Posts Tagged: Food

How to Plan your Walt Disney World Vacation – Part 4 Dining Reservations

Dining Reservations. 180 days before your first day at Walt Disney World you can book Dining Reservations. Depending on how busy it is when you go, reservations go from highly recommended to a must. Be Our Guest, in the new Fantasyland is one of those restaurants that you need a reservation for even in the lowest of the low season. Le Cellier the French Canadian Steakhouse is another I would book if you wanted to go there. What I will say is if you want to eat somewhere specific get a reservation and if you have a dining plan with sit down service you should get reservations. You should plan out what parks you want to visit and on what days and then look at the restaurants and book a reservation. Some of the best restaurants on property happen to be at hotels.

So, where should you eat? Here are some of our favorites and a few key points on each of them:

EPCOT

Sit Down Restaurants

Akershus ($$$): Norway. Go for breakfast, there’s a great buffet and a whole bunch of princesses (it’s even fun for the boys).
Le Cellier ($$$): Canada. This is a great steak dinner for two adults. We made a deal with family members to allow each couple to have a date night while the others took all the kids. This date night dinner is highly recommended. It can cost 2 sit down meals on some dining plans.
Chefs de France ($$): France. If you truly love French food as we do this is the best of Paris bought to the US. The dining is French Bistro style so the tables are smaller and closer together.
Rose and Crown ($$): United Kingdom. If you love a good British Pub the Rose and Crown will exceed your expectations, we love to eat here on the patio after a long day of walking.
Coral Reef ($$): Future World. An EPCOT Classic, dining under the sea.
           
Quick Service and Snacks

Liberty Inn ($): America. Do you need a hot dog for a child? This is your place. The burgers have always looked good but we can eat in America all year round.
La Cantina de San Angel ($): Mexico. Right on the lagoon this is a great place to grab lunch before your trek around the World Showcase. La Cantina provides an elevated form of street tacos. Our kids loved the churros with caramel sauce.
Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe ($): Norway.   Home to the Troll Horn. It is Cloudberry Jam mixed with whipped cream in a crispy pastry-sugar coated shell.
Karamel-Kuche and Sommerfest ($): Germany. Pretzels, Bratwurst, Strudel, Black Forest Cake, and Caramel. Enough said.
Funnel Cake ($): America. This one is self-explanatory.
Club Cool ($): Future World. Sample beverages from all over the world.
 
Hollywood Studios

Sit Down Restaurants

The Hollywood Brown Derby ($$): Still to this day one of the best meals we have ever eaten. The Grapefruit Cake and Chop Salad are a must for at least one member of your party. But don’t plan on wanting to share. You can get reservations here that will get you a saved seats at Fantasmic. It can cost 2 sit down meals on some dining plans.
Hollywood and Vine ($$): This is an old school buffet but they do character meals here, we went to the Disney Junior one our kids loved it.

Quick Service and Snacks
Pizza Planet ($): Modeled after “THE” Pizza Planet from Toy Story. It is a fun place to grab a quick meal. There is shaded seating outside.

Magic Kingdom

Sit Down Restaurants

Be Our Guest ($-$$): Fantasyland. Since opening along with the new Fantasyland it is hard to get a seat here. Disney has added a quick service lunch to try and meet the demand but if you want to eat here and we recommend it you will need to get a reservation. 30 days before your trip you can pre-order your food. This is cool because your food appears almost as soon as you sit down. A huge win for parents of hungry children and a win for Disney since this allows more people to enjoy the Beast’s Castle.
Crystal Palace ($$): Main Street USA. Another buffet to meet characters. We tend to eat breakfast here on our first day in the park. It helps to keep stomachs full past the busy lunch hours.
Tony’s Town Square ($$): Main Street USA. Think Lady and Tramp but for people and really good.
Plaza Restaurant ($$): Main Street USA. Classic American food in a great location where you can watch parades and fireworks from your table.
Cinderella’s Royal Table ($$$): Fantasyland. Who doesn’t want to dine in a castle? Especially a Disney Castle. The food here was exceptional and while it took a while to get through all the courses it was a welcome respite after a long day in the Florida heat. Try the pretzel rolls. It can cost 2 sit down meals on some dining plans.

Ballroom in the Beast’s Castle at Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom. Photo by Tom Brinker and Courtesy of his site http://www.disneytouristblog.com

Quick Service and Snacks

Gaston’s Tavern ($): Fantasyland. Billed as the manliest of manly places, this is a great place to refuel. The food is great but it is known for its Cinnamon Rolls and LeFou’s Brew, a non-alcoholic beverage, which consists of Frozen Apple Juice with a hint of Toasted Marshmallow and topped with All-Natural Passion Fruit-Mango Foam. Dining Plants are NOT accepted here.
Columbia Harbor House ($): Liberty Square. Located at a crossroads between Fantasyland, Liberty Square and near Adventureland this nautical themed restaurant is a great place to mix things up. While they have the usual kids fare adults can switch it up with fried fish, shrimp or lobster rolls.
The Launching Pad ($): Tomorrowland. Crème-cheese filled pretzels and frozen carbonated beverages in flavors like: Coke, Cherry, Fanta and Minute Maid.
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Café ($): Frontierland. Located on the edge of Fronteirland right by Adventureland. If you are craving a chili cheese fries or western style quick service this is a good place to get some vittles.

Animal Kingdom

Sit Down Restaurants

Restaurantosaurus ($): DinoLand USA. American quick service near the DinoLand part of the park, if your kids play in the play area they will be ready to eat when they get out.
Rainforest Café ($$): Main Entrance. If you have never been it is worth sticking your head in to see the spectacle that is the Rainforest Café. Their food does not disappoint, but if you are looking for a quiet place to eat this might not be it.

Quick Service and Snacks

Yak and Yeti ($): Asia. At a crossroads in-between Expedition Everest and the Kali River Rapids this is a great place to grab some excellent quick Asian food. There is also a sit down restaurant here with some amazing Thai food.

Downtown Disney

Sit Down Restaurants

Dinosaur Café & Rainforest Café ($$): The Dinosaur Café is louder than the Rainforest Café but the food is great and the kids thought it was awesome.

Quick Service and Snacks

There are lots of options here but the food trucks seem to be the best option.

 Hotels & Resorts

Sit Down Restaurants

Kona Grill ($) & ‘Ohana ($$): Polynesian Resort. The Kona Grill offers an American/Asian fusion meal while ‘Ohana will take you to the setting of a Polynesian long house and a character meal that is served family style.
California Grill ($$$): Contemporary Resort. You will need a reservation for this signature restaurant, as it is one of the hottest places to eat at Disney World.
Artist Point ($$$): Wilderness Lodge. A fun family style BBQ joint, the food is reminiscent of Big Thunder Ranch in Disneyland.
Victoria & Albert’s ($$$$): Grand Floridian. This AAA Five Diamond Award winner (Since 2000) is the fanciest place to eat on property, and possibly in Central Florida. Make Reservations and bring your wallet as a seven-course meal can cost more than a night in most hotel rooms at Walt Disney World.

Coming up FastPass+, Magic Bands and Luggage Tags …….

 

Pantheon and Piazza della Rotonda

For our 10th anniversary we left our kids home with both sets of grandparents and checked off a few items on our bucket list. Italy was on our list and Rome as part of it, but a place we went back to almost everyday and most nights while there was the Piazza della Rotonda and all the pedestrian shopping streets around it. This is the Piazza right in front of the Pantheon. One of the nights we were there eating dinner and it felt as if the world walked by our table as we shared pasta and a 4-cheese risotto.

Risotto with a view!

Risotto with a view!

The Pantheon

By itself it is an amazing building built over 2,000 years ago it evokes an idea of how amazing Rome must have looked during its heyday. With solid columns quarried and built in Egypt, Italian Marble and a dome made from one of Rome’s greatest inventions cement. To get a better sense of the History of the Pantheon (and many other locations in Europe) we like to use the Rick Steve’s Europe Ap, we download and listen to the History Podcasts in our hotel and we download the Audio Tour podcast to listen to while on location. You can listen to the actual podcast here: Rick Steve’s Pantheon

The Pantheon Is on every ‘night-walk’ list we found. Besides being a close walk from the Trevi Fountain (a must at night) the Piazza comes to life at night and suffice it to say it is no ghost town during the day.

Food

We ate 2 meals right by the Pantheon and one on the end of a shopping street heading towards the Trevi Fountain. As mentioned above one night we sat in a restaurant shared pasta and risotto and watched the piazza come alive. There were at least 3 other restaurants where your view could be similarly amazing. One day at lunch we stopped by a family run pan pizza shop, Super Pizza. It was within earshot of piazza. Here we got in line behind touring students and Father who ran the shop with his 20-something son was artfully and quickly cutting, weighing and plating food all while running the till. His son waited on the 12 or so tables they had for people who were not on tour or in a rush. We did not know this was separate at the time. We ordered and then sat down. They almost seemed embarrassed that we would have had to wait in line and then sit down. The son and father playfully jabbed back and forth at each other about who knows what the whole time we were there. Even though the food was not as good as the risotto this was my favorite meal.

Pizza from Super Pizza

Pizza from Super Pizza

For dessert we would opt to not order of the menu of where we were eating but to go to one of the many gelattaria’s and order gelato or a hot waffle with Nuttella on it. There are few things better than eating gelato and window-shopping this is especially true here.

One of our favorite things to do on vacations is go to the grocery store. This may sound a little lame but it is true. It is even truer when traveling outside the country. Right next to Super Pizza was a grocery store. The first thing we found here was Loacker Wafers. http://www.loacker.com/usa/eng_2297d969.html We carried a pack or 2 of these with us for the rest of our trip, it was a sad day when they were gone. We found fun Kinder chocolates to take home for our kids Easter Baskets. When we find a store we usually buy bottled water, other drinks and any snack that sounds good as they are much cheaper here and nice to have back in the hotel.

Shopping

From the piazza there are at least 6 pedestrian shopping streets leading in all directions. While all directions will have what will be deemed ‘tourist trap’ stores there are many other stores that are worth walking by, even if you are just window shopping. Our favorite was a store that sold pottery from all over Italy. The funny thing is the shop was the part that stole the show; all the shelves were adjustable but appeared to have been built by a skilled carpenter a long time ago.

Pottery from all over Italy in the coolest shop we have ever seen.

Pottery from all over Italy in the coolest shop we have ever seen.

Whatever you do near or at the Pantheon you won’t be wrong because you are in Rome and in the moment…

Berthillon – Paris

Salted Carmel and Pink Grapefruit Ice Cream

Salted Carmel and Pink Grapefruit Ice Cream

During our last trip to Paris we were standing near Notre Dame wanting a treat. Having already eaten crepes for breakfast and lunch we decided it was time for a change, at least until right before bed. In every travel book we have read Berthillion is always listed as a place to get ice cream in Paris, ALWAYS. Even though we tend to follow these books as if Napoléon himself wrote them, in the past when it came to the best ice cream in Paris we were skeptic.  But this day we weren’t, so we wandered from Isle de la cite to Isle de Saint Louis, a short walk but worlds apart. Soon we were in narrow streets and there were very few tourists or really people. The only place one could see a crowd was in front of 29-31 rue saint Louis en l’ile, which is the location of Berthillion. We were not in the mood to wait in line for any treat but good news is that any purveyor of ice cream on the island carries Berthillion and it all made in the same place by the masters at Berthillion.

So for our first foray we shared a scoop of Salted Caramel and Pink Grapefruit. Not to oversell it but it was the best ice cream ever. Better than any ice cream we had had from the Tillamook factory in Oregon, to Bassetts in Philadelphia to any thing we had ever had in Europe.  If we add Gellato to the mix there are some places that will give it a run for its money.  But if we have to go across Europe seeing where the best ice cream is to settle a spat we are in!

Vine Peach and Pink Grapefruit Ice Cream from Berthillion

Vine Peach and Pink Grapefruit Ice Cream from Berthillion

So the next day we went back, luckily it was less busy. We sat in the salon and did not share this time. We ordered Vine Peach and Pink Grapefruit and Salted Carmel and Pink Grapefruit. The salon at the Berthillion was fun, it would be a great place to take kids as a reward for not damaging the Venus de Milo.  When you look at the many reviews on Trip Advisor the most common thing people say it is a little pricey for the portion, but in our opinion worth it.

Long story short Berthillion is a must do.