DFB Reader Questions Answered: Best Disney World Breakfasts Without Characters or Buffets

We’re tackling another question from the DFB Reader mailbag! And today, it’s all about breakfast.

The Samoan at Kona Cafe

The Samoan at Kona Cafe

Our reader asks:

Where can we get a good breakfast if we are NOT into characters or buffets?

There are lots of spots to enjoy a terrific breakfast at Walt Disney World — even if you prefer not to have characters, and you’d rather order a la carte.

We’ll break down a few of our favorites below, and share why these spots are tops for starting your Disney Day.

Good Counter Service Options

If you are crunched — for time, money, or both — then consider some of Disney’s best Counter Service Breakfast options.

Deluxe resorts are some of my favorite spots for counter service eats. Roaring Fork at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge offers Mickey Waffles with a variety of toppings. We love the Bananas Foster option!

Wilderness Lodge Waffles

Wilderness Lodge Waffles

And at Captain Cook’s, located in the Polynesian Village Resort, you can indulge in an iconic Disney breakfast — Tonga Toast — without paying table service prices!

[Read more…]

Review: Breakfast at Kona Cafe in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

We are kicking off this week right with one of my favorite breakfasts in all of the Disney Food Universe — Kona Cafe!

This mainstay of Walt Disney World flies under the radar quite a lot of the time. If you don’t know better, you’ll probably write it off as just a garden variety hotel lobby restaurant, good for grabbing a bite before you move onto bigger things.

For me — and for many Disney fans in the know — it’s a destination.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s take a look around, then dive right into the eats.

Atmosphere

If it’s been a while since your last visit to the Polynesian, then you’re in for a bit of a surprise. The hotel, one of Disney World’s original resorts, recently underwent a huge renovation.

The work not only added many new enhancements, like Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, and the Pineapple Lanai (your home for Dole Whip at the Poly). But it also transformed areas like the hotel’s lobby. While I miss the sound of the old waterfall, I think this assortment of glass float lights is a nice, new focal point.

Kona Cafe

Newly Renovated Polynesian Village Resort Lobby

Still, for better or for worse, Kona Cafe has remained largely unchanged. Located off of the second floor atrium, it still appears to be a rather ho-hum restaurant. [Read more…]

Top Meals Under $20 in Walt Disney World

We can all use tips on how to save a little money now and then. And that’s never more true than when you’re planning a Disney vacation!

Top Meals Under $20 2

It may seem like the impossible task: finding a bargain in Walt Disney World. And that’s seems especially true when it comes to food.

But believe it or not, there are some truly fantastic meals at Disney Restaurants for less than $20 dollars! And I’m not just talking counter service.

Let’s take a look at some of my favorite meals that you can still score at Walt Disney World for under $20. I think you’ll be surprised at all of the cool places you can eat without bleeding your wallet dry!

Tonga Toast at Kona Cafe

Ah, Tonga Toast. If you haven’t had it, you really need to get it on your list.

To enjoy this one, book your breakfast advance dining reservation for Kona Cafe at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

Tonga Toast

Tonga Toast

Thick-cut Sourdough Bread is stuffed with ripe bananas before it’s deep fried and rolled in Cinnamon Sugar. Served with a side of Strawberry Coulis for dipping/pouring, it’s the perfect, decadent start to your Disney Day. And since it’s incredibly hefty, it will keep you going for hours. [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: August 9, 2015

After weeks of non-stop Disney Food News, all was a little quieter the first full week of August.

Celebrate the Season with Minnie Mouse!

Celebrate the Season with Minnie Mouse!

But there were a few exciting developments this week. Our biggest news? You’ll be able to enjoy a brand new Holiday Character Meal option at Disney’s Hollywood Studios this season!

Let’s take a look at the details as well as other Disney Food News and Finds for the week below.

Disney Food News

[Read more…]

#OnTheList: Tonga Toast at Captain Cook’s in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

This post is part of the DFB #OnTheList series, where we feature eats you’ve GOT to have while you’re at Disney! Let us know what’s on YOUR Disney Food Bucket List @DisneyFoodBlog #OnTheList!

Who’s ready for some TONGA TOAST?!

Really, is there a better way you can think of to start the day than with this Disney World breakfast staple? Of course, you can only find it at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, but fortunately it’s available in not one, but TWO, locations there: Kona Cafe and Captain Cook’s. (Oh, and just so we’re clear before moving any further, for those who have noticed Tonga Toast on the menu for breakfast at Rainforest Cafe, it’s totally not the same thing.)

Today we’ll be enjoying Captain Cook’s version (as well as discussing the differences from the way it’s served up at Kona Cafe). But no matter where you go to grab your Tonga Toast, you’re just one Monorail ride away from the Magic Kingdom, making Tonga Toast a must-have breakfast tradition for many Disney World guests regardless of their chosen Resort.

Now, it’s no secret that a LOT of changes have taken place at the Polynesian Village Resort with its Extreme Resort Makevoer ;). Now that the dust has just about settled (in the Great Ceremonial House, anyway), let’s take a quick look around first!

Atmosphere

As mentioned, you can order Tonga Toast at two Polynesian Village Resort restaurants, and if you’re arriving via bus or car, you’ll need to make your way past the entrance into the Polynesian Village Resort lobby. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen the entrance unsurrounded by refurbishment walls on one — if not two — sides, here’s what it (along with some general landscaping) looks like these days.

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort Entrance

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Entrance

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort Scenery

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Scenery

We’ve visited the updated lobby previously, but here’s another few glances at the new look. [Read more…]

Review: Breakfast at Kona Cafe in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

You’re in for a real treat today as we take in breakfast at one of my favorite spots, Kona Cafe!

You’ll find Kona Cafe in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. The hotel continues to undergo vast renovations, but we’re so happy to report that Kona Cafe seems to be sticking around!

Meals at this spot are pretty consistently good. Lunch at Kona can offer a welcome respite from Magic Kingdom. And dinner is a hidden gem — many swear by Kona’s Steak. But breakfast offers some serious cult favorites for Disney veterans.

Atmosphere

Kona Cafe is located off of the center atrium at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. It’s conveniently situated for guests of both the Polynesian, and, well, anywhere! Just steps away from the Monorail, it’s a quick ride from both the Magic Kingdom and the Ticket and Transportation Center.

Disney Food Blog Kona-Sign-

Entrance to Kona Cafe

You may be tempted to dismiss Kona without much thought. After all, its open atmosphere makes it seem like any plain jane hotel restaurant. And I agree — it does look like a Hilton straight out of the mid-90s.

The general feel of the space is supposed to be tropical. Bold colors abound on walls and carpet, while lighter-stained wood and wrought iron round out the space.

DFB Kona-dining-room

Kona Cafe Atmosphere and Seating

Because it’s located off of the atrium, Imagineers have made an effort to give it sort of a garden feel. As a result, some of the lights, like these large leaf-shaped glass fixtures, mimic nature patterns.

more lights Kona Cafe

Lighting Fixtures

One of my favorite decorative features are the ceiling fans that run the length of the dining room.

lights Kona Cafe

These Super Cool Ceiling Fans Keep the Air Moving Nicely

The carpet is very…colorful. Big, splashy exotic blooms are scattered across it. Look closely, and you may just find a familiar shape among the flowers. :-)

Hidden-Mickey-in-Carpet Kona Cafe

Hidden Mickey, Hidden Very Well Indeed

Seating is a combination of round and rectangular tables. If you’re with your whole fam, this is a nice place to settle in!

Seating

Seating

The mixed seating with banquettes on one side and chairs on the other are a good compromise.

Seating Area

Booth Seating

A lot of times, we make a big deal about [Read more…]

News and Review: Captain Cook’s Temporary Location at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

ALOHA from Disney’s Polynesian Resort!

Capt. Cook’s is the Polynesian’s Quick Service option — famous for Tonga Toast in the morning, and Pork Sandwiches and Nachos in the afternoon into the evening (more on their also-famous Dole Whips later in the post). You can typically find a few unique and stellar cupcakes here, too.

Well, its original location is currently closed for refurbishment from now until later this summer. We’re definitely looking forward to the new-and-improved digs, but in the meantime we thought we’d swing by to give you a quick look at the temporary location.

Captain Cook's Refurbishment Sign

Captain Cook’s Refurbishment Sign

If you head to the original location for Captain Cook’s, you’ll see signs directing you to the temporary location. From the original space, it’s just to the right of the set of stairs that bring you to Tambu Lounge.

Temporary Location

Temporary Location

The first thing to greet you is the main seating area.

Main seating in temporary location

Main seating in temporary location

Main seating in temporary location

Main seating in temporary location

Captain Cook’s signature tables made the move…

Tables

Tables

And additional seating can be found to the left of the main area.

Additional seating

Additional seating

Past the seating, you see the food area.

Main seating with food area behind

Main seating with food area behind

The kitchen space appears roomy.

Facing the kitchen

Facing the kitchen

Flow in the costumer area is a bit [Read more…]

“The Best Thing I Ever Ate in Disney!” Breakfast!

We’re back for more fun with a brand new version of our hit series, “The Best Thing I Ever Ate in Disney”!

Best Thing I Ever Ate in Disney -- Breakfast

With your awesome input, we had tons of fun exploring our favorite Disney food categories a looong time ago. But Disney keeps adding amazing new dishes, treats, and foods! And so, it’s time to revisit these questions and add some of our new, and enduring, favorites to the mix!

Today, we’ll get the day started off right just like we should — with some delicious Breakfast! I’ll let you know a few of my favorites…and then it’s your turn to chime with in YOUR votes for “The Best Thing I Ever Ate in Disney — Breakfast”!

Let’s get to crackin’! (Like…eggs. Crackin’ eggs. Get it? :-) )

Waffle with Whipped Mascarpone at Trattoria al Forno

It’s a breakfast classic coupled with a dessert indulgence… the Waffle with Whipped Mascarpone at Trattoria al Forno on Disney World’s BoardWalk!

Trattoria al Forno Waffles

Trattoria al Forno Waffles

The generous dollop of smooth, rich, whipped mascarpone topping the crisp-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside waffles provides a truly decadent way to start the day. With espresso flavoring the cream and a light dusting of cocoa powder on top, it’s much like eating a tiramisu-topped waffle.

Waffle Topping -- Up Close

Waffle Topping — Up Close

And look… you can see the vanilla bean specks dotted throughout the cream!

Waffle Topping -- Inside

Waffle Topping — Inside

Upon first glance, you may — like I did — think something’s missing, and you may be tempted to request some syrup on the side. Don’t.

Waffle -- Cross Section

Waffle — Cross Section

This one’s terrific just as it is.

Tonga Toast at Kona Cafe

Classics become so for a reason. In Disney food circles, classics = awesomeness (and often over-the-topness) that just about everyone loves.

Case in point: Tonga Toast at Kona Cafe.

Tonga Toast with Bacon

Thick, fluffy bread is stuffed with banana yum, before it’s battered and deep-fried. After a roll in a ton of [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: September 29, 2013

I’ve been tasting my way around the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, so be sure to check out all the NEW photos from the marketplace food booths!!

2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Plus, we have full Epcot Food and Wine Festival menu listings that include Disney Dining Plan snack credits and prices!

Don’t forget to check out our Disney Food Blog Bingo challenge for this year’s Festival! It’s a great way to get the whole family in on the fun!

Still hungry? We’ve got more sweet news…

Disney Food News

New treats!

Of course, there’s more! Check out all the latest Disney Food News — even the stuff we don’t mention in posts on the blog! — on our Disney Food News Pin Board, including a Murder Mystery Dinner Show at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, and more.

DFB Reader Finds

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

DFB Reader Mandi has us salivating with these phenomenal pictures of delicious eats! First up: Cream Cheese wontons, skewered with fresh pineapple and served with fresh strawberries and spearmint leaf, drizzled with a warm vanilla honey sauce from Yak & Yeti in the Animal Kingdom.

Cream Cheese Wontons

Of course, stopping by Captain Cook’s in the Polynesian Resort for unique food is always a good idea. And we LOVE Tonga Toast!

Tonga Toast

Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures!!

The DFB Guide to the 2013 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of the DFB Guide to the 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival e-Book THIS WEEK! It’s almost time for the festival to begin! With over 190 pages and multiple bonus items, it’s pretty substantial. And just in time to make your plans — the festival is under way!

This week, we have a discount option for DFB readers (as always!). You can get the mini-guide for $3 off the regular purchase price — just use code TRAY at the check-out!

As always, we’ve made this mini-guide instantly downloadable for your convenience, and easily installed on your mobile devices. It’s a PDF guide with over 190 pages of detailed information about the Festival as well as photographs and customized bonus items to help you get the best experience possible.

Bonus Items

The DFB Mini-Guide to the 2013 Epcot Food & Wine Festival includes customized bonus items that go above and beyond any other Food & Wine Festival coverage currently available. These include:

  • A full, daily schedule of events for every day of the festival
  • A printable World Showcase Booth Menu Checklist that you can use to plan, and easily bring with you to the festival
  • Themed World Showcase booth crawls (there’s even one for the kids!)
  • Food and Wine Festival customized Touring Strategies for One Day visits, Budget-Conscious visits, visits with kids, and more
  • A chapter dedicated to all “New for 2013″ events, menu items, booths, and more
  • Full food, wine, beer, winery, and chef indexes, including dates and locations of where you can find your favorites
  • Epcot Food and Wine Festival recipes
  • And more!

Want an Even Better Deal?

We’ve got it! For an even bigger discount, head over to the DFB Storeand check out our e-Book Bundles!

All the Guides Bundle, Including Food and Wine: Planning a big trip and need the low-down on Disney Food across the board? We’ve got it all for you in this steeply discounted e-Book Bundle, which includes the Epcot Food & Wine Festival Guide and the Holidays at Disney World Guide!

Food and Wine Bundle: Another chance to pick up two of our very best-selling guides! Get a significant discount on our 400-page DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2013, and the DFB Guide to the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival — together! This Food and Wine Bundle offers all of our insider tips and tricks for the Festival AND the rest of your Disney World visit!

For more detailed information and sample pages from The DFB Mini-Guide to the 2013 Epcot Food & Wine Festival, head over to DFBMiniGuides.com/foodandwine!

On to the Round-Up!

Mickey Fix suggests hiding your cookies in this Snow White Evil Queen Cookie Jar!

Evil Queen Cookie Jar

WDW for Grown Ups features the Chase Cardholder VIP Lounge at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival!

Studios Central pays homage to Annette Funicello with a close-up look of the “net full of jello” in Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Main Street Gazette sips a Bamboo Backscratcher at the Tambu Lounge in the Polynesian Resort!

Eating (and Drinking) Around the World enjoys lots of great eats around Walt Disney World, including a stop at the Cabana Bar and Beach Club at the WDW Swan and Dolphin Resort.

Disney Parks Blog showcases a brand new restaurant — Carioca’s — coming to Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Magic.

Disney Parks Blog celebrates Halloween with themed treats at Walt Disney World!

 

Disney Recipe: Tonga Toast from Kona Cafe in Disney World

Recently, we told you about yet another fantastic breakfast we had at Kona Cafe, located at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Known for its beloved breakfasts, many guests count Tonga Toast among their all-time favorite Disney Dishes!

Tonga Toast with Bacon

But if you, like me, can’t get to Disney World everytime the craving for Tonga Toast strikes, you’re in luck! Because today, we’re sharing the secret to the magic with you!

Tonga Toast - Inside

Now, be sure to send me a [Read more…]