Review: Lunch at Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

One word: PIZZA!

Two more: VIA NAPOLI!!

Okay, so we’re having more than “just pizza” at Via Napoli today (even though it still easily takes the top spot on our Best Pizza in Disney World list by a mile). We’ll also be trying some soups, pasta… and maybe even a little vino while we’re at it.

No matter what I order, though, I look forward to my Advance Dining Reservation for Via Napoli — tucked in the back of Epcot’s Italy Pavilion — on every Disney World trip without fail (especially when my husband’s with me — this is a MUST for him). Not only does it serve up the Best Pizza in all of Disney World, but it also earns gold stars in my book for a pretty rare accolade from me: it is consistently good food.

Via Napoli Window

Via Napoli Window

[Read more…]

Review: Splitsville Luxury Lanes at Disney World’s Downtown Disney

Ready to get yer game on? We’re heading back to Splitsville Luxury Lanes in search of good eats and good times!

Splitsville Orlando just celebrated its first birthday this past December, so we were excited to experience it again now that it’s really settled in to Downtown Disney’s West Side.

Splitsville definitely changed the West Side landscape immediately upon its arrival, because this place is HUGE. Two floors with outdoor and indoor seating, five bars, a billiards area… oh, and the small matter of thirty bowling lanes!


You can tell you’re in a festive place even before setting foot inside Splitsville’s doors. Music is always playing in the outdoor seating area, and it’s often provided by live musicians.

Splitsville outdoors

Splitsville outdoors

The other hint as to what’s going on here is the colorful display of bowling balls.

Splitsville Bowling Balls

Splitsville Bowling Balls

Do I bowl? Not really. Do I totally want one of these? You bet!

Mickey and Minnie Bowling Balls

Mickey and Minnie Bowling Balls

Upon entering the building, you immediately hear music and the sound of pins being downed by bowling balls. Because there is a LOT to take in right away, these signs directing you where to go for dining and/or bowling are especially helpful.

Splitsville entrance

Splitsville entrance

Splitsville entrance

Splitsville entrance

We headed left to the Dining Check-in and mentioned our Advanced Dining Reservation. Yes, Splitsville does take ADRs, and it’s nice to have one on a weekend, especially. But — thanks to the enormous size — it can be a great place to try to score a walk-in! We were seated right away (even though we arrived about 15 minutes in advance of our ADR), but we couldn’t resist taking a look around.

Colorful lockers and rows of bowling shoes remind you that this isn’t only a restaurant, my friends. It’s the highest end bowling alley dive you’ve ever been to.

Lockers at Splitsville

Lockers at Splitsville

Rows and Rows of Bowling Shoes are encountered when you walk into Splitsville

Rows and Rows of Bowling Shoes are encountered when you walk into Splitsville

As your eyes take in all there is to see – including the enormous escalator joining the first and second floors, the entire vibe is almost over stimulating. The fun and casual attitude of the staff, however, helps you to relax right away and feel at home.

Bowling Lanes at Splitsville

Bowling Lanes at Splitsville

There are nods all over the place to the [Read more…]

Mickey’s Toontown “Restaurant Tour” at Disneyland!

Mickey’s Toontown is the perfect place to visit when you want to feel like a kid again. It’s easy to believe that you’ve been dropped right into a cartoon as you venture into this land based on Toontown in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Exploring Mickey’s and Minnie’s houses, and seeing all the cool detail, is one of my favorite things to do here!

And it’s great knowing that Toontown is still alive and kicking in Disneyland, since it went by the wayside to make room for New Fantasyland expansion in Walt Disney World.

But what if you’re looking for a bite to eat in the land of ‘toons? You’re in luck! There ain’t much to eat in Mickey’s Toontown, but what’s there sure is fun!

Toon Town Restaurants

Toon Town Restaurants

Among the wonky architecture and interactive attractions in Toontown, you’ll find an assortment of stands for grabbing a bite to eat between rides. And no worries about picky eaters — everything here is sure to please even the littlest members of your crew!

Let’s take a little tour of the counter services spots and see what they have to offer. Fortunately, they’re all nestled close together, similar to a food court – great for a family or group whose members all want something different for lunch!

Counter Service Eats in Disneyland’s Toontown

The first stop on Toontown’s Restaurant Row is Daisy’s Diner. Donald’s girlfriend serves up Pizza in two varieties — Cheese or Pepperoni. Pizzas are individually sized, and are pretty standard Disney pizzas. If you’ve eaten Disney counter service pizza anywhere else, you’ll know what to expect.

You can also get a limited assortment of drinks here — Soda-Pop, Milk, or Juice. The Souvenir Sipper is also available. We’ll see a pic of that in a sec. There are also a few desserts available as well.

Daisy's Diner

Daisy’s Diner

The next stop is Pluto’s Dog House. CUUUUUTE! ;-) I have serious love for that hotdog skewered on the fork above the window. Even the road signage out front lets you know what’s happening in this part of town.

Pluto's Dog House

Pluto’s Dog House

It probably won’t surprise you to find out that Pluto serves up Hot Dogs. Get a basket with a side of Apple Slices or Chips.

Pluto’s also features a few Kid’s Meal options, including a Kid’s Hot Dog or Turkey Sandwich, which both come with sides. There’s also a Toddler Meal featuring Macaroni and Cheese. Assorted desserts are available here, too.

In the drink department, Souvenir Sippers are also for sale here, along with the same beverage options that Daisy’s Diner features. However, you can also get Coffee, Hot Tea, and Hot Chocolate at Pluto’s — which are available in a Travel Mug.

Pluto's Dog House Menu

Pluto’s Dog House Menu

Our next stop is Clarabelle’s! Head to the awning with the cute cow spots if you’re looking for something a little fresher for lunch or dinner.



Options include “Moo” Plate Specials (bahahahahahaha!), and you see the word [Read more…]

Review: Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

I’ve got a little secret, and it’s something you probably know if you’ve been reading the Disney Food Blog for a while. I have some serious favorites among Disney restaurants.

But when it comes time to discuss great dining spots at Epcot, the competition suddenly grows fierce. Still, relative newcomer Via Napoli has won out as tops on my list since it opened a few years ago.

There are lots of reasons for that. The restaurant boasts the best pizza in all of Walt Disney World in my opinion — it comes closest to ideal than anything I’ve tasted since I moved from NYC a few years back. (Sigh. I still miss a Lombardi’s slice now and then.)

Via Napoli Window

Via Napoli Window

And truth be told, we visit Via Napoli pretty much every time I set foot within those Big Purple Gates. But we are creatures of habit, so I try not to report TOO much on dishes that you’ve seen before. Recently though, we visited and ordered some new things! So it’s high time to share with you the story of our latest visit.


Via Napoli is a study in contrasts. From the outside, the restaurant, which anchors the back of the Italy Pavilion, is stately and grand, with an imposing, almost temple-like facade.

Via Napoli outside

Via Napoli — Outside

But inside, the space is one part grandiose, and one part whimsy, with just a sliver of chic thrown in for good measure. The feel here is that someone with a wonderfully modern aesthetic decided to open a restaurant in an ancient building. They kept the best of the old, and overlaid a feeling of modern and new.

Huge, floor-to-ceiling arched windows separate the waiting area from the dining room, and you begin to catch a glimpse of the action from here. Look up in the foyer to see this gorgeous, colorful chandelier that puts me a little in mind of Mardi Gras.

Entryway Chandelier

Entryway Chandelier

The main dining room is one huge, cavernous space (and LOUD!!!), but it’s broken up a bit by the ceiling of all things! Seriously — look up. There is a soaring atrium in the center, allowing for plenty of natural light. But you also have vaults supported by columns, which rescue the space from feeling like one large warehouse-type room.

Dining Room with Vaulted Ceilings and Arches

Dining Room with Vaulted Ceilings and Arches

The actual walls of the restaurant are covered in frescoes that have been chipped at to convey a sense of age. The blue and green backgrounds of the paintings contrast nicely with warm colors on the floor and ceiling.

Seating is mixed, featuring both banquettes and chairs.

Via Napoli Seating and Frescoes

Via Napoli Seating and Frescoes

Floor Tiles

Hand-Painted Floor Tiles Contrast Warm and Cool Colors

While the building appears to be ancient, wall art also conveys a look at the past — the more recent past, though. You’ll find lots of interesting Italian travel posters throughout the restaurant.

Italian Travel Art


Once you’re in the main dining room, you’ll spy [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


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


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…]

The Story of Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port in Disneyland

For those who are new to Disney parks, everything here has a backstory. Rides, shows, and, yes, even restaurants!

Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port

Recently, one of my good friends, Eric Chu, shared the backstory of Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port with us.

For those who haven’t been there, this counter-service restaurant is located in Tomorrowland at the Disneyland resort. Basically, you climb off of Space Mountain and there you are!

But do you know WHY there’s a pizza joint in the middle of the Milky Way? Let’s find out!

The History Behind Redd Rocket’s Pizza Port in Disneyland

“The only real problem with long-term space travel is that you can’t get a decent pizza.” — Dr. Tyrone Mantanio, INSA Sector 5

A-GREED! Can you imagine traveling through space without the ability to order pizza?! I know, right? ;-D And according to the always-creative Disney imagineers, solving the problem of finding must-have food in the cosmos became a goal for scientists!

Pepperoni Pizza Slice

Redd Rockett to the rescue! He set up a [Read more…]

Review: Tony’s Town Square at Magic Kingdom

Time for a visit to a great little table service stop in the heart of all the magic — Tony’s Town Square in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom!

This spot has it all — Disney history, beautiful themeing, and if you play your cards right, some of the best views in the entire resort!

But while I love the restaurant itself, the food hasn’t always been the main draw in the past.

We’re checking in today for lunch to see what’s new, and if my love affair with that the patio seating remains firmly intact!


Tony’s is located right on the Town Square (natch) of Magic Kingdom — as soon as you pass below the train station and enter Main Street USA. You can’t miss it.

Tony's Sign

Pass by the Town Square Theater where you can meet Mickey, and you’re there!

Tony's Entrance

Inside, you’ll check in at the hostess stand and await your table. While a walk up spot isn’t unheard of, it’s best to make an advance dining reservation here — especially if you’d like to take advantage of Tony’s biggest draw. We’ll get to that in a few minutes.

Tony's Check-In

The waiting area was given a bit of a refresh last year, when the Town Square Theater opened as the new spot for Mickey’s meet-and-greet.

The space retains its turn-of-the-century charm, but the finishes are newer. You’ll also get your first dose of the restaurant’s star characters and theme! The animated classic Lady and the Tramp plays continually on the flat screen television.

Tony's Waiting Area

Once your table is ready, you’ll be shown to one of three main seating areas. The restaurant is [Read more…]

Review: Lunch at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

So, it had been far too long since I’d been to Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano, and it was high time to head back.

Located in the Backlot area of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Mama’s is a hodgepodge, with all sorts of Hollywood memorabilia smooshed into an old fashioned Italian restaurant.

The food here can be inconsistent (surprise), so you never really know what you’re going to get. But my past two visits have been great, so I was excited to check it out again.

Let’s take a look at my most recent lunch here, and see where this meal falls on the Disney Restaurant Continuum. (Wait til you see the picture of the STEAK!!!)


Mama Melrose’s is, well, a little strange. At first, it appears to a typical old-fashioned family restaurant that might be found in any large city’s Little Italy section.

Dining Room View From Outside

But once you move beyond the brick facade and really start to look around at the curious surroundings, you might inquire about the backstory to clear up the confusion.

The story behind Mama Melrose’s is a little “We Made This Story to Fit the Space.” But here goes.

A young girl from Italy with stars in her eyes makes her way across the US, in hopes of finding fame and fortune in Hollywood. But during her starving artist days, she found that her cooking was more successful than her acting.

Dining Room Inside

And so, she opened a restaurant at the urging of her friends in a vacant warehouse that had previously been used to store film equipment. Nicknamed “Mama Melrose” by her patrons, she gained the fame she was looking for — but it came via her authentic Italian cooking.

Since Mama was a poor, struggling actress — and a recent immigrant to boot — the dining room is set up with what she could find to make it cozy and comfortable. Low lighting from strands of lights give it a soft glow. (And who doesn’t love those little white lights?)

And chandeliers are mismatched — sometimes, right down to the glass globes around the bulbs.

Mismatched Shades

Quirky Lighting

Wall hangings celebrate Los Angeles, Mama’s new home, and her roots in Italy.

Wall Hangings

Of course, it is an Italian restaurant, and so you’ll also see foods — dried and cured sausages, cheese, pasta, and fruits and veggies — hanging around as well.

Food Decor at Mama's

Walls also hold pictures of [Read more…]

Guest Review: Lunch at Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

Today, we’re traveling to Epcot’s Italy Pavilion for lunch at Via Napoli in this guest review by Julie B.!

Buongiorni a tutti! I want to tell you about one of my favorite places for lunch in all of Disney World: Via Napoli, located in the Italy pavilion of World Showcase.

Via Napoli is a relatively recent addition to the dining options of Epcot (and part of a major restaurant overhaul in Italy’s pavilion over the past few years).

This pizzeria doesn’t disappoint when enlightening diners with the true wonders of Neapolitan pizza.

Via Napoli!


The first thing you should know about Via Napoli is that it’s huge, and I mean HUGE! When you walk into the main dining room you’ll notice that it’s very wide but also features sky-high ceilings. This does create a lot of echoing, so Via Napoli is not the best place to come for an intimate meal (but it’s great if you’ve got kids who need to blow off some steam).

The large dining room.

A benefit of those high ceilings is that they have large windows and allow the room to be bathed in natural light. It’s one of the main reasons I love to dine here for lunch instead of dinner.

Another one of my favorite parts of the restaurant’s large size is the center table that stretches across the whole room. If you’re seated at this table, you’ll be [Read more…]

Review: Wolfgang Puck Express in Downtown Disney Orlando

Time to head back to one of my favorite counter service spots in Disney World — Wolfgang Puck Express!

WPE offers consistently delicious food in an atmosphere that may make you think you’ve wandered into a table service restaurant. And with locations in both the Marketplace and West Side ends of Downtown Disney, you’re never far from one of their excellent meals.

Normally, it’s the Marketplace location that we favor as it’s bigger and has much more seating. But today we decided to give the West Side location a try. (If you’d like to see the details of my last Wolfgang Puck Express Marketplace visit, click here.)

Located just next to Wolfgang Puck Cafe and Dining Room, this location offers great eats for everyone. From grab and go, to pizza and more, there are really some incredible options here.

Wolfgang Puck Express West Side Sign

Let’s head in and check it out!


Wolfgang Puck Express West Side is impossible to miss, situated across from Splitsville and the AMC Theatre. You’ll find the entrance tucked just to the left of the restaurant’s main door.

Wolfgang Puck Express West Side

I enjoy visiting WPE during the day. While the restaurant takes on a chic, modern vibe at night, the sun streaming in during daylight hours makes for a bright, cheerful spot.

Indoor Seating

Of course, there is also outdoor seating and this busy area offers primo people-watching opportunities. The ceiling fans and overhang make it quite comfortable as long as you’re not visiting during the height of summer.

Outdoor Seating

The open kitchen allows you to watch as chefs prepare the goodies — especially pizzas, for which WPE is famous.

On Stage Kitchen and Pizza Oven

Time to Make the Pizzas

Here’s the star of Wolfgang Puck’s — the [Read more…]