Halloween at Walt Disney World Resort

Sneak Peek at Much-Anticipated Gingerbread Creation for Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland Park

posted on August 28th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Check out the sketch of this year’s gingerbread creation for Haunted Mansion Holiday, the masterful work of a year-long collaboration between Disneyland Resort chefs, the Entertainment team and Walt Disney Imagineering. The masterpiece debuts when Haunted Mansion Holiday opens at Disneyland park on September 12.
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“The Ghost Host of Haunted Mansion Holiday always says, ‘even a gingerbread house can be scary,’ and we’ve definitely taken the design towards scary this year,” says Tim Wollweber, Graphic Designer/Sculptor.

Of course, the Haunted Mansion Holiday gingerbread house adds a little whimsy with a hapless gingerbread zombie trapped inside – and those frightening spikes are very sharp, red-and-white candy canes. The gingerbread house also will feature opening and closing doors and lights.

The wood foundation is wired, then sent to the Disneyland Resort Central Bakery for a 3-week layover to apply 200 pounds of gingerbread, 200 pounds of royal icing, 150 pounds of fondant, and all sorts of other sticky treats. The gingerbread house stands at almost 7 feet tall.

There’s plenty of time to take it all in – Haunted Mansion Holiday goes through January 6, 2015.

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

Villains’ Sinister Soiree: A Wicked Takeover of Cinderella Castle with VIP Parade Viewing, Fireworks and Delicious Sweets at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

posted on August 25th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Starting Monday, you can make a reservation for this fun new, must-do last stop of the evening at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party: Villain’s Sinister Soiree: A Wicked Takeover of Cinderella Castle.

First you enjoy preferred viewing for Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade and the HalloWishes Fireworks Spectacular. Then head to Cinderella’s Royal Table for devilish desserts and wicked entertainment in celebration of the villains’ favorite time of year.

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Lady Tremaine takes over Cinderella’s Royal Table after everyone has gone to bed, and she’s invited some of the most evil friends and special guests for a decadent dessert party (maybe you’ll see the Evil Queen, Maleficent, Cruella de Vil or Dr. Facilier?).

Lady Tremaine will welcome guests, and her personal piano player provides live music. (She’ll sing a few haunting solos while guests enjoy the delicious desserts inspired by the villains.)

Cost is $99 ages 3 and older, plus tax (gratuity included). Admission to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is required – this is a separate ticketed event not included in Magic Kingdom Park admission. Tickets for the soiree are limited and reservations recommended! Call 407-939-5262 – no online reservations.

Your ticket includes:

  • Preferred Viewing for the 8:15 p.m. Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade
    Watch the Headless Horseman lead off the parade on a hair-raising ride, followed by a collection of frightful floats and some of your favorite Disney Characters in Halloween costumes.
  • Preferred Viewing for HalloWishes Fireworks Spectacular
    The Ghost Host from the Haunted Mansion and some of the most notorious Disney Villains light up the sky to wicked remixes of their favorite songs.
  • Dessert Soiree at Cinderella’s Royal Table
    Lady Tremaine shares her musical talents while you enjoy themed desserts, specialty non-alcoholic drinks, entertainment and visits from some of your favorite Disney villains. Each guest gets an autograph card and souvenir Maleficent dragon cup.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Magic Kingdom, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

Perfect Pre-Dinner Fun: Wine Pairings at Martha’s Vineyard at Disney’s Beach Club Resort

posted on August 20th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Tucked in a quiet corner of Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Martha’s Vineyard is one of our favorite quiet spots for a pre-dinner cocktail or a light bite. And now, new late-afternoon wine pairings combine food and wine with a little enlightenment, with wine experts on hand to talk about what you’re sipping.

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Upcoming dates are 4-5:15 p.m. September 4, September 25, October 2 and October 30. Wineries aren’t yet announced (the last one was France’s Louis Jadot), but the Disney chefs are having fun with pairing delicious food with whatever is poured – we tried a mild white fish with dry Pouilly-Fuissé, a seafood paella with fresh Chardonnay and a strong red Beaujolais-Villages with a chocolate flourless cake and cherry sorbet. The wine expert and the chef are a delightful duo as they lead guests through the hour-long tasting. No need to takes notes, they’ll send you home with a bookmark that tells about the wines.

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It’s an intimate setting – no more than 18 guests, and the conversation flows with the wine. Cost varies, but is in the $20-30 range for three wines paired with three small plates, and price depends on what’s being poured.

For reservations, call 407-934-3833.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

This ‘Spoonful of Sugar’ is (Almost) Too Cute to Eat at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe at Disneyland Park

posted on August 20th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


You’ll find this adorable little sweet for just 10 days, August 22-31, at Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe in Disneyland park, and we know you’ll want a picture before you take a bite. This “Mary Poppins”-themed Spoonful of Sugar involves pâte à choux, chocolate caramel ganache, rainbow sprinkles, chocolate pastry cream, dark chocolate gloss, white chocolate coating, a sugar penguin and marshmallows. A lot of work for a single bite. And it’s just $3.29.
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If this revs up your sweet tooth, the Disneyland Resort pastry chefs have added a dozen more new delights that should be on the menu until early September. Mickey-shaped French macaroons are flavored with raspberry rose and passion fruit. Other fruity desserts include a Meyer lemon strawberry tart, pineapple bundt cake, blueberry cheesecake, lemon honey cupcake, orange crème brûlée and a banana cream éclair. Chocolate fans will love the red velvet whoopie pie and the chocolate brownie mousse. Add a vanilla cream éclair and an oat bran muffin to round out the diverse options.

Mickey Macaroons at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe at Disneyland Park Pineapple Bundt Cake at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe at Disneyland Park Whoopie Pie at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe at Disneyland Park

If you prefer something savory with your sweets, Jolly Holiday Bakery Café also offers sandwiches, generous salads, soups and quiche.


For more about Jolly Holiday Bakery Café in Disneyland park, check out the posts below:

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New Capt. Cook’s Debuts at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

posted on August 18th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


In true Disney fashion, look for a big wow at the new Capt. Cook’s at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort – the menu makeover brings island-style cuisine to the popular quick-service spot that’s open around the clock.

Start with the classic lobster roll served on a buttered bun. They’ve added blackened fish tacos, a noodle bowl (beef or shrimp) and delectable coconut curry meatballs. A new gourmet hot dog is slathered with garlic ketchup and mango relish. And our favorite – crispy fried chicken and waffles, a hearty breakfast favorite that stays on the menu all day.

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No worries, the favorite hot beef ‘n blue sandwich stays, says Chef Pete Bruenen. Ditto for the pizzas, grilled chicken sandwich and house-made sushi, delivered from Kona Island upstairs. The grab ‘n go case stays filled with drinks, salads, sandwiches and the popular cold noodle salad and turkey club, says Chef Pete.

Fans of the breakfast Tonga Toast will still find it on the menu, along with a new breakfast burrito with egg, bacon, potatoes and Cheddar cheese.

Bridget Sherren, operations manager for Food & Beverage at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, shared a little news about Pineapple Lanai, opening the end of August. “Dole Whip gets its own dedicated spot,” she says, a new window in the courtyard for Dole Whip soft serve and floats (pineapple or vanilla Dole Whip). “It’s a great spot for families,” says Bridget.

Another new treat is Hawaiian shaved ice at Kona Island on the resort’s second floor. Located just off the monorail, Kona Island serves specialty coffee and pastries all day, and now shaved ice joins the lineup, along with takeout sushi. Hours are 6:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 5 – 10 p.m.

And watch for Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto to open in spring 2015 next door to Captain Cook’s. Details soon!

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Creative Fries at Golden Oak Outpost in Magic Kingdom Park

posted on August 13th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Golden Oak Outpost, the unassuming little spot in Frontierland at Magic Kingdom Park, used to be a perfect quick stop for a spicy fried chicken breast sandwich or chicken breast nuggets. Now they’ve added a whole new menu of creative waffle fries with toppings that make the humble potato a meal.

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BBQ Waffle Fries at Golden Oak Outpost in Magic Kingdom Park Tex-Mex Waffle Fries at Golden Oak Outpost in Magic Kingdom Park

How about BLT waffle fries, topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato and a drizzle of Ranch dressing? Or the BBQ pork waffles fries topped with pork and creamy slaw. Our favorite combo is the Tex-Mex creation, topped with black bean-cucumber relish, warm Cheddar cheese sauce and spicy jalapeño slices. And an ode to Canadian fast food is the “poutine-style” fries, topped with brown gravy and white Cheddar cheese.
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If you’re looking for something a little less adventurous, they’ve added hot, crunchy sweet potato nuggets.

If you’ve tried the new waffle fries, do you have a favorite?

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Filed: Disney Dining, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Delicious One-Dish Wonder From The Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on August 13th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


One of our favorite spots for dining in Magic Kingdom Park is The Crystal Palace on Main Street, U.S.A., a delightful array of soups, salads, veggies, meats, fish and sweets – everything from stuffed French toast in the morning to peel-and-eat shrimp, oven-roasted chicken, steak, key lime pie and chocolate cake for dinner. A bite of this, a taste of that, it’s fun to mix and match from dozens of dishes.

The spacious, airy dining room has one of the best buffets at Walt Disney World Resort, plus you get to spend some time with some of your favorite Disney characters as they pay a visit to tables and stop for photos.

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Fresh, inventive salads have always been our favorite, and the chefs continually add interesting new combos, like this pasta salad with feta and Parmesan cheeses, bold Kalamata olive, veggies and a sweet-tart balsamic vinaigrette. Chef Alphonoso Walker shows you how easy it is to put this together at home, a perfect summertime supper.

Pasta Salad with Feta, Fresh Vegetables, and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pasta, such as penne, farfalle, or ziti
  • 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red peppers
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green peppers
  • 1/2 cup finely diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onions
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Assembly

  1. Cook pasta per package instructions. Drain and rinse in cool water. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together white balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a medium bowl until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Whisk in chives. Set aside.
  3. Combine cooked pasta, olives, onions, red peppers, green peppers, and tomatoes.
  4. Toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Fold in feta and Parmesan cheeses. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more dressing, if desired, to taste.
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Plan Ahead for 3rd Annual ‘Great Irish Hooley’ August 29-September 1 at Downtown Disney

posted on August 12th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


What a perfect way to celebrate Labor Day all weekend long – the annual Great Irish Hooley music festival rocks the house at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant in Downtown Disney.

A “hooley” is a traditional Irish social celebration, and this one combines live music, cool step dancing (you can even learn a few steps) and authentic tastes for a trifecta of fun all in one convivial spot.

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Live music begins at 4 p.m. Friday, August 29, and at noon Saturday, August 30 through Monday, September 1 and continues throughout each day and night. This year’s Hooley band lineup includes:

Scythian- A headliner on the Celtic festival circuit and equally at home in rock venues – the band will release a fan-funded album, “Jump at the Sun,” this month.

The Raglan Rebels- Ireland’s best up-and-coming young band with traditional and modern songs and ballads.

Drops of Green- An exciting new ballad group from the heart of Ireland.

The Brayzen Heads- A popular duo on guitar and banjo playing Raglan Road regularly.

The West Coast Trio- From Connemara, playing traditional and contemporary Irish songs on accordion, flute and guitar with plenty of reels and jigs.

Just tap your toes to the music or get up and dance – from Saturday to Monday there will be free workshops, “From Our Roots to Riverdance,” led by renowned Irish dancer and choreographer Ronan McCormack of the original Riverdance cast. Or try a little “ceili” (kay-lee), a precursor to line dancing, with the award-winning Raglan Road Dancers. The complete entertainment schedule is at www.raglanroad.com.

Of course we think the authentic Irish cuisine at Raglan Road is the best part of this Hooley. Go for classics like beer-battered fish and chips or shepherd’s pie, or try something more contemporary like their butternut squash risotto with shiitake mushrooms, arugula and Parmesan. They also offer gluten-free options (including fish and chips).

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We know we’ll be there for an early (8:30 a.m.) brunch on August 30, when big-screen TVs will be tuned to the University of Central Florida-Penn State Croke Park Classic football season opener taking place in Dublin, Ireland. Start the game with a Guinness, signature Bloody Mary or other favorite morning brew or beverage. Brunch guests can tuck into the chef’s Full Irish Breakfast featuring sausage, black and white pudding, bacon, roasted tomato, mushrooms and fried eggs with potato “roasties.” Smoked salmon omelette and pancakes with crème fraiche, maple syrup and berry compote also are on the menu. Hooley music begins right after.

For reservations, call 407-938-0300.

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New Delicious Breakfasts Sips, Tastes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on August 11th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


If you’re headed to Disney’s Animal Kingdom for an early-morning safari, here are delicious new reasons to wait and have breakfast at the park.

New Delicious Breakfasts Sips, Tastes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom New Delicious Breakfasts Sips, Tastes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Just for grown-ups, we’ll start with four new morning pick-me-ups at Dawa Bar in Harambe Village, all inventive variations on the classic brunch cocktail, the Bloody Mary. The Discovery Island Bloody Mary is Grey Goose Vodka, Bloody Mary mix, lime juice and olive juice, garnished with parsley and a skewer of mozzarella cheese, tomato, basil and stuffed olive. The Dawa Bloody Mary kicks up the heat level with Worcestershire sauce and horseradish, and is garnished with fresh basil and a skewer of truffle and blue cheese-stuffed olive and prosciutto. The Asian Bloody Mary adds spicy kimchee-sriracha puree and is garnished with Asian slaw (cucumber, carrot, daikon radish) and tandoori shrimp. Finally, the African Bloody Mary is finished with spicy African berbere sauce and garnished with berbere-rubbed beef jerky, celery stalk, carrot and parsley.

All four drinks are $9.50.

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At Pizzafari in Discovery Island, our favorite new healthful breakfast is the Ancient Hot-Grain Cereal, a hearty bowl of oatmeal, barley and quinoa simmered with spices and topped with salted caramel crumble ($3.99).

New Delicious Breakfasts Sips, Tastes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom New Delicious Breakfasts Sips, Tastes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Also at Pizzafari, the new multi-grain breakfast croissant is stuffed with egg whites, fresh spinach, provolone cheese and vegetable chutney, with a side of breakfast potatoes ($7.49); the hearty breakfast burrito has a filling of scrambled eggs, sausage, peppers, cheese and salsa ($6.49). The kids’ breakfast pizza starts with a flatbread that’s topped with scrambled egg, chopped bacon and Cheddar cheese ($4.99); the kids’ breakfast platter is a generous combo of scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, breakfast potatoes and multigrain hot cereal ($4.99).

The breakfast offerings at Pizzafari are part of the Disney Dining Plan.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Limited-Edition Prints to Celebrate the Haunted Mansion 45th Anniversary at Disneyland Park – It’s a Meal ‘To Die For’

posted on August 8th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Starting Saturday, August 9, through October 31, Disneyland Food & Beverage gets in on the fun of the Haunted Mansion 45th anniversary at Disneyland park with some really fun collectibles. Start with these four charming prints on canvas: Minnie Mouse at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante; Mickey Mouse and pals at River Belle Terrace; Daisy Duck at Plaza Inn; and Goofy at French Market Restaurant.

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The Disney characters are in their finest Haunted Mansion attire in an ode to the stretching room at the beginning of the attraction.

The prints are just $5 with each single purchase of $30 or more (before tax). Supplies are super limited and available during regular operating hours.

Our favorite eats at each spot? Give us the enchiladas, tacos or the classic Caesar salad at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante, featuring authentic Mexican food. At River Belle Terrace, it’s Huck’s slow-roasted beef with horseradish or the Messy Mississippi barbecued pork sandwich. We head to Plaza Inn for that perfectly fried chicken with mashed potatoes and a buttermilk biscuit. At French Market Restaurant, give us the Boudin Bakery sourdough boule with chowder or the Na Awlins Salad with yams, apples, caramelized pecans, lentils and tart cherries with a citrus vinaigrette.

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More Haunted Mansion fun is the souvenir popcorn bucket with all four prints, available at the New Orleans Square popcorn cart. And the souvenir travel mug, available at all New Orleans Square locations – this one shows Mickey Mouse as the famous Hatbox Ghost and Minnie Mouse as Constance the bride, while “grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize.”

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort