DFB Food Challenge: The Walt Disney World Gelato Crawl!

There’s not a lot that I love better on a hot day in Florida than a little ice cream. But leave it to Disney World to kick ice cream up a notch by offering Gelato!

Disney World Gelato Crawl

And we’re seeing it in a lot of different spots across Walt Disney World, and even in Disneyland. If you are a fan of this richer, more dense version of that snack we all scream for, then you’re in luck.

Today, we thought it was high-time to offer some inspiration for another DFB Food Challenge, and so we are going in search of all things gelato we can get our hands on with the Walt Disney World Gelato Crawl!

Since you can only enjoy so many desserts in a 24 hour period, feel free to bring along friends to split all the goodies, or pace yourself on the crawl by spreading out the stops over several days.

I hope you came hungry. Let’s get started!

Gelato Bars

Since our very first visit, Landscape of Flavors at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort has been one of our favorite counter service destinations. And one of the biggest reasons for that is their killer Gelato Bar!

If you’re lucky enough to be staying at Art of Animation, this first stop on the Gelato Crawl will be a snap! Check ‘em out!

Gelato at Disney's Art of Animation Resort

Gelato at Landscape of Flavors in Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

But my favorite thing about the Gelato Bar here — aside from the variety of flavors — is that you can also add toppings for a perfectly customized treat.

Toppings! Woo!

Toppings! Woo!

Pick your scoops, pick your sprinkles, and off you go!

My Favorite Combo -- Raspberry and Chocolate

My Favorite Combo — Raspberry and Chocolate

A couple of other Disney resorts also have gelato available. If you’re staying at Disney’s Coronado Resort, feel free to amend your crawl and start your gelato journey at Cafe Rix.

Gelato Flavors and Pricing at Cafe Rix

Gelato Flavors and Pricing at Cafe Rix

You can also check out a pretty awesome selection at End Zone Food Court over at All Star Sports!

End Zone Gelato Bar

End Zone Gelato Bar

Ahhhh…don’t you just love having options??

Gelato Cookie Sandwiches in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

After polishing off your first gelato of the day, head straight for Epcot, where you’ll have lots of different ways to enjoy your frozen favorite! Next stop: the Italy Pavilion.

View from Epcot's Italy Pavilion

View from Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

For your next foray into gelato, stop by the little [Read more…]

What’s Your Favorite Restaurant in Each Walt Disney World Park?

One question I get asked ALL the time: “What are your favorite Disney restaurants?”

Favorite Walt Disney World Theme Park Restaurants

And my answer is always the same: “My favorites are always changing, because the only consistent thing about Disney restaurants is that they’re inconsistent!” That said, I do have a few that I head back to over and over again… .

It’s fun to seek out new things, to be sure. And Disney is always introducing new restaurants! But still, it’s always comforting to go back to the same place each visit and have your favorite meal.

So today, my question for YOU is: What is your favorite restaurant in each of the four Walt Disney World Parks? What table would you park your feet under during each and every visit if you could? (Or do you?)

I’ll share my picks first, and then I can’t wait for you to jump in by adding your answers in comments below!

Liberty Tree Tavern at Magic Kingdom

Ah, Liberty Tree. You have been around since the dawn of time. (Or at least since pretty much the first day that Magic Kingdom was opened.)

Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom

Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom

And while lots of fantastic places to eat in Magic Kingdom have come about since then, I’d still eat at Liberty Tree Tavern during every single visit if I could.

Lots of Disney fans prefer dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern, which is a family-style, all you care to eat affair, offering carved meats and sides. Having traditional Thanksgiving foods all year around is a treat, after all! But I really prefer lunch, because I can get my favorite: the amazing Liberty Tree Tavern Burger!

Liberty Tree Tavern Burger

Liberty Tree Tavern Burger

And there’s no better way to finish the meal than one of my favorite Disney desserts, the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake! This has been on and off the menu in recent months, but we’re always glad when it’s on-again.

Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake at Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom.

Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake is a Must Have

Sometimes I have to resort to [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: November 24, 2013

It’s one of our favorite weeks of the year! As we set our tables with Thanksgiving feasts, Disney World visitors will find holiday menus and treats around every corner. One of our awesome finds this week — the Hidden Mickey Cupcake at the Contemporary Resort!

Inside the Hidden Mickey Cupcake!

And with a new restaurant coming soon to Epcot, plus updated dining venues on the Disney Magic, we’re celebrating this week of Disney Food news.

Craving more details? Click on the links below!

Disney Food News

  • Festive holiday snacks, including a Five Legged Goat Krispy Treat, made their debut at the Contemporary Resort’s Gingerbread Tree display in Disney World this week!
  • A new restaurant — Spice Road Table — will be opening soon in Epcot’s Morocco pavilion.
  • Disney World’s dining discount program, Tables in Wonderland, is offering complimentary valet parking at Downtown Disney Orlando during the holiday season!
  • Check out the new Viva Navidad at Disneyland Resort this holiday season!
  • Disney Cruise Line recently unveiled the renovated ship — Disney Magic! Taking the place of Parrot Cay, Carioca’s restaurant serves South American specialties!A brand new Royal Court Royal Tea is now being served aboard the Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Fantasy!

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 restaurant closures!

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!

Facebook Friend Lesley shared one of her Disney “must haves” — Via Napoli’s Pistachio Gelato. I agree, Lesley!!

Pistachio Gelato at Via Napoli in Epcot

Paula sent us a treat via Facebook: “Fruit tart from Boardwalk Bakery – perfect pastry cream, fresh fruit and a Mickey macaron! Very chic.” Indeed!!

Fruit Tart at BoardWalk Bakery

Send your Disney Food Finds!

The “DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays 2013″!

Tis the season for the DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World® Holidays 2013 e-Book!

And since we want you to save some cash right NOW, we have a steep discount for DFB readers (as always!). Get the brand new guide today for $3 off the regular purchase price for a limited time! How? Use code JINGLE at the check-out!

The DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays 2013 e-Book features 270 pages of all the info you need to know before you head to Walt Disney World for the holiday season, including NEW events and holiday happenings, over 250 photos, and an informative FAQ section. It includes:

  • Detailed descriptions and photos of every holiday event and activity happening at the parks and resorts this year — including tips on how to make the best use of your time and money when visiting!
  • A fully comprehensive holiday dining section with listings of holiday snacks, treats, meals, and menu items offered this year — from popcorn kiosks all the way to Signature Restaurants.
  • A clickable 3-Month Schedule of Holiday Events so you can see at-a-glance what looks interesting to you.
  • Comprehensive listings — with color photos! — of Disney Resort holiday decor and gingerbread displays
  • Our recommendations on ways to SAVE while you’re in Disney World this holiday season.
  • A section dedicated to all “New for 2013″ events, dining options, and activities.
  • NEW Scavenger Hunts
  • NEW Disney Cruise Line Chapter
  • A Preview of the 2014 Holidays in Disney World
  • And more!

For more detailed information and sample pages from The DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays 2013, head over to the DFB Store!

And if you want an even BETTER 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 2013!

With a 100% 30-day, money-back guarantee on all of our guides, you have nothing to lose! :-) Find more great DFB Disney Dining Guidebooks at DFBStore.com!

Pixar Mug Set

On to the Round-Up!

Mickey Fix showcases Pixar mugs! I LOVE THESE!!!!!

disZine reports on the very successful sales of Disney-branded food.

Main Street Gazette dines at Boatwright’s in the Port Orleans Riverside Resort.

Walt Disney World For Grown Ups loves the Holiday Cupcakes at Disney World!

Tara’s Multicultural Table visited the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

babble shares cheese and wine pairings inspired by Disney characters.

What’s The Best Walt Disney World Park for Dining?

There is so much to love about the parks of Walt Disney World.

What's the Best Disney World Park for Dining?

The rides and attractions. The sense of history — both in the parks, and the memories that we’ve all made in them. The incredible themeing that greets you at every turn.

But of course, what do we love the most? The FOOD!

I’m serious about eating when I’m in Disney parks. And I know you are, too! But which Disney World park is the best when it comes time for eating?

This is a question I get asked a LOT; and it’s always tough to make a choice. Sure — Epcot has the largest number of fantastic restaurants, but there are some snacks that can’t be beat in Magic Kingdom; and the other parks offer some not-to-be-missed items, too.

There are some seriously awesome, edible reasons to visit each park — and I’m going to share some of my favorites with you today!

Get ready, because I want to hear your point of view, too! What’s your favorite Walt Disney World Park for Dining…and why?

Magic Kingdom

Eating your way through Magic Kingdom seems to me to be one part fantasy food, and one part pure nostalgia. It would be hard to imagine not carving our a few days on my menu for some of my favorite stops here!

Nutella and Fruit Waffle Sandwich at Sleep Hollow

For brunch or lunch, I can never pass up the chance to have a Waffle Sandwich at Sleepy Hollow Refreshments. Choose from Nutella (!!!) and Fruit, Spicy Chicken, or Ham, Prosciutto, and Swiss.

Seriously delicious — and enormous. I like to get two and split them among friends for a little variety.

Spicy Chicken Waffle Sandwich

We can’t go very far in this conversation though without discussing [Read more…]

Guest Review: Via Napoli’s Arancini Appetizer in Epcot

Welcome guest author Paul Kuconis! Today, he shares the popular Arancini Appetizer at Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy pavilion. Grazie, Paul!

I always look forward to our Walt Disney World visits; and I look forward to the food! One of our ‘go-to’ Epcot restaurants is Via Napoli Pizzeria E Ristorante, or better known as ‘Via Napoli’.

One of the problems with dining here is that we have to walk almost to the very back of Epcot to get to Italy. But that only heightens the anticipation!

Via Napoli - almost there!

Via Napoli entrance.


Although we had to change our reservation to a more convenient time, we were given a good table close to the pizza station.

Pizza Ovens!

While we waited, we took in the décor!

Intricate, beamed ceiling.

We enjoyed our seats under the watchful eyes of Stromboli, Vesuvio, and Etna. The three pizza ovens are named after active volcanoes in Italy; Stromboli on the Aeolian Islands, Vesuvius near Naples, and Mount Etna in Sicily.

Being Watched By Stromboli, Vesuvio, and Etna.

It was equally interesting to watch the chefs prepare and cook pizzas. They look like they enjoy their jobs and perform them with military precision.


I would like to share with DFB readers our favorite Via Napoli appetizer – Arancini.

Arancini means ‘little oranges’, which is exactly what these round/oval, deep-fried rice croquettes look like when they are removed from the hot oil.

They are served as snack food in bars and cafes all over Sicily, and their filling can vary — meat and tomato sauce with peas, chopped vegetables and white sauce-cheese, and prosciutto — depending on the cook.

Aranci Menu Item.

We were served by Luca, who came to Epcot via Turin, Italy. Luca agreed, “Good choice!”, and placed the order for the Arancini. I also ordered a glass of Batasiolo Chardonnay.

Chardonnay Batasiolo Menu Item.

If I planned on more that one glass, Luca suggested the quartino. Good idea! I enjoy a nice Chardonnay, but by no means consider myself a wine connoisseur. I drink what I like whether or not it is appropriately paired. It went well with my meal.

Quartino of Basasiolo Chardonnay.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, (but was, in fact only ten minutes!), Luca delivered [Read more…]

Guest Review: Seafood Dine-Around at Walt Disney World

Join us in welcoming guest author KJ Simpson with a Walt Disney World Seafood Adventure!

Crab Cakes at Narcoossee's

A recent trip to Walt Disney World opened up a whole new world of culinary delights for me: seafood!

In my many previous visits, I had never tried any seafood dishes. This year, for a variety of reasons, I began incorporating seafood into my diet. As part of this new culinary adventure, I decided to sample some of the many dishes from the sea that are available throughout the parks and resorts.

If you’re curious about some of the offerings that can be found throughout Walt Disney World, read on as I embark on this seafood adventure…

And don’t forget to share your favorite Disney seafood dishes in the comments below!

Yorkshire County Fish Shop

No seafood tour would be complete without a stop at the very popular Yorkshire County Fish Shop, in the United Kingdom area of Epcot’s World Showcase, for an order of Fish & Chips.

There’s often a line at the Yorkshire County Fish Shoppe- this is a popular spot!

It’s a classic — two pieces of battered fish, served in a quick-service style over chips (also known as fries, here on this side of the pond). It’s even wrapped in faux-newspaper to give it a whimsically authentic appearance.

While not the healthiest of seafood meals, it was certainly one of the tastiest! There’s not a lot to go wrong here, and this was a perfect afternoon snack to share. The malt vinegar — a traditional accompaniment to the English fish fry — added the perfect tang and gave a whole different taste dimension to the fish.

The classic - Fish & Chips.

Sharing this while sitting in the seating area off to the side overlooking World Showcase Lagoon was a splendid afternoon respite! If you eat outside here, be forewarned: enjoy the view, but beware of the aggressive birds, ducks, and squirrels. They apparently love the food here as much as we do, and are not shy about wanting you to share.

Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie

Next was a visit to the newly-refurbished bakery in the France pavilion, Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie.

The expanded menu has a new seafood offering: Bisque de Homard, or Lobster Bisque.

Les Halles

This was a satisfying soup, smooth and creamy without being too heavy. Tomato was the more dominant flavor here, but the seafood added a richness and [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…]

Guest Review: Lunch at Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

Today, we’re traveling to Epcot’s Italy Pavilion for lunch at Via Napoli in this guest review by Julie B.!

Buongiorni a tutti! I want to tell you about one of my favorite places for lunch in all of Disney World: Via Napoli, located in the Italy pavilion of World Showcase.

Via Napoli is a relatively recent addition to the dining options of Epcot (and part of a major restaurant overhaul in Italy’s pavilion over the past few years).

This pizzeria doesn’t disappoint when enlightening diners with the true wonders of Neapolitan pizza.

Via Napoli!


The first thing you should know about Via Napoli is that it’s huge, and I mean HUGE! When you walk into the main dining room you’ll notice that it’s very wide but also features sky-high ceilings. This does create a lot of echoing, so Via Napoli is not the best place to come for an intimate meal (but it’s great if you’ve got kids who need to blow off some steam).

The large dining room.

A benefit of those high ceilings is that they have large windows and allow the room to be bathed in natural light. It’s one of the main reasons I love to dine here for lunch instead of dinner.

Another one of my favorite parts of the restaurant’s large size is the center table that stretches across the whole room. If you’re seated at this table, you’ll be [Read more…]

New Craft Beers in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

Craft beer lovers, rejoice! The Italy Pavilion at Walt Disney World’s Epcot has joined the ever-growing list of areas at Disney World that are focusing on unique brews.

Italian Craft Beers -- Photograph Courtesy of Beers and Ears

Our friends at Beers and Ears recently sat down with Eric Bandauski, who heads up the beer program for the Patina Group. Patina runs all of the Italy Pavilion restaurants along with three spots in Disneyland Resort.

Under his passionate direction, Epcot is now offering a wonderful array of craft beers. While craft beer is still an up and coming craze in Italy, the program is certainly giving beer aficionados some interesting things to sample and anticipate.

These bottles of winter Italian craft beers, which are available at Via Napoli, are almost too [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…]