LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – From a stellar line-up of celebrity chefs at Disney Springs to trend-setting creations from Disney’s new global test kitchen, the Walt Disney World culinary team exceeds expectations of food-savvy guests. Here’s the buzz for 2016:
Disney Springs Celebrity Eats, Fast Bites
First new venue to open in 2015 at Disney Springs was Jock Lindsay’s Hangar Bar along the waterfront adjacent to Paradiso 37. The bar cleverly features salvaged equipment, spare airplane parts and travel mementos collected by Jock, Indiana Jones’ pilot in the first film.
Open in 2016 are Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming – Florida Kitchen and Shine Bar; Chef Rick Bayless’ Frontera Cocina; STK, a modern steakhouse mixed with the ambiance of a sleek lounge; Morimoto Asia by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and The BOATHOUSE starring seafood and dream boats from the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s.
Fast-casual additions in 2016 include Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, a modern “pizza joint” known for custom-built artisanal pizzas, and Disney’s D-Luxe Burger featuring gourmet burgers made from a signature blend of beef, plus all-natural chicken and vegetarian burgers, hand-cut fries and gelato shakes.
Also new are three Disney kiosks: Aristocrepes, with sweet and savory crepes; The Daily Poutine, with hot fries and four different toppings, and B.B. Wolf’s Sausage Co. featuring artisan sausages.
This fall, look for a re-imagined Planet Hollywood as the flagship is transformed into a star-themed Planet Hollywood Observatory to match the look and feel of Disney Springs. Also opening this fall is Paddlefish, formerly Fulton’s Crab House, with an all-new look and menu.
Next Generation of Sweets
The Ganachery at Disney Springs showcases the beauty of chocolate, with Disney’s proprietary recipe for the custom-made ganache, a luxurious mixture of melted chocolate and cream. Amorette’s Patisserie features classic and contemporary pastries by the Disney chefs, with custom cakes that are works of art. And Sprinkles serves up handcrafted cupcakes, slow churned ice cream and homemade cookies. (Their innovative Cupcake ATM satisfies sweet-toothed epicureans 24/7.)
In the Disney Resorts
Disney’s famed monorail is your connection in a movable feast called Highway in the Sky Dine-Around. The new experience gives guests priority boarding on the monorail for a distinctly Disney dining experience with stops for cocktails, appetizers, dinner and dessert. From a welcome cocktail at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, guests call at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (apps), Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (entree) and back to the Contemporary for dessert, cordials and coffee. Offered Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
For those who brunch: For those who like a leisurely Sunday morning, Disney offers two brunches. The Brunch at the Top at California Grill atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort features both a buffet (with an extraordinary Bloody Mary bar) and table service, plus a remarkable view from the 15th floor. Narcoossee’s Waterfront Brunch at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is a three-course delight with Mimosas, Champagne or Bloody Marys. For reservations, 407-WDW-DINE.
New lounge for small bites, original cocktails: At Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is a favorite of Disney fans, with more than 1,200 pieces of memorabilia. Hand-crafted cocktails and small plates are a hit with guests.
Flying Fish at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort reopened in Sept. 2016 with a whole new look and new menu. Sustainable fish is the star of the menu, and a new high-tech wine system allows more special wines by the ounce.
New in the theme parks
Global cuisine at two new restaurants: At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Tiffins features cuisine from places that inspired the creation of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Open for both lunch and dinner, Tiffins has waterfront views and is situated at the entrance to Pandora: The World of AVATAR, opening in 2017. (“Tiffin” is an Indian English word for a midday meal or a type of container used to carry food while traveling). Adjacent to Tiffins, Nomad Lounge features hand-crafted cocktails with African, Asian and South American flavors; beers, and sustainable wines from those regions, plus specialty non-alcoholic beverages and small bites.
The Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen in the Magic Kingdom is the first restaurant inspired by a classic attraction. Just steps from the legendary Jungle Cruise attraction in Adventureland, the 222-seat restaurant features bold, flavorful tastes of Asia, South America and Africa for lunch and dinner.
Great Food Among the Flowers and More of The Best Food Fest:
The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival has expanded to 90 days, and Epcot International Food & Wine Festival kicks off Sept. 14 and runs through Nov. 14 this fall. That means almost two additional weeks – from 53 days to 62 – of deliciousness, foodie fun, culinary events, celebrity chefs, seminars, music concerts and more.
What Disney does best: Allergy-friendly menus are found in more than 120 quick-service and table-service locations at both Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, along with more ways to make the special-diet-request process easier. Guests are still able to consult directly with a restaurant chef or special diets trained cast member. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is the recipient of a FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) Award for dedication to providing a safe and enjoyable dining experience for vacationing families and Disney chefs have been recognized for their commitment to food allergy awareness, education and management.
Where it all starts: Ever wonder how a new dish makes it on the menu? Or how a cocktail comes to life? The Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Flavor Lab brings the chefs, front-of-house managers, sommeliers, mixologists and more together in a state-of-the-art research and development facility. The new 7,000-square foot Flavor Lab serves as a hub of new product, packaging and equipment innovation for food and beverage programs across Walt Disney Parks and Resorts around the globe. While not open to the public, Disney guests will be the ultimate benefactor of all the testing, measuring and collaborations that will happen in the expansive new space.
Reservations are accepted at most Walt Disney World table-service restaurants, signature restaurants, character dining locations and dinner shows, and may be made up to 190 days prior to arrival by making them on the My Disney Experience app, DisneyWorld.com/dine or by calling 407/WDW-DINE (407/939-3463).