2012 draws to a close today, and what a year it’s been!! Here at Disney Food Blog we’ve been following every bit of Disney Dining and Food News, and we’ve narrowed down the list to 10 amazing stories we’d like to share with you!
Check out The Top 10 Disney Food News Stories of 2012!
#1: Alcohol Served at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World
In a move that shocked most and delighted many, Disney announced that it would begin serving alcohol within the gates of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom for the first time in the park’s 41-year history.
At the brand new Be Our Guest Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland, guests are now able to indulge in their choice of several French and Belgian beers and wines!
According to Disney Imagineers, it was important to complement the French menu of the restaurant with an excellent beer and wine list.
However, while adult beverages are now being served in the shadow of Cinderella’s castle, they will only be available during Be Our Guest’s Table Service dinner and will not be available “to-go.” So you won’t see anyone strolling around with a cocktail or a glass of wine awaiting their turn on the teacups. 😉
#2: Starbucks Debuts in Disney Parks
It’s no secret that Disney has never been known for fantastic coffee — until now! In 2012 Disney and Starbucks announced a partnership to bring the iconic siren behind the main gates and into the parks.
Starbucks has already opened its first stop in Disney California Adventure’s Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe and five more locations are planned in the near future.
Fans of the chain will welcome the first Walt Disney World Starbucks locations to the Main Street Bakery in Magic Kingdom and Fountain View Cafe in Epcot in 2013.
A location on Disneyland’s Main Street U.S.A. is planned for the Market House in late 2013.
#3: Citrus Swirl Returns to Sunshine Tree Terrace in the Magic Kingdom
This refreshing treat hearkens back to the early days of Magic Kingdom, when Disney and the Florida Citrus Commission partnered to have orange treats in the park. The original soft serve was a twist of frozen orange juice and vanilla soft serve, but was replaced by orange sherbet for a time before disappearing altogether.
2012 welcomed back not only the citrus swirl, but also the beloved Orange Bird, the iconic character who served as mascot for the Florida Citrus Commission and was a fixture in Adventureland.
He’s back, and he brought his treat with him. And we couldn’t be happier!
#4: New Fantasyland Opening — Be Our Guest, Gaston’s Tavern, and Big Top Treats
We were just as excited as you were by every teaser that came our way about New Fantasyland and all the wonderful eats that would be available there.
With serious innovation on the horizon at Be Our Guest Restaurant as well as some intriguing new locations like Gaston’s Tavern and the show kitchen at Big Top Treats, the Magic Kingdom expansion seemed sure to live up to the hype.
The main centerpiece of New Fantasyland, Be Our Guest Restaurant in Beast’s Castle, features a dual approach to dining. Guests will find a counter service — albeit an upscale version, with real plates and silverware — dining experience for lunch, while dinner is a table service affair.
Be sure to check out our Everything on the Menu!! Review of Be Our Guest Restaurant Dinner!
Gaston’s Tavern still seems to be finding its footing, but they have introduced some new food items that are poised to become icons of the expanded Fantasyland.
And don’t forget to sample the Cinnamon Rolls here, which will replace those at the Main Street Bakery while the bakery is undergoing renovations in 2013.
Big Top Treats in the Storybook Circus area offers a fun, carnival-style theme, while also providing guests with another fun entertainment option: an onstage show kitchen.
With the addition, you can have your caramel apple — and watch it being made, too!
#5: Disney California Adventure Renovation and Expansion: Cars Land Restaurants, Buena Vista Street Dining Locations, Carthay Circle, and 1901 Club
Disneyland had another big story on the food front this year, as the multi-year, one billion dollar renovation and expansion at Disney California Adventure came to a close.
But there were also expansions in fine dining as well, as Carthay Circle Restaurant opened its doors. Its emphasis on southern California cuisine has proven to be quite popular.
With the overhaul of DCA also came fun new retro locations for eats on the new Buena Vista Street.
Whether you’re grabbing a healthier snack at Mortimer’s Market, or going for something decadent at Trolley Treats or Clarabelle’sIce Cream, it’s fun to look at the incredible detail that went into creating these spaces.
And let’s not forget The Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe, where guests can find both Disney eats and Starbucks coffee.
#6: Jolly Holiday Opening in Disneyland
From the adorable touches that echo the Mary Poppins theme to the fantastic eats and treats that Jolly Holiday boasts, this counter service spot has been a real winner for Disneyland guests since its opening.
While you can get goodies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner here — including some awesome soups and sandwiches, desserts will probably always win out for many Disney guests. My favorite? The Mickey Tart. Hands down!
#7: Epcot’s France Expansion and Renovation –Monsieur Paul Restaurant, The New Boulangerie Patisserie, and Glacier Ice Cream Parlor
The rumor mill began swirling in 2012 that the beloved Boulangerie Patisserie and Bistro de Paris in Epcot’s France Pavilion would soon be undergoing major renovations. Sacre Bleu!
And it turned out to be true. The former Bistro de Paris, France’s fanciest eatery, has undergone design and menu changes. Rechristened Monsieur Paul Restaurant as a tribute to Chef Paul Bocuse, the dining room is a little less formal than its predecessor, but the menu still features cuisine based upon Bocuse classics reinterpreted with American ingredients.
But while this is important, the really monumental news is in regard to the Boulangerie Patisserie! Jerome Bocuse, whose company owns and operates the France restaurants, is set to open an expanded version of the popular counter service spot in early 2013.
The brand new restaurant spot will offer a larger menu and seating, as well as a bread oven and show bakery. The current tiny space will transform into the Glacier Ice Cream Parlor. Une Glace, anyone?
#8: Epcot’s Italy Expansion and Renovation — Tutto Gusto Grand Opening and Tutto Italia Renovation
Following on the heels of the success enjoyed by La Cava del Tequila in Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion, Disney decided to develop the concept of regional watering holes a little further with the opening of Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar.
Tutto Gusto, located between Tutto Italia and Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy pavilion, offers park goers a cozy place to sit, relax, and refresh with a glass of wine and a small plate — be sure to try the meats and cheeses!
With an atmosphere reminiscent of a wine cellar and plenty of Italian delicacies to pair with your favorite Italian wine, this has quickly become one of my favorite stops on any trip around the World. You can read my first Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar review here.
With the opening of Tutto Gusto came a facelift and new menu for the Italian table service restaurant, Tutto Italia as well.
Deliciousness abounds on the menu, and added comfy booths have made the austere atmosphere a little more relaxed.
Coming up, Disney may expand the “small plates” idea even further with a new waterfront restaurant in Epcot’s Morocco! Stay tuned for updates.
#9: Landscape of Flavors Debuts at Art of Animation Resort
Boasting a menu that’s a cut above what you normally find at resort counter service spots, Landscape of Flavors at Disney World’s new Art of Animation opened earlier this year. The spot continues to inspire a lot of buzz.
With a wide array of fresher flavors and options that are far more customizable than most counter service spots, Landscape of Flavors is poised to become a valuable asset not only to the Art of Animation Resort, but also to guests of the nearby Pop Century Resort as well.
We’re thinking it just might become a destination for lots of guests looking for a little something off the beaten path.
#10: Splitsville Grand Opening
We all waited to see what would occupy the mammoth space left vacant at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney Westside when the Virgin Megastore moved out. And after much anticipation, Splitsville Luxury Lanes has opened to rave reviews!
This upscale entertainment complex features plenty of fun bowling, billiards, and other recreation. But we are also loving it for its polished approach to pub grub food.
With the Splitsville Orlando menu developed by Chef Tim Cushman, one of Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Chefs” in 2008, you expect — and they deliver — interesting eats. So come for the fun, and stay for the food. Both are in abundance here!
So there you have it! Our take on the top food stories for 2012, and what an amazing year it has been! From coast to coast, it has been an incredibly exciting year for Disney fans.
Time to weigh in: what were YOUR most memorable Disney food stories for 2012? Let us hear your opinions in comments below!