Start Your Day with Cape May Cafe!

Cape May Café Character Breakfast is one our favorite ways to start our day at Walt Disney World! Cape May Café is located in the New England style Beach Club Resort.  The meal is in a buffet style, which is tremendous, since it has something for everyone (even the pickiest of eaters) and is a great value as part of the Disney Dining Plan (one sit down credit only)! We like to knock out two things from our long Disney to-do list, eating a great meal and hanging out with Minnie, Donald and Goofy. This New England styled beachfront themed restaurant is unique in atmosphere, but consistent with Disney magic and excitement. Cape May Café Character Breakfast quickly becomes a must do on everyone’s list!

cmc1

I always feel a little guilty when we eat here, with all the scrumptious options. Adding a bit of exercise goes a long way to justify the additional trips through the line and eating more than we should. We like to add a brisk walk by starting from Disney’s Hollywood Studios and making our way along the Walkway leading to the Boardwalk.

cmc2

The Walkway is a shady, lazy path along the canal leading to the Boardwalk area and a favorite of walkers and runners. With the distance from Disney Hollywood Studios to the Beach Club Resort being 2.07 miles, we feel like we “deserved” a good breakfast!

cmc3

cmc4

We arrived about 15 minutes early and were seated immediately. Plan your walking pace accordingly though, it’s easy to get lost in the brisk morning air and pleasurable surroundings! Goofy, Donald and Minnie were making their rounds at all the tables when we arrived, and you can definitely feel the excitement in the air. The characters stop at each table, so be patient, they will be by yours! This is a great opportunity to have your cameras and autograph books handy.

cmc5

My family loves coming to Cape May Café because of the buffet. Of course you will find the favorite Mickey Waffles, but our Cast Member made special note that the restaurant had more healthy options on the buffet this year like quinoa, fruit salads, spinach salads, whole wheat breads and low fat yogurt. I do like to indulge, but having healthy options helps us balance our meal.

cmc6

There is a lot of activity at the restaurant, but you don’t feel rushed at all. Full and happy, we always like to catch the boat back to Disney Hollywood Studios. As you leave the Resort, the boat dock is to the right in the Bay. Just look for the Lighthouse!  The Cape May Café is a win-win for my family. From the comfortable, open feel, to pictures with the Minnie, Donald and Goofy in their nautical outfits, to the crayons and paper tablecloths, you have a very family friendly place to eat!

cmc7

Even though Donald maybe Number 1, you and your family will come out as the winner by adding this breakfast to your itinerary. Isn’t it time to make your Dining Reservations?

sylvia@travelwiththemagic.com

‘Ohana’s Best Friends Character Breakfast

stitch_new

‘Ohana, which means family, is one of my personal favorite restaurants. You really are treated like family there. You are even referred to as cousin. ‘Ohana is located at the Polynesian Resort which has a beautiful tropical oasis setting.

lilo_new

This character meal is a must do for all Lilo and Stitch fans. These lovable characters are also joined by Mickey and Pluto. Each character will spend some one-on-one time at each table. Make sure to bring along your autograph book and camera. This is a great opportunity to snap a keepsake photo. The kids will also enjoy parading around the restaurant in a conga line and playing games.

mickey_new (2)

Your waiter/waitress will initially bring you a basket of bread followed by a plate of fruit. You will forever be in love with the pineapple bread and cinnamon rolls. The main breakfast platter includes biscuits, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and potatoes. No Disney breakfast would be complete without Mickey waffles. The POG juice was really good also – orange, pineapple, and guava. Remember it is all you can eat so don’t hesitate to request seconds.

pluto_new

This is a character meal that is sure to not disappoint. It is a great way to start your day before heading to the parks.

I would love to help you plan your next magical vacation to Disney World. Contact me today for a no obligation quote.

Michelle Terry

MichelleT@travelwiththemagic.com

1-866-Hi-Miki-2

California Grill-A great place for WISHES!

California Grill is a top spot for foodies at Walt Disney World. Perched atop the Contemporary Resort, this Signature Dining experience provides breathtaking views of the Magic Kingdom and Seven Seas Lagoon. And the food? Don’t even get me started on the food…because this is not a restaurant review. But, I will tell you the food is fantastic. It’s fresh, its tasty, its one of a kind recipes prepared by some of the best chefs in the world. And the sushi is to die for.

CG Collage

But, like I said, this is not a restaurant review. This is a plea for you to experience one of the most magical (and romantic) evenings at Walt Disney World. California Grill is a great date place or family place. If you decide to dine here, take my advice and tell your travel agent you would like to dine during the fireworks. We will do our best to get you in so that you can experience the Magic Kingdom Fireworks show, Wishes, from the top of Walt Disney World. Whether you eat before, during, or after the fireworks, you want to be there at this time!

FROM HERE…..
CR

YOU CAN SEE THIS…..
Fireworks and text

Your server will let you know before you order when the fireworks will be and when you can go to the observation deck. You will be able to let them know if you prefer to go ahead and get your food or wait until the show is over. You may even time it just right and come back to your table to find your dessert waiting for you.

About 10 minutes before the show starts the lights will dim and you can make your way to the outside observation deck with unobstructed views of Cinderella’s castle. The music from the show is piped in so you don’t miss a thing. The ambiance is really magical, even watching from afar. I promise this will be the highlight of your trip!

fireworks collage

Remember you can make advanced dining reservations 180 days ahead of time. Please note that California Grill is currently closed for a refurbishment. The web is a buzz with excitement for the updated décor and the updated menu. Their famous sushi chef has retired but she left a protégé behind who is preparing new ideas even as we speak! And the other chefs are updating favorite dishes as they also create brand new recipes to debut when they open back up in late Summer. A specific re-opening date has not yet been announced but be sure to sign up for the Travel with the Magic Newsletter to stay up to date on all the latest news-Including the California Grill refurbishment.

I would love to help you plan your next Disney Vacation and especially a magical experience like watching Wishes from the California Grill. Contact me today for a free quote or to answer your questions! See ya real soon, Aleshia aleshia@travelwiththemagic.com

50′s Primetime Cafe

50s primetime cafe outside2wm

If you’re looking for a fun place to dine, be sure to check out 50′s Primetime Cafe, located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios near Echo Lake!  As you enter the restaurant, you will immediately be transported into the 1950′s.  You’ll first see themed seating areas, also known as “Dad’s living room” upon entering.  It looks straight out of a living room from any home during the 50′s.  There are so many details so take time to look at everything from the furniture, TV’s, wallpaper, and lots and lots of knick knacks!  It’s always fun to find something that reminds you of your own family’s décor (hopefully from a while back and not as decorated today!).  This place is fun and sure to bring a smile to your face before the dining experience even begins!

50s primetime waiting area

 If you arrive early for a meal or just want to grab a drink and a quick bite to eat, there is a great bar called Tune-In Lounge featuring selections from Dad’s Liquor Cabinet.  You’ll find Dad’s Classic Cocktails, wine, beer and the infamous glowing drinks using Dad’s experimental electric ice cubes.

50s primetime cafe bar

From the way they call your name when your table is ready, you’ll know you’re in for a unique experience.  You will be escorted through the kitchen into a dining room and here’s where the fun begins!  The dining room features a variety formica tables and chairs (and more knick knacks).  Some tables even feature a TV for your viewing pleasure.  You can watch clips from shows such as I Love Lucy, Leave it to Beaver, The Dick Van Dyke show and more.  Note: I recommend requesting a table with TV upon arrival.  No guarantees but it never hurts to ask.

50s primetime cafe table

Remember, you’re part of the family in this home, “Mom’s” doing the cooking and one of your “cousins” will be your server. Be sure to bring your sense of humor as your cousins will want to make sure you use proper table manners.  There are some rules you’ll need to follow while dining such as no elbows on the table, eating all your veggies, no cell phones/hats at the table.  If you don’t show proper etiquette, be warned as you could end up not getting dessert or having to stand with your nose in the corner.  If you aren’t willing to play along, I wouldn’t recommend dining here as the role play is really what the restaurant is all about. Some cousins get more into their role than others.  Typically, the more you interact with them, the more you’ll get in return.

 50′s Primetime Cafe serves lunch and dinner and is all about Mom’s comfort food. You’ll find yummy flavored sodas, milkshakes, malts and root beer floats.  The PB&J milkshake is to die for!  There are some great appetizers, soups and salads to start your meal with such as Grandpas crab cake and Cousin Amy’s Iceberg Lettuce Wedge.  You’ll find entrees on the menu such as Aunt Liz’s Golden Fried Chicken (my favorite), Dad’s grilled Pork Chops, Mom’s Old-Fashioned Pot Roast, Cousin Barry’s Olive Oil Poached Salmon, Uncle Dana’s Artichoke and Risotta Agnolotti and Cousin Ann’s Traditional Meatloaf.  Not sure which entree to pick?  How about going with a sampling of Mom’s favorite recipes!

50s primetime cafe milkshake

If you have saved room for dessert, only at 50′s Primetime Cafe will you be able to view your menu through a Viewfinder.  Love it!  On the dessert menu are S’mores, Dad’s Brownie Sundae, Ice Cream Sundaes, 50′s Boston cream Parfait and more.

If you are looking for a fun, unique place to dine there are some great restaurants on Disney property. Obviously 50′s Primetime Cafe is one of my favorites.  Feel free to contact me at corby@travelwithtthemagic.com and I’ll be more than happy to assist!

 

 

Disney’s Quick service dining plan

 

On our recent trip to Disney World in Early December, My husband and I were able to take advantage of the free dining promotion that Disney offered during that time.  Since we were staying in the brand new Art of Animation resort, the promotion offered a free quick service dining plan. Usually when Disney does free dining promotions you get the quick service plan if you are staying at a value resort or the Disney Dining plan if you are staying at a moderate or deluxe resort.  We had the option to upgrade to the Disney Dining Plan for the difference in price and we toiled back and forth with what to decide. Since we were going on a budget (we are big believers in budgets!) we decided in the end to stick with the Quick Service plan (free is good!)

Big Collage

Quick Service meals are a part of every Disney Dining Plan.  A common myth regarding quick service is that it is just fast food with no real dining experience. I beg to differ.

I was able to eat around the world in Epcot taking in the sights, sounds, smells, and cultures of countries such as Japan, Morocco, and France. I ate breakfast at Main Street Bakery on Main Street USA. I ate on the waterfront with a perfect view of Mt. Everest and local wildlife at Flametree BBQ in Animal Kingdom. I dined in the grand ballroom of the Beast’s castle while watching the snow magically fall at Be our Guest.

Dining Experiences

Snacks are a really fun part of the dining plan. Below are a few of my favorites. Since I don’t usually eat dessert with every meal I ended up saving a lot of my desserts for later as more snacks. You also have healthier options like fresh cut fruit at many locations for your dessert or snack. I figure if I’m walking 5+ miles per day at Disney I can eat whatever I want while I am there. SO I had lots of cupcakes, cookies, and dole whips for my desserts and snacks!  A Cinnamon Roll at Main St. Bakery is a snack so even some of my breakfasts only “cost” one snack credit.

Snacks

All in all I was very happy with the quick service plan. It allowed us to have some really amazing dining experiences, great food (and more than enough), wonderful variety. We also enjoyed the flexibility to eat whenever we wanted since we didn’t need reservations and the ability to split meals (which you cannot do at table service meals) allowing us to try a lot more foods and locations.

If you need dining recommendations of any kind, need help choosing a dining plan, or have any other questions or needs concerning a Disney vacation please contact me!  I would love to help you plan a magical (and delicious) vacation!

–Aleshia Sokoloski  Aleshia@travelwiththemagic.com 1-800-670-4312 ext, 139

Disney Dining Plan Snack Credits ~ More Than Just Water and Chips!

So you’ve purchased one of the Disney dining plans and have no idea what to do with the multitude of snack credits included in the plan.  Disney’s dining plan brochures list a few examples which include popcorn, soda, water and fruit.  While these are all certainly good choices (because we all know Disney popcorn is the best on the planet!) there are many more interesting ways to redeem your snack credits.

Depending on which dining plan you purchase each person will get 1 – 2 snack credits per night of your trip.  The credits are “pooled” on your account and are not child/adult specific (unlike meals) so for example a family of 4 with 2 adults, 2 children staying 5 nights and using the Disney Dining Plan has a total of 20 snack credits loaded on their account at check in.  You may choose to use as many as you’d like each day until the balance is depleted.  All credits expire midnight of your check out day.

Items that qualify as a snack credit are identified on counter service and cart menus with a purple DDP next to them.

One way to put your snack credits to good use is to use a credit for a pastry.  All of the dining plans include a souvenir mug which includes refills at your resort for the length of your stay.  So, grab some coffee in your mug and cash in a snack credit for a cinnamon roll, chocolate croissant or bagel and – voila – breakfast!   You’ll find most pastries at the resort counter service restaurants as well as the various bakeries throughout the parks are included in the dining plans as a snack credit.  So, breakfast, afternoon coffee break or late night dessert ~ check out those bakeries!

Frozen treats included as snack credits include the infamous Dole Whips in Adventureland as well as various ice cream sundaes at select locations throughout the parks and the classic popsicles such as Mickey bars sold at the kiosks and carts.

You’ll find credits can also be used for favorite theme park snacks such as churros, pretzels, fudge, funnel cakes, cotton candy and nachos.  Just be sure to look for the DDP symbol on the menu as choices vary by location.

If you are fortunate enough to be at Epcot during the annual Food and Wine Festival in the fall you are in luck!  Snack credits can be used for most of the food at the tasting booths throughout the festival.

Each time you use a snack credit your receipt will show how many credits remain.  If you are down to your final hours at Walt Disney World and find yourself with remaining credits no worries!  Most resort gift shops as well as the larger gift shops in each park offer take home snacks that work great as neighbor/co-worker/teacher gifts!  Some options include Disney themed lollipops, Mickey shaped rice krispie treats, Mickey pretzels and fudge.

 

So have a little fun with those snack credits and make sure you don’t leave any unused!

I would love to answer any questions you may have or help get you started on planning your Disney vacation.  I provide concierge booking and planning services at absolutely no cost to you!  Contact me at SusanH@travelwiththemagic.com and follow me on facebook at SusanHeidenrichTravelwiththeMagic.

Character meals At Walt Disney World!

There is another magical memory that we never miss with any trip to see the mouse – Character Meals! (And princesses too!) These are always a favorite with my family.  It is an exciting opportunity for a great photo with your child’s favorite character or princess.  It definitely beats standing in the long lines in the hot sun at the parks.  Although, that is also another great chance for a memorable meet and greet. At every meal, the characters individually rotate around the entire restaurant, stopping at each table for a visit with your family.  If your child is a little timid and this is their first time meeting character, don’t worry.  The characters are very aware of this.  They approach the table cheerfully but not in an over bearing manner.  Their intent is for this to be a happy experience for the children. As each character comes individually to your table, you can get some great photos as your children and the characters exchange hugs, high fives and a lot of other fun banter.  They will also take the time to sign autograph books or whatever else you bring for a signature (we have had them sign t-shirts in the past and I have known others to have them sign baseballs).  The characters always spend plenty of time acknowledging each child and adult.  No one ever gets left out.

 

These meals are typically more of a buffet style.  The food is usually located in the center of the restaurant.  This way you have the flexibility of getting up to get your food when it is convenient.  Each restaurant is very open so that you can easily see when it is your turn and which character is on their way to see your family.  There is always a wide variety of meats, pastas, salads, breads, fruits, and tasty desserts offered.  There is also a children’s section that typically offers macaroni and cheese, green beans, nuggets and more.  However, I usually grab whatever my son will eat even if it is from the adult selections. You should plan on this meal taking approximately 1-1.5 hours to complete.  You want to allow ample time for your children to get a chance to visit with each character.  And if you eat slow enough and relax, you may get a chance to see them on a 2nd rotation!  These meals give the parents a great opportunity to slow down and refuel before heading back out to the parks.  Especially in the summer when the heat is beating down, most families welcome the leisure lunch or dinner in the air conditioning.

There is an overwhelming popularity with the character and princess meals.  I strongly recommend getting dining reservations in advance.  This is another way a planner can be helpful for you.  Dining reservations can be booked 180 days prior to your arrival.  When you are working with a planner, they will work hard to get these in place for you in a timely manner.  A planner is also great in helping you to design the best itinerary for your family in regards to which park, which day in correlation to which dining experience you want.  Also most of the character and princess meals are included on the dining plan! Other fun aspects to the character meals are CELEBRATIONS!  Make sure that when the reservations are being placed for these experiences, it is mentioned whether or not you are celebrating something with your family.  We have celebrated many birthdays with the characters.  All birthday celebrations are recognized throughout the meal with song and sometimes a dance.  Your table is typically decorated with Mickey head glitter and streamers.  And the recipient gets a cupcake and a card that is signed by all of the characters.  You can also contact the Disney Cakes number and pre-order a specialty cake if you desire – it will be delivered to your table.

Here is a list of the character/princess dining experiences throughout the parks and resorts: Magic Kingdom Crystal Palace – breakfast, lunch and dinner Cinderella’s Royal Table – breakfast, lunch, and dinner Epcot Garden Grill – dinner only for characters Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – breakfast,lunch, and dinner Hollywood Studios Hollywood and Vine – breakfast and lunch only Animal Kingdom Tusker House – breakfast and lunch only Contemporary Resort Chef Mickey’s – breakfast and dinner only Grand Floridian Resort 1900 Park Fare – breakfast and dinner only Polynesian Resort O’hana’s – breakfast only for characters Yacht and Beach Club Resorts Cape May Cafe – breakfast only for characters For more information on character/princess dining or making other magical memories at Walt Disney World, Disneyland or the Disney Cruise, please contact me!  I can be reached anytime at 1-800-670-4312 ext 125 or robyn@travelwiththemagic.com As always, ALL of my services are completely free!

Good food at a theme park?

Good food at a theme park?  Is it possible?  Yes!

People are always so surprised when I tell them what wonderful meals we enjoy at Walt Disney World.  A big part of our trip planning revolves around having a nice, sit down, relaxing meal at the end of our busy day.  Disney’s Signature Restaurants are a great way to wind down and take in some food prepared by award winning chefs.  There are over a dozen Signature Restaurants at Walt Disney World.  Here is just a taste of what you can expect at a few of them…

Want a spectacular view of the Magic Kingdom?  Head over to California Grill on the 15th floor of the Contemporary Resort.  While waiting for your table enjoy a cocktail on the private outdoor terrace overlooking Tomorrowland.  If you are dining during the Magic Kingdom fireworks the restaurant dims the lights and pipes in the music.  The food is California eclectic and ranges from sushi to flatbread pizza to fresh meats including bison and seafood including snapper and scallops.  The décor is chic yet comfortable and this restaurant boasts one of the most extensive wine lists you’ll find.

For a more laid back atmosphere but with another magnificent view visit Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.  This restaurant is located in the octagon shaped building on the shores of Seven Seas Lagoon.  Narcoossee’s offers a variety of fresh seafood with an upscale coastal theme.  Entrees range from scallops to salmon to lobster.  For land lovers Narcoossee’s offers a mouth watering fillet along with excellent chicken and vegetarian dishes.  For the best of both worlds try the Surf and Turf.  With Cinderella’s Castle right across the lagoon Narcoosee’s provides a wonderful view of the fireworks.

Lobster at Narcoossee's

Lobster at Narcoossee's Restaurant

 

For a true taste of the Golden Age of Hollywood head over to The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (park entrance ticket required).  This is an authentic replica of the famous Brown Derby that was once the meeting place of the stars in Hollywood and the décor includes replicas and originals of the famed caricatures of Hollywood royalty.  Of course you will find the Cobb Salad on the menu, made famous at the original Brown Derby and prepared table side.  Other features range from salmon to pork tenderloin to lamb.  Among the fabulous desserts offered is a Grapefruit Cake, another Brown Derby original.

Grapefruit Cake from The Hollywood Brown Derby

Grapefruit Cake from The Hollywood Brown Derby

 

At the Bistro de Paris, located in the France Pavilion at Epcot (park entrance ticket required), you will truly feel as though you are eating in an upscale Parisian bistro.  The décor is true to Paris at the turn of the century and features a mixture of dark and light woods, chandeliers and rich tapestries.  Wines from the various regions of France are featured here and a prix fixe menu with wine paring is available.  Lamb, veal, fillet mignon, scallops and snapper are among some of the entrée choices while dessert choices include a wonderful chocolate soufflé.  The restaurant also serves delicious press pot coffee.

Following is a complete list of all Disney Signature Restaurants along with their locations.  Next time you are at Walt Disney World treat yourself to a dining experience not normally found at a theme park.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Artist Point, Wilderness Lodge Resort

Bistro de Paris, France Pavilion, Epcot

California Grill, Contemporary Resort

Cinderella’s Royal Table, Magic Kingdom

Citricos, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Flying Fish Café, Boardwalk Resort

Fulton’s Crab House, Downtown Disney, Marketplace

The Hollywood Brown Derby, Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Jiko – The Cooking Place, Animal Kingdom Lodge

Le Cellier Steakhouse, Epcot, Canada Pavilion

Narcoossee’s, Grand Floridian Resort

Victoria & Albert’s, Grand Floridian Resort (Does not participate in Disney Dining Plan)

Yachtsman Steakhouse, Yacht Club Resort

Note that Signature Restaurants require 2 table service credits when using the Disney Dining Plan.  Reservations are highly recommended and can be made up to 180 days in advance. For more information about the fine dining at Disney or the Disney Dining plan contact SusanH@travelwiththemagic.com