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Disney Parks Blog Celebrates Disney's 'Tomorrowland'

‘Coolest Summer Ever’ Commemorative Shirt Coming to Magic Kingdom Park for 24-Hour Party

posted on May 16th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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I can’t wait to kick-off the “Coolest Summer Ever” in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort! This 24-hour party starts 6 a.m. Friday, May 22, and runs until 6 a.m. Saturday, May 23. I already have a “hip” costume to “Snow My Disney Side” during the event. For guests who want to stay cool during the party, we are releasing a commemorative T-shirt featuring the host of the party, Olaf from Disney’s “Frozen.”

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This year’s shirt will contain ink that changes color when exposed to sunlight.

The shirt will be found in Emporium on Main Street, U.S.A. in Magic Kingdom Park. We will also offer it online from May 22-31 at DisneyStore.com/ParkEvents.

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In addition to the shirt, guests will find a festive cupcake found in the following locations:

Please share your photos and join the conversation on Instagram and Twitter by using #Disney24 and #CoolestSummer.

I hope to see you at the party!

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Filed: Disney Dining, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

California Grill Celebrates 20 Years at the Top at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

posted on May 15th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Has it really been 20 years since California Grill put Walt Disney World Resort dining on the culinary map? May 15, 1995, the date that the beautiful space was unveiled on the top floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort with stellar cuisine and an equally spectacular bird’s-eye view of Magic Kingdom Park and Walt Disney World Resort. Reimagined in 2013 with new interiors and a new onstage kitchen and menu, the restaurant has not rested on its laurels.

View of Magic Kingdom Park from California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort

While there’s no big ta-dah planned for the turning 20, Chef Brian Piasecki focuses on beautiful produce, so spring is one of his favorite times of the year. “Soft shell crabs, local heirloom tomatoes, Delta asparagus, spring onions, West Coast halibut, morel mushrooms, fiddlehead ferns, baby artichokes, Zellwood corn, fava beans, English peas,” says Chef Brian, ticking off the list of amazing ingredients he’s working with in the kitchen for the 20th anniversary.

Copper River Salmon at California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort Chocolate Pudding Cake at California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort

“And don’t forget Copper River salmon season opens May 12,” he says. “We’re serving the salmon ‘a la plancha’ [grilled on a metal plate] with Zellwood sweet corn yeast cakes, baby shiitake mushrooms, fiddlehead ferns and pickled ramps, topped with spiked milk-stout maple syrup.”

Then there’s more fresh seafood, the BLT heirloom tomato flatbread with house-smoked bacon, and more local sweet corn, says Chef Brian, who has been at the helm at California Grill since 2009.

“To create the wow experience is the greatest feeling,” he says. “I have the opportunity to create amazing food with an incredible team.”

The most-ordered dish on the menu is the fork tender, oak-grilled filet of beef, right now paired with heirloom tomato risotto, a rich tomato-butter sauce, micro basil and a dash of aged balsamic vinegar. But if you ask Chef Brian for his favorite dish has says he’s partial to the tempura-fried soft shell crab with an espelette (red pepper) aioli and local red watercress salad.

And the beverages are as finely tuned as the food, thanks to area manager Michael Scheifler, who keeps a close eye on trends. “For spring and summer was are rolling out a seasonal beer menu, including the new Napa Smith Cool Brew from the only brewery in Napa Valley” says Michael. “We’re also adding a ‘Super Premium Spirit Page’ with offerings such as Bunnahabhain Single Malt Scotch, Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon and Hennessy Richard.”

So raise a glass. Happy 20th, California Grill, cheers to 20 more!

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

Kicking Off the ‘Coolest Summer Ever’ with 24-Hours of Entertainment at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on May 14th, 2015 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


Next week, Magic Kingdom Park is going to stay open from 6 a.m. Friday, May 22, to 6 a.m. Saturday, May 23, to celebrate the beginning of the “Coolest Summer Ever!” And everyone’s favorite snowman Olaf is inviting you to “Snow Your Disney Side” with a whole day (and night) full of magic.

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In addition to all your usual favorite characters and shows at the park, our Creative Entertainment team is also pulling together a full roster of amazing, unique entertainment experiences that will definitely make this day one of the coolest ever!

  • The extravaganza kicks off with some very special appearances in the Welcome Show as Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf join the rest of the gang welcoming everyone into the park.
  • A Flag Raising ceremony will be held at dawn in Town Square, featuring the Reedy Creek Honor Guard.
  • Some of your favorite stars from Disney Channel will be joining us as Grand Marshals for the “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade” at 3 p.m.
  • Over in Tomorrowland, Disney Channel Club Chill takes over Rockettower Plaza Stage from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., with DJ Frost leading a dance party with music videos from Disney Channel stars and sneak peeks of upcoming Disney Channel Original Movies “Teen Beach 2” and “Descendants.”
  • Once things cool down in Tomorrowland, Rockettower Plaza switches gears for sing-along screenings of Disney’s “Frozen” from midnight – 4 a.m.
  • There’s even more “Frozen” fun in store, when Olaf, Kristoff, Anna and Elsa put Magic Kingdom Park “on ice” with pre-parade appearances just ahead of the 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. performances of the Main Street Electrical Parade.
  • Looking to dance the night away? You can join some of your Disney pals – all dressed in their PJs – at one of two late-night dance parties. Kick up your heels at the Frontierland Dance Party, near Country Bear Jamboree, from 2 a.m. – 6 a.m. At Cinderella Castle, Disney’s “Up All Night” Dance Party keeps things hopping from 2:00 a.m. – 5:45 a.m. with awesome DJ, stiltwalkers and lots of fun party people!
  • As that 24th hour comes to a close, make your way to Town Square on Main Street, U.S.A., for a special finale moment with Mickey and the gang that you won’t want to miss.

Be sure to check back here throughout the day on Friday, May 22, as Disney Parks Blog brings you all the action, live from the “Coolest Summer Ever!” Will you be joining us? What part of the event sounds the coolest to you? Let us know in the comments.

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Sixty Years of Innovation: New Fantasyland at Disneyland Park

posted on May 13th, 2015 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Disney Parks are more than exciting attractions and dazzling spectaculars. Walking into a place like Fantasyland, for example, is like walking into another world. As each of our guests are reminded, “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.” Let’s go back to the year 1983 to discover how the fantasy of Fantasyland was enriched here at Disneyland park.

Walt Disney’s favorite land, Fantasyland was envisioned as a fairy tale village beyond the walls of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Unfortunately, as the opening of Disneyland drew near, unforeseen budget overages caused the team to scale back on the design of Fantasyland. So the land became a medieval fair, with banners and flags decorating the entrances to Snow White’s Adventures, Peter Pan’s Flight and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

 

Nearly thirty years later, the time had finally come to transform Fantasyland into that timeless land of enchantment that Walt had dreamed of. “The New Fantasyland” opened at Disneyland on May 25, 1983. The architecture and facade of each attraction became an extension of the stories that lie within. Guests now enter Peter Pan’s Flight through a medieval English clock tower or visit a country manor called Toad Hall, home to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. On the west side of Fantasyland, you have the feeling of being immersed in a Bavarian or Alpine village, bringing you into the worlds of Snow White and Pinocchio. Next door at Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, the attraction’s facade features half-timbered architecture and carved wood balconies, resembling the house in which Pinocchio, the wooden puppet made of pine, became a real boy.

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“The New Fantasyland” elevated the storytelling of the entire area, combining architecture, horticulture and other details to create an immersive, fairy tale environment and became an example of what Walt Disney Imagineering often refers to as “place making” – the design and creation of a land that transports the guest to a different place and time, truly immersing them in the story and fantasy of the land.

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And nearly 30 years after “The New Fantasyland” at Disneyland park, this immersive storytelling was brought to another level with New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom park. The largest expansion in the park’s history, New Fantasyland welcomes guests to step into the stories of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Little Mermaid” and “Dumbo.” It is a shining example of how Disney Parks continue the legacy of innovative, immersive storytelling that was established with the opening of Disneyland park in 1955 and carried on with “The New Fantasyland” in 1983 and beyond.

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Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

QUIZ: How Well Do You Know Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom Park?

posted on May 13th, 2015 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Splash Mountain, the third Disney “mountain” to open at Magic Kingdom Park, did so in 1992. Is it a must-do attraction for you? Test your knowledge below!

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Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom Park

What movie is the Splash Mountain attraction based on?
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How many Audio-Animatronics figures will you encounter on Splash Mountain?
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How tall is the final drop of Splash Mountain?
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What is Br’er Rabbit in search of?
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How many gallons of water are used on Splash Mountain?
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POLL: Eat What You Want Day With Disney Parks Blog Authors

posted on May 11th, 2015 by Rachel Brent, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


What would you eat if you could eat anything you want from Disney Parks and Resorts? This is a question I asked a few Disney Parks Blog authors for Eat What You Want Day (which is my new favorite food holiday). Keep reading to find out the authors’ picks:

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Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort
I chose the 32-ounce Dry Aged Tomahawk Rib Chop from The BOATHOUSE, the newest restaurant at Downtown Disney. The $115 cut is meant for two guests but I actually shared mine with two friends and Executive Chef Bob Getchell. On “Eat What You Want” Day (and any other special occasion!), this is the perfect splurge.

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Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort
I’m so excited that Critter Country at Disneyland park is open again following its recent refurbishment, because it means I can enjoy my favorite lunch again … the Fried Green Tomato Sandwich at Hungry Bear Restaurant!

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Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort
I chose a Mickey Pretzel – it’s something I remember since my first theme park visit. It’s a perfect treat to enjoy while walking through the park and even better dipped in cheese!

Disney Parks Blog Author Nate Rasmussen Meeting Olaf at Disney California Adventure Park Disney Parks Blog Author Nate Rasmussen Enjoying an Olaf Marshmallow Pop from Disney California Adventure Park

Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center
I love food is ‘character’ themed in our parks – so fun. When I went to “Frozen Fun” at Disney California Adventure park a couple of weekends ago, I tried something new. I had an Olaf marshmallow pop and then got to meet Olaf.

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Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer
A beautiful plate of pristine sushi at California Grill – probably a crispy crab roll.

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Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment
One of our favorite treats when visiting any Disney Park is the popcorn. The regular popcorn tastes great, but the unique flavors available in certain places make for a special treat. The Buffalo Blue Cheese Flavored Popcorn in Future World at Epcot is definitely one of my favorites, while my boys each have a preference for the cheddar and the sour cream and chive flavors available there. Whether it’s these at Epcot, honey-flavored popcorn at Tokyo Disneyland or dill pickle flavor from the Cozy Cone Motel at Disney California Adventure park, flavored popcorn is an indulgence we can’t resist!

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Tyler Slater, Public Relations Manager, Disney Destinations
I chose the Chinese Chicken Salad in a Sourdough Bread Bowl from Pacific Wharf Café. There is nothing like walking through Pacific Wharf at Disney California Adventure park and smelling freshly baked bread. Then, you add a healthy and delicious salad INSIDE it? Truly, a match made in heaven. (I always ask for extra dressing on the side for some “dipping” sauce for my bread.)

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And me? I chose a Dole Whip Float from Aloha Isle Refreshments in Magic Kingdom Park. Dole Whip has been my go-to for years, it makes me feel like a pineapple princess, and there’s something about enjoying it in Adventureland that makes it even more magical!

Let us know what you would choose to eat on Eat What You Want Day; vote for your pick in our poll below!

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney Dining, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Epcot, Hotels & Resorts, Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on May 10th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


This week, we continued our countdown until the Walt Disney World Resort 24-hour Summer Kickoff on May 22 with a look at some of our favorite sights and sounds from past all-nighters.

During this year’s 24-hour celebration and kick off to the “Coolest Summer Ever,” we shared an update that some Disney Channel, Disney XD, and Radio Disney stars will be dropping by the party at Magic Kingdom Park. For a complete list, check out Jamie’s original story.

Sixty Years of Innovation: Main Street Electrical Parade Lights Up the Night at Disneyland Park Sixty Years of Innovation: Main Street Electrical Parade Lights Up the Night at Disneyland Park

And Erin continued our countdown until the beginning of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration on May 22 with the latest in her series of stories looking back at some of the innovations that the Happiest Place on Earth has seen throughout its first 60 years.

This week, we jumped ahead to the 1970s and the introduction of what would become one of the most beloved parades in the history of Disney Parks. Check Erin’s story for more more details.

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Our popular newsletter also returned this week – offering a daily rundown of official information about Disney destinations as well as behind-the-scenes looks at what makes Disney Parks the most magical places on earth.

If you haven’t signed up for the Disney Parks Blog email newsletter, just visit our sign-up page and you’ll be set.

Here are some of the other stories we worked on this week.

It’s Almost Time for the Diamond Mad T Party at Disney California Adventure Park – Experience the Diamond Mad T Party starting May 22, a splendiferous new version of the popular nighttime entertainment experience at Disney California Adventure park.

Rum and Amari Tastings on a Disney Cruise – This week in our series about the beverage seminars available for adults on a Disney cruise, two more of our fun liquor tastings – rum and amari.

Learn to Draw Mickey’s Pal, Goofy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – This week’s Learn to Draw animation tutorial series continues with a lesson on a classic Disney character – Goofy!

New Main Street Enchanted Windows to Debut for Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration – If you’ve wandered down Main Street, U.S.A., at Disneyland park recently, you may have noticed some of the windows along the front of the Emporium are covered. What is going on behind those blue curtains, you ask? Click through to find out!

Disney Parks After Dark: The Universe of Energy – See this week’s Disney Parks After Dark image, snapped by photographer Mark Willard, of The Universe of Energy attraction at Epcot.

Race to Download Our New Tinker Bell Wallpaper Inspired by Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend at the Disneyland Resort – Bring the magic of our favorite fairy right to your desktop with our newest wallpaper.

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Stars of Disney Channel, Disney XD, Radio Disney to Kick Off ‘Coolest Summer Ever’

posted on May 8th, 2015 by Jamie Langdon, Social Media Manager


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If your kids are fans of the hit shows on Disney Channel and Disney XD, and listen to Radio Disney, they won’t want to miss these special events within the Walt Disney World Resort 24-hour Summer Kickoff on Friday, May 22. Some of the network’s most popular stars will be dropping by the party at Magic Kingdom Park throughout the day, giving fans a unique opportunity to see their favorites in person at fun themed events.

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  • Disney Channel’s Club Chill: Be sure to check out this super-cool party zone in Tomorrowland from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., where you can see a DJ spinning the latest tunes, previews of upcoming films and music videos, and more. Keep your eyes peeled because you never know if some of guests’ favorite Disney Channel and Disney XD stars might just stop by.
  • Grand Marshals for the 3 p.m. “Disney Festival Of Fantasy Parade“: Watch as some of your favorite Disney Channel and Disney XD stars kick off the 3 p.m. “Disney Festival Of Fantasy Parade.”
    • (Scheduled to Appear*)
    • Karan Brar (“Jessie“)
    • Dove Cameron (“Liv and Maddie” & “Descendants“)
    • Sofia Carson (“Descendants”)
    • Garrett Clayton (“Teen Beach 2“)
    • Skai Jackson (“Jessie”)
    • Peyton List (“Jessie”)
    • Ross Lynch (“Austin and Ally” and “Teen Beach 2″)
    • Laura Marano – (“Austin and Ally”)
    • Maia Mitchell (“Teen Beach 2″ and ABC Family’s “The Fosters“)
    • Bradley Steven Perry – (Disney XD’s “Mighty Med“)
    • Grace Phipps (“Teen Beach 2″)
    • Jake Short – (Disney XD’s “Mighty Med”)
    • Calum Worthy – (“Austin and Ally”)

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  • Radio Disney: Broadcasting from 8 a.m. – Midnight catch Ernie D, Brooke, Candice and Nate as they broadcast live during the event!

*Talent and entertainment subject to change

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Video: 24-Hour Summer Kick-off Celebration at Walt Disney World Begins May 22

posted on May 7th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


It’s almost time to kick off the “Coolest Summer Ever” here at Walt Disney World Resort with this year’s 24-hour celebration. And as we watch the clock and count the days until the party begins on May 22, we’re sharing some of our favorite sights and sounds from past all-nighters.

Time flies during the 24-hour celebration but we have 24 things to squeeze into your 24 hours at Magic Kingdom Park. So, what’s your favorite part about our all-night celebrations? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Top 10 Disney Salads, Coast to Coast

posted on May 6th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


May is National Salad Month (who knew?). One of our favorite ways to eat is with a big bowl of deliciousness that doesn’t always involve romaine.

Here are 10 of our favorite salads from the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort. Salad bars don’t count – we love the ways the chefs create a taste sensation with a little bit of this and that.

The Caesar Salad at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante at Disneyland Park 'Smiling Tiger Salad' at Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

At Disneyland Resort:

  1. “Smiling Tiger Salad” at Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. What’s not to love about Chef Andrew Sutton’s tempura fried lobster, spicy beef, Asian greens and a drizzle of coconut-lime vinaigrette?
  2. Relax over lunch with the Roasted Chicken and Strawberry Salad at Carthay Circle Restaurant in Disney California Adventure park, a mélange of warm asparagus, avocado, arugula, toasted ancient grains and roasted chicken breast filled with strawberry butter.
  3. Also at Disney California Adventure park, we discovered the Greek Salad at Paradise Garden Grill – grab a seat in the shade and dig in to this generous bowl of greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, pepperoncinis, marinated olive and feta flavored with a lemon-oregano dressing and pita bread for scooping. You might want to share.
  4. Over at Disneyland park, a longtime favorite is the Caesar at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante. This is the real deal, as the Caesar was invented in Mexico City – though a staple in Italian restaurants, the Caesar generally is attributed to Caesar Cardini, an Italian who created the salad at his restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico, where it became a hit with Hollywood stars. Rancho serves the Hacienda Caesar, romaine tossed, sweet peppers and cotija cheese in housemade dressing with pepitas seeds, radishes and crisp tortilla chips. Top it with grilled chicken or carne asada.
The Power Salad at Sunshine Seasons at Epcot The Cobb Salad at The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney's Hollywood Studios

At Walt Disney World Resort:

  1. Heading to the East Coast, The Plaza Restaurant in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort has an entrée salad that’s never left the menu – the chicken strawberry salad with greens, grilled chicken breast, cucumbers, fresh strawberries and gorgonzola tossed in a lightly sweet white zinfandel vinaigrette. A classic.
  2. Over at Sunshine Seasons at Epcot, try the trendy Power Salad – a bowlful of protein with quinoa, oak-fired chicken, almonds and honey vinaigrette. You’ll have plenty of energy to power walk World Showcase Promenade.
  3. Quinoa is the star of another favorite at ABC Commissary at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – the Couscous Quinoa & Arugula Salad, tossed to order. We top it with grilled salmon for extra protein and Omega 3s.
  4. Also at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, who doesn’t love the Cobb Salad at The Hollywood Brown Derby? Chopped delightfully small and tossed tableside, it’s a classic with ham, bacon, turkey breast, egg, tomatoes, blue cheese, avocado and chives, all mixed with dressing still made from the original recipe when the salad was invented in Hollywood in the 1930s.
  5. Delightfully different is the Jiko Salad at Jiko—The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. A lovely plate of poached pears, heirloom spinach, kabocha squash in a pear vinaigrette topped with a brittle of pumpkin seeds and black lentils. Instagram worthy.
  6. And finally, another longtime favorite we always have to order: the Crispy Rock Shrimp Salad at California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. This one stays on the menu, though Chef Brian Piasecki may mix up the ingredients. Right now it’s crispy rock shrimp (a Florida delicacy) with spicy baby greens, Subarashii pear, red onions, soy reduction and addictive wasabi cream. You won’t want to share this one.
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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney Dining, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Epcot, Hotels & Resorts, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort