News! Han Solo in Carbonite Popcorn Bucket Coming to Star Wars Weekends

UPDATE: Guest can find the Han Solo Popcorn Bucket at Watto’s Grotto inside Darth’s Mall this year.

Okay, so I thought the Darth Vader Popcorn Bucket featured during 2014’s Star Wars Weekends was pretty awesome…

Darth Vader Popcorn Bucket

Darth Vader Popcorn Bucket

But I think the Empire might have to take a back seat to the Rebel Alliance, because the popcorn bucket coming to Star Wars Weekends this year is… oh, forget it. I don’t even have words. Just LOOK!!

© Disney © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd

© Disney © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd

So, yeah. I’m pretty sure Vader’s about to get trumped with this Han Solo Frozen in Carbonite Popcorn Bucket.

I’m just not going to be the one to break it to him.

Remember, Star Wars Weekends begin at Hollywood Studios on [Read more…]

The Year in Review: Top 10 Disney Food News Items of 2014!

We are standing on the cusp of a brand New Year, and we can’t wait to see what 2015 holds in store for us — and Disney!

Top10DisneyFoodNewsStories

But we can’t wave goodbye to the old year without looking back on some of the biggest food news that happened throughout Disney Parks.

Most of this year’s big news happened at Walt Disney World, but we have a few memorable moments to share with you from Disneyland as well as other Disney Parks around the globe.

Today, we bring you a look back at 2014’s Biggest Disney Food News Stories! We have a LOT to cover — let’s get started!

First up, a little something I like to call…

The Beginning of Finally Doing Something with Pleasure Island

It’s the story we feel like we’ve been watching for years — what’s happening at Downtown Disney Orlando’s now defunct Pleasure Island??

Well, 2014 finally saw some solid progress, and the Disney Springs story seems to be coming to life.

An Artist's Rendering of Disney Springs

An Artist’s Rendering of Disney Springs

Lots of changes have made a trip to Downtown Disney a challenge in the last couple of years. But as the year draws to a close, the parking garages are open, and we are seeing some of the plans take shape!

2014 kicked off with a surprise restaurant opening of sorts — the House of Blues added a new counter service offering, The Smokehouse. We say surprise because we told you about the restaurant for the first time just days before the walls came down and the doors opened for business!

The Smokehouse at The House of Blues

The Smokehouse at The House of Blues

The Smokehouse is strictly a walk-up window venue. But the covered outdoor seating is pleasant, and you can often take in live music as you enjoy barbecue favorites, like their Beef Brisket Sandwich, St. Louis Ribs, or Smoked Turkey Legs.

Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich with House-made Cole Slaw

Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich with House-made Cole Slaw from The Smokehouse

But it wasn’t all good news for Downtown Disney this year. Guests at T-Rex Cafe last Spring were in for some decidedly unpleasant dinner excitement, as one of the restaurant’s humongous fish tanks sprang a leak during dinner service!

However, no one was injured and all of the fish were reportedly rescued. We’re glad that all turned out happily in the situation, but we’ll never look at those huge fish tanks quite the same way again!

Also in the Spring, we said hello to a spot that’s quickly become one of our most favorite spots to shop in all of Walt Disney World — the Marketplace Co-op!

Disney Centerpiece

Disney Centerpiece

We have found some totally awesome stuff in the store’s Disney Centerpiece Section, including dishes, glasses, and other tableware that celebrate all of our Disney cult favorites. Whether you’re a Dole Whip fan or love memorabilia celebrating Tomorrowland, chances are you’ll find something that you’ve just gotta have!

Orange Bird Section

Orange Bird Section

Starbucks also continued to [Read more…]

News! Booking Begins TODAY for 2015 Star Wars Weekends Dining Packages

Booking for Star Wars Weekends Dining Packages will return to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in 2015 and booking begins December 3, 2014.

Star Wars Character Meal Backdrop

Dinner at the Hollywood & Vine restaurant and breakfast at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater will offer these galactic experiences May 4th through June 14, 2015. Note that the character meals are available all week — not just on weekends!

Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine

At Hollywood and Vine, Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine will feature Disney characters wearing their Star Wars best as they celebrate the greatest saga ever told! See our review from this year’s experience here!

You may get the chance to meet Ewok Chip & Dale, Jedi Mickey, Leia Minnie, Darth Goofy, and/or Stormtrooper Donald. Star Wars décor, themed foods, and music create a galactic experience. Advance Dining Reservations will be offered from 4:15-8PM.

Ewok Chip and Dale welcome you!

Ewok Chip and Dale welcome you!

Cost: [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: June 4, 2014

For this round of “What’s New,” we’ve got food news (and menu changes galore) from every single Disney World park… and beyond! So settle, in, make yourselves comfy, and join us to see What’s New!

Animal Kingdom

We’ll start with the fact that Dole Whip (with or without rum, y’all) can now be found at Tamu Tamu Refreshments in Animal Kingdom’s Africa! (Yep; we’ve had confirmation from Dole that it IS indeed authentic Dole Whip Pineapple Soft Serve.)

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Pineapple Soft-serve (Dole Whip!) menu

Pineapple Soft-serve (Dole Whip!) menu

But we don’t want to miss the chance to mention that Tamu Tamu has also brought back some old favorites with a recent menu refresh: The Slow-cooked Pulled Beef Sandwich is back (hooray!), along with the return of the Quinoa Salad. The Roasted Chicken Salad and gorgeous Fresh Fruit Salad made the cut from the previous menu.

Tamu Tamu Menu

Tamu Tamu Menu

Inside the pulled beef sandwich

Inside the pulled beef sandwich

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad

And I’m very happy to say that the Fresh Fruit Bowl is back in time for summer!

Fruit Bowl at Bradley Falls Kiosk

Fruit Bowl Salad

The Fruit Salad has returned to Bradley Falls, too.

Bradley Falls menu

Bradley Falls menu

Remember, Bradley Falls operates seasonally, so if it’s closed during your visit, it’s good to know you can head over to Tamu Tamu for a Fresh Fruit Bowl.

Have you seen (or heard?!) this awesome Musical Tumbler found at various food locations throughout Animal Kingdom? Get the full scoop here!

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

The Royal Anandapur Tea Company is a perfect spot to grab a cup of hot tea (assorted varieties available) or coffee. However, they’re currently offering some flavored Iced Teas in light of the warmer temps.

Royal Anandapur Tea Company Menu

Royal Anandapur Tea Company Menu

Though not food-related, I’d like to offer this next picture as a small tribute. Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade wrapped up its nearly 13-year run as Animal Kingdom makes way for all sorts of new adventures. I don’t think I’m speaking solely for myself when I say this unique, beautiful and fun parade will be missed.

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade

Magic Kingdom

The Lunching Pad has added one more option to its gourmet hot dog selection: the BLT Hot Dog joins the Coney Island Dog and the Philly Cheese Steak Dog.

Lunching Pad Menu

Lunching Pad Menu

Now, here’s something you don’t see everyday… this next bit is not a new item, but rather a new [Read more…]

DIY Disney: Host Your Own Star Wars Weekend at Home!

You can’t make it to Star Wars Weekends, and you’re super bummed. Dude, I feel ya. Because I’m in the same landcruiser.

But you know, there’s a way to make a party out of the most dismal of circumstances. So with that lemonade-out-of-lemons attitude, I’m setting out to host my very own Star Wars Weekend at Home!

Care to join me? I thought you might!

The Star Wars Cookbook Deluxe Set (With Cookie Cutters!)

I’m assuming your Star Wars Weekend will involve a party or two, so of course you’ll want to stay on theme with the eats. Make the task of creating nibbles easy with the The Star Wars Cookbook Deluxe Set. Perfect for whipping up a batch of Yoda Soda and Landonuts. Plus, it comes with a set of cookie cutters, which will transform your favorite cookie recipe into the likenesses of Darth Vader, Yoda, and R2-D2.

Star Wars Cookbook and Cookie Cutters

Star Wars Cookbook and Cookie Cutters

Death Star Ice Sphere Mold

I was bowled over by the Death Star Glow Spheres that we featured on the blog the other day! While I haven’t figured out how to get these at home — yet! — I do have the next best thing for your Dark Side Cocktail: Death Star Ice Sphere Molds!

The silicone mold is perfect for making mini Death Stars out of lots of things. Make ice for your intergalactic cocktails, or Dark Side Truffles. How about Darth Butter for your next dinner party? Or Death Star Soaps for the guest quarters?

Death Star Ice Sphere Mold

Death Star Ice Sphere Mold

Star Wars Pint Glasses

Your guests can belly up to the bar in style when you serve them from this set of [Read more…]

Review: Star Wars Weekends Darth Vader and Yoda Cupcakes

It’s time to CHOOSE YOUR SIDE… by choosing your cupcake! Star Wars Weekends have returned to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and that means that the Darth Vader Cupcake has made his return as well.

But this time, he’s got a little competition… introducing the Yoda Cupcake, new to Star Wars Weekends this year!

Darth Vader and Yoda Cupcakes

Darth Vader and Yoda Cupcakes

Before you can dig in, you’ve got to know where to find them. Fortunately, upon entering Hollywood Studios you can pick up a Star Wars Weekends Guide letting you know where to find everything from specialty snacks, to character greetings, to merchandise (as well as the general schedule for the weekend).

Star Wars Weekends guide

Star Wars Weekends guide

Star Wars Weekends snacks and locations

Star Wars Weekends snacks and locations

You’ll notice you can find the Darth Vader cupcake in just about every Quick Service location (think Studio Catering Co., Pizza Planet, and ABC Commissary, to name a few). But the Yoda Cupcake can only be found alongside Vader in three spots: Starring Rolls Cafe, Backlot Express, and a new spot this year: the Ackbar Snack Bar located inside Darth’s Mall (the Weekends’ prime merchandise location)!!!

Ackbar Snack Bar

Ackbar Snack Bar

Admiral Ackbar takes a sip

Admiral Ackbar takes a sip

Ackbar Snack Bar

Ackbar Snack Bar

Ackbar Snack Bar menu

Ackbar Snack Bar menu

By all means, go to Darth’s Mall, find Ackbar Snack Bar, and gaze upon it in all its glory… then head to Backlot Express or Starring Rolls to get your cupcakes a bit cheaper — they’re $5.75 at Ackbar’s, but they’re $5.19 at the Quick Service spots. (You can use your Disney Dining Plan snack credits for one of these cupcakes anywhere. )

By the way, Ackbar in the photo above is drinking from a Stormtrooper Stein, found at Quick Service locations throughout the park. Awesome.

Stormtrooper Stein

Stormtrooper Stein

Stormtrooper Stein

Stormtrooper Stein

But back to the cupcakes! Let’s start with the new guy… the Yoda Cupcake.

Yoda cupcake

Yoda cupcake

This chocolate cupcake is topped with a Chocolate Hazelnut Buttercream frosting (i.e. Nutella) and sprinkled liberally with toffee chocolate candy crunch. Yoda himself is made of white chocolate.

Master Yoda

Master Yoda

As I’ve learned from many a Mickey-shaped snack throughout the years, I go for the ears first.

Yoda sans ears

Yoda sans ears

Sorry, little dude. I still got nothin’ but love for ya.

Anyhoo… I’d mentioned a liberal sprinkle of toffee crunch. That’s to be found in [Read more…]

Review: “The Force” and “The Dark Side” Specialty Beverages at Disney World’s Star Wars Weekends

Looking for something to quench your thirst – with a little kick – during your Star Wars Weekends adventure at Hollywood Studios?

If so, then there’s something you have to do first: you must Choose Your Side.

Star Wars Weekends Specialty Beverages

Star Wars Weekends Specialty Beverages

Two specialty beverages are available during Star Wars Weekends: The Dark Side and The Force. You can find them at temporary mini bars throughout Hollywood Studios, such as this one near Mama Melrose’s

Mini Bar outside of Mama Melrose's

Mini Bar outside of Mama Melrose’s

… or this one near Sci-Fi Dine-In.

Mini Bar outside of Sci-Fi

Mini Bar outside of Sci-Fi

We’ll be looking at the two signature drinks served at each of these bars, but they also carry a small assortment of other beverages available for purchase.

Bar assortment

Bar assortment

The Dark Side, as you can see on the sign, is a mix of Coconut Rum, Cointreau, and Pomegranate Lemonade. As nice as that sounds, let’s face it — it’s all about the souvenir that comes with it:  a Death Star glow cube!

The Dark Side

The Dark Side

Like the regular glow ice cubes at Disney, the glow Death Star has an on-off switch to preserve it for future use, and can be set to stay at one color or set to rotate through several changing colors.

Glow Death Star

Glow Death Star

Yeah, it’s pretty awesome.

I especially enjoy Disney glow drinks when you can place the glow cube under the ice so the entire thing is all lit up. Here is my attempt to stuff the Death Star underneath the ice with my straw.

Attempting to submerge the Death Star

Attempting to submerge the Death Star

It popped back up less than a second later. I tried to submerge the Death Star several times. But the Death Star would not be submerged. True story.

Pop Up Death Star

Pop Up Death Star

Awesome Death Star notwithstanding, you still want to be sure you’ll enjoy the drink, so here’s what’s good to know: I was able to pick up on each flavor in the drink, from the Coconut Rum to the Cointreau and the lemonade. It was nice that no flavor overpowered the other, and I thought mine was mixed well. For a drink representing the Dark Side, it was actually quite beachy, thanks to the rum. And who doesn’t love a good beach drink served up with a splash of Imperial darkness?

Your other choice is, naturally, The Force. This beverage consists of Grey Goose Vodka, Chambord, and Wildberry Lemonade. The souvenir piece is a glowing Light Saber.

The Force

The Force

While the Light Saber doesn’t change colors, it is [Read more…]

Star Wars Weekends: Darth Vader Popcorn Bucket

It’s finally here! Star Wars Weekends have officially begun!

Star Wars Weekends!

Star Wars Weekends!

And while they brought back an assortment of themed cupcakes and drinks (you’ll see all the reviews on DFB next week!), I had to show you probably the best souvenir so far

Darth Vader Popcorn Bucket

Darth Vader Popcorn Bucket

Yep! Vader’s helmet has officially made its way to being a popcorn vessel!

I know you guys are with me in being big fans of the fun new popcorn buckets Disney has been introducing for holidays and special events, and I figured this one would quickly be a MUST-HAVE on many of your “bucket lists.” (Ha ha ha!!)

Darth Vader Popcorn description

So even if you’re a rebel, consider crossing to the Dark Side to grab your own Vader popcorn bucket…we won’t tell! ;-)

Vader Bucket with Popcorn

Vader Bucket with Popcorn

Get yours for [Read more…]

Spotted! R2-D2 and Darth Vader Lunch Bags… with Special Effects!

‘Tis the season… and I’m not talking about Christmas! Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are upon us (starting TOMORROW!!), and some extra fun Star Wars themed merchandise is arriving along with them. And when that merchandise is food-related?! Well, that’s all the better!

Check out these cool R2-D2 and Darth Vader lunch bags I saw at Tatooine Traders (the store next to the Star Tours attraction in Hollywood Studios) and Writer’s Stop! I don’t remember these from last year, so while I’m not sure if they’re new, they are new to me…

Darth Vader and R2-D2 lunch bags

Darth Vader and R2-D2 lunch bags

Now, when I say “cool,” I do mean that I think they are neat, but these padded lunch totes are also thermal for keeping your food cold. Score.

Thermal feature

Thermal feature

But the best thing about them is that they have special effects!

Light and sound effects

Light and sound effects

I’m partial to the R2-D2 bag.

R2-D2 lunch bag

R2-D2 lunch bag

R2-D2 lunch bag side view

R2-D2 lunch bag side view

R2-D2 lunch bag handle

R2-D2 lunch bag handle

Part of that is because I love him, but also the effects are pretty great. When you press the indicated button on top of the bag, you suddenly hear R2’s signature beeps and boops… but, get this: his lights also flash!

Flashing lights

Flashing lights

Flashing lights

Flashing lights

The best part? You can order your own here!

Darth Vader’s helmet bag has no lighting effects, but when you press the button you hear [Read more…]

News! Star Wars “Feel the Force” Dining Event and Dessert Party in Walt Disney World NOW BOOKING

Have you experienced a galactic Star Wars Weekend day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Yep, me too. Although there’re plenty of Stormtroopers to keep order in the universe, the park can still get rather chaotic.

Feel the Force

Feel the Force

Well, now there’s an event (in addition to the New Star Wars Character Meals) that will help make your Star Wars Weekends visit a little easier. And yes, there’s food at the Feel The Force VIP Dining Event! The Feel the Force Premium Package is available every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from May 16 – June 15, 2014.

When you book the NEW Feel the Force Premium Package, you’ll get to view the celebrity motorcade in the afternoon — and the evening fireworks from a reserved premium viewing area with refreshments!

You’ll be treated like a VIP with beverages and snacks while watching the Legends of the Force: Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade. At night, the fireworks viewing area showcases a Star Wars themed dessert party!

Cost: adults $54, children $32 (per day, tax and gratuity included). Full payment is due at booking.

Celebrity Motorcade Viewing: 11AM to noon with the motorcade starting at 11:30AM.

Symphony in the Stars Fireworks Dessert Party: 9PM to 10PM with the fireworks beginning at approximately 9:30PM.

Parade Check In Location: Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner starting at 10:30AM.

Dessert Party Check In Location: Guests will receive a wristband during the motorcade viewing that will allow entry into the evening fireworks dessert party. If you are unable to attend the motorcade viewing, please check in at Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner starting at 8:30PM.

Beverages: Include soda, water, tea, and coffee. The fireworks dessert party includes a specialty beverage with an alcoholic option.

Notes: Seating is not available. Discounts do not apply.

Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade

Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade

Participants receive a special souvenir Disney PhotoPass card with a [Read more…]