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6 Tips From Disney Chefs for National ‘More Herbs, Less Salt Day’ Aug. 29

posted on August 28th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Who knew there’s a national day to remind us to step away from the salt shaker, meant to encourage us to reach for herbs instead of salt? The Disney chefs love the idea, and we’re sharing a few of their favorite tips.

Chef Christian Rumpler, Trattoria al Forno, Disney’s Boardwalk: “You could always liven up a dish with fresh parsley and oregano, but acidic flavors like lemon balm, lemongrass or something cool like lemon thyme are at the top of the list,” says Rumpler. He also recommends a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and flavored vinegars like apple cider vinegar. “Those flavors give you a punch of flavor without the salt.”

Chef Marcel St. Pierre, Steakhouse 55, Disneyland Hotel, Disneyland Resort: “Sorrel is my favorite substitution for salt, and one of my favorite perennial herbs,” says St. Pierre. “It adds a lightly sour taste with a little acidity to any dish.” He uses it at Steakhouse 55 to finish the fresh pasta tagliatelle. “It adds a surprising, refreshing lemony flavor, reducing the amount of salt needed to finish the dish.”

Executive Chef John State, Disneyland Resort: Cilantro is State’s favorite herb when there’s a need to cut salt. “Cilantro is bright and complements multiple cuisines, from Thai and Mexican to Indian and Middle Eastern.” It’s the acidity and fragrant aroma that are so appealing to the taste buds, says State. “Cilantro is rounded in flavor with lemony, floral, balanced acidity – and you can use it all, even the stem,” explains State.

Chef Dee Foundoukis, Le Cellier, Canada pavilion, Epcot World Showcase, Walt Disney World Resort: Foundoukis will give up her fleur de sel or truffle salt for a combination of fresh thyme and oregano. “That earthy feel-good adds so much flavor, it makes me forget about the salt – for a while,” says Foundoukis.

Chef Tim Keating, Flying Fish Cafe, Disney’s Boardwalk, Walt Disney World Resort: “That’s an easy one for us at Flying Fish,” says Keating. “We utilize classic French ‘fines herbes’ to amp up flavor and easily displace salt in salads, vinaigrettes, vegetable sautés and to crust our fish.” You can buy it dried, but their fresh, house-made mixture is a combination of half Italian flat-leaf parsley and half equal amounts of tarragon, chervil and chives, all finely chopped.

Chef Brian Piasecki, California Grill, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Walt Disney World Resort: “If I am making lighter foods like salads, flatbreads and appetizers, I like basil, cilantro, oregano, Italian flat parsley, onion sprouts and tops and even finely chopped radish tops (micro radish or wasabi),” says Piasecki. “These are great raw and delicate in flavor.” For cooked dishes, Piasecki goes for something heartier such as rosemary, thyme, and sage. “These hold up to the heat of cooking and are a bit stronger in flavor and infuse the food,” he explains.

Do you have a favorite herb to recommend when you’re cutting back on salt?

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

Disney Parks After Dark: Dusk at Disney’s BoardWalk

posted on August 27th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


The sun is just about to set on Disney’s BoardWalk and the Friendship Launch boats that speed guests to and from Epcot. What a lovely sky, isn’t it?

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Recipe: Chip’s Sticky Bun Bake from Garden Grill Restaurant at Epcot

posted on August 27th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Last month on the Disney Parks Blog, we announced breakfast would be coming to Garden Grill Restaurant beginning November 8. Today, I have a deliciously easy recipe to share from this new dining experience: Chip’s Sticky Bun Bake. This new signature item is ooey-gooey and sure to be something the whole family will love.

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For reservations, visit DisneyWorld.com/dine or call 407-WDW-DINE.

Chip’s Sticky Bun Bake from Garden Grill Restaurant at Epcot
Yield 6 – 8 servings

Cinnamon Smear

  • 1 1/4 cup margarine, softened
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs

Sweet Cinnamon Dough

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2/3 ounce cake (fresh) yeast, crumbled (approximately 3 tablespoons loosely packed)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 2 room temperature eggs

Icing

  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For cinnamon smear:

  1. Cream together margarine, cinnamon and brown sugar.
  2. Add eggs one at a time, scraping bowl after adding each egg. Mix well and place in refrigerator.

For sweet cinnamon dough:

  1. Heat milk in small sauce pan to 90 – 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat, add cake (fresh) yeast, whisk until dissolved, set aside.
  2. Mix sugar, butter, salt, cinnamon, eggs and flour in large bowl, until smooth.
  3. Add yeast mixture slowly, stirring until dough comes easily away from sides of bowl.
  4. Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Place dough in large bowl, cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest 10 minutes or until doubled in size.
  6. Coat bottom and sides of 12 inch cake pan or 9 x 13 inch pan with butter.
  7. Punch down dough, knead it a few times, roll out on a floured surface into a 15 by 10-inch rectangle.
  8. Spread cinnamon smear over dough. Roll up dough beginning at the 15-inch side and pinch edge together to seal.
  9. Cut into 1 inch slices, quarter each slice, place pieces close together in pan.
  10. Cover, let dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  11. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, bake about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

For icing:

  1. Mix milk, confectioners’ sugar, softened butter and vanilla extract together in a small bowl until smooth.
  2. Drizzle over warm bun.
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FastPass+ Reservations Now Available For Eat to the Beat Concerts During 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on August 26th, 2015 by Victoria Lim, Managing Editor, Walt Disney World Public Relations


If you enjoy toe-tapping tunes as much as tasty treats, you will love this: starting today, you can make FastPass+ reservations for the Eat to the Beat concert series. These nightly shows during the 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival span the decades of pop music.

Normal FastPass+ booking guidelines apply. Log onto My Disney Experience to secure a spot for your favorite performers up to 60 days in advance (plus your length of stay) for resort guests, and up to 30 days in advance for Annual Passholders.

David Cook to Perform at “Eat to the Beat” Concert Series

Catch season seven American Idol winner David Cook, who just released a new album. Swoon to Air Supply, which is celebrating 40 years as a duo. And can you believe, Wilson Phillips hit their first #1 single “Hold On” 25 years ago?

The shows are at 5:30, 6:45, and 8 p.m. each night of the Festival. Look for the FastPass+ line at the American Garden Theatre at least 20 minutes before each show, and from there you’ll be led to your special seating area.

Here’s a complete lineup of bands. Which performer are you most excited to see?

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Some Favorite Ways to Experience Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Sept. 25-Nov. 16

posted on August 25th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


We’re counting down the days and deciding the best ways to take advantage of all the food, wine, celebrity chefs, live music and more at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

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Looking ahead, here are three ideas to maximize your fun. We love the idea of the new 20th Festival Tasting Sampler that gives you a credential (and a cool collectible pin) to taste your way around the fest. For $59 you get your choice of eight tastes of food or beverages at all of the 30 marketplaces plus priority seating at the nightly Eat to the Beat concert.

Your credential will include ideas for pairing a dish and a drink at the marketplaces – we’re excited to try some of the new dishes such as the pepper bacon mac ‘n’ cheese paired with a hard cider at Farm Fresh Marketplace (both new); lamb meatball with spicy tomato chutney and a pinot noir at New Zealand (both new), and the butter chicken with naan bread with a chenin blanc in Africa. There are 29 new dishes this year, and 72 new cocktails, beers, wines and ciders!

We’ve always had fun at Eat to the Beat, and this year’s dining package includes lunch or dinner at 13 different restaurants from Coral Reef Restaurant and The Garden Grill in Future World to France, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Japan, Morocco and United Kingdom. This is a nice “plan ahead” experience.

Price varies by restaurant, starting at $34.99 for lunch and includes appetizer, entrée, dessert and drink or buffets. And then you get guaranteed seating at the 5:30 p.m. Eat to the Beat concert for lunch reservations, and the 6:45 or 8 p.m. show for lunch or dinner.

Fan favorites are back on the America Gardens Theatre stage, including Wilson Phillips, Smash Mouth, The Pointer Sisters, Jo Dee Messina, Boyz II Men and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. And there are four new acts in the concert series lineup — Tiffany, Everclear, Maxi Priest and Chaka Khan.

For a really special treat, set aside a week for the Food & Wine Premium Package that gives you VIP treatment from noon- 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday at the festival. Eleven shaded “Premium Package” areas are reserved for a spot to eat, drink and relax, and you get to choose an IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party to attend, as well as a Festival Center culinary demo or beverage seminar.

Cost is $199, and you also get a gift bag with your own wine glass, a bottle of 20th celebration festival wine, a Food & Wine Fest-themed MagicBand and four food tickets for food or beverage from festival marketplaces.

For reservations, call 407-939-3378. Admission to Epcot is required.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Epcot, MagicBands, MyMagic+, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

Happy National Waffle Day from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

posted on August 24th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Happy National Waffle Day from Disney Parks Food and Beverage! What better way to indulge on this delicious holiday than with one of our top 8 waffles from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts:

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  1. Mickey Waffles
    Look for these breakfast classics are resort hotels across property, and at Plaza Inn at Disneyland park.
  2. Buffalo Chicken Waffle Slider from Trilo-Bites at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
    This fiery new snack is simply wild!
  3. Waffle Cone from Clarabelle’s Hand Scooped Ice Cream at Disney California Adventure park
    Cool down with this sweet, hand-scopped treat.
  4. Waffle Sandwiches from Sleepy Hollow in Magic Kingdom Park
    Go sweet with the fruit and Nutella waffle sandwich, or try one of the savory lunchtime waffle sandwiches—either way you can’t go wrong.
  5. Waffle Fries at Golden Oak Outpost in Magic Kingdom Park
    Creative toppings make these waffle fries a tasty meal.
  6. Sweet and Savory Waffles from the Belgium Global Marketplace at Epcot International Food and Wine Festival
    Try the Belgian waffle topped with berries or chocolate ganache and whipped cream for dessert or the Potato and Leek Waffle with beer-braised beef and smoked gouda cream for a hearty snack when the festival returns on September 25.
  7. Maple Waffle Breakfast Cone from BoardWalk Bakery
    A practically perfect breakfast on the go.
  8. Buffalo Chicken and Cornbread Waffles from the Fantasy Fare Food Truck at Downtown Disney
    This sweet and spicy treat is sure to satisfy.

What’s your favorite Disney Parks waffle? Let us know in the comments below!

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney Dining, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Epcot, Hotels & Resorts, Magic Kingdom, Special Events, Top Stories, Walt Disney World Resort

Tickets Going Fast for Rockin’ Burger Block Party, Yelloween Masquerade Party

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


While it’s still summertime, tickets are selling fast for special events at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, opening September 25 for 53 days of fun, through November 16.

If you’re picking and choosing from the hundreds of special events and culinary demos, here are two all-new parties for 2015 – and tickets are going fast.

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If you love a designer burger, the Rockin’ Burger Block Party in World ShowPlace lets you pick and choose from more than a dozen sliders at each party – where to begin? How about a coffee-crusted beef short rib burger topped with smoked Gouda, garlic potato string and sangria ketchup? Or a spiced lamb burger topped with feta, pickled watermelon rind and za’atar aioli. Go all out with the mixed grill burger topped with fried egg, bacon grease fries and nacho cheese sauce.

If you’re not a meat fan, there’s still plenty to choose from, such as a shrimp and scallop burger topped with spicy Thai slaw and cilantro-lime mayo (with a side of smoked sea-salted fried edamame), or a grilled grouper patty topped with butter lettuce, vine-ripened tomato and lime aioli.

Along with the burgers, there are finger foods like spicy-sticky pig wings, veggie pot stickers and cheeseburger spring rolls. Mini-rolls, perfect for a bite or two, include moonshine barbecued meatballs, chickpea and roasted corn fritters and Caribbean spiced seafood cakes.

Sweet endings are over the top, too: cinnamon roll fireball bread pudding with cream cheese glaze, snickerdoodle-crusted apple custard crisp and Valrhona chocolate ganache brownies.

It’s an all-you-care-to-eat affair, with burgers paired with craft beers, wines, cocktails and more. And you can burn a few calories – there’s a DJ, so you can shimmy or quick step your way to the next gourmet burger station. (A fun twist: you get to vote on the best burger of the night.)

Dates are September 25, October 8 and November 6 from 7-9 p.m., with hosts of ABC’s “The Chew” joining the fun on October 8. 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.

And for one night only, we’re planning our chic yellow and black costume for the elegant Yelloween Masquerade Party, a very special Party for the Senses from 7-9:30 p.m. Octpber 31 in celebration of Halloween. “Yelloween” is a reference to the night’s top pour – golden Champagne. Think elegant, and plan to eat, drink and party the night away with special entertainment. Cost is $169 plus tax general admission; $199 plus tax for a reserved table on the main floor with specialty cocktail toast, and $319 plus tax for a private reserved table, early entrance at 6:45 p.m., specialty cocktail toast, artisanal cheese station and more.

For reservations to these and other special events, call 407-939-3378. Admission to Epcot is required.

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Enter ‘The Chew’s’ Sweepstakes for a Chance to Win a Trip to 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on August 19th, 2015 by Victoria Lim, Managing Editor, Walt Disney World Public Relations


Want a chance to win a trip to Walt Disney World Resort during our most delicious time of year?

We’re thrilled the Emmy award-winning ABC hit show “The Chew” is joining us for the 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – and they are giving you (and three of your guests) a chance to win a visit too.

The Chew’s Magical Culinary Adventure Sweepstakes includes a visit to Walt Disney World Resort during the week of October 8-12, 2015, the opportunity to attend a live taping of The Chew, a stay at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort (within walking distance of Epcot), and a chance to dine at one of our newest restaurants in Downtown DisneyThe BOATHOUSE. You’ll even get to ride an amphicar.

More than 30 marketplace experiences will be served up for this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, including new tasting areas in Future World. That’s where you’ll sip, savor and sample in the Sustainable Chew Marketplace, which will offer dishes inspired by the show. At Chew Lab, food and science meet to create hot culinary tech trend treats like the Liquid Nitro Chocolate Almond Truffle with Warm Whiskey Caramel.

Also on the menu for the Festival’s 53 days (September 25-November 16), we’re bringing back some guest favorites from the two decades of the event, the Dominican Republic Marketplace returns, and you can rock out to live music during the Eat to the Beat concerts.

You have until September 18th to enter.

What better combination than food, foodies, and fans of food and foodies to celebrate 20 delicious years?

Good luck!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on 9/18/15. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. & D.C., 18 years of age or older. Grand Prize winner must travel between October 8 – 12, 2015. See Official Rules for full details including entry requirements, eligibility restrictions, prize description & limitations. Void where prohibited.

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#DisneyFamilia: Traveling Around the World and to The Future at Epcot

posted on August 19th, 2015 by Sarah Domenech, International Public Relations Manager


When people ask me which is my favorite theme park at Walt Disney World Resort, I can never give a definite answer. But I always say that Epcot is the park that I go to most often. Por qué (why)?

Because it’s the only place on Earth that you can walk around the ‘world’ and glimpse into the future at the same time.

In this week’s “Sonia’s Best of Walt Disney World” video, blogger Sonia Gil explores this unique theme park and shows you her favorite spots in World Showcase, where 11 countries celebrate their cultural heritage, arts and entretenimiento. She also talks about her favorite attractions, and things to do at Future World, a land filled with technology and innovation.

One of the things that I love most about Epcot is that it was inspired by what Walt Disney envisioned for it: a showcase for innovation, and a place for guests to celebrate human achievement and experience cutting edge technology. That is the heart of the theme park.

By the way, do you know what Epcot originally stood for?

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Top 10 Things I Discovered at the D23 EXPO 2015

posted on August 18th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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The D23 EXPO 2015 was a blast! There were incredible announcements of upcoming projects throughout the Walt Disney Company (the seven year old me can’t believe that Star Wars Land will be a real place). Besides those major announcements, I wanted to share the top 10 things I discovered during my visit this year.

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I Need to Step Up My Aloha Shirt Collection
Being a long time fan of Aloha shirts, I loved seeing John Lasseter’s Studio Collection on display. In 1999, designer Reyn Spooner created a custom shirt for John featuring art and characters from Disney-Pixar’sToy Story 2.” The tradition continues today with shirts for the newest animated features including “Inside Out.”

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Incredible Displays
Located nearby the shirt display, I found this wall of Pixar balls (above). The décor found throughout the Expo was over-the-top. I’d love to recreate something like this wall in a future home.

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DisneyNature “Born in China”
Ever since I was an attraction manager at China Pavilion in World Showcase at Epcot, I’ve dreamed of visiting China. I look forward to seeing DisneyNature “Born in China” coming soon to theatres. You can see the trailer here

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Caring at the Disney Citizenship Pavilion
I loved watching Disney fans make care kits at the Disney Citizenship Pavilion. This pavilion showed what Disney is doing to inspire kids and families to think creatively, live healthier, conserve nature, and strengthen our communities.

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Disney Infinity 3.0
I’m beyond excited for Disney Infinity 3.0 which debuts on August 30 this year. I loved seeing a full size image of Sam Flynn from Disney’s “TRON: Legacy” that will be a new figure released later this month. Stay tuned for additional details about an early launch party at Once Upon a Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace on August 28.

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Gravity Falls Mystery Shack
There was a full scale recreation of the Mystery Shack from Gravity Falls. I wanted to take everything home with me. A brand new episode debuts on Monday, August 24 at 8:30 p.m. on Disney XD. I can’t wait!

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Quest for Trading Cards
Since I spent 7 ½ years as Project Manager for Disney Trading, I was delighted to see trading cards at the D23 Expo. They were part of a Trading Card Quest presented by Disney Visa Card. Fans received a starter pack of cards, and could search for opportunities to collect different cards from locations all over the show floor. I even watched Disney Fans trading cards in my hotel lobby.

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Disney Dream Store
I visited the Disney Dream Store a few times. The 3-foot Vinylmation Haunted Mansion-inspired figure by artist Javier Soto was impressive.

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D23 EXPO Design Challenge
I was also impressed with the D23 EXPO Design Challenge that my fellow author Jeffrey Epstein first discussed in March 2015. In honor of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, artists were invited to craft their own interpretation of Sleeping Beauty Castle. The image above contains just a few pieces I enjoyed seeing.

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The People Who Make the Dream a Reality
My favorite thing I learned attending the D23 EXPO 2015 is Disney fans are incredible people! While I enjoyed seeing a Nav’i from the upcoming Pandora – The World of AVATAR coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I loved meeting people who love Disney as much as me. The costumes some fans wore, such as the one my friend Mary Jo made to honor newly inducted Disney Legend Julie Reihm Casaletto, were outstanding. Stay tuned for a closer look at some of those costumes in a future Disney Parks Blog article.

What was your favorite part of the D23 EXPO this year? Please share in the comments below.

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Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort