River Belle Terrace Now Taking Reservations at Disneyland Park

Recently Disneyland has converted the iconic River Belle Terrace from a quick service restaurant to a table service restaurant. As of February 10 River Belle Terrace was taking reservations via the normal reservations methods of the Disneyland resort. The menu, although still themed similarly to what it was before, has been revamped and modified for the new table service atmosphere.

As far as appetizers guests will be able to find toasted bread and celery served with pimento cheese dip. Also, grilled and chilled shrimp will be served with BBQ cocktail sauce and lemon. Finally there will be some salads available one of which is a house arugula salad with apple, gorgonzola, candied pecans, dried cranberries, and an apple vinaigrette.

There will be a wide variety of entrees available, but the chefs have turned to some fantastic southern dishes like pork spare ribs, sustainable fish, oven-roasted sausage links, and oven-roasted barbecue chicken. There will also be some interesting sandwiches on the menu featuring fried chicken, beef brisket, or pulled pork. For those that want a lighter entree option there will also be some entrees that such as a salad topped with grilled shrimp, grilled chicken, or BBQ tofu.

Finally, the desserts that have been developed for the River Belle Terrace are something many are looking forward to. From a maple, apple & bacon bundt cake to a butterscotch pudding parfait it appears as though guests are going to be pleased. Another interesting dessert option that we will be sure to try is the fried cheesecake.

Have you been to the new River Belle Terrace since the switch was made? If so, comment below and let us know about your experience.

The Basics of the Disney Dining Plan

Steak at YachtsmanOnce you have decided on a resort and park tickets you need to decide if you want to add the Disney Dining Plan to your package. Remember, the dining plan can only be added if staying on-site in a Disney resort. The Disney Dining Plan, as described by Disney “offers you a convenient and affordable way to enjoy snacks and meals throughout the Walt Disney World resort, including those located in the Downtown Disney area”. The two key words in that statement are “convenient” and “affordable”. We will look at each of those factors and give you a brief overview of each of the different types of dining plans available at Disney World.

The Dining Plan is Affordable
Disney used to advertise really hard that the Dining plan would save you money, sometimes up to 20% on your dining. Well in recent years the cost of the dining plan has gone up and the price of food has not increased as much so that savings is pretty negligible now. Now, the dining plan usually doesn’t cost you more money, so it is affordable, but you do need to be aware of what you are getting and “paying for” upfront. Every meal on the dining plan includes a dessert and drink for every member of your family. So, if everyone doesn’t eat dessert with each meal or drink something other than water with each meal you are paying for something you might not use otherwise. Now, there are certainly creative ways to use those desserts and beverages, such as taking a pre-packaged dessert and using it as a snack later on in the day. So, it may not be a total loss, but you certainly need to decide if the eating habits of your family will make the dining plan beneficial or not.

The Dining Plan is Convenient
This is probably the biggest positive for most of the people who love using the dining plan. The convenience of having the dining for your entire trip paid for in advance is something a lot of people like. It gives you a nice peace of mind that you aren’t going to go home with hundreds of dollars in credit card charges. It also gives you peace of mind that your family will have plenty of food as the dining plan is notorious for always including more than enough to feed any family. The convenience of the plan is certainly the top reason we would recommend you to add the dining plan to your package.

How the Dining Plan Credits Work
The Disney Dining Plan includes credits for each night of your trip in different meal/snack types. For instance, if you are on a 6 night trip on the regular dining plan each member of your family will get 6 table service credits, 6 quick service credits, and 6 snacks. You are not limited to one of each type each day, instead you would simply have a bank of everyone’s credits in your party and you get to use them however you want. So if you want to split a meal that is do-able and then you can use the other meal at another time. Also, all dining plans include a resort refillable mug for each person that can be refilled at certain locations in your resort hotel.

Disney Dining Plan
The Disney Dining Plan includes each of the following for each night of your hotel stay.

  • 1 Table Service Meal Per Person – Includes 1 entree, 1 dessert (lunch or dinner only), and 1 non-alcoholic beverage –OR– 1 Full Buffet
  • 1 Quick Service Meal Per Person – Includes 1 entree or combo meal, 1 dessert (lunch or dinner only), and 1 non-alcoholic beverage
  • 1 Snack (Indicated by the snack symbol on boards at quick service locations)

Deluxe Disney Dining Plan
The Deluxe Disney Dining Plan includes 3 meal per person for each night of your hotel stay and 2 snacks per person per day. The meals for each day can be any combination of the following:

  • Table Service Meal – Includes 1 appetizer (lunch or dinner only), 1 entree, 1 dessert (lunch or dinner only), and 1 non-alcoholic beverage –OR– 1 Full Buffet
  • Quick Service Meal – Includes 1 entree or combo meal, 1 dessert (lunch or dinner only), and 1 non-alcoholic beverage

Quick Service Disney Dining Plan
The Quick Service Disney Dining Plan includes each of the following for each night of your hotel stay.

  • 2 Quick Service Meals Per Person – Includes 1 entree or combo meal, 1 dessert (lunch or dinner only), and 1 non-alcoholic beverage
  • 1 Snack (Indicated by the snack symbol on boards at quick service locations)

Let us know if you have any questions by leaving a comment below and we’ll be back to help you as soon as we can.

Kona Cafe Breakfast Review

For today’s Saturday Review article we are visiting one of the most popular breakfast spots at Disney World, Kona Cafe, at the Polynesian Village Resort. We were seated rather quickly once we checked in and were greeted by our server who quickly had our table filled with coffee, milk, and water. The service was adequate during the meal, although not something that was extremely memorable to us.

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We ordered two main entrees, the infamous Tonga Toast and the Big Kahuna. First, the tonga toast was fantastic. It was cooked very well and the filling was divine. The strawberry compote that accompanies this dish had mixed reviews. I loved it and thought it was a fantastic addition to the banana flavor of the tost. My wife on the other hand was not a huge fan of the compote saying it had too strong of a flavor for her. She used regular maple syrup and loved it on her part of the Tonga Toast.

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The Big Kahuna, just as it sounds, provides a large quantity and selection of items. The Pineapple Macadamia Nut Pancakes were what I really wanted to try and they did not disappoint. I felt the amount of pineapple on the top was a little over the top as I just like a little bit with each bite, but overall it is a really nice dish. The potatoes that come with this dish were cooked perfectly and had great flavor. Finally, the different meats on the plate were also cooked well and tasted to be of good quality.

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We also decided on the Donald’s Breakfast kids meal for the little one in the family and he loved it. He seemed to really enjoy the eggs and he ended up eating almost all of the cinnamon toast.

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I will also say the coffee was excellent, although I did not splurge for the press pot as my wife is not much of the coffee drinker. As you can see in the first picture above she is more of a cream drinker! Overall, we loved our first ever breakfast at Kona Cafe and will definitely be back.

Via Napoli Review

For today’s Saturday Review article I want to highlight a very popular restaurant in the Epcot World Showcase, Via Napoli. This restaurant is not only a favorite of ours, but it is a favorite of a large number of Disney World visitors. The large restaurant with the open kitchen and pizza oven is a fantastic option for families, especially those with large groups. The atmosphere is festive, the smells are divine, and the pizzas are authentic.

We arrived at around 11:20 AM for our 11:30 reservation time and the small lobby was already bursting at the seams as the restaurant didn’t open until 11:30. We could still see them having their staff meeting inside the restaurant, and some of them were still meeting even after we were seated at about 11:35.

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We decided to try and appetizer we haven’t had before in our previous visits and as you can tell from my picture we wasted no time jumping right in and trying the Arancini which is described as fried risotto balls with mozzarella and meat ragu.

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It was so good I was honestly considering getting another order. The flavor was great and the texture of the risotto after being fried was absolutely perfect. Even our three year old son loved his portion!

For our pizza selection we ended up getting a large pizza and splitting two of our favorite flavors, Quattro Formaggi and Piccante. I’ll also take this opportunity to say that our main waitress was awesome throughout the meal as she wanted to make sure we had everything we need. She even served us all a piece of pizza when it arrived, which kept me from getting a nice picture of the entire “pie”, but it was a great gesture nonetheless. I did the best I could!

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The Quattro Formaggi was fantastic as always and our three year old naturally loves it because it is all cheese and my wife would agree. My personal favorite is the Piccante.

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The Piccante is described as tomato sauce, mozzarella, and Italian spicy sausage, and it has been great each time I have ordered it. The sausage has a nice amount of spice to it, but not to much to make it in-edible. I also tend to enjoy that their pizzas don’t have a lot of tomato sauce, which is a big positive for me. Overall we were satisfied once again with our meal at Via Napoli and will most certainly be making a return trip in the future.

‘Ohana Dinner Review

Here we are for another trip review article and this week I’m going to discuss our latest visit to one of our favorite Disney World restaurants, ‘Ohana. The Polynesian Village Resort is home to this restaurant that is one of the most popular on property and we have had several great visits here since our Disney obsession began about five years ago.

We arrived about 10 minutes early for our reservation time and despite the craziness that is ‘Ohana check in we were seated almost right at our time and with a view of the castle. For some reason I was so excited about dinner I didn’t get a picture of that great castle view so you’ll just have to trust me, it was a great view! We had a fantastic waitress who came and introduced herself and got our drink orders. While she was gone we got our stomachs warmed up with the bread, which was warm and delicious as always.

After we had received our drinks they dropped off our salad, which was a new recipe this year and we did enjoy it more so than the one that had been here in the past. After the salad we were treated to one of the most underrated parts of an ‘Ohana meal, the noodles plate.

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We really enjoy the noodles here. Maybe they just seem good as they balance out all of the meat, but they sure seem to have a great taste and almost a slight sweetness to them. At the same time the plate of wings and potstickers arrived.

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Now, my wife loves the chicken wings and I love the potstickers, so we are able to appease each other by eating what we like. The wings are sticky and have a very tasty sauce and the potstickers were cooked just perfectly crispy. It was certainly a good start to the meal. As we were enjoying these items the meat began to arrive. For those of you who haven’t been to ‘Ohana the meat is delivered on long skewers and the waiters just push off however much you want onto your plate. Here was my plate at some point in the meal.

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The steak was cooked perfectly as you can see in the picture. That has not always been the case here as it is sometimes overcooked, but we got a great batch on this visit. I also had the chicken and it was really tasty, and my wife and I agreed it was much better than we remember. I was a little disappointed that the pork had been taken off the menu as I used to like the pork better than the chicken, but this was good nonetheless. Finally, the shrimp…heaven! I love the shrimp here and it has been that way every time I have been to ‘Ohana. It is cooked perfectly and the seasoning and char are just excellent. Needless to say what you see on the plate above was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the number of shrimp I took care of on this visit!

After we finished all of the meat we could eat they brought out the final course; bread pudding!

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Now, I am a big fan of bread pudding and I know some people do not like the consistency of this dish, but I tend to really enjoy this type of dessert. The bread pudding is served warm and then topped with vanilla ice cream that melts down over it. Then you can pour the sauce over the top and it is also hot so the ice cream continues melting and just makes a delicious mixture around the bread pudding. Overall, it was a great finish to a really good meal.

I would also note that we were dining in the blackout period of May 30-June 15 at ‘Ohana for the Tables in Wonderland card. I asked our waitress about it and she went and asked her manager and they ended up giving us sour discount anyways. So, big props to our waitress, not only did she take great care of us, but she got us our discount too!

Hopefully you all enjoyed our review of ‘Ohana. We’d love for you to tell us about your visit to ‘Ohana in the comments section below.

The Plaza Restaurant Review

Plaza Club SandwichIt’s Trip Review Saturday and in this article I’m going to review our latest visit to The Plaza Restaurant. The Plaza, located at the end of Main Street U.S.A. is one of our favorite dinner spots when we are looking for a simple table service meal. This restaurant has been one of our favorites over the past couple of years because it is one of the best value table service meals on property. There are several menu items available for between $12 and $16 which by Disney standards is a great value for a table service restaurant.

The Plaza Restaurant is located on the end of Main Street U.S.A., facing the castle. It is a small restaurant once you are inside, but the theming is fantastic. You certainly feel like you have just walked off of Main Street and that this is a place you would most definitely find on Main Street in small town America. One of the other big benefits for us is that you can order dessert from the Main Street Ice Cream Parlour when dining here. More on that later!

We had a dinner reservation for this evening and checked in about 10 minutes before our reservation time. Unfortunately, we were not seated for about 45 minutes, which is very rare for Disney dining reservations and especially rare based on our past trips to The Plaza. I’m not sure if they were just over-booked or there was some impending severe weather so people may have been hanging around inside the restaurant longer than usual. We were seated eventually though and our waiter was very quick and efficient. We usually do not liked to be rushed and he was fast, but we did have some FP+ reservations later on in the evening and the delay in getting seated had us closer to our windows, so this time we appreciated the quick pace.

As far as the food we have always enjoyed what we have ordered at The Plaza. There are no appetizers on the menu, but since we knew we would be ordering dessert that was not a problem for us. I should mention that they do offer a soup of the day and side salad even though there is no appetizer menu. The first thing we tried was the Turkey Sandwich: smoked turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise layered on toasted multi-grain bread. The cost of this sandwich was $12.49 and it comes with chips.

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All in all this sandwich is a great bargain. As you can see in the picture above there is a large amount of meat and other toppings. Also, the multi-grain bread it was served on was fantastic. We didn’t finish the entire sandwich, but we certainly finished the bread! The other entree we tried as the Plaza Club: smoked ham, turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise on toasted sourdough bread for $12.49.

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The signature club left a little to be desired in our opinion. It had plenty of meat and toppings, but we found the bread to be very hard. Actually if I had it to do over again I would probably ask if they could make the club sandwich with the multi-grain bread, now that would be a fantastic club! Don’t get me wrong the club was good, just not my favorite thing on the menu. I have also ordered Beef Brisket Onion Burger before here and remember it being very good. Overall we were satisfied with the entrees, especially considering they cost $12.49 at a sit down restaurant. Also, you get a large serving of the chips with each sandwich and we are big fans of those. That is one food item we think Disney does really well and it is a nice changeup from having fries as a side with a lot of meals.

Of course after our entrees we had to save room for one of our favorites, a brownie sundae from the Plaza Ice Cream Parlour.

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This dessert was huge and extremely tasty. It is so nice to just sit back, relax, enjoy your ice cream, and look out the large windows and observe all of the action taking place on Main Street and in the hub. The setting of this meal is almost perfect and the food is pretty good to compliment that. Overall, we highly recommend The Plaza Restaurant. Like we said earlier this place is a great value if paying cash. It is not a great value if on the dining plan as you aren’t getting much value for your dining credits, so if you are on the dining plan you might just consider paying cash here and using your table service credits elsewhere. That will do it for our review of The Plaza, thanks for reading and happy trip planning!

Characters from Goofy’s Kitchen Temporarily Appearing at PCH Grill

Goofy's KitchenGoofy’s Kitchen, which is located inside the Disneyland Hotel in California, is currently going through a refurbishment. The Disney Parks Blog says the restaurant is getting a “fresh new look” and will be closed from January 19 to February 9, 2016. Disneyland has made the decision to temporarily move the characters to the PCH Grill at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel.

The Disney Parks Blog went on to say this about the temporary experience: “The restaurant’s beachy, laid-back atmosphere is a fun spot for the new Beach Side Bonfire Dinner Buffet with Mickey & Friends featuring classic California dishes — smoked tri-tip, baby back ribs, fish tacos, sautéed shrimp, steamed clams, mac-n-cheese, fried chicken and mini hamburgers and hot dogs right off the grill. Cap off your meal with a sweet ending and “perpetual summer” beverages, including watermelon lemonade and our signature peach-and-blood-orange tea.

The PCH Grill already hosted a Mickey & Friends breakfast each morning and that will continue during this time period.

Skipper Canteen Opens at Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Skippers Canteen Concept ArtThe long awaited Skipper Canteen is finally doing soft openings at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. The full name of this restaurant is actually Jungle Navigator Co., Ltd. Skipper Canteen. The restaurant has started soft openings, which means the restaurant is basically in testing and there is no guarantee that it is going to be open at all times. They are also currently not taking Advance Dining Reservations via the website even thought it is a table service restaurant for lunch and dinner. We would assume it will start taking reservations once it is open for good, but for now you must simply check in at the restaurant if you want to give it a try.

One very interesting part of this restaurant is that they have taken an idea straight out of Be Our Guest Restaurant in that they have developed three distinct themed dining rooms that guests could possibly be seated in. The Crew’s Mess Hall is the first option and the second is the Fall’s Family Parlor, named after the restaurants founder. The third option is the most interesting, the Secret Meeting room of the Society of Adventurers and Explorers. It is certain this will be the most interesting room, but all three look like they have some fantastic characteristics.

The menu is also very interesting at this point, although we all know Disney is likely to change things during the coming months as the restaurant is tested and has a full opening. Let’s first look at the specialty drinks and appetizers.

Skippers Canteen Menu Apps & Drinks

We are in the Magic Kingdom, so the drinks menu is completely non-alcoholic, but there are some interesting options nonetheless. One interesting option is the Schweitzer Slush, which is “Frozen apple juice and passion fruit topped with bursting green apple balls.” There are also several hot drink options on the menu including a large selection of hot teas and specialty coffees. As far as appetizers go the Falls Family Falafel looks very good and is described as “A secret recipe of chickpeas, garlic, onions, lemon juice, and herbs served with white bean dip and cucumber salad.” The House Made Arepas also look very intriguing as they include “Slow-cooked beef, black beans, tomatoes, and queso fresco.”

Skippers Canteen Entrees

When it comes to the entrees the first one that jumps out is the Grilled Lamb Chops which are “Seasoned with a North African Berber spice blend” and “served with Green Lentil stew.” Another entree that looks unique is the Skip’s Mac And CheeseThis interesting take on a typical dish consists of “Spiced ground beef, pasta, and Bechamel sauce served with Broccoli.” There are also, pork, chicken, and steak dishes on the new menu that each look tasty in their own right.

There are several unique options for younger adventurer’s as well including sustainable fish, a junior version of the Mac and Cheese, and the Arepas.

Skippers Canteen Kids & Desserts

Now, what would an adventure be without dessert, and Skipper Canteen certainly does not disappoint in that category. The Coconut Bar with Pineapple-Basil Compote and Vanilla Cream is definitely different and is the star of this dessert menu. For me though I would love to try the Kungaloosh!, which is described as “An African inspired chocolate cake with caramelized bananas served with cashew-caramel ice cream topped with coffee dust. Between the caramelized bananas and the cashew-caramel ice cream they have me sold on this dish. I can’t wait to get down and try it!

Overall, this menu looks very interesting and unique and that is something I think Disney guests will really enjoy about the new Skipper Canteen. Stay tuned for more details on the menu and operation of this restaurant once it fully opens in the coming months.