Dining

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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Dining Showdown: The Best Burgers at Walt Disney World

by on April 10, 2017

I thought ranking the best pizza at Walt Disney World was pretty challenging, but that was nothing compared to my next dining showdown, an epic quest to find the best burgers at Disney World. Nearly every theme park and resort features a restaurant serving some kind of burger, and in recent years, several standout options have emerged as upscale restaurants have joined the burger bandwagon. I’ve tried so many burgers around Walt Disney World, but the ten options below are my favorites based on the quality of the patty, toppings, and yes, even the sides that accompany the burger. Let’s count them down!

The Rankings

  1. D-Luxe Burger's El Diablo BurgerEl Diablo Burger at D-Luxe Burger (Disney Springs; quick service; $10.99)

Though D-Luxe features several beef-patty burgers, this chorizo and signature blend burger is a standout (and just happens to be the first burger I tried there during my review). Since opening, this burger’s flavor has grown, with the fried banana peppers, pepper jack cheese, grilled onions, and chipotle mayonnaise on top offering a bit of spice to the perfectly caramelized chorizo patty. I find the addition of any one of D-Luxe’s signature fry sauces to the burger elevates the flavor as well, a fun customization you can make with little effort. This is the cheapest burger in my top 10, but one word of warning: this burger does not come with anything else (fries are available for purchase on the side, and are highly recommended, despite the cost).

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Dani’s Best Week Ever April 6, 2017: SeaWorld makes a splash with a new food festival (and show)

by on April 6, 2017

SeaWorld is entering its rebirth and it is gratifying to see them try new things. One highly anticipated enhancement is the creation of the brand new Seven Seas Food Festival. I’ve been curious about this new food festival ever since it was announced, nearly a year ago.

On much shorter notice, SeaWorld announced a new Dolphin show. At such an announcement a wave of sadness crashed over me due to the loss of the creative and theatrical show “Blue Horizons.” I tried to remain optimistic about its replacement. Opening weekend of the new show “Dolphin Days” commenced, so I journeyed to SeaWorld to experience their newest creations.

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Julia’s Best Week Ever, March 30, 2017: Eggs and Tea

by on March 30, 2017

Towards the end of the week, one of my neighbors stopped by and asked how Spring Break was going. I looked at her and said “Going? I think you mean GONE!” This year is flying by, and it seems that every item on my to-do list that disappears is replaced by one or more overnight. Of course it doesn’t help the feeling of time flying by that Orange County schools schedule their Spring Break for several weeks before Easter. But having Spring Break for this week meant family coming into town, and that meant we got to do a few things that were out of the norm…

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Dining Showdown: The Best Pizza At Disney World

by on March 28, 2017

Best Pizza at Disney

It’s always controversial ranking restaurants at Walt Disney World – everyone has their tried and true favorites, after all. Sometimes, though, it’s the only way to figure out where best to spend your precious vacation time and money. Luckily for me, I got to do all the hard work for you, and have definitively (for now, in my opinion) figured out where to find the best pizza in Walt Disney World. I ranked the pizza at ten of the most well-known “pizza” places on property (both quick service and table service) based on flavor, crust, toppings, size – all the basics you’d look for in your favorite pie! Let’s take a look and see how your favorites fared…

Best Pizza at Disney World

The Rankings

Trattoria al Forno's margherita pizza

“Pizza” at Trattoria al Forno

10. Trattoria al Forno (Disney’s BoardWalk; table service; $17-19)

I had never tried Trattoria’s pizza before a recent visit, but after that meal, it’s safe to say I can never afford to again. At 6-7 inches in size, the fresh-fired pizzas are tiny, essentially individual sizes, but that’s not the real issue. I can handle small pizza, especially if I have some great appetizers beforehand to complete the meal, but each pizza came with barely a handful of toppings on it, and a plain cheese pizza was $17 (the specialty mushroom was $19)! If you like overpriced, plain pizza dough, Trattoria’s your best bet  – seriously, the only flavor we got was from dipping it into the house olive oil that came with our bread service. Otherwise, avoid this abysmal attempt at upscale pizza.

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The Best Disney Springs Table Service Restaurants

by on March 27, 2017

Best table service restaurants at Disney Springs

TouringPlans gets thousands of user surveys each year from Disney guests. In recent posts, we shared the best restaurants at Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, Epcot and the best restaurants at the resorts. Today we’re talking about the best Disney Springs table service restaurants. Disney Springs has definitely seen the most new restaurant openings in recent history, but how do they fare?

To note, Fulton’s closed in 2016 and reopened as Paddlefish in 2017. Planet Hollywood was closed the entire year and reopened in February as Planet Hollywood Observatory. Homecomin’, BOATHOUSE, Morimoto, Frontera Concina, and STK are all part of the “new” Disney Springs. BOATHOUSE opened April 2015, Morimoto October 2015, the others in the last year. Paddlefish has not had enough responses to make the list yet.

In this chart, restaurants shown in green did significantly better the average Walt Disney World restaurant, while those in red did significantly worse.

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