Saturday, January 21, 2012

Disney Trip Highlights: The Food!

Food, glorious food!

One of the reasons we even went to Disney World was because they were offering something amazing called the "Free Disney Dining Plan."  I already looooooooove the food at Disney, and getting it for free is just the icing on the cake!  (Pun intended.)

Because we stayed at a "Moderate Level" hotel, our free dining plan included one Quick Service Meal (consisting of one entree, one drink and one dessert from a counter-service restaurant), one Table Service Meal (consisting of one all-you-can-eat buffet OR one ginormous entree, one drink, and one equally ginormous dessert at a sit-down restaurant) AND one snack from anywhere (consisting of one jumbo pastry, one gargantuan muffin, one behemoth Rice Krispy treat, one scrump-diddly-umptious ice cream novelty, etc.) PLUS a refillable resort mug for unlimited beverages at the hotel.  Sound like a lot of food?  Yeah, it was!  (Did I mention my pants hated me at the end of the week?)

In the words of the Grinch, you might say...
Then guests, young and old, will sit down to a feast,
And they'll feast...
And they'll feast...
And they'll feast, feast, feast, feast!
They'll feast on ten puddings,
Mickey Mousse and Roast Beast (er--Beef!)
Oh, Roast Beef is a feast--I can't stand it the least!

Salivating yet?  Well, if you aren't, then here are our meal highlights to whet your appetite!

Chef Mickey's Dinner Buffet:

The night we arrived at Disney, we utilized our first Table Service meal, even though we didn't go to a park that day.  "Chef Mickey's" is an all-you-can-eat buffet at the Contemporary Resort featuring Disney characters who walk around the restaurant for pictures.  (Yes, the Disney Dining Plan is so awesome that you can use it on character meals!)  We didn't choose the restaurant for the character part, but who doesn't love eating dinner with Donald Duck?

Donald did not want any of our chicken fingers.
And the food itself?  Delicious!  We feasted on adorable Mickey Ravioli, tender spice-rubbed prime rib and an Orecchiette pasta dish with savory cream sauce and mountains of mushrooms.  The buffet featured sides for every appetite, from parmesan mashed potatoes and sweet corn bread to mango chutney and pita chips with hummus.  And yes, I raided the kid's buffet, too, where I took generous helpings of Mickey Macaroni & Cheese and Goofy's Cheese Pizza (aka--the best pizza EVER!)

This was helping #2.  (I already bit off one ear of my Mickey Ravioli!)

I was already stuffed when it was time for dessert, but still helped myself to a super-cute Mickey Mousse, a Rice Krispy Treat, a Mickey Brownie (complete with Mickey sprinkles) and a mini-key lime pie.  YUM YUM YUM!

Look at those Mickey ears!  Too cute!

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall:

The "Akershus Royal Banquet Hall" is a sit-down restaurant at the Norway Pavilion in EPCOT.  It is a character meal featuring the Disney Princesses, a to-die-for menu, and a castle-themed atmosphere.   I can honestly say this was hands down the BEST meal of our entire trip.

At Akershus, we feasted first on the "Taste of Norway" appetizer selection featuring cold meats, bread, potato and pasta salads (such as Chicken and Apple Salad), and a variety of Norwegian cheeses.  Then, we picked our entree selections from the menu.  Our awesome vacation planner, Amy Canterbury, let us know ahead of time that we could actually order multiple entrees at this restaurant.  They don't tell you that at the restaurant, but if you know ahead of time, you can get even more for your money.  (It's a great option, too, if you are debating between two entrees on the menu--which, of course, we were!)  So, our waitress brought us all generous helpings of Mushroom-Stuffed Pasta with parmesan cream sauce, Swiss chard, and delectable mushrooms AND an order of the Traditional Kjottkake to share.  (The Kjottkake were Norwegian meatballs served with Lingonberry sauce and mashed potatoes.  YUM!)  And the dessert was unbelievable featuring a sampling of chocolate mousse, a puff pastry with mascarpone and berries, and (tastiest of all), traditional rice cream topped with strawberry sauce!  (Mmmm...rice cream with strawberry sauce....)

Honestly the food was so darn delicious, I forgot to take a picture of it before it was in my belly!  But we did get some nice pictures of us with the Disney Princesses, though.

Snow White was funny, too.  I blinked in the first pic and she called me a "Sleepy Dwarf!"

If you go to Disney and have some princesses of your own, this is a must-eat-at restaurant experience.  And if you go to Disney and don't have any princesses, you should eat here anyway because it's AMAZING.  Just thinking about it makes my mouth water...   

Donald's Safari Breakfast:

If there's one thing I love, it's a good breakfast buffet.  "Donald's Safari Breakfast" is a character meal located in Disney's Animal Kingdom.  Safari-outfitted characters walk around the restaurant while you treat yourself to an all-you-can-eat buffet with an African-inspired flair.

The only bad thing about breakfast buffets?  They are too early in the morning!

After supplying our table with generous glasses of Jungle Juice (a mix of orange, papaya, and mango juice only found at a few restaurants in Disney World), our waitress showed us to the glorious breakfast buffet.  While the restaurant offered the standard cereals, danishes, oatmeal, bacon and scrambled eggs seen on most buffets, it also showcased some tasty exotic dishes, like mango chocolate bread, fried plantains, and Mealie Pap (a type of yummy porridge.)  There were more fruit spreads than I could count, savory frittatas, and Mickey waffles with warm syrup.  And of course, like any good Disney breakfast buffet, there were mounds of chocolate croissants just waiting to be devoured.  (I ate three.  I'm not even kidding.)

The breakfast of champions!

Liberty Tree Tavern:

While character meals are fun (particularly free character meals), sometimes it's nice to just sit and eat dinner while not taking pictures every two minutes.  The "Liberty Tree Tavern" in the Magic Kingdom is a long-time favorite of my family.  It's all-you-can-eat, all-American fare served family style at your table. 

No matter how many times we've eaten here, the food never gets old.  First, we were served drinks in tavern-style tankards along with salads and scrumptious rolls with honey butter.  (I ate five.  Again, I am not kidding--they are that tasty.)  Then, the main course came to our table in bowls for sharing.  The elaborate, patriotic spread consisted of roasted turkey breast, carved beef AND sliced pork, accompanied by mashed potatoes, herb bread stuffing, macaroni and cheese, cauliflower, green bean casserole, and gravy.  (Talk about a feast!)  And for dessert?  A big bowl of Johnny Appleseed's Cake--warm white cake with apples and dried cranberries topped with heaping scoops of ice cream. 

Soooooo good!

And in case you think I'm kidding about how much food was served, take a look at this:

This feast is mine--all mine!  MWA HA HA!

Beware: your pants will extra-hate you after this meal.

50's Prime Time Cafe:

Our last sit-down meal was at the "50's Prime Time Cafe" located at Disney's Hollywood Studios.  This is also a long-time favorite of our family.  (I can remember eating here with my grandparents back when I was in elementary school!)  This is a really fun, 50's-themed restaurant complete with poodle skirts and rabbit-ear TV's showing "I Love Lucy" clips.   The servers act as your "Mom" and "Dad," yelling at you for putting elbows on the table and withholding dessert until you've finished your vegetables.  (I was even sent to the corner one year for disobeying the elbows on the table rule.)  It's all in good fun, though, and the food is so good you'll want to eat all your veggies anyway.

Unlike the other buffet and family-style meals we did during this trip, we ordered off a menu at this restaurant.  (Don't worry, you still get more food than your tummy can handle anyway!)  Our vacation planner clued us into another little-known tip that instead of regular drinks, we could order milkshakes or malts for this meal.  So, my main meal consisted of one humongous chocolate malt and Grandma's Chicken Pot Pie (complete with cheesy sauce and a flaky crust!)

Yes, it was as yummy as it looks.

Since the chocolate malt apparently didn't satisfy my sweet tooth, I ordered S'mores for dessert.  They were toasted to perfection and drizzled with chocolate sauce...

I like to call them, "Mega S'mores!"

And those were our sit-down meals for the week!  I highly recommend eating at any (or all) of the restaurants above during your next trip.  But remember, those were just our sit-down meals!  We had a ton of tasty counter service meals and snacks, too, including: mushroom-Swiss-onion burgers; "Pizza Planet" personal pizzas with Cappuccino cupcakes; mango-pineapple muffins; Mickey Mouse ice cream sandwiches; Yak and Yeti's beef lo mein; and cheese empanadas that were so good, a seagull stole mine off my plate while my back was turned!  (Don't worry--Disney gave me new ones.) 

Before you start pointing at me and saying, "Oink, oink," remember, we only ate this much because we had the free Disney Dining Plan.  Ordinarily, my lunches at Disney consist of one meal shared with my sister, a cup of free tap water to drink, and NEVER, EVER dessert.  (We have always treated ourselves to a nice dinner in the parks, though--however sans dessert and drinks!)  If you're going to visit the Mouse and don't care when, you really should plan your trip during the off-season when Disney often offers plans like this.  (My sister and Off To Neverland Travel can tell you when such deals are available!)  You may stuff yourself like a holiday turkey, but hey, isn't that what vacations are for?

Now excuse me, it's time to go enjoy my lunch of Yoplait yogurt and PBJ.  (I'll just have to pretend it's accompanied by pomegranate lemonade, Mickey Ravioli, and Mega S'mores....)   

1 comment:

  1. Holy food Batman!!! I had to literally stop looking at the pictures until I ate dinner, I was so hungry =)

    Looks like you guys had a blast!