I’m an easy target.
When an email arrived from Foodzie indicating I had been “chosen” to receive a free May tasting box, they knew exactly what they were doing. There’s a bullseye on my stomach and I took a direct hit to my soft spot, free food.
Unable to resist the temptation, (which happens a lot around snacks) I caved in and signed-up. The May box was free and subsequent boxes are $19.99, but I can cancel at any time. Ah, there’s the catch.
When you sign-up for the Tasting Box program, a new box of gourmet goodies is automatically sent to your doorstep and billed to you each month.
May Tasting Box contents
The lemon poppyseed biscotti was divine. I wrote down the ingredients and hope to replicate it. The Alfajores cookies were okay, basically they are delicate shortbread cookies filled with dulche de leche. I’ve yet to dive into much else, I have this thing about saving stuff so it lasts longer.
Although I’m not sure if I can justify spending $20 a month on 6-7 snacks, after opening my first box of treats I haven’t canceled my subscription yet.
Foodzie is one wiley minx.
On our first full day we went straight to Hollywood Studios to secure a spot on the Twilight Tower of Terror. I reluctantly plodded behind.
Nothing about dropping 13 stories down an elevator shaft sounded like fun to me. It was an inevitable rite of passage (if not, ridicule would ensue), but that doesn’t mean I was happy about it.
I rode, I screamed, and will never ride again. Mission accomplished.
On the bright side, we nailed all three spots on my list and had a bonus snack.
|The Hollywood Studios section on my food list
|Name||What to get|
|Starring Rolls Cafe||sandwich or sushi, chips, drink, and cupcake (Butterfinger)|
|Fairfax Fare||ribs and chicken combo, baked beans, coleslaw|
|Toy Story Pizza Planet||pizza, salad, drink, dessert|
Note: Click the name of the quick service restaurant to view their menu.
We overachieved and crossed off:
A short distance before the dreaded Tower of Terror is a cluster of restaurants with outdoor seating. Fairfax Fare is part of that group, situated on the main thoroughfare. They mainly serve barbecue and we split a combo meal with chicken, ribs, baked beans, coleslaw, and chocolate cake. Brisket has disappeared from the menu and a pulled pork sandwich has been added.
The meat was surprisingly good for lacking sauce; small cups of Heinz BBQ sauce came on the side. Both the chicken and ribs were tender and flavorful. The beans and cole slaw were good in an average way. I’m guessing that this is the same barbecue people rave about from Flame Tree BBQ in Animal Kingdom. Another pleasant surprise was the moist chocolate cake and carrot cake.
It was a satisfying sticky finger meal sitting at a shaded picnic table, on a sunny day.
Toy Story Pizza Planet
Stumbling into Pizza Planet we were desperate for anything resembling food. Just prior we were in Animal Kingdom ready to eat lunch, but the line at Pizzafari was depressingly long. We hopped on a bus to Hollywood in hopes of missing the lunch crowd by the time we arrived.
Thankfully we guessed correctly and walked right up to the cashiers. They serve personal sized pizzas, a few hot sub sandwiches and an entree salad or two. I ordered a vegetarian pizza, Ben got a pepperoni, and they all come with a side Caesar salad. We also got the option of getting a Mickey Rice Krispie bar for dessert which was a nice change.
The pizzas were pretty good, nothing bad to report, just not anything special. It’s about what you would expect. The side salad was a treat because most combo meals lack fresh vegetables; usually I wanted more than an entree salad. Pizza was a welcome option other than sandwiches and they give you a complete meal.
Starring Rolls Cafe
Mentioned online almost as frequently as Dole Whip, the Butterfinger cupcake has quite a reputation. When the group headed to the Tower for the umpteenth time, I went directly to Starring Rolls Cafe for this cupcake. (boooo Tower!)
We didn’t eat a meal at the Starring Rolls Cafe, but they do serve two sandwiches piled high with deli turkey or ham, sad looking sushi, and a selection of desserts. Consider dining here because you get the sandwich or sushi, chips, drink and your choice of nearly any dessert in the case.
Like men lifting weights at the gym, the tiramisu, fruit tart, and chocolate peanut butter cupcake beckoned for attention, but I was not deterred from the Butterfinger cupcake. Envious stares ensued sauntering down the street carrying this beauty.
Breaking through the outer candy coated chocolate shell I found delicious cake filled with ganache, topped with white cream icing. Beware because it’s massive and rich, I only ate half.
Stationed nearly every twenty feet, at any park, is a stand or cart serving soft drinks, popcorn, pretzels, fruit bars and most importantly, Mickey bars. This cool treat is a Disney staple; a chocolate covered vanilla ice cream bar, in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head of course.
Maybe it’s the magic of Disney, maybe it’s the crunch of biting into the chocolate shell, or maybe it’s the smooth ice cream, but your day gets a little brighter with one of these in your hand.
The majority of our days were spent in the four parks…oh, and standing in lines, riding on buses, and dodging strollers. We had no set schedule, so when hunger hit I wanted to be able to suggest a good place to eat in the vicinity. To maximize our limited dining opportunities, I came up with best bets for each park.
|The Magic Kingdom section on my food list
|Name||What to get|
|Aloha Isle||dole whip|
|Columbia Harbour House||tuna sandwich meal|
|Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe||rotisserie chicken, ribs, or brisket|
|Pecos Bill Café||burger bar|
|Sleepy Hollow (Liberty Square)||chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich|
|Main Street Bakery||dessert, cinnamon roll|
|Plaza Ice Cream Parlor||ice cream sundae|
Note: Click the name of the quick service restaurant to view their menu.
We hit three out of seven:
Sleepy Hollow: Liberty Square
One of the top snacks on my list was a chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich. I love everyone of those words.
Marching up to the Sleepy Hollow counter I nearly had a heart attack because this item isn’t labeled with a snack symbol on the menu. But it never hurts to ask questions and the cashier reassured me it qualifies as a snack. Disaster avoided.
These babies are pure made-to-order heaven. Generous scoops of hand-dipped ice cream (your choice of vanilla or the flavor of the day) are cradled between two large freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies. It’s a fantastic use of a snack credit and is big enough to split. Please, do us both a favor and get one.
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe: Futureland
Following a spin on Space Mountain Friday night, we ate at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe for dinner. It was late, cold and the closest place on my list. There was no talking Ben and his brother into trekking across the park to Pecos Bill Cafe in Frontierland. Earlier in the day we passed Columbia Harbour House, but just had gigantic ice cream sandwiches.
Cosmic Ray’s has three “bays” to order from featuring chicken, burgers or sandwiches. The rotisserie chicken and ribs located in Bay 1 are popular entrees that come with potatoes and veggies, but we had chicken and ribs for lunch. (Finding repeated entrees is common among the parks.) I ended up ordering a Deluxe Angus Cheeseburger, french fries, a Diet Coke and apple slices from Bay 2. In hindsight I should have gotten the Greek Salad from Bay 3.
Apparently the addition of guacamole and bacon turns a plain food service patty into a deluxe burger. In reality it was fairly standard and a little dry. There also is a toppings bar where you can pile on sauteed onions, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and condiments which helped. The cashier was nice enough to let me have apple slices instead of cake. I was dying for something fresh and healthy, which is why I regretted not getting the salad.
Aloha Isle: Adventureland
Another notorious snack available only at Disney is the Dole Whip. The Dole Whip kept popping up in my research and has an impressive fan following.
Sunday morning we hiked to Aloha Isle because it’s never too early for soft-serve. I used another snack credit and got a Dole Whip float with pineapple soft-serve and pineapple juice. Again, it was large enough to share.
The pineapple soft-serve is surprisingly tart, especially when paired with pineapple juice. Ben got a pineapple and vanilla swirl which was a better balance of sweet and tart. They also offer an orange version which I bet tastes like a dreamscicle when mixed with vanilla. It was refreshing and perfect on a warm day.
The Dole Whip and chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich are great snack options well worth the effort. Cosmic Ray’s was only okay. The Pecos Bill Cafe is a burger bar known for their toppings, but I’m not sure if it’s much different than Cosmic Ray’s. Supposedly the Columbia Harbour House is a small, quiet place to get a good sandwich and people like Casey’s Corner for their hot dog combo meals. The Main Street Bakery was always packed and I didn’t have room when we passed the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor. If you want a sweet treat, the Magic Kingdom has you covered.
A certain husband, has a certain father, who holds a deep, loyal love for Disney World.
He and his wife visit every couple years and as a Christmas gift they decided to take me, Ben and Ben’s brother on their latest Disney excursion. We left Jackson on Thursday and came back on Monday, which gave us at least three full days of fun. In my eyes, it was at least three full days of food.
Unfamiliar with the dining plan I did ample research beforehand to understand exactly how it works, determined to make the most of our credits. Equipped with the basics, I then proceeded to make a list of quick service locations to visit, their location, and what to get. This was my compass, the master list!:
This is what I learned…
What is the quick service dining plan?
Each guest on the plan is allocated two quick service meals and two snacks per day. You also receive a refillable plastic mug for unlimited use at your resort’s beverage stations. Note: total credits are actually calculated by the number of nights.
What defines a meal or a snack?
A quick service meal is an entree or combo meal, non-alcoholic beverage and dessert.
A snack is a single-serve item (around) $4 or less. Usually they are labeled with a Disney Snack Icon, but I found some items could be redeemed as snacks that didn’t have the symbol. Not all snack items have the snack symbol.
At the resort there are a wide variety of beverages available for the refillable mug including a variety of soft drinks, lemonade, tea, hot tea, hot chocolate and coffee.
How does it work?
At most quick service restaurants, the cashiers are positioned in front of the food pick-up counter. Tell the cashier you are on the dining plan so it’s easy for them. Place your order, they’ll swipe your Key to the World card, you get a receipt (it also prints the remaining credit count), and present it at the pick-up counter. Grab your tray of food and find a place to sit.
Where can I get quick service meals and snacks?
On the 2011 Quick Service Dining Plan brochure there are 79 dining locations to choose from throughout the Disney parks, resorts and properties. And you can’t throw a stuffed mickey down a street without hitting a snack cart.
Why should I consider a dining plan?
The OnlyWDWorld website lists some compelling reasons for choosing this dining plan. It saves on time and money; there’s no need to leave the park, make reservations, or have a sit down meal (which means no gratuities).
Tips on getting the most out of the meal plan
I’m coming down from a four day sugar high and refuse to stand in anymore lines. Disney World will do that to a person.
It’s been quiet around here because just yesterday we returned home from Orlando (!). And as much as I wanted to talk about our trip beforehand, that wouldn’t have been smart internet safety.
Now we’re back and I can’t wait to write about the food. Oh yes, brace yourself.
Prior to our departure, I did extensive research for good eats on the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan and repeatedly visited three websites: The Disney Food Blog, AllEars.net and Walt Disney World Info (a fan driven database site). From those sites, I compiled a thorough list of places to go and snacks to try. (Would you expect any less of me?!)
Armed with my comprehensive spreadsheet, I was prepared to conquer the basic dining dilemma of deciding where to eat, no matter which park or area we were at.
In posts to come I’ll explain the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan, share my list of quick service best bets, and recap what I had in each park.
Most people are excited about the rides, I was looking forward to the Dole Whip.
I ate my way through Disney World, Gidget Eats style.
Update: I’ve finished the Disney World series (yay!). Now, what did I miss? If you have any suggestions, tips or must eat items please share them and leave a comment. Thank you!