2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Top Tips

The 2013 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival will be here before you know it, and we’ve got some AWESOME insider tips for you today so that your visit can be your best one ever!

Mark your calendars for September 27 – November 11, 2013!

If you’d like to be in-the-know, follow along by bookmarking our 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival page here, joining our Epcot Food and Wine Festival Fans facebook page, and subscribing to our Disney Food Blog Newsletter for the latest updates.

The festival has become one of the most popular events at Walt Disney World — and it grows a little more every year. You can take advantage of special events, as well as food and beverage demonstrations throughout the festival. Or you can just stroll through World Showcase and sample food, wine, and other beverages from around the world at the myriad of Food and Wine Festival booths.

To help you make the most of this year’s festival, we’ll take a closer look at our very best tips for making the most of your Epcot Food and Wine Festival Visit!

1. Have a Plan in Place

Over its history, the Food and Wine Festival has continued to grow in scope and popularity. That’s why our top tip is to have a plan in place before you arrive for your visit.

Mushroom Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce at the Canada Food and Wine Booth is Back for 2013!

In the past, we’ve heard from our readers that the best way to be prepared for the marketplace booths is to [Read more…]

Disney Dining Tip from the DFB Guide: Dining at Bars and Lounges in Walt Disney World

When it comes to Disney World, bars and lounges aren’t just adults-only destinations — and they don’t just serve drinks.

In fact, here’s a Best Kept Secret in Disney dining planningDisney bars and lounges can be great places to get a meal with the whole family. These hidden gems are often less crowded than standard restaurants, too!

In The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013 e-Book, we have an entire section reviewing every single bar and lounge in Walt Disney World. It’s well worth a read to find out great spots to get a full meal or a snack — even with no Advance Dining Reservation!

Now let’s take a peek at a few of our favorites…

English Bulldog with Chips at Rose and Crown Pub in Epcot's UK Pavilion

Bars and Lounges Inside the Theme Parks

A Disney World trip can be hectic (meeting characters, dashing to attractions, and racing off to dining reservations!), so finding a place inside the parks to escape the hoopla is key to a relaxing vacation!

With signature cocktails, cheese plates, fondue, burgers, donuts, pasta, and more, you’ll find some truly inspired menus at Disney World’s bars and lounges. Sometimes you’ll even be able to order from the full menu of a nearby restaurant.

In Epcot, we can highly recommend stopping in to Tutto Gusto in Italy, Rose and Crown Pub in the UK, or La Cava del Tequila in Mexico.

Fireplace Area Seating at Tutto Gusto

At Tutto Gusto, order from an awesome menu of meats and cheeses, paninis, pastas, and more. A relaxing atmosphere and full tables allow for an easy meal for the whole family.

Cheeses, Meats, and Shrimp Cavatappi at Tutto Gusto Lounge in Epcot's Italy

Rose and Crown Pub, attached to Rose and Crown Restaurant, features a fun menu that — gasp! — the kids might even like! We can highly recommend the Scotch Eggs and the British Bulldog sausage (see our review of the British Bulldog here — and the photo at the top of this article)!

Scotch Eggs at Rose and Crown

If you’re there on a weekday, seek out Carl the Bartender and ask him to show you his amazing magic trick!

Carl the Bartender and the tipping pint

At La Cava del Tequila, sample a few Mexican appetizers like chips and salsa, queso, and guacamole along with your margaritas!

Chips and queso at Cava del Tequila

Another favorite place to unwind in the parks and get a great meal is at Tune-In Lounge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Here, you can get great shakes for the kids, fun signature drinks for [Read more…]

Top 6 Disneyland Bars and Lounges

Let’s face it. Sometimes a Disney vacation can be absolutely exhausting! That’s why we like to seek out bars and lounges in which we can share fun with family and friends or relax while enjoying good food and special beverages.

Schweitzer Falls at Trader Sam’s Tiki Bar

A while back, we took a look at our Top 10 Disney World Bars and Lounges, and now it’s time to take a peek at our favorites in the Disneyland Parks and Resorts!

Here are our picks for Top Six Disneyland bars and lounges — a list that includes a little help from our Facebook Friends! Thanks for your input!

Ready to jump in? Here’s our favorite place to while away some time at the Disneyland Resort…

Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar

Trader Sam’s should be your first choice for chilling out in Disneyland!

This is due to some great bartenders, unique drinks (often served in souvenir glasses), good food, and, of course, the interactive activities here. (Careful not to sit on the sinking bar stools!)

This place is an awesome tropical retreat located at the Disneyland Hotel. Check out our Trader Sam’s Review here!

Trader Sam’s Bar

While there is indoor and outdoor seating, all of the action is inside where there is limited seating (about 50 spots); so get here early as evenings may be quite crowded.

Cove Bar

Located in Disney California Adventure, the Cove Bar (not to be mistaken for Cove Cafe on the Disney Cruise Ships or the Cove Bar at Disney World’s Contemporary Resort…) is your place to escape the long lines and hot sun while enjoying great water-side views.

View from Cove Bar

Leave the thrills behind and savor specialty drinks and craft beers. The Raspberry Rain is a memorable choice! Look for an attractive menu offering my favorite, Buffalo Wings, and Lobster Nachos.

Hearthstone Lounge

Make the Hearthstone Lounge in the Grand Californian Resort a must-do in Disneyland.

Whether you are looking for some quiet alone time or bringing along friends, this cozy fireside lounge has a lodge theme and soaring ceilings that immediately relax you. And that’s before your first drink order!

Take a seat at the bar, on a cozy sofa, or at a [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…]

Disney Food for Parents: Your “Little Helper” is Only a Gift Shop Away

Normally I write about Disney Food for Families. This means I share tips about dining with children at Walt Disney World.

Sometimes a glass of wine hits the spot after a long day in the park!

But I’m here now to acknowledge that Mom and Dad are also an important part of a Disney family vacation, too. Oh gosh, am I even allowed to say that? :-)

Don’t tell my kiddos, but sometimes, after a long day of hunting for FastPasses, adjudicating squabbles, masterminding wait-time entertainment, and taking the brave one (why is there always a brave one?) on Tower of Terror for the third time in a row, yes sometimes Mommy needs a evening unwind, facilitated by a little drinkie-poo. Yep, sometimes old Mom needs a glass of wine.

Where to Kick Back?

Wine and other friendly alcoholic beverages are, of course, readily available at restaurants and lounges throughout Walt Disney World. Heck, you can now even get yourself a nice Pinot Gris in the Magic Kingdom.

But often the place you most want your relaxing drink is where you can, you know, actually relax. You want your adult beverage in your hotel room, when the pups are asleep. You want to be able to shower off the day, put your feet up, snuggle in front of a non-G-rated movie, and enjoy your vino in your jammies.

Can’t do that in the bar downstairs unless you’re in the mood for some unwanted attention from security.

Chilled wine by the bottle, for sale in the Saratoga Springs gift shop

The obvious solution is to bring a bottle of wine to your room. And, having always thought of everything, Disney is ready to accommodate.

ALL the Walt Disney World hotels sell a selection of bottled beers, wines, and spirits in their gift shops or food courts. Even better, all the Disney hotels now have in-room refrigerators provided free of charge. You can keep your hooch cool without having to make a PJ-clad run to the ice machine down the hall. (Is it super obvious that I’ve done this on more than one occasion?)

What’s Available?

The selection of bottled alcohol varies quite a bit from resort to resort and from week to week. But generally you can find several brands of domestic and imported beer, basic hard liquors, and a handful of red, white, and rose wines. The deluxe resorts also often have chilled champagne in their refrigerator cases.

To give you an idea of what you might expect, here are some photos of the alcohol selection taken at various Disney World resorts over the [Read more…]

The “Everything On the Menu!!” Dinner Review of Be Our Guest Restaurant in Disney World

Mystery has surrounded the creation of the Beauty and the Beast-themed Be Our Guest Restaurant — Disney’s newest dining location — since we first saw the Be Our Guest Restaurant concept art!

From the announcement that beer and wine would be served for the first time at a Magic Kingdom restaurant to our most recent Be Our Guest guest review, we’ve explored the Beast’s domain from afar.

Be Our Guest Bridge Entrance

Well, not anymore. I finally was able to dine at the Be Our Guest Restaurant in the New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom! And over the course of several meals I (and my various dining companions) ordered everything on the menu. (Well, the adult menu anyway.) I know how important it is to know what you’re getting when you’re planning your dining in Disney World, and I wanted to be thorough with this one for you guys.

After months (and months) of speculation about the decor and menu, stepping inside Be Our Guest Restaurant was truly exciting.

Be Out Guest Restaurant Check-In Area

After dining there several times this weekend, I’m anxious to bring to you my take on the food, beverages, and decor. So, let’s get started…


Guests begin their experience by checking in at the Bridge entrance — a bit like a Gatekeeper’s area. This is where you make your requests for a dining room if you’d like — the Ballroom or West Wing (the Rose Gallery is usually used only for lunch, though some overflow tables are seated there during dinner currently).

Once you’re checked in, you’ll be given a pager and asked to wait on the bridge. Once your page goes off, head toward the large restaurant entrance to be greeted by the Beast’s servant who will take you to your table!

Be Our Guest Restaurant Entry Doors

Beast's Servant Leads Us To Our Table

Once you’re inside the castle, be sure to peek into the Beast’s Study. It’s the room where lunch guests make their orders, and is located right through the hallway where the Knights are all whispering to one another!

In the study, you might see Beast himself greeting his guests!

This was a surprise for those of us dining at the restaurant the first night of reservations. We’d all been told that Beast would not appear, but at 45 minute intervals throughout the evening he walks through the restaurant (with great fanfare and cheering) and then settles in [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.


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…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: September 16, 2012

Another fantastic week filled with news from Walt Disney World on the Be Our Guest Restaurant, which will be in the New Fantasyland of the Magic Kingdom.

We now know that sipping French wine and Belgian beers will be part of the Be Our Guest dining experience!

Check out the food and beverage menus and the food photos in the links below…

Disney Food News

Exciting news from Walt Disney World this week!

We’ve got more food news (including restaurant closure updates, New Menu at Boatwright’s, Ralph Brennan’s Haunted House Workshops, and LOTS more) on our Disney Food News Pin Board!

Disney Food Blog Guide Bundle Sale is BACK!

We’re counting down the last two weeks ’til the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival…with great savings on our best-selling e-Book series!

Now’s the time to get all of our e-Books, including the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Guide! This week only you can get $4 off using code SAVINGS.

Priced at a huge discount already (over 25% off), this bundle is a great deal for anyone headed to Walt Disney World.

Find out more about the Disney Food Blog Guide Bundle here!

In addition, we are offering a discount on the DFB Mini-Guide to the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival — use code COUNTDOWN to get $3 off this week!

Check out our DFB Deals of the Week as we continue to count down to the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

On to the Round-Up

Daveland gives us a close-up view of a Pirates Grog vending machine in the early years of Disneyland.

Main Street Gazette stops by the Main Street Bakery for banana bread pudding.

A Wedding Cake Blog features a Princess and the Frog cake topper.

DisneyContemporary.com showcases some local fall flavors at The Wave in the Contemporary Resort.

Eating (and Drinking) Around the World looks forward to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

AllEars shares great Disneyland eats that were enjoyed during Half-Marathon weekend.

Disney Parks Blog flashes back to one of our favorite extinct attractions – Kitchen Kabaret.

FoxNews.com lists some Disney food moments on film!

New! Disneyland Paris 20th Anniversary Wines

Happy 20th anniversary to Disneyland Paris! Just in time for happy hour, and courtesy of Maxime Bogaert with Designing Disney, we’ve been given a unique look at a special wine commemorating this celebration. Take it away, Maxime!

At the occasion of its twentieth anniversary, Disneyland Paris has launched a special “20th Anniversary Cuvée”.

Happy 20 years, Disneyland Paris!

Commemorative Wine from Disneyland Paris

The Merlot Red, Chardonnay White, and Grenache Rosé wines are served in the resort’s bars and restaurants. But guests can also purchase a bottle at the hotel shops and take it home as a souvenir (available at [Read more…]

Review: Victoria and Albert’s Chef’s Table at the Grand Floridian Resort

Today, we travel up the elegant stairway to the pinnacle of fine dining at Walt Disney World, Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

Join me for an unparalleled experience as I take you behind the opulence to the excitement and camaraderie of the Chef’s Table! And let me tell you… it’s AWESOME!!

Victoria and Albert’s is the crown jewel in Disney’s culinary offerings. And while it is certainly expensive (that might be an understatement), I aim to show you that for the true food lover, the Chef’s Table experience is worth every penny.

By the way, if you read through this review and decide the Chef’s Table is not for you, you can also dine in the Dining Room to the more intimate Queen Victoria Room.

Victoria and Albert's Plate

Reservations for Victoria and Albert’s go quickly. It is recommended that you book as close to 180 days out as possible. As for cost, the menu is prix fixe, meaning that you pay a set price for the meal. Expect your meal to begin at $135 per person for the Dining Room, with an additional charge of $65 for wine pairings. That price includes six courses. Queen Victoria’s Room and the Chef’s Table menus may include up to thirteen courses, and prices start at $210/person for dinner and $105 for wine pairings. Keep in mind that these prices do not reflect tax or gratuity, so be prepared.

While Queen Victoria’s Room offers the height of elegant dining, the Chef’s Table provides interested guests full access to the restaurant’s culinary team in a meal that is as much performance as it is sustenance.


Once you check in for your reservation at the Chef’s Table, you are escorted through the well appointed (and very quiet!) main dining room. You’ll notice low light, beautiful fresh flowers, and the strains of harp music. The whole effect is quite romantic and very formal. There is a strict dress code here, and men must wear jackets.

Victoria and Albert's Main Dining Room

The Dining Room consists of a mere fourteen tables, beautifully set with spotless crystal and china. Very chi chi.

Victoria and Albert's Seating

We followed the debonaire Maître d’hôtel, Israel Perez, through this space and into the brightly lit kitchen. At that time, we were informed that Chef de Cuisine Scott Hunnel would not be joining us because of a conflicting event. In his place, Sous Chef Aimée Rivera would guide us through our meal.

Maître d'hôtel Israel Perez and Chef Rivera

Both Mr. Perez and Chef Rivera were phenomenal, and it’s clear that their passion and driving force is the comfort and enjoyment of their guests. Chef Rivera invited us to interact at will with the kitchen staff, and suggested that we voice any and all questions that we might have (Mua ha ha ha!!! She didn’t know just how annoying I can be!).

An interesting fact: once you are seated, you can’t [Read more…]