Tips from the DFB Guide: Off-The-Radar Disney World Bars and Lounges

Walt Disney World is supa fun, but it’s also go-go-go-go. Sometimes ya just gotta relax.

dfb2015_guide_3d

Of course, there’re all kinds of ways to accomplish that. But after a long, hard day of Disney touring, I love to head to one of my favorite Disney Bars and Lounges.

“Bar” might not be the first word you think of when you picture Mickey Ears and Pixie Dust. But actually, these are some of my favorite spots on property for a number of reasons.

And I know you agree, because when I first published the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining, a comprehensive Index of Disney World’s Bars and Lounges was one of our readers’ top requests.

Well — we heard you! And I’m happy to let you know that the DFB Guide includes reviews of every Bar and Lounge in Walt Disney World!

Let’s dive into the Index and take a closer look at a few. You know my favorites, like Territory Lounge and the Dawa Bar. But today, I want to take you on a tour of a few places you may not have discovered yet.

And if you find this information helpful, then be sure to pick up your copy of the Guide today for $4 off using code “2015” right here!

Ready to grab a drink?

A Niche Menu and Free Beer: The Wave Lounge at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

The Wave…of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary resort is a great place to take in a relaxing breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Seldom crowded, the restaurant, located in the quiet back corner of the hotel’s lobby offers a market-inspired menu at a much lower price point than you’ll find at Disney’s suite of signature restaurants. You’ll also find some delicious breakfast options.

But in addition to interesting eats, you’ll also find a pretty cool bar and lounge area.

The Bar at Disney's The Wave Restaurant

The Bar at Disney’s The Wave Restaurant

While the food menu is market-driven, the drink menu features some specialties, too. The Wave’s wine list features New World Wines, primarily from the Southern Hemisphere. And nearly all of the wines featured have one thing in common — screwcaps! Sealing wines with screwcaps is a way to battle cork taint, an unfortunate chemical reaction that can ruin a good bottle of wine. So don’t be put off by screwcaps the next time you see one; many quality New World wines, especially those from New Zealand and Australia, are sealed this way.

Wines at the Wave

Wines at the Wave

Do your tastes run to beer rather than wine? The Wave also features a nice selection of Organic Beers. In fact, if you’re a guest staying at the Contemporary or Bay Lake Towers, you can enjoy a Complimentary Organic Beer Tasting on Saturdays from 3-4PM. (Remember, this is JUST if you’re staying at the resort.)

Beer Flight at The Wave

Beer Flight at The Wave

Just stopping in for a drink? Try the Beer Flight. The presentation is pretty impressive.

A Bar That Switches Things Up: Kona Island Coffee/Sushi Bar

Another favorite stop of mine certainly lives up to the name “bar” — but for completely different reasons. In this case, we’re (mostly) trading cocktails for java and some interesting eats.

New Tiki Statue in Lobby at the Polynesian!

New Tiki Statue in Lobby at the Polynesian!

The Polynesian Village Resort has just undergone a major facelift. We’ve welcomed new spots, like the Pineapple Lanai (the resort’s purveyor of Dole Whips these days) as well as the crazy popular Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto (waiting times have been up to 6 hours during its soft opening!)

Trader Sam's door sign

Trader Sam’s Door Sign

But with all of the changes, the resort has maintained most of its beloved eateries, including [Read more…]

News! Enjoy “Eat Local Week” in Disney World

Fun news for those of you visiting Disney World this week!

EatLocalWeek Orlando Logo

Slow Food Orlando is sponsoring Eat Local Week in The City Beautiful — and it’s happening right now!

While the event showcases eating, drinking, and shopping local throughout the Central Florida Region, there are opportunities to celebrate local growers and producers by dining in some of our favorite Disney Restaurants.

Enjoy menus featuring locally-sourced ingredients all this week, showcasing ingredients from Florida farms, ranches, and fisheries.

And the list of participating Disney restaurants includes some of our tried and true favorites. Choose from The Wave…of American Flavors or California Grill in Disney’s Contemporary Resort. We’ve enjoyed delicious seasonal dishes in both.

California Grill view

A Beautiful View and the Season’s Best Flavors at California Grill

At Disney’s Grand Floridian, dine slow-food style at the beautiful Citricos. Or hop over to Disney’s BoardWalk for dinner at Flying Fish Cafe — hands down, one of my absolute favorite spots! (Read our latest review of Flying Fish here.)

Crab Cake

The Flying Fish Cafe is Always an Excellent Choice, Especially for Seafood, Like Their Killer Crabcakes

But we aren’t finished! Yachtsman Steakhouse, known for perfectly prepared steaks and seasonally-inspired sides, will also be participating. Finally, end your Eat Local tour at [Read more…]

Walt Disney World Steak Gallery

It’s time for another fun addition to our Disney Food Galleries!

disney world steak gallery

We just love to share photos of all of our favorite foods — and collect them into galleries for easy viewing! Whether your craving is for popcorn, ice cream, or a cupcake, there’s a gallery for you!

And today, we’re introducing a brand new gallery for all of you red meat lovers out there! Yep, we’ve gathered a whole buncha steaks from around Disney World to help you make your choices on your next visit.

Remember, some of these may drop off menus from time to time or have side dishes or preparation changed, but hopefully this will give you a good overview of what’s available! Here we go!

Yachtsman Steakhouse

Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht Club is one of my top picks when it comes to steak at Walt Disney World. After all, they decorate with meat — the first thing you pass en route to your seat is the Steak Trimming Room!

Chefs here pride themselves not only on the very best cuts of meat, but appetizers, side dishes, and desserts inspired by market fresh ingredients. Yachtsman combines the very best of seasonal flavors with the traditional steak experience.

My absolute favorite pick at Yachtsman is the 16-ounce Boneless Ribeye. It is always a melt-in-your-mouth choice.

Ribeye with Herb Fries at Yachtsman Steakhouse

Ribeye with Herb Fries at Yachtsman Steakhouse

But we are also big fans of the 12-ounce Prime New York Strip Steak, served here with a rich potato gratin stack.

Strip Steak

12-ounce Prime New York Strip Steak

Shula’s

Shula’s at Walt Disney World’s Swan and Dolphin is the kind of place that you think of when you envision an upscale steakhouse. As your eyes adjust to the dim lighting and you check out the menu — printed on a football! — you’ll settle into the refined elegance of your surroundings.

When I have the chance to dine here, I almost always go for my favorite, the 22-ounce Cowboy Ribeye (are you sensing a theme?). The Bone-in Steak has been excellent on every visit. The flavor is unbelievable!

Cowboy Ribeye

22-ounce Cowboy Ribeye

Looking for a lighter approach to soothe your carnivore cravings? We’ve also enjoyed the Steak Mary Anne. Delicate by steakhouse standards, the 5-ounce medallions are served with a simple demi glace in this case. It’s the perfect plate for the guest who prefers all the flavor of prime, aged beef in a smaller serving.

Steak Mary Anne

Steak Mary Anne

Flying Fish

If you’re a landlubber like me, then finding a great steak at a restaurant known for fabulous seafood is a dream come true. But it’s not impossible if you’re dining at Flying Fish Cafe.

When I visit, I always order the Char-Crusted Black Angus New York Strip. The creamy Sauce Foyot is such a great accent — and they’re never chintzy with it!

Char Crusted Black Angus New York Strip

Char-Crusted Black Angus New York Strip

Can’t decide between surf and turf? You don’t have to! Try the two house specialities side by side with the Entree Duo, which features the Char-Crusted Angus New York Strip Steak and the restaurant’s most famous fish dish, the Potato-wrapped Red Snapper.

Entree Duo of Red Snapper and Strip Steak

Entree Duo of Red Snapper and Strip Steak

Jiko

Jiko offers some of the most interesting food at Walt Disney World.

And while I enjoy the fusion of African, Indian, and Meditteranean flavors when it comes to appetizers and desserts, I rarely deviate from my favorite entree: the Oak-Grilled Filet.

Oak Grilled Filet with Mac and Cheese

Oak-Grilled Filet with Mac and Cheese

And even when their delicious Mac and Cheese isn’t featured as the dish’s side, you can usually score it as a special request (and I totally recommend that you do). :-)

Liberty Inn

In the mood for steak with no Advance Dining Reservation? Then head to Epcot’s Liberty Inn. Their New York Strip Steak, served with Red Wine Butter, Roasted Potatoes, and Steamed Broccoli, is surprisingly good.

New York Strip Steak Meal

New York Strip Steak Meal

Sci-Fi Dine-In Restaurant

Even though most of my favorite steaks at Disney World are featured at signature restaurants, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a good option at moderately priced restaurants, too, like Sci-Fi Dine-In.

Recently, I was pleasantly surprised by [Read more…]

Guest Review: Dinner at The Wave… of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Join us in welcoming back Guest Author Paul Kuconis! His latest review features dinner at The Wave… of American Flavors located at the Contemporary Resort in Walt Disney World.

When I think of Contemporary Resort-based restaurants, California Grill and Chef Mickey’s immediately come to mind. It’s hard to miss the glass dome sitting atop the Resort — ‘Oooh, there’s California Grill!’; and Chef Mickey is always in sight from the monorail.

But there is a hidden gem neatly tucked away — The Wave…of American Flavors — and entering through the front door makes it easy to miss. We always arrive by boat from Disney’s Wilderness Lodge so we walk by it often. Well, we finally decided to stop ‘passing by’ and made reservations during our last visit.

Atmosphere

The first thing I saw was a video marquee highlighting the culinary options presented inside. To me this presentation is very much in keeping with the ‘contemporary’ theme of the resort. OK, now I know what they serve, so let’s head inside.

Video Marquee

Video Marquee

The entrance is rather neat. First, it establishes the stainless steel theme I noticed throughout my meal, and the tunnel takes me to a different place — that of sustainable and locally-sourced ingredients.

Entrance to The Wave

Entrance to The Wave

As we approached the reception desk, I noticed the earth tones in keeping with the sustainable theme. Also, the wall partition presents the wave theme.

Reception Desk

Reception Desk

We had nice wall art to look at while we waited for our table. A very contemporary rendition, in keeping with the resort.

Wall Art

Wall Art

Even the ceiling features carry the wave theme with contemporary light fixtures. It all works well together as the earth tones carry throughout the restaurant.

The Wave Themed Ceiling

The Wave Themed Ceiling

A nice touch, and a very subtle one, is the wave embroidered on the linen napkin.

Themed Linen Napkin

Themed Linen Napkin

Eats

After we sat down and perused the wine list, we decided on a bottle of Bonterra Chardonnay 2012. I enjoy a nice chardonnay and this wine fits the bill. It’s from Mendocino, one of California’s better known wine regions with predominant vineyard acreage in chardonnay.

Bonterra Chardonnay 2012

Bonterra Chardonnay 2012

A very nice wine. An initial impression of rich, buttery cream quickly turns to aromas of honey and lightly toasted almonds, followed by tropical aromas of pineapple, citrusy lemon and crème brulee. The wine is refreshing on the palate, with a minerality that is both bright and clean, drawing you into a vibrant tartness and lemon zest.

Although that description sounds very complex, it’s not. Bottom line for me is, does it have a nice flavor? And yes, this one does! Notice the stainless steel wine cooler.

A Nice Pour

A Nice Pour

After we ordered we were served bread and butter — Multi grain bread with ground flax seeds and butter with Hawaiian sea salt. (Notice the stainless steel bread bowl.) The bread was nice and fresh and the butter was just soft enough to spread easily and allowed the salt to mix in giving each bite a nice crunch. The ground flax seeds provided a visual balance to the sea salt atop the butter. Nicely done!

Bread and Butter

Bread and Butter

I always look for menu offerings that I haven’t had before. The Sustainable Fish Taco fit the bill. To me, it also fit the theme of the restaurant, sustainable and locally sourced. I’ll try that!

Sustainable Fish Taco Menu Item

Sustainable Fish Taco Menu Item

Oooh! Very nicely plated with a stainless steel taco tray! The fish used were Snapper and Swordfish and fit nicely with the Apple-Jicama slaw and a mild white sauce drizzle, topped with micro greens.

The apples used were Pink Lady (a trademark and the variety is more correctly known as Cripps Pink). Cripps Pink apples are a cross between the Australian Lady Williams and the Golden Delicious. At any rate, this variety was new to me and had a very nice flavor and texture.

The slaw and sauce complemented the mildness of the fish and made for a nice bite. Providing a contrast in textures; the crunch of the apple and jicama worked well against the smoothness of the fish.

Sustainable Fish Taco Appetizer

Sustainable Fish Taco Appetizer

Yuzu Gelato was served providing a palette cleanser and a nice finisher. Yuzu a citrus fruit, originates in East Asia and looks like a very small grapefruit. The yuzu’s flavor is tart, closely resembling that of a grapefruit with hints of mandarin orange. A very nice way to end an awesome appetizer!

OK, how can my entrée top my appetizer? A tough task indeed.

I settled on the [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Glow Drinks!

We’re back with more Disney Food — er, Drink — Photo fun today, thanks to our fantastic readers who contribute to Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza — our Flickr page!

Speaking of Disney Drinks, it’s time to talk Glow Drinks! I can’t help it — I absolutely love these things!

Lunar Landing Glow Drink at Sci-Fi Dine-In Restaurant

Lunar Landing Glow Drink at Sci-Fi Dine-In Restaurant

You do too, it seems! Let’s see a couple of your best shots featuring Disney’s world-famous glow drinks that we found on Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza!

Light & Colours at Disneyland Paris

Photographer: Hilary_JW

For our first glowing cocktail, we’re going all the way to France! Yep, that’s right. they even have them at Disneyland Paris! If you’re interested in picking one up on your next trip, head to The New York City Bar at Hotel New York, and ask for the Light & Colours. A combination of raspberry vodka, green apple liqueur, and fruit juices, this sounds refreshing, and looks fantastic!

Light & Colours Cocktail from Disneyland Paris

Light & Colours Cocktail from Disneyland Paris

Tropi-Glow Cocktail at The Wave

Photographer: MGiordano1

This lovely shot of the Tropi-Glow Cocktail, formerly found at The Wave of American Flavors in Disney’s Contemporary Resort makes me want to run right there, right now, and order their [Read more…]

Disney World March Dining Events: The Wave Discovery Dinner and Jiko’s Wine Dinner

Disney fans, check out The Wave Discovery Dinner (for Tables in Wonderland members only) and a Wine Dinner at Jiko — both events will be held in March at the Walt Disney World resort!

The Wave Discovery Dinner

Tables in Wonderland has announced a January Discovery Dinner at The Wave…of American Flavors at the Contemporary Resort for January.

Discovery Dinner Details - click image for larger version

Discovery Dinner Details – click image for larger version

The Wave Discovery Dinner Details

Here are a few details for ya…

Location: The Wave…of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Date: Thursday, March 20, 2014 6:30PM Reception; 7PM Dinner
Cost: $110 per person includes tax and gratuity
Dress Code: Casual Evening Attire

To celebrate Central Florida’s strawberry season, this event will feature family-owned Lott Farms. Tim Mahr (Vice President of Sales for the Southern Division of Martin Ray Winery) will be the wine speaker.

Menu

Welcome Reception
Strawberry Tequila Shooter with Lime Caviar
Strawberry Sweet Tea Braised Short Rib Slider
Kumamato Oysters in Strawberry Gelee with Micro Wasabi
MARTIN RAY CHARDONNAY, RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY

First Course
U-12 Scallop Crudo with Strawberries Five Ways and McGregor Farms Opal Basil
MARTIN RAY SAUVIGNON BLANC, NAPA VALLEY

Second Course [Read more…]

Limited Time Magic Dinners at Disney World and Disneyland Just in Time for Valentine’s Day!

Love is in the air — especially at Disney!

As 2013 continues to be the year for Limited Time Magic Events, Disney is hosting True Love Week at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland complete with specialty menus at several restaurants!

It's Romance Time at Disney!

Walt Disney World

As a Limited Time Magic addition during February 11-17, romantic dinners for two will be offered with prix fixe menus at select restaurants.

Specially-created menus at Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, The Wave…of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort make an ideal setting for a romantic evening.

Book online at disneyworld.com/dining, or call (407) WDW-DINE.

The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney's Hollywood Studios is the Perfect Setting for Your Romantic Dinner

Disneyland

Also during February 11-17, choose romantic dinners with prix fixe menus at the following restaurants: Blue Bayou and Café Orleans in Disneyland, Carthay Circle Restaurant in Disney California [Read more…]