Halloween Time at Disneyland Resort

New Quick Bites at Two Epcot Restaurants

posted on September 24th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


When you’re on the run, it’s fun to find creative quick-service eats – and two Epcot restaurants are upping their games with diverse new menu items.

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In World Showcase, American Adventure’s Liberty Inn has four new dishes. The Red, White and Blue Salad features field greens, Ocean Spray craisins, pecans, apples and blue cheese with a sherry vinaigrette ($7.99). The burger gets an inspired makeover with “Surf and Turf” flavors: 1/3-pound Angus burger stacked with a house-made crab cake and spicy tartar sauce ($11.49). Or keep it simple with the Maryland Crab Cakes with a side of Old Bay fries ($10.99). Louisiana-style Shrimp is served in a creamy Cajun tomato broth with roasted green peppers and onions and served over hot rice ($9.99).

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In Future World, the popular Electric Umbrella adds a French Dip Burger – a hefty 1/3-pound Angus burger topped with beef brisket, crispy onions and Muenster cheese ($10.99). The Sausage and Pepper Sandwich is another generous meal with slowly-stewed Italian sausage, peppers, onions, tomatoes and Provolone cheese ($9.49). The lighter Veggie Naan Wich features broccoli slaw and edamame with a drizzle of tofu wasabi dressing on warm naan bread ($9.49). And for chocolate fans, there’s a new chocolate cupcake, just simple and sweet.

Have you tried any of these new quick bites?

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A Special ‘Dinner & A Show’ Offer Featuring ‘La Nouba’ Makes Fall Even More Delicious at Downtown Disney

posted on September 23rd, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


I’ve written about La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil here on the Disney Parks Blog before. New Clowns? Covered. A backstage VIP Tour dubbed L’Experience? Check. That said, this might be my most delicious update yet …

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On sale now, with shows starting on Tuesday, September 30, guests can purchase a special “Dinner & A Show” package that include a ticket to the 6:00 p.m. “La Nouba” show plus dinner – an entrée, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage – at one of three Downtown Disney West Side restaurants: Wolfgang Puck Café, Planet Hollywood or Splitsville Luxury Lanes. With an option to dine by 4:30 p.m. before the show, or make it a later evening with a post-performance dinner after 8:00 p.m., there’s an option for everyone.

Fall has always been my favorite time of year in Florida, and with this special offer, it’s just one more reason to love the season. Though I’ve seen the show a few times, with prices starting at just $99, I may need to see it again!

Ready to book? Click here for full offer details and to purchase.


For more about “La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil” at Walt Disney World Resort, visit the posts below:

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New Menu for Victoria Falls at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

posted on September 22nd, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Just a flight of steps down from the beautiful lobby of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Victoria Falls Lounge is a fun spot for cocktails or a great glass of South African wine. A new menu adds flavors of Africa and India from the resort’s various restaurants – substantial bites to pair with beverages.

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The lounge’s name, by the way, comes from Africa’s breath-taking Victoria Falls, sighted in 1855 by David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary and explorer who named the magnificent falls in honor of Queen Victoria. (For a little trivia, the indigenous name is Mosi-oa-Tunya, or “the smoke that thunders.”)

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A sumptuous plate of artisanal cheeses features Valdeon blue cheese, Petit Agour sheep’s milk cheese & Cabot Clothbound Cheddar with Marcona almonds, honeycomb, Egyptian flowers & wild strawberry gastrique. Messy-but-delicious tandoori-spiced chicken wings are flavored with garam masala, garlic, ginger, lemon, cloves, cinnamon and served with kicky sambal sour cream. Ditto the pork “wings,” served with tamarind barbecue sauce, crispy onions and cilantro.

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Peri Peri Scallops features four pan-fried scallops with mealie pap (we Southerners call this grits), bacon lardons, coriander and chile butter. Another hot tapas is crispy chickpea bites, bite-sized fritters served with sag dahl, Tunisian olive oil, lemon balm, roasted eggplant salad and sautéed feta cheese.

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Perfect for sharing, the African-inspired tapas is a generous assortment of dates, cumin green olives, sambal Calamata olives, Bresaola, sea salt pistachios, preserved lemon artichoke hearts, with dried banana and pumpkin seed crisps.

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One of our favorites is the breads & spreads: oak-grilled pappadam, South African sea salt crisps, wheat pita and house-made lavosh served with hummus, mango chutney, lentil spinach and citrus spread.

It’s easy, no reservations, just stop by and grab a seat at the bar or a table.

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Halloween Time Treats at the Disneyland Resort

posted on September 19th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Here’s your first look at some of the delectable and delightfully wicked treats debuting this year as part of Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort.

Candy Corn Apple

There’s nothing “corny” about this year’s candy corn apple, which has been covered in caramel, enrobed in dark chocolate and adorned with candy corn pieces.

The delectable Bat Cake Pop is available in chocolate, vanilla or red velvet and is covered in dark chocolate and then adorned with black licorice wings and red chocolate eyes.

Mummy Crispy

Be sure to tell your Mummy about this next one! The traditional Mickey Mouse crispy treat has been laced in white chocolate, creating a mummy effect, complete with candy-coated chocolate eyes peering from underneath the bandages.

Make delicious magic with the Pumpkin Marshmallow Wand — stacked jack o’ lantern faces made with fluffy marshmallows, creamy caramel, white chocolate and orange sanding sugar.

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Guys and ghouls will need to make “time” for the Haunted Mansion Clock Crispy, dipped in dark chocolate and decorated with green and white vanilla-flavored chocolate, creating the classic image of the Haunted Mansion clock.

Look for these items and more, including the October gourmet apple of the month “Dirt and Worms” at Candy Palace on Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland park; Trolley Treats in Disney California Adventure Park; and Marceline’s Confectionery in the Downtown Disney District.

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New Wearable Disney Gift Card Designed for Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on September 19th, 2014 by Virginia Scanlon, Manager Alliance Management, Disney Gift Card Services


When visiting the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, complete your experience with our new wearable Disney Gift Card created especially for this year’s event.

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In addition to the many features of a Disney Gift Card, this year’s Festival-themed card comes with a wristband to ensure quick and easy access for convenience at festival kiosks. Activate your Disney Gift Card with as little as $15 and just swipe to pay as you sample your favorite food and beverages throughout the event.

The fun doesn’t have to end after the festival! Reload your Disney Gift Card on property and use it for practically all things Disney throughout Walt Disney World Resort and at other Disney destinations nationwide.

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For more about this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival presented by Chase, visit the posts blow:

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Our Top 10 New Tastes for 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

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


All sorts of special events, cooking demos and parties make the 19th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival worth the trip, but for us, it’s the simple pleasure of noshing and sipping our way around World Showcase that is one of the most memorable parts of the 53-day festival (the longest ever) that debuts Friday, September 19, and runs through November 10.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival: Brazil Marketplace

This is the seventh year that Epcot Executive Chef Jens Dahlmann has been at the helm, and every year he gets a little more authentic, a little more creative. Thirty-five new food offerings debut this year, requiring multiple visits to truly savor each taste.

And while it may be nearly impossible to appreciate every single dish paired with tasting-sized servings of wine, beer (and non-alcoholic beverages) at the 25+ Marketplaces, we’ve done a little homework and are suggesting the Top 10 new, “don’t-miss” dishes for 2014.

Here, in no certain order, are 10 of the new dishes worth a taste, even if you have to share to make it all the way around:

  1. Lobster Alfredo at the Hops & Barley Marketplace, a bowl with warm macaroni noodles, generous bits of lobster and a crunch topping. Add a 6-ounce pour of crisp Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat.
  2. Eat dessert first: you don’t want to miss the rich, velvety caramel crème brûlée with fleur de sel at the France Marketplace. Pair it with a flute of Sparkling Pomegranate Kir.
  3. A hearty, healthful dish is Patagonia’s Verlasso salmon, served with quinoa salad and a flourish of garlicky arugula chimichurri. Add a pour of the fruity Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier.
  4. At the Farm Fresh Marketplace, there’s the perfect taste of Southern comfort food: griddled “Yard Bird” (chicken thigh) with collards and a dollop of the house-made habanero sauce. Just for fun, add a Florida wine (yes, Florida), the Key Limen-Key Lime Wine from Florida Orange Groves.
  5. Also at Farm Fresh, the Florida grass-fed beef slider with a scoop of kicky pimento cheese melting over the warm burger was another don’t-miss. We added the Beer Flight (four 4-ounce servings): I-4 IPA, Ba Ba Black Lager, Duke’s Cold Nose Brown Ale and Florida Cracker Belgian Style White Ale.
  6. Even if the idea of snails is not for you, give it a try. They’ve jazzed up the escargot in France, now served with three tender snails in pastry with lots of garlic, spinach, bacon and Parmesan. Be elegant and pair with a cool Chardonnay, Macon-Villages, La Côte Blanche.
  7. The Greece marketplace has added hearty Vegetarian Moussaka, made with eggplant and potatoes and a rich béchamel sauce. Try it with Domaine Skouras Moscofilero, a white wine with rich flavors of citrus and tropical fruits. (We also loved sipping the Tzatziki martini featuring Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka and BOLS Natural Yoghurt Liqueur.)
  8. For a taste of the tropics, it’s the Ensalada de Carrucho, Caribbean conch salad with onion, tomato and cilantro at the new Puerto Rico Marketplace along the Rose Walk leading to World Showcase Plaza. Pair it with Medalla light beer.
  9. Canada’s Seared Rainbow Trout with Bacon, Frisee and Maple Minus 8 Vinaigrette deserves a pour of the Canada Mission Hill Family Estate Syrah.
  10. Desserts & Champagne Marketplace is always our final stop, and we can recommend this year’s trio: Passion Fruit Coconut Creamsicle, Blueberry Lime Cheesecake Roll and Chocolate Espresso Opera Cake. Best of all, they’re now serving Dom Pérignon Champagne. Life is good.

And we still have to make room for a few returning favorites: the grilled lamb chop with mint pesto and crunch potato chips in Australia; crispy pork belly with black beans, tomato and cilantro in Brazil; Kālua pork slider with sweet and sour Dole pineapple chutney and spicy mayonnaise in Hawaii, and the kimchi dog with spicy mustard sauce in South Korea.

Also, here’s a link to all the menus. Get out there and share your favorite Marketplace dishes with us!


For more about this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival presented by Chase, visit the posts below:

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New Tastes on Flo’s V8 Café Menu at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on September 15th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


When you head for Cars Land at Disney California Adventure park, make a pit stop at Flo’s V8 Café to fill ‘er up. We’ve always been big fans of the Veggie-Tater Bake and any of Flo’s pies, but now there are new favorites vying for top spot on the menu.

Barbecued Pork Ribs at Flo's V8 Cafe at Disney California Adventure Park Roast Beef and Cheddar Sandwich at Flo's V8 Cafe at Disney California Adventure Park Turkey Dip at Flo's V8 Cafe at Disney California Adventure Park

Fall-off-the-bone barbecued pork ribs, with house-made Coca-Cola barbecue sauce replace the pork loin, served with creamy mashed potatoes and a side of crisp slaw. Also new is a hearty sandwich with shaved roast beef and cheddar on a garlic-chive bun topped with sweet, caramelized onions and kicky horseradish aioli, slaw on the side. The turkey dip also debuts on a potato grinder roll, with provolone cheese and turkey au jus for dipping and a side of pasta salad.

Ah, another pie joins the sweet line-up: coconut cream, making it tough to decide how to end the meal – maybe share that and the chocolate mud pie (or maybe the strawberry-rhubarb) with a friend.

Flo’s also adds Grand Am Beer on tap, joining the Racer 5 Pale Ale IPA.

Citrus Turkey Salad at Flo's V8 Cafe at Disney California Adventure Park Veggie-Tater Bake at Flo's V8 Cafe at Disney California Adventure Park

Staying on the menu are the crowd-pleasing rotisserie chicken with mashed potatoes and veggies, ditto for the Citrus Turkey Salad, but with a twist: it’s now lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and Craisins (those delightful dried cranberries) and a kicky citrus-tarragon dressing. And our favorite Veggie-Tater Bake is still there, a riff on shepherd’s pie made with bulgur wheat, roasted veggies, mashed potatoes and Cheddar cheese.

Do you have a favorite dish at Flo’s?

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‘Mahaloween Luau’ Coming to Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at Disneyland Hotel September 29

posted on September 9th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


It’s one day only, and guaranteed to put you in the spirit of Halloween TimeTrader Sam’s “Mahaloween Luau,” with seatings starting at 3 p.m., September 29.
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Just 100 guests per seating will have the pleasure of this kooky seasonal party that includes beverages and eats, live music and insider info with Imagineers and Disney cast members. Guests attending “Mahaloween Luau” will receive a special edition glass available only at the event. Collectors take note, the second edition of the Zombie souvenir glass will also be available for purchase at the event, before it is available to the public the next day.
Zombie Glass

“Mahalo” is a Hawaiian word meaning thanks, praise or regards, and this “Mahaloween Luau” gives fans of the Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar trademark humor an insider’s hour of fun at the legendary watering hole.

Choose your hour: 3-4 p.m., 4:30-5:30 p.m., 6-7 p.m. or 7:30-8:30 p.m. The fun starts on the patio with appetizers and two drink tickets (beer, wine, Zombie Drink or Polynesian Punch). Move inside for live entertainment and a Disney tiki presentation by Walt Disney Imagineering. You’ll also have a chance to meet some of Disney’s concept artists and other special guests.

When the party ends, you’ll get a Jungle River Cruise Expedition Bag that includes a Trader Sam panama hat, a boxed special-edition “Mahaloween Luau” glass (with a dated stamp), a Trader Sam print on canvas, and a coupon good for 20 percent off at the adjacent Tangaroa Terrace. Guests also can purchase up to two additional second-edition Zombie souvenir glasses.

Cost is $125 per person, including tax and tip. To reserve your spot, call 714-781-DINE – reservations open tomorrow!

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Re-Imagined California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort Celebrates 1-Year Anniversary

posted on September 9th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Time flies when you’re at the top of your game, and a year after re-opening with a classy new interior and new seasonal menu, California Grill Chef Brian Piasecki and his talented team are busy keeping guests happy seven nights a week.

“California Grill is a total experience – great food, interesting wines, craft cocktails, and an incomparable view,” says Chef Brian. He and general manager Michael Scheifler conduct a beautifully orchestrated evening with efficient, knowledgeable staff.

Pork two ways (wood fire tenderloin w goat chesse polenta_ braised lacquered belly and country applesauce

Any misses on the new menu, we asked Chef Brian? “We change the menu so fast with what’s fresh and available, so far it’s been a success,” he answers with a smile. The most-ordered dish is the Pork Two Ways with grilled pork tenderloin and lacquered pork belly served with warm goat cheese polenta, mushrooms and a touch of sweetness with house-made applesauce. For starters, the house-made charcuterie is another hit. And, of course, the buttery filet mignon with heirloom tomato risotto, baby vine tomatoes, basil and tomato butter is a top pick, too.

Chef Brian loves his new kitchen, with gadgets like a sous vide machine that seals ingredients in plastic for slowly cooking in a water bath for super tender, perfectly cooked dishes. “Most guests don’t want to know about the cooking techniques, they just love the results,” says Chef Brian.

The kitchen team reaches out to local farms, and with Florida crops just coming into high season, look for lots of local fruits and produce on the fall menu – as well as Florida seafood. A simple salad has never tasted better than the one made with local greens and topped with a poached Lake Meadow Naturals egg and Palmetto Honey vinaigrette.
Yuzu-marinated Sashimi (tuna salmon himachi snapper seaweed salad

The list of favorites must include the Cucumber Fizz cocktail, flatbreads (try the heirloom tomato BLT flatbread with lemon mayo) and the sushi (we’re fans of the yuzu-marinate sashimi). “And desserts are flying out of here,” says Chef Brian, thanks to the creativity of Pasty Chef Jeff Barnes – his hot banana fritters are the biggest hit.

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As for that stellar view, the new fireworks deck has given more guests a front-row spot for the nightly Magic Kingdom Park fireworks. While you can sit at your table with the fireworks sound track piped in, most guests love to walk out on the two decks for a bird’s-eye view of the Magic Kingdom Park from the 15th floor. Now that’s a one-of-a-kind ending to a your day.

For reservations, call 407-WDW-DINE.

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‘Lakeside Casual’ Attire for Servers at New Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk

posted on September 9th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


As the new Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk gets ready for a December opening, here’s a look at the classic server attire, designed by Walt Disney Imagineer Celina Lung, who’s been a Disney costume designer for nearly 20 years.

French Bakery Hostess

“My inspiration comes from the trattoria’s interior and lakeside setting,” says Celina. “Like the restaurant, the server attire is charming, casual, a little upscale.” The warm décor matches the restaurant color palette, she explains. Celina’s research also took her to a seaside bistro in Southern California to come up with a look that’s “not overdesigned, but simple and elegant.”

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The burgundy shirts and blouses with gold contrast echo the décor, with khaki-colored pants for a more casual look. “We’re in America, not Italy, and I wanted the servers to look casual but polished,” says Celina. One detail, for instance, is the bladed leather belt with an antique brass buckle to lend a more refined finish.

French Bakery Hostess French Bakery Hostess

For colder months, she designed a jacket with a relaxed fit in classic tweed. Servers will also wear long bistro aprons, weaving the elegance of traditional European restaurant with the experience of a neighborhood restaurant.

Her expertise is in many costumes throughout Disney Parks, from the server attire at Coral Reef Restaurant at Epcot to various lands and restaurants at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, Tokyo Disney Resort, Shanghai Disney Resort (her current project) and Disneyland park. And she’s always got something in the works.

Meanwhile, interior work and recipe development continues on Trattoria al Forno, more details to come!

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