Dining

Back to the Basics: Disney Dining Plan + Video

by on March 24, 2017

Photo - Angela DahlgrenToday’s Back to the Basics episode covers a controversial topic:

The Disney Dining Plan.

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Ask It: One Magic Kingdom Land for the Day

by on March 22, 2017

It’s Wednesday, and time for the results of this week Ask It. You voted on the blog, you voted on Facebook, you voted on Twitter. Even better, you shared your opinions on this question:

If you could only visit one land in Magic Kingdom for a full day, which land would you visit?

The results are in, with more than 1300 votes on Facebook, Twitter, and the Blog… here’s the order from last to first:

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Captain’s Grille Coasts By With Fine Fare

by on March 20, 2017

Captain's Grille Review

Note: from mid-May 2017 to fall 2017, Captain’s Grille will be going through a refurbishment. During that time, it will relocate to Ariel’s at Disney’s Beach Club. The breakfast buffet will not be available during that time, though there will still be an a la carte option in the morning.

Some of the most popular restaurants for Walt Disney World resort guests lie just around the corner in their own resorts, providing a close option for a meal any time of day before or after a long day of park-hopping. Captain’s Grille at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort fits this bill – set just off the main lobby, it’s open for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, ready to serve any visitor with a wide variety of menu options. I dropped in for dinner recently to check out whether this restaurant is worth a stop during your next trip.

First Impressions

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Family-Friendly Flower and Garden Festival Favorites

by on March 17, 2017

flower and garden festival favorites

As I mentioned in my review of all of the new 2017 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival items, the number of great options to sample has exploded in recent years as the festival has grown to include fresh and seasonal food offerings. Today, though, I want to visit a few family-friendly returning festival favorites that kids and parents alike will enjoy (with a few options snuck in just for the adults). As always, click on each photo to see a larger view of each delicious dish.

Lotus House

  • Beijing-style Candied Strawberries ($5.50)

Lotus House: Spicy chicken lettuce wrap (new item) and Beijing candied strawberries (returning favorite).While not the most out-of-the-box treat you can sample at Flower and Garden, these strawberries are sure to be a hit with kids (and kids-at-heart) who like to play with their food. A crunchy coating of sugar is fun to crack open with sweet strawberries underneath – simple, but fun and tasty.

Bauernmarkt

  • Roasted Bratwurst with Curry Ketchup and Paprika-Spiced Chips ($5.00)

Bauernmarkt (clockwise top L-R): Schofferhoefer Zitrone (returning favorite), currywurst with paprika chips (returning favorite), Potato pancake with house-made applesauce (new), potato pancakes with caramelized ham and onions (new), warm cheese strudel with berries (new).Currywurst is a pretty popular German snack, and a more unique take on bratwurst than what you can normally sample in the Germany pavilion, so this is always a treat during festival seasons. The curry ketchup is slightly tangy and earthy, a fun new flavor kids will enjoy trying in this small plate. While not a huge portion, this is definitely enough for a hearty snack.

  • Schofferhoefer Zitrone Weizen Mix ($4.25)

A treat for adults, this specialty beer is a cousin of the ridiculously popular “grapefruit beer” also served in the Germany pavilion. A seasonal variation, this one focuses on a bright lemon flavor, a truly refreshing drink to enjoy during an afternoon stroll around World Showcase.

The Smokehouse

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Celebration at the Top at California Grill Extended

by on March 14, 2017

Celebration at the Top

©Rikki Niblett

I guess it’s been a popular new offering because the Celebration at the Top – Savor, Sip, and Sparkle event has officially been extended. The event, which was announced a little less than a month ago, will now occur through September 24 on select Sunday evenings at the California Grill which is located on the top floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

During the evening, Guests will enjoy complimentary bar offerings and a variety of small plates, including canapés, sushi rolls, flatbreads and more. Beverages will include a complimentary bar offering California wines, beers, and cordials. Guests then have the opportunity to relax and dine in the private Sonoma Room and Napa Room for one hour prior to the Magic Kingdom fireworks. Once the fireworks are about to begin, Guests will be able to head out to their private observation deck for a fantastic view,the lights dimmed and the music pipped in. Petit fours, coffee, and cordials and desserts will follow.

The cost of Celebration at the Top is $99 per person, plus tax and gratuity and complimentary valet parking is included. Reservations can be made by calling (407) WDW-DINE.

Disney Bar Crawls (That AREN’T “Drinking Around the World!”)

by on March 13, 2017

Disney Bar Crawls that aren'r drinking around the world

Bar crawl at Walt Disney World! If you’re this author or one of many of our loyal readers, this may sound like a perfect or even a dream scenario. For others, it might elicit chuckles and sly comments about the duties of parenting children. But a bar crawl at Walt Disney World is certainly a feasible idea for Orlando area locals or those looking for an out-of-the-box destination bachelor party or adults-only night on vacation.

When you set your mind to something along the lines of a Walt Disney World bachelor party (or bachelorette party for that matter…this article is only written from a male perspective because I am one, you can apply any of these scenarios to a female maneuver) your mind likely turns to the one place in the World where drunken revelry is not only not out of place but borderline encouraged: Epcot. “Drinking Around the World” is an unofficial attraction at Walt Disney World these days and with specialized drinking “passports” available for purchase on Etsy and at least one yahoo passed out in the World Showcases bushes nightly, it’s the first thing that probably pops into your mind when you consider an adults-only Disney World excursion. But I think we can all push past this cliche and consider a few other options that are just as good.

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Every New Dish at the 2017 Epcot Flower And Garden Festival Reviewed!

by on March 9, 2017

The iconic "flower blanket" is one of the many favorite views of the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.Spring has sprung, and the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival has finally arrived for the 2017 season! Originally just a great time of year to see some of the coolest topiaries around, over the last few years, Disney has steadily transformed the Flower and Garden Festival into a must-do for those looking to sample some of the freshest flavors of the season. This year, two new food booths join the festival, and more than 20 new dishes complement the growing list of must-try treats. Today, I’m reviewing every new food dish (and, as a bonus, a few of the new beverage samplings); below my reviews, I’ve ranked the new food items so you know exactly where to head on your next festival visit. As always, click on every photo for a larger view of each dish – you might spot a few returning festival favorites I’ll review in a future post!

The Dishes

Urban Eats: Urban Fairy cocktail (returning favorite) with the Crabless Crab Cake (new).Urban Farm Eats

  • Crabless cake with crispy vegetable slaw, lemon vinaigrette, and old bay remoulade ($6.25)

If you can get over the texture, this is a definite winner for me. The crabless cake itself is vegan (plant-based, no crabs involved!), so the texture is a bit firmer, more like a moist burger patty. The old bay remoulade had a nice kick to it, still savory, but helped bring a little zing to the crabless cake’s mild flavor. The veggies in my slaw weren’t super-crisp, but the bright vinaigrette really tied the whole dish together. An unexpectedly good dish.

Northern Bloom

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Your top-rated Disney World Resort Restaurants

by on March 8, 2017

Best Disney Restaurants

Today we’re wrapping up our restaurant review series with a look at the top-rated Disney World Resort restaurants. We’ve previously covered the best Magic Kingdom restaurants, Epcot’s best restaurants, and the best restaurants at Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios) Like those earlier posts, today’s analysis is based on more than 122,000 Disney World dining surveys we received in 2016.

The Best Disney World Resort Restaurants – Quick Service

Ample Hills Creamery is one of the top-rated Disney World resort restaurants

Ample Hills includes to-go pints!

There are more than two dozen hotels inside Disney World, from the budget-priced All-Star Music Resort, to the flagship Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. And for this survey, we got enough responses from the Swan and Dolphin to include them too. We didn’t get enough survey responses for the Four Seasons or Shades of Green, so those restaurants aren’t included here.

We’ll follow the same format as before and start with quick service restaurants. As before, restaurants shown in green did significantly better than average, while those in red did significantly worse.

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Your Top-Rated Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios Restaurants

by on March 6, 2017

Best Disney Restaurants

I’m back with more results from our recent Disney World dining survey. Today we’re looking at your top-rated Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios restaurants. (Here are the best Magic Kingdom restaurants, and here are Epcot’s best restaurants.) Like those earlier posts, today’s analysis is based on more than 122,000 Disney World dining surveys we received in 2016.

The Best Animal Kingdom Restaurants

Let’s start with the park’s quick-service restaurants. As before, restaurants in green are significantly better than average, while restaurants in red are significantly worse than average:

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Review of Beauty and the Beast-themed Red Rose Taverne Restaurant at Disneyland

by on February 24, 2017

This is a review of Red Rose Taverne, a new restaurant at Disneyland which opened to promote the 2017 film, Beauty and the Beast. It temporarily replaces the Pinocchio-themed Village Haus Restaurant. Red Rose Taverne brings some new decor, and thankfully a much improved menu. First, lets take a look at the menu:

Red Rose Taverne Menu

When I saw this menu it struck me at how packed with unique items it is. A Cauli-Flower sandwich? Poutine pizza? I never expected to see items like this at a quick service theme park restaurant. In the last couple of years Disneyland’s menus have become a bit bland and uninteresting, but Red Rose Taverne seems to have a perfect balance for those looking for items like basic hamburgers, and others looking for something slightly more adventurous.

Watch our video review on the Red Rose Taverne menu.

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