just about anything! In the past several years, it’s occasionally been open during Disney’s busy seasons (summer and Christmas season), and most often serves counter-service meals. Usually the restaurant serves Mexican food, including tacos and taco salads (see the DisneyWorld.com Magic Kingdom dining page for this description), but the day I was there, the restaurant was standing in for the closed-for-refurbishment Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and Cafe next door. Thus the menu below displays foods better associated with that establishment.

El Pirata y El Perico Board (standing in on this day for Pecos Bill's)

El Pirata y El Perico Board (standing in on this day for Pecos Bill's)

The open-air seating areas are the perfect place to relax and take a break from the Florida heat. Even when the restaurant isn’t open, a lot of these seating areas are still accessible for relaxing and people-watching.

El Pirata y El Perico Seating Area

El Pirata y El Perico Seating Area

El Pirata y El Perico Seating Area

El Pirata y El Perico Seating Area

When I was wandering around taking photos, the restaurant was actually just about to open believe it or not. Because it was “standing in” for Pecos Bill’s, there was a “fixin’s bar” for the burgers:

El Pirata y El Perico

Have you ever eaten at El Pirata y El Perico when it was serving its Mexican menu? What did you think? Let me know via facebook, twitter, or email! Also let me know of places that never seem to be open when you’re in Disney!

Reader Favorites: Best Disney World Counter Service Restaurants

Got a great question via twitter about best counter service restaurants, and I thought I’d poll the DisneyFoodBlog Facebook Fan Page members about their favorites! Here are the winners in each Disney World theme park:

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe: Magic Kingdom

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe: Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom: Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe
“Pecos Bill’s” as it’s commonly called, is located in Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland, between Splash Mountain and El Pirata y El Perico. It’s a HUGE counter service restaurant offering burgers (including a veggie burger), wraps, chicken and taco salads, and a pulled pork sandwich along with several sides and dessert offerings. Kids’ offerings include a hamburger and a salad with chicken.

Magic Kingdom Runners Up: Columbia Harbor House in Liberty Square and Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe in Tomorrowland

Sunshine Seasons Food Station Categories

Sunshine Seasons Food Station Categories

Epcot: Sunshine Seasons
The runaway favorite for favorite Epcot counter service choice, Sunshine Seasons is located in The Land pavilion in Future World.

Sunshine Seasons is one of the only true “food courts” in the Disney World parks, and offers different stations for different types of food, including Asian Cuisine-inspired foods, Soup and Salads, Sandwiches, Grilled items, and Desserts. There’s also a self-serve beverage station.

In the morning, Sunshine Seasons is one of the only places to get a hot breakfast in Epcot!

Epcot Runner Up: Tangierine Cafe in the Morocco Pavilion of Epcot’s World Showcase
[Read more…]