Disney food has been evolving for as long as the Disney parks have been open.
Some classic restaurants have been closed down, other amazing new ones have popped up, and the menus at all of them are changing constantly. Only the most classic Disney World fans will remember the restaurant that housed the dish we’re making next, though!
The Empress Lilly Riverboat was docked on the shores of what we know call Disney Springs. It was named for Walt Disney’s wife, Lillian, who actually attended the Riverboat’s dedication on May 1, 1977. Inside was a jazz lounge and three restaurants, one of which was the fanciest in all of Disney World at the time.
On April 22, 1995 the Empress Lilly Riverboat closed, and now you’ll find the Paddlefish restaurant in its place (with Fulton’s Crab House existing there before Paddlefish). But when the Riverboat was open, one of its signature dishes was the Au Gratin Potatoes.
You’ll find the recipe for this dish in Delicious Disney: Recipes & Stories from the Most Magical Place on Earth, the new cookbook that’s coming out September 28th, 2021, in honor of Disney World’s 50th Anniversary.
But you don’t even have to wait until September 28th to make this classic dish, because Disney just released the recipe! It’s surprisingly easy to make these really tasty potatoes.
EMPRESS LILLY AU GRATIN POTATOES
- 2 large baking potatoes
- 1 cup half and half
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon celery salt
- 1 tablespoon finely grated onion, optional
- 3 tablespoons grated cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake potatoes 50 to 60 minutes, or until soft enough to pierce with a fork. Refrigerate to cool, then peel and coarsely grate.
- Bring half and half almost to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add salt, pepper, celery salt, and onion. Mix in grated potatoes.
- Reduce oven heat to 350°F. Spoon potatoes into buttered 1-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until browned and bubbly.
Or, you can print off the Disney recipe by clicking the picture below.
If you’re hoping to try some Disney World Au Gratin Potatoes, we’re afraid that you can’t go to Empress Lilly’s Riverboat right now (since it’s been closed for about 25 years), but you can get something similar as a delicious side to the New York Strip Steak at Le Cellier in the Canada Pavilion of EPCOT’s World Showcase!
Happy cooking! Keep following DFB for more Disney food news and recipes.
Are you planning to make the Empress Lilly Au Gratin Potatoes? Let us know in the comments!