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Shutters at Old Port Royale: A Hidden Disney Dining Gem

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


Recently, I was lucky to have Chef Scott Tosh at Shutters at Old Port Royale guide me through dinner at the beachy restaurant located at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.

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The appetizers brought a taste of the islands: barbecue shrimp and grits, chicken wings, braised beef and pepper jack cheese empanada. Of course, I had to try Chef Scott’s favorite dish on the menu—pan-seared crab cakes. The mango mayo is one of his personal recipes.

Barbecue Shrimp and Grits from Shutters at Old Port Royale at Walt Disney World Resort Chicken Wings from Shutters at Old Port Royale at Walt Disney World Resort Braised Beef and Pepper Jack Cheese Empanada from Shutters at Old Port Royale at Walt Disney World Resort Pan-Seared Crab Cakes from Shutters at Old Port Royale at Walt Disney World Resort

The entrees I sampled were like a tropical getaway: Caribbean-spiced pork, osso buco, island pasta with shrimp, garlic-lime-seared chicken breast, today’s sustainable fish, and the char-crusted 10-oz New York strip. The outer crust of the New York strip seals in the juices and enhances the flavor with the chimmichurri sauce and smoked Gouda macaroni and cheese.

Osso Buco from Shutters at Old Port Royale at Walt Disney World Resort Char-Crusted New York strip from Shutters at Old Port Royale at Walt Disney World Resort Sustainable Fish Dish from Shutters at Old Port Royale at Walt Disney World Resort Island Pasta with Shrimp from Shutters at Old Port Royale at Walt Disney World Resort

By now, you’re probably aware that I have quite the sweet tooth, so it should be no surprise to learn that I had to sample every dessert on the menu. The decadent Shutters chocolate cake served with a rich chocolate pate, the vanilla cheesecake topped with a banana brûlée, the tres leches cake topped with toasted coconut, and my favorite—the warm cinnamon white chocolate bread pudding.

Tres Leches Cake from Shutters at Old Port Royale at Walt Disney World Resort Warm Cinnamon White Chocolate Bread Pudding from Shutters at Old Port Royale at Walt Disney World Resort Vanilla Cheesecake Topped with a Banana Brûlée from Shutters at Old Port Royale at Walt Disney World Resort No Sugar Added Mango and Vanilla Custard from Shutters at Old Port Royale at Walt Disney World Resort

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

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

Victoria & Albert’s Chef Scott Hunnel Nominated for 2015 James Beard Award

posted on February 26th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Congrats to Chef Scott Hunnel, a semi-finalist for the prestigious Best Chef award for the South Region by the James Beard Foundation. Chef Hunnel leads the team at Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (already a AAA Five-Diamond winner).

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He’s among 20 chefs from Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Puerto Rico nominated for the honor. The final ballot will be announced on March 24, with chefs chosen by regional judges. Winners will be announced in Chicago on May 4.

With only 53 coveted seats in the dining room, plus the opulent (and even smaller) Queen Victoria’s Room and private Chef’s Table in the kitchen, Chef Scott sources the freshest seasonal ingredients from around the globe in a menu that changes daily.

Good luck, Chef Scott!

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

#DisneyKids: Experience the Ultimate Day for Young Families VIP Tour

posted on February 26th, 2015 by Russ J. Stacey, Writer, Yellow Shoes Creative Group


Carpe diem. Seize the day.

That’s exactly what you can do on an Ultimate VIP Tour. Imagine experiencing cherished attractions at three theme parks with fast-tracked access, private transportation and a Table-Service lunch in one of the parks, all in one day — accompanied by a cast member with detailed knowledge of Disney lore.

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I recently got the opportunity to go on The Ultimate Day for Young Families VIP Tour, one of two new offerings from VIP Tour Services (The Ultimate Day of Thrills being the other), so I of course jumped at the chance.

Tomorrowland Terrace at Magic Kingdom Park is the starting point for the tour. Tracy, our Tour Guide, handed out bottles of water to keep everyone hydrated and took lunch orders. From there, we headed to Magic Carpets of Aladdin to begin our journey. We hit some classics, including Pirates of the Caribbean and Peter Pan’s Flight, and newer highpoints like Under the Sea~Journey of the Little Mermaid. Then it was off to Disney’s Hollywood Studios (yay Toy Story Midway Mania!), via private van, that included a yummy sit-down lunch at a reserved table. The tour ended on a high note at Disney’s Animal Kingdom with front row seats at Festival of the Lion King, about as close as you can get to this beloved Broadway-style show without being in it.

WDW Attractions Lifestyle Shoot

Entering via the FastPass+ lines made for minimal waiting. Tracy was also in constant contact with Brian, our coordinator, who stayed ahead to ensure everything went smoothly. Patient, personable and well versed in all things Disney, Tracy shared trivia, helpful hints and background information along the way, like giving Toy Story Midway Mania! point-scoring tips and pointing out a hidden Mickey in the flamingo pool on Kilimanjaro Safaris. What a fascinating window into the magic.

In all, we enjoyed 11 attractions in three parks — with plenty of sunshine left at the end to go exploring on our own — accomplishing a lot but never feeling rushed. A steady pace kept us on schedule. It’s a unique, specialized way to splurge on yourself and loved ones, especially if you’re pressed for time.

And though designed with mild thrills for families with children under 10 years old, don’t let the name fool you. The Ultimate Day for Young Families is not just for the little ones. In fact, Tracy said adults frequently enjoy the tour sans kids. In other words, everyone’s the right age. Because fun never goes out of style.

This unforgettable guided adventure (that feels intimate since there is one Tour Guide per every 10 people) through some of your kids’ (and your) favorites while spending less time in line is worth the memories. Heck, maybe you’ll discover something new in the process. I did. Okay, I admit it: Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin was a first for me. What a blast (pun intended)! No wonder it’s so popular.

The tour is offered Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays and lasts six to seven hours. Attractions and entertainment offerings subject to change. The cost is $299 per person, plus tax (theme park admission not included). Call 407-WDW-TOUR (939-8687) for reservations. You can also access the online VIP Tour Services brochure here for more info

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, FastPass+, Magic Kingdom, MyMagic+, Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World Resort

New Cinderella Premium Popcorn Bucket Coming to Disney Parks

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


It looks like Fairy Godmother has turned a popcorn scoop into Cinderella’s carriage!

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Just in time for the release of Disney’s live-action film “Cinderella” in March, the new Cinderella premium popcorn bucket is coming soon to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort. This specialty souvenir will also be available at the Disneyland Resort later this spring.

You’ll never have to worry about being late to the ball, because now you can take your royal coach with you. Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo!

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Filed: Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

Mickey Check Makes its Way to Disney Ships

posted on February 25th, 2015 by Rebecca Peddie, Manager, Public Affairs


Just because you take a vacation with your family doesn’t mean you have to take a vacation from healthy eating.

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Mickey Check meals are now offered on children’s menus aboard all four Disney Cruise Line ships.

The Mickey Check is a tool that makes it easier for parents and kids to identify nutritious choices. Mickey Check meals meet Disney Nutrition Guidelines and feature three or more nutritious food groups such as vegetables, whole grains or lean protein.

Disney chefs are experts in both taste and presentation, especially when it comes to taking healthy food and making it fun and delicious for our youngest guests.

Immersive dining experiences at Disney Parks and on Disney cruise ships blend cuisine with storytelling in a way that only Disney can. Whether it’s a quick meal on the go, a character dining experience or an exquisite adults-only dinner at Remy, cruise guests will find a range of food and beverage options to satisfy their exotic, health conscious and even comfort-food tastes.

Why not kick-start healthy living in your own kitchen? Here’s a recipe for a Mickey Check meal featured at sea that you can prepare as a family at home:

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Grilled Chicken Skewer with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli Florets and Fruit Salad
Portions: 5
Skill Level: Easy
Time: 40 minutes

Chicken Skewer

  • 15 oz. boneless skinless breast cut into 1 oz. cubes
  • 10 ea. zucchini squares cut 1 ½” square (just the outer skin)
  • 10 ea. red bell pepper squares cut 1 ½” square (just the outside of the pepper)
  • 1 tbsp. Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 oz. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/16 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 5 each 6” bamboo skewers soaked in water

In a stainless steel mixing bowl combine the chicken breast, chopped parsley, half of the olive oil and half of the salt and black pepper. Toss the chicken to coat evenly. In a separate bowl combine the red bell pepper squares, zucchini squares and remainder of the oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly. Each skewer will have 2 pieces of the zucchini, 2 pieces of the red bell pepper and 3 each of the chicken cubes assembled in the following order; red bell pepper, chicken cube, zucchini, chicken cube, red bell pepper, chicken cube, zucchini. Place the chicken on a pre-heated grill and cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. One portion is one cooked chicken skewer.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 20 ea. sweet potato battonet sticks (cut 1/2”high x 1/2” wide x 2 ½” long)
  • 1 oz. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt

In a stainless steel mixing bowl toss the sweet potato battonets together with the salt, black pepper and olive oil and toss to coat evenly. Lay the sweet potato battonets on a baking sheet and cook in a 375oF oven for 12-15 minutes until tender. One portion is 4 pieces of the roasted sweet potato battonet.

Steamed Broccoli

  • 20 oz. trimmed broccoli florets

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place the broccoli in the boiling water and cook until slightly tender. Remove from the water. One portion is 4 oz. of the cooked broccoli.

Fruit Salad

  • 5 oz. honeydew cut 1” cubes
  • 5 oz. cantaloupe cut 1” cubes
  • 5 oz. pineapple cut 1” cubes

In 5 individual bowls, place 1 oz. of each of the cubed honeydew, cantaloupe and pineapple. Each individual bowl is one portion.

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Luck is on Your Disney Side this March at Disney Parks

posted on February 24th, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


This March, think green and luck is sure to be on your Disney Side! Here are a few ways you can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at Disney Parks.

Look for a specialty gourmet apple inspired by St. Patrick’s Day: dipped in caramel, enrobed in sweet milk chocolate, decorated with green sanding sugar and yellow jelly beans topped with a marshmallow hat.

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Your luck continues with the re-introduction of March’s Triple Chocolate gourmet apple. This chocolatey confection has been dipped in creamy caramel, enrobed in sweet milk chocolate, rolled in a mixture of semi-sweet chocolate chips and white chocolate chips and drizzled with milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate. Fun Fact: This apple has been the #1 favorite among you, our Disney Parks fans for the past two years. Will its luck continue or will you choose another? Only time will tell. Mark your calendar for March 1, as these divinely delectable treats will go fast. Find them at Candy Palace on Main Street, U.S.A., in Disneyland park; Trolley Treats on Buena Vista Street in Disney California Adventure park; and Marceline’s Confectionery in the Downtown Disney District.

Perhaps our ‘lucky’ Mickey Mouse plush will help you find that pot of gold you’ve been looking for and the luck of the Irish will be on your side. This year’s brand-new St. Patrick’s Day pin features none other than Jessica Rabbit — a good luck charm.

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Don’t miss out — The plush and pin are available now at select locations at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts!

Which Disney Parks merchandise will be lucky enough to go home with you?

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New Menu Items Coming to Downtown Disney Food Trucks

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


The fleet of Disney Food Trucks may have settled into their new home, Exposition Park at Downtown Disney West Side, but their menus continue to evolve.

Superstar Catering, the food truck inspired by Disney’s Hollywood Studios, is getting a brand-new menu. Look for a pork shank served with Gruyere macaroni and cheese and a sausage and caramelized onion flatbread. My favorite on the menu? ‘A Taste of Hollywood Studios,’ which features samplings of the BLT Soup from Sci-Fi Dine-In Restaurant and the Famous Cobb Salad and mini grapefruit cake from The Hollywood Brown Derby.

Game Day Chicken and Waffles

On the Fantasy Fare food truck, look for Game Day Chicken and Waffles — Buffalo-style chicken with Sriracha maple and blue cheese sauce, served with cornbread waffles. Also new to the lineup: sweet potato puffs topped with marshmallow cream and candied pecans; these tasty bites are not to be missed. In addition to these goodies, the classic hand-dipped corndog and grilled ham and cheese sandwiches are now served with waffle fries.

Have you visited the Disney Food Trucks at Exposition Park yet? Which is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below.

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New Tastes on Menu at Raglan Road Just in Time for St. Paddy’s

posted on February 23rd, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Hard to believe it’s been nearly 10 years since Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant opened its doors at Downtown Disney, and the food just keeps getting better. Under the creative eye of Irish Master Chef Kevin Dundon, the kitchen with Chef Heberto Segura continues to shine a spotlight on the very best of Irish food and drink with a focus on seasonal ingredients.

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The spring menu debuts just in time for the Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival March 13-17 (for more info about live music, Irish dance, face painting and other activities, go to www.raglanroad.com).

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We got a taste of the new dishes and craft cocktails, starting with the Rollicking Raglan Weekend Brunch (10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays). Each brunch starts with a complimentary sip of Suave Smoothie, a new seasonal drink with fresh fruit and honey yogurt. Heartier is the Pork Hash Tagged, a generous plate of potato hash with bits of crispy braised pork belly topped with fried eggs and a dollop of shallot puree. Heartiest is Ellis Isle Steak ‘n Eggs, featuring a grilled New York strip steak, roast potatoes and poached eggs that are fried and battered for a whole new taste sensation. If you prefer light, go for the Smoked Salmon Potato Cakes with beautiful smoked salmon atop thin potato cakes (made with mashed potatoes) with crème fraiche and a drizzle of caper dill vinaigrette. A beautiful Irish farmhouse cheese platter rounds out the brunch additions.

Three new items join the lunch and dinner menus. Cod Cornucopia stars perfectly pan-roasted cod with crispy skin atop warm potato salad and a drizzle of chorizo vinaigrette. (Fish is flown in three times a week from Boston, according to Chef Heberto.) Proud Pork is a generous grilled chop with traditional colcannon potato mash with cabbage, buttermilk and onion. The cider port jus took the chops over the top. The table favorite was the Double Joint, a cowboy cut rib-eye steak served with duck fat fries, roast veggies and a lightly dressed salad. Add béarnaise or red wine jus, both served on the side.

New cocktails compete with popular Irish beers and whiskies, all made with cold-pressed organic juices for delightful sipping: grapefruit gin and tonic; Strawberry Fields with Prosecco and vodka (brunch only); Ginger Mojito; Smoking Margarita with tequila and Irish whiskey are just a few gems.

Raglan Road is a true slice of Ireland in a lovely setting with antique bars and Irish antiques, and live Irish music nightly. For reservations, call 407-938-0300.

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Happy National Margarita Day!

posted on February 21st, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


With National Margarita Day just around the corner on February 22, I wanted to share some of my favorite unique margaritas across Walt Disney World Resort.

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At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, head over to The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge, where you can enjoy the ‘Citizens Take Flight’ tasting of three margaritas on the charming patio. These sips have character! Sample Bucky Greenhorn’s Derby Margarita, Melivan Macheezmo’s Mango Margarita, and Ready Freddy Fiddlesticks Pomegranate Margarita.

While Cava del Tequila will be a popular spot on National Margarita Day, I enjoy gazing out at World Showcase lagoon at La Hacienda de San Angel while sipping on an Orange Mango Fire Margarita, premium silver agave tequila, ginger liqueur, orange juice, mango puree, fresh lime juice and a hint of Tabasco sauce, served on the rocks with a Tajin chili powder rim. Another delightful take on the margarita is the Italian Margarita found at Gelati in the Italy Pavilion, crafted with frozen limoncello and grappa.

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Parks aren’t the only places you can find one of these satisfyingly sour sips, pick up a drink at BoardWalk Joe’s Marvelous Margaritas for a leisurely stroll around the BoardWalk on a hot day.

Relax after a day in the parks at Rix Lounge at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Their Margarita Flight lets guests sample their five handcrafted margaritas: mango blueberry basil, classic, hibiscus, pineapple and jalapeno.

At Whispering Canyon Cafe, you can sip on a Moonshine Margarita made with Troy & Sons Platinum Moonshine, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, fresh lime juice and agave nectar topped with soda water.

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Across property, try the Grand Margarita, with Jose Cuervo Gold Tequila, Grand Marnier, fresh lime juice and sweet-and sour, available at most pool bars. Another popular sip is the Habañero Lime Margarita, on the menu at several lounges and restaurants.

In the “spirit” of National Margarita Day: Coming this spring, look for a new place to enjoy an adult beverage while watching the sunset at Downtown Disney Marketplace.

How will you celebrate National Margarita Day?

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

Food Vies with Flowers at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

posted on February 17th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


For some of us, the Outdoor Kitchens are our first destination at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, 75 days to munch and learn from March 4-May 17.

American Barbecue Adventure at Epcot Garden Fest

It’s the third year for the Outdoor Kitchens around World Showcase Lagoon, and the garden- and spring-inspired tapas-sized food and beverages just get more and more interesting. The new Botanas Botánico Outdoor Kitchen between France and Morocco pavilions will showcase treats like Cachapas with Farmer’s Cheese, a sweet yellow corn pancake, and Seafood Ceviche with shrimp, scallops and grouper with mango and avocado.

Shrimp and Stone-Ground Grits at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival Frushi at Hanami at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

“It’s so much fun coming up with creative new flavors to wow our guests,” says Chef Gregg Hannon, Epcot executive chef. He mentions Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapeños at The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews Outdoor Kitchen, and the Quinoa Vegetable Naanwich with arugula pesto and oven-dried tomatoes at Urban Farm Eats.

Berry Tea Cocktail at Pineapple Promenade at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival Beijing Candied Strawberries at Lotus House at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Especially appealing are flavors inspired by fruits and veggies, like the Frozen Desert Violet Lemonade, Sparkling Pineapple Wine and Berry Tea Cocktail at Pineapple Promenade; the Macaron Guimauve à la Fraise (strawberry marshmallow macaron) at the Fleur De Lys; the vegetarian Falafel with Cucumber Tomato Salad and Tahini at Taste of Marrakesh; Frushi (fresh pineapple, strawberry and melon rolled with raspberry coconut rice, sprinkled with toasted coconut and whipped cream) at Hanami; Limoncello Panna Cotta (gluten free and vegetarian) at Primavera Kitchen; Watermelon Salad with Pickled Onions, Baby Arugula and Feta Cheese and the Florida Blueberry and Lemon Curd Tart (vegetarian) at Florida Fresh; Beijing Candied Strawberries at Lotus House; and Kale Salad with Dried Cherries, Almonds and Goat Cheese (gluten free and vegetarian) at Urban Farm Eats.

Hungry yet? Protein fans will love everything from Confit de Canard (pulled duck confit) at Fleur De Lys to a spicy hot dog with pineapple chutney and sriracha mayo at Pineapple Promenade. There’s Harissa Chicken at Taste of Marrakesh and a Pulled Pig Slider at The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews. Florida Fresh will serve up hearty Shrimp and Stone-Ground Grits with Andouille Sausage and Jardin de Fiestas has tacos with achiote marinated pork.

Look for our next post on all the fun beverages!

For more information, call 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639) or go to epcotinspring.com. The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.

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