Lamplight Lounge: A Review

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Read my Review of Lamplight Lounge

Lamplight Lounge - what a view!
Dining with a View!

Unlike Walt Disney World, the Disneyland Resort does not have a massive variety of table service restaurants. But the restaurants they do have are fairly popular, and some even have a cult-like following! After spending a ton of time examining menus, we all agreed that we wanted to try the Lamplight Lounge. Inspired by Pixar, of which we are big fans, this location offers lunch and dinner daily, with a brunch added on weekends. Guests can make reservations 60 days in advance. Reservations are strongly recommended.

Hours/Offerings/Cuisine

Lamplight Lounge exterior

The Lamplight Lounge is located, appropriately, on Pixar Pier. You will need valid park admission and a park reservation in order to eat here, IN ADDITION to your dining reservation. Dine on a menu full of American cuisine, including vegetarian and plant-based options. Lunch is served 11:30-4:00 Monday through Friday, with Dinner being served from 4:00 until 8:30. Saturday and Sunday, start off with Brunch from 9:00 to 1:00, followed by Lunch from 2:00 to 4:00, and Dinner from 4:00 to 8:30.

Theming

Lamplight Lounge themed after Pixar

The theming is PERFECT. Every inch of the restaurant has touches of Pixar, both subtle and in your face. As fans of Pixar and all Pixar movies, we LOVED this. And, as it is located on the Pixar Pier, it perfectly suits the area. We ate in the outdoor part of the dining area, with an absolutely “INCREDIBLE” view! (Get it? Incredible?) Aside from it being a tiny bit chilly, it was amazing. There are shared table spaces (where we sat), sofa-seating with a large coffee table, bar seating, a tables. I didn’t think I would like the shared table but it is big enough that we were not forced into uncomfortable conversations with strangers. If ratings were based entirely on theming, I’d give this place a 15/10.

Lamplight Lounge view
INCREDIBLE View

The Food

Lamplight Lounge Lobster Nachos
Lobster Nachos

Where to start? The food is fantastic! Starting with the appetizers, which they call “Bites,” I would describe it as upscale bar food. A Caesar salad, but with Brussels sprouts. Lobster Nachos (which are definitely a meal, if you choose to do so), Salmon Poke, and more. We started off with the Potato Skins, listed on the food allergy menu as safe for gluten/wheat, fish/shellfish, and peanut/tree nut allergies.

Lamplight Lounge - potato skins

These potato skins were CHEF’S KISS! They are described as crispy Yukon Gold Potatoes with brown butter-caper yogurt, smoked paprika aïoli and manchego cheese. I have never in my life had potato skins this good. And that smoked paprika aïoli? DELISH! I definitely ordered more of that!

Regular Menu vs Food Allergy Menu

Regular Menu Left
Lamplight Lounge food allergy menus
Allergy Menu

The menus are identical, and I did not see anything that food allergy diners couldn’t order in some way. There are 2 appetizers and 3 entrees that safe for gluten/wheat allergy diners, but only one kids meal item. I honestly don’t know what they can accommodate for kids on-site, because I haven’t ordered off a kids menu in ages, but Burger Sliders are the gluten/wheat allergy item, for what it’s worth. The availability is consistent with other Disney Restaurants. Always check the menus online and on the app before you commit to a location!

The Main Course

Lamplight Lounge allergy al pastor pork chop

First up, marinated al pastor bone-in pork chop. This had oaxaca cheese polenta, pineapple relish, charred onions, roasted red chili butter, and green chili sauce. Marked as safe for gluten/wheat, egg, fish/shellfish, peanut/tree nut, and soy allergies, this was incredible. The pork chop just fell right off the bone! The flavors were amazing. And don’t get me started on the sauce. The best thing I can say is that the portion size was perfection. It was just right and I felt full, not stuffed and bloated.

Lamplight Lounge salmon PLT

The Salmon PLT is grilled salmon with crispy pancetta, lettuce, roasted plum tomato, lemon-bacon aïoli on toasted focaccia, and served with fries. Husband says the ratio of pancetta to salmon was perfect, and the sandwich was delicious. The fries were well seasoned and not too overly salty.

Cheddar Burger, plain, and fries. I mean, she’s a teenager, so you get it. “It was really good.”

Food gets a 9/10. There could stand to be a few more options to choose from, but supply chain being what it is, we really liked this restaurant.

Drink Menu

Non-Alcoholic Drink Concoctions
Cocktails

The drink menu, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, might be my favorite thing about the menu. Everything is, again, Pixar-themed, and if I could have tried everything, I certainly would have. Instead, I only had the Scream Canister, but it was just what the doctor ordered. There is also a great selection of mostly local beers and wines. You will not only leave full, but you will leave with your thirst quenched!

Final Verdict

From the setting to the decor to the food and drink, I can honestly say this was my favorite restaurant in Disneyland. I would give it 5 stars, 10/10, perfect marks! That waterfront dining was unbeatable. I highly recommend everyone eat here at least once when visiting Disneyland!

Are you ready to book your next Disneyland vacation?! Contact me today!

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Foodie Guide: California

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Read Time:7 Minute, 52 Second

Disney’s California Adventure Food & Wine Kicks Off TODAY So Let’s Check Out the Foodie Guide!!

I. Love. Festivals! Disney does Festivals better than almost anybody! Walt Disney World kicked off their Flower and Garden Festival this week, and now it’s California’s turn! Let’s dig in to the Foodie Guide for the California Food & Wine Festival! This Festival, located in Disney’s California Adventure, starts today, and runs through April 26! The fun and feasting doesn’t stop at just the festival marketplaces. You can enjoy this celebration all around Disney California Adventure park. And don’t forget about the Sip and Savor Pass, which allows you to try up to eight different food and non-alcoholic beverage items at participating locations. This is something I wish Disney WORLD had for their Festivals (score one point: Disneyland). You can use all eight tabs yourself – or split with your friends or family! Get your pass at several locations through Disney California Adventure park. Let’s dig in to the Foodie Guide!

WARNING: DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE HUNGRY!!

D*Lish

Foodie Guide: DCA Food & Wine
Photo: Disney
food
  • Black & Tan Beef Potato Puffs: Karl Strauss Wreck Alley stout gravy and lager micro sponge (available with Sip & Savor Pass)
  • Cubano Slider: Slow-roasted mustard-crusted pork and sliced smoked ham with melted swiss cheese and slice of pickle served on a Hawaiian roll (available with Sip & Savor Pass)
beverages
  • Central California Cooler: Peach, apple, orange, and lemon juice (non-alcoholic) (available with Sip & Savor Pass)
  • Chocolate Marshmallow Cold Brew Cocktail: Irish whiskey, Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Co. Mexico Origin Coffee, chocolate syrup, almond milk, and toasted marshmallow (New)
  • Novelty: Red or Green Grapes Glow Cube Charm (can be added to any beverage)

I’m hoping I can get the slider with no bun, because that sounds amazing! I’m also strangely excited for the non-alcoholic cooler!

Nuts About Cheese

Nuts About Cheese
Photo: Disney
food
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly Mac with brown sugar streusel and strawberry crackle (available with Sip & Savor Pass) (New)
  • Next Level Crackers & Cheese: House-made herb crackers with white cheddar-infused fromage blanc, spicy prosciutto spread, and cherry jam (available with Sip & Savor Pass) (New)
  • SNICKERS Caramel-Peanut Milk Chocolate Mickey Macaron: Chocolate Mickey macaron filled with caramel ganache and SNICKERS pieces (available with Sip & Savor Pass) Savor Pass)
beverages
  • Spicy Honey-Apricot Cocktail: Rye Whiskey, apricot, orange, lemon juice, spicy honey syrup, and bitters (New)
  • Novelty: Red or Green Grapes Glow Cube Charm (can be added to any beverage)

OH.EM.GOODNESS. That Macaron (which is verified gluten free, for my fellow celiacs) is callin my name! I’ll be honest, I’m not at all sure about PB&J Mac n Cheese, but early reviews are positive, so maybe it’s some weird, unknown, delicious combo?

Uncork California

Foodie Guide - Uncork California
Photo: Disney
food
  • California Artisan Cheese Selection: Habanero Jack and TomaProvence (available with Sip & Savor Pass)
  • Chocolate Hazelnut Crunch: Chocolate-hazelnut mousse topped with chocolate-hazelnut glaze and a gold leaf (available with Sip & Savor Pass)
beverages
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Chardonnay
  • Merlot
  • Pinot Noir
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Brut
  • White Wine Flight
  • Red Wine Flight
  • Green Apple & Lychee Mimosa: Flavors of green apple and lychee (New)
  • Passion Fruit & Banana Mimosa: Flavors of passion fruit and banana (New)
  • Cherry, Yuzu & Ginger Mimosa: Flavors of cherry, yuzu and ginger (New)
  • Tropical Mimosa Flight
  • Novelty: Red or Green Grapes Glow Cube Charm (can be added to any beverage)

I’m feeling thirsty! How many mimosa flights are too many? Asking for a friend…

Berry Patch

The Berry Patch
Photo: Disney
food
  • Strawberry Cheesecake with lemon Chantilly (available with Sip & Savor Pass) (New)
  • Blueberry-Buttermilk Pie (available with Sip & Savor Pass) (New)
beverages
  • Cherry-Chocolate-Mint Dessert Cocktail: Vodka, crème de menthe liqueur, cherry, chocolate syrup, coconut cream, and heavy whipping cream (New)
  • Novelty: Red or Green Grapes Glow Cube Charm (can be added to any beverage)

California Craft Brews

Food

  • IPA Sausage Dog on a soft pretzel roll with onion-pepper Jardinière, cheddar cheese sauce, and malt vinegar-jalapeño crunch (available with Sip & Savor Pass) (New)
beer
  • Mexican Style Lager
  • Pilsner
  • Sour
  • Hefeweizen
  • Tropical Wheat 
  • Witbier
  • Gose
  • Fruited India Pale Ale
  • Imperial Red India Pale Ale
  • Hazy Double India Pale Ale
  • Bright & Balanced Beer Flight 
  • Bigger & Bolder Beer Flight 
hard seltzer/cider
  • Boysenberry Lemonade Hard Seltzer 
  • Hard Cider
Novelty
  • Red or Green Grapes Glow Cube Charm (can be added to any beverage)

Peppers Cali-Ente

Photo: Disney
food
  • Chile Relleno Empanada with arbol pepper salsa and Oaxaca and Cotija cheeses (available with Sip & Savor Pass) (New)
  • Ají de Gallina: Spicy yellow chile creamed chicken with jasmine rice and olive tapenade (available with Sip & Savor Pass) (New)
beverages
  • Cantarito-style Paloma: Reposado tequila, habanero-pineapple juice, rock melon syrup, lime, and Fresca
  • Novelty: Red or Green Grapes Glow Cube Charm (can be added to any beverage)

I ♥Artichokes

Photo: Disney
food
  • Chicharron-crusted Fried Artichoke Dip with smoked pepper crema and Oaxaca cheese (available with Sip & Savor Pass) (New)
  • Artichoke Toast with Olive Tapenade: Toasted sliced baguette with artichoke cream cheese, topped with olive & artichoke tapenade and drizzled with olive oil (available with Sip & Savor Pass)
beverages
  • Passion Fruit Rum Cocktail: White rum, Italian bitter apéritif, passion fruit, orange, guava, orgeat, and lime (New)
  • Novelty: Red or Green Grapes Glow Cube Charm (can be added to any beverage)

I’m not a fan of artichokes, but that cocktail sounds AMAZING!!

Avocado Time

Photo: Disney
food
  • Petite Avocado Impossible Burger with dairy-free pepper jack (available with Sip & Savor Pass)
  • Frozen Guacamole: Avocado paleta with lime crema, pico de gallo, and chile-lime seasoning (available with Sip & Savor Pass)
beverages
  • Ruby Grapefruit Sparkling Beverage: Grapefruit juice, raspberry syrup, agave nectar, and Topo Chico mineral water (non-alcoholic) (available with Sip & Savor Pass)
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Novelty: Red or Green Grapes Glow Cube Charm (can be added to any beverage)

CluckaDoodle Moo

Foodie Guide: Cluckadoodle Moo
Photo: Disney
food
  • Ranch Wings with hot sauce drizzle (available with Sip & Savor Pass)
  • French Onion Grilled Beef Tenderloin Slider: Grilled beef tenderloin topped with a Gruyère cheese sauce and caramelized onions served on an onion roll (available with Sip & Savor Pass)
beverages
  • Blackberry-Lavender Lemonade: Blackberry, pineapple juice, lavender syrup, and lemon juice (non-alcoholic) (available with Sip & Savor Pass)
  • IPA
  • DIPA
  • Belgian Style White
  • Lemonade Lager
  • Sampler Beer Flight
  • Novelty: Red or Green Grapes Glow Cube Charm (can be added to any beverage)

I’ll take one of everything, please!

Golden Dreams

Golden Dreams
Photo: Disney
food
  • Honey-Orange-glazed Salmon Salad with citrus vinaigrette (available with Sip & Savor Pass) (New)
  • Mango-Carrot Gazpacho with grilled shrimp and jalapeño crema (available with Sip & Savor Pass) (New)
beverages
  • Orange-Honey Cold Brew: Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Co. Mexico Origin Coffee, orange blossom honey, white chocolate, orange juice, vanilla, orange extract, and almond milk (non-alcoholic) (available with Sip & Savor Pass) (New)
  • Pineapple-Tiki Bitter Cocktail: Aged rum, campari, pineapple juice, orgeat, lime juice and tiki bitters (New)
  • Chardonnay
  • Novelty: Red or Green Grapes Glow Cube Charm (can be added to any beverage)

Garlic Kissed

Garlic Kissed
Photo: Disney
food
  • Grilled Top Sirloin with roasted garlic-Gruyère smashed potatoes and black garlic chimichurri (available with Sip & Savor Pass) (New)
  • Carbonara-Garlic Mac & Cheese with peppered bacon (available with Sip & Savor Pass)
beverages
  • Rosemary Bitter Orange Mule: Vodka, Aperol, orange juice, lime juice, rosemary syrup, and ginger beer (New)
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Novelty: Red or Green Grapes Glow Cube Charm (can be added to any beverage)

This entire kitchen sounds amazing. So amazing I’m willing to make myself sick from the gluten in that mac n cheese!

Paradise Garden Grill (Mobile Order)

Photo: Disney
food
  • Brisket Fries: French fries topped with shredded smoked BBQ brisket, cheddar cheese sauce, pico de gallo, chipotle crema, and green onions (available for Sip & Savor Pass) (allergy-friendly options available) (New)
  • Char Siu Ribs: Chinese-inspired grilled pork ribs with steamed rice and almond-cabbage salad (available for Sip & Savor Pass) (allergy-friendly options available) (New)
  • Impossible Gyro: Seasoned plant-based meat served in pita bread with dairy-free tzatziki, seasoned tomatoes, cucumber, and onions (allergy-friendly options available) (New)
  • Jerk Chicken: Caribbean-inspired half chicken with mango-pineapple salsa served with black beans, white rice, and fried plantains (allergy-friendly options available) (New)
  • Beer-battered Fish Tacos: Baja-style beer-battered fish on corn tortillas topped with slaw, pico de gallo, cilantro crema, and lime wedge with house-made tortilla chips and roasted red chile-tomato salsa (available for Sip & Savor Pass) (allergy-friendly options available) (New)
  • Strawberry Shortcake: Pound cake with fresh strawberries and mascarpone crème (available with Sip & Savor Pass))
beverages
  • Bourbon-Strawberry Lemonade garnished with fresh strawberry and mint (New)
  • Mexican-style Lager
paradise garden grill beer garden
  • Salt & Lime Lager
  • Honey Blonde Ale
  • Passionfruit Wheat Ale
  • Sour Ale
  • Black Lager
  • Mango Habanero Apple Hard Cider
  • Blueberry Saison
  • Hazy IPA
  • Imperial Stout
  • IPA
  • Barrel-Aged Scotch Ale
  • Mead
  • Beer Garden Flight

And this is just PART of it! There is so much more to experience! To read the rest of the menus, visit here. To book your Disneyland vacation, contact me today!!

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Disney Springs: The Best Eats, Treats, and Shopping!

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Do you go to Disney Springs or do you skip Disney Springs? It used to be a skip for me, always. And then, I began to really explore! It has SO much to offer, and it is so much more than just a mall! The restaurants are great, the snacks are unbelievable, and the shops are incredible! Here is my collection of the best eats, treats, and shopping available in Disney Springs.

Disney Springs: The Best Eats

As always, I’m just here for the food! Disney Springs has SO many fantastic restaurants to eat at, both table service and quick service. Most of them are not Disney-owned, and, because of this, many of them have reservations available on Open Table, in addition to the Disney reservation system. Also, since they are not owned by Disney, they are not all as accommodating with food allergies. Personally, I have never had an issue, but I have read about people who have, so I would advise doing your research!

  1. THE BOATHOUSE. This is, hands down, my FAVORITE dining location at Disney Springs. The location, the atmosphere, the food…I just love it.
  • Price range: $$-$$$
  • Indoor and Outdoor seating available
  • Seafood and Steak
  • Sunday-Saturday: Lunch and Dinner
  • Saturday & Sunday 10-2: serving Brunch with live entertainment
  • Advanced Dining Reservations strongly encouraged
Disney Springs Polite Pig

2. The Polite Pig. This quick service restaurant, located right next to the elevators of the Lime Parking Garage, is the best quick service meal you will ever have. As the name suggests, bbq menu and mostly pork. Oh, and bourbon….lots of bourbon!

Disney Springs Homecomin

3. Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’. The BEST southern comfort food around! Open daily for lunch and dinner, and open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Advanced Dining Reservations STRONGLY recommended.

4. Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant. If you like Irish food, this is the place for you. This is a much better option than Rose & Crown in Epcot, in my opinion. Weekend brunch, lunch and dinner daily, and LIVE ENTERTAINMENT!! Advanced Dining Reservations strongly recommended!

Disney Springs D-Luxe Burger

5. D-Luxe Burger. Just…..the best burgers I’ve ever had! Plus, they offer mobile ordering. So if you’re getting hungry trying to find your way out of World of Disney, you can order yourself a burger and pick it up after you leave!

Disney Springs-The Best Places for Treats

Need a snack? For me, with Celiac, the FIRST place I want to go is Erin McKenna’s! But that aside, here is my collection of the best places to go for a snack!

Disney Springs Gideon's Bakehouse
  1. Gideon’s Bakehouse. This place is so popular it has a VIRTUAL QUEUE. 3-words: HALF. POUND. COOKIES.
Disney Springs Erin McKenna's Bakery

2. Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC. If you have food allergies, this is the place for you! They are vegan, kosher, and gluten free. They have everything from basic chocolate chip cookies, to homemade whoopie pies, to whole cakes. And they are all tasty and amazing.

3. Sprinkles. Love cupcakes? This is the place for you. They even have a cupcake vending machine.

4. Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop. Ghirardelli chocolate and ice cream. Need I say more?

5. Everglazed Donuts.

Disney Springs-The Best Shopping

The best part about Disney Springs is that you can easily get your souvenir shopping done and over with on the first day!

Disney Springs The Lego Store
The Lego Store
  1. World of Disney – a MASSIVE Disney Store! Shirts, Shoes, dresses, toys, stuffed animals, phone cases, dolls, puzzles, board games, Ear headbands, nuiMos, kitchen decor, home decor, you name it, they probably have it! AND they now feature scan and go, so you don’t have to wait in long lines to check out!
  2. Disney’s Days of Christmas – it’s Christmas ALL YEAR LONG! Walls and walls full of Disney Christmas Ornaments and other Christmas decor make this a very popular shop!
  3. Basin – amazing bath and body supplies.
  4. The Lego Store – the best part about this shop is wandering around and taking in all the amazing Lego sculptures!
Disney Springs the Lego Store
The Lego Store – Sorcerer Mickey

5. Marketplace Co-Op – currently the home of the Walt Disney World Vault Collection, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World!
6. Vera Bradley – Vera Bradley bags full of Disney style!
7. Super Hero Headquarters – All your Marvel goods in one place. Marvel Avengers Campus may be stuck on the West Coast, but Marvel goods are here in Florida!
8. The Art of Disney – amazing works of art, all the way from postcards to framed original art.

So did your favorite make the list? You can read more about Disney Springs here! What is your go to arrival day activity?

Ready to book your trip? Contact me today!!

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Character Dining at Tusker House

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Character Dining in Animal Kingdom: Tusker House Restaurant

Character Dining Check In

Character Dining is slowly returning to Walt Disney World and Disneyland, although it is a modified experience, but anything is better than nothing! One of the most popular Character Dining experiences is located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, at Tusker House Restaurant. Tusker House is currently an all-you-care-to-enjoy family-style meal featuring African-inspired food, and hosted by Safari Donald Duck!

Tusker House Restaurant: The Basics

Tusker House Character Dining
Directional sign for Tusker House Restaurant

Tusker House offers Breakfast (8:30am-10:30am), Lunch (11:00am-3:30pm), and Dinner (3:35pm-7pm) (hours current as of February 2, 2022. Check the Walt Disney World website or app for most recent operating hours). Previously a buffet, the restaurant is now a family-style all-you-care-to-enjoy meal. Breakfast is currently $42/adult, $27/child, while Lunch and Dinner come in at $55/adult, $36/child. This includes your food and non-alcoholic beverages like coffee, tea, water, and fountain drinks. Non-alcoholic specialty drinks, cocktails, beer, and wine are extra. Advanced Dining Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance and are strongly encouraged!

Tusker House: The Food

Breakfast pastry platter at Tusker House for Character Dining

For this article, I’m going to focus on breakfast. I’ve eaten lunch and dinner at Tusker House, but that was pre-Covid. So breakfast starts with fresh fruit, with a honey yogurt sauce/dip. You also get a breakfast pastry plate. This includes Safari Bread, Multigrain Croissants and Cornbread served with Whipped Butter, Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread, and Strawberry Preserves. Again, everything is all-you-care-to-enjoy, so you can order more of any and all items!

For the main course, you will enjoy Simba and Mickey waffles, eggs, bacon, sausage, and chicken curry.

I will say that, while the food is nothing earth-shattering, it is good. However, we were a group of six, and this was what was initially brought to us. The youngest in our group was 15. Do you think this is enough food for 6 adults? Yes, I realize that it is all-you-care-to-enjoy, but we had to order more before they even set the plate down!

Tusker House for Food Allergies

Tusker House Food Allergy pastries
Allergy Pastry Platter
Tusker House Food Allergy Fruit Plate
Allergy Fruit

As with all other Disney-owned restaurants, they are great with food allergies. If you’re new here, I have Celiac, and I cannot eat gluten. I mark this on all my dining reservations, and communicate with the hosts and my server. When I don’t feel comfortable or have a specific question (like ordering a secret menu item), I ALWAYS ask to speak to a chef. So the first thing is that I receive my very own breakfast pastry plate and my own fruit, in case there is any cross-contamination with the normal eaters. It’s obviously nowhere near as exciting as the gluten-filled pastries, but since it’s rare I can have any of this, it’s perfect.

Tusker House Food Allergy Skillet

When the main course is brought out, a separate skillet is brought out, a separate skillet is brought out for me, including gluten free Mickey Waffles, eggs, bacon, ham, and breakfast potatoes. I don’t like curry, so I told them I didn’t want any, but it was available if that’s something your allergy diner enjoys. Unlike the skillet for the whole group, this has MORE than enough food for one person in it! Apparently they should apply this food-to-mouth ratio to the bigger portions!

Characters!

Character Dining-Mickey Mouse
Mickey
Character Dining-Safari Donald Duck
Everyone’s Number 1, Donald Duck
Character Dining-Daisy Duck
Daisy
Character Dining-Goofy
Goofy

Here, Donald Duck is the star of the show! Join Safari Friends Donald, Daisy Duck, Mickey Mouse, and Goofy. They are roaming around the restaurant while you eat, and are available for socially distant photos. They will not sign autographs, but we received a card with all of their autographs on it as a keepsake. Personally, I much prefer this style of Character Dining, because it’s much faster, less hectic, and you’re not standing up every 2 minutes. I love a good Donald Duck hug as much as anybody, but I much prefer the socially distant version of Character Dining!

Character Dining: Final Verdict

While this has always been one of our favorite dining locations, the switch from buffet to all-you-care-to-enjoy really soured our opinion. It was still good, as far as breakfast food goes, but the basic offerings, in our opinion, was not worth the price. Beware that you are completely paying for characters here now. The food is ordinary. What do you think of the new version of character dining at Tusker House?

You can read about other Animal Kingdom dining options here.

Are you ready to book your vacation? Contact me today for your free, no obligation vacation quote!!

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Disney with Food Allergies

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How to Navigate Disney with Food Allergies

If you or someone you love lives with food allergies, dining out can be an anxiety-inducing event. Some food allergies are mild, sure, but there are so many that are incredibly serious, even fatal. Disney Destinations, including the theme parks, cruise line, and more, are fantastic with food allergies! Here is my best advice for navigating Disney with food allergies!

Disney with Food Allergies
Gluten Free Breakfast Skillet – Ohana, Walt Disney World

Families can feel safe traveling to Disney Destinations! I have celiac, and I can honestly say I have never had any kind of reaction from food while visiting any Disney Destination. And my favorite part of traveling is definitely the eating! So what do you do if you’re traveling with Disney and you have a food allergy? Let’s talk about it!

Do Your Research!

First and foremost, the internet is your friend. Spend time perusing all the menus you can. You can find menus for nearly every restaurant, table service, quick service, snacks, etc, at both Disney World and Disneyland, and many of them also list allergy menus.

Disney with Food Allergies
Allergy Menu – Storybook Dining, Walt Disney World

If the menu item says “For Egg,” etc, then it is safe to order. Simple as that. But what do you do if you want, say, french fries instead of mashed potatoes with your pork shank? Always ask to speak with a chef. Disney chefs are fantastic with food allergies, and will gladly talk with you about your allergies and what you want to eat. In many instances, you will find that menu items can easily be adjusted to suit your allergy needs just by asking. The chef will prepare the meal and it will be brought out to you separately, and clearly marked. IF YOU EVER GET YOUR FOOD AND THE ALLERGY MARKER IS MISSING, DO NOT EAT IT!!

Special Menus

Disney with Food Allergies

Again, it is incredibly important to speak to a chef or manager about your food allergies, especially if you are anaphylactic. Not only for safety reasons, but for SECRET MENUS! Like I said, many times the chefs are able to accommodate what you want, and there are actually many things available that may not be on the menu. For example, at Kona Cafe in the Polynesian, they serve the amazing Tonga Toast. But it is not on the allergy menu.

By speaking to the chef, I was able to actually order gluten free Tonga Toast. And it was absolutely delicious! They will actually just take gluten free dinner rolls from either Kona or across the hall at Ohana, and make the Tonga Toast from those! It never ever hurts to ask!

Make Sure to CLEARLY Communicate ALL of Your Allergies

But, gluten allergy is fairly easy to accommodate. What do you do if you have an allergy outside the main 8, like mango, or you have multiple allergies, like egg, wheat, and tree nuts?

  1. Mark your allergy when making your table service reservation. When making your reservation, you should see “Add a food allergy request.”
  2. Ask to speak to a chef or manager when you arrive (or when you go to order at a quick service restaurant)
  3. If you have 4 or more allergies, have 4 or more people with allergies, have allergies outside of the top 8, or have special dietary needs (including diabetes, gastric bypass, vegan/vegetarian, PKU/dysphagia, metabolic disorders, etc), you should contact special diets AT LEAST 14 days in advance of your trip. special.diets@disneyworld.com or special.diets@disneyland.com
Marking food allergies when making a dining reservation

You Can Even Pre-Order!!

Occasionally, you can email special diets, and special order something that isn’t available on the regular allergy menu, like fried chicken at 50s Prime Time Cafe at Walt Disney World or, pictured here, the Monte Cristo at Cafe Orleans at Disneyland. Again, it does not hurt to ask! And there are many things that are simple to make substitutions, they just need advanced notice to actually make it!

In this case, let’s say you have a reservation for Cafe Orleans on your next trip to Disneyland, and you KNOW you want to have the Monte Cristo for lunch when your family dines in the restaurant. With your reservation number, send an email to Special Diets at Disneyland, give them your name, the date and time of your reservation, and the confirmation number from your email. Tell them you want to order a gluten free Monte Cristo. And make sure you do this at least 14 days in advance. Special Diets will get back to you about whether or not they will grant your request, and, if approved, when you show up for lunch, your sandwich will be ready for you!

You can also use this same process to order Kosher and Halal meals, should you require them. Disney is fantastic with food allergies. Contact me today for your free, no obligation vacation quote, and then ask me about dining with food allergies!

Let Me Help with YOUR Vacation Planning!

If you’re ready to book your next Disney vacation, I am available to help with the planning, and my services are 100% FREE to you! Let’s talk!!!

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Trattoria al Forno

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For #TastyThursday, let’s take a look at Trattoria al Forno. This delicious, Italian-style restaurant is tucked into the Boardwalk Inn, right next to AbracadaBar, and serves breakfast and dinner. You can also order To-Go via the My Disney Experience app, and you will order from the same menu. This is a great option for people that may still not be comfortable with dining in a crowded restaurant, but want a tasty meal while on vacation!

This delicious location has both indoor seating and outdoor patio seating. The atmosphere is great, with the open-air kitchen offering a unique chance to watch the chefs preparing the food. In addition to the regular menus, there are plenty of food allergy options available, and the waitstaff is quite knowledgeable about what is and is not available for several different allergies. As always, if you are unsure, ask to speak to a chef!

As you can see, there are TONS of different breakfast options available, and it is not just the same old breakfast food you can find at every other Walt Disney World restaurant.

Start with a pastry assortment, perfect for sharing with the table, as well coffee, tea, juice, soft drinks, and an assortment of cocktails!

Peach Bellini

For my celiac-self, I ordered the oak-grilled steak and eggs. It came out by itself, separate from all the other food, marked with the food allergy-safe toothpick. It is sunny-side-up eggs, delicious breakfast potatoes, GLUTEN FREE crispy onion straws, and Hollandaise sauce, all piled up on a cooked-to-order steak. It is, indeed, as delicious as it looks!

The kid ordered her very favorite tower of pancakes. She always gets them made-to-order, which, for her, is super plain. With a side of crispy bacon. It usually comes with powdered sugar and a fruit compote.

Husband enjoyed a nice caprese omelet, mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and breakfast potatoes, and he chose bacon. He said it was quite delicious and light, which is what he likes to eat on big park days.

My mom got the Sunrise Breakfast Pizza. It was scrambled eggs, bacon, ham, sausage, bell peppers, and cheese. It was quite delicious, but this could easily feed two or even more people. It was HUGE!

Trattoria is one of our absolute favorites and we try to go each trip. Have you dined here before? What’s your favorite dish?

Ready to book your vacation? Contact me today!

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Liberty Tree Tavern

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Do you like Thanksgiving food? Do you like all-you-can-eat? Liberty Tree Tavern is where YOU want to be!

Everyone has a favorite, and my favorite restaurant at Walt Disney World is Liberty Tree Tavern. From the Colonial America theming to the all-you-can-eat Thanksgiving Dinner, I cannot get enough of this place. Let’s take an in-depth look at this classic Magic Kingdom restaurant.

Location and Theming: Absolute Perfection

Liberty Tree Tavern

Liberty Tree Tavern is located across from the riverboat in Liberty Square and it is themed as Colonial America. Enjoy 6 rooms, each themed to an historical American figure. The dining rooms are Benjamin Franklin, Betsy Ross, George Washington, John Paul Jones, Thomas Jefferson, and Paul Revere. Each room has fireplaces or wood paneling or other artifacts inspired by its host. Be sure to take the opportunity to look around the room you are dining in to see the detail that only Imagineers can master.

Liberty Tree Tavern

Liberty Tree Tavern used to feature character dining, with Mickey, Pluto, Goofy, Chip and Dale, etc would be dressed in their Colonial finest, but, alas, that has gone by the wayside. (Please, Disney, bring back the characters!)

The Food

Keeping with the colonial theming, you will dine on a traditional all-American Thanksgiving dinner. Because of this, the menu is all family-style and all-you-can-eat! Each table will start out with a delicious salad and rolls, then you will receive your Patriot’s Platter, which has turkey, pot roast, and pork, mashed potatoes, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, vegetables, and cranberry sauce. Then, you’ll wrap up with the second most popular dessert at Walt Disney World: ooey gooey toffee cake!

Liberty Tree Tavern for Vegans/Vegetarians? YES!

Liberty Tree Tavern - Plant-Based

Disney has done a lot to make plant-based diets part of their mainstream menus, providing a much more inclusive atmosphere for all types of diners! As a result, this traditional American restaurant also has a plant-based menu, so even your vegan and vegetarian friends can dine with you!

Liberty Tree Tavern for Food Allergies

Liberty Tree Tavern will gladly accommodate food allergies, too! And the food allergy offerings have gotten SO MUCH better over the years! For example, they even offer things like gluten free macaroni and cheese, stuffing, and cranberry sauce! This dining location has safe dining options for everyone! With food allergy dining, it is always important to consult a cast member and/or chef to make sure your food allergy options and needs are clearly communicated, then sit back, relax, and enjoy your meal!

Allergy Patriot’s Platter

This is my favorite, and one of my family’s favorite, places to eat, and we go nearly every single trip. We truly love when they welcome us from the Territory of Ohio! Have you had the pleasure of dining here? What did you think?! Ready to book your trip? Contact me today!!

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Ale & Compass Restaurant

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On our trip this month, we tried to do new things that we had never done before, and this lead to us having brunch at Ale & Compass. It’s safe to say, this is now one of our favorites!

Located at the Yacht Club, this restaurant is BEAUTIFUL. Since we stayed at the Boardwalk, it was just a short walk for us, but you could also get here via the Skyliner (a short walk from the EPCOT station), or use busing from Disney Springs or another park, and, of course, Uber or Lyft. It is just to the right of the entrance to the Lobby, of course right next to Ale & Compass Lounge. We were seated inside and our server was quick with the drink orders! As with other Disney restaurants, there were no menus handed out and you have to scan a QR code to access the menu. Honestly, I much prefer this method. It’s much faster, it’s cleaner, and it’s SO MUCH more sanitary. I hope this is a change that sticks around.

They were very accommodating with food allergies, and the menu was clearly marked by Top 8. If you’re uncomfortable or have multiple and/or rare allergies, I always recommend speaking directly with a chef. Celiac is fairly simple, and I’ve yet to run into a problem. I usually only ask for a chef when I have a special request at this point. They offer the normal beverages, coffee, tea, juices, water, and soft drinks, plus morning cocktails.

We were able to basically order the entire menu. First off, I had a classic breakfast of eggs, bacon, potatoes, and toast, and I ordered this because gluten-free toast is NEVER an option outside of my own kitchen. Simple, classic, and delicious. I also ordered a side of fruit and I was pleasantly surprised that it seemed to be fresh fruit and not the soggy pre-cut mix you get at a lot of restaurants with breakfast fruit. The berries were particularly delicious!

We were able to basically order the entire menu. First off, I had a classic breakfast of eggs, bacon, potatoes, and toast, and I ordered this because gluten free toast is NEVER an option outside of my own kitchen. Simple, classic, and delicious. I also ordered a side of fruit and I was pleasantly surprised that it seemed to be fresh fruit and not the soggy pre-cut mix you get at a lot of restaurants with breakfast fruit. The berries were particularly delicious!

My daughter chose dark chocolate waffles with cherry compote and espresso mascarpone cream with bacon. Since she is a “plain, please,” person, I happily ate the mascarpone cream and it was AMAZING. She loved the waffles and scarfed them down!!

Husband dined on crab cakes benedict and he said they were delicious, but not quite as delicious as the crab cake at BOATHOUSE. Who can argue with that, though? My niece had the plant-based protein bowl, and my cousin dined on the caramel apple stuffed French toast. Everyone absolutely loved their meals and we definitely plan to return!!

Have you dined here before? What did you think?!?!? Ready to book your vacation? Contact me today!!

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Chip ‘n Dale’s Harvest Feast at The Garden Grill

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This Tasty Thursday takes us to the Garden Grill in the Land Pavilion at EPCOT. Not only is this my favorite pavilion, this is one of my favorite restaurants! Let’s explore it together, shall we?

Currently, Garden Grill is open for lunch and dinner. I’m hopeful that SOME DAY we will see the return of the delicious breakfast, but apparently not quite yet. The restaurant is open 11:30am-8:30pm. So yes, if EPCOT is closing at 9:00pm and you get the last dining reservation, you will exit to an empty park, so if you want those incredible pictures, I highly recommend a late dinner!

So the Garden Grill is a rotating restaurant, and during your meal, you will likely rotate one whole revolution around the Living with the Land ride. You’ll go through the Rainforest, farmhouse, thunderstorm, sandstorm, and prairie, and dine on some of the fruit and vegetables grown in the Land. The restaurant is all-you-care-to-enjoy Family Style, and you will be socially distanced visited by Chip, Dale, Mickey, and Pluto.

For all my food-loving friends, this place serves up some good ol all-American comfort food. You’ll start out with dinner rolls and salad (with allergy-friendly rolls available for my fellow food allergy diners), then the main dishes. You will get all-you-care-to-enjoy chimichurri steak, turkey and gravy, macaroni and cheese, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and seasonal vegetables. For diners with food allergies, you will get your own platter, just slightly different, with steak, turkey, rice pilaf, and seasonal vegetables. And everyone will get berry shortcake for dessert. That’s right, EVERYONE. This location actually allergy-friendly shortcake, so you won’t have to watch everyone else eat dessert while you stare into your sad, tiny dish of sorbet.

You can get soft drinks, coffee, tea, water, beer, wine, and a specialty cocktail which is quite tasty. I highly recommend the Garden Grill! Have you ever dined here? Need help planning your vacation? Contact me today!

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Date Night Dinners – Walt Disney World

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So you’re at Disney World, either with your kids or without your kids or you don’t have kids, whatever the situation, it’s just you and your special someone. And you want to have a date night. Here are some of the best restaurants for date night at Walt Disney World!

1. California Grill

Located on the 15th floor of the Contemporary, accessed via private elevator, this is by far the most popular date night dinner. It’s probably the view of the Magic Kingdom and the fireworks. The cuisine is California-themed and they also feature over 300 wines, most from California.

This is a hard-to-get reservation, so be prepared. There is also a dress code. Read more about California Grill here.

2. Narcoosee’s

Located on the “coast” of the Grand Floridian Hotel, this surf-and-turf specialty restaurant offers spectacular views of Happily Ever After, but with a romantic seaside setting. They feature fresh seafood from local sources and around the world and land fare, like filet mignon.

This is another hard-to-get reservation and another location with a dress code. Read more about Narcoosee’s here.

3. Le Cellier

Located in the Canada Pavilion in EPCOT, this is for SURE one of my personal favorites, if only for the maple creme brulee. They specialize in regional Canadian cuisine, including steaks, fresh seafood, cheesy poutine, and Canadian beer.

This is, again, a hard-to-get reservation. It is totally worth it.

4. Sanaa

Sanaa is located at Animal Kingdom Lodge and offers African and Indian cooking with a view of the animals on the Savannah. People FLOCK here (get it?) just for the bread service.

Sanaa is great for all diets, but they are also a favorite stop for vegans and vegetarians. It is a family-friendly restaurant but there is a personal, romantic feeling to the dining area, especially at night.

5. Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen

Head over to Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom and give a great big KUNGALOOSH to the Skippers dining on their breaks! This restaurant, themed after S.E.A. and the Jungle Cruise, is kind of a hidden gem (so don’t tell anybody). It is one of the few places you can drink in the Magic Kingdom, too!

6. Chefs De France

We head back to World Showcase to dine in the France Pavilion at Chefs De France. Dine on seasonal French Cuisine and sip on the Imported French Wines and Champagne! Don’t forget to finish off with the creme brulee or the tarte au chocolat!

7. Hollywood Brown Derby

If your date night includes a trip to Batuu, make sure to first dine at the Hollywood Brown Derby. Inspired by the original Brown Derby, they offer California cuisine! Try the famous Cobb Salad, named after the original owner of the Brown Derby, Bob Cobb, and finish up with the grapefruit sponge cake!

8. Tiffins

Does your date night involve visiting Pandora? Tiffins is the place for you! Inspired by Africa and Asia, this dining location offers a delicious stop with great food and great views.

9. Boathouse

A night at Disney Springs deserves a stop at the Boathouse. The great food and drinks are tough to beat. This is an incredibly popular restaurant so reservations are a must! Want to cap the date night with an unforgettable event? Take a ride in an Amphicar or take flight in the Aerophile!

10. La Hacienda de San Angel

Want to cap a night at EPCOT with a front-row seat for the fireworks? Try to get a reservation about an hour and a half before the scheduled fireworks show at La Hacienda and ask to sit at the windows! Located in the Mexico Pavilion on the waterfront, this delicious Mexican restaurant is PERFECT for date night!

Have you ever had a date night? Ready to book your trip? Contact me today!!

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