Best Disney World Restaurants for Brunch

One of my favorite Disney Dining tips for saving money in Disney World is to exchange two meals for one — especially when you’re trading breakfast and lunch for an awesome brunch!

In the past, a main planning focus for many guests has been getting to the parks early so that they can grab fastpasses for favorite rides — or ride things before the crowds arrive.

But now that MyMagic+ is going to make reserving later-in-the-day ride times that much easier, you might be able to take a few days to sleep in — and save some dough at the same time!

So I’m adding to our Best Disney Restaurants Series and outlining a few of my personal favorite places to start the day off slow at Walt Disney World. I can’t wait to hear your suggestions, too!

Kouzzina at the Boardwalk Resort

UPDATE: Please note that Kouzzina by Cat Cora closed in September 2014; however, its replacement restaurant, Trattoria al Forno, offers many of the same items for breakfast

While many guests never to look beyond the standard theme-park fare, those who prefer to sleep in — or save money by getting brunch instead of breakfast AND lunch — should look no further than this!

One of the best brunch spots in Orlando is Kouzzina by Cat Cora, where everything from the robust menu to the warm decor was driven by celebrity Iron Chef Cat Cora.

Waffles topped with Mascarpone Cheese and Honey at Kouzzina

The restaurant, overlooking Crescent Lake at the Boardwalk Inn Resort, has a Greek-inspired menu and a welcoming atmosphere. My favorite breakfast in the World is the mascarpone-topped waffles. So good they should be illegal.

Or snap up the yummy skillet breakfast — or the stacked breakfast with poached eggs, kalamata olive toast, and artichoke spread — while you savor the sights and sounds of the open show kitchen.

Kouzzina Breakfast Skillet

Boma at the Animal Kingdom Lodge

Your African adventure begins the moment you arrive at this exotic resort and take in the splendor of the lobby. As you make your way to Boma, dark woods and thatched roofs mingle with the delicious smells to make you feel like you’ve entered an African marketplace for breakfast.

Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge

The buffet here is stocked with popular brunch options like omelets, pancakes, french toast, bacon, sausage, carved ham, breakfast potatoes, cereal, oatmeal, and scrambled eggs; but they also serve up more multi-cultural dishes, including African pastries, quinoa porridge, and bobotie — a type of quiche.

Seriously, you could totally go for that cinnamon roll right now, couldn’t you??

Boma Breakfast Pastries

Be sure to try some of the specialty [Read more…]

February Tables in Wonderland Events: Design and Display Warehouse Event and Discovery Dinner!

Fun updates for Tables in Wonderland members! Tables in Wonderland has announced a Discovery Dinner at The Wave…of American Flavors at the Contemporary Resort and a Special Event at the Design & Display Warehouse for February. Both are NOW available for booking!

Tables in Wonderland Special Event - click image for larger version

Tables in Wonderland Design and Display Warehouse Special Event

Location: Design & Display Warehouse
Date: Friday February 22 and Saturday February 23, 2013; 6:30pm – 9:00pm
Cost: $115 per person, plus tax. Gratuity is included.

The Park Event Operations Design and Display team dreams, designs, and creates themed atmosphere settings for Conventions, Special Events, and many other activities throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. From concepts to renderings, through finished construction, the Design and Display team can bring any “theme” to life.

They use their talent, experience, and design skills to design and build custom pieces for events. With hundreds of props, sets, and backgrounds in the warehouse, they create the perfect atmosphere and surroundings for events. This is your opportunity to peek “backstage”, and see historical Disney pieces like the Nautilus and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride! Come meet the Design and Display team, learn about what they do, see all the props up close, and enjoy a Buffet Reception with fellow Tables in Wonderland members!

Circus Popcorn Action Station
“Popcorn” Chowder with Grilled Chicken, White Cheddar and Roasted Red Pepper
Gourmet Salted Freeze Fried “Popcorn” dusted with Truffle, Bacon, or Lobster Sea Salts
Seafood Ceviche topped with Green Onions, “Popcorn” and Corn Nuts

Tron Chilled Action Station
Trio of Flavors from the “Grid”
Duo of Sweet and Sour “Isomorphic” Test Tubes
Heirloom Tomato “Disc” with Micro Basil and Balsamic

The Little Mermaid Action Station
Nori “Sea” Salted Kale Chips
Baked Indian “Ocean” Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges
“Under the Sea” Conch Roll – Conch Fritters served in Bun with Lettuce and Key Lime Aioli

Good vs. Evil Action Station
Medley of “Good” Greens and Vegetables served with “Evil” Bloody Mary Vinaigrette
“Good” Roasted Marble Potatoes with [Read more…]

Tables in Wonderland January Event: The Wave Discovery Dinner

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

Tables in Wonderland Dinner - click image for larger version

The Wave Discovery Dinner

Here are a few details for ya…

Location: The Wave…of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Date: Thursday January 17, 2013 6:30pm Reception; 7pm Dinner
Cost: $110 per person, including tax and gratuity
Dress Code: Casual Evening Attire

During this event, local farmer from Cahaba Clubs Herbal Outpost in Odessa, Florida will be represented. In 2000, Marvin Wilhite began growing hydroponic micro-greens, micro-herbs, micro-vegetables, and more. Cahaba products are used by chefs for garnish and also to add unique flavors to signature dishes.

In addition, former cast member Chris Doncsecz and wine Scaole Fine Wines representative will be in attendance.

Menu

Welcome Reception
Chive-tied Crepe Bundles with Smoked Salmon and Lemon Crème Fraîche
Wild Boar with Parsnip Purée and Chive Oil
Roasted Vegetable Terrine with Goat Cheese
Iron Horse Fairy Tale Cuvée – Sonoma County, California

Appetizer
Oyster Rockefeller Soup with Big Bayou, Apalachicola Bay Oysters
Spy Valley Pinot Noir – Marlborough, New Zealand

Salad [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: December 9, 2012

I had a great time reporting live from Walt Disney World this past week. Are you ready to dig into all the new treats in New Fantasyland?

New Fantasyland

Disney Dining News

Here’s some of the tempting Disney Dining news this week…

  • New Fantasyland is now open in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom! Check out some of the fun eats and treats you can find this weekend!
  • Starbucks will debut in Disneyland Park in 2013 at the Market House on Main Street USA.
  • Splitsville will open in Orlando’s Downtown Disney on December 19th. Stay tuned for a review of the food this week!
  • Raglan Road in Disney World’s Downtown Disney announces a new Celtic Brunch, holiday meals, and more!
  • Tables in Wonderland, the Disney World dining discount program, has increased its price in 2012.

We’ve got additional food news, including Tables in Wonderland December Event at The Wave, and LOTS more, on our Disney Food News Pin Board! Head over and check it out!

DFB Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food in or from Disney, share a photo with us so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

On a recent trip to the Disneyland Resort, Disney Dad Bernie Edwards saw these gorgeous candy canes at Trolley Treats in Disney California Adventure. While they’re likely not THE candy canes, they’re still a fabulous holiday treat!

Trolley Treats Candy Canes

Venessa/neomi_buttons exclaims “Making A.J. proud during Food and Wine Festival!!” with a tray for “teeny foods”.

Food and Wine Tray

DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World® Holidays 2012 e-Book

Don’t forget to grab your DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World® Holidays 2012 e-Book before heading to Disney World this holiday season!

The DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays 2012 e-Book features 230 pages of information, including NEW events and holiday happenings; over 200 photos; and an informative FAQ section. It includes:

  • Detailed descriptions and photos of all holiday events and activities happening at the parks and resorts this year!
  • A fully comprehensive holiday dining section with listings of holiday snacks, treats, meals, and menu items offered this year.
  • A clickable 3-Month Schedule of Holiday Events so you can see at-a-glance what looks interesting to you.
  • Our recommendations on ways to SAVE while you’re in Disney World this holiday season.
  • And more!

As always, we’ve made this guide instantly downloadable for your convenience. It’s easily installed on your mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

We want to celebrate the holidays with a bargain – get $3 off the purchase price for the e-Book TODAY! Order your copy now for only $11.95 (regularly $14.95). To secure the discount, use code HOLIDAY at the check-out. Click here to get your copy.

And if you want another GREAT deal, snap up our DFB Holiday Bundle! This includes the DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays AND our original DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2012! With a 100% 30-day, money-back guarantee on all of our guides, you have nothing to lose! :-)

On to the Round-Up

Walt Disney World for GrownUps takes date night to Disney’s Yacht Club resort.

Daveland shares vintage and modern food photos from Disneyland, including Walt with a tuna boat salad.

Main Street Gazette samples gourmet caramels in Disney World.

Disney by Mark takes my advice and dines at Yak ‘n Yeti with a window view of the Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade.

AllEars.Net stops by Raglan Road at Downtown Disney Orlando.

Disney Parks Blog shares a video of Dancing With The Stars pros waltzing inside Be Our Guest. Of course, Belle and the Beast join in!

Tables in Wonderland November Events: Be Our Guest Restaurant Dinner, and Beer Dinner at the Wave

Tables in Wonderland has announced two events for November. Along with The Wave’s Discovery Dinner at the Contemporary Resort, there’s an opportunity to dine at Be Our Guest Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom!

Be Our Guest Restaurant Dinner

Location: Be Our Guest at the Magic Kingdom® Park
Date: Sunday November 18, 2012, 4:00pm – 9:30pm
Cost: You will only pay for the cost of your meal

Tables in Wonderland Be Our Guest Reservations - click image for larger version

Tables in Wonderland members are invited to the Be Our Guest Restaurant in the New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom. This is your chance to enter Beast’s Castle and admire the imagineering marvels that bring the Beauty and the Beast story to life! The menu is [Read more…]

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…]

Review: The Wave at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

We hadn’t been back to The Wave for a couple of years, so we knew it was time to head back for dinner!

The Wave is a unique table-service spot at Disney, because their menu focuses on local and sustainable ingredients. Because of the ever-changing and seasonal local offerings, they are one of the few moderate table service restaurants I’ve encountered that changes up the menu four times per year. (Usually that’s only allowed for signature restaurants!)

Available for breakfast (which also features a buffet), lunch, and dinner, you won’t necessarily find the same dish here that you had six months ago. That can be good and bad, but it’s always an adventure to stop in and see what’s new!

Atmosphere

Located in the back left corner of the Contemporary Resort’s lobby (just past the concierge desks), you might miss The Wave altogether — except that they’ve dreamed up this groovy light tunnel for the entrance.

This gives you the feeling of heading below the waves for a culinary adventure. (Or it could also remind you of the dearly departed rainbow tunnel from the original Journey Into Your Imagination. Either way, it’s still cool.)

Wave Entry

The atmosphere is modern and contemporary, and the check-in and bar areas look a little “night-clubby,” actually! But never fear — this restaurant is very family-friendly.

Wave Check-In

You make your way around the beautiful and expansive bar as you walk to the dining area. Here, you’ll see more waves in the decor, like the backs of the comfortable bar chairs.

The bar features screw-top wines (more about that later) and fun organic local beers.

Wave Bar

As you enter the sleek dining room, the color palette changes from blue to harvest gold. Waves (amber waves of grain, perhaps?) continue to surround you, even from above.

Wave Dining Room

Although the look is decidedly modern, it maintains a comfortable feel, with padded seats and booths throughout. The finish also cleverly disguises [Read more…]

Disney World Crème Brûlée Gallery

I’ve had numerous requests from folks asking for a round-up of where you can get Crème Brûlée in Disney World, and finally we’ve put this gallery together!

Garde Manger Caramelizes Creme Brulee

For those who haven’t indulged before, classic Crème Brûlée is a dessert created from baked and cooled custard topped with (usually) blowtorched sugar forming a candied crust.

Disney pastry chefs have bent over backwards figuring out how to put their own personal touch on this decadent recipe… Let’s take a look at some of the interesting ones!

Please note that Disney dessert menus change all the time, so some of these may no longer be available on your visit.

Be sure to let us know in the comments below about your favorite Crème Brûlée desserts in Disney restaurants!!

White Chocolate Crème Brûlée

Check out Portobello‘s yummy version! The white chocolate shavings really made this dessert!

White Chocolate Crème Brûlée

Pistachio Crème Brûlée

A classic at Tony’s Town Square in the Magic Kingdom is this beloved Pistachio Crème Brûlée. And I fully agree with it’s cult favorite status — it was delicious!

pistachio creme brulee

Pistachio Creme Brulee

Key Lime and Regular Crème Brûlée Duo

Narcoossee’s serves this dessert as a duo — two for one deal!! The true winner is the Key Lime — it’s the perfect dose of tart and tangy with the [Read more…]

Tables in Wonderland: La Nouba Discount, Flower Power, and The Wave

There are some fun Tables in Wonderland perks and events over the next couple of months! First up, members will receive a discount on Cirque du Soleil: La Nouba tickets in Orlando’s Downtown Disney from April 17th-May 11th! Next, another Flower Power Happy Hour will be happening in May. And The Wave has another great dinner planned!

La Nouba Discount

Tables in Wonderland members will receive a discount on tickets for themselves and up to three guests at 6pm and 9pm performances Tuesday-Saturday between April 17th and May 11th, 2012.

Tickets will be Category 2, and price will be $66.75 for adults and $54.00 for kids. Call 407-WDW-SEAT (407-939-7328) to purchase tickets! (Must show current Tables in Wonderland card when picking up tickets at the Box Office.)

Click for MUCH larger image

Flower Power Happy Hour

Held in the special event space atop the Norway Pavilion at Epcot®, join your fellow Tables in Wonderland members for a cocktail hour and then reserved seating for the Flower Power concert of Herman’s Hermits starring [Read more…]

Tables in Wonderland: March 2012 Events

Tables in Wonderland has announced three special events for March 2012 — An Illuminations Dessert Party on St. Patrick’s Day, a specialty Irish lunch at Raglan Road, and a dinner at The Wave!

Illuminations Dessert Party

Location: Italy Pavilion at Epcot
Date: Saturday March 17, 2012 8:00pm – 9:30pm
Cost: $55 per person, plus tax. Gratuity is included.

You are invited to a private Tables in Wonderland Dessert Party! Come enjoy a front row presentation of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, while you sample platters of delectable desserts and rich coffees.

Dessert Party - click image for larger version

Dessert Buffet Menu
Trio of Mini Gourmet Doughnuts (!!!!!) with Coffee Gelato
-Tennessee Bourbon Glazed Dark Chocolate Doughnuts
-Carmel Nut Glazed Apple Pie Spiced Doughnuts
-Raspberry Glazed Buttermilk Doughnuts
-Served with [Read more…]