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PHOTOS: First Look at Festival Center For 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on September 26th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


September is my favorite month of the year as I celebrate two awesome things – my birthday and the return of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World Resort. The latter is celebrating 20 years this fall, and I can’t wait to taste my way around the world again. I recently stopped by the Festival Center in Future World to check out the merchandise being offered this year. Here are some of my favorite things you will find throughout Epcot.


The Festival Center is located between Universe of Energy and Mission: SPACE pavilions in Future World. This location houses many experiences including a merchandise location, wine shop, Intermission Café, and cooking demonstrations. This is also a great place to pick up the new scavenger hunt called Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak (see my fellow author Michelle Harker’s article for details.


This year, there are three distinct art programs for the merchandise – World Showcase logo, Disney characters dressed as chefs, and Brews Around the World. You may recall reading about some of these items in a previous Disney Parks Blog article. Guests will find many of these items including apparel, home décor, drinkware and other goods at this location. One item that won’t arrive until later during the festival is the previously shown Figment coffee mug (just in case you were looking for it).


I’m also happy to announce a specially designed charm from PANDORA. This sterling silver charm with white and black enamel features Chef Mickey, and it will be released during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.


Finally, we will offer a limited release tee-shirt on our Disney Parks online store from September 25 through October 1. Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery. You can order the shirt by visiting

Here are a few other items I found including a new Disney Gift Card and Festival Cookbook. I hope to see you at Epcot this fall!

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Football Season Returns to ESPN Zone at Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort

posted on September 25th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator

Whether you’re cheering on your favorite college or professional team, ESPN Zone at Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort is the perfect place to catch the game. With a lengthy menu of game-time favorites like gourmet burgers and an impressive craft beer list, there’s something for everyone.

Appetizers at ESPN Zone at Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort Chicken and Waffles at ESPN Zone at Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort

If your game airs early, no need to worry—ESPN Zone opens at 9 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays during football season. Breakfast is packed with fan favorites—chicken and waffles and sizzling breakfast skillets. Kids will love the breakfast sliders.

Want to find out when your favorite team plays? Visit or call 714-300-3776.


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New Backstage ‘Flavor Lab’ Opens in October at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on September 24th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer

Ever wonder how a new dish makes it on the menu at Be Our Guest Restaurant? Or how a cocktail comes to life? A new, behind-the-scenes “Flavor Lab” brings the Walt Disney World Resort chefs, front-of-house managers, sommeliers, mixologists and more together in a state-of-the-art research and development facility.


The 7,000-square foot Flavor Lab serves as a hub of new product, packaging and equipment innovation for food and beverage programs across Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

While it’s not open to the public, Disney guests will be the ultimate benefactor of all the testing, measuring and collaborations that will happen in the expansive new space. Before Flavor Lab, Disney operated a small test kitchen, but most of the culinary operations were spread across the Vacation

“With increasing new projects, we needed space,” says Jean-Marie Clement, director, Food & Beverage Concept Development. “This new facility will provide a professional, creative and collaborative workspace for sharing and showcasing new ideas, concepts and best practices.”

Nearly three years in the making, about 18 culinary, front of house and project design team members will work there full time, but the building will be bustling. “When we open a new concept, we’ll be able to train cast members on new equipment,” says Jean-Marie. “We can test a new equipment and keep up with trends and technology.”

“From product testing and cast training to food photography and vendor presentations, “we’ll have the best-of-the-best Disney talent under one roof,” says Jean-Marie.

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#DisneyFamilia: Sabor Latino in Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

posted on September 23rd, 2015 by Sarah Domenech, International Public Relations Manager

The Caribbean and Latin America are known for its delicious food and during the 20th celebration of Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, we will be able to enjoy new flavorful Latin dishes from Dominican Republic, Mexico, Brazil and Patagonia.


The Dominican Republic’s marketplace is returning to the Festival this year and it will feature Mangú and Lechón Asado (roasted pork with mashed green plantains and pickled red onions, and avocado), Suflé de Yuca (Yucca soufflé topped with griddled cheese) and Caramel Flan with rum-roasted pineapple. It will also have Presidente beer and several cocktails made with Ron Barceló, the country’s signature rum.


The popular Brazil’s marketplace will now have Escondidinho de Carne (“Little Hidden One”), a layered meat pie with mashed yucca as well as the favorite Crispy pork belly with tomatoes and black beans.


Mexico will also be featuring some new items: Chilaquiles de Pollo (corn chips layered with seasoned chicken, queso fresco, sour cream and cilantro) and Tacos de Camarón (battered shrimp, pico de gallo, pickled onions with chipotle mayonnaise.)

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival: Patagonia Marketplace

And last but not least, at Patagonia guests can enjoy delicious beef empanadas, grilled beef skewer with chimichurri sauce and boniato purée, and roasted salmon with quinoa salad and arugula chimichurri. New this year are the Undurraga Sparkling Wine Brut, the Calle Ocho Chardonnay and the Kaiken Torrontés wines.

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival takes place from September 25 until November 16 with more than 30 global marketplaces around the theme park. For more information visit Admission to Epcot is required.

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Tips to Add Variety to Mealtime on a Disney Cruise

posted on September 23rd, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

Last week I gave you a look at the many, many dining choices on a Disney cruise. And believe it or not, there are still additional options to satisfy your taste buds! Here are some of my tips to add even more variety to mealtime …


  1. Opt for dinner at Cabanas or Beach Blanket Buffet.

  2. You know that Cabanas (Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy, Disney Magic) and Beach Blanket Buffet (Disney Wonder) offer buffet-style dining for breakfast and lunch. But what you may not know is that in the evenings, the restaurant transforms into a table-service casual dining experience, where dinner entrees are cooked to order. No reservations are required, making it a convenient option when you aren’t able to make your assigned dinner time in the main dining room.


  1. Order room service whenever your stomach desires.

  2. Breakfast in bed, afternoon nosh or midnight snack – cravings can be satisfied any time of day with 24-hour complimentary room service. You can feast on fresh, made-to-order food in the comfort of your stateroom around the clock. This convenient service comes in quite handy when your little one is taking a nap during lunchtime or when you can’t pull yourself away from that gorgeous view on your personal verandah.


  1. Eat a delicious barbeque lunch on Castaway Cay.

  2. The chefs you love onboard also grill up specialties like Cajun mahi-mahi, ribeye steaks and chicken on our private island, Castaway Cay. The “all-you-care-to-eat” island barbecue is offered in three spots under the shade of covered pavilions and umbrellas. Two family-friendly locations are steps from the Family Beach, while adults have a dining area all to themselves at the far end of the island next to Serenity Bay.


  1. Try the local cuisine out in port.

  2. Exploring a destination is always a great opportunity to try new cuisine and taste the local fare. I know you’ll miss what the Disney chefs are serving, but don’t miss your chance to eat in port. Do some research before your cruise to determine the best spots, or ask around to get suggestions from other Disney cruisers who have been there before. Even better, choose a Port Adventure that includes a lunch of authentic dishes prepared by locals.


  1. Join the party at a themed buffet for families.

  2. A great party isn’t complete without tasty grub! After our Pirates IN the Caribbean deck party, head over to the pirate buffet for a late-night snack on fiesta favorites like fajitas, tacos, rice and beans. There’s also a huge selection of desserts and a made-to-order crepe station with ice cream. In Alaska, our midday barbecue feast of wild Alaskan salmon and other special seafood dishes celebrates the momentous occasion of sailing through the breathtaking Tracy Arm Fjord.

Any tips to add? In my final post of this series next week, I’ll tell you about dining indulgences onboard just for adults you won’t want to miss!

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Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar Opens Today at Downtown Disney

posted on September 22nd, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


It’s a real wow when you walk through the door at Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, opening at 11:30 a.m. today and daily at Downtown Disney. Its eclectic décor includes everything from spare airplane parts to nostalgic postcards and antique maps tacked to the walls, all a nod to the “Indiana Jones” films in which Jock Lindsey was Indy’s pilot and sidekick. We guarantee you’ll discover something new every visit.

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar Opens Today at Downtown Disney Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar Opens Today at Downtown Disney

Located on the waterfront between Paradiso 37 and the BOATHOUSE, the interior has a cozy feel and features light bites and drinks inspired by Jock’s globe-trotting. We got a chance to try some of the opening menu bites: crispy calamari flatbread with a kick from harissa and peppery arugula; Dr. Elsa’s She-Deviled Eggs; “Good” Dates stuffed with goat cheese, and Snack of Ra for a taste of Africa with salads and dips served with injera (bread) and naan crisps. And mixologists are having fun with the cocktails, from the Cool-Headed Monkey to The Scottish Professor. (We’ll let you guess the ingredients.)

The real architectural showstopper is the outside lounge that was Jock’s old canvas-covered steamboat named Reggie (now in dry dock). Stretching out into the water, it’s a spectacular spot for lunch or for sunset-watching.

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar is part of the largest expansion in Downtown Disney history, which will transform the area into Disney Springs, a lively shopping, dining and entertainment destination. Guests at Disney Springs will have a unique Disney experience amid beautiful open-air promenades, flowing springs and waterfront charm.

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar is open from 11:30 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday, and until 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. No reservations.

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Celebrity Chefs Join Fun for Rockin’ Burger Block Parties at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on September 22nd, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer

Fans of Andrew Zimmern, Buddy Valastro and “The Chew” celebs won’t want to miss the Rockin’ Burger Block Parties, a new add to this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.


Andrew Zimmern (host of the Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods”) will kick off the first party on September 25, welcoming guests and reminding them to vote for their favorite burger of the night. Next up, the cast of ABC’s “The Chew” will be at the party on October 8. And, finally, “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro will launch the final burger party on November 6.

It’s always fun to see the celebrity chefs out on the town, and the Rockin’ Burger Block parties look like a blast, with more than a dozen sliders at each party, from a coffee-crusted beef short rib burger topped with smoked Gouda, garlic potato string and sangria ketchup to a shrimp and scallop burger topped with spicy Thai slaw and cilantro-lime mayo (with a side of smoked sea-salted fried edamame). As you pair burgers and beverages inspired by top recording artists, a DJ will spin their best and most popular tracks.

Other savory and sweet bites assure you’ll leave satisfied, from spicy-sticky pig wings to a cinnamon roll fireball bread pudding with cream cheese glaze. Bites are paired with craft beers, wines, cocktails and more.

Don’t forget to vote for your favorite burger!

Dates are September 25, October 8 and November 6 from 7-9 p.m. Cost is $99; $119 for reserved table on main floor, early admission at 6:45 p.m., and a specialty cocktail; or $199 for Nosh Pit seating with a private reserved table, early admission at 6:45 p.m., specialty cocktail and premium bar.

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A Day-by-Day Guide to Dining on a Disney Cruise

posted on September 17th, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

With so many options for dining on a Disney cruise, from family-friendly and specialty adult-only restaurants, to buffet-style and quick service stations, it’s easy to add variety to where you eat throughout your voyage. Some dining locations are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, giving you a new experience each time you visit.


Of course you won’t want to miss dinner at any of our elaborately themed family restaurants, and our unique rotational dining ensures that will not happen. A concept that remains exclusive to our fleet, rotational dining gives you the opportunity to eat at a different restaurant for dinner each night, accompanied by the same servers.

Using your assigned dinner rotation as a starting point, I suggest mapping out a day-by-day dining plan at the beginning of your cruise. As a guide, I put one together for a four-night Disney Dream cruise. Next time you’re on vacation with us, try out your own version of this plan for a taste of all the deliciousness we serve.


Lunch: Cabanas – This free-flow casual dining restaurant is the perfect place for your first meal on a Disney cruise. Made-to-order and à la carte dining options offer a unique culinary experience. Food stations serve everything from sushi and pasta to make-your-own salads and decadent desserts.

Dinner: Royal Palace – Inspired by Disney classics like “Cinderella” and “Beauty and the Beast,” this elegant dining room looks like it’s out of a grand palace. And the feast isn’t just for the eyes. You’ll enjoy French cuisine fit for a monarch, including lobster, escargot, rack of lamb and beef tenderloin.



Breakfast: Enchanted Garden – At breakfast, this whimsical restaurant inspired by the gardens of Versailles is bright with the light of a blue-sky day. The cuisine matches the crisp and airy feel with a seasonal menu featuring market-fresh ingredients, served buffet-style during breakfast.

Lunch: Royal Palace – With mid-day light flowing in from port holes in this restaurant, you’re sure to pay closer attention to the ornate details of this beautiful space. The elaborate décor complements the royal treatment you’ll receive during open table service for lunch.

Dinner: Animator’s Palate – This signature restaurant, open only for dinner, brings the magic of Disney animation into the dining room. Spectacular entertainment like only Disney can do is a part of mealtime, so you won’t want to miss your opportunity to dine here.



Breakfast: Cabanas – Just like at lunch, Cabanas serves a variety of fresh food favorites during breakfast. With indoor and outdoor dining, ocean views all around and countless options for every taste bud, you’ll be energized to get your day started right.

Lunch: Enchanted Garden – During your buffet-style lunch, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to the rolling hills of France with the restaurant’s garden inspired décor. Lunch is served here on select days, so be sure to check the Navigator to determine which afternoon you’ll dine like French royalty.

Dinner: Palo or Remy – At least one night of your cruise should be reserved for an adult-exclusive meal. In addition to impeccable service and top-notch cuisine, these two restaurants offer incredible ocean views, rich décor and intimate dining rooms for a sophisticated dinner experience.



Breakfast: Room Service – Chances are you’ll feel like sleeping in on the last full day of your cruise. Enjoy a continental breakfast of toast, cereal, muffins and doughnuts from the comfort of your stateroom. Sitting on your verandah with a hot cup of coffee in the morning is a great way to start the day!

Lunch: Flo’s Café – The day you’re at sea is the perfect time to grab a bite on the pool deck. The quick-service stations themed to the Disney•Pixar film “Cars” – Luigi’s Pizza, Tow Mater’s Grill and Fillmore’s Favorites – serve burgers, chicken tenders, pizza, fresh fruit, salads and sandwich wraps.

Dinner: Enchanted Garden – In the evening, Enchanted Garden’s illuminated ceiling transitions into a nighttime constellation of twinkling stars. Dinner here is a full-service, plated affair with specialties such as slow-roasted prime rib, pan-seared sea bass, oven-baked salmon and roasted wild boar tenderloin.



On the final morning of your cruise, you’re sure to be feeling sadness that your vacation is over. But there’s no reason for you to feel hungry, too! Your serving team would love the opportunity for one last meal with you in the restaurant you dined in the night before.

Stay tuned for my post next week when I’ll give you tips on how to add even more variety to mealtime on a Disney cruise.

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Top 11 Apple Treats from Disney Parks

posted on September 16th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator

Growing up, autumn meant an annual field trip to a local farm to pick apples. There’s no denying that pumpkin is having a moment right now, but I wanted to pay tribute to the other fruit that makes me think of crisp fall leaves – the apple. We love to enjoy apples on salads, in baked goods and on top of fluffy pancakes. Here are our top choices for yummy apple treats at Disney Parks and Resorts:

  1. Apple Crisp a la Mode – Hollywood Scoops, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
    Perfect for the Florida heat, this treat features cinnamon apples topped with old-fashioned vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce and streusel.
  2. Cinnamon-Apple Baton – Troubadour Tavern, Disneyland park
    This flaky, twisted pastry is filled with apples and cinnamon.
  3. Apple Strudel – Sommerfest, Epcot
    Apple Strudel that would make my German Oma proud, this is the real deal smothered with vanilla sauce.

  1. Apple Walnut Cake – California Grill, Disney’s Contemporary Resort
    A new addition to the California Grill lineup—heirloom apple, fig and cherry compote, roasted white chocolate mousse, apple-caramel sauce, candied walnuts and brown sugar ice cream make one deliciously decadent dessert.
  2. Flo’s Signature Apple-Cheddar Pie-O-Rama – Flo’s V8 Café, Disney California Adventure
    Apple and cheddar are the new peanut butter and jelly, they just go together.

  1. Caramel Apple Crumb Pancakes – Trattoria al Forno, Disney’s BoardWalk
    Served with bacon or chicken sausage, these pancakes are a sweet way to start your day.
  2. Red’s Apple Freeze – Cozy Cone Motel, Disney California Adventure
    Get your kicks on Route 66 with Red’s Apple Freeze… souvenir sipper optional. Ka-chow!
  3. Warm Glazed Doughnut – Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
    This doughnut is stacked with cinnamon apples, and topped with vanilla bean ice cream and caramel sauce… out of this world!

  1. Apple Granola Pancakes – Carnation Café, Disneyland park
    The crunchy granola and fluffy pancakes make a perfect combination of texture.
  2. Fried Herb and Garlic Cheese – 50’s Prime Time Café, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
    Served with raspberry sauce, grapes and apples, this dish shows off the apple’s savory side.
  3. Apple-Cranberry Pie Cupcake – Contempo Café, Disney’s Contemporary Resort
    A vanilla cupcake with apple-cranberry pie filling and cream cheese frosting, look for this limited-time sweet over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Have you ‘fall’en in love with a Disney Parks treat? Let us know in the comments below!

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Reservations Now Open for Narcoossee’s Waterfront Brunch

posted on September 15th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator

Imagine a blissfully indulgent, leisurely Sunday brunch with panoramic views of Seven Seas Lagoon. Relax and relish sophisticated flavors at Narcoossee’s Waterfront Brunch, which will take place Sunday mornings, beginning November 22.


Brunch begins with a specialty beverage—Champagne, Mimosa, or signature Bloody Mary for adults, a smoothie for children. A shared pastry basket is filled with house-made chocolate and traditional croissants, muffins, Danish, pecan sticky buns, Vermont cultured butter and seasonal jam.

Experience Narcoossee’s Waterfront Brunch Beginning Nov. 22 Experience Narcoossee’s Waterfront Brunch Beginning Nov. 22

Enjoy your choice of appetizer: Onion Soup Graitnee, Shrimp and Grits, Seafood Charcuterie, Artisanal Cheese Selection or Romaine Salad. For entrees, look for traditional brunch favorites, with a refined twist: Brioche French Toast, Lobster Eggs Benedict, Chicken and Waffles, Freshly Caught Seasonal Fish, Steak and Eggs and more. Complete your meal with a sweet ending—a trio of desserts.

Cost is $69 for adults, $41 for children, age 3-9. For Reservations, visit, or call 407-WDW-DINE.

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