Showing posts with label Tusker House. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tusker House. Show all posts

Friday, December 20, 2013

Magical Blogorail: My Ideal Disney Meal

Welcome to those of you joining me from A World View and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 2nd stop on our Magical Blogorail.

This month's blogorail topic is so much fun. We were asked to put together our ideal Disney meal, selecting its courses from any Disney restaurant we choose. I have no idea how I shall narrow the list but here goes…

Appetizers: Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Onions, Avocado and Cilantro from the Brazil Marketplace at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival -and- Mozzarella Stuffed Rice Balls - crispy fried risotto, fresh mozzarella, marinara sauce from Portobello at Downtown Disney

Soup: Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup - made with Moosehead Beer and Nueske's Smoked Bacon from Le Cellier

Salad: Mozzarella and Tomato Salad- with mixed greens and balsamic syrup from Olivia's Cafe at Old Key West

Entree: Tamarind Seafood Stew over rice, salmon, and samosas from Tusker House with a side of green beans from Olivia's

Cheese: Kerrygold Cheese Selection: Reserve Cheddar, Dubliner with Irish Stout, Skellig from the Ireland Marketplace at EIF&WF

Dessert: The Chocolate Wave from Coral Reef -and- white chocolate Cinderella slipper from my Disney Fairy Tale Wedding

Oh my, would I be full but happy after this meal! What would be on the menu for your ideal Disney meal?

Thanks to for listing menus and making this post easier. :)

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is My Dreams of Disney.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:
1st Stop ~ A World View
2nd Stop ~ Growing Up Disney
4th Stop ~ Disney Donna Kay

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Magical Blogorail: Favorite Disney Character Dining

Welcome to those of you joining me from A World View and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 3rd stop on our Magical Blogorail.
Magical Blogorail, walt disney world character dining
This month, Magical Blogorail Red is sharing our favorite Walt Disney World restaurants for character dining. I've covered this before (click here) so I am going to take a slightly different approach from what I expect the rest of the gang is doing. I'll be briefly discussing the character meal locations within the theme parks.

Magic Kingdom
Crystal Palace: Serves buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. Characters are Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet.

I prefer breakfast here over the other meals. I love how bright it is in the morning and it's a fun way to start the day. I find buffet character meals to be chaotic and this one is no exception but a Pooh bear hug seems to make it better. And my children eat breakfast better than any other meal, so that helps it be a more enjoyable experience.
Oh, my lovely Crystal Palace costume
Expecting Tink, October 2008
Bear hugs!, May 2013
This girl loves breakfast
Cinderella's Royal Table: Serves plated breakfast, lunch and dinner. The characters are Cinderella and her royal friends (no specific list is guaranteed.) For those on the Disney Dining Plan, two table service credits are required. A photo package is included in the cost.
This used to be a family favorite going back to the King Stephan's days but I haven't been here since 2005. At that time it was my choice for my post-marathon celebration dinner and other than the occasional meet and greet with Cinderella in the lobby, characters were not involved except at breakfast. I have two little girls so I am sure we will dine with Cinderella in the future. Since we are frequent WDW guests, I am spacing out some of the quintessential Disney experiences to make them more special. I think both of my girls will be the perfect age for this in about two more years.

Garden Grill: We've dined here a few times, most recently as May 2013. This is a dinner served family style and Mickey, Pluto and Chip and Dale visit each table. The food here is very good and I have an overall good impression of the place. Gotta love a rotating restaurant. On our last visit, it seemed very hot and very loud but it just wasn't our best night so I'm not sure anywhere would have worked out smoothly.
Hanging out with Dale, May 2013
Couldn't resist a selfie
Menu from May 2013
Ridge with Mickey in February 2007.  I don't think Mickey's costume has changed.
Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall: One word: Fabulous! Akershus offers breakfast, lunch and dinner with an assortment of princesses. A photo package is included. The hot food is brought to your table and a cold buffet is available as well.

My brother and I had lunch at Akershus many years ago and other than a running inside joke, the experience didn't inspire us. Now this is a character dining location and it's wonderful. On our girls only trip in January 2013, we had the best time here. I can't do it justice in a paragraph. You'll just have to check out the review.

Me, my girls, my BFF, and Belle. 
One of my favorite Disney moments.
I do have pictures other than her eating...somewhere...

Disney's Hollywood Studios
Play 'N Dine at Hollywood and Vine: Breakfast and lunch buffets with characters from Disney Junior shows. I haven't been yet since my girls didn't really know the characters well enough to spend more time and money on character meals. However, Janine from our Minnie Moms had a fantastic time there for breakfast.

Disney's Animal Kingdom
Tusker House: African-inspired breakfast and lunch buffets with Donald greeting outside the restaurant and Minnie, Daisy and Goofy visiting inside. Dinner is not a character meal.

We have had lunch here twice since it changed format from counter service to buffet and both experiences were very good. One of the advantages of writing a blog is being able to look back at what you thought in the past. After Tink's first WDW for her first birthday, I reviewed Tusker House as our best meal of the trip. We took both girls to the character buffet there in November 2012 and also had a good time. As I've said before, my girls eat breakfast well and we made our first pass on the buffet during the transition from breakfast to lunch. I was able to get Mickey waffles for the girls and the adults could begin to enjoy the seafood stew, samosas, and the other lunch offerings. As with other character meals, it was hectic for a time but the restaurant seemed to settle down about halfway through our meal.
The best pictures at character meals tend to come when the restaurant is slow, so the beginning or end of a meal period can work out well.
DisneyDad getting in on the fun
(If the spacing on today's article looks odd, I apologize. My computer is fighting my efforts to correct the overly spaced sections. It's after midnight as I write this and I am about to give up and go to bed. ~Amy)

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is My Dreams of Disney.
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:
2nd Stop ~ A World View
3rd Stop ~ Growing Up Disney
4th Stop ~ My Dreams of Disney
Final Stop ~ Disney Donna Kay
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Minnie Moms: The Best and Worst Restaurants for Kids (Part 2)

Lunch at Casey's
 Kelly:  My favorite places to eat with the kids at the Walt Disney Resort? There are quite a few and some will probably surprise you. I love dining at the Yachtsman Steakhouse at the Yacht Club Resort; we have been dining there since my youngest was under two. The food is great, the service is great and I have never felt uncomfortable taking the kids there. We ate there a few years ago and one of the kids got sick and I was mortified. He was fine before we got there and then all of a sudden…. it was gross. The staff was amazing and so helpful and I will never forget that. I have also loved taking the kids to California Grill, Grand Floridian Café, Hollywood Brown Derby, and The Plaza. I know some of these are two table service credits on the dining plans and some people consider them “fancy” but we have never had an issue dining there. I also really like taking the kids to Toy Story Pizza Planet at Disney’s Hollywood Studios; I know it is not a sit down restaurant but it’s fun and the food is actually good. I really wish Disney would do a Star Wars or Pixar character meal for the boys. I have dined at the Princess meals but not with the boys. Another quick service place we LOVE and always have lunch is the Lotus Blossom in China. They have the best orange chicken and the kids love the ice cream there.

The boys checking out the menu at The Wave
As for places I do not like to dine, we are over Liberty Tree Tavern. I always loved eating there as a family but lately the food is not good and they took the characters away so it is just not the same. We also avoid Tony’s at the Magic Kingdom. I have never had a good meal there and so now we are done trying it. I am also done with Chef Mickey’s. I used to love it but the kids have been there so many times and its just not as fun as it used to be for them. My husband does not really like the food there at all. I will try any place at least once and if the kids do not want to go back then we don’t.

Amy:  Overall, Walt Disney World is one of the most kid-friendly places you can visit. While small children are allowed at all but one WDW restaurant, some just work better than others. On our trip last April, our best dining experience with my then 12 month old child was at Tusker House. The buffet allowed us to begin feeding her quickly and minimize the wait that is so hard with little ones. They have a good variety of foods and I chose items from both the children’s and adult buffets for her. The restaurant wasn’t overly crowded and there are several smaller dining rooms, so there was enough activity to provide her people to smile and wave at, but not so much as to be a distraction from the task at hand. Children under 3 eat free at Disney’s buffet restaurants, so that was a nice bonus.

We had breakfast at 1900 Park Fare and Chef Mickey’s on that same trip. As nice as it is to meet characters without waiting in lines, I think we’ll hold off on character meals until she’s a little older. Both locations have good food and good character interaction, but now that Tink is quite mobile, I’m not sure she’d be content to pose from her chair. I don’t think I’d want to set the precedent of getting in and out of the highchair over and over. Of course, I wouldn’t pass up a trip to Crystal Palace if a walk-up table is available, but we didn’t make any reservations for character meals for our upcoming trip.

Rose & Crown is a favorite restaurant of my family, but it didn’t work so well for a 12 month old. We got her some grapes from one of the appetizers and I always carry plenty of snacks. However, the wait for our food was too much for her. My dad and I ended up taking turns walking her around outside.

Andy and I were celebrating our 5th anniversary in April as well. We left Tink with her grandparents and went to Jiko for dinner. We had a fantastic meal and couldn’t help but notice that several tables near us had small children. Tink is pretty well behaved in a restaurant, but Andy and I agreed that if we’d been traveling without willing babysitters, we would have passed on Jiko. The Cast Members are friendly and the children were welcome, but I would hate to have to eat that wonderful food as quickly as you have to do with little ones.

Tink and I are going back to the World soon with my parents and Chris. It’s a longer trip than usual and the Food & Wine Festival will be in full-swing so we are going to play most of our meals by ear. We do have a few ADRs and are looking forward to trying Yak & Yeti, Kona (dinner), and Via Napoli. We’ll also be visiting Olivia’s, an old-favorite and a good place for Tink, at least once.

Corby:  I always recommend getting the Magic Your Way with Dining package. And of course when free dining is offered, it’s a must! In my opinion, going to the Disney restaurants makes your experience even more magical. The atmosphere, service, and of course the food are wonderful. I personally think ALL of the restaurants in Disney are kid friendly. We’ve never had a bad experience or felt out of place at any of them. We’ve had wonderful experiences whether it’s a character dinner or when we’ve taken our son to the Wave or Le Cellier. Of course some restaurants do cater more specifically to kids and I’ll pass on some of our favorites.

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater: If you have older children, especially boys, I would highly recommend this restaurant. It was my 5 year old son’s absolute favorite restaurant last year; I would venture to say it was his favorite experience overall that trip. I’ll admit, we went in with very low expectations and were pleasantly surprised. Our son enjoyed watching the old “horror” movie clips on the large movie screen while dining in a “car.“ I wasn’t expecting much from the food and was happy it ended up being delicious. The milkshakes are to die for and my son enjoyed getting his “license.”

Whispering Canyon: Be sure to bring your sense of humor to this restaurant. It’s very loud and the waiters are full of antics that can be seen as obnoxious however, the kids will love it! Enjoy the all-you-can eat Canyon skillet while your kids “ride ponies” and do the hokey pokey. Don’t forget to ask for the ketchup!

Prime Time 50’s Café: The food is not my favorite here but the kids will probably enjoy the atmosphere which makes it worth a try. It’s as though you’ve gone back to the 50’s and you’re eating with family, your server being your “cousin.” The kids will enjoy the kitschy theme with televisions at the table which show clips from the 1950’s.

Tony’s Town Square: Yes, I am recommending Tony’s Town Square, again. Tony’s gets very mixed reviews, I realize, however, it’s still one of my family’s favorites. If you can time it right as I’ve mentioned before, you can dine while viewing the Spectro Magic Parade/Main Street Electrical Parade. You will need to check ahead of time to see when the parade starts as it’s not every night and the schedule does change. You will also need to request to sit outside. We’ve planned it correctly for our past three trips and it just wouldn’t be the same without it. We get the steak and catch of the day, the service has always been wonderful (I think we‘ve had the same server every time) and you can’t beat the location.
Last but not least is the obvious…character dining. I’m not a huge fan of buffets but in my opinion, this is a must do if you have younger kids. Our favorite has been the Crystal Palace with Pooh and friends. We have reservations at Chef Mickey’s in November. We’ve also tried The Garden Grill which is good because it has some of the more popular characters (such as the Big Cheese himself.) I would pick whichever location is going to have your child’s favorite character(s)/princess(es). The children love the one on one interaction and the memories they make will be treasured for years to come.

Thanks to our Minnie Moms for sharing such helpful tips! If you have a question for us or a topic you'd like us to cover, please leave a comment or email Amy. Pin It

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tink's First Birthday Trip Part 2

This is part 2 of the trip report I posted on Audrey's blog.


Audrey had breakfast with Mickey and the gang on her birthday. She wore a birthday girl t-shirt and a pink tiara with a 1 on it. We went to Chef Mickey's at Disney's Contemporary Resort. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto visited with Audrey and signed her birthday card. This meal and the overall experience were better than Monday's character breakfast. Audrey charmed a cast member in one of the stores in the Contemporary and they were playing in the floor. Before heading to the park, we checked out the new DVC property. The afternoon was spent in the Magic Kingdom.

Thursday was a great day. Audrey napped while Andy, Granddaddy and I meandered through the Oasis at Disney's Animal Kingdom park and then toured the Maharajah Jungle Trek. We got great views of the tigers and were really close to one of them. Such a beautiful animal. We met Chris and Granny at Tusker House for lunch. Everyone had a great meal and a great time. After lunch, Audrey played with Granny and Granddaddy while Chris, Andy, and I rode Expedition Everest. What a great coaster!!! We all met back up and walked through the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. Audrey especially liked watching the fish and hippo.

One of my favorite memories of the trip was Audrey in line for the Kilimanjaro Safaris. We were in the handicapped line and people were passing us in the regular line below. Audrey took it upon herself to greet everyone who passed her. I guess the Princess needed to thank everyone for coming out to her birthday celebration. Chris took lots of pictures, but it still doesn't capture the joy Audrey had in waving to and smiling at all those people.

On Friday, after we all packed up, we played at Epcot for a while. Audrey ate a great lunch at Sunshine Seasons. The fairy garden was next on the agenda. There were beautiful topiaries and a butterfly garden with hundreds of butterflies. We got a special character meet and greet with Mickey and Pluto as Disney Visa cardholders. Pluto saw Audrey and got down on all fours to be at her level. She loved playing with the puppy. Audrey did great on our flights home on Friday evening, charming people everywhere she went.

We really enjoyed our trip to WDW and I can't wait to take Audrey back. Pin It

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Team Favorites--In-Park, Non-Character Dining

Ridge: My favorite in-park yet non-character meal spot is The Hollywood Brown Derby. It would have to be one of the best in-park places to get a steak, other than Le Cellier. The steak pictured is no longer on the menu but it was fantastic. It was served with a wasabi emulsion, soy reduction and a reduced pan sauce. The large yellow object was a fried plantain and the steak was cut on the bias and plated with smashed potatoes to hold them in their positions. But enough about those delicious morsels...if you're into that sort of thing.

The Brown Derby is designed after the famous holder of that moniker, which is actually a chain in Hollywood, CA. The Brown Derby restaurants became synonymous with the golden age of Hollywood in the 1920s-1940s. Everyone who was anyone in show business went there. So at the Hollywood Studios the recreation of the original seemed only natural, back when it was a working studio, to bring a bit of class to the park.

Lunch is served from 11:30-3:30pm and dinner is from 3:30- until park closing. One of the eye-catching new items on the menu is the Duck Two Ways: duck with a vanilla-white balsamic melon pear salad and a braised leg with a ginger-carrot puree and natural reduction. Loch Daurt Salmon sounds intriguing: glazed with Scotch whisky over arugula, watercress, local peaches, blue affine, walnuts and a fig and orange blossom honey dressing. Don't forget the signature desert, Grapefruit cake, yellow cake with layers of grapefruit cream icing. It is really good if you are into little morsels of deliciousness exploding in your mouth.

DisneyDad: Over the years my wife and I have had some wonderful and not so wonderful experiences at restaurants in the parks at WDW. My favorite place to dine is always the next place we have reservations. As menus are always changing, I'm always a little disappointed that my favorite dish from my last visit isn't on the menu this trip but then again there is always something new to try. On our last trip we had a very good experience at the Coral Reef Restaurant at the Living Seas Pavilion at EPCOT. We had a table for two next to one of the expansive windows that overlooks the aquarium. We dined on seafood as fish, sharks, turtles, and an occasional diver swam past our table.

Another EPCOT restaurant we enjoy is Le Cellier Steakhouse at the Canadian Pavilion. The steaks here have always been excellent. Apparently I'm not the only one that thinks so as it can be difficult to get reservations here as it is a very popular place to dine. At the Studios I enjoy the food and ambiance of The Hollywood Brown Derby. The drawings on the walls are fascinating, taking you back to an earlier era of Hollywood. The last time we were here a pianist accompanied your meal with some old standards and Disney classics to help make your dining experience more enjoyable. At the Magic Kingdom Cinderella's Royal Table (aka King Stephan's Banquet Hall) use to be a wonderful place to dine. The atmosphere was wonderful and if you had late reservations, it was a fun place to watch the fireworks. It has been changed from a dining experience to just another character meal.

Amy: I got my husband involved in brain-storming for this question and we came up with the following list: Tusker House, Mama Melrose, SciFi, Coral Reef, and Le Cellier.

Tusker House: We went here for lunch last April. Other than date night at Jiko, this was our best meal of the trip. We’re big fans of Boma and this is pretty similar cuisine. My little girl ate better here than anywhere else. The grown-ups enjoyed the seafood stew, salmon, curry dishes, and the carving station with unique sauces for the meat.

Mama Melrose: This was one of my husband’s picks. We went here for lunch in 2006 and were on the Disney Dining plan. He remembered a pleasant atmosphere, good iced tea, and solid Italian food. At the time, DDP gave us each an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. DisneyDad, Mom, Andy, and I each got something different and then we’d all try it. We haven’t been back but I also remember it fondly.

Sci-Fi: I love this place. The menu is never quite what I expect but this is a case where the atmosphere trumps all else. It’s so much fun to go sit in the old cars and watch the cheesy science fiction B-movie clips. It’s usually my top pick at the Studios and I look forward to taking my daughter here. If you’re looking for a foodie experience, go to Brown Derby, but go to Sci-Fi for some unique fun.

Coral Reef: This place has been hit or miss over the years. This was our last meal before heading for the airport on the 2006 trip and that time was marvelous. There were six of us and we had one of the large curved booths overlooking the ginormous aquarium. I still remember the lobster bisque, blackened fish served over grits, and the chocolate wave. The food was wonderful, the service was good, and the atmosphere was fun but refined and relaxing. Fast forward one year. My in-laws joined us for the annual October trip. I had planned everything as was so excited to take them to Coral Reef. The service was incredibly rushed, the food was not good, and it was too noisy for us all to talk. I was so embarrassed that I wanted to crawl under the table. I sincerely hope that was just a bad night since our first trip there was phenomenal.

Le Cellier: My husband lit up when he added this one to the list. This was another Disney Dining plan experience and Andy and Chris were trying to see how much they could “spend” if we had been actually paying for the meal. They both had a great time and a truly delicious meal. I’ve been 3 or 4 times and I really enjoy Le Cellier as well but I feel that it is a little over-hyped in the Disney community.

So that’s what the Growing Up Disney family recommends. What about you? What’s your favorite restaurant in the parks, excluding character dining? Pin It
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