Dining

Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: February 19, 2015

by on February 19, 2015

201Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’re enjoying meals not just at Kona Cafe, but also Finnegan’s Bar & Grill over at Universal. Of course, we’re also visiting the Universal Orlando Parks, Downtown Disney, and stopping by the Magic Kingdom too. I don’t know how I’m going to fit it all into just one blog! Let’s figure it out together. :)

For Valentine’s Day lunch we couldn’t think of a better place than Kona Cafe. The food is wonderful and the setting is comfy and casual. Traffic was worse than we’d anticipated so we made it to the podium exactly on time for our 12:30pm reservation. Of course, that meant we had to wait about 15 minutes for a table. They seemed quite short staffed with several empty tables despite gobs of people waiting outside. It was nice to have the tables next to us open, though. Our appetizer of potstickers ($8.49) were super yummy and came out so quickly they beat our drinks!

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Want to see what we ordered? Be sure to click to read more!

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Menu Monday: Best Counter Service Restaurant at Hollywood Studios

by on February 16, 2015

We continue this journey to find the best counter service restaurants in Hollywood Studios.  Hollywood Studios has to be one of the hardest counter service options to track because the menus and prices tend to change for each season. Add in the continuing construction, and things are bound to change. Before your next trip to the Studios, be sure to check out the latest menus for options and prices either at the Touring Plans menu page, or at the official Walt Disney World menu page. With that said, most of the menu staples will stay consistent. If a counter service location offers burgers and sandwiches, you can expect for it to be consistent, but you may find an updated price or a new “gourmet” option available. If you missed previous entries, be sure to read all about the best counter service options in Magic Kingdom, as well as in Animal Kingdom. To refresh your memory, here is the grading scale I’ve used to determining how each counter service location has earned it’s ranking:

  • Value (portion/cost ratio) = 10 points
  • Flavor = 10 points
  • Originality = 5 points
  • Atmosphere = 5 points
  • Grand total = 30 possible points

Sunset Boulevard Restaurant Row

Catalina Eddie's, Rosie's All-American Café, and Fairfaxe Fare are all located on Sunset Boulevard near Tower of Terror.

Catalina Eddie’s, Rosie’s All-American Café, and Fairfaxe Fare are all located on Sunset Boulevard near Tower of Terror.

It may seem like cheating, but due to the proximity of all of these options in the same area. They can easily be viewed as one dining location with multiple options, similar to the concept of the food court at your local mall. Catalina Eddie’s, Fairfax Fare, and Rosie’s All-American Café are all situated at the end of Sunset Boulevard, near the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. Because of this prime real estate by two of the park’s powerhouse rides, and the fact that the three restaurants share the same seating area, this place gets packed quickly. It’s often a spot for families to gather and wait while a portion of their party experiences one ride or the other (or both). Because of this, finding an open table is tricky, and it gets busy early in the day and stays that way. The best plan of attack is to find a table before ordering food, then go in shifts to the location that appeals to your taste buds while another holds the table while you order. Never leave a child alone, but if you’re traveling with a several adults or teenagers, this is the best strategy.

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Menu Monday: Cowfish at Universal CityWalk Orlando Review

by on February 16, 2015

Cowfish Logo

Cowfish Logo

 

Disclosure: Please note that while we were not compensated for our meal, we were seated at Cowfish by management after my husband spoke to someone at corporate office.

Despite the fact that we’ve been driving down the road to party it up at Universal Studios Orlando for nearly eight years now, it’s hard to pry my husband and me away from our beloved outdoor bars and into restaurants. Hey, we like to people-watch… how else would I be able to snobbishly judge passersby on the nerd culture displayed on their clothing? So we were a little disappointed to hear that one of CityWalk’s newest establishments, the sushi-burger fusion place Cowfish, had nixed its outdoor bar food service literally the day before we arrived. Typically, that’s how you get lazy, food-obsessed locals to swear vengeance on your establishment… hey, my name isn’t Inigo Montoya, I take my vendettas where I can. Cowfish’s menu had come so highly recommended, however, and from so many different people, that we had to give it a try. Turns out, it’s a good thing we did, since Cowfish is really, really worth the trip. Enough that we went twice just to tell you about different things!

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

by on February 14, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Each of Walt Disney World’s onsite hotels have their own unique feel, and that rings true from the value end (such as Art of Animation) through the moderates (including Port Orleans French Quarter) and all the way up to the deluxe resorts like The Contemporary. That said, no hotel in Orlando stands more by itself as a one-of-a-kind original experience than Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

AKL_logo

Animal Kingdom Lodge.

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Located directly next to Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park (and absolutely nothing else,) many guests consider Animal Kingdom Lodge (AKL) too far out of the way to consider staying at. While the wait for the Disney buses may be a little bit longer than other resorts on property, today’s edition of the SATURDAY SIX is going to count down six reasons we feel everyone should consider staying at AKL as part of their next vacation, starting with…

# 6 – Indian-style Bread Service at Sanaa

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Sanaa bread service. A first ballot hall of famer for Disney food. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Animal Kingdom Lodge is broken up into two parts, the main hotel (Jambo House) and the Disney Vacation Club wing (Kidani Village.) In these two areas there are three of Disney’s best restaurants including Boma and Jiko at Jambo House, and Sanaa at Kidani Village. Unlike many restaurants at WDW that have dumbed themselves down in order to maximize profits as part of Disney’s Dining Plan, AKL’s restaurants deliver an experience that is true destination dining. The standout of these three venues is Sanaa’s bread service. With five different types of Naan bread available and up to nine different accompaniments to go with it, this is a bread service like no other.

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Cape Canaveral Dining: Florida Beer Company

by on February 13, 2015

Florida Beer Company IPA - Natalie Reinert

The Swamp Ape Double IPA at Florida Beer Company.

Cards on the table: Florida Beer Company is not, strictly speaking, Cape Canaveral dining. It’s actually one of the southeast’s largest brewers and Florida’s leading brew company, with a 5,000 square foot tap room open to the public. But since you can order in food from any number of great Cape Canaveral restaurants, and pair your meal with flights or single glasses of craft beers brewed on site, Florida Beer Company ranks as one of the great unique dining establishments in the Cape Canaveral area.

You probably know that at TouringPlans, we always recommend arriving for your Disney Cruise a day in advance — after all, that ship is leaving on time, whether your plane arrived on time or not. And so if you’re looking for something great to do in Cape Canaveral the day before your cruise, and you love craft beer, you’ll want to plan a visit to Florida Beer Company.

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: February 12, 2015

by on February 12, 2015

101Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’ll be stopping by Beach Club Resort and Epcot for dinner. Then we’re checking out what’s new at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and spending a little time at the Magic Kingdom for an epic view of the Festival of Fantasy Parade. I have so much to share with you, let’s get going! :)

On Friday night when we decided we needed a Disney style dinner we’d originally set out for Beaches & Cream Soda Shop. This is an awesome spot for a casual hamburger, but unfortunately it was packed when we got there and reservations weren’t available. With the My Disney Experience App we were able to find a table available at Tokyo Dining over at Epcot. We spent a little time strolling through the Beach Club on our way there. Wow, it’s beautiful! I haven’t stayed at this hotel since I was a kid. Look at it now!

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So who wants to visit Tokyo Dining with me? Click here to read more! 

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The Demographic Disney Forgot: Best Disney World Restaurants for Teen Boys

by on February 11, 2015

The Disney Parks were designed with families in mind, to serve as escapes from the real world where parents and kids can have fun together. But have you ever noticed that a certain element of the family tends to be overlooked? Do you know what it is? It’s the demographic Disney forgot: teen boys. Now I’m not a teenage boy, but I do know that Disney has something for everyone. I have a teenage brother who loves Disney as much as anyone, despite the lack of commercials and ads directed toward his age group; and so, I sat down with him for the scoop on what Disney World has to offer teen boys like himself. But where to start? Food, of course! I mean, we are talking about teenage boys, aren’t we? So for the first installment of this new series, check out The Demographic Disney Forgot: Best Disney World Restaurants for Teen Boys.

ESPN Club

by Disney

10. ESPN Club – My Disney Bro is a walking sports encyclopedia in a teenage body and he has been wanting to check out the ESPN Club for the past few years, but it’s just never worked out. But then, last June, we finally got the chance and it just happened to be during NBA Finals! You see, the ESPN Club is the ultimate dining destination for your sports-crazed teen as the walls are covered with dozens upon dozens of television screens and sports memorabilia. Also, this restaurant has a basketball court for a floor and even television screens in the bathroom, just so you won’t miss a minute of the game.

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: February 5, 2015

by on February 5, 2015

1Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’ll be visiting Epcot to test FastPass+, stopping by Downtown Disney for some delicious dining, and finishing up at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I can’t believe I fit so much fun into one weekend! You know I do it all for you, so let’s get moving! :)

We arrived at Epcot in time for rope drop, which we’re doing less and less now that FastPass+ is working so well. Since we were really just there to test the system and shop, we didn’t run to Test Track or Soarin’. Instead we sauntered up to Spaceship Earth and confidently scanned our MagicBands… and were turned away! For the first time since using the system I was told my FastPass+ wasn’t there and I needed to stop by a kiosk or join the standby line. Up to this point we’ve always been allowed into the FastPass+ line on the honor system. Since it was so early we were able to ride with a walk on wait, but want to hear about how our trip to the FastPass+ kiosk went? Be sure to click to read more!

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First Look Inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Starbucks

by on February 2, 2015

Sometimes you just get lucky. (Ask any New England Patriots’ fan.) On Sunday afternoon, after a quick stroll around Crescent Lake, I stopped in Disney’s Hollywood Studios to grab a quick drink and check on the hat demolition before heading home. As I walked down Hollywood Boulevard, my husband said “Do you smell….coffee?” Sure enough, there was a small crowd outside The Trolley Car Cafe, the new Starbucks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Outside, a cast member was handing vouchers to anyone passing by for a free pastry or drink for their soft opening. Score!

The Trolley Car Cafe is now in soft opening. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

The Trolley Car Cafe is now in soft opening. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

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Menu Monday: 50’s Prime Time Cafe

by on February 2, 2015

50s Prime Time CafeDuring my last Disney World vacation with my boys, we enjoyed several tasty table service meals. In case you missed it, we dined at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop, ESPN Club and Rainforest Café in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. When we headed over for a day in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, we planned an advanced dining reservation (ADR) for one of our favorite spots – 50’s Prime Time Café. Known for its classic comfort food, vintage atmosphere and lively banter, we were really looking forward to our lunch at 50’s Prime Time Café plus a fun filled day in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Our Day Begins

Just like every day of this vacation, we woke up early and grabbed a quick breakfast at Landscape of Flavors at Art of Animation before heading off to the bus stop. Although this resort only has one bus stop and it is often very busy, they seem to have a limitless supply of buses, because we never had to wait for more than about 5 minutes. Once on board, it was standing room only for the short drive to Hollywood Studios.

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