Review: Lunch at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (Including Testing of New Service Style)

Velkommen til Akershus!

Today we’re visiting Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot’s Norway! This Pavilion has certainly seen its fair share of changes over the past year or so, primarily due to the influence of all things “Frozen.” The biggest headline of them all, of course, was the closing of the Maelstrom attraction in October 2014 (prompting a memorial Maelstrom Margarita at La Cava del Tequila in the neighboring Mexico Pavilion) to make way for “Frozen Ever After,” anticipated for a 2016 opening.

But that’s not the only change. We learned that Akershus — best known as being home to the Princess Storybook Dining character meal — had undergone a test alteration of its own. Typically featuring a cold buffet (Norwegian Koldtbord) along with hot breakfast, lunch, or dinner entrees served at your table, a test run recently brought about a new service style to Akershus. While it remains an All-You-Care-to-Eat option, the cold buffet was closed and several of the previous options are now brought to the table and served family style as part of a trial run at this popular restaurant.

This test has since ended, but we were told that it’s now up to guest feedback as to whether it comes back permanently.

Akershus Sign

Akershus Sign

Let’s head back inside the fortress walls to see what’s changed, what hasn’t, and what we think about this proposed update to the serving style at Akershus! [Read more…]

News! and Review: Las Ventanas Makes its Debut at Disney World’s Coronado Springs Resort

UPDATE: Please note that as of February 2015, Las Ventanas also serves dinner. Advanced Dining Reservations are also accepted. 

Guess what! Disney World opened a new restaurant, and we’ve got all the details for you! :-)

Nope; you won’t find it at the parks. You won’t even find it at Downtown Disney! Nope — it’s at Coronado Springs, a Mexican-themed moderate resort!

Coronado Springs has a few aces up its sleeve when it comes to dining. The Pepper Market has a great reputation for lots of delicious choices in its unique station-style food court, and no one can argue with the margarita flight available at Rix Lounge and Maya Grill. Today, we’re excited to present the Resort’s brand new restaurant: Las Ventanas!

Las Ventanas entry

Las Ventanas entry

Well…it’s not exactly new. Las Ventanas has always been the private dining room for Rix Lounge. I guess they just realized they needed more table service offerings for conventioneers!

Las Ventanas is open for breakfast and lunch. It’s tucked in a hallway next to Rix Lounge. Since it’s closer to the Convention Center, if you are staying at Coronado as a non-Convention guest, it could be easy to miss. Thankfully, there is a sign in front of the Pepper Market leading the way.

Pepper Market

Pepper Market

Las Ventanas sign with operating hours

Las Ventanas sign with operating hours

Atmosphere

Two things struck me upon entering Las Ventanas. First, the size. It’s small and intimate, due to previously being a private dining room. You’ll nearly be able to see the entire restaurant within these pictures.

Las Ventanas seating

Las Ventanas seating

Las Ventanas

Las Ventanas

There were only 14 or 15 tables in the whole place and, even though the room is small, they were very well-spaced with plenty of room in between each.

Las Ventanas Table

Las Ventanas Table

Second, it’s beautiful. Decor is minimalistic. Rather than being filled to the brim with details, things are kept rather simple. This serves to enhance the atmosphere, as you can truly take in the touches that catch your eye.

Las Ventanas Hanging Lamps

Las Ventanas Hanging Lamps

Fresh flowers on the table

Fresh flowers on the table

Wall decoration

Wall decoration

One thing I can’t share with you in pictures [Read more…]

News! Disney World To Add Cancellation Policy and Fee to All Table-Service Restaurant Reservations

Welp, the days of skipping your Disney dining reservations when you’re stuck in line for Soarin’ may be over!

Remember when Disney started requiring a credit card guarantee — and subsequently charged for no-shows — on signature and character meals back in 2011? We’re hearing that starting on October 31, 2013, that policy will apply to all Disney World table-service reservations.

What are the details of the cancellation policy?

If guests fail to cancel their reservations within one day of the reservation time and then don’t show up at the restaurant, they’ll be charged $10 per person on the credit card used to hold the reservation.

For dinner shows and some character meals, guests will continue to be required to pre-pay for the meal and will forfeit the entire cost should they not cancel within the required window and fail to show up for the event.

Guests planning to visit Cinderella's Royal Table could lose their entire payment should they fail to cancel

What does “within one day” mean?

Well, this is usually defined as a 24-hour window, but many guests have had luck with cancelling by 11:59pm the night before the reservation.

How do I cancel a reservation when I’m in Disney World?

Disney’s tried to make it easy to cancel reservations. You can use the [Read more…]

Tip from the DFB Guide: Free Tours at Animal Kingdom Lodge Restaurants

We’ve added lots of fun and new dining info to our updated e-Book — The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013. One of my favorite tips in the book is the recommendation of the free tours at the Animal Kingdom Lodge restaurants! Yep, free!

After you read all about this great Disney Dining Tip, learn more about our DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining grand launch — including a limited-time discount code — here!

Animal Kingdom Lodge Restaurant Tours

The Animal Kingdom Lodge in Walt Disney World is known for quality table-service restaurants that offer some exotic menu items and exquisite, African-themed decor. But there’s a way to explore the restaurants without actually dining there!

Learn The Meaning Behind the Decor At Jiko Restaurant

Jiko, Boma, and Sanaa offer half-hour culinary tours each day! These tours cover some of the decor and meaning behind the architecture of the restaurants, and also explain certain menu items. You may even get to sample some of the restaurant’s dishes.

You can see our review of the Boma and Jiko Tour here.

Seating at Sanaa

When you don’t have time to eat at each restaurant, [Read more…]