Disney Food Post Round-Up: December 21, 2014

If you’re planning an upcoming Disney World trip, we have a FIRST LOOK at the new Trattoria al Forno restaurant at BoardWalk Inn resort!

Charcuterie at Trattoria al Forno

Charcuterie at Trattoria al Forno

And you can now book a character dinner at Tusker House in the Animal Kingdom! Yes, all three meals will be hosted by Disney characters as of March 8, 2015!!

Headed to Disneyland for the holidays? Well, we have some recommended snacks for you!

While there, we suggest sampling a NEW churro ice cream sandwich while strolling through Downtown Disney. Or any of the other spectacular seasonal treats lining the bakery cases!

Craving more news? Dig in below — just click on the links!

Disney Food News

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 restaurant closures, and more!

We’ve got all the latest for you, so check it out before you go.

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!

It’s time for some cake!!

Carrie, our cake guru, shared a Fozzie Bear cake that she enjoyed while dining at the California Grill.

Fozzie Bear!!

Fozzie Bear!!

And here’s a homemade Olaf from Facebook Friend Samantha. Love!

Olaf!!

Olaf!!

Do you have a favorite find? Share your Disney food photos!

Last Minute Holiday Gift!! DFB e-Book Gift Certificates

Our popular Disney Food Blog Guide to Walt Disney World Dining and our full assortment of Specialty and Snack Guide e-Books make great gifts for friends or family members planning a trip to Walt Disney World!

DFB Everything Bundle Gift Certificate

Give the gift of a great Disney World trip!

Give the Gift of Delicious Fun This Year with DFB e-Book Gift Certificates!

Give Them the Gift of Savings and Expert Advice!

Give Them the Gift of Savings and Expert Advice!

And now it’s easy to give the gift of dining planning through our Disney Food Blog e-Book Gift Certificates!

It’s a piece of cake to do — simply:

1. Purchase a gift certificate

2. Either print & give the details to the recipient, OR email the details to the lucky Disney fan!

Don’t let your friends and family go to Disney World unprepared. Our full line of e-books will ensure that your loved ones will get the biggest bang for their dining buck in Walt Disney World!

And here’s even more reason to act now — all gift certificates include a 2015 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining pre-order, with the 2014 DFB Guide download free when the coupon is redeemed! So you can get started with your planning right away, with the most up-to-date information delivered to you as soon as it’s published!

Gift Certificate Discounts

Gift Certificate – DFB “Everything” Bundle: Our most popular Bundle, this collection includes all of our critically acclaimed e-book titles, including our Food & Wine and Holiday Guides. And by using code LASTMINUTE at check out, you’ll get an extra $10 off the already highly discounted purchase price.

DFB Everything Bundle Gift Certificate

DFB Everything Bundle Gift Certificate

Gift Certificate – DFB Guide and Snacks Bundle: Give them the gift of [Read more…]

DFB Reader Spotlight: Make Your Own Epcot Food and Wine Festival Tray!

So, you all know that you’re the best readers in the history of blogging. Here’s a little story sent in via email (with pictures, of course) to prove it.

As many of you are aware, I highly advocate bringing your own tray to Epcot for the Food and Wine Festival every year. After all, there usually isn’t a great place to sit and eat at every booth; so it can be helpful to have a method for carrying all of your goodies and drinks around with you as you’re looking for a good stopping point in the shade. As it turns out, this is true for the rest of the parks as well!

Disney Food Blog Reader, Jocelyn Martins, explored the Epcot Food and Wine Festival (and other Walt Disney World parks) with her own Disney Food Blog Tray!

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 2.35.04 PM

That’s right; she took our unique bumper sticker and attached it to the food tray she brought from home. Totally L.O.V.E. that she brought it to Disney with her!!!

Jocelyn reports that she loved using the tray and apparently other guests admired it, too. She was asked several times where to get one! Take a look…

DFB Tray with Eats and Drinks

“I had to grab just one more pumpkin ice cream macaron sandwich, but couldn’t pass on the martini either… thank goodness I had my own DFB Tray to balance on the stroller!” (We knew we loved her.) Head to L’Artisan des Glaces in Epcot’s France for your own ice cream treats.

Pumpkin Ice Cream Macaron Sandwich and Coconut-White Chocolate Ice Cream Martini with Whipped Cream Vodka

Pumpkin Ice Cream Macaron Sandwich and Coconut-White Chocolate Ice Cream Martini with Whipped Cream Vodka

“Luckily I knew  from the DFB to look for the Harambe Popcorn Cart because our most-awesome-ess server, Neil, at our Tusker House Breakfast had worked there forever and had no idea where I could find the Jungle Juice Slushies.”

DFB tray for Jungle Juice Slushies & Rum

DFB tray for Jungle Juice Slushies & Rum

Jocelyn then used her homemade DFB Tray to [Read more…]

DFB Reader Questions Answered: Best Restaurants to Celebrate a Grown-Up Birthday at Walt Disney World

Today, we’re pulling another great question out the Disney Food Blog mailbag. You guys ask some great ones, and lots of times, we’ll get several emails and inquiries about the same subject.

Spontaneous Birthday Treat at Citricos

Spontaneous Birthday Treat at Citricos

Today, we’re going to delve into the wonderful world of birthday celebrations for grown-ups!

Celebrating Grown Up Birthdays in Walt Disney World

Our DFB reader asks:

We will be vacationing at WDW in May. My 25-year old son will have a birthday while we are there. We would like to have a special meal to celebrate, something fun but also really good!

I love this question! Disney brands itself a great place for all kinds of celebrations. And when it comes to birthdays, why should kiddos have all the fun?

When planning a special meal to celebrate a birthday at Walt Disney World, the most basic advice is probably a great starting point: what does the birthday boy or girl enjoy?

Birthday Dessert

Birthday Dessert

Does he like fine dining, or would he prefer a great night out at a sports bar? Does she like a quiet, elegant setting, or a spot with intricate themeing? Or are they a kid at heart who can Celebrate Mickey with the best of them?

Fantastic ideas abound for fun birthday celebrations at Disney World, but let’s go with my three favorite ideas. At the very least, it might lead to some good brainstorming when it comes time to plan your own special dinner party!

Signature Dining

For the Disney fan who enjoys a fine dining experience, there would be no other place to celebrate a birthday than where these two things meet — Disney’s signature dining restaurants.

If you’re looking for the pinnacle of fine dining, consider booking a table at Victoria and Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

Victoria and Albert's Main Dining Room

Victoria and Albert’s Main Dining Room

The ultimate in Disney fine dining, this relaxed, refined restaurant has won countless awards for its upscale take on modern American fare and its stellar wine menu. To make it an even more special experience, book the Chef’s Table!

Another great option is California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The restaurant sits atop the hotel, and boasts panoramic views. It’s a great spot for viewing Wishes, Magic Kingdom’s fireworks spectacular!

Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli is as Good as Ever

Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli at California Grill

Food here is always fresh and inventive, celebrating the farm to table movement and the Asian fusion style that placed California on the culinary map.

For something a little off the beaten path but no less delicious, check out Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Jiko at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

In a relaxing atmosphere that mimics the [Read more…]

Tip from the DFB Guide: Where To Dine With Both Picky AND Adventurous Eaters!

We’re sharing another great tip from our critically-acclaimed e-Book, The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2014!

disney dining tips

Today, we’re talking about a common conundrum: How do you satisfy all of the people, all of the time?

We’ve all been there. You have a picky eater in your group. No problem, right? Hamburgers, pizza, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets are all available throughout the parks and resorts.

But where do you go when you have both picky and adventurous eaters among your number?

How about a buffet or food court?

Disney excels at offering some truly interesting, all you care to eat options and food court choices, where the picky and the persnickety can both find satisfying options. Let’s check out a couple.

Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of our favorite stops for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The restaurant features a wonderful spread of African-inspired food. And at breakfast and lunch, you also have the added benefit of a character dining experience!

Goofy Strikes at Pose at Tusker House in Disney's Animal Kingdom

Goofy Strikes at Pose at Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

If you’re feeling adventurous, start your meal off with the interesting array of Chutneys and Spreads, before moving on to interesting house specialties like Bobotie or Potato and Pea Samosas.

Beef Bobotie at Tusker House

Beef Bobotie at Tusker House

And lovers of food and pickier eaters alike are [Read more…]

Top 5 Restaurants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is my favorite park in Disney World when I’m in it. The themeing is incredible. I could wander around just looking at things there for days! But the other thing that keeps me coming back to Animal Kingdom again are some seriously awesome restaurants. This place has it all!

Let’s take a look at some of our favorites — and what sets them each apart from the crowd.

Top Five Animal Kingdom Restaurants

Tusker House

If you haven’t booked a meal at Tusker House, then you’re missing out.

This sprawling restaurant sits on the main thoroughfare in Harambe village within the Africa section of the park. And with some of the best immersive themeing anywhere at Disney World, it’s hard to take in all of the intricate details and imagineering here with just one meal.

Tusker House -- Outside View

Tusker House — Outside View

But it’s not just the surroundings that are interesting. Tusker House has some incredible food as well. Inspired by the flavors of Africa, you’re in for a treat, whether you’re dining for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

We especially love the Spit-Roasted Meats. And taking advantage of the all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet may save you on other meals during the day.

Spit-Roasted Meats Are a Specialty at Tusker House

Spit-Roasted Meats Are a Specialty at Tusker House

But if you’re still looking to add a character dining experience to your list of advance dining reservations, be sure to book the breakfast or lunch, as characters don’t appear at dinner.

Eating a big breakfast will fill you up -- and cost less than dining big later in the day!

Seeing Your Favorite Disney Friends in Safari Garb at Breakfast and Lunch is Super Fun!

It’s always a kick to add pics Mickey and Friends in different outfits, and at Tusker House, they’re dressed to go on a Kilimanjaro Safari with you!

Yak and Yeti Restaurant

Looking for something exotic with an Asian twist? Then check out Yak and Yeti Restaurant. You can’t miss the big purple building in the Asia section of Animal Kingdom!

Themed as a grand home that’s been converted to a hotel, guests to the town of Anandapur are guaranteed to find

[Read more…]

Halloween Treats at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Frightfully good Halloween treats have materialized at Disney’s Animal Kingdom! These themed desserts add extra fun to a touring day at one of our favorite parks in Disney World!

Bat Cupcake

Halloween Treats All Over the Park!

Head over to Tusker House in the Harambe Village section of Animal Kingdom to find Mini Pumpkin Muffins, a Spider Web Brownie, and Lemon Bars with Pumpkin Decor. These will be part of the lunch and dinner buffet at Tusker House!

Next door at Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery, you’ll find Pumpkin Muffins, Ghoulish Krispy Treats, Spider Web Brownies, and, my favorite — the Bat Cupcake! I’m so glad these are back this year!!! Click the link to check out my review.

Over at Camp Minnie-Mickey, you’ll be able to check out the Witches Funnel Cake at Camp Snacks Kiosk and [Read more…]

The Most Popular Disney World Restaurants (and Alternatives When They’re Full)

Many Disney guests agree that the most important Disney Dining Tips lists include one specific piece of advice:

Making Advance Dining Reservations is an absolute must when it comes to planning.

While many seasoned Disney travelers are aware of this, there are lots of folks who visit the parks and are stunned to find no tables available at their top restaurant choices. Don’t worry, it happens to all of us at one time or another…and we’ve got solutions for you!

Today, we’ve updated our list of the most popular Disney restaurants, and terrific alternatives if you can’t score a table at your coveted spot!

Let’s take a look at the most elusive restaurants to book these days…

Dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Scoring an advance dining reservation at Be Our Guest Restaurant for their table service dinner can be a daunting task.

Be Our Guest Restaurant Ballroom Dining Room

From the time that they first announced the restaurant’s soft opening until now, we have heard from many readers who haven’t been able to secure a spot at Magic Kingdom’s newest restaurant. Here are a couple of reasons why:

Newness: The biggest reason for this remains the novelty of the place. Be Our Guest and all of New Fantasyland is still the hottest ticket in Walt Disney World since its grand opening in December 2012.

Incredible, Immersive Themeing: The impeccable themeing means that stepping into Beast’s Castle is truly like climbing through a portal into Beauty and the Beast. You almost expect to look down and find your food animated!

The Grey Stuff -- It's Delicious!

Novelty: The French-inspired cuisine that’s served at Be Our Guest is unlike anything else available in all of Magic Kingdom. In addition, there is huge novelty surrounding the fact that you can now order beer and wine in the formerly dry Magic Kingdom (for dinner only).

So, what to do if you can’t [Read more…]

My Great Idea That You Have to Try: The Jungle Juice Float in Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

Just outside of Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there is a humble little kiosk called Harambe Popcorn. I estimate that I’ve passed right by it about a million times, give or take ten thousand or so.

I’ve noted the menu — popcorn, check. Glazed nuts (yum!), check. Assorted bevs and Jungle Juice, check check. I’ve even mentioned it to you in the Tusker House review.

Menu -- Click to Enlarge

The addition of Jungle Juice — that glorious stuff that includes passion fruit, guava, and orange juice into one yummo glass —  to the kiosk is relatively new, and I’d been looking forward to getting some here.

It’s pretty great that you can now get it without booking a table at Boma or Tusker House! Here’s a pic of Jungle Juice at Boma…for comparison purposes.

Regular Jungle Juice Served at Boma

But when I finally headed over to get myself a glass a week or so ago, I was pretty intrigued by what I was given.

When the nice cast member handed over a hefty serving, I realized…it was FROZEN!

Well, not completely frozen, but slushy…the texture was a cross between a slush puppie and Disney’s frozen lemonade.

Frozen Jungle Juice at Animal Kingdom's Harambe Popcorn

Now, I have no idea if this is what regularly happens here at this kiosk. But I CAN tell you that the Jungle Juice was in one of those frozen drink tumbly things. You know, the ones that look like little washing machines?

So my guess is that they do serve it frozen as a general rule. How about that?! Have you seen frozen jungle juice anywhere else?

Frozen Jungle Juice -- Up Close

And this stuff is ah-mazing! I loved it! I would definitely be in line for more if I didn’t have to eat everything else in the Disney Parks. ;-)

My Great Idea That You Have To Try: [Read more…]

Best Disney World Restaurants for First Time Disney Visitors

Everyday we receive lots of mail from you, our awesome DFB readers, asking for restaurant suggestions and recommendations. And while we certainly have our favorites, we know that you do, too!

So when a Disney first-time visitor recently asked what restaurants we would recommend for their upcoming trip, we couldn’t think of a better panel of experts to ask than YOU!

When I put the question out on the Disney Food Blog Facebook page, I was overwhelmed by the huge and immediate response that I got!

Let’s take a look at your recommendations for the restaurants first timers must experience on that inaugural Walt Disney World trip!

If you have other thoughts or ideas — or, better yet, stories of your favorite restaurants during a first-time visit — please share them with all of us in the comments section! More suggestions are always better!

Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

When it comes to first time Disney dining, the winning restaurant recommendation is, hands down, Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Many of you agree that anyone visiting the Happiest Place on Earth for the very first time MUST experience a buffet that includes lots of character interaction.

Chef Mickey's is highly recommended by our DFB Readers!

But the suggestion is practical, too. Readers pointed out that a character dining experience offers terrific value for your Disney dollar, with an all-you-care-to-eat option.

A View of the Castle from Chef Mickey's

And with the addition of characters, you have a less rushed (and air conditioned!) meet and greet opportunity that guarantees you’ll see lots of characters without waiting in long lines in the parks.

Also, don’t forget that Chef Mickey’s is walking distance from the Magic Kingdom. This is a great
place to start or end your Magic Kingdom day!

Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland

Judging from the reader response, we’d say that Disney definitely hit the mark with one of its newest restaurants, Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland.

Be Our Guest Restaurant Bridge Entrance

Set in Beast’s Castle (from Disney’s animated classic, Beauty and the Beast), the huge eatery is a counter service location for lunch and table service location for dinner (see our “Everything on the Menu!!” Review Here!).

Be Our Guest Restaurant Ballroom

The menu has a French flair — and chefs worked hard to create tasty, interesting meals for the younger set as well.

Be Our Guest Restaurant also has the distinction of being the only spot within Magic Kingdom where guests can order beer and wine. While it broke with tradition when Disney announced the decision to offer adult drinks in the otherwise dry park, they felt it was necessary in keeping with the French-inspired menu.

The Beast occasionally greets visitors in his study during dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Many guests celebrate special occasions at Be Our Guest Restaurant, and if that’s you, be sure to mention it to your server. He may actually bring you a celebratory taste of “The Grey Stuff” — mentioned by Lumiere in the film!

This cookies and cream panna cotta truly is “delicious!”

The Grey Stuff -- It's Delicious!

Guests seem to be loving this spot for many reasons, and Advanced Dining Reservations for dinner remain hard to come by.

While we’ve tasted just about everything here and agree that the food’s quite good, most of you especially love it for the incredible, immersive themeing. So, remember that even if you can’t get a reservation for dinner, you can still enjoy the restaurant itself — including getting a peek at all three dining rooms — if you dine here for a counter-service lunch!

braised pork -- coq au vin at Be Our Guest Restaurant -- for LUNCH!

Here’s a TIP: if at all possible, snag a table in the West Wing and keep an eye on the [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: Should I Book a Disney Character Meal?

Dining at Walt Disney World is very often an experience rather than just a meal. It’s become a rite of passage to dine with characters during a visit to Disney — and there’s stiff competition to secure Advance Dining Reservations at some of these table-service restaurants.

Mickey strikes a pose!

Meeting Cinderella, rubbing Pooh’s tummy, hugging Mickey Mouse, and posing with Chip and Dale are some of the memorable moments that can be discovered while dining at Character Meals.

Tigger Lounges and Signs an Autograph Book at the Plaza Inn

But is a character meal right for your group? On one hand, adults and kids alike enjoy meeting characters from Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood, Cinderella’s Castle, and more! Yet on the other, character meals can be costly — both in time and money!

We’ve been to countless meals in which Disney characters hobnob with guests, and now we can help you determine if a character meal fits well into your next Disney vacation!

Chef Mickey serves up fun and food at the Contemporary Resort!

In our The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013 e-Book, we have an informative section on character meals. Pick up your copy here for an extra $4 off using code 2013 for a limited time! Your vacation is an investment and we want you to have the best trip possible!

So let’s take a look at whether a character meal makes sense for YOUR family…

Should I book a character meal?

Let’s get right to some important dining considerations that we’ve included in the DFB Guide to help you plan your meals.

Meet the princesses at a character meal!

1. Do you have kids who may be afraid of characters?

Character meals can be a good place for children to get to know the Disney characters. However if one (or more) of your children are not fond of the characters then consider dining at a restaurant with a fun theme instead.

Not sure if your kiddo hates characters? Here’s how to find out without too much trauma: [Read more…]