Dining in Disneyland: Big Thunder Ranch BBQ Halloween Round Up Featuring Seasonal Cookie Bake

Disneyland’s Big Thunder Ranch BBQ has always been one of my favorites.  When I heard that it would be closing for good on January 11th, 2016, (in order to make room for Star Wars Land) I knew that I needed to plan a few visits.

Big Thunder Ranch BBQ

Big Thunder Ranch BBQ

[Read more…]

#OnTheList: ‘Ohana Character Breakfast at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

DisneyFoodBucketList 8-018
This post is part of the DFB #OnTheList series, where we feature eats you’ve GOT to have while you’re at Disney! Let us know what’s on YOUR Disney Food Bucket List @DisneyFoodBlog #OnTheList!

Writing about Disney Food — all of it — well, it’s kinda the point of this blog. But I am never happier than when I can share one of my truly favorite meals with you.

And ‘Ohana’s Best Friends Character Breakfast definitely qualifies! Let’s take a closer look at this experience as we head into the Great Ceremonial House and see why ‘Ohana Breakfast is definitely #OnTheList!


Recently, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort underwent a lengthy refurbishment. If you haven’t visited the resort in a while, you’ll definitely notice some changes to the lobby and other public areas.

Tiki Statue in Lobby

Tiki Statue in Lobby

With the Resort’s name change (the Polynesian resumed its original, opening day name), we also welcomed a couple of exciting new additions — the Pineapple Lanai and Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. [Read more…]

Review: Breakfast at Captain’s Grille in Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Today, we’re getting a hearty start to our day with breakfast at Captain’s Grille!

I’ve long considered Captain’s Grille to be a hidden gem at Walt Disney World. Located at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, this place isn’t much to look at (pretty boring, in fact), but they really do have some great food and there always seems to be a table available.

I love heading here for a quiet, delicious lunch, or for a full breakfast spread. Similar to The Wave…of American Flavors at the Contemporary, at breakfast you can choose from the buffet or order from the a la carte menu.


The decor of Captain’s Grille is consistent with the rest of the Yacht Club Resort. You won’t find anything outlandish in this corner of Disney, just lots of blond wood and boaty details — stripes, stars, compass-type stuff, anchors…you know the deal.

Captain's Grille Seating

Captain’s Grille Seating

The space is open with lots of light from overhead chandeliers and recessed light above as well as windows onto the lobby and grounds. The whole effect gives the room an airy feel. Seating is comprised of large padded chairs and booths. It’s fairly typical to find a sparsely populated dining room, so I’ve always considered the space to be roomy and comfortable.


The Main Seating Area

In the main seating area around the ceiling you’ll spy these porthole-type windows, which give you the feeling that you’re enjoying your meal below deck.

Porthole Window Detail

Porthole Window Detail

Shadow boxes feature interesting items, like this grouping of vintage keys.



While there aren’t tons of decorative details here, what you will find is pretty interesting. The three-dimensional sailing scenes are some of my favorite touches, and are a whimsical way to bring the theme into focus.

My Favorite One!

A Ship Sailing the Ocean Blue


Ocean Scenes

Now that we’ve had a look around, let’s explore the breakfast options.


Starting your day off with a [Read more…]

Guest Review: Dinner at Epcot’s Biergarten at the Germany Pavilion

A favorite place to dine at Walt Disney World is Epcot’s World Showcase.

With unique restaurants featuring tastes from around the globe, Epcot offers a smorgasbord of dining locations. Today, guest author Rebecca Elliott shares her dinner experience at the Biergarten located in the Germany pavilion. Prost!

Epcot is designed to replicate a permanent World’s Fair with pavilions dedicated to innovation and international culture.

Future World highlights technology while the World Showcase, on the other side of World Showcase Lagoon, celebrates international culture.

The Charming Biergarten Entry Way

The Charming Biergarten Entry Way

There are 11 pavilions in the World Showcase, each themed and dedicated to a specific country. The décor can be old fashioned and kitschy, but the cast members, many of whom travel from their home countries to work in the World Showcase, give it an air of authenticity.

The restaurants are by far the main attraction. Many pavilions have two or more restaurants that serve food inspired by their representative countries. I say “inspired” because the food is not necessarily authentic, but it has elements of authentic dishes and is served in a fun atmosphere with incredible theming.

Instead of dining at our usual spot (Chefs de France in the France pavilion), my family and I decided to try something completely new on our most recent visit. This is how we found ourselves at Biergarten in the Germany pavilion.

When You Step Into the Dining Room, You Are Transported to a Lively Oktoberfest Party

When You Step Into the Dining Room, You Are Transported to a Lively Oktoberfest Party


Biergarten is located in the back of the Germany pavilion, which is the fourth pavilion in if you enter the World Showcase from Future World and start from the left. Disney’s original plan was to feature a boat ride here, similar to the one at the Norway pavilion, but these plans fell through. The main entrance of the boat ride is now the dining area for Biergarten.

The setting for Biergarten is a quaint Bavarian village celebrating Oktoberfest. You are seated in the town square at communal tables, ready to enjoy traditional German music and food. It is dusk (no matter what time of day you eat), and the atmosphere is celebratory.

Stage Area and Seating

Stage Area and Seating

We checked in with a cast member at the hostess desk [Read more…]

Review: Breakfast at Kouzzina in Disney’s BoardWalk Inn

Let’s head to one of my highly recommended breakfast spots — Kouzzina, at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn!

This casual, but classy restaurant is carries the name of celebrity chef Cat Cora, and features a menu with a Mediterranean influence that celebrates Cora’s Greek heritage.

Kouzzina has won critical acclaim, and has long been one of our favorite stops for breakfast in all of Walt Disney World. So on a recent trip there, we decided to drop by and see what was new…and there was one thing that I’m STILL dreaming about today! I can’t wait to tell you about it!

Read on!


Entering Kouzzina from the almost carnival-like atmosphere of Disney’s BoardWalk, you immediately sense a shift in mood. Kouzzina has a decidedly refined atmosphere, but with many rustic touches. It’s almost like urban-meets-farmhouse.

Menu Cover

In the entryway, there are shelves with mementos and cooking vessels. We spied this Hidden Mickey, which is a nice reminder that although Cat Cora is the chef, you’re still at Disney.

Entryway Decor Featuring a Hidden Mickey

Since a renovation last year, you can find lots of Cora-rific goodies for sale in the lobby of the restaurant.

A List of Available Merchandise

Some of the Cat Cora Merchandise for Sale

Once your name is called and you head into the restaurant, you’ll see another result of the recent renovation. Olive Oil — Greek Olive Oil, to be precise — is used as a hip decor element. Personally, I think this is a little too contemporary for the more “farmhouse-y” feel of the restaurant, but that’s why I’m not an interior designer I guess.

Olive Oil Bottles

While the art wall of olive oil bottles provides the urban touch, lots of dark wood in the dining room brings the rustic feel to the party. Walls with dark wood wainscoting match booths, tables, and beamed ceilings. Lighter wood planks cover the floor. All in all, the hard surfaces and high ceilings can make for a loud space, but the overall feeling is comfortable.


Bright light is filtered at the windows through white curtains. It really is a very relaxing spot for breakfast in WDW! A good contrast to what you’re about to experience in the parks! ;-)


Be sure to look up, too. The light fixtures are really beautiful, with an almost Middle Eastern look.

Beautiful Light Fixture

And the painted tin ceiling carries the feeling of antiquity through the space.

Light Fixture From Another Angle

The open kitchen draws the eye, however. It’s always entertaining to watch [Read more…]

Review: Trail’s End Restaurant at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

It’s been a while since I’ve slept in a camper, cabin, or tent, but that doesn’t stop me from loving Trail’s End Restaurant!

Located at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, the down-home spot is one of my favorites for many reasons — but delicious food and reasonable prices top the list.

While I love lunch and dinner at Trail’s End, I hadn’t visited for breakfast before, so I decided it was time to do just that on a recent trip.


Getting to Trail’s End is half the adventure. It’s located waaaay at the back of the resort, in the area known as the Settlement.

Now, wait. To be fair, adventure is kind of a generous word. It’s actually kind of a pain to get here. Maybe that’s why I like it so much — it’s rarely too packed!

If you’re coming here via bus from a theme park, or via your own car, you’ll park way up at the front of Fort Wilderness and have to take some internal buses to get back to the Settlement. That’s why I prefer to get to Trail’s End and the other Fort Wilderness restaurants via boat from Magic Kingdom, Wilderness Lodge, or the Contemporary — much less intensive on the travel end, and more enjoyable as well.

On this morning we took the bus, so we had some sight-seeing to do on our way from the bus stop back to Trail’s End… .

Welcome to the Settlement!

It’s not uncommon to see horses at Fort Wilderness, where there are carriage and wagon rides available.

Ft. Wilderness Activities

Pioneer Hall shares space with our destination. I love this place! It looks like a giant log cabin. The surrounding by tall pines and live oaks dripping in Spanish moss really give it the feeling of a pioneer settlement.

Pioneer Hall

Pioneer Hall is home to several popular destinations at Fort Wilderness. You’ll find Mickey’s Backyard BBQ close by. But it’s also where you’ll head for an evening of down home fun at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue!

Pioneer Hall -- Up Close

Just past the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue venue, you’ll find our destination for the morning — Trail’s End table-service restaurant. This location shares [Read more…]

Review: Breakfast at Boma in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Mention that you’re looking for a breakfast restaurant during a stay at Walt Disney World, and you are bound to be met with this piece of advice: “You MUST go to Boma.”

It’s true! This buffet restaurant is among the most favorite options for lovers of Disney food, myself included. We’ve even named it as one of our most favorite Disney brunch destinations!

But even though dinner offers an amazing spread, your Disney friends will tell you that breakfast is the “can’t miss” meal here.

It was a shock to me when I realized that I had never actually reviewed this all-important meal on the blog! Time to remedy that right now!


Boma is located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. You’ll find it below the lobby on the ground floor, adjacent to other AKL restaurants The Mara and Jiko.

There’s one pretty important distinction that sets Boma apart from other very popular buffets at Disney. Many of the others are primarily character dining experiences. But you won’t find any characters at Boma. That’s an important detail to keep in mind when planning your advance dining reservations.

Boma Background Information

“Boma” is actually an African term for a fence made of sticks that forms a safe enclosure for gathering. Throughout the entrance of the restaurant, you see the stick fence motif captured in different materials.

Here, Imagineers used wrought iron to line the bridged walkway leading into the space.

Entrance to Boma

Beautiful statuary decorates the low wall that separates the buffet from the seating area.

Statuary and Decor

Ceilings are lined with large pieces of [Read more…]

Review: Cape May Cafe at Disney’s Beach Club Resort

We are heading to the quaint New England shore today for a breakfast buffet at Cape May Cafe!

The expansive restaurant, located at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, is a favorite among guests for a couple of reasons: 1.) You get to see Minnie, Donald, and Goofy in their BATHING SUITS! SO FUN! (OK, that sounds weird as I read it over, but you know what I mean, right?), 2.) It’s slightly easier to get an advance dining reservation here than at one of the other, more well-known character breakfasts, like Chef Mickey’s or Crystal Palace.

We hadn’t been back to Cape May for breakfast in quite a while, so on a recent trip, we headed over one morning pre-park with AJ’s Mom and AJ’s Dad to see what was new.


You enjoy the same open, airy feeling at Cape May that you sense throughout the rest of the Beach Club Resort. The stick-style architecture (I totally learned that from Samantha Brown back when she was doing “Great Hotels” on the Travel Channel…remember?) brings to mind Victorian beach house themes.


Check in at the podium, and soon you’ll be making your way to one of two dining rooms — a large main room, or a smaller one adjacent to the restaurant’s entrance. I much prefer the large main dining room since it has a lot more to look at and has slightly easier access to the buffet. ;-)

Check In Area

The palette is pastel, and vintage-style beach umbrellas and chairs adorn the space to drive home the seaside feeling. The colorful carpet depicts beach umbrellas, too.


Seating is comfortable, with a mixture of [Read more…]

5 Things You’ve Gotta Try at Walt Disney World in 2013!

It is a great time to be a Walt Disney World Fan, and an even greater time to be a Disney Food Fan! There has been a truly dizzying array of really unique, inventive food to come down the pike over the last year, and we can’t wait to hear what YOU think about it.

Since we are all about the eats in these parts, I thought I’d give you my two cents on the 5 Things You’ve Gotta Try at Walt Disney World in 2013 — Food Edition! Let’s do it!

Tutto Gusto

If you haven’t had the chance to stop by Tutto Gusto, the new wine bar that opened in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion last summer, I heartily recommend you get there, asap!

Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar

This alluring, intimate spot has enjoyed lots of business since opening — I often find it full to the max when I visit! (Luckily, I snapped this pic on an early day!)

Gusto Fireplace Area

Following on the heels of the success enjoyed by its Mexican cousin, La Cava del Tequila, Tutto Gusto adds even more eats. Not only can you find an extraordinary assortment of Italian wines and beers, but there is also a wonderful menu of small bites to choose from.

Even non-wine drinkers can find plenty to love about this spot, which feels like it was just transported to Florida from Italy. Italian Cheese and Sausages? Sign me up!

Tutto Gusto Cheese Board

Stop in for a glass, some cheese, or even heavier pasta or panini options. The full menu from Tutto Italia next door is available here, too!

Or grab a fabulous dessert and a glass of Moscato. You won’t be disappointed.

Territory Lounge Eats

When I need a break from the [Read more…]

Epcot Food & Wine Festival Food Pictures and Review: Italy and New Zealand

Yay! We’re headed back to Epcot for another great World Showcase booth review at the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! Our stops today include guest favorites Italy and New Zealand.

If you’re looking for your other favorite booths, be sure to check out ALL the info and brand new photos on our Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booth Pages.

Click on any booth or country name, to see detailed information, menus, and prices, and you’ll also see our all-new photos from each booth!


Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival Italy Booth has been a mainstay of the Food and Wine Festival since the very beginning, way back in 1996.

Italy Marketplace Booth

This year, we said goodbye to a few dishes, but enthusiastically welcomed some awesome additions to the menu!

2012 Italy Marketplace Booth Menu -- Click to Enlarge

New to the Italy Booth this year is the Salsiccia e “Papacelli” Napoletani — a sweet sausage with peppers, served with ciabatta bread.

I really enjoyed this miniature take on an Italian classic, sweet sausage and peppers. And I love that there’s a new sausage kid on the block to join Germany’s Bratwurst and Canada’s Chicken Chipotle Sausage!

Salsiccia e “Papacelli” Napoletani (Sweet Sausage, Red Pepper, Ciabatta Bread)

A fan favorite — the Ravioli di Formaggio all-Emiliana — returns, and is just as delicious as ever! The large cheese ravioli is smothered in a meaty, creamy, tomato-laced sauce, and is then topped with [Read more…]