Tips from the DFB Guide: NEW Unique Meals for Kids at Walt Disney World

Many of us have been there — you’re trying to plan the best and most delicious vacation, but when it comes to Disney Kids’ Meals, the options can seem pretty ho-hum at first glance.

dfb2015_guide_3d

But there’s more to eating with small fry in Disney World than meets the eye! We first told you about Unique Kids’ Meals a while back in a Tip from the DFB Guide.

But times marches on, and menus evolve. And since we first visited the subject, Disney has committed to offering guests healthier eating options — and that includes Kids’ Meal reforms. We’ve fully updated the DFB Guide again this year, and I thought it was the perfect time to revisit Unique Kids’ Meals at Walt Disney World!

These tips come to you courtesy of the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2015! And if they’re helpful to you, pick up your copy of the Guide today for $4 off using code “2015” right here!

Mickey Check Meals

We can’t begin to discuss Disney World Kids’ Meals without at least touching on the biggest change to come to children’s menus in the history of the Resort. We’re talking about Mickey Check Meals.

mickey check for kids meals

Part of the Disney Magic of Healthy Living Initiative, the meals are designated on Disney restaurant menus with the “Mickey Check” Symbol. Meals earning the Mickey Check meet the Disney Nutrition Guidelines and limit the amount of sodium, sugar, and saturated and trans fats. In addition, they must also include at least three of the following:

  • fruits and vegetables,
  • low-fat dairy,
  • whole grains, and/or
  • lean protein, beans, eggs, and/or nuts.

So what’s the bottom line? The guidelines have certainly challenged Disney chefs to come up with some interesting meals as a result.

Mickey Turkey Meatloaf

Turkey Meatloaf at Be Our Guest Restaurant…Super Cute! But Not So Delicious

But how do they taste? Wellllll…my jury is still out on that one. While I commend Disney for offering healthier options to guests who are in search of them, the Disney Check Meals that I’ve seen and tasted personally…let’s just say they have a long way to go before taste catches up with the requirements.

A la Carte and Appetizers as Kids’ Meals

If you aren’t using a Disney Dining Plan, then another great idea for a Unique Kids’ Meal option is to order a la carte sides or appetizers instead of something from the Kids’ Menu.

This strategy works great for a couple of different reasons. Even with all of the improvements to kids’ meals across the parks and resorts, some Disney restaurants lag behind a bit, and the options can be a little, well, boring. After all, you can only eat Chicken Nuggets so many times. So it’s a great way to get your young, adventurous eater something tastier and more satisfying.

Smoked Chicken Quesadilla

Smoked Chicken Quesadillas, a Whispering Canyon Cafe Appetizer, is a Great Meal Choice for an Adventurous Kid

It’s also a great idea when [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: Top 5 Disney Dining Plan One-Credit Values for 2014

Now that you’ve booked your 2014 Disney World vacation, it’s time to make your Advance Dining Reservations.

Top5DisneyDiningPlanOneCreditTableServiceValuesfor2014

But which restaurants are worthy of your precious Disney Dining Plan credits?

What’s the DDP? The vacation package add-on called the Disney Dining Plan is a pre-purchased meal plan. Based on the plan you choose, you’ll receive a certain number of credits to be utilized during your Disney stay. (Remember your college meal plan? Yeah; it’s kinda like that!)

Many table-service meals in Disney World cost one credit per person, but are you getting the best value?

If you reeeeeeally want to get your money’s worth, stick to the one-credit restaurants, order the most expensive meal on the menu, and maximize your savings! Let’s get to the DFB guide’s top picks for best value at “one table-service credit” Walt Disney World restaurants.

Remember: this is primarily based on food cost, but we have taken atmosphere and food quality into consideration a bit as well. We don’t want you eating at a bad restaurant, after all. ;-)

Tutto Italia

Offering regional specialties, Tutto Italia is located in Epcot’s Italy pavilion. With dinner entrees costing about $30, and a pricey dessert topping $13, your one meal here is a great use of a table service dining credit!

Braised Meatballs and Shortrib

Braised Meatballs and Shortrib

Kouzzina

Kouzzina features Mediterranean cuisine showcased on a menu created by Celebrity Chef Cat Cora. A dinner at this BoardWalk restaurant can be costly. With a $35 grilled steak entree and $10 desserts (Baklava!!), Kouzzina is a smart choice for your dining credit use!

Baklava Dessert Close-Up

Baklava Dessert at Kouzzina

Teppan Edo

Teppan Edo is a fun Hibachi restaurant in Epcot’s Japan pavilion. Order the $32 Filet Mignon and a dessert at $5-7 to make the most of your table service credit.

Steak and chicken

Steak and chicken at Teppan Edo

Les Chefs de France

Located in Epcot’s France pavilion, Les Chefs de France serves up delicious cuisine. Dinner entrees cost $20-35 with desserts about $9 each. Use your table service credit here for a memorable meal.

Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee at Chefs de France

Rainforest Cafe

While Rainforest Cafe gets mixed reviews, [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: June 30, 2013

I’m getting SO excited for the upcoming Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

This week we got a glimpse at a few more delicious 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival menu items that will be featured at this year’s World Showcase booths.

From salmon in Scotland to pork belly in Brazil, we can’t wait to eat our way around the World this year. Stay tuned this month for even more great updates and menu items as they’re revealed.

In the meantime, check out our 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Page and our Epcot Food and Wine Festival Fans facebook page for more…

Disney Food News

We’ve gathered this week’s food news from your favorite Disney destinations!

  • Bread Cone sandwiches are now being offered at Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner in Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
  • Check out the new cinnamon roll in town at Disneyland’s Downtown Disney!
  • The Rainforest Cafe recently opened the brand new Lava Lounge with outdoor, waterfront dining. Also, check out the new volcano show that occurs nightly in Downtown Disney Orlando!
  • A few more 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Menu Items have been announced for Disney World’s massive Food and Wine event!
  • A new Orange Slush beverage is being served at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom!
  • Check out our review of the updated quick-service restaurant — Gasparilla Island Grill — at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa in Walt Disney World!

Of course, there’s more! Check out all the latest Disney Food News — even the stuff we don’t mention in posts on the blog! — on our Disney Food News Pin Board, including Dole-Inspired Menu Items at Downtown Disney Anaheim and Limited Time Magic Treats in Walt Disney World July 1-7.

DFB Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other edible awesomeness — in or from Disney, share a photo with us on facebook or twitter so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

This week we’re featuring some unique desserts. First up, Reader Mandi emailed this gorgeous Chocolate Ginger Cake from Epcot’s Teppan Edo! (We tried this one at Tokyo Dining and loved it!)

Chocolate Ginger Cake!

Facebook Friend Vanessa shared this note: “For those of you who missed it, here are some of the lovely treats AJ chose for this Snack Attack, Butterfinger Cupcakes from DHS, Red Velvet Cupcakes, School Bread from Norway…” We had a great time!

Snack Attack Desserts!

DFB Guide to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios Snacks Grand Launch Celebration

We’re celebrating the grand launch of our BRAND NEW DFB Guide to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios Snacks e-Book!

You can get the new Guide for $3 off the regular purchase price for a limited time — just use code SNACKS13 at the check-out!

With over 250 pages of delicious snacks, the DFB Guide to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios Snacks is the third — and long-awaited — book in our DFB Guide Snacks Series!

As always, you will enjoy an instantly downloadable PDF guide with comprehensive information and advice on well over 200 delicious snacks that you can savor at the Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios parks in the Walt Disney World resort.

The DFB Mini-Guide to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios Snacks e-Book will include:

  • Full-color photos of well over 200 of our favorite snacks
  • Over 260 pages of great information, tips, and insider info
  • Current prices and Disney Dining Plan snack credit status
  • Disney Food Blog reviews of all snacks
  • Special Bonus items you’re going to love! (Of course…how could we not include these?!)

DFB Guide to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios Snacks Sample Page

Know what you’re getting BEFORE using a precious snack credit or spending limited vacation dollars. Whether you want sweet, salty, crunchy, healthy, or something in between, The DFB Mini-Guide to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios Snacks e-Book tells you where to find a snack to match your craving!

Don’t forget — for easy access in the parks, put the guide on your smartphone or tablet!

Or Bundle For Even More Savings!

Headed to Disney World and want the whole scoop on snacks? Bundle four of our most popular Disney Dining Guides and SAVE!

Pick up our DFB Guide and Snacks Bundle for over 40% off! This includes our critically acclaimed DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining, DFB Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks, and DFB Guide to Epcot Snacks along with the brand new DFB Guide to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios Snacks. All editions have been updated for 2013!

Check out how you can have the best Disney vacation ever…and pay even less!

For more detailed information and sample pages [Read more…]

News! Lava Lounge Opens at Rainforest Café in Disney World’s Downtown Disney

Woo!! After a lengthy renovation, the Lava Lounge recently opened in the Rainforest Café in Disney World! Here’s another great “no-reservation-needed” location to pick up a full meal in the World…

Lava Lounge

The big draw here is the possibility of having NO wait to dine. While it’s truly a jungle in the dining room, the Lava Lounge is equally appealing.

Lava Lounge underneath the erupting volcano!

With waterfront views, a quieter ambiance, and a family-friendly atmosphere, it’s a place for the whole family to unwind outdoors. In fact, it might just be the place for your family if you have kids that are timid about the simulated thunderstorms and loud animals inside the dining room.

Gorillas can get loud inside!

Of course, your crew will have to be somewhat adventurous as you’ll hear the volcanic “eruptions” that take place each evening.

Recent exterior renovations added an erupting volcano that puts on a mighty display in sync with a light and sound show. Don’t be surprised if your kids ask to dine here while wandering Downtown Disney! And without a reservation, you now know to head to the Lava Lounge!

Eats

And we love that not only can you order from the full restaurant menu, but the Lava Lounge also has some exclusive menu items! We can’t wait to try the Volcanic Sliders or Tectonic Tacos. And the Jungle Runner is one of the more popular adult beverages!

We already know that a meal at the Rainforest Café is made more memorable when ordering the Sparkling Volcano for dessert. (Seriously — this thing is awesome! You can see our [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: June 16, 2013

Happy Dad’s DAY!!! We’re raising a glass to all of your dads out there and hoping you’re having a great Father’s Day!

Starbucks has officially come to Disney World!

This week, we’ve got some awesome news to share with you, including coffee updates (Starbucks has soft opened in Main Street Bakery!), Food and Wine Festival updates, and more…

Let’s take a look at the latest!

Disney Food News

We’ve gathered this week’s food news from your favorite Disney destinations!

Of course, there’s more! Check out all the latest Disney Food News — even the stuff we don’t mention in posts on the blog! — on our Disney Food News Pin Board, including a New Egg White Omelet at the Kona Cafe and a Newly Erupting Volcano at the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney Orlando.

DFB Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other edible awesomeness — in or from Disney, share a photo with us on facebook or twitter so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

DFB Reader Janel sent us a “plate full of goodies” from Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. YUM!

Breakfast at Chef Mickey's!

If you’re hankering for some French Toast, DFB Reader Brian tempts us with this photo of the creme brulee version from the Pepper Market at Coronado Springs Resort. Also, watch for a DFB review coming soon!

Breakfast at Pepper Market.

Dad’s Day SALE: The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining e-Book!

The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013 e-Book is fully updated for 2013 visits, and is now available for purchase and download to help you make the most of your dining opportunities while in Disney World.

The fully updated DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013 e-Book is an instantly downloadable PDF guide, featuring over 400 full-color pages of photographs, information, and advice about our favorite things — food and dining in Walt Disney World.

It’s guaranteed to help you navigate your way to delicious dining on your next vacation! And if you’re ready to get yours now, head on over to DFBGuide.com to pick it up!!

Don’t Forget, use code: DAD2013 to get a $4 discount in honor of Father’s Day! And at the end of this post, we have details on even more savings!

If you purchased the 2012 Guide and would like to purchase the 2013 Guide, we’ve got a special discount for repeat purchasers. Email me here to get a limited-time, one-use, exclusive discount code to purchase the 2013 Guide at a $6 discount. Please include the email address you used to purchase the 2012 Guide in the body of your email.

For more detailed information and screen shots from the e-Book, head over to DFBGuide.com! With a 100% money-back guarantee, you have nothing to lose! :-)

On to the Round-Up!

Walt Disney World for Grown Ups names ten top Disney spots for sharing a beer with Dad!

Mickey Fix highlights an R2D2 bottle stopper!

Stuff from the Park shares a vintage 1950s menu for kids dining at the Disneyland Hotel.

AllEars shares details on an adult cooking class at the Portobello Restaurant in Downtown Disney Orlando.

Eighteen25 shares a super fun Disney savings jar with a snack-tastic surprise!

Mouse on the Mind finds a thrifty breakfast at Shades of Green’s Garden Gallery.

Disney Parks Blog shows us how to create Eggs Benedict courtesy of Steakhouse 55’s Chef Alle Thiam.


Review: Rainforest Cafe a la Disney

Welp, I finally got a chance to have another meal at Rainforest Cafe!

These restaurants often get a bad rap food-wise. While this is a really fun place to shop and explore, a lot of people wonder how good the food can actually be in such a themed restaurant. (Disney meals are precious and expensive things, and I hate to waste even one!)

But I hadn’t been to an RC for a while, and it was time to head back into the jungle! Come with me and find out how it was…

Atmosphere

This is a review of the Rainforest Cafe located in Downtown Disney District at Disneyland. However, the Disney Rainforest locations (one in Disneyland, two in Disney World) are actually quite similar.

The menus themselves — and many of the decor elements — are the same, so keep that in mind if you are only planning to visit one of the two Disney World locations.

Outside Sign - Close Up

One main difference: each location has a slightly different exterior. This Disneyland eatery has a sort of temple-in-the-jungle feeling to it.

Rainforest Cafe - Outside

As you walk in, you find yourself in a very large gift shop with all manner of [Read more…]

News! Downtown Disney Anaheim Celebrates Avocado Week

The second annual California Avocado Week is being held July 1-7 at Downtown Disney Anaheim at the Disneyland Resort. Guests can take part in cooking demos, munch on featured menu selections, and more!

Throughout the week, Downtown Disney restaurants will feature special California avocado menu items, and Sephora will offer refreshing avocado facials. Celebrate the Avocado season in Disneyland!

Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney

Main Stage Schedule

4 p.m.: Cooking demonstrations will feature dishes made with California avocados by a chef from one of the premiere restaurants at Downtown Disney. Seating on a first-come, first-served basis will be available for 100 guests and each seated guest will have the chance to taste the menu item. Unlimited standing room will be available as well.

6 p.m.: A Guacamole contest will feature three participants (selected by the California Avocado Commission) with the challenge to make guacamole out of ingredients provided. The winning dish will be awarded a $100 gift card to a participating restaurant in Anaheim’s Downtown Disney District.

Nightly until 10 p.m.: DJ Wendy will entertain.

Food Demo Calendar

Sunday, July 1
Chef Meyer, House of Blues, California Avocado and Blue Cheese Crusted Rib Eye

Monday, July 2
Chef Thomas Keaveny, ESPN Zone, Mini California Avocado Shrimp [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…]

Top 5 Disney Dining Plan One-Credit Table-Service Values for 2012

Now that you’ve booked your 2012 Disney World vacation, it’s time to make your Advance Dining Reservations. Which restaurants are credit-worthy?

The vacation package add-on called the Disney Dining Plan is a meal plan with a set price in exchange for a certain number of credits. Many table-service meals in Disney World cost one credit, but are you getting the best value?

Stick to the one-credit restaurants, order the most expensive meal on the menu, and maximize your savings! Let’s get to my top picks for best value at “one table-service credit” Walt Disney World restaurants. I think some of them will surprise you!

Criteria Used

When we looked at values, our main criteria was price. These restaurants offer a great bang for your buck when paying with the Disney Dining Plan.

We also looked at enjoyment level and food quality, but these criteria were secondary and tertiary to cost. Note that these aren’t necessarily our favorite restaurants, but they are good values for one Disney Dining Plan credit.

Tutto Italia

Tucked into the Italian pavilion at Epcot, Tutto Italia Ristorante boasts regional cuisines from Italy in an Old World setting. Table service is attentive, although the fine-dining atmosphere can lead to longer waits.

This restaurant serves up a Roasted Rack and Leg of Lamb ($34) as an entree. End your meal with Copetta Sotto Boscue, a dessert specialty comprised of berries, zabaglione cream, gelato, and chocolate sauce, which has an out-of-pocket price of $14. When both of these items are ordered, Tutto Italia becomes quite possibly your best one-credit table-service value in Walt Disney World.

There’s also a Veal Roast which would run you $31 out-of-pocket but… perfectly worth one dining credit!

Veal

Tutto Italia is closed for refurbishment until [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: July 24, 2011

Strawberry Lemonade at Enchanted Grove in Magic Kingdom

It’s been a sizzling hot week, so we hope you’re keeping cool! Maybe you have access to some delicious strawberry lemonade like the one to the right (in the Magic Kingdom). We’re counting down the days until we get our next fix of that stuff!

There’s lot of fun Disney food news this week as well as some awesome articles in the round-up, so let’s get started…

Disney Food News

Let’s review the latest news from this past week!

New Disney Food Blog Mini-Guide Just Around the Corner…

Just eeking out the final updates to the brand new Mini-Guide e-Book! (Thankfully, one of our fabulous columnists is in Disney World this week and has agreed to do a little extra recon for us!)

As you know, our DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining e-Book covers a wealth of information about Disney World food. But after hitting 250 pages, we reserved some of the more detailed info for our upcoming series of Mini-Guides.

The first in the series will be the Disney Food Blog Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks, and it will be debuting very soon.

Detailed reviews, photos, prices, and snack-credit-worthiness of over 70 snacks in the Magic Kingdom are packed into this Mini-Guide, but, as always, we’ve included a few extras and bonus items as well!

We’ll have more information for you very soon; we can’t wait to hear what you think!

Here we go…On to the Round-Up!

Meet the World in Progressland shares the fabulous views seen only from Club 33!

Disney Contemporary Fan Site compares the Grand Floridian’s Citricos with the Contemporary Resort’s California Grill. Which would you choose?

DisneyTouristBlog reviews Disneyland’s Big Thunder Ranch BBQ. Yee-Haw!

Main Street Gazette shares with us a canyon skillet at Whispering Canyon Cafe.

Kokocooks takes us along on their cupcake crawl in Disney World — inspired by our DFB challenge!

Disney Contests and Sweepstakes gives us the scoop on the Rainforest Cafe Orlando’s summer photo contest. Good luck!