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Celebrating World Oceans Day with Sustainable Seafood at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

posted on June 8th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Today is World Oceans Day, a day dedicated to reflecting on how we can help ensure the future health of our planet and minimize the impact on one of the Earth’s most precious resources — the oceans.

For the past several years, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has partnered with Monterey Bay Aquarium to select wild and farmed seafood for our menus that are not overfished or produced in ways that may compromise the well-being of our oceans, lakes, rivers and streams.

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Our chefs are always coming up with innovative ways to incorporate sustainable seafood into their menus. From the Grilled Alaskan Wild-Caught Halibut served at Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa to the Grilled Snapper at Napa Rose, our signature dining locations deliver nothing but the best. Our focus isn’t just on fine dining. Disney chefs work to incorporate sustainable seafood into as many of our menus as possible throughout our parks and resorts. Other dishes not to be missed include the Grilled Blacks Harbour Salmon at Flying Fish Café at Disney’s BoardWalk and the Yellow Tail Tuna at Ariel’s Grotto in Disneyland Resort. For a great quick-service option, check out the Spicy Fish Tacos at Sunshine Seasons, located in the Land Pavilion at Epcot. Remember, as the seasons change, so may the selections, but rest assured that they are all delicious!

Grilled Blacks Harbour Salmon at Flying Fish Café at Disney's BoardWalk  Spicy Fish Tacos at Sunshine Seasons, located in the Land Pavilion at Epcot

Our commitment to the health of our oceans doesn’t stop in our restaurants. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has teamed up with Sustainable Fisheries Partnership to fund projects that focus on shrimp from regions where our suppliers source seafood: U.S. Gulf of Mexico, southern Vietnam and Thailand. This collaboration has lead to:

  • Development of a standard for Fair Trade fish
  • Training on sustainable fishing/shrimping practices and better water resource management in fisheries in Vietnam and Thailand
  • Studies that examine impact of shrimping practices on “bycatch” species.

Angie Renner, Environmental Integration Director for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, shares the importance of this commitment: “This is a perfect blend of both environmental and business sustainability, which will enable us to continue serving seafood that is healthy for our Guests as well as the oceans.”

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You can learn more about how you can make a difference in your seafood choices by checking out the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guide.

Happy World Oceans Day from the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Food and Beverage team!

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Mickey’s Backyard BBQ Serving up Fun Four Days per Week at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on June 5th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Howdy, partners! You may know that Mickey, Minnie and friends kick up their heels with guests at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ at Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. But did you know for the rest of the season, they’ll be serving up fun four days a week? Additional dates have been added; in addition to Thursday and Saturday’s, you can now book Tuesday and Friday, too!

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This all-you-care-to-enjoy picnic features finger-licking BBQ favorites like barbecued ribs, hamburgers, hot dogs, fresh corn on the cob, macaroni and cheese and new dishes like jambalaya, honey-mustard baked chicken and a selection of salads and kid-friendly veggies. If dancing up a storm makes you thirsty, quench it with a large selection of ice-cold sodas and soft drinks. Adults can enjoy Bud Light and Yuengling draft beers, Chardonnay, Merlot, White Zinfandel and Red Sangria included with dinner. For dessert, look for a new warm fruit cobbler or strawberry shortcake (when it’s in season) in addition to the popular Mickey-shaped ice-cream bars and other frozen treats.

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Dance the night away with a live country-western band and character appearances throughout the night. The character meet and greet area has also been enhanced to allow for more time with your favorite characters for photos and autographs.

For added convenience, a new bus route is now in operation, which takes guests directly back to Magic Kingdom Park, where transport to any Disney Resort is readily available.

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

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Bengal Barbecue Celebrates 25 Years at Disneyland Park

posted on June 4th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


Bengal Barbecue has been serving hungry adventurers in Disneyland park for 25 years.

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Fuel the next leg of your Disneyland expedition with a hot and spicy Banyan Beef Skewer, the Outback Vegetable Skewer or the popular Safari Skewer featuring bacon-wrapped asparagus. For those looking for extra provisions, Bengal Barbecue also offers Mickey-shaped pretzels, Tiger Tails (breadsticks), fruit cups and more.

Quench your thirst for adventure with the Pomegranate Piranha Lemonade, offered as part of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration. This refreshing drink features all-natural Odwalla lemonade with flavors of mango and pineapple, pomegranate pearls and topped with passion fruit-mango fruit foam.

Which Bengal Barbecue snack satisfies your “roaring” hunger?

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Luck O’ Irish for These Five Cooks, With a Little Help From Raglan Road Chef Kevin Dundon

posted on June 4th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


We got a sneak peek of Raglan Road’s 10th birthday celebration, thanks to a clever contest that the Downtown Disney restaurant sponsored asking amateur cooks to come up with their perfect three-course Irish meal, via a two-minute video, to celebrate 10 years.

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Chef Kevin Dundon (of American Public Television’s “Kevin Dundon’s Back to Basics” series) selected the top five and invited them to travel, all expenses paid, to his own Dunbrody Country House Hotel and Cookery School in beautiful Wexford County, Ireland. (We got to join the winners for this spectacular trip of a lifetime.) Take a look at these photos by Raglan Road photographer Ivan Cummins that give a taste of the incredible experience.

From a pint of Guinness in Dublin to gorgeous Dunbrody House on Ireland’s dramatic Hook Peninsula, the winners got an inside look at Raglan Road’s roots, from the farms where Dundon sources his food for his restaurant at Dunbrody House (and perhaps Downtown Disney in the near future) to the rollicking deck of a fishing boat on the Atlantic Ocean. Everyone got a chance to improve culinary skills under Dundon’s oft-humorous tutelage in the estate’s Cookery School.

All five winners – Janice Epaillard of Mount Dora, Fla.; Aaron Van Swearingen of Winter Park, Fla.; Colleen Kerney of Orlando; Heather McBroom Walker of Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Linda Rohr of Darien, Conn. – will be back in the kitchen at Raglan Road in October to work with the culinary team to create a dish for a special 10th birthday dinner.

Seeing the real deal on the Emerald Isle makes Raglan Road all the more special, with its dining rooms of aged walnut and mahogany wood furnishings from old Irish bars and churches that were shipped to Orlando to build the restaurant almost a decade ago. And Dundon’s Irish cuisine translates beautifully in his Walt Disney World Resort restaurant, where he spends several weeks each year working with the chefs to perfect classic dishes such as Irish Mist-glazed loin of bacon, fish and chips, Guinness and bangers and Granny Dundon’s Famous Steamed Orange Pudding.

After the whirlwind visit, we appreciate even more the live Irish bands and The Raglan Road Dancers every night of the week (and during weekend brunch) that bring the spirit of the Emerald Isle across the ocean.

Stay tuned for more details for the 10th birthday celebration!

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A Disney Recipe to Celebrate National Fresh Fruit & Veggie Month

posted on June 3rd, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


June is officially National Fruit & Vegetable Month (June 17 is “Eat All Your Veggies Day”), so we’re sharing this super-easy recipe that uses one of summer’s best vegetables.

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Cucumbers are best gussied up with a little sweet, a little hot, and this recipe from Nine Dragons Restaurant at the China Pavilion at Epcot has been a favorite for years. The Sichuan peppers add heat to this side salad that goes well with just about anything.

If you’re in the Disney parks, it’s easy to eat your fruits and veggies with plenty of “good for you” kiosks offering whole and cut fruits, fresh veggies and dip, baked potatoes, smoothies, no-sugar-added strawberry bars. Quick-service locations at Disney resorts have also been beefing up their “grab-n-go” sections, making fruit and veggies an easy snack on your way to the parks. We’re satisfied to know that we can spend a day in any of the parks at the Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World Resort and fresh, whole food is never more than a few steps away.

Diao Yu Tai Cucumber Salad
Serves 2

  • 2 Kirby cucumbers, about 4 to 5 inches long
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 dried red Sichuan peppers
  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • 1 cup of sugar
  1. Thoroughly wash unpeeled cucumbers and slice into 1/2-inch pieces. Remove seeds if desired.
  2. Toss cucumbers with salt in a colander. Place colander over bowl and let stand 20 minutes. Drain cucumbers and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Heat oil in wok over medium-low heat. Add peppers and stir-fry until pepper darkens to deeper red, 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Add vinegar and sugar; bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  5. Pour mixture over drained cucumbers in a medium glass bowl; cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
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First Look at 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

posted on June 3rd, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Get ready for an exciting 53 days for the 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, celebrating two delicious decades from September 25 – November 16.

Now noted as one of America’s top food festivals by the Travel Channel, the 20th rendition promises plenty of celebrity chefs and new marketplaces, but also traditions that guests look forward to each year.

First Look at 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

Look for favorite chefs such as Cat Cora, Jamie Deen, John Ash, Robert Irvine and Buddy Valastro onstage for demos and premium events (John Ash was at the very first Epcot fest back in 1996, and returns for 2015.) In all, more than 270 Disney chefs and culinary stars from across the U.S. will be showcased.

And for those who can’t wait to take a trip around the world at the 25-plus Marketplace kiosks, look for both new dishes (pepper bacon mac ‘n cheese at Farm Fresh Marketplace, seared venison loin in New Zealand) and returning classics (yes, the pierogies are still there in Poland, as well as Belgian waffles and kalua pork sliders in Hawaii). Wines, beers, Champagne, cocktails and mocktails are paired with good eats at each stop.

Eat to the Beat concerts are already lined up (see Charles Stovall’s blog post last week) with favorites such as Tiffany, Chaka Khan, Boyz II Men and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. And the favorite Party for the Senses grand tasting events are back every Saturday night in October featuring more than 50 wines and beers with tempting bites from eminent chefs.

Other fun stuff: the Ocean Spray cranberry bog is back. And Chase cardholders can chill out, grab a complimentary soft drink and try some interactive fun at the Chase Lounge in American Adventure. For kids of all ages, Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak takes you on a scavenger hunt for little Remy statuettes (maps, stickers and prizes are involved). New premium events includes “French Family Meal Traditions” lunches on Fridays and Saturdays, a “Rockin’ Burger Block Party” on select dates, and new beverage events including “Exploring Wines from 1996 to Now.”

Happy 20 years, Epcot International Food & Wine Festival! We can’t wait to celebrate. More details to follow. When a reservation booking date is announced this summer, you can call 407-WDW-FEST (939-3378) and get details at epcotfoodfestival.com.

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Vivoli Gelateria to Open Soon at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on June 2nd, 2015 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


If you’ve ever had the good fortune to travel to Florence, Italy, chances are you’re familiar with Vivoli Gelateria. I’ve never been myself, but when I searched “Florence Must-Dos” online, Vivoli appeared on every list; wedged between art galleries and chapels, it was the only food venue mentioned in National Geographic’s City Guide to Florence, so you know it must be pretty spectacular!

No immediate plans to visit Italy? No worries. The family-run gelato shop will open its second storefront – and the first outside of Italy – later this month at The Landing, the newest neighborhood to debut as part of the future Disney Springs.

I recently had the chance to connect with Silvana Vivoli, the granddaughter of Raphael Vivoli, one of the company’s founders, to learn more about the gelateria. Founded in 1932 by Raphael and his two brothers, Vivoli Gelateria started out as a dairy – at that time, it was not easy to find raw materials such as milk, eggs and sugar and there were no gelato machines and freezers. After World War II, technology enabled the brothers to follow their passion and produce gelato every day – a far cry from the early recipes that relied on barrels filled with ice and snow from the nearby mountains to keep their concoctions frozen.

Silvana’s father, Piero, learned to make gelato from his father. Silvana learned the craft from him, “keeping the same old tradition,” she shared.

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When I asked Silvana why they decided to open a location at Downtown Disney, the answer flowed freely, “Good gelato. In a fantastic place. With fun and family and a sunny destination? It’s a nice combination. Like vanilla and chocolate!”

According to Silvana, the gelato at Vivoli is made with fresh, top-quality ingredients using the exact same recipes from the original shop. The artisans plan to use local and seasonal products, with cocoa powder, hazelnut and pistachio imported from Italy. “There are ingredients not easy to buy,” muses Silvana, “these are love and passion … when you fall in love with your job, you have these for free – they’re the final ingredients that make everything so special.”

For a special gelato experience that will give you the “feeling of being in Italy for ten minutes,” make plans to try Vivoli Gelateria during your next visit to Downtown Disney. Not sure which flavor to order? I asked Silvana one final question: which is her favorite? “It depends on how I get up in the morning! But really, I cannot do without rice pudding gelato.”

In addition to their signature gelato, Vivioli Gelateria will also serve traditional Italian panini, biscotti, espresso and tarts. For a mouth-watering look at what you can expect, check out the gallery below.

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Six Scrumptious Desserts Debut for Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration

posted on June 1st, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


It’s a party, so you’re allowed to eat dessert first. For the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, here are six new sweets for 60 years, and they’ll stay on the menu throughout the celebration.

Disneyland Park Diamond Lemon Cupcake at Jolly Holiday Bakery Café – This lemony cupcake has white chocolate crunchy pearls, strawberry filling and is topped with white chocolate Champagne mousse, blue buttercream decoration, blue chocolate curls, silver coated white chocolate pearls and a chocolate “D.” Almost too pretty to eat!

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Disney California Adventure Park Diamond Orange Cupcake at Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café – If you prefer orange, try this cupcake with chocolate crunchy pearls, mixed berry filling and a topping of cream cheese Bavarian mousse. The decoration is pretty silver dust pearls, blue buttercream trim and a chocolate diamond. Yum!

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Diamond Tiramisù at Wine Country Trattoria, Disney California Adventure Park – This is a fancy sweet ending: layers of tiramisù made from sweetened Italian mascarpone, Marsala wine and espresso-soaked ladyfingers topped with cocoa powder and finished with chocolate curls and espresso sauce.

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Meyer Lemon Crème Brûlée Tart at Blue Bayou Restaurant, Disneyland Park – Tangy and creamy Meyer lemon crème brûlée in a crunchy sweet tart shell topped with blueberry compote and a sparkly silver chocolate diamond – eat it or Instagram?

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White Chocolate Bavarian Diamond Strawberry-Rhubarb Shortcake at Carnation Cafe, Disneyland Park – A little old-fashioned, a little upscale, this is smooth and creamy white chocolate Bavarian mousse shaped like a diamond resting on vanilla cake finished in a plate with a rich fresh strawberry-rhubarb sauce.

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Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration Chocolate Cake – This crowd pleaser is found at Plaza Inn, Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante and French Market Restaurant in Disneyland park, Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta at Disney California Adventure park. Chocolate layer cake with caramel ganache, chocolate crunchy pearls, fleur de sel, apricot compote, Pabana mousse (banana, passion fruit, mango, lemon) and chocolate truffle mousse is topped with chocolate ganache and a sparkly silver chocolate diamond. Celebrate and share it with a friend!

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Orange Bird Returns to Sunshine Tree Terrace at Magic Kingdom Park on May 29

posted on May 29th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


I’m delighted to share the Orange Bird is returning to the Sunshine Tree Terrace in Adventureland at Magic Kingdom Park starting May 29.

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You may recall my fellow author Pam Brandon sharing in March that Aloha Isle Refreshments and Sunshine Tree Terrace swapped menus and locations. Starting Friday, guests will again find the Orange Bird figurine that was reintroduced to Adventureland in 2012. He is also being added to the marquee for the location. Finally, Orange Bird will be prominently featured in a new attraction poster found at Magic Kingdom Park.

To celebrate, we are offering the poster as an adult and youth T-shirt on our Disney Parks online store from May 29 to June 4. An Art on Demand canvas wrap and print will also be available online. Please allow 3-5 weeks for delivery.

You can order these items by visiting DisneyStore.com/ParkEvents.

I think I’ll welcome him back by having a Citrus Swirl.

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Casey’s Corner – Hitting Lunch Out of the Park for 20 Years at Magic Kingdom Park

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


Imagine sitting at the end of Main Street U.S.A., looking at Cinderella Castle, the ragtime pianist serenading you as you bite into a juicy all-American hotdog. Is there anything better? Twenty years ago today, Casey’s Corner opened, pleasing hungry guests and baseball fans alike.

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Decorated with vintage baseball souvenirs and photos, Casey’s Corner has been hitting it out of the park since 1995. Guests enjoy tasty favorites like the Barbecue Slaw Dog, Corn Dog Nuggets and Ball Park Nachos. Last year, we reimagined the interior to accommodate even more fans with additional seating.

Talk about a home run!

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