T-Rex: Lunch with the Dinosaurs
We would normally shy away from such a kid friendly and themed restaurant such as this but I was glad we chose to check this place out. As the name T-Rex implies; this place is dinosaur themed. The exterior of the restaurant has large dinosaur statues along with a sand pit with replica dinosaur bones.
We were in the Marketplace/Downtown Disney area doing some shopping and decided to have lunch here. We have an upcoming family trip to Disney with our nephew and wanted to see if this would be a place he might like. We arrived at 11:30 am and were seated right away. I was amazed at the interior of this place. There were several different themed areas throughout the dining space. We were seated in the main section by the Fire Pit that was surrounded with animatronic dinosaurs that moved and reacted in particular every twenty minutes when they had their "meteor shower" pass over the dining rooms complete with lights, sound effects and images on the ceiling.
The menu had a nice selection of fish, meat and poultry selections to choose from as well as drinks all with a bit of a dinosaur theme to it. We started by ordering drinks; I chose an unsweetened iced tea while my wife chose one of her favorite frozen drinks; a Lava Flow. As we waited for our drinks we had a change to peruse the many tasty sounding food offerings. From what we saw of the food going by us to other tables; the portions looked large and quite appetizing.
Our drinks arrived and we placed our order. I chose the Mega Mess-O Bones; which is a nice slab of pork spareribs with fries and coleslaw. My wife chose the Neanderthal New York Strip which came with fried onions and a side of crab mac and cheese. After placing our order we decided to have a look at the other areas of the restaurant and their themes. One area looked like a giant ice cave; complete with geodes and woolly mammoths. Another area looked like a rainforest and had lush plants and animatronic dinos. The bar area was the most interesting to me with huge fish tanks; a large glowing squid above the bar and jellyfish shaped lighting. They really did an amazing job with the decor and making this place very interesting for all ages.
The first meteor shower started before we received our food and was quite the spectacle. Lights and images on the ceiling looked like fiery meteors crashing down on the dinosaurs. The animatronic dinosaurs reacted as if they were getting hit by them or running away. It was definitely a fun show but there was a young child at the table next to us who got so scared he went under the table to hide. So be warned some little children might be frightened easily by this.
Our food arrived after the meteor shower ended and looked amazingly good. I loved my ribs. They were a nice portion and very flavorful. The coleslaw was good and I enjoyed the spiced waffle fries. My wife enjoyed her steak but wasn't that thrilled with the crab mac and cheese. It wasn't bad but nothing to rave about after I had a taste of it. At the end of our meal we had another meteor shower and a chance to finish our drinks before asking for the check.I was very surprised how much we enjoyed this place. Good food, good service; we will definitely be back.
*We recently returned with the family in September 2015 for lunch. Our nephew who is four; absolutely loved the dinosaurs and all the decorations in each area of the restaurant. It took alot of effort to keep him in his seat and not wandering around taking a look at everything. The meteor shower was a big hit with him; he absolutely loved it.*
*At the exit to the restaurant is a gift shop and a Build-A- Dino workshop much like build a bear. Pick your dino; stuff it and dress it up. *
Favorite Dish: My ribs were very good and the portion was quite filling. My wife enjoyed her steak but especially loved her Lava Flow.
Karamell Kuche: Caramel Treats in Epcot
Karamell Kuche is a recent addition to the Germany Pavillion at Epcot. This shop took the place of the crystal shop. As the name implies; all tasty treats with caramel can be found here: chocolates, cupcakes, cookies, caramel apples, caramel corn, etc.
The intoxicating aroma of caramel decends upon your nose as soon as you enter the pavillion and then you must follow the scent to this shop. Upon entering you can sample some caramel corn which is quite good; I was able to partake but my wife can't eat popcorn with her diverticulitis. The display cases are chocked full of tempting treats and we decided to share some treats. We chose the caramel roll with marshmellow cream and some pieces of sea salted caramels covered in chocolate.
The chocolates were okay we have our favorite shop that makes these in Portsmouth, NH and they make the best in my opinion. The caramel roll was amazing; we both loved it and were on a sugar high for some time after. This is definitely a place to stop in for a sweet treat.
We recently returned in September 2015 with the family in tow. Of course everyone had to try something: my wife had her favorite chocolate and caramel covered marshmellows on a stick, I had some caramel popcorn with the rest of the family. Our nephew just had to try my wife's caramel, chocolate marshmellow and love it so much she had to give it up to him and get another one.
*If you are on the Disney Dining Plan; most single serve items here count as a snack credit on the Plan. Items such as the marchmellow, small bag of popcorn, caramel apple and such are all one snack credit.*
The Boathouse: Good Food and Drinks
The Boathouse is a new addition to the Disney Springs area. We decided to come here one night for some bar food and drinks after doing some shopping. This place is huge; main dining room, bar area and outdoor deck(which was unusable since it was pouring outside). The place was pretty packed when we arrived and we were fortunate to get the last two seats at the massive bar area.
After perusing the drink offering and food options we made our choices. I chose a beer and the filet mignon sliders. My wife ordered the Firecracker Shrimp and a club soda. This place was an interesting mix of people and made for interesting people watching as a few bachelorette parties arrived and started causing a scene. Our food arrived rather quickly despite the place being packed; which was nice. I loved my sliders; very meaty and good. My wife loved the spicy shrimp and I loved stealing a few from her; very good.
I liked the nautical decor of this place but once the crowd started getting too rowdy; we finished our food and headed out of here. I'd definitely come here again but maybe a bit earlier and not on a Saturday night when the crowd gets interesting.
Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory: Beignets for Breakfast!
Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory is a cafeteria style dining area located at the Port Orleans French Quarter Resort. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served here with a variety of options. Their speciality here though is their tasty, freshly made Beignets; yum.
My wife and I ate breakfast here twice as there are better options in the parks and Disney Springs. I had their French Toast with bacon as well as their Beignets. The French Toast is quite good; although the maple syrup is fake. The Beignets are extremly good and were my wife's go to for her breakfast.
We were on the Disney Dining Plan so our breakfast included an entree along with a beverage. The Beignets were considered a snack credit and not an entree; so that was a savings of a meal. The French Toast with bacon would cost $5.99 without the dining plan which isn't unreasonable. The Beignets were $4.59 for an order of six.
The food here was good and it is a quick, easy way to get a meal before going to the parks.
Backlot Express: Surprisingly Good Burgers
After a fun evening enjoying Hollywod Studios; we were famished. We decided to grab a bite at the Backlot Express as it was closest to the ride we just got off. It was almost closing time for this place and we made it in just under the wire.
Backlot Express is a quickservice restaurant and serves: burgers, hot dogs, chicken, salads, sandwiches and desserts. The decor is old Hollywood movies so it has alot of props and posters throughout the place. My wife and I were on the Disney Meal plan so were were entitled to: one entree, one dessert and one beverage for each of us. I was hungry but not feeling meat so I went with the Southwest Salad with Chicken. For dessert I had the Strawberry Parfait. My wife chose the 1/3 lb Angus Bacon Cheeseburger, Onion Straws, and Horseradish Sauce for her entree which came with fries. She also ordered the chocolate mousse for dessert. As for drinks we both had bottled water.
I definitely loved my salad; very tasty and fresh. I helped my wife with her fries as her burger was very large. Our desserts were good but we only had two bites each; as we were too full to finish them. This was a surprisingly good meal and I was happy we stopped here.
Casey's Corner: Hot Dog Lunch in the Magic Kingdom
Casey's Corner is a quick service food option on Main Street at the Magic Kingdom. The menu here is baseball favorites such as: hot dogs, french fries,corn dog nuggets, French fries, cotton candy, chips and Cracker Jack.
My wife and I decided to grab lunch here by ourselves while the family was off with our nephew. We had the Disney Dining plan so we had an option of any of the entrees along with a dessert item and a beverage. We bothe Chose the hot dog platter which came with french fries. We both chose the cracker jack(we could take it back to the room later for our nephew to snack on) as a dessert along with a water and a Fanta. If we didn't have the dining plan the platter would be $8.29, the crackerjack $2.59 and the soda/water $2.75. The dining plan is definitely worth the money in my opinion considering the high food prices in the parks.
Katsura Grill: Good Sushi Lunch
Katsura Grill is a quick service food option located in the Japan Pavillion of Epcot. They serve teriyaki, sushi, salads, beer, sake and plum wine. My wife and I came here for a quick ;unch during our last visit to Epcot. We both chose to enjoy some sushi; California Rolls and Spicy Tuna Rolls along with some Kirin Beer. The sushi was very tasty and fresh and wen t nicely with the cold beer.
This is a nice casual option for food and in a nice setting.
Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie: Amazing Desserts
Les Halles is a quick servicebakery located in the French Pavillion of Epcot. This bakery has many different food items from soups, sandwhiches, salads and pastries. They also carry wine, champagne, beer, coffee and sodas. All the food items are displayed in large glass cases and seriously make your mouth water just from looking.
My wife and I enjoy coming here for some sweet treats and to relax at one of their cafe tables. Our last visit here in 2015; we stopped in for a creme brulee for my wife, a large macaron and a glass of champagne. The pastries here are always delicious and we are never dissapointed with our selection.
Morimoto Asia: Amazing Meal
My wife and I were in Orlando on a family Disney trip and heard Chef Morimoto was opening a new restaurant in the Downtown Disney area; now called Disney Springs. We have dined at the Morimoto in Wailea and loved it so we were eager to dine here. The website and phones weren’t even working yet so we went in person on their opening day to see if we could secure some dinner reservations. One of the hostesses, Rosa was incredibly friendly and booked us a table for two at 5:30pm the following day. We chose to leave the family out of this experience since they are not foodies and honestly wouldn’t appreciate this experience.
We arrived the next night for dinner and the place was a hub of activity. Chef Morimoto was there as well as many of his investors and GM’s from his other restaurants. To our delight we were seated at a table for two with a full view of the kitchen though floor to ceiling glass panels. This place is a massive two level restaurant with a large bar area; two large dining floors and a separate sushi bar.
Our waiter Dmitri (from the Ukraine); handed us menus and explained the offerings. The menu had some amazing offerings and it was hard to narrow down our selections; everything sounded amazing. To drink; we chose to try Chef Morimoto’s Soba Ale which came in a large souvenir bottle(later on the Chef came over and signed this personally as well as taking a picture with my wife; which thrilled her immensely). The Lager was crisp in flavor and pale in color; quite nice.
For starters we chose the Rock Shrimp Tempura and the Toro Tartare. We also ordered two pieces of Uni from the sushi bar (thanks Dmitri for allowing us to do this). For our entrees I chose the Peking Duck; which is something I have never had before. The Duck is the signature dish here; so I felt I had to try it. My wife was in the mood for meet and ordered the Filet Mignon with a side of their stir fry vegetables.
Our starters came out as they were ready; as they feel they should serve the dishes when they are ready and at the optimal temperature for consuming. My Toro arrived first and was presented beautifully as expected. Toro is the fatty belly meat of the Tuna and is so delicious. This dish had amazing flavor and texture; the sauce was so very good. The Rock Shrimp tempura came out to the table next and was delicious. The shrimp was so fresh and the spicy sauce was tasty. We ate every last shrimp…it was so good.
After Dmitri cleared our plates our Uni arrived. The presentation here is really an art form. The platter was filled with ice and an orchid. The Uni was served in hallowed out lime halves on top of a leaf. Both my wife and I love Uni; it is so tender and has the flavor of the sea. We savored every bite of the creamy texture. I so loved that Uni was available as it is such a treat to have.
Our waiter brought warm hand towels to the table before our main course; which is always a nice touch.
As we waited for our main courses we watched the activity in the kitchen and Chef Morimoto at work. During out wait we chatted with the GM from his Napa restaurant as well as one of the investors. They wanted to see how our night was going and how we enjoyed the food.
When our entrees arrived; it was a production. My wife’s meat was on a sizzling platter with Dmitri pouring the onion sauce over the top allowing it to sizzle and steam. My duck was presented beautifully with a delicious looking texture to the skin. From the first bite of the duck; I was in heaven. The texture is so good and the flavor was amazing. It will be hard for me to ordering anything but the duck here from now on. My wife loved her meat and after a bite of it myself; I knew wife. The flavor was so good and the crust on the meat gave it that something extra. The side of veggies was very nice with a slight seasoning which was nice. The portions were very large and neither of us finished it all.
After our plates were cleared our waiter arranged for Chef Morimoto to come over to the table to meet us. He signed our souvenir bottle and was gracious enough to pose for a picture with my wife. This made my wife’s night as she loves his food and has followed him for many years. I was happy and grateful she got to have this experience and memory.
Dessert was the finale to this amazing meal. We chose the MM Parfait for two which was a bowl of chocolate creampuffs with vanilla gelato, hazelnut crispies, sesame mochi and whipped cream. When this arrived at the table it was so big; we knew we’d never finish it. I have to say this is one of the top desserts I have ever had. The creampuffs were delicious, the gelato so rich and the crunchies were a delicious surprise. I could easily just come here and make this dessert my meal; it was that good.
Overall; this is a must when visiting Orlando. The restaurant has beautiful décor, the staff is so friendly and helpful and the food is divine. I will always come here every visit to Orlando to partake in another culinary masterpiece from Chef Morimoto.
Ohana: Best Friends Breakfast featuring Lilo & Stitch
This is a new favorite of ours when it comes to Character Buffet Breakfasts when at Disney. Ohana (which means family in Hawaiian) is located at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. The Polynesian resort does a great job in convincing you that you are in a tropical resort and not in Florida. The décor here is quite nice and I appreciate the attention to detail. We were travelling with family on this particular trip and thought our nephew would enjoy this breakfast as it featured the characters from one of his favorite Disney movies; Lilo & Stitch (Mickey, Minnie and Goofy also make appearances at this breakfast. Definitely make reservations at least 180 days before you travel or you might not get a reservation.
We made 7:30am reservations for breakfast so we were the first seating as well as allowing us enough time to get to the MK opening. We checked in at the desk with the hostess and were handed pagers. We sat down in their waiting area and waited for our pager to go off. Several minutes later the pager went off and we were seated at our table. Our waitress explained that the meal is family style and we could request as many refills on any item that we wanted. Platters of fruit salad as well as two types of Hawaiian sweetbread were put on the table. As for beverages you could order anything you liked: juices, tea, coffee, etc. but I liked the signature drink was some tasty POG juice (Passion fruit, Orange and Guava) which is a favorite of ours.
Our family style breakfast arrived rather quickly and looked amazing. A large metal dish was packed full of eggs, fried potatoes, bacon, sausage, Mickey Waffles, Stich waffles and biscuits. Everything on the platter tasted good. Everyone found the waffles to be tasty and rather cute; our nephew loved it. They really give a hefty portion and we only asked for a refill of waffles and bacon. The only downside as with most breakfasts on Disney property is that it is imitation Maple Syrup which is quite gross in my opinion. The other breakfast items though were very good; especially the eggs, potatoes and biscuits.
As the meal was wrapping up; the characters began to make their rounds. First Stich came out followed by Lilo, Mickey, Minnie and then Goofy. A professional staff photographer takes pictures of only Lilo and Stitch not the others but you are welcome to use your own camera for all. We had the Photo Pass option and made full use of it taking many pictures with Stitch. After the rounds were made of the tables; the characters lined up with all the kids for a conga line around the room to music. Little Robert had a blast dancing around the room with his favorite characters; he was ear to ear smiling the whole time.
When the parade was done he came back to the table to a Birthday Treat. Our waitress brought him a Birthday Cupcake to celebrate; which he totally loved. This was a great breakfast with the family. Food was good and the character interaction was amazingly good. We will definitely come back here again on our next Disney trip.
**We were on a dining plan while at Disney so for this meal; one table service credit was used for each member of our party. **
VARIOUS RESTAURANTS: RESTAURANTS IN DISNEY SPRINGS
There are so many restaurants to choose from in Disney springs. The prices range from $ to $$$. I will list here some of the restaurants:
Cooke's of Dublin - $ - Fish and Chips. Dublin style pies, burgers and sandwiches
Marketplace Snacks - $$ - Popcorn, hot dogs and ice cream
Wolfgang Puck - $$$ -California cuisine, sushi and pizza
Planet Hollywood - $$ - Burgers, chicken, fish, sandwiches and pasta
Morimoto Asia - $$ - Japanese, Pan-Asian, dim sum and sushi
The Boathouse - $$$ - Raw bar, seafood, steaks and chops
Fulton's Crab House - $$$ - Seafood, crab, lobster and steak
T-REX - $$ - Burgers, steaks, ribs, chicken and sandwiches
Rainforest Cafe' - $$ - Burgers, seafood, steak, chicken and salads.
$ - $14.99 and less
$$ - $15.00 to $29.99
$$$ - $30.00 to $59.99
Beaches and Cream: Ice Cream Heaven
Beaches and Cream is an old fashioned soda shop located at Disney's Beach Club Resort. My wife and I have been here several times over the years and love the old soda shop look and vibe. They serve a variety of ice cream treats: milkshakes, sundaes, cones, ice cream sodas, etc. They also serve food items such as burgers and sandwiches (we've never had any food just ice cream).
We come here for the ice cream: they have great sundaes here. They even have something called the Kitchen Sink which is a large container that resembles a kitchen sink that is filled with scoops of Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Coffee, and Mint Chocolate Chip smothered in every topping they have. It's huge and we've seen groups of four trying to finish it and failing. It's a pricey dessert at $28.99.
Personally my wife and I like their Fudge Mudslide and usually split it; unless we are super hungry and make this a meal instead of a treat. We have had this both times we came here for a sit down dessert. The Mudslide is a Soft, warm brownie covered in ice cream, oreos, fudge, syrup and whipped cream. It is amazingly good and filling. We have also had take away Root Beer floats which are really quite tasty. I usually get the traditional Root Beer Float with Vanilla Ice Cream but my wife prefers her float with chocolate ice cream.
This is a nice bit of nostalgia and reminds me of a ice cream shop I worked in as a kid but much nicer decor for sure at Disney.
Cooke's of Dublin: Dessert Break
Cooke's of Dublin is one of the casual dining/counter service establishments located in the Downtown Disney/Marketplace area. They serve a variety of food such as Fish & Chips, meat pies, fish pies, bangers and mash and other pub grub fare.
What caught my eye was the dessert. As we were passing by I saw the desserts being eaten by one group of people and just had to get myself some. One of the desserts for that day was an individual portion of Tiramisu; which is my favorite dessert hands down. The tiramisu was very nice and a good sized portion for one person. It's not the best I have had by any means but it was good enough for my dessert craving.
Gaston's Tavern: Cinnamon Buns!!!
Gaston's Tavern is one of the newer additions to Magic Kingdom in Fantasyland. This is a quickservice spot for counterservice meals and snacks. This place is named after the villian of the Beauty and the Beast Movie; Gaston and looks like a hunting lodge complete with antlers(probably fake so you PETA people can relax).
The big draw of this place is beer with souvenir steins available for purchase. We came here specifically for the Cinnamon Buns (we love Cinnamon Buns) which are amazingly good and very large. If you want a sweet breakfast treat that will hold you all day long; have a cinnamon bun. I think we paid $4 a bun and it was well worth it for the gooey, sweet, doughy treat.
Kusafiri Bakery: Cupcake Break
Kusafiri Bakery is a bakery/cafe located in the Animal Kingdom. This place serves pastries, baked god and light breakfast fare. It's counter service so place your order, pay and find a seat. After skiping breakfast to hit up the park before it got too crowded; I found myself hungry. After seeing the cupcakes I wanted one in the worst way. My wife decided to go to one of the fruit kiosks and have some pineapple spears instead.
So I had dessert for breakfast; a nice, large chocolate cupcake with vanilla fosting with a chocolate bear print on top. It's a big cupcake; you could easily share it between two people. Yeah, I loved this sweet treat and it always feels good having dessert for breakfast.
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