What’s New Around Walt Disney World: March 3, 2015

We’re taking a quick trip around all four Disney World Parks and then making stops at several Resorts, where a lot of food news seems to be taking place as of late!

But we’re starting our “World”-wide tour at Downtown Disney, and taking a peek at how things are shaping up as the transition towards “Disney Springs” continues on. And we may even take a sneak peek at something coming to our friends in Disneyland on the west coast.

Disney Springs mural

Disney Springs mural

So, are you ready to see What’s New? Good! Because in the words of Peter Pan, “Here we GOOOOOOO…”

DOWNTOWN DISNEY

Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC

Okay, so we’ve mentioned it a couple of times recently, but that’s because we’re happy that BabyCakes has a new home in Downtown Disney! Located at The Landing of what will be Disney Springs, Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC has been up and running since 1 pm on Sunday, February 22nd.

Erin McKenna's Bakery storefront

Erin McKenna’s Bakery storefront

Erin McKenna's Bakery NYC

Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC

Erin McKenna

Erin McKenna

Samoa Donut

Samoa Donut

Featuring gluten-free and vegan baked goods, this is great news for guests on some dietary restrictions. Read our opening day review here!

Flour and Sugar

Speaking of baked goods, Flour and Sugar is a little kiosk that can be found on the newly opened Marketplace Causeway. It sells pre-packaged cookies inspired by various cities in the Sunshine State.

Flour and Sugar

Flour and Sugar

We tried the Siesta Key Key Lime S’more, and we’ll have a review here for you soon!

Key Lime S'more

Key Lime S’more

Disney Springs Construction

All in all, things really seem to be picking up speed in Downtown Disney with the Causeway completed, allowing an easy stroll from spots around T-Rex to the Rainforest Cafe side at the Marketplace.

The Marketplace Causeway

The Marketplace Causeway

Light post on The Marketplace Causeway

Light post on The Marketplace Causeway

Disney Springs sign

Disney Springs sign

We’ll be sure to take a little tour along the path when we’re back with our Flour and Sugar review! The next thing we have our eyes on? Look for [Read more…]

Review: Epcot After Hours Wind Down Event at La Cava del Tequila

Welcome to Epcot, After Hours! The Epcot After Hours Wind Down event kicked off on Thursday, April 17, at 9:20 pm (immediately following “IllumiNations”).

Illuminations Torch

Illuminations Torch

This 21-and-over event features small plates and drinks at the guest’s choice of four restaurants on select evenings: Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room, Spice Road Table, Tutto Gusto, and La Cava del Tequila.

When we announced this event a couple of weeks ago, we got a LOT of diverse points of view in the comments from our readers. Many were concerned that the price for the event ($35) was too high. Others were excited for the opportunity to stay in Epcot after hours, enjoying one of their favorite — often crowded — hot spots!

I attended the Wind Down at La Cava del Tequila in Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion. Let’s see how it went!

Mexico Pavilion After Hours

Mexico Pavilion After Hours

I’ll start with a rundown of my food and beverage experience specific to La Cava, and then we’ll talk about the event itself — what’s good and what could use some improvement. There’s a lot to share, so let’s dive in.

La Cava del Tequila

La Cava del Tequila

La Cava del Tequila

A group of about 10-12 guests gathered for the evening. Walking into an adults-only situation was a refreshing experience — granted, that’s something you typically have at La Cava, but there was a bit of a different feel.

Some of that had to do with the settings in front of us: a tequila flight, a small vodka shot (to “open” our senses, as we learned later), and a Mezcal tequila shot, along with a small bottle of water.

Tequila Flight

Tequila Flight

The lights were up a bit, too, for what we were about to experience. With the covers over our glasses, we all knew to wait to begin (which gave us a nice opportunity to meet the folks around us).

Covered Glass of Tequila Blanco

Covered Glass of Tequila Blanco

We soon found out that we were going to experience something truly unique: a tequila tasting led by Hilda Castillo. This is similar to what was done during the first Food and Wine Festival tequila tasting events, for those of you who have been.

Hilda combines knowledge, passion, and fun to help you feel comfortable and appreciate more of what you’re tasting.

Hilda, Tequila Ambassador

Hilda, Tequila Ambassador

The walls of La Cava are a classroom of sorts, and Hilda showed us how the wall mural displays the tequila process.

La Cava Wall Mural

La Cava Wall Mural

La Cava Wall Mural

La Cava Wall Mural

La Cava Wall Mural

La Cava Wall Mural

With her guidance, we experienced the characteristics of each tequila through color, aroma, and taste: an incredibly strong (I mean, WOW!) Blanco (White tequila), a Reposado (Rested tequila), and an Anejo (Aged tequila).

Because I am no Hilda (though I would like to be when I grow up!), I’ll offer these descriptions below that were provided at our settings.

Tequila Blanco description

Tequila Blanco description

Tequila Reposada description

Tequila Reposado description

Tequila Anejo description

Tequila Anejo description

With every visit to La Cava, I feel a little more comfortable with the world of tequila, because someone is always willing to share their knowledge with you. But I am [Read more…]

News!! Epcot Introduces “After Hours Wind Down!” Booking Open Now!

Update: We’ve added some additional menu information for Spice Road Table and Tutto Gusto, in addition to the La Cava del Tequila menu!

We have got BIG news for you today out of Epcot!

We all love sampling and drinking our way around Epcot’s World Showcase, right? Well, things just got a little more interesting on that front, with the introduction of After Hours Wind Down!

Evening at Epcot is Extra Magical!

Evening at Epcot is Extra Magical!

Epcot After Hours Wind Down!

After you enjoy Illuminations over World Showcase Lagoon (yep — AFTER the park closes!), purchase a ticket and choose from four of World Showcase’s hottest spots for drinks and small plates! (We’ve got a sample menu for you at the bottom of this post, so keep reading!)

Tickets are available today for dates starting Thursday, April 17, and running through mid-September on select nights.

Choose from the following spots in Epcot:

Chips and queso at Cava del Tequila

Chips and queso at Cava del Tequila

This is a hard ticketed event. The price for admission to Epcot After Hours Wind Down is [Read more…]

What Should I Do in Epcot on a Kid-Free Night?

Check out this great DFB reader question we received a while back!:

I am traveling to Orlando on business and will be in Epcot for one evening. What would you suggest that I do with this rare dining opportunity? Normally, my family accompanies me on this trip, but this year, I’m looking forward to a kid-free night in the park!

There are TONS of great options for a kid-free night in Epcot. I’ve got a couple in mind, but I can’t wait to hear what YOU would do!

Evening at Epcot is Extra Magical!

But also, as much as we all love our families, it’s fun sometimes to have a little grown up time in the parks.

And if you’re a parent who hasn’t had a chance to do that, we still bet that you’ve got a couple of great suggestions dreamed up just in case! So share your suggestions for a dream night in Epcot in the comments section below!

As for what I would do? After about six rides in a row on Maelstrom, Spaceship Earth, Soarin’, and Test Track in a row, here’s what I’m thinking food-wise…

Tutto Gusto for Dinner

For dinner, I would choose Tutto Gusto. The wine bar, one of the newer additions to World Showcase’s Italy Pavilion, features a wonderful menu of tempting small plates — and you don’t need a reservation to dine there! Also, it’s very solo-diner friendly.

You can see a recent Tutto Gusto review right here!

One of Tutto Gusto's Cheese Boards

The atmosphere is cozy, and the [Read more…]

Review: Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

Felice Anniversario di un Anno, Tutto Gusto!

This fantastic little wine bar, located in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion, has been open for a whole year. Can you believe it?

Tutto Italia and Gusto Wine Cellar

It’s amazing to think it’s been that long — and yet, one step into the cozy spot, and you’d swear it’s been there forever. In short order, Tutto Gusto has become one of our favorite stops in Epcot.

Time to check in and see how it’s going in this rustic wine bar after a full year of serving guests!

Atmosphere

Stepping into the inviting Tutto Gusto is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of World Showcase.

Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar

While the space is intimate and cozy, it’s also wonderfully dim and cool. Whether you’re escaping cold temps on a (very rare) chilly day, or you’re taking a break from the heat, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief as soon as you settle into a chair.

Once your eyes adjust a bit, you’re greeted by a comfortable, rustic setting. The bricked, vaulted ceilings immediately convey a feeling of antiquity. Couches, dark woods, and low tables invite you to sit and linger over small plates and glasses of wine.

Gusto Fireplace Area

The fireplace itself is a gorgeous decorative element.

Fireplace Area Seating at Tutto Gusto

The lighting feature made from recycled [Read more…]

5 Things You’ve Gotta Try at Walt Disney World in 2013!

It is a great time to be a Walt Disney World Fan, and an even greater time to be a Disney Food Fan! There has been a truly dizzying array of really unique, inventive food to come down the pike over the last year, and we can’t wait to hear what YOU think about it.

Since we are all about the eats in these parts, I thought I’d give you my two cents on the 5 Things You’ve Gotta Try at Walt Disney World in 2013 — Food Edition! Let’s do it!

Tutto Gusto

If you haven’t had the chance to stop by Tutto Gusto, the new wine bar that opened in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion last summer, I heartily recommend you get there, asap!

Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar

This alluring, intimate spot has enjoyed lots of business since opening — I often find it full to the max when I visit! (Luckily, I snapped this pic on an early day!)

Gusto Fireplace Area

Following on the heels of the success enjoyed by its Mexican cousin, La Cava del Tequila, Tutto Gusto adds even more eats. Not only can you find an extraordinary assortment of Italian wines and beers, but there is also a wonderful menu of small bites to choose from.

Even non-wine drinkers can find plenty to love about this spot, which feels like it was just transported to Florida from Italy. Italian Cheese and Sausages? Sign me up!

Tutto Gusto Cheese Board

Stop in for a glass, some cheese, or even heavier pasta or panini options. The full menu from Tutto Italia next door is available here, too!

Or grab a fabulous dessert and a glass of Moscato. You won’t be disappointed.

Territory Lounge Eats

When I need a break from the [Read more…]

Review: Tutto Italia in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

Anytime that I have an opportunity to dine in Epcot’s World Showcase, I grab it!

There are so many wonderful restaurants here, and I’m always lamenting the fact that I haven’t been to one or another in a long time.

When I was in town recently for the New Fantasyland media event, I had some free time and decided that it was the perfect night to pop in to Italy to see how Tutto Italia was faring after its most recent renovation.

So after arranging my Advanced Dining Reservation for 8pm, I headed over to meet my friend for a late dinner amid the beautiful holiday decorations in World Showcase.

Tutto Italia in Epcot's Italy Pavilion

Atmosphere

Tutto Italia and the newly opened Tutto Gusto Wine Bar are situated in the back left corner of the Italy Pavilion (if you’re facing into the pavilion). The restaurant reopened after a renovation in early Summer and now features updated seating and the brand new wine bar next door.

Tutto Italia

Tutto Gusto is a new stop on your Drinking Around the World odyssey, and is definitely worth your time and dollars. You can see my initial impressions of Tutto Gusto in my review.

But on this night, we were headed into Tutto Italia. When the restaurant first reopened I was glad to see that not much had changed. The grand and formal space really feels like it could have been transported from Rome. The gorgeous murals made the cut (though I heard that they almost didn’t stay!).

Italia kept the murals!

And the crystal chandeliers continue to add elegance to the restaurant. Sometimes it’s a bit jarring to see people dressed in Mickey t-shirts amid all this finery, but I’m so glad that Disney has preserved some of the original vision of the World Showcase restaurants.

Italia Chandelier

Seating includes some tiny two tops (is it just me, or do you always kind of feel like you’re eating with the people next to you when you’re sitting at tables this close together?) as well as seating for larger groups and families.

Guests can also dine in a Sunroom or on the new outdoor patio!

Italia Table Seating and the Sunroom beyond

Here’s one of the biggest tables…this one’s for [Read more…]

Guest Review: Complimentary Wine Seminar at Tutto Gusto in Epcot’s Italy

We’re welcoming back Melissa Sue Sorrells Galley with a fabulous review of a FREE wine seminar that’s been taking place Mondays and Thursdays this Summer at Tutto Gusto in Epcot’s Italy pavilion. Let’s take a look!

As big fans of Mexico’s La Cava del Tequila in Epcot, my husband and I were anxious to try Disney’s newest not-quite-counter-service wine bar, Tutto Gusto.

Tutto Gusto

Located near the back of the Italy Pavilion in Epcot, just behind Tutto Italia, Tutto Gusto wine cellar offers light meals, meats, cheese, and of course, wine!

They also, as we found out during our recent visit to Disney World, offered complimentary wine tastings in the dimly-lit, cozy little wine cellar Monday and Thursday throughout August and September.

A-frame sign advertising the wine seminar - click image for larger version.

Atmosphere

Upon entering, we felt like we’d been transported to a family-owned winery with a modern twist. Classic, old-world style details mingled with fun, contemporary features — like the unique wine bottle light fixture above the bar.

Glass bottle light fixture (and Italian servers!)

Beautiful details on the walls.

Glass cases lined with fresh meats, sandwiches, and delectable desserts drew us in deeper, and the [Read more…]

Guest Review: Tutto Gusto in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

Let’s raise a glass to Lisa Davis for this fabulous review of Tutto Gusto’s wines, cheeses, and more! Tutto Gusto is a new wine bar serving small plates and meals in Epcot’s Italy pavilion.

Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion is the second venue of its kind in Epcot. Having experienced the joys of drinking and dining in Mexico’s La Cava del Tequila, my husband and I anxiously awaited the opening of Tutto Gusto.

We were finally able to visit in early June, one month after it officially opened.

Tutto Gusto Entrance

Tutto Gusto is much larger than La Cava del Tequila, but still retains a small/intimate atmosphere. The decor and lighting help to make you feel as if you just walked into the wine tasting room of a winery in Italy. (Editor’s Note: See a photo tour of Tutto Gusto here!)

You can sit at a table in the main area by the food case and wine display, or in a more intimate setting by the fireplace. There are several table sizes to accommodate different sized groups.

Fireplace Room at Gusto

Gusto Seating

On our visit, we were able to walk right in and be seated, which was a pleasant surprise considering the wait times we typically have at La Cava del Tequila. There were two greeters at the entry — whom we initially walked right by on our way in — to provide us seating options.

Since it was just the two of us, we chose a loveseat by the fireplace. On a side note, we believe we came at a great time, having arrived at 7 p.m. on a Friday, just after a severe late-afternoon thunderstorm that cleared the park.

The fireplace area is separated from the [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: April 8, 2012

Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar

Happy Easter! Lots of Disney food awesomeness happening around the world this week!

We got to see the concept art for the Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar in Epcot, we’re reporting some great news about the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, we’re seeing new entrees added to the menus at several Disney restaurants, and more!!

Disney Food News

Here’s the latest…

We’ve got more delicious news on our Disney Food News Pin Board, where Disney Food News is updated on a regular basis!

Have You Used the DFB Disney Restaurant Search?

Wondering what Disney restaurants are right for your family (or just feel like playing with a really awesome tool during your Disney World planning?)? Use our customized Disney World Restaurant Search Tool to plug in your personalized criteria and check out recommended restaurants!

Screen Shot of the Disney Restaurant Search Tool

It’s super easy to use, and might recommend restaurants that you hadn’t considered. The best part is that it will give you highly customized suggestions of Disney restaurants that are perfect for YOUR family! :-)

On to the Round-Up

WildernessLodgeSite.com stops by the Whispering Canyon Cafe at the Wilderness Lodge.

Magical Trash features the themed garbage cans at Columbia Harbour House.

Walt Disney World For Grown Ups visits the Bellevue Lounge at the Boardwalk Resort.

Main Street Gazette finds a meal combo deal at Joy of Tea in Epcot’s China pavilion.

Eating (and Drinking) Around the World shares a weekend of Walt Disney World eats.

Running at Disney reviews a pre-race meal at Via Napoli before running the Princess Half-Marathon.

Daveland fascinates us with an interesting look at the vintage Casa de Fritos once located in Disneyland’s Frontierland.

DisneyParks Blog hops over to the Grand Floridian for a look at the first-ever edible Easter egg display at this resort. These pieces are too beautiful to eat!