Be Our Guest Restaurant FastPass+ Lunch

Recently I found myself planning a day at the Magic Kingdom and I was traveling with a friend who had never been to the Be Our Guest Restaurant. Since we were on the Quick Service dining plan and didn’t want to spend extra money when we had pre-paid for our meals, we decided to try out the FastPass+ option for Be Our Guest at lunch. I had heard about this opportunity from friends, but had never been able to take advantage of it myself.

There is not a whole lot of information out there from Disney directly as this is still considered to be a Beta test for the Be Our Guest FP+. So, I thought I’d share what information I have been able to glean from my own experience and from talking to others. Shortly after booking my resort package, I went to the website to start the Be Our Guest lunch reservation process. Before you do this though, make sure you have already setup an account on the My Disney Experience website and that you have linked your resort reservation to your profile. It is my understanding at this point that you need to have a resort reservation to be able to take advantage of this FastPass+.

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When you go to the Be Our Guest lunch site initially, it will encourage you to sign in with your MDX, ABC or ESPN account login. If you do not already have an account, it will ask you to claim your resort reservation if it doesn’t automatically recognize it as linked. You must use the twelve digit confirmation number (not your package 3AB12345, etc.), if you do not have this, you can get it by calling Disney Resort Reservations or by logging in to your MDX account and you can see it on your MagicBand order screen. After you’ve entered your confirmation number and first and last name exactly as they appear on your resort reservation, you will be asked for your date of birth then click on submit in the lower right corner of the screen.


When you have signed in to your or account or created one and it has recognized you have a valid reservation at a Walt Disney World Resort, then you can start planning your Be Our Guest lunch by checking availability. Assuming you don’t already have plans, the only option will be to Select or Replace your FastPass+.

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On the next screen you will be taken to a calendar of dates starting with your resort check in date for five days. You have the ability at this point to select a date for Be Our Guest from the first seven days of your vacation or up to a seventh day within your arrival date. If your stay is longer than seven days you will need to wait until the second day of your stay to have access to the eighth day of your trip and so on one day at a time. If you have multiple resort reservations, you can click on the calendar to the right of the date to change to later dates.

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Once you’ve selected your date and determined there is a time available (be very aware there may not be availability and I also don’t have a definitive window on booking, but I’ve heard it changed recently to within 30 days), then you can proceed to confirm the guests in your party. It will always display all the guests in your room, but does have a disclaimer that you can reduce your party size upon arrival at the restaurant. On the next screen it will tell you if there are FP+ available at Be Our Guest for the day you’ve selected, or it will encourage you to select a different day.

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From here, if there were availability, you would decide between Direct To Table where you order your menu items ahead of time, or Expedited Arrival, which acts pretty much like a FastPass, putting you in a different line, but you still order what you want when you arrive. Since we had an idea of what we wanted, we opted to order our meal ahead of time, and after giving you a total, you can choose to use the dining plan and it verifies what you’ve selected is covered. There are some Be Our Guest menu items you may find not on the Direct To Table option like the substitution of chicken instead of tuna on the nicoise salad. If you are wanting to modify your menu items or if you have any allergies, then I would suggest just opting for the Expedited Arrival.

I booked my resort stay on August 8th and within five days received an email invitation to the Be Our Guest FP+. It essentially went through the instructions and disclaimers for the Be Our Guest lunch. The email looked something like this:

Bonjour Betsy,
Now for a limited time, you may be able to participate in a test for lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant. Step inside the Beast’s enchanted castle and experience a meal unlike any before. You can select an arrival window and pre-order meals for your entire party* before arriving at Be Our GuestRestaurant and on the day of your lunch, with your MagicBand**, you’ll be able to breeze by the line, confirm and pay for your order.
To begin, follow the steps below:

  1. Log on to using your account.
  2. Enter your Resort Reservation Number to begin: 442201265310
  3. Select an arrival window and pre-order your meal
    (arrival windows are subject to capacity and availability).

Don’t forget to wear your MagicBand when you arrive at Be Our GuestRestaurant during your arrival window, and please enter the Disney FastPass+entrance at the beginning of the bridge. No matter where you dine at Be Our Guest Restaurant your food will be magically delivered to you! Bon appétit!


*Offer is nontransferable, is only valid for those Guests listed on the Disney Resort hotel reservation, and is not for sale.**Guests who (1) choose not to wear a MagicBand, (2) wear a MagicBand but choose to pay with cash or meal vouchers or (3) need to make modifications to their order will be directed to the order room to proceed. One quick-service meal entitlement will be redeemed for Guests with dining plan packages.Valid park admission is required to enter Magic Kingdom® Park. Cannot accept early or late arrivals. Valid only on the date and time as noted on the Be Our Guest website and valid only for the duration of your Disney Resort hotel stay. This offer is valid for lunch only. Arrival windows are subject to capacity and availability. Operation hours of the restaurant are subject to closures and change without notice. Not valid for any admission to any Theme Park.Please do not reply to this email. This account is not monitored.If you have any questions, please stop by the MyMagic+ Service Center at Magic Kingdom® Park.


The day of our reservation we checked it at the podium for Be Our Guest at the foot of the bridge to Beast’s castle. The cast member scanned one of our MagicBands with an ipad and pulled up our reservation. We arrived about five minutes before the end of our half hour window, but we were warned they were going through some enhancements so we may have a 15-20 minute wait. We were instructed to queue up on the left side of a rope dividing the bridge since we had FP+, which seemed to indicate the right side was for the remainder of the standby line, which was cutoff already for the day at 1:10pm.

After waiting just a few minutes, we were at the entrance to Be Our Guest and the CM there asked if we had pre-ordered or just done the expedited arrival. We told her we had ordered already and were escorted inside to the left side of the hallway with the suits of armor. Only a few minutes later we were at the next podium and the CM there confirmed that we had ordered and directed us to the next CM at the register. Despite having ordered our meals ahead we decided to add a separate order of the potato leek soup using a snack credit and they just rang this up as a different transaction. We scanned our MagicBand, put in our pin to pay using our dining credits and went off to find a table.

All in all from checking in with the first CM to when we were seated was about 15 minutes and our food arrived less than five minutes later for our meals and about another five minutes after that for the separate soup order. The CMs at Be Our Guest had no trouble finding us simply by our MagicBands, so I was very happy and our orders were all perfect. The meal went very smoothly, other than the unexpected enhancement, but this only probably added five to ten minutes to our day total.

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Some things to know about the Be Our Guest FP+ is that it is a Beta test and neither resort nor dining reservations or the internet helpdesk have information about the test other than it exists. CMs have been instructed to direct guests to the website, which doesn’t have much more info in the FAQ, which I will include a link to here. The FP+ for Be Our Guest does not count as one of your three scheduled FP+ in advance per day. You are only able to schedule the FP+ once during your resort reservation. You can use dining entitlements, pay cash, credit card or room charge at the restaurant. If you cancel you will not be charged a cancellation fee, however they do ask that you cancel the reservation if you know that you are not going to be able to make it. Your reservation will not appear in your My Disney Experience account anywhere, nor will you receive an email confirmation of your booking. The only place to see your reservation is on the Be Our Guest Lunch website.

This is all subject to change as it is a test, but we enjoyed it and thought it was a nice way to save time while in the park enjoying other attractions. Have you done the Be Our Guest FastPass+ recently? What were your thoughts? Do you have any more questions about the test? If so, leave me a comment and I will do my best to find out the answer. Bon Appetit!

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California Grill- finally my first visit!

California Grill


I have been wanting to dine at California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort for so long now, and I am always asked if I would recommend it. Of course, from what I hear I absolutely recommend it, but I had never actually been there myself. So it was my wedding anniversary this month, and we decided it was the perfect reason to go to California Grill as we had heard it was a very romantic restaurant. Plus it has recently been re-imagined with a new design inspired by mid-century modern California, featuring a new seasonal ingredients menu. The sushi bar was also extended and now features a 12-course omakase menu.


We found out that the Wishes fireworks at Magic Kingdom were going off that night at 10pm, so we booked our meal for 9:40pm knowing that would give us time to sit, peruse the menu, order some drinks and possibly appetizers right by the time we should be thinking about going out on the balcony to watch them. One of the highlights of California Grill is the amazing view over Magic Kingdom to watch the fireworks.


So we checked in at the California Grill desk on the second floor in the Contemporary, and were told to take the elevator upstairs to the restaurant. Upon getting out of the elevator, there’s a secondary check in desk in front of a very impressive wine selection of 1,600 bottles housed in a climate controlled showcase. It has been reported that they have about 250 wine selections, 80 by the glass!


While you wait for your table to be ready, you are invited to sit in the lounge area, where tables are a first come first serve basis. Some people without reservations actually dine here as the entire California Grill menu is available to order from the lounge also. We had only just been given our menus when our buzzer was already going off, so the wait was very short. The nice thing about when they take you to your table is that they walk you by the open kitchen, so you can see all the chefs and what dishes they are coming up with. The person who seated us actually pointed some items out that we were looking at, which later on helped me decide on which dessert I was going to order!


We ended up being seated in a quieter room toward the side of the California Grill. I want to say she called it the Monorail Room, but as there was no view of the monorail I must have misheard her. From what I gather this used to be the old wine room, but it was very intimate as the ceiling is lower here, and there are only around 10 tables inside. The view was very relaxing as although you couldn’t see Magic Kingdom, you could see the lake and the electrical water pageant very well.


I was told the drinks are wonderful at California Grill, so of course we had to try them out. Our favorite was the Sake Martini recommended by a friend, it was so delicious! The Cucumber Fizz was my second favorite, but I don’t doubt that had I tried more, that they would have all quickly become my new favorites!

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By this point they had announced that in 5 minutes Wishes fireworks were going to be starting, so they give you time to get outside on to the balcony to find your spot. Of course, you don’t have to go outside, if you remain inside California Grill they dim the lights and play the music inside the restaurant for you. As we couldn’t see them from our room, we decided to head outside for them. We got a great spot, and they have speakers out there playing the same songs and sound effects as the ones in the park.


Despite living close by, there’s nothing like watching them from high up, going off over Cinderella Castle! Feels quite romantic too if you tune out the rest of the people around you and just face forward. This was truly a highlight of the meal at California Grill, and I’m sure it looked and felt just as beautiful from inside the restaurant if you had a lovely view.


We got back to our table and the server brought out our appetizers immediately, they must have been holding them ready for when you return from the fireworks. For our starters, my husband had sushi which he loved as it was such a generous portion for an appetizer! I had the Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli, which was nice but I wasn’t expecting it to just be one piece, at least I wasn’t too full for my main course.

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For our main course, Simon had the grilled pork tenderloin, and he said it was so delicious and cooked perfectly to his liking! I chose something that wasn’t on the California Grill menu, I chose to go with the Vegetarian Unplugged, a dish that is always different. Basically you never know what you are going to get, as the chefs pass a dish around the kitchen and they put a part of whatever vegetarian side dish they are creating at that time. So you end up with something different each time you go, they also do a Vegan Unplugged dish too with the same idea.

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My server wasn’t quite sure what my items were but they were pretty easy to figure out. The only thing I didn’t like was the fact that there didn’t seem to be much to each plate, so it wasn’t very filling and had a lot of similar tastes, which was a shame as it had sounded so promising. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my dishes at California Grill.


I would say the best part of the meal at California Grill was the dessert! Simon ordered the Seasonal Tasting featuring Peach themed desserts, and I ordered the Sundae Sampler. My favorite being the Reverse Root Beer Float, which featured root beer ice cream with a little tiny cute glass bottle of vanilla soda to pour on top! Very cute!

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Overall we did really enjoy our food at California Grill, but for me, as a vegetarian I wasn’t that impressed with the dish I had. I was also a bit disappointed no one acknowledged that we were on our anniversary despite letting them know at the podium and telling our server. I’m not sure if they just don’t do anything special here, but a simple “Happy Anniversary” would have been lovely. I might not be rushing back to dine here, but now I can recommend it to others and I will certainly encourage them to try the Sake Martini and Reverse Root Beer Float!




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Jiko, The Cooking Place presents May Wine Dinner

Jiko Logo


Jiko – The Cooking Place is pleased to announce the following Wine Dinner


A Pinotage Tasting – Thursday May 15, 2014


The following details apply to this event:

6:00PM Reception Sunset Lounge Disney’s Animal Kingdom

6:30PM Dinner Dress Code – Business Casual Evening Attire

$160 inclusive of tax and gratuity.


Please see below for Menu Offerings for the Dinner

For reservations please contact Victoria Thompson at

This event is limited to 40 guests. This event is a credit card guarantee, and there is a 3 day cancellation policy.



Moroccan Rock Shrimp Tagine

Grilled Seitan, Delta Asparagus Jus, and Kenyan Style Mashed potatoes

Smoked Pork Belly and Green Mango Atjar

Boekenhoutskloof Semillon, Franschoek 


First Course

Butter Poached Lobster, Delta Asparagus, Chipolini Onions and Heirloom Potatoes

Southern Right, Pinotage, Hamel-en-Aarde


Second Course

Fiddlehead Fern Salad, Rocket, Duck Crackling, and Dark Cherry Vinaigrette

M*A*N Family Wines Pinotage, Coastal Region


Third Course

Egyptian Stuffed Squab, Liver Pate, Prunes, and  Dates

Spice Route Pinotage, Swartland


Fourth Course

Burundi-style Coffee Crusted Veal with Roasted Spring Baby Vegetables, and Ramp Emulsion

Side by Side tasting of Fairview Pinotage, Paarl



Tasting of Seasonal Peaches Local and Beyond with a White Peach Sphere

Fairview La Beryl Blanc Late Harvest Chenin Blanc, Coastal

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Raglan Road Irish Pub Presents: The Summer Solstice Signature Dining Experience

Raglan Road Logo

Raglan Road Irish Pub Presents: The Summer Solstice Signature

Dining Experience with Master Chef Kevin Dundon

Date: Thursday June 19th 2014

Time: 6.30pm

Dress Code: Smart Casual

Price: $95.00, plus tax and gratuity

Tables in Wonderland Discount Accepted

To book your Reservation please call 407-938-0300


Master Chef Kevin Dundon of Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant has created a tantalizing menu incorporating fresh seasonal flavors for a special Summer Solstice Signature Dinner which takes place on the 19th of June. Enjoy a sumptuous four course menu paired with the finest wines that have been expertly chosen to complement and enhance the delicious flavors of each dish. Chef Kevin adds his unique style and flair to the menu combining his passion for freshness and simplicity.


The Summer Solstice marks the official start of the summer in the Northern Hemisphere and has long been associated with ancient summer customs and traditions. It is often the time of the first harvest and when plants and herbs planted during the spring equinox were collected hence a celebration of nature’s bounty. In ancient times the Summer Solstice was hugely significant; it was a time when the power of the Sun was at its highest and crops & fields were blessed to ensure a good harvest.


Celebrations take place across many parts of Europe dating back thousands of years. Most involve festivals, maypole dances, lighting of bonfires, feasting and celebrations. The Summer Solstice is such a joyous and magical occasion celebrated for centuries. We hope you can join us for a truly memorable dining experience. 

For more information, please visit


Menu Offerings:


Classic Irish prawn cocktail

Chateau Minuty, Rose, Provenance, 2013



Summer inspired chilled melon soup

Cape Mentelle, Sauvignon Blanc- Semillon, Margret River, Australia, 2012/13


Main Course

Spit roasted baby lamb with a rosemary salt crust,

minted pea jelly & fondant potatoes

Campo Alegre, Toro, Spain, 2010



Fresh Strawberries & white chocolate mousse

wrapped in a picnic blanket

Domaine Chandon, Etolie Rose, Napa, MV


Tea/Coffee/Petit Fours


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An Evening at Markham’s – Tables in Wonderland Exclusive


An Evening at Markham’s – Tables in Wonderland Exclusive
Thursday, May 1st, 2014, 6:00pm
$195.00 per person, plus tax, gratuity included


You are cordially invited to join us at the über exclusive, Markham’s restaurant, located at Disney’s Golden Oak Club, for an unparalleled culinary experience highlighting not only the esteemed talents of Chef Christian Rumpler and Chef Michael Gonsalves, but also select culinary personalities from across Walt Disney World® Resort.  Sommeliers Melissa Schreiber and Wayne Rigsby have paired exceptional beverages with the 8-course menu for a true epicurean evening.

The event is limited to 30 guests and is exclusive to Tables in Wonderland members.  Park admission not required.

Since Golden Oak is a private residential community, guests attending this event will be provided with security clearance.  Upon reservation confirmation, information will be sent providing additional details about your Golden Oak experience.

Also, please note that Walt Disney World® Resort transportation to Golden Oak is not available and, as such, personal transportation is required.



In keeping with our desire to leave some things to the imagination, the menu below is meant to provide only a glimpse into the evening you will enjoy as our guest.  We hope to deliver on the promise of surprising you with the creations prepared by our special guest chefs, providing an experience you will not soon forget.



Wild-caught Octopus, Focaccia Crostini, Preserved Lemon Chicken


Appetizer-Chef-California Grill

Pork Belly


1st Course-Chef-Walt Disney World Global Food & Beverage



2nd Course Chef-Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts

Duck Breast


Intermezzo-Pastry Chef-Walt Disney World Resort

Cucumber Sorbet


Entrée-Chef-Disney’s Golden Oak

Bison Loin


Cheese Course-Chef-Victoria & Albert’s

Stilton Cheesecake


Dessert-Pastry Chef-Walt Disney World Resort

Opera Cake


For reservations, please visit the following website for self-booking and instant confirmation.  The website will go live and begin taking reservations on Monday, April  7, 2014 at 10:00am. 


Please have the following information ready:

  • Tables in Wonderland Ticket Number starting with the “W” (i.e. if you purchased your Membership at Epcot®  your card number would begin WEC)
  • First and Last Name of everyone in your party (maximum is Party of 4)
  • Home address
  • Phone number
  • Credit Card Number
  • Billing Address of the Credit Card (Your credit card will be charged at the time of booking, and you will receive an immediate confirmation email.)
  • Personal Email Address (Please use a personal email address as many work email addresses think the confirmation email is spam.)
  • Special Dietary Needs (if any)


Guest Policies

  • The event is limited to 30 Guests, and is exclusive to Tables in Wonderland members.
  • You must show your valid Tables in Wonderland ticket to gain entrance into the event.
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Epcot International Flower And Garden Festival Special Event


Tables in Wonderland – Special Event

Saturday, April 19, 2014, 5:30 pm

East Hall, World ShowPlace Events Pavilion at Epcot

Price: $95.00 per person, plus tax. Gratuity is included

Tables in Wonderland will celebrate the Flower & Garden Festival on April 19th! Our groovy evening will begin at Epcot’s World ShowPlace Events Pavilion, where there will be tasty libations and food samplings from some of the festival’s most popular Outdoor Kitchens. Following dinner, enjoy reserved seating at the Flower Power Concert Series featuring The Grass Roots, best known for their song “Midnight Confessions”!



  • 5:30pm – Outdoor Kitchen themed Buffet Dinner at East Hall, World ShowPlace Events Pavilion
  • 7:15pm – Move to America Gardens Theatre
  • 8:00 pm – Reserved seats for The Grass Roots show at the Flower Power Concert Series



Station 1

  • Florida Fresh – Watermelon Salad with pickled Onions, BW Farm Baby Arugula, Feta Cheese and Balsamic Reduction
  • Florida Fresh – Shrimp and Stone Ground Grits with Andouille Sausage, Sweet Corn, Tomatoes and Cilantro

Station 2

  • Buttercup Cottage- Field Greens with Plant City Strawberries, Toasted Almonds and Farmstead Stilton
  • Urban Farm EATS- Land-Grown Eggplant “Scallop” with Romesco Sauce and Spaghetti Squash

Station 3

  • The Smokehouse: Barbeque and Brews – Pulled Pig Slider with Cole Slaw
  • The Smokehouse: Barbeque and Brews – Smoked Beef Brisket with Collard Greens and Jalapeño Corn Bread

Station 4

  • The Smokehouse: Barbeque and Brews – “Piggylicous” Bacon Cupcake with Maple Frosting and Pretzel Crunch featuring Nueske’s®  Applewood Smoked Bacon
  • Florida Fresh – Florida Kumquat Pie
  • Buttercup Cottage – Fresh Baked Lemon Scones with Berry Preserves and Crème Fraîche


Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages will be available around the room,

featuring select Festival Beverages


For reservations, please visit the following website  for self-booking and instant confirmation.  The website will go live and begin taking reservations on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at 10:00am.


Please have the following information ready:

  • Tables in Wonderland Ticket Number starting with the “W” (i.e. if you purchased your Membership at Epcot®  your card number would begin WEC)
  • First and Last Name of everyone in your party (maximum is Party of 10)
  • Home address
  • Phone number
  • Credit Card Number
  • Billing Address of the Credit Card (Your credit card will be charged at the time of booking, and you will receive an immediate confirmation email.)
  • Personal Email Address (Please use a personal email address as many work email addresses think the confirmation email is spam.)
  • Special Dietary Needs (if any)


Guest Policies

  • The event is limited to 240 Guests, and is exclusive to Tables in Wonderland members.
  • You must show your valid Tables in Wonderland ticket to gain entrance into the event.
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La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil Discounts For Tables in Wonderland Members

la nouba

Tables in Wonderland Members to enjoy discounted tickets to La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil

Discounts available April 1-May 10 and May 27- June 28, 2014

Performances on Tuesdays-Saturdays

Category 3: $49 plus tax

Category 2: $69 plus tax

Call 407-WDW-SEAT (407-939-7328) or click here to purchase tickets! Tickets may be purchased up to 30 days in advance of show date.

Must show current, valid Tables in Wonderland card to receive discount, when tickets are picked up at La Nouba Box Office Will Call window.

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Tables in Wonderland Salutes Florida Strawberry Season


The Wave…of American Flavors has an exciting evening planned for the March Tables in Wonderland Discovery Dinner.  This month’s Discovery Dinner will be celebrating the Central Florida Strawberry Season.  Our Farmer/Chef dinner will feature Lott Farms, located just west of Plant City, Florida.  Mike and Sandy Lott started their farm in 1979 on rented land. In 1983 purchased and built their 50 acre family farm.  They have lived on and farmed this land with their children and grandchildren ever since. Mike’s great strawberries are sold under the Classic label through C&D Produce Distributors.

Tables in Wonderland Discovery Dinner

The Wave… of American Flavors
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Thursday, March 20, 2014
6:30 p.m. Reception; 7:00 p.m. Dinner
Dress Code – Casual Evening Attire
$110 per person, includes tax and gratuity

For reservations, please visit the following website for self-booking and instant confirmation.  The website will go live and begin taking reservations on February 24, 2014 at 10:00am.


Strawberry Tequila Shooter with Lime Caviar
Strawberry Sweet Tea Braised Short Rib Slider
Kumamato Oysters in Strawberry Gelee with Micro Wasabi

First Course

U-12 Scallop Crudo with Strawberries Five Ways and McGregor Farms Opal Basil

Second Course

Venison Tenderloin with Strawberry Honey, Roasted Chestnut and Pink Peppercorn Powder and Strawberry Basil Lavash

Pasta Course

Braised Wild Boar with Strawberry Infused Pappardelle and a Foraged
Chanterelle Cream Sauce

Main Course

Duck Leg Confit with Celery Root Purée, Royal Trumpet Mushrooms,
Glazed Cippolini Onions and a Strawberry Reduction

Cheese Course

Echo Mountain Goat, Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Rogue River Blue
Pistachio Powder, Marcona Almond Praline, Quince Paste


Strawberry Crepe Cones with Citrus Mascarpone Mousse
Strawberry Sherbet with warm roasted Strawberry Compote
Chocolate and Balsamic Strawberry Sauce


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Jiko – The Cooking Place Presents The Wines of Paul Cluver!



Jiko – The Cooking Place is pleased to present…

The Wines of Paul Cluver, featuring Jacqueline Harris
Thursday, March 6, 2014
6:00 pm Reception / 6:30 pm Dinner
$160, plus tax and gratuity
Dress Code – Business Casual Evening Attire
Meet in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Lobby, Sunset Lounge

For reservations please contact Victoria Thompson at This event is limited to 36 guests and requires a credit card guarantee. There is a 3 day cancellation policy.

Paul Cluver is a family-owned, family-run wine business located in the cool-climate Elgin Valley, approximately 70km south-east of Cape Town. The property has been in ownership of the Cluver Family since 1896. Recognised as pioneers of wine in the area, the focus is on producing elegant wines that are expressive of the terroir. The wine business forms part of larger holistic farming business called ‘De Rust Estate’. In addition to the vineyards and cellar, there are apple and pear orchards, a Hereford stud and eco-tourism activities, including amphitheatre concerts, on the farm. This 2000+ hectare estate forms part of the UNESCO world heritage site, the Kogelberg Biosphere. Half of the estate has been set aside for conservation into perpetuity.


Za’atar Crusted Goat Cheese, Ghee Brik Pillow, and Zough
Seared Scallop, Crisp Cassava, Berbere Crème Fraîche, and Kaluga Caviar
“Beef Seswaa” Osso Bucco, Braised Oxtail “Marrow” in a Mealie Pap “Bone”
Paul Cluver Encounter Riesling, Elgin


Preserved Citrus Roasted Duck Breast, Morel Mushrooms, Ramps, and English Pea Nage
Paul Cluver Sauvignon Blanc, Elgin

Grilled Lobster Potato Salad, Rock Prawn Crunch, Avocado Bisque, and Tikka Masala Air
Paul Cluver Gewürztraminer, Elgin

Herb Roasted Lamb Chop, Early Spring Greens, Chick Pea Croquets, and Coconut-Mint Jam
Paul Cluver Pinot Noir, Elgin

Harissa-crusted Butter Fish, Fiddle Head Ferns, Baby Corn, Delta Asparagus, and Green Garlic Emulsion
Paul Cluver Chardonnay, Elgin

Chocolate Pot de Crème with Almond Crème and Raspberries
Paul Cluver Late Harvest Riesling, Elgin

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Tables in Wonderland Splitsville Dine Around

Splitsville Logo Family 2012 v5

The Splitsville Luxury Lanes™ Dine Around
At Splitsville Luxury Lanes™, Downtown Disney® West Side
Thursday, February 20, 2014 6:00-8:00pm
$90.00 per person, including tax and gratuity

ROLL IN and ROCK OUT, Tables in Wonderland! Please join us as we showcase a new spin on bowling! Tables in Wonderland Members are invited to enjoy a unique, interactive dine around experience at  Splitsville Luxury Lanes ™! This two-story, 50,000 square foot entertainment destination is the perfect backdrop to a unique culinary experience, complete with bowling!

Take in Splitsville’s upscale and nostalgic atmosphere as you taste some of the house specialties, including Fresh Rolled Sushi, Hand-Tossed Pizza, and Made-to-Order Salads! Enjoy your dinner with specially selected paired beverages – a true foodie’s favorite kind of Spare! Each party will be assigned a Bowling Team, so be sure to come ready for some friendly and fun competition!

We hope you are as excited as we are for this special event! Further details are listed below.

Menu Offerings:

Made-to-Order Rice Bowl Station
Grilled Chicken Breast, Sushi Rice, Stir-fried Vegetables, and Tataki Sauce
Paired with Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio

Sushi Station
A variety of fresh, hand rolled Sushi
Paired with Sake

Pizza/Slider Station
Cheeseburger Sliders:  Caramelized Onion, Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Pickle & Special Slider Sauce
Filet Sliders: Thick slices of Beef Tenderloin topped with an Onion Ring and Horseradish Cream
Margherita Pizza: Mozzarella, Roma Tomatoes, Basil, and Tomato Sauce on a Honey Wheat Crust
Meat Lovers Pizza: Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, Bacon and Seasoned Ground Beef
Paired with a selection of Craft Beers

Made-to-Order Salad Station
A chef created Salad with your choice of Lettuce, Fresh Vegetables, Cheeses and Dressings

Dessert Table
Fresh Baked Brownies
Chef’s Carrot Cake- Fresh Baked with Cream Cheese Frosting

Reservations will be available beginning at 10:00am, on Friday, January 31, 2014

Price: $90.00, includes tax, gratuity, food & beverage, bowling, and a pair of socks!

To book, please call 407-938-PINS(7467) extension 104 or email

When booking, please have the following information ready:

  • Tables in Wonderland Ticket Number (this number starts with a Park-Code (i.e. if you purchased your membership at Epcot, it will state WEC)
  • First/Last Name and Shoe Size of Everyone in your Party (maximum per party is 10)
  • Home Address
  • Phone Number
  • Personal Email Address
  • Special Dietary Needs, if any

Guest Policies:
This event is limited to 80 Guests, and is exclusive to Tables in Wonderland Members You must show your valid Tables in Wonderland Membership Card to gain entrance into the event

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Our Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Staycation

We had the opportunity to have a really fun ‘staycation’ the weekend before Christmas together experiencing all great amenities and food that the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress has to offer, and it was an amazing visit.

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

Located in the Lake Buena Vista area, the newly renovated Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress is one mile away from the Walt Disney World Resort, however as the centerpiece of the 1,500-acre Grand Cypress Resort you feel miles away from the hustle and bustle of the theme parks.

When you first walk into the 18-story atrium lobby and are greeted by Merlot, the resident macaw, you know that you are in a really special place.

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

The rooms at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress are spacious at 360 square feet, and feature comfortable Hyatt Grand Beds, great amenities, and views you will love waking up to every morning!

Hyatt Regency Grand CypressHyatt Regency Grand CypressHyatt Regency Grand CypressHyatt Regency Grand CypressHyatt Regency Grand Cypress

We had a Pool View which was absolutely beautiful, and by night we were able to watch to fireworks at both Epcot and the Magic Kingdom every night without having to leave our room!

Hyatt Regency Grand CypressHyatt Regency Grand CypressHyatt Regency Grand Cypress

 Here’s a detailed look at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Room Amenities:

  • Separate work desk          
  • Hairdryer
  • Iron / ironing board
  • Coffee maker (Featuring Starbucks Coffee)
  • Cable / satellite TV channels
  • iHome™ alarm clock radio
  • Jack pack adaptor panel for multimedia plug n’ play
  • Voicemail
  • High-speed Internet access
  • Large, flat-screen television
  • Individual air conditioning control
  • Ceiling fans
  • Video checkout
  • In-room safe
  • Safety deposit box behind front desk
  • Mini-Fridge
  • Crib upon request
  • Maximum guests per room: 4
  • Chaise lounge
  • Spa toiletries

If you are looking for great food, you will definitely find it at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress!

We had an a wonderful dinner at Cascade American Bistro!

 Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

The restaurant setting is beautiful, the food was delicious, and the service was outstanding.

 Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

I cannot recommend Cascade highly enough, especially their signature S’mores dessert! It was heaven in a Mason Jar!

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

When we were relaxing by the gorgeous pool, we also took advantage of the pool-side service from the On the Rocks Poolside Lounge.

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress My margarita was perfect and the Tri-Color Tortilla Chip trio was tasty with generous portions of each dip. The queso and guacamole were amazing!

 Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

And in the lobby, Perks was a great place to grab a cup of Starbucks and pastry in the morning and as it transformed to Trellises Lounge in the evening it was a great place to grab a quick bite!

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

We even ordered in-room dining one night, and it was a great way to relax after a busy day at the resort! With so many (even vegetarian) menu options, we found that we had a hard time deciding what we wanted to order! The in-room menu is extremely affordable and convenient, and something that we would definitely experience again!

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

However, the star for us during our stay at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress was the outdoor amenities and recreation options we were able to enjoy as a family!

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

There is an affordable extra Resort Services Program charge at the resort, and with that guests get access to 

  • Health Club Open 24 Hours
  • Rock Climbing Walls
  • 9 Hole, Par 3 Pitch N’ Putt
  • Water sports: Canoe, Paddle Boat, Hydro Bike, Aquacycle, Sailboat, and Kayak
  • Bikes: Adult’s, Children’s, and Surreys
  • Golf Driving Range
  • Court Time at the Tennis Racquet Club
  • Daily Scheduled Shuttle Transportation to Walt Disney World Theme Parks,
  • Universal Studios/ Islands of Adventure and SeaWorld-Be sure to pick up your
  • boarding pass from our Lobby Concierge.
  • Wired and Wireless Internet
  • Free Local and Toll Free Telephone Service  

Zoe wanted to do something on her own, so she participated in Camp Hyatt for the day and had a blast!

Camp Hyatt is an interactive program exclusively for our guests ages 3-12. Our activities focus on the flora, fauna and culture of this unique part of the Sunshine State and includes a Fish Feeding Frenzy, Arcade Challenges, Boats and Bikes, Rock Climbing, Kids Crafts, Marshmallow Roasts, Scavenger Hunts, Short Chef Creations, Video Games and Pool and Beach Games.

Zoe wants to go back to the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress JUST to go back to Camp Hyatt!!!

We had such an awesome time exploring the resort as a family! We took our first family bike ride after Dave’s knee replacement surgery, played games, and played on the beach together.

 Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

We had so much fun, that we never left the resort!

Here are some of our favorite Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Outdoor Activities:


Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

A white sandy beach runs along Lake Windsong where you will find canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, sailboats, a volleyball court, and much more.

Boating Hours: 8:00am – return by 5:30pm

Boating Rules: 18 & older for sailboats. 13 & older to be alone on the water in all other craft.

Anyone under 13 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at least 18 years of age.

Pool, Water Slides, and More

Water Slide Tower Pavilion at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress SMALL

Pool Water Slide Hours: 9:00 am– 5:30pm

Rules: There is a minimum 44 inch height requirement for the pool water slide. Life jacket required for children between 44-48 in.

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

Water Jet Pad Hours: 8:00am – 10:00pm

Poolside Recreation Desk and Pool Towel Service

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

You can stop here for daily activity information, slide wristbands, pool towels, floats, sunscreen that you may have forgotten, and more!

Daily Hours: 8:00am – 5:30pm

Pool Towels are available outside of the On The Rocks bar after operating hours with your resort room key.


Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

Bicycles for all ages are available including family bikes, bikes with training wheels and adult bikes with child seats. Enjoy 9.2 miles of jogging and biking trails throughout the Grand Cypress Resort.

Hours: 8:00am – return by 5:30 pm

Rules: 13 & older to go biking alone. At least 18 years of age to drive a Surrey Bike. Anyone under 13 must

be accompanied by a parent or guardian at least 18 years of age. Anyone younger than 16 must wear a helmet.

Pitch N’ Putt

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

Visit our scenic par 3 executive course on Lake Windsong. Complimentary club rentals are available.

Hours: 8:00am– return by 5:30pm

Rules: 13 & younger must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at least 18 years of age.

Rock Climbing Challenge

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

Come climb the towers at the Grand Cypress! Lanes are available for all skill levels.

Hours: 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Rules: Minimum/Maximum height and weight requirements vary. See attendant for more

information. Closed toe/heel shoes are required.

Fire Pit

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

Located on the beach! S’mores Kits are available for purchase in the Palm Cafe, Trellises, or through Room Service for $10.

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

Available Thursday thru Sunday at Dusk. Weather permitting.

You will also find tons of great ways to have some quiet time while you are enjoying the great outdoors!

At the pool there is a large grotto area full of super comfy chairs.

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

Then on the beach there are designated quiet areas and hammocks that you won’t ever want to leave!

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

The grounds of the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress are lush, and full of amazing sculptures and statues. I had a really relaxing walk around the resort. It was so nice to steal a few moments for myself!

Photo Dec 21, 1 41 39 PM Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hyatt Regency Grand CypressHyatt Regency Grand Cypress

We had an absolutely amazing and wonderful staycation at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, and if you are looking for a family experience to plus your visit to the Orlando Theme Parks I would absolutely recommend staying at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress!

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

Disclaimer: Through a partnership with the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, I received accommodations and a meal at the Resort. All opinions are my own.


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Valet Parking at Downtown Disney for Tables in Wonderland Members through January 1, 2014


Tables in Wonderland Members may now enjoy Complimentary Valet Parking at Downtown Disney Area through January 1, 2014.  There are some rules that apply for this perk:

  • Complimentary valet parking is for the sole purpose of dining at one of the participating restaurants at Downtown Disney area.
  • One vehicle per membership card.
  • Present your membership card with a valid dining receipt from the participating Downtown Disney restaurant at the valet stand upon retrieving your vehicle.
  • Valet parking service is available from 4pm – 2am daily.
  • Valet Parking can be accessed via Entrance 4 at Downtown Disney West Side.
  • If a member would like to take advantage of the valet parking service but will not be dining at a participating Tables in Wonderland restaurant, the price is $15 per vehicle, gratuity accepted.
  • There will be a charge for parking and valet services on Tables in Wonderland blockout dates. For a full list of blockout days and program policies, please visit
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Shula Burger Restaurant Review

All this food was paid for by me! No compensation here!

When we saw a new place being added on 192 near 429/Target in Kissimmee and the other run of the mill restaurants, we just assumed it’d be just another place, thankfully we were wrong!

My boyfriend has been stalking Shula Burger since the sign went up, and when he saw it was open, he was more than ready to go.

Shula Burger
Shula Burger


Guys, they had been open THREE days when we went. I am always skeptical when places haven’t been open too long because they probably haven’t gotten their stuff together.

Wrong again. We were proved wrong in the BEST way.

First of all, Shula Burger is not your standard burger joint. You order your burger, salad, chicken, sweets, whatever you want at the counter.

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From there you can get your order to go or eat in. They give you a number if you eat in and your food comes to you! Oh and if you want to call in and pick it up, you can do that too.


We both ordered create your own burgers – garlic herb mayo, onions, mushrooms, bacon, cheese. The choices go on and on. I had sweet potato tots (which were AMAZING) and Jeff enjoyed his sea salt fries.

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During our lunch I actually stopped and said, “This burger is cooked perfectly.” And it truly was.

Oh and if you’re wanting to enjoy the outside with your meal, you can sit in this huge patio area.


Before we left I approached the kitchen window, some of the staff, and the manager to tell them how great our experience was.

When we left I heard “See you soon!” and that is 100% true – they will definitely see us soon!

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Inaugural Edible Orlando Field to Feast Dinner


Inaugural Edible Orlando Field to Feast Dinner

Benefitting the Kid’s Café program of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida

Starring Walt Disney World® Resort Chefs

4-7 p.m. Sunday, October 27

Long & Scott Farms • Zellwood, Florida


Victoria & Albert’s

Chef Scott Hunnel

Sommelier Rebecca Lewis

Lake Meadow Chicken Sausage with Zellwood Corn Succotash


California Grill

Chef Brian Piasecki

Sommelier Michael Scheifler

Spice-crusted Local Calico Scallops with Zellwood Pumpkin Ravioli, Toasted Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette, Baby Sage, Buttered Brussel Sprouts, and Pumpkin Dust Brittle


Flying Fish Cafe

Chef Tim Keating

Sommelier Stig Jacobsen

Asian-inspired Uncle Matt’s Citrus-marinated Rock Shrimp and Local Calico Bay Scallop “Cocktail” with Salad of MacGregor Farms Greens, Herbs, Epcot Cucumber, and

Bhut Jolokia-Kaffir Lime Vinaigrette


The Wave . . . of American Flavors

Chef Frank Brough

Sommelier Damaris Jimenez

Locally-sourced Sweet Potato Agnolotti with Bourbon-Maple Pork Belly, Liquid Caramel Corn, and Vanilla Powder


Epcot® Events

Chef Leonard Thomson

Sommelier Olaronké Olatunji

Suwannee Farms Florida Fresh Cab Beef Tenderloin over Balsamic Charred Onion Bread Pudding topped with Wine Reduction and served with Duck Fat Fries and Zellwood Sweet Corn Gelato

Florida Local at Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival 

Chef Jens Dahlmann

Sommelier Tom Kovacs

Pasture Prime Mangalitsa Pork Arepa with Long & Scott Corn Esquites and Cahaba Farms Micro Cilantro



Chef Phil Ponticelli

Sommelier Keith Gimbel

Florida Pink Shrimp with Sunny Meadow Farms Egg Pasta with Sarasota Black Sturgeon Caviar


Disney Desserts 

Pastry Chef Stefan Riemer

Sommelier Vicky Thompson

Squash Beignets served with Habañero-Corn Ice Cream with Madeira Glaze and Cocoa Dust

Chocolate Pot de Crème with Bosc Pears, and Rye Bread Tuile


$175 each / $325 per couple
Tickets available via

To directly purchase tickets:

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Citricos at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort


This past weekend I had the opportunity to eat at one of my favorite restaurants on Walt Disney World Property at Citricos. Located in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Citricos is a signature restaurant with a focus on Mediterranean influence. I have eaten here at least 5 – 10 times over the past five years or so and it is consistently in my top five Disney restaurants. I previously wrote about it here when talking about my favorite restaurants.

The restaurant is located on the second floor of the Grand Floridian and is decorated in soft yellow and orange tones that invite guests to enter. Citricos shares a lobby with Victoria & Albert’s, the resort’s Five Diamond fine dining establishment. Inside Citricos there is a small lounge open to the restaurant, as is the kitchen, which always makes for fun dining to be able to see the chefs hard at work right before your eyes.

Citricos bar
Citricos bar
Citricos lounge and kitchen
Citricos lounge and kitchen
Citricos open kitchen
Citricos open kitchen

My friends and I arrived about half an hour before our scheduled reservation time, but since it was relatively slow, we were seated almost immediately in Citricos. The table we were lead to by the greeter was all the way in the back of the restaurant by the bank of windows facing the Magic Kingdom. We had a fantastic view of Cinderella Castle from our table for Wishes!

Chicken B'steeya
Chicken B’steeya
Crispy Fried Yellow Tomato and Buffalo Mozzarella
Crispy Fried Yellow Tomato and Buffalo Mozzarella


We started off each with an appetizer to begin our meal. I opted for the Ashley Farms Chicken B’steeya at the recommendation of a friend. It was almost like a version of baklava with chicken and almonds, a little sweet with the orange blossom honey, but very tasty. Shelley had the Crispy Fried Yellow and Buffalo Mozzarella, which was somewhat like a deconstructed Caesar salad. She said the sweet flavors of the heirloom tomatoes were well complemented by the bitter romaine and strong garlic of the dressing. Dave ordered the Panada, which one or two of us couldn’t help calling Panda and saying we didn’t want to eat our dear friend John. It was fantastic! The slow-cooked beef and pork are spiced with a tamarind sauce and then baked in phyllo.


For entrees we each chose something that wouldn’t necessarily be our go to item on the menu to live dangerously. Shelley was craving beef, so she order the Oak-grilled Filet of Beef, which had fantastic accompaniments of Yukon Gold Potato and Peppadew Peppers. She said it was a good cut of meat, but a little bland for her taste and felt it could have been seasoned a bit more, but the cabernet demi-glace did help. Dave opted for the Madeira-braised Short Ribs with Hominy-Cheddar Potato Puree and Wild Mushroom Ragout, which is my go to entree at Citricos. I went out on a limb and got the Berkshire Pork Two Ways with Rotisserie Pork Tenderloin, Roasted Pork Belly, Brentwood Farms Corn Bred, Rainbow Swiss Chard, Green Apple and Cipplolini Onion Chutney. I am not usually a fan of pork, but thought I’d give it a shot. Dave was having buyer’s remorse, so we ended up actually switching our entrees after trying the ones we originally ordered. This ended up working out perfectly as we were both much happier with what the other got.

Oak-grilled Filet of Beef
Oak-grilled Filet of Beef
Berkshire Pork Two Ways
Berkshire Pork Two Ways
Madiera-braised Short Ribs
Madiera-braised Short Ribs


Dessert was served just moments before Wishes started! Dave chose the Tiramisu, which he said was incredible. Shelley got the Tasting of Gelato, which is typically served with vanilla, cappuccino and raspberry, but she substituted the cappuccino for a second vanilla. I ordered the Granny Smith Green Apple Sorbet since I didn’t want anything creamy. This was amazing! It was like biting into a freshly frozen green apple and was served with strawberries and blueberries. Our view for the fireworks was awesome, only to be rivaled by the incredible service from our server Kierra.

Tasting of Gelato
Tasting of Gelato
Granny Smith Green Apple Sorbet
Granny Smith Green Apple Sorbet

All in all, this was yet another fantastic dining experience at Citricos. I cannot recommend this restaurant enough if you are looking for a nice meal outside the parks at Walt Disney World. I have learned I need to order the short ribs pretty much every time unless I opt for one of the phenomenal seafood dishes, which makes me lament the demise of the Gateau of Crab that used to be my favorite appetizer here. Have you been to Citricos recently? What did you order? Please let me know what your thoughts were.

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