LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL – From new and re-imagined restaurants to innovative ways to serve guests, chefs are keeping gining at the forefront of the Walt Disney World vacation experience.
Across four theme parks and 26 resort hotels, Walt Disney World Resort boasts an amazing and diverse portfolio of dining experiences. From healthy offerings to celebration foods, from a quick bite to an elegant table service meal, guests have a variety of choices unrivaled among vacation destinations, enjoying experiences only Disney can deliver.
Here’s the latest in Disney dining:
- Opening in December 2014, Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk will showcase classic Italian cuisine including handcrafted mozzarella made daily, fresh pasta and pizzas baked in wood-burning ovens. Open daily for breakfast and dinner, Chef Dee Foundoukis and her team in Trattoria al Forno’s kitchen are creating a true taste of all of Italy’s diverse regions. Pastas and main courses are paired with wines, 100 percent Italian from historic wine regions including Tuscany, Veneto and Piedmont, with 60 offerings by the bottle and more than 25 wines by the glass.
- The re-imagined California Grill atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort features a beautiful new dining room and onstage kitchen and a new menu focusing on creative, fresh, seasonal dishes and top-of-the-line sushi. Designed by the Puccini Group in San Francisco, the spacious restaurant features a wall of wines with 1,600 bottles at the entrance and spectacular views from every table. First opened in 1995, California Grill is one of Disney’s top dining experiences.
- Starbucks expands at Downtown Disney with two locations – a storefront at Downtown Disney West Side and a kiosk near World of Disney at Downtown Disney Marketplace. Look for the familiar green roof at the West Side flagship Starbucks, part of the company’s commitment to be environmentally conscious. The design includes a covered patio overlooking the waterfront and a fireplace, as well as the new Clover Bar, featuring special reserve coffees brewed to order. A high-tech screen behind the Clover Bar shows images from coffee regions around the globe, and a new Human Connection Wall includes large touch-screen monitors that allow guests to use their finger to draw images.
- Food Truck Park at Downtown Disney: opening in November 2014 is Exposition Park, a permanent home for the popular Disney food trucks. Two or more of the Disney food trucks will be at the park most days: Superstar Catering (featuring favorites from Disney’s Hollywood Studios), Namaste Café (Disney’s Animal Kingdom dishes), Fantasy Fare (Magic Kingdom tastes) and World Showcase of Flavors (Epcot Food & Wine Festival). The park is next to Bongos Cuban Café in Downtown Disney and also include an area for live entertainment, seating for diners and shade from the new elevated “highline” that’s part of the Downtown Disney expansion.
- Walt Disney World Resort serves more than 50 million meals every year, but attention to detail isn’t lost as chefs look for new ways to wow their guests. And the trend for sourcing locally brings beautiful tastes to fine-dining restaurants. Spots like Flying Fish Cafe at Disney’s BoardWalk, California Grill and The Wave . . . of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Victoria & Albert’s, Cítricos and Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa all are working with Florida farmers and fishermen to bring the freshest cuisine to diners. From tomatoes and citrus to clams, shrimp and blue crab, Disney reaches out to more than two dozen producers – and sponsors an annual farm-to-table dinner at one of the local farms.
- Award-winning innovation at Be Our Guest Restaurant: The Magic Kingdom restaurant uses amazing behind-the-scenes technology merged with top-notch cast service. Recognized by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) with an Operator Innovation Awards, Be Our Guest Restaurant offers a personalized approach to “fast casual” lunchtime dining. Guests order at state-of-the-art kiosks and the food “magically” appears at their tables. While the system utilizes automation, radio frequency technology and some pretty sophisticated electronics, at the end of the day it’s about serving great food in an elegant environment in a timely and welcoming manner.
- Epcot World Showcase continues to expand its culinary gems with smaller spots for global eats. In France, there are three venues in addition to the popular Chefs de France restaurant: Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie, with delightful French sweets and savories; Monsieur Paul restaurant, paying homage to Paul Bocuse, one of France’s most celebrated chefs with upscale French creations, and L’Artisan des Glaces Artisan Ice Cream & Sorbet shop with 16 different flavors, all made in-house with fresh ingredients (including liqueurs for grown-up treats). Along the waterfront at the Morocco pavilion, Spice Road Table features small plates and refreshments inspired by the cuisine of the Mediterranean. La Cava Del Tequila in Mexico offers more than 100 varieties of tequila and small plates. Italy’s Tutto Gusto wine bar serves more than 200 wines with imported cheeses, charcuterie and other Italian specialties.
- For youngsters, the Mickey Check for Kids’ Meals continues to show up on more menus in both quick-service and table-service restaurants across Walt Disney World Resort, making it easier to identify healthier food options in all of the Disney theme parks and resorts. It’s part of Disney’s Magic of Healthy Living initiative. For more information, http://disney.go.com/magic-of-healthy-living/index.html.
Online dining reservations make it easy to book most Walt Disney World table-service restaurants up to 180 days in advance at www.disneyworld.com. Reservations can be made for up to 10 guests (more than 10 requires a call to Disney Dining Reservations). For booking by phone, call 407/WDW-DINE.