Do-It-Yourself Disney Food Decor

A Sampling of Available Celebration Disks

A Sampling of Available Celebration Disks

I saw these for the first time on my recent Disney trip and thought they were really fun! If you’re celebrating an anniversary, a birthday, or anything else, just purchase one of these little chocolate disks for $.75, smack it on top of a cupcake, and you’re in business! (Can you tell I’m a big fan of celebrations that don’t require a whole lot of planning? ;) )

Chocolate Decorative Disks at Disney

Chocolate Decorative Disks at Disney

If you don’t feel like DIY, you can always buy a celebration item pre-decorated! I found these at Goofy’s Candy Company in Downtown Disney.

Grab A Pre-Made Celebration Snack

Grab A Pre-Made Celebration Snack

There’s even a disk that says, “Will You Marry Me?” — I don’t know about you, but the way to my heart is definitely through my stomach…preferably via a Mickey rice crispie treat!

Children’s Miracle Network Classic Wine and Dine Walk Menu

Mickey Gets Ready to Walk

Mickey Gets Ready to Walk

The Children’s Miracle Network Classic is offering a new twist this year in Walt Disney World — DISNEY FOOD and WINE!

From Nov.13-15, 2009, the Children’s Miracle Network Classic event will host a Wine & Dine Walk on Disney World’s Magnolia Golf Course, showcasing dishes from Disney World’s newest and most popular restaurants. This event is the season finale of the PGA Tour Fall Series, so if you have a golf-lover in your midst, you can’t miss it!

How to Get In Free
Disney Vacation Club Members can get into the Wine and Dine walk free! Simply proceed to the Will Call booth at the event and show the attendant your DVC membership card.

Disney Visa cardholders can get in free as well (and bring up to three guests). In addition, for each day that you spend $25 at the event, you and your 3 guests will receive preferred skybox seating or reserved grandstand seating on the 18th green. Seating is limited and based on a first-come, first-serve basis. To be eligible for Skybox/grandstand seating, cardmember must go to the Skybox entrance on the 18th green; mention this offer; and show receipts that indicate the Cardmember used his/her Disney Rewards Visa Credit Card, Disney Rewards Debit Card and/or Disney Rewards Redemption Card on the day Skybox/grandstand seating is sought to make a purchase(s) of at least $25 (pre-tax), in the aggregate, on-site at the event.

Note: Ya still gotta pay for your food. See menu below!

Other Payment Options
For those who aren’t DVC members or Disney Visa cardholders, pre-event ticket sales are available through www.ticketmaster.com, and ticket booths will be located onsite during the tournament: weekly badges are $20 and daily tickets are $10.

Wine & Dine Walk Menu on the Magnolia Course
Hole No. 11
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort: Captain’s Grille
Offers the best flavors of New England

* Crab Cakes with Tartar Sauce – $6.25
* Lobster Roll – $7.50
* Wine Pairing: Fess Parker Chardonnay – $3.25
* Beer Pairing: Samuel Adams (16oz Draft) – $6
* Bud Light (16oz) – $5.50
* Bud Light Lime (16oz) and Michelob Ultra (16oz) – $6.50

Hole No. 13
Disney’s Contemporary Resort: The Wave
Features tasty and healthy American cooking with a dash of world flavoring

* 5 Spice Chicken Wrap – $4.25
* Avocado and Citrus Salad – $3.25
* Wine Pairing: Trimbach Gewurztraminer – $3.75
* Beer Pairing: Wolover’s Organic Pale Ale – $6.75
* Bud Light (16oz) – $5.50
* Bud Light Lime (16oz) and Michelob Ultra (16oz) – $6.50

Hole No.15
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa: The Turf Club Bar & Grill
Presents simple preparations with flavorful and tasty results

* Chicken and Artichoke Flatbread – $4.25
* Lamb Chops – $5.75
* Mickey Ravioli – $3.75
* Wine Pairing: Schweiger Cabernet Sauvignon – $3.50
* Beer Pairing: Saratoga Lager – $6.75
* Bud Light (16oz) – $5.50
* Bud Light Lime (16oz) and Michelob Ultra (16oz) – $6.50

Hole No.17
Kidani Village at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: Sanaa
Provides a blend of African cooking with Indian flavoring

* Chicken with Red Curry Sauce served with Basmati Rice and Naan Bread – $4.25
* Shrimp with Green Curry Sauce served with Basmati Rice and Naan Bread – $4.25
* Wine Pairing: Conundrum White Blend – $4.25
* Beer Pairing: Kingfisher Premium Lager (from India) – $6.75
* Bud Light (16oz) – $5.50
* Bud Light Lime (16oz) and Michelob Ultra (16oz) – -$6.50

Hole No. 17
Disney’s Wide World of Sports Café
Offers rich and creamy desserts sure to please

* Gelato Cookie Sandwich – $2.50
* Wine Pairing: Magicale Sparkling Blush WinE – $3.50
* Bud Light (16oz) – $5.50
* Bud Light Lime (16oz) and Michelob Ultra (16oz) – $6.50

Putting Green
Disney’s Wide World of Sports Café
Serves classic American Cuisine with a twist

* BLT – $3.50
* Chicken Kabob – $4.50
* Wine Pairing: King Estate Pinot Gris – $3.50
* Beer Pairing: Blue Moon Belgian Wheat – $5.50
* Bud Light (16oz) – $5.50
* Bud Light Lime (16oz) and Michelob Ultra (16oz) – $6.50

Disney Snack Series: Kaki-Gori

Kaki-Gori Sign

Kaki-Gori Sign

One of my favorite Disney World treats is Kaki-Gori, a Japanese dessert made with shaved ice (or “shave ice” if you’re from Hawaii) and fruit-flavored syrups.

And if you’re asking yourself, “How is this not just a sno-cone?” you’d be asking a very good question ;). I’ve actually heard that sno-cone ice is shaved more finely, but I’ve also heard that Kaki-Gori ice is shaved more finely, so, in my research, I haven’t found too much of a difference. All in all, the concept is the same.

Price List at Kaki-Gori Stand

Price List at Kaki-Gori Stand

If you’re ready to sample Kaki-Gori, head over to the Japan pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase. It’s only $3.28, and you can choose from Strawberry, Cherry, Melon, Tangerine, or a rainbow collection of the flavors. You get a pretty healthy-sized serving, too!

Kaki Gori Flavors

Kaki Gori Flavors

Once you’ve got your snack, head over to the koi pond or gardens in the beautiful Japan pavilion to relax, refresh, and know that you’re eating something fat free in Disney World!

Kaki Gori

Kaki Gori

And don’t forget to grab a straw!

Sora Sushi Bar and Lounge Review

Sora

On my recent trip to Disney World I was invited for a complimentary dine-around at Gaylord Palms Resort, which is a massive complex just outside of the “gates to the World.”

I’ll say in advance that I’m not usually one to leave Disney property all that much when I’m on a Disney trip. There are just too many things (including restaurants!) that keep my attention Disney-focused to spend precious vacation time elsewhere in Orlando. But visiting the Gaylord Palms was pretty eye-opening regarding what else is out there! Clearly, the chefs at Gaylord have been able to carve out a distinctive dining niche for the resort that includes interesting themed surroundings coupled with Really. Good. Food. While there, I visited four different restaurants; today’s review is of Sora, Gaylord Palms’ sushi bar and lounge. I hope you enjoy this first trip outside the gates!

Sora Entrance at Gaylord Palms Resort

Sora Entrance at Gaylord Palms Resort

The Atmosphere
Now, when I heard Sushi Bar and Lounge, I immediately thought, “Hmm…not really my speed;” even when I lived in New York City I wasn’t a “Bar and Lounge” person. But I can honestly say that this place is not at all intimidating. The restaurant has a relatively open floor plan, lined with comfy booths and offering views into the resort’s atrium and lobby (appropriate, as “Sora” means “blue sky” in Japanese). Walking into Sora doesn’t give the feel of a big city nightspot with blaring music and lights so dim you can’t see where you’re walking — it feels like a hip, but accessible place to pick up some appetizers, light dinner, and cocktails.

Sora Seating Areas

Sora Seating Areas

Sora Inside

Sora Inside

The Eats
While Sora is known for its innovative sushi menu, I was glad to discover that both the adventurous and the picky will find things to try here. And it’s a fun selection. If you take a look at the menu, you’ll see what I mean. You can even order a drink based on how you want to feel — Balance, Nirvana, Opulent, Divine, Distinct… .

Sora Menu

Sora Menu

We started with “Zen,” a delicious drink made with Zen green tea liqueur, Peach Schnapps, and Sauvignon Blanc. The presentation was stunning and the flavor was like nothing I’d ever tasted. I really enjoyed it and wished I could see how all of the drinks looked and tasted (maybe next time!).

Sora's Zen Cocktail

Sora's Zen Cocktail

If you move on in the menu, you’ll see a thorough sushi and sashimi menu that includes BBQ eel and octopus along with standards like tuna and salmon. You can also choose from soups, salads, starters, or dinners, such as sea bass and duck. Try the “omakase” — the chefs will prepare something just for you based on the catches of the day and what’s fresh from the farmer’s market!

BBQ Pork Bao Bun Sandwiches

BBQ Pork Bao Bun Sandwiches

We sampled the Bao Bun Sandwiches, which offered a choice of barbeque pulled pork, vegetable and tofu stir fry, or miso glazed fresh fish of the day, served with Asian slaw, sriracha mayonnaise, and lemon chili sauce. We were served the pork sandwiches, which were “Do-It-Yourself” — fun to put together and sample with the different sauces.

Sora's Bao Bun Sandwiches

Sora's Bao Bun Sandwiches

Another interesting twist Sora has introduced is offering “tapas”-style dishes like Lobster Fritters or Spicy Tuna Nachos in two sizes — “nosh” and “share.”

Overall
We were impressed with Sora. It’s difficult to make the “bar in a resort” into a destination, but the interesting drink menu and fun-to-eat dishes — along with the easygoing atmosphere — make it a great place to stop for pre-dinner cocktails or even a light dinner. If you’re a sushi-lover or a cocktail connoisseur, definitely give it a go.

Sora is open daily, serving food from 5:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. The bar is open daily from 4:00 p.m. until midnight.

Corporals and Condiments at the Sunset Ranch Market

In honor of Veteran’s Day this week, I wanted to share a few photos of what I think is a very special part of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

If you’ve seen my write-up on Rosie’s Victory Garden, you won’t be surprised to see the World War II imagery and themeing carry on throughout the Sunset Ranch Market. One area that I walked by dozens of times before really looking is the condiment center next to Rosie’s All American Cafe, past the “V for Victory” and “Keep ‘em Flying” signs.

Rosie's All American Cafe

Rosie's All American Cafe

Condiment Center at Sunset Ranch Market

Condiment Center at Sunset Ranch Market

If you look from far away, it just looks like any old condiment center, but look closely and you’ll see more. Dozens of soldiers — some wounded, some guarding, some in action — forever preparing their weapons, battleships, and fighter jets for war.

Soldier Standing Guard

Soldier Standing Guard

A Doctor Tends to a Wounded Soldier

A Doctor Tends to a Wounded Soldier

Look even more closely and you’ll see a collection of letters, postcards, paperwork, and historical documents themed to — or actually from — wartime.

Sailors Guard a Letter

Sailors Guard a Letter

Soldiers Watch Over Postcards

Soldiers Watch Over Postcards

When I first found this display I looked at it for a full half-hour. I can’t imagine what other guests thought as I slowly walked around and stared at the condiment bar at Sunset Ranch Market, but this is the kind of themeing that I always hope to see: a seemingly fringe effort that adds so much to the “show staging” for those who actually take the time to notice.

Happy Veteran’s Day, Week, and Month.

Disney Food Rumor: The Victoria Room at Victoria and Albert’s?

Victoria and Alberts Dining Room

Victoria and Alberts Dining Room

Rumor has it that Victoria and Albert’s is developing a new, and even more sumptuous, offering for patrons: “The Victoria Room.”

According to a message board postings, The Victoria Room will be a dining experience even more extravagant than the Chef’s Table.

Rumored Specs
–Menu will have a 12-16 course dinner
–Experience will include all new menus and wine pairings, and level of service will be stepped up
–The number of diners in this private seating room might be limited to between 12-16
–The cost will be $295.00 per person, inclusive of the wine pairings
–As far as we can tell, this will NOT be the same as booking a private room for a party (i.e. no minimum number of guests)

Right now, there is no launch date (though there’s a hope that it will premier this winter), and, again, this is all rumor. Also rumored is a new website for V&A (Victoria_Albert.com) — not yet launched as of this posting — and a new V&A-only phone number (407-WDW-DVNA).

Unanswered Questions…
How different is this from what you get with the “private dining room” option currently at V&A? Will you be dining with other patrons, or just your group? Could the “New Years Eve” experience be the “pilot-test” of this room? Not sure yet…

Do you have info about the rumor? Would love to hear your updates, all!

Hidden Mickeys in Disney Restaurants

The research for this blog began when I noticed a hidden Mickey tucked into a chair at Boma during my Animal Kingdom Lodge Culinary Tour; it’s been all downhill from there! Of course, thanks to all of the Facebook fans and twitter followers who responded to my call for “food-related hidden Mickeys” back in October!

Where possible (and if necessary), I’ve tried to include a photo of the Mickey and a photo of the surrounding area so that it’s easier to find. Not possible with all, unfortunately…

Here we go:

Liberty Tree Tavern in the Magic Kingdom
This was one of my earlier findings, and it’s definitely one of my favorites. You can find it on one of the decorative wooden racks in the lobby of Liberty Tree Tavern — it’s to the right and toward the back as you walk into the lobby.

Blueberry Hidden Mickey at Liberty Tree Tavern

Blueberry Hidden Mickey at Liberty Tree Tavern

Decorative Rack Containing Blueberry Hidden Mickey

Decorative Rack Containing Blueberry Hidden Mickey

Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge
Ah, the original! I’m not sure if this even qualifies as “hidden,” but I liked it! Some chairs have it, and some chairs don’t — cross your fingers that you get a good one!

Boma Hidden Mickey in Chair

Boma Hidden Mickey in Chair

TRex in Downtown Disney
One of Disney’s newer restaurants (stay tuned for my review, coming soon!), TRex includes a moving (yep–moving) Octopus Bar. Look closely at the tentacles, and you’ll see what I saw…

Tentacle Hidden Mickey at TRex

Tentacle Hidden Mickey at TRex

A Wider Shot of the Octopus Bar for Context

A Wider Shot of the Octopus Bar for Context

Beaches and Cream at the Beach Club Resort
My Dad found this one, but was assured that it’s authentic! It was also mentioned on facebook (Thanks, Kristina!) as a fan favorite! Look up and to the right as you enter the restaurant to see this onion ring hidden Mickey in the decorative border.

Onion Ring Hidden Mickey at Beaches and Cream

Onion Ring Hidden Mickey at Beaches and Cream

Context Shot for Beaches and Cream Hidden Mickey

Context Shot for Beaches and Cream Hidden Mickey

Goofy’s Candy Company in Downtown Disney
OK, this isn’t technically a restaurant, but you can get some pretty good noms here anyway! NOTE: You can also spot this hidden Mickey in the decor around the Goofy’s Candy Company section of MouseGears in Epcot! (Psst…look closely and you’ll see even more hidden characters…)

Hidden Mickey at Goofy's Candy Company

Hidden Mickey at Goofy's Candy Company

The Rest of the Hidden Characters at Goofy's Candy Company

The Rest of the Hidden Characters at Goofy's Candy Company

Reader Favorites
Thanks again to those who answered the call! Here are some reader-suggested food-related hidden Mickeys!

@aryssabrooke from Twitter
At Behind the Seeds tour at Epcot, you can see how they make Mickey shaped pumpkins and watermelons.

@ArmandNoUsagi from Twitter
I have to say my favorite is at Teppan Edo, When the chef makes a Mickey volcano out of an onion.

Allison Palmer-Gleicher from Facebook
The bread Mickey head in Tony’s — over by the Lady and the Tramp picture behind the fountain.

Tinker Kell from Facebook
My favorite one is on the dog statue near the check-in desk at Mama Melrose’s.

Calling All Hidden Mickey Spotters!
I know for a fact that I haven’t seen nearly all of the Disney dining hidden Mickeys, so I hope you can help me out! Contact me via twitter, facebook, or email with a photo or remembrance of your favorite food-related hidden Mickey, and I’ll add it to this blog. The blog itself will be placed (with great honor) in the special posts section in the right-hand column so that you can keep tabs on the updates.

Disney Food Post Round-Up: November 8, 2009

Eat hereBefore we start out, let’s take a moment to celebrate yet another Epcot International Food and Wine Festival! It was a great one this year, I think, and I’ll be posting some reviews of culinary demonstrations throughout the year.

If you’re lucky enough to be headed to the Festival for its last day (November 8th), be sure to check out all of the Festival menus, photos, and information on the Disney Food Blog’s Epcot Food & Wine Festival page!

Now, let’s head to the round-up — there’s nothing better than spending your Sunday checking out websites that mention Disney food! These first two are a few weeks old, but I missed ‘em the first time and have to share. The rest are fresh and new. Enjoy!

MichaelBarrier shares a photo of the Disney Commissary in the 1940’s, complete with excellent commentary on who is dining in the photo. Definitely worth a look.

Yet Another Disney Blog has lots of great photos and information about the Castaway Air Bar in Castaway Cay’s Serenity Bay. Ah, the islands…

Orange County Register tells us how to get free coffee at Disneyland!

The Daily Disney (which, in this case, means Heather McPherson) shares recipes for the crab cakes from Flying Fish Cafe, the penne pasta with chicken from Olivia’s Cafe, and the smoked fish appetizer from Raglan Road.

Speaking of Raglan Road…

Everything Walt Disney World has a review of Raglan Road this week.

(If you’re a fan of Raglan Road, be sure to check out DFB’s interview with Raglan Road’s master chef, Kevin Dundon.)

DisUnplugged Disney Blog has a great interview with “Bizarre Foods” host Andrew Zimmern about the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Scott Joseph Orlando shares, via the Divas of Dish, another Food & Wine Festival recipe: Moqueqa de Camarao from Rio de Janeiro (a.k.a. shrimp stew with coconut).

DisneyFotoBlog shares some fantastic photos of Germany’s Biergarten.

The Disney Chick shares another great step-by-step photo/recipe blog for California Grill’s Garlic and Herb Polenta. Yum!

San Angel Inn Review

Special thanks today to Chip over at Chip & Co. for this great guest review of San Angel Inn in Epcot’s Mexico pavilion! Also, thanks to Annabel Freeman for contributing the fantastic food photos!

A lot of people overlook San Angel Inn in Epcot’s World Showcase, and I have to ask myself “why?” San Angel Inn Authentic Mexican Cuisine has something for everyone, and if you give me a few moments I will show you some of the nuances that make it a restaurant you will not want to pass by on your walk around the World Showcase.

San Angel Inn Entryway

San Angel Inn Entryway

First off, let me talk about the ambiance:
When you walk into the marketplace you are greeted by what I feel is one of the most breathtaking views in Epcot. A beautiful wishing fountain greets you as you walk down the ramp. You hear the buzz of the people in the marketplace checking out the different wares for sale. The soft glow of the lights makes you feel like you have stepped back in time to Central Mexico. The view of the Aztec Pyramid in the background rises high over the marketplace, and upon walking into the restaurant the bold and beautiful colors of the tables are scattered before you. A gentle glow of the lamps on the table adds a sense of romance to this breath taking view.

San Angel Inn Pyramid and Dining Room

San Angel Inn Pyramid and Dining Room

You can hear the sounds of the newly updated Grand Fiesta Ride with Donald Duck in the background, which reminds you that you are not in Mexico, but still at Disney World. For some, this might be a bad thing; but for me, I want to remember I am at one of the greatest places on Earth: Walt Disney World!

Bring on the grub:
I recommend ordering the ceviche with any flavor of Frozen Margarita as an appetizer. If you don’t like seafood, the nachos are great, too. The Margarita is a lifesaver after a long day of trekking around the park. If you are there with a special someone be sure to mix those drinks up so you can sample one of each. You won’t be disappointed.

Tortilla Chips and Salsa are served to every table

Tortilla Chips and Salsa are served to every table

All the entrées are fantastic; I have yet to have anything I didn’t like. A fair warning though: the food here is different from the typical “American-ized” (I hope that’s a word) Mexican food you have back home. My first time eating here I was expecting just a traditional meal that I would have at my local restaurant (which is very good I might add –- shout out to La Hacienda), but I was caught off guard by the flavors and spices used at the San Angel Inn!

Combination Plato -- Enchilada, Burrito, Steak

Combination Plato -- Enchilada, Burrito, Steak

Be daring and try something new is what I always say when on vacation. (Insert cheesy sarcastic comment here!) What my family and I always do is order different items so we can sample more than one dish. Everything on the menu is full of flavor and just blows your taste buds out of the water.

Polly a las Rajas -- Grilled Chicken with Peppers, Onions, and Cheese

Polly a las Rajas -- Grilled Chicken with Peppers, Onions, and Cheese

If you have a child like we do, the childrens’ menu will not disappoint. It is by no means chicken fingers (where is that part on a chicken by the way?) or hamburgers. Your kids will be able to sample some good, authentic, Mexican cuisine.

On to dessert, all I can say is WOW! I could eat the items on the desert menu everyday for the rest of my life. (Of course I would probably weigh 800 pounds if I did.) I have never had Flan before I came to San Angel Inn, and though I have tried it since, none can compare to the texture, smell, and melt in your mouth goodness of the Flan they serve there.

You have heard the good; now on to the bad and the ugly:
For 2010, Disney has dropped the San Angel Inn from its Disney Dining Plan. This makes me quite upset! My family and I absolutely love eating here, but now are going to have to either pay money out of pocket or maybe try to pop in for a drink and dessert. If any Disney Execs are reading this, maybe they could do Chip a favor and add this wonderful restaurant back!

Editor’s Note: See comments below for good discussion on this topic; some restaurants may sign up for the plan later than others. Our fingers are crossed!

Wrap it up already:
OK…OK… Overall, the San Angel Inn dining experience is one of my personal favorites at Disney World. Between the romantic ambiance and the scrumptious food I can think of no better place to take my family. It is good for a romantic couple’s meal (try to get seated near the water) or for a fun family experience. The service there is second to none.

So next time you are on your trek around the World Showcase, stop by Mexico, have a delicious meal at San Angel Inn, and think of me… OK maybe not… Enjoy!

Disney Food Snack Series: Home-Made Ice Cream Sandwiches

Famous Disney Home-Made Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

Famous Disney Home-Made Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

One of my favorite treats at Disney is the home-made ice cream cookie sandwich. If you haven’t tried this yet, be sure to save a meal (yep! a meal!) for this delicious snack.

I know what you’re thinking: “What’s the big deal about an ice cream sandwich?” The big deal for me is that the cookies are freshly made, and they are HUGE. On top of that, the cast members always kindly pile scoop after scoop of vanilla bean ice cream onto the sandwich.

Grab a knife and split one of these between two people…or maybe even three. I promise your sweet tooth will be more than satisfied!

Disney Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich...From The Side

Disney Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich...From The Side

There are five places to get the home-made ice cream sandwich in Disney World: the Main Street Bakery and Sleepy Hollow in the Magic Kingdom, Dino-Bite Snacks in Animal Kingdom, Fountainview Cafe in Epcot, and Hollywood Scoops in Hollywood Studios! Most spots serve only chocolate chip cookies with the sandwich, but the Main Street Bakery has been known to give you the choice of using any type of cookies in the bakery (I’ve often chosen chocolate chip on the bottom and M&M cookie on the top)!

My suggestion: head to Main Street Bakery in the early morning and split the sandwich for breakfast (I know…I’m weird…but it can’t be THAT much worse than a giant cinnamon roll for breakfast, right?), or pop into the Bakery after Wishes and grab an ice cream sandwich while waiting for the Magic Kingdom’s kiss goodnight. It’s a great opportunity for people watching while you wait for the park (and the transportation!) to empty out.

Enjoy!