Disney Food for Families: Getting Kids to Try New Foods at Walt Disney World

It’s no secret that my daughter Louisa is more than a little produce averse. There was a period of about four years when NO fruit or vegetable crossed her lips, and even now at age 12 she still has to be cajoled into having more than a bite or two of something as innocuous as sweet potato or banana.

Frozen bananas, a gateway fruit.

So you can imagine my surprise when, on a recent trip to the Animal Kingdom’s Yak & Yeti restaurant, she consumed nearly the entire plate of wok-fried green beans we had ordered for the table. It was one of those parenting moments where you hold your breath and move slowly so as to avoid breaking the spell.

Yak & Yeti wok-fried green beans. My hero!

Those Yak & Yeti yummies didn’t turn Louisa into an inveterate bean eater, but she is now occasionally willing to nibble on a tempura string bean if we’re out for Japanese. Based on our prior track record with legumes, I’m going to count that solidly in the win column.

The Theme Park Food Effect

What was it about the Yak & Yeti beans that made Louisa such a fan? Yes, they were quite tasty, and yes, the green part was handily obfuscated by a crunchy, yumtastic fried breading coating; but we had tried similar ploys in the past to no avail. My theory is that the Yak & Yeti beans were flavored by the spice of (cue the orchestra) The Theme Park Food Effect.

Much like campers will say that meals eaten on the trail are the BEST, you know that their experience is colored by the fact that their senses are overwhelmed and they’re starving from an [Read more…]

Guest Review: Fulton’s Crab House

Today, we’re welcoming Orlando native Matt Shealy with a guest review of Fulton’s Crab House in Downtown Disney. Matt shares a rave review of the seafood as well as the memorable ambiance of dining at Fulton’s at sunset.

My childhood memories of Disney include images of loveable characters like Mickey, Minnie and Pluto as well as care free roaming of the park’s lush grounds. Those memories were still vivid after an over ten year hiatus. Now that I am a proud father of a two year old girl, I made the 30 minute trek south of Orlando to that magical place called Disney. Other memories of Disney include long lines and Florida’s summer heat, so we headed to the park bright and early.

After a long day of rides and good times, it was time to grab some good food and relax. My wife and I are huge fans of seafood. After asking some of the cast members we settled on Fulton’s Crab House.

On our walk to Fulton's Crab House


We arrived at Downtown Disney at dusk on a warm breezy Central Florida evening. As we strolled towards the larger than life riverboat style restaurant, the [Read more…]

Guest Review: Coral Reef Restaurant

We’re welcoming back guest author Melissa Sue Sorrells Galley with a review of the Coral Reef Restaurant — and she gives it high marks! Take it away, Melissa!

My husband, Rob, and I headed to Coral Reef in early December during our first night in Disney World. After a long day of traveling and touring Hollywood Studios, a dark, undersea meal seemed like just what the doctor would have ordered (if the doctor was a fellow Disney fanatic).

We’d made our Advanced Dining Reservation six months in advance like good Disney diners; and we were there celebrating our “honeymooniversary,” which is a completely made up word we’ve been using to justify going to Disney World each December.

Coral Reef’s exterior signage may be hard to find, but it’s worth looking


Coral Reef may be a bit hard to find, but once you know where to look, it’s as clear as day. As you walk toward the entrance to ride The Seas with Nemo and Friends (one of my favorites), hang a right on the walkway that seems to lead to nowhere. After a few moments, you’ll see the Coral Reef sign and, if you keep walking, the entrance to this undersea adventure in Disney dining.

The entrance is a gateway to the worlds of Ariel and Nemo

Once you enter through the wave-inspired door, using the seahorse pull handle, you’re in a fully-themed underwater atmosphere, complete with [Read more…]

Guest Review: Aulani Eats and Off-Site Treats

in front of the Lava Shack

Join us in welcoming guest author Beth Osborn with a tour of Eats at Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa in Oahu. We’ve also got some great tips about eating at non-Disney spots around the resort! Brace yourselves — there’s Dole Whip, Shave Ice, Plate Lunch, and more — ahead! Don’t forget to check out Aulani restaurant info and menus here.

Arriving to Aulani on October 15, my husband Kev and I selected familiar WDW items — refillable mugs! We purchased purple and blue refillable mugs, which have an Aulani design that matches the beige wallpaper in the halls of the hotel. Red and green options were also available.

Even though the mugs are more expensive at Aulani, we felt we got our money’s worth at $18.99 each over the week we were there.

‘Ama ‘Ama Restaurant at Aulani

We had dinner at Ama Ama — Kev’s salt crusted fish was like nothing we’d ever seen before, with a completely removable crust. He said it was very moist.

Salt Encrusted Fish from Ama Ama

I had the French Maui onion soup and a tomato and cheese salad (two appetizers instead of an entree). Both were excellent.

French Onion Soup and the Tomato Salad from Ama Ama

Makahiki Restaurant and Rip Swirl at Aulani

We had a character breakfast at Makahiki with Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy. I wasn’t as excited about the buffet as some at Disney World, but I did enjoy the [Read more…]

Review: Disney World’s Flying Fish Cafe

Ah, yes — I get to write about one of my very favorite restaurants in Disney World today!! Flying Fish Cafe is located on Disney’s Boardwalk in Walt Disney World, right next to the back entrance of the Boardwalk Inn.

The entrance is adorned with a giant neon sign complete with flying fish! You can’t miss it. ;-) And once inside, you’ll be treated to whimsical decor, an incredible seasonal menu, and an awesome view of Chef Tim Keating’s open kitchen.


I think this restaurant is the perfect mix of Disney magic and star-quality food. Plus, the place is just fun to look at. There are shiny things and smooth things and fun things and colorful things all around you when you walk in. Don’t miss the jumping fire at the grills in the open kitchen!

Flying Fish Chef's Counter

From the parachuting fish on the ceiling to the colorful circus-themed mural on the walls there’s always something you missed the last time you were there. And let’s not even start talking about the draped “circus-tent” room in the back of the restaurant where you get to eat if you’re really, really lucky!

Flying Fish Cafe Tables and Murals

Parachutes and Flying Fish

Can you see the hidden Mickey in this mural? I know, I know — I point it out all the time, but I [Read more…]

Guest Review: Akershus Royal Banquet Hall Dinner

Welcome James Hummel with a review of the Storybook dinner at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot’s Norway!

Having now traveled to Walt Disney World twice with our 4-year-old niece, we decided that it was time she experience dining with her favorite princess characters. We wanted to experience a new restaurant at the same time, and Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (a.k.a. Princess Nirvana) was the hands-down winner.


Akershus is located in the Norway pavilion in EPCOT. The design of the restaurant reminded me of a European castle banquet hall. The entrance room is decorated with medieval style wooden chairs fit for Princes and Princesses.

Entrance Hall

Upon entering Akershus, you are welcomed by a Princess; our hostess for our meal was Belle. All guests had the chance to take a picture with Belle. Later in the meal, a Cast Member presents you with a package of your picture with the princess AT NO EXTRA COST! This was a pleasant surprise, as with most other character dining restaurants the pictures are an extra charge.

Belle and her fan

During the meal, there is a princess and prince parade. The Host Princesses ask the little princesses and princes to get up and walk around the room. Since many of the little princesses are dressed in their finest, this gives them the opportunity to show of their dresses.

Our niece loved the experience. She was able to meet [Read more…]

Review: Trail’s End Dinner Buffet (and NEW Baked Potato Bar!)

Trail’s End in Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort has gone through a few changes over the past year. A new a la carte menu at lunch is winning raves, and now a new baked potato bar at the dinner buffet is heartily praised as well! Can’t wait to hear your comments!

The Trail’s End restaurant is especially fun because of the journey it takes to get to Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. Whether you arrive via bus, boat, golf cart or bike, you’ll find yourself naturally immersed in this far-away setting.

Trail’s End is nestled in the Settlement area of the resort, which is also home to the popular Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show, Crockett’s Tavern, and the Settlement Trading Post, which serves as the general store.

Trail's End Sign


Trail’s End, Crockett’s Tavern, and the Hoop-Dee-Doo share space in Pioneer Hall, where visitors can sit for a spell in a rocking chair or play checkers on the porch.

Cozy Porch

Inside, the rustic atmosphere invites guests to unwind while savoring a buffet comprised of down-home good eats.

Lower Seating Area


Once seated your server will offer beverages. I just love [Read more…]

Tables in Wonderland: November 2011 Event

Tables in Wonderland has announced a November 2011 event!

Click for Larger Image

The Wave . . . of American Flavors Discovery Dinner

Featuring the The Wonders of Sustainable Seafood

Location: Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Date and Time: [Read more…]

Guest Review: New Columbia Harbour House Menu in Magic Kingdom

I’m grateful to Marc and Amy Stumbo, who captured this great review of two new Columbia Harbour House menu items in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom!

As AJ noted last week, several of the Magic Kingdom quick-service dining locations have recently gotten some additions to their respective menus. When asked if I was willing to do a guest review of some additions to the Columbia Harbor House menu, I leapt at the chance for fame and fortune. While I now realize that neither of those outcomes are likely, the food was still worth writing about.

New menu outside. Not pictured: cast member confused by my desire to photograph this menu.


The Columbia Harbor House is located in the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square just around the corner from the Hall of Presidents and across the path from the Haunted Mansion.

I’ve always loved this corner of the park for its ties to our nation’s history, the superb attention to detail on the overall theme, the kinetics of boats coasting by, and the nautical theme carried into the restaurant. Check out [Read more…]

Guest Review: Shutters at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort

Today we welcome back D.J. Jones with our very first Vero Beach Resort review — take a look at Shutters Restaurant! Feel free to join in more of D.J.’s adventures at his blog The World of Deej.

On the final evening of our recent trip to Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, my wife and I were faced with a food dilemma. Do we keep things casual and have the final meal of our trip at Shutters, or do we go out with a bang, as we’d originally planned, and dine at the more upscale Sonya’s?

Given that I had not worn shoes of any kind in over three days, I was in no mood to put on flip flops, much less get “dressed up;” therefore Shutter’s became the obvious choice.

Shutters Restaurant -- photo copyright Disney


Upon entering Shutters, the first thing one will notice is the restaurant’s awesome exhibition kitchen. I always love watching the action of a working restaurant, although I’m sure those behind the counter would prefer to be out of guests’ view.

The bustling kitchen

In addition, the décor is quick to remind guests that this is a beachfront setting, however the numerous sailboat models and other fixtures feel more New England than they do Florida. Overall, the atmosphere of Shutters is [Read more…]