Dining

Review of Breakfast at Goofy’s Kitchen in Disneyland Hotel

by on June 22, 2017

It’s the morning on your last day of your trip to Disneyland Resort. You still have several characters you need to meet so you can complete you Disney character checklist. The problem is you also need a place to stuff your face with ungodly amounts of unlimited food before you return to your soul crushing job the next day. This restaurant may be for you. Here’s my review of breakfast at Goofy’s Kitchen in Disneyland Hotel.

When you check in you will be required to pay upfront. Before the shock of $36 per adult and $21 per child can hit you, a cast member will inform you it is time to meet Goofy. He’s decked out in appropriate attire, as are the rest of the characters you will meet later (Minnie Mouse is the dessert chef, Chip & Dale are dressed as waiters, etc). Goofy thankfully doesn’t show any signs of stress and pressure of owning a busy and successful restaurant. He is as fun and playful as he would be if you met him in the parks. At some point in your meal you will be given the option of buying expensive picture packages of your meet and greet with Goofy. I noticed most people politely decline this offer, as did my group due to the $20+ charge.

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Disney Dining Plan Updated – Now With Alcohol

by on June 20, 2017

There are big changes coming to the Disney Dining Plan in 2018. Beginning in January, the Dining Plan will include entitlements for specialty drinks and … drum roll please … alcoholic beverages.

Will you now get a mimosa with your character breakfast?

As in previous years, there will be three versions of the Dining Plan: Quick Service Plan (QS), Standard Disney Dining Plan (DDP), Deluxe Disney Dining Plan (Deluxe DDP). With all versions of the plan, guests under age 21 may choose one non-alcoholic beverage (including specialty beverages where offered). Guests over 21 may choose either one single serving non-alcoholic beverage (including specialty beverages where offered) or one single serving beer, wine, or cocktail (where offered) within their meal entitlement.

Examples of single serving non-alcoholic beverages include artisanal milkshakes, fresh smoothies, premium hot chocolates, and the standard soda, coffee, or tea.

Examples of single serving alcoholic beverages include beer, hard cider, wine, sangria, mixed drinks, and specialty cocktails. Disney notes that most beer, wine and mixed drink beverages are included, but some exceptions apply. Not surprisingly, guests must be age 21 and over and present valid ID to be served alcohol.

Alcoholic beverages may only be redeemed with quick-service or table-service meal entitlements. This means that you won’t be able to make a margarita your snack; you have to get it with a meal.

So the big question is … What’s this going to cost? Well, you guessed it, prices are going up. For adults:

  • The Quick Service Plan will be $52.49, up from $48.19 in 2017
  • The Standard Disney Dining Plan will be $75.59, up from $69.35 in 2017
  • The Deluxe Disney Dining Plan will be $116.24, up from $106.68 in 2017

As before, those prices are per person, per night of your stay at a Walt Disney World owned resort hotel. As a reminder, in addition to these new specialty and alcoholic beverage entitlements, the dining plans include:

Quick Service

  • 2 Quick-Service Meal Credits (Entree and non-alcoholic beverage; or combo meal)
  • 2 Snack Credits
  • 1 Resort Refillable Drink Mug

Disney Dining Plan

  • 1 Table-Service Meal Credit (Entree, Dessert, and Non-Alcoholic Beverage; or full buffet)
  • 1 Quick-Service Meal Credit
  • 2 Snack Credits
  • 1 Resort Refillable Drink Mug

Deluxe Dining Plan

  • 3 Meal Credits of your choice (can be used as either Quick-Service or Table-Service)
  • 2 Snack Credits
  • 1 Resort Refillable Drink Mug

The addition of alcohol is most cost effective for guests using the Quick Service plan. With only a $4.30 price increase, this means that if you typically buy one alcoholic beverage with your QS Plan, then you’re saving money over the typical cost of $6-8 for beer or wine, or more for mixed or specialty alcoholic drinks. Deluxe Plan purchasers will effectively be paying $9.56 for the same drink, much closer to, and possibly over the list price of the beverage.

[EDIT: I initially wrote this with the assumption that there would be one alcohol credit per day. Readers have pointed out that the plan likely includes one alcohol credit per meal. This would mean guests on the QS and standard plans could have two drinks per day, and guests on the deluxe plan could have three drinks per day, all at the cost of about $2.00 per drink. That’s a lot of cheap booze, and perhaps a dangerous amount of free booze for some people.]

We’re anxious to see details of how the plan will be implemented, and we’re sure there will be some hiccups in the initial weeks of service as food service cast members and guests both become acclimated to the rules (and the exceptions to the rules) of this new Dining Plan configuration.

In the meantime, we have questions:

  • Will teetotalers now be less inclined to purchase the plan?
  • Will calorie conscious guests now be less inclined to purchase the plan?
  • Will service times slow down as more guests need bar items?
  • Will the quick service venues in the Magic Kingdom begin to serve alcohol?
  • How much will Disney try to upsell second alcoholic drinks?
  • Does Disney think that if guests consume more alcohol, they’ll loosen their purse strings and spend more on souvenirs or other items?
  • Will international guests purchasing the plan understand that they’re increasing their cost for gratuities?
  • Will more guests want breakfast cocktails?
  • Will more guests be consuming more alcohol overall, changing the general mood in the parks?

We won’t know the answers to many of these questions until next year, but we’re sure there will be much speculation in the meantime.

What issues does this new Dining Plan configuration raise for you? Let us know in the comments below.

Ask It Results: Which Hard-to-Get Dining Reservation Is Most Worth It?

by on June 7, 2017

Unless you visit Walt Disney World at a peak time of year, you will be able to find some sit-down restaurant somewhere (at some time) where you can eat. For a choice of a particular restaurant, you have to get dining reservations weeks or months in advance, and for certain hard-to-get reservations, it can take timing, knowledge of Disney’s reservation system rules, and even a bit of luck to get some desirable reservations. But are those hard-to-get reservations really worth it or just marketing hype? Last week, we asked you:

Which of these hard-to-get dining reservations do you think is most worth the effort to secure?

With more than 2,400 votes cast, here are your results.

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Video: Eating Marvel Super Hero Food at Disney California Adventure

by on June 2, 2017

The Summer of Heroes promotion is currently taking place at Disney California Adventure. There you’ll find a dance party, super hero training, Marvel character meet and greets, and more. The most interesting part is obviously the special limited time food created for the event. If you’re wondering what the super heroes eat when they’re not punching bad guys in the face, the answer is boatloads of junk food.  I called my friends Iron Tom and Super Sarah from Disney Tourist Blog to help me out with this one. Watch the video to find out what we thought:

Ask It: Which Hard-to-Get Dining Reservation Is Most Worth It?

by on May 31, 2017

For many meals at Walt Disney World, dining is as much of an attraction as a ride or show. As a result, certain dining reservations can become very difficult to get. But in the end, are they worth it? Out of these four often-hard-to-score dining reservations,

Which of these hard-to-get dining reservations do you think is most worth the effort to secure?

  • Be Our Guest (45%, 541 Votes)
  • 'Ohana (34%, 405 Votes)
  • Cinderella's Royal Table (17%, 199 Votes)
  • Chef Mickey's (5%, 57 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,202

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Polling is live here and on Twitter, and we’ll have your results next week.

Satu’li Canteen And Mobile Ordering Rejuvenate Quick Service Disney Dining

by on May 17, 2017

Pandora - The World of AvatarRecently, I was lucky enough to attend an Annual Passholder Preview for Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and of course, as your resident dining reviewer, my first priority was trying out all the new food options available at the land’s quick service restaurant, Satu’li Canteen. I was also excited to try out the new mobile ordering option from the My Disney Experience app, currently exclusively used at Satu’li Canteen. I’ll run through the process of how to use mobile ordering (it’s super easy!), and give a few first impressions of the food I sampled in this Satu’li Canteen review.

Mobile Ordering Basics

First things first, you have to have the My Disney Experience app installed on your mobile device, and for optimal use, you’ve got to have location services and notifications enabled for app use. Currently, mobile ordering does not support the use of the Disney Dining Plan for payment, either – only credit cards, so keep in mind if you want to make use of your plan credits, you’ll need to order at the counter as you would normally at a quick service location. Also keep in mind, mobile ordering is only available for guests taking part in a preview of Pandora at this time, as the land is not yet open to everyone (May 27th is almost here, though!)

Mobile ordering is a pretty straightforward process (if you’ve ever used UberEats, you’ll be an expert already) – essentially, you order your food on the app, then once you arrive at the restaurant, you click “I’m here!”, at which point they’ll make your order. They’ll notify you once it’s ready, and since you’ve already paid through the app, you simple pick up your food and you’re on your way. Think of mobile ordering as a FastPass+ to skip the sometimes-lengthy ordering lines at every quick service restaurant.

The app will remind you what menu you’re ordering from (breakfast vs lunch/dinner), and will tell you the cut-off time for picking up your mobile order from Satu’li Canteen. At the top of several pages in the process, I saw a warning saying I had to pick up my order before 8:00 PM (when the restaurant closes). Basically, once a meal period starts for that day, you can order anytime between opening and close, and just show up when you’re ready. Simple, right? Very… I was really impressed that I didn’t have to pick a time to return, but I’d also warn to keep in mind that the food isn’t made until you arrive (more on that shortly), so if you pick a busy time of day to return, you’ll still wait a little for your food.

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Daisy’s Best Week Ever, May 4, 2017: Artist Point, Disneyland, and a little Epcot

by on May 4, 2017

Hello, friends! I have an amazing week to share with you! Not only did we enjoy a special meal, I ended up on the west coast for a little Disneyland action, and wrapped up last night at Epcot. I had to pinch myself because I didn’t deserve it, but I’m excited to have so much to share with you! Let’s get started with right where I left off in my last article: Artist Point.  There was a little debate on whether this restaurant was worth a try. Well, starting off with the wine selection they were already on the way to winning my vote.

Want to see the rest of our delectable meal? Click to read more. 🙂

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The Polite Pig Debuts With Satisfying Southern Barbeque

by on April 25, 2017

Polite Pig Review

The Polite Pig, a new fast-casual entry into the Disney Springs dining scene, recently opened to much fanfare, and we were there to try it out! A new concept and location from the minds behind the renowned Orlando eateries Ravenous Pig, Cask & Larder, and Swine & Sons, Polite Pig offers Southern barbeque, beer, and bourbon in a “quick service” atmosphere. Here, I’ll give you some of my first impressions from the restaurant, and a few thoughts on all of the dishes we sampled in our visit for our Polite Pig review.

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SATURDAY SIX: Your Six Lowest-Rated Disney World Restaurants

by on April 22, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at the Six Lowest-Rated Disney World Restaurants!  We all know about the amazing benefits of being a TouringPlans subscriber – including unbiased reviews, an amazing WDW hotel room finder, the ability to save hours a day normally spent waiting in line, and of course the world’s greatest Disney Outlet Store Photo Report – but one thing you may not know is that after every trip we send members a survey to see how satisfied they were with each part of their vacation. Last year we received 122,000 responses on Walt Disney World restaurants, a number greater that the amount of Disney reviews Yelp and TripAdvisor got in 2016 combined. Len Testa, the grand poobah of TP, has written several articles on the Walt Disney World restaurants which received the highest scores: including the venues at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom/DHS. But this is the SATURDAY SIX, home of the annual  Turkeys of the Year awards: we want to know what the worst restaurants were.

So today we’re going to look at the lowest rated restaurants in all of Walt Disney World as voted by YOU, Dear Reader, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – Garden Grove (Disney World Swan)

I loved staying on property at both WDW and Universal, but despite hearing raves for years on the Swan and Dolphin hotels, I had never stepped foot in either. That changed recently when I booked at stay at the Walt Disney World Swan and I discovered the hotels were incredible. It was much cheaper than my stay just months earlier at the neighboring BoardWalk resort, was situated between two Disney parks, and was filled with great restaurants. However, despite the high marks that Todd English’s bluezoo and Shula’s Steak House receive from TouringPlans members, not all of the resort’s restaurants were thought of as highly, including Garden Grove at the Swan.

Garden Grove. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Garden Grove. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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SATURDAY SIX: 6 Secrets of Disney’s SKIPPER CANTEEN Restaurant

by on April 15, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Secrets of Disney’s Skipper Canteen! Regular readers of the SATURDAY SIX know just how much we love all the little details hidden throughout Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort. These theme park “Easter Eggs”  are a great touch for longtime guests, whether it’s a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Nautilus in the queue for the Little Mermaid ride, Back to the Future’s Doc Brown in The Simpson’s Ride, or even references to the former Seashore Sweets bakery in BoardWalk’s AbracadaBarThis week we are going to look at six of our favorite references in the Magic Kingdom’s Skipper Canteen, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – Jungle Cruise Imagineers

It’s no shock that Skipper Canteen (full name Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd Skipper Canteen) has a lot of nods to the Jungle Cruise attraction, but one of the best references is the faux upstairs offices for Skipper Marc, Skipper Bill, and Skipper Harper. “Marc” refers to Marc Davis, one of the most well known Imagineers in Disney history. While Marc was involved in creation of the Jungle Cruise, he is also known for his design work on other beloved attractions such as Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, and the Country Bear Jamboree.

Tribute to Marc Davis.(photo by Brandon Glover)

Another door honors Morgan “Bill” Evans. The plant studies designation underneath his name refers to how instrumental Bill was in developing the horticulture of the Jungle Cruise. In fact, Bill Evans and Disney landscaping includes the creation of Disneyland itself. When Walt Disney needed to convert acres of orange groves in Anaheim into a theme park environment, he called the team who had just landscaped the grounds of his personal home. Those men were Bill Evans and his brother Jack.

“Walt told me we were all out of loot and that the time had come to put Latin names on the weeds.” – Bill Evans

Tribute to Bill Evans(photo by Brandon Glover)

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