Change is constant at Disney World. There are always fun, new things popping up and always more up & coming things right around the corner just waiting to wow you. Even if you’re a frequent visitor, it can be hard to keep up with all the changes going on. Therefore, I have rounded up all the newest dining experiences at Walt Disney World and compiled a handy dandy list of 10 for you to keep you up to date. If you love food, and especially if you love Disney food, then check out these great new offerings and restaurants from the most magical place on Earth!
We’ll start with 7 major changes to existing restaurants:
- Recently, on October the 14th, 2015, the quick service eatery in Magic Kingdom named Tortuga Tavern (located across from Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland) debuted a completely different menu. They used to have Mexican fare but now serve a new BBQ menu. Choose from 3 different BBQ sandwiches – pork, chicken, or beef brisket – all served on Texas toast with sides of coleslaw and baked beans. For vegetarians, there’s a roasted corn and vegetable salad, and this salad is also available with barbecued chicken or beef brisket as well. Open for lunch 11am to 3pm.
- Just before that on October 1st, 2015, the nearby Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe in Frontierland (near Splash Mountain), also a Magic Kingdom quick service restaurant, got a brand new re-imagined menu. They’re now serving up Tex-Mex food similar to what you find at the very popular Chipotle chain. Open for both lunch and dinner, they offer both steak & chicken fajita platters, spicy beef or chicken burritos, rice bowls with either spicy beef, chicken, or roasted vegetables, & a Southwest salad with either spicy beef or chicken. They also have a chicken enchilada soup and some tasty dessert options like mini churros with chocolate dipping sauce and fried sopapillas!
- The Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has long been my favorite table service since I was just a little girl, and they have always served a stellar lunch & dinner experience in a very unique setting. But right now, they’re doing a special limited time test run of breakfast! It started on November 1st, 2015 and will run through January 23, 2016. They’re serving mouth-watering new meals like the puff pastry with scrambled eggs, asparagus, crab, and Gruyere cheese with roasted tomatoes, the grilled beef tenderloin on baby spinach with bacon & cheddar custard on roasted tomato and cheesy horseradish potatoes, the macadamia nut-crusted brioche French toast with mascarpone & fresh berries, and a traditional breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, & potatoes. We have reservations there for our January trip and I don’t know how I’m going to choose which one to order! Here’s hoping that they will make it a permanent offering!!!
- There’s also another restaurant that recently began serving breakfast where before they did only lunch & dinner. That’s the mega-popular Be Our Guest restaurant in the New Fantasyland area of Magic Kingdom. Like Sci-Fi, they also did a limited test run of a quick service breakfast earlier this year beginning in March, and then announced in August that it has become permanent. I haven’t even had a chance yet to try it out but I’m so excited to do so as we have reservations coming up! The nice thing I have noticed in my personal experience is that even though the lunch and dinner reservations are still very hard to come by at this particular location, the new breakfast seems to be much more available when it comes to searching and booking ADRs (advance dining reservations). Hopefully you find that to be true for you as well! Just wait ’til you hear what they’ve got – a croque madame sandwich, an eggs Florentine puff pastry, vegetable quiche, and…wait for it………..a fried croissant doughnut (aka a “cronut”) topped with a banana-caramel sauce, pastry creme, and chocolate ganache. …….Um, YES, PLEASE!
- Continuing this trend, we also have the new waterfront brunch offering that began very recently on November 22, 2015 at Narcoossee’s Restaurant located at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, which offers spectacular views of the Seven Seas Lagoon and Magic Kingdom. Previously only dinner was served here, but now you can enjoy their coastal cuisine for a prix fixe brunch – but only on Sundays from 10am-2pm. Each guest is served their choice of an alcoholic specialty beverage – either a mimosa, champagne, or Bloody Mary (or a non-alcoholic smoothie for children), a basket of pastries is brought out for the table to share, and several choices for both appetizers and entrees are given, plus a trio of desserts is served to round out your meal. For appetizers, choose from things like shrimp & grits, onion soup gratinee, seafood charcuterie, and a selection of artisanal cheeses from around the globe. Entrees include lobster eggs benedict with citrus hollandaise sauce, brioche French toast with vanilla custard and caramelized apples & bananas, croque madame and chicken & waffles. Now this restaurant is a Signature restaurant with fine dining, so it takes 2 table service credits on the Disney dining plan and don’t forget they have a business casual dress code – meaning no tank tops, swimsuits, hats, cut-offs, or torn clothing is allowed. Women are asked to please wear dresses or skirts and men are asked to wear collared shirts.
- For the fans of character dining experiences, beginning November 8, 2015, Epcot’s Garden Grill rotating family-style restaurant in the Land Pavilion just added both breakfast and lunch service! Previously a dinner-only character meal featuring Chip & Dale, farmer Mickey, & Pluto, this unique place slowly revolves in circles to show you scenes from the Living with the Land attraction while you eat an all-you-care-to-enjoy harvest feast. Many of the same classic comfort foods served at dinner are now served at lunch – like turkey with gravy, macaroni & cheese, sweet potato fries, and buttermilk mashed potatoes. Breakfast sounds amazing with a sticky bun bake, buttermilk biscuits with country sausage gravy, Mickey-shaped waffles with warm chocolate-hazelnut sauce, bacon, ham, eggs, fruit, and home-styled potato barrels. I can’t wait to try it!
- Last, but definitely not least, perhaps the best new dining experience is the buffet dinner at Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While this location has always served dinner, it never had characters to go with it before. Only breakfast & lunch did, with popular Disney Junior characters like the beloved Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins. But now, there’s a whole new character dinner buffet hosted by Minnie Mouse and it’s called Minnie’s Seasonal Dine (also called Minnie’s Holiday Dine during the Christmas season). It’s even offered with the option of a Fantasmic! VIP seating package, which I highly recommend doing. It just started on November 7th, 2015 and the very festive holiday version will run through January 3rd, 2016 with holiday-themed decor, music, food, and activities while Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy all join you wearing their brand new holiday costumes! Then as each new season comes throughout 2016, Minnie’s dinner parties with her Disney pals will feature new decor, menu items, & music unique to that season, with table activities and takeaway gifts also unique to each new season. From January 4th to March 20th, 2016 celebrate the glamour of Hollywood, from March 21st to June 5th celebrate the joy of spring, from June 6th to September 11th, 2016 enjoy a beach-themed summer celebration, from September 12th to November 3rd it’s time for a frightfully fun Halloween party, and then again it will become a holiday sensation for the 2016 Christmas season. I just love the food at this restaurant & I always love a good character meal. Doesn’t it sound like so much fun?
Now here are the 3 all NEW restaurants that have opened their doors recently at the re-imagined Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney):
- Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar opened on September 22, 2015 as part of the Downtown Disney turned Disney Springs expansion, on the waterfront next to Paradiso 37 and the also new Boathouse. It is a bar themed to look like a 1940’s airplane hangar and is named after Indiana Jones’ sidekick and pilot from the “Raiders of the Lost Ark” movie, Jock Lindsey. They’ve gone into some incredible detail here creating the eclectic decor and adventurous backstory for this aviation-inspired lounge. Even the drinks and menu items, small plates meant for sharing, are inspired by the movie and it’s characters – like the Rolling Boulder Sliders (mini buns with spicy meatballs and a yogurt sauce), the Dr. Elsa’s She-Deviled Eggs (brined in beet juice and stuffed with lump crab meat filling), the Air Pirate’s Pretzels with beer-cheese fondue and house-made mustard and plenty of fun, spirited libations like the Cool-headed Monkey and Reggie’s Revenge. Fans of the movie will love it for sure! FYI, they don’t book any reservations.
2. Morimoto Asia just opened on September 30th, 2015 as the very first Pan-Asian cuisine restaurant for Japanese master chef Masaharu Morimoto (of “Iron Chef America”). It introduces an exciting and innovative new dining concept as it invites guests to view the “exhibition kitchens” for a behind-the-scenes look at the traditions of Peking duck carving and dim sum, while exploring a culinary journey through Asia. The atmosphere of this fine dining Signature table service restaurant is impressive with a huge 2-story interior accented by giant chandeliers and Shanghai-inspired decor, including a sushi bar and lounge upstairs and an outdoor terrace overlooking the water. On the menu you can enjoy classic Japanese and Chinese favorites, as well as Korean and Malay dishes, plus some specialties influenced by Asian street food, an extensive sake list and a unique Oreo Tempura dessert!
3. Perhaps the most talked about new addition to Disney Springs is The Boathouse, earning rave reviews so far for it’s upscale seafood and steaks menu since opening on April the 13th, 2015, the first all new restaurant to open in the Disney Springs makeover. It’s fine Signature dining set to a nautical theme, serving both lunch and dinner daily from 11am to 11pm. All 5 of the dining rooms, the outdoor patio and the 3 bars combined have seating for a total of 600, and all areas have waterfront views so there’s not one bad view in the whole house. They’re known for super large over-the-top desserts like the S’mores Baked Alaska (meant for sharing for a party of 4) – 1.5 gallons of rocky road ice cream with graham cracker crust, marshmallow and meringue topping, chunks of chocolate of course, torched for that true s’mores finish or the whiskey caramel cornbread cake and the key lime pie served in a mason jar. They’ve got something for everyone on their extensive menu – everything from a raw bar with oysters, shrimp cocktail, lobster, and local Florida caviar, to the incredible Mid-western steaks, seafood (including fresh, local FL fish), salads, and rotisserie chicken, to the more casual outdoor menu with burgers, sandwiches, lobster rolls, hand-cut fries and baskets of fried clams or shrimp, to the clever kids’ menu served in cute little paper amphicars. And speaking of amphicars, the coolest part about this place is all the retro 30’s/40’s/50’s dream boats they have and the immersive, interactive experiences they offer! Guests can enjoy a romantic guided Captain’s tour on the water in a beautiful wooden Italian water taxi or the 19th-century antique steamboat, both with champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries. Or perhaps the most fun of all is making a splash driving into the water in one of their vintage amphicars for a guided 20 minute tour.
Have you tried any of these exciting new dining adventures yet? Which ones are you most looking forward to on your next trip to Disney World? Let us know in the comments section below!
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