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Gobble, Gobble - with Turkey day
past, we're looking forward to the holidays ahead. In this edition we
take an in-depth look at dining in and around the Magic Kingdom park
and uncover some more trivia gems about the park itself. Hang on to
them hats and glasses, cause this here's the most informative ride
on the internet!
Victoria & Albert's with faline>>
This restaurant is tucked away on
the second floor of the Grand Floridian. One can’t see into the
restaurant from the outside. The check-in desk for Citrico’s sits
outside the doors so, if one is focused on that area, one could be
easily overlook the entrance to Victoria and Albert’s. There is
another check-in desk inside these doors but one still does not get
a good glimpse of the dining room until one gets past this desk and
round the corner to the main dining area.
We had dined here once before so had some idea what the experience
would be like. My spouse was in his suit which included white shirt
and tie. (He had even considered buying a bow tie for the experience
but decided that would mean purchasing a shirt with fancy buttons to
wear with it.) I’m in black with chiffon like pants that are so
loose they more resemble a long skirt, than pants. This is topped
with a sleeveless top with sequined front covered with a black
shrug. Black sandals complete the ensemble.
I had vacillated over making reservations for this dinner. It is
quite an expensive night out especially when one adds the wine
pairings which we did. Still, my spouse encouraged me to make the
reservation so I did. When I called, I was told that a 5:15 seating
time was available. I had hoped for a later dining time but assumed
that the later dining times were already taken. In reality, based on
what I observed, I suspect the reservations are front loaded – that
folks are steered to the earlier times first and only if those are
fully booked, do they continue booking into the later dining times.
But now, our special evening had arrived. We were dressed and looked
quite spiffy, if I do so say myself. We did not want to rely on
busses and monorails to get to the Grand Floridian from the Beach
Club where we were staying so had a cab hailed for us. Our driver
deposited us at the front entrance to the Grand Floridian. We
entered and made our made up the grand staircase. As we walked down
the hallway, more than one person commented on how nice we looked.
Those kind words certainly made us feel even more special!
The first time we dined here, we had checked in at the Citroco’s
desk and were escorted into Victoria and Albert’s. This time, we
were instructed to go right through the large doors hiding this
restaurant from all external eyes. We were immediately greeted and
led to our table in a good sized room decorated in the Victorian
style. Tables are not crowded together in this establishment. Unless
your neighbors are talking quite loudly, you do not become part of
the conversation at other tables. As we were seated, a hook was
produced that would allow my evening bag to hang off the side of the
table without being flung over the back of a chair or sitting on the
The last time we dined here, each waiter was known as Albert and
each waitress as Victoria. They no longer follow this practice. (I
suspect it may have been a bit confusing for both staff and patrons
alike.) Still, our serving team consists of a man and a woman.
Once seated, we are each presented with our personalized menu for
the evening. Even though this is, mostly, a fixed price dining
experience, there are options on the menu. The last time we dined
here, all choices were part of the fixed price. This time, there are
several options that are part of the fixed price but other options
are available for additional cost. For example, on our menu, we
could have selected an Australian Kobe-Style Beef Tenderloin with
Smoked Garlic-Potato Puree or our entrée for an additional $35.00
The menu is explained to us and we are left for a bit to peruse the
offerings and make our choices. Once you decide what you want, you
place your entire order up front – right from the first course
through your dessert course. We spent a bit of time discussing the
menu and what we would each like to eat. Because we had chosen the
wine pairings, we were presented with a glass of champagne to start
us off. Also, a complimentary dish with four sample items was
delivered to our table (We found all the deluxe dining restaurants
were doing this during this most recent Disney World trip.) I don’t
remember what all the items were except for the caviar as that is
the only thing I did not like and did not finish. Guess I have just
not developed a taste for caviar!
The restaurant was mostly empty when we arrived. For the first 45
minutes or so, it appeared 1-2 parties were seated every 15 minutes
or so. When one couple arrived, a footstool was brought to the table
so that the lady could place her purse atop it. When a server
noticed a woman at another table who was wearing a strapless dress
appeared to be cold, she immediately appeared with a black shawl to
drape over the woman’s shoulders. A harpist began to play about 10
minutes after we arrived. He played on and off throughout the meal.
Once we made our dining decisions, we relayed them to our serving
team and the dining began. For our first course, we both chose the
Roasted Long Island Duck with Pomegranate, Pistachios and Hearts of
Palm. (Be forewarned, when the courses are delivered to your table,
it appears you are being served very miserly portions. Do not fear.
You will be very full by time your meal is finished.) For our next
course, my spouse selected the Diver Scallop and Langoustine
Cioppino with Maine Mussel and Fennel Nage while my choice was
Alaskan Halibut with Arugula Pudding. The next course consisted of
Roasted Quail with Asian Pears and Serrano Ham Jus for my spouse and
Herb-crusted Ocala Rabbit and Sausage with Carrots for me. After
each course, you are allowed some time to converse and rest before
the next course is delivered to your table. Finally, it was time for
our entrees. Here, we both selected the same dish – Kurobuta Pork
Tenderloin and Belly with Verjus-Bacon Vinaigrette. We were now
getting closer to the end of our meal but we were not yet finished.
My spouse selected Colston Bassett Stilton, Parmigiano Reggiano,
Gouda Reyenaer XO and Fiscalini Cheddar for his next course while I
had the While Chocolate Gelato with Tableside Shavings. Each of
these courses was accompanied by an appropriate wine to match the
selection. Now, it was time for dessert and coffee. Coffee is made
at the table using a special pot which, using a flame heats the
water in the bottom of the pot and forces it up through the coffee
located in the top of the pot. Along with the coffee, my spouse had
Meyer Lemon and Blood Orange Purse with Blackberry-Violet Sherbet
and I had Tanzanine Chocolate Pyramid with a Champagne-Chambord
At the end of the meal, I was presented with a red, long-stem rose.
It was encased in a plastic box with a water source over the bottom
of the stem. The meal took over two hours to complete.
When we exited Victoria and Albert’s we were not ready for this
special evening to end. We made the short walk to Mizner’s, ordered
after dinner drinks and immersed ourselves in the sounds of the
Grand Floridian Band.
It was an absolutely gorgeous night out that evening so we decided
to use Disney transportation for our trip home. Downstairs, we
stopped into the shop and had a lovely conversation with the staff
members there who were very excited to see our menus. We slowly
walked from the building to the boat dock where we took a lovely
ride across to the Magic Kingdom. Unfortunately, the last leg of our
journey back to our resort was via a very ordinary Disney bus –
exactly where did Cinderella park that carriage??!
<<A Taste of the
World with Mickey'sGirl>>
Kingdom Area --
The Cast: Dear Husband Brian -
Turning 45 on this trip; Dear Son Harry (14) - Celebrating
graduating from Grade 8;
Dear Son Euan (8.5) - Celebrating his Half-Birthday because we can’t
go down in January, Me – Just happy to be making the trip with my
Tony’s Town Square – Magic Kingdom
Atmosphere: You can’t beat the cool comfortable beauty of Tony’s.
Tables are well spaced, and the Lady and the Tramp artwork is
displayed throughout the restaurant. 5/5
Food: The boys shared Calamari to start. It was lightly coated and
not greasy, so very nice. Neither cared for the marinara it was
served with. For our mains, Harry had Seafood Diavolo - Linguini
pasta with Clams, Mussels, Calamari, Shrimp, and fresh fish of the
day in a spicy Tomato sauce . He enjoyed this food immensely,
especially the Mussels. Brian had Lasagna, which he said was all
right (that was my impression of it when I had it a couple of years
ago too … just all right). Euan and I both had Spaghetti and
Meatballs. I honestly never expect much when I order Spaghetti and
Meatballs when we’re out. I make my own sauce and balls o’ meat at
home every week, and I am usually disappointed when I order this
out. Well, Tony’s has made a believer out of me! The linguine was
hot and al dente, and the meatballs were FABULOUS. Honestly, Tony’s
really knows how to make a good meatball, all flavourful and moist.
This was a great surprise! Euan ordered an ice cream sundae for
dessert, Brian had cheesecake, and Harry and I opted for some
Cappuccino’s , served with biscotti, which our server remembered to
leave off of my saucer due to my noted tree-nut allergy. 4/5
Service: We had been served by our waiter in the past, and
remembered him to be efficient and friendly. For this visit, again
he was both. The simple act of thinking to NOT include the biscotti
demonstrates the quality of his service. We noticed and commented to
the Hostess that we saw everyone in the restaurant helping each
other out. Servers were picking up dishes at other tables when they
passed, or offered refills of drinks. Real quality service. 5/5
We had fabulous service and other than the mediocre lasagna,
terrific mains then some good coffee to finish up. This was a
terrific first night’s meal at Disney! Overall rating - 4/5
Chef Mickey’s - Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Atmosphere: Chef Mickey’s is always hustling and bustling and in the
midst of celebrating. It is bright and colourful. We had no wait
when checking in at Chef Mickey’s for our youngest son’s
Half-Birthday celebration brunch. We had a decent table not too far
from the buffet, and far enough from the kitchen. All of the
characters spent a good amount of time for pictures and a visit,
part I am sure due to his “birthday” button. Goofy was (as always)
fabulous, and really took the time to interact with our son. 4/5
Food: The offerings were primarily “breakfast” at 11 am, and we all
ate our fill of oatmeal, eggs, sausage, Mickey waffles and fruit.
Service: The hostess who led us to our table was about 900 years
old, and from New York City. I told her that she comes from my other
favourite place in the US, and she gave me a great big hug telling
me she was so glad to see us there that day. She was lovely. Our
server was there when we needed her, and brought coffee and juice as
needed, and cleared our plates quickly. Service was exactly what I
would expect at a buffet. 3/5
We all enjoyed our food, and Euan loved the interaction with “the
Guys”. Although it is just “all right”, we will continue to come
here as long as Euan has the desire … though maybe it will be for
dinner. Overall rating - 3/5
Grand Floridian Café – Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
Atmosphere: While this restaurant is clean and bright, it is nothing
spectacular. It reminds me of many fine hotel “cafés” that I have
eaten at over the years. Tables are not crowded together, and the
large pane windows are lovely to look out from. 3/5
Food: Euan had a shrimp cocktail to start. The shrimp were large and
cold and moist. He really enjoyed it and asked me to order another.
I denied his request at $13 a pop. He just had fries as his main.
Harry started with a crabcake , which he let me taste. It was light
and full of crabmeat, and served with a slaw. Brian started with
French Onion Soup. He LOVES French Onion soup, and said this one was
very good. I had a fabulous salad of mixed greens red and gold
beets, heirloom apples, bleu cheese (incredible bleu cheese) in
raspberry vinaigrette. There were to have been candied walnuts as
well, but the chef made me a special salad due to my tree nut
allergies. It was a very very good salad (have I said how awesome
the bleu cheese was?). For the main course, Brian had the Grand
Sandwich - Open-faced hot Turkey, Ham, Bacon and Tomato, with a rich
Boursin Cheese Sauce and Fried Onion Straws … almost a Panini. He
said it was a really great sandwich. Harry and I FINALLY had our
Grand Floridian Burgers - Angus Chuck Burger, Butter-poached Lobster
with red onion marmalade, crispy prosciutto and arugula on a brioche
bun with chips. Can I tell you? It was every bit as wonderful as I
hoped. Euan shared the lobster and chips with me. Afterwards I asked
Harry if a burger was STILL just a burger, and he told me “Not
Service: Service was very good, but I am sure the waitress had to
walk over to the Poly to retrieve our cold drinks! Our waitress
brought both the boys cupcakes for Brian’s birthday, and when I had
to go back to find her for the receipt (I forgot to take it with me
to present to the valet for Tables in Wonderland parking perks), she
got it for me right away. 4/5
We really enjoyed our lunch at the Grand Floridian Café. The food is
stellar, and it is a nice place to go if you are planning on
wandering about the hotel a bit. We will surely return (especially
for the burger!) Overall rating - 4.5/5
<<Vegging Out at
Disney with ElenitaB and NJGIRL>>
--The Magic Kingdom --
During our time as members on
INTERCOT we have seen a lot people ask about vegetarian, and more
recently, vegan dining at Walt Disney World. A vegetarian's diet is
plant-based and does not include red meats, poultry or seafood. A
vegan's diet is also plant-based and excludes dairy and egg products
in additional to other animal products. In the first of a series of
articles, Rita and Ellen (AKA NJGIRL and ElenitaB) are going to
explore dining in the Magic Kingdom for vegetarians and vegans.
Rita: As a vegetarian, I have found dining at Disney World to
be fairly easy. Counter service restaurants always have salads.
Although Disney seems to like to put chicken in every salad, you can
always ask for them to leave it out. Pecos Bill’s offers a Vegetable
Burger with French fries. I have to be honest: Disney does not do
veggie burgers very well and I avoid them at all costs. They just
don't know how to cook them properly and they always seem soft and
mushy. Instead, I go for their Taco Salad without the beef. They
have a fixings bar and you can add fried onions to the salad. It's a
good option for a lighter meal.
Cosmic Ray's also has the same Vegetable Burger and a toppings bar
that includes lettuce, tomato, pickles, relish, mushrooms, and
cheese. Other vegetarian choices are a Greek Salad, a Cucumber Salad
and a Vegetable Sandwich.
The Columbia Harbour House is my favorite counter service restaurant
at the Magic Kingdom. They offer Vegetarian Chili and a Broccoli
Peppercorn Salad. The salad has mixed greens, vegetables, broccoli,
and parmesan cheese with peppercorn dressing. It also has chicken,
so you have to ask for it without the chicken. My favorite by far is
the Lighthouse Sandwich, which is hummus, tomato, and broccoli slaw
on toasted multigrain bread. It is filling and tasty.
Ellen: Dining Quick Service at the Magic Kingdom as a vegan
is not quite as easy as dining as a vegetarian but it can be done.
If you’re lucky enough to be at Disney when the illusive Tortuga
Tavern is open, you can get their Vegetarian Burrito (filled with
cilantro rice and black beans). While I have not personally done it,
I have heard that you can get the Taco Salad with black beans
subbing for the beef. As Rita noted above, Pecos Bill’s is also a
year-round option with its veggie burger (I also would pass on these
burgers); you can opt for the Taco Salad without the beef. Not
terribly exciting but it’s an option.
At the opposite end of the park, there is Cosmic Ray’s, the
Vegetable Sandwich and the Veggie Burger are vegan options. However,
it’s a good idea to ask to speak to the manager as the roll
ingredients change from time to time. You can also ask to have your
fries baked. It will take longer but it’s worth it.
My favorite option in the MK, however, is the same as Rita’s:
Columbia Harbour House. The vegetarian chili is vegan as is the
famed Lighthouse Sandwich without the broccoli slaw which is
prepared with dairy. The Garden Harvest Salad also works … without
the chicken and with a vegan dressing (like a vinaigrette) on the
side. A recent addition to the menu is steamed broccoli and couscous
(do ask a manager how the couscous is prepared before ordering
though). Dessert pickings at all the QS locations are limited to
grapes or applesauce from the kid’s meals; some locations may offer
packages of vegan cookies (alas, at last report, Divvies are no
longer available and there is a new supplier).
Rita: Tony's Town Square offers a large selection with Caesar
Salad (request no chicken); Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce (minus the
meatballs); Tomato and Mozzarella Salad; Zucchini Fries with creamy
sun-dried tomato dressing; Toasted Cheese and Garlic Bread topped
with fresh tomatoes; Tony's Flatbread with caramelized onions,
roasted red peppers and mozzarella cheese (request that the sausage
and pepperoni be left off). The Eggplant Catasta has layers of
eggplant, caramelized onions, fresh mozzarella and parmesan cheese
with marinara sauce over penne pasta. The Multigrain Pasta Primavera
has tossed vegetables in garlic and olive oil with a balsamic glaze.
To be honest, I don't care for Tony's marinara sauce so I would
stick to the Pasta Primavera and either the Tomato and Mozzarella
Salad or Garlic Bread.
One of my favorite table service restaurants in the Magic Kingdom is
the Liberty Tree Tavern. Their Tavern Fried Cheese with marinara
sauce is a great way to start a meal. The Declaration Salad has
field greens and vegetables with your choice of strawberry
vinaigrette (which is delicious) or roasted garlic buttermilk
dressing. The Freedom Pasta (request without chicken) has tomatoes
and mushrooms in a cream sauce. The Vegetarian Burger here is
different from the burgers offered at the counter service
restaurants. It is a housemade potato vegan patty topped with vegan
tofu tzatziki sauce and served with sweet potatoe fries. Without a
doubt my favorite choice here is the Colony Salad. Do I have to say
it again? You need to request it without chicken. The salad has
Washington apples, sweet pecans, Applewood-smoked cheddar, dried
craisins, and field greens in a honey shallot vinigarette dressing.
We never leave the Liberty Tree without sharing a dessert. The
Martha Washington Cake is chocolate heaven and the Apple Crisp is
mouth-watering. My favorite is the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake: toffee,
ice cream and caramel. How can you go wrong?
In my opinion, a hidden gem in the Magic Kingdom is The Plaza
Restaurant. Sandwiches are served with your choice of broccoli slaw,
homemade chips, or French fries. They have a tossed salad if you
want to eat light and soup is an option if you are lucky that day.
My choice is the Vegetarian Sandwich that has fresh mozzarella,
hummus, basil pesto, cucumbers, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, and
lettuce on foccaccia. It is really tasty! Ice Cream Floats, Brownie
Sundaes and NY Cheesecake are a hit with my family.
At Cinderella's Royal Table the atmosphere is definitely the draw,
but I was pleasantly surprise how good the Pasta Al Pomodoro was.
It's penne pasta with julienne vegetables, garlic, basil and
tomatoes. The price of your meal includes appetizers, many of which
are meat free, a dessert and most beverages. Dining with Cinderella,
Belle, Snow White and Aurora is the icing on the cake.
We have been to the Crystal Palace for breakfast many times and have
always enjoyed it. Mickey waffles, home fries, Danish, French toast,
cereal, donuts, fresh fruit, and banana bread pudding are some of
the choices you may have. As a vegetarian you will never leave
hungry after the buffet breakfast at Crystal Palace.
Ellen: I have three go-to TS options in the Magic Kingdom
that haven’t really changed since I’ve started eating a plant-based
diet. They are Crystal Palace, Liberty Tree Tavern (for lunch) and
The Plaza Restaurant.
First my “non-options”: Cinderella’s Royal Table offers a “healthy
choice” breakfast option that is vegetarian, and consists of fresh
fruit, yogurt and granola that in the past was bruléed and very
yummy, but not an option for vegans. The pasta dish that Rita
describes above is no longer available but you can opt for a
“catchless” “Catch of the Day” (leaving you with pomodoro sauce over
vegetables and angel hair pasta). The Vegetarian “Cassoulet” (in
quotes because it doesn’t contain the traditional sausage) consists
of cannellini and garbanzo beans, topped with mushrooms, zucchini,
shallots, tomatoes, and herbs. The raspberry sorbet is a vegan
option for dessert.
Tony’s charm is its location but not necessarily its food. You can
get a mixed green salad here (without the feta that it is normally
served with). Available vegan entrees include the Spaghetti (without
its meat toppings or cheese) or the Multigrain Pasta Primavera,
again without the cheese. Dessert here would also be sorbet.
Now onto Liberty Tree Tavern, always a favorite lunch choice. Like
Rita, the Colony Salad would be among my first choices with a few
amendments (no cheddar, no pecans, no chicken and the strawberry
vinaigrette dressing from the Declaration Salad). The potato-quinoa
veggie burger here is also a winner, and comes with fresh fruit or
sweet potato fries. Dessert… yes, sorbet would be it.
Crystal Palace is a perennial winner and offers options for people
with all kinds of dining preferences. Vegans will certainly find
plenty to eat here, and dessert goes beyond the ubiquitous sorbet,
and includes fresh fruit and Tofutti.
Like Rita, I also believe that The Plaza is an unsung gem. Last time
we dined here, I did have a veggie burger, and it was tasty and well
prepared. While the Vegetarian Sandwich seemed like a decent option,
it would have involved leaving off far too many of the ingredients
that made it special (like the mozzarella, the pesto and possibly
the focaccia). And dessert here is a special treat as you can get a
float, shake or sundae made with Tofutti or Rice Dream.
Rita: Snacking at the Magic Kingdom is something my family
enjoys. Popcorn, churros, frozen Cokes, sweet cream cheese pretzels
and chocolate covered bananas are popular with us. At the Main
Street Bakery you can get a Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Sandwich
for a quick snack along with all of the wonderful cookie, brownies,
cakes, muffins and, of course, caramel apples.
Ellen: Snacking at Disney never seems to be a problem. The
popcorn, while it smells of butter, is actually vegan. The frozen
strawberry or pineapple bars are a wonderful and light option from
the frozen treat carts. Candy apples (the red ones or the ones with
dark chocolate) are always a great choice. And while I’m pretty sure
that Dole Whip is not vegan (sigh), you can always get a huge
pineapple spear. Fresh fruit, trail mix, and baked potatoes are
available at the Liberty Square Market.
<< Fun Facts with
-- Magic Kingdom: Part Two --
- Each time you pass form one
land to another, the landscaping, ambient sound, and architecture
- Did you know it’s NOT called Cinderella’s Castle? It is actually
- Standing guard over the front and back entrances to Cinderella
Castle is the Disney Coat of arms.
- The first person of the day to enter Tinker Bell’s treasure is
allowed to “awaken Tinker Bell” by releasing her from the wooden box
on a shelf behind the cashiers till, near the back of the shop.
- On the carousel, the second horse in, with a golden ribbon around
the bottom of its tail is Cinderella’s horse.
- Many of the Fantasyland attractions fronts were not finished when
Disneyland opened in California in 1955. So, banners and decorative
tents were used to cover the unfinished parts on opening day – that
is how the medieval fair theme came about in Fantasyland in the
<< Dear INTERCOTees
We've been inundated by emails,
phone calls, and text messages asking how we as a community can help
those devastated by superstorm Sandy. In order to get the money
where it will help most in a timely fashion, we assembled a list of
recommended Charities from the website - CharityWatch.
CharityWatch is a leading charity
watchdog group that issues letter grades (A to F) to nonprofits
soliciting donations. It named the top eight charities providing aid
to superstorm Sandy victims, carrying "A" grade. Grades are based on
the amount of funds going to their stated "program services" and
Our thoughts and prayers go
out to those affected by the storm.
The INTERCOT Staff
<< Conclusion >>
has drawn to a close, but big Holiday fun is about ready to begin at
the Walt Disney World resort. We'll be back in a few weeks with more
reviews, news, and tips. See ya real soon!
<< Thank You To Our
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