Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Signature Dining

Welcome to those of you joining me from YourFirstVisit.Net and to those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 3rd stop on our Magical Blogorail. 

Today, we are discussing our Disney Parks guilty pleasures. I have been so blessed with the opportunity to be a bicoastal Disney Parks traveler and Disney Cruise Line Cruiser, that I have to admit, just being on property is a guilty pleasure. However, while vacationing, there is one aspect of every trip I really look forward to. Signature Dining Experiences! 

Planning our Disney Dining experiences is one of my favorite parts of a Disney vacation, only second to registering for a runDisney event. With so many options in and out of the parks, you're bound to find your must-do favorites for every trip, along with always being able to try something new! 

Here are my top five Disney Parks guilty pleasures (Signature Dining Experiences)!

#5 Jiko @ Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. Braised Beef Short Ribs, oh my! This is my go-to Jiko dish! Though I do also enjoy the Fillet, the short ribs are my favorite!  Coupled with a swirl through the truffled potato puree and you've got a culinary South African delight. In addition, the pumpkin soup is a seasonal offering you can't miss. One of the most unique features of this signature dining experience is the selection of wines offered here. Jiko has the largest selection of South African wines outside of the country itself! My suggestion, if you enjoy blends, is the Spice Route Chakalaka. 

Look who showed up in my soup ;-) 

Enjoying dinner at Jiko with my oldest daughter.

#4 California Grill @ Disney's Contemporary Resort. There is no denying California Grill boasts some of the best views in the "World". There is nothing better then watching the sunset over the Grand Floridian as colors of a red and purple sky shine down brilliantly on the Kingdom, accentuating the blue tones of Cinderella's Castle. Yet this visual display of pixie dust pales in comparison to the magic of a late night dinner caped off by a stunning display of Wishes, Magic Kingdom's nighttime spectacular, complete with dimmed lights and musical soundtrack. Oh, and I haven't even mentioned the food! If a good steak is your thing, this is your place. While I prefer a well-done, no-pink steak, I'm still able to cut it with a fork. So smooth, so soft, it truly is like butter. My appetizer preference is the Cheese Board, offered at many of Disney's Signature Restaurants. And at $20, is an excellent value if you are on the Deluxe Dining Plan. Ambiance, view, and excellent food make the California Grill not only a top choice for WDW vacationers, but for locals as well. 

Luckily, she made it through Wishes! 

13th Anniversary- California Grill style. Complete with Mickeyfetti!

#3 Victoria & Albert's - Queen Victoria Room @ Disney's Grand Floridian Resort. Wow! Where to begin with this one? How about.... I feel with a high amount of certainty this will be a one-time dining experience! Incredible, nonetheless. There were aspect of this experience, yes experience, as it was far beyond just a meal, that were magical! The attention to detail and level of service was beyond perfection, the intimate atmosphere (two 6 top tables), and the presentation of each course and its accompanying wine paring were top notch! Over four hours later, we were full, happy, and feeling good! However, when your bill is presented in a velveteen box..... look once, and never again! 

The bill in the box!

#2 Remy -on Disney Cruise Lines, Disney Dream (Remy can also be found on the Fantasy). Remy has a special place in my heart! We had the opportunity to dine here on our 12th wedding anniversary while on our first family cruise, just months after the debut of Disney's biggest and brightest ship, the Disney Dream! We had the option of selecting the American menu, the French menu, or a fusion of both culinary offerings. We chose the later. We topped off each course by including the wine pairing option. With servers mostly hailing from France, don't be surprised if you're able to recall a bit of your own French studies, especially after a few wine pairings! By the end of the evening, I was beginning to translate to my husband. You know what they say, if you don't use it, you lose it. It was so much fun to use it again! Even if it was tres un peu! As a side note, the sweetbread was the one thing I didn't have any desire to try!

With sweeping views of the ocean, this dining experience is a must-do!

"Happy Anniversary"

#1 Napa Rose Chef's Counter @ Disney's Grand Californian Resort. This is my favorite signature dining experience! While dining at the Chef's Counter one has the option of ordering from the menu, ordering from the fixed 4-course menu, or let the Executive Chef create each course for you based on your preferences. We again completed each course by adding the wine pairings. While the food was fantastic and every course divine, I'm a bit nostalgic over this experience for sentimental reasons. My love for Disney Parks began right here, at the Disneyland Resort®. I grew up visiting Disneyland! And while I consider Walt Disney World Resort® my true love, Disneyland was my first love. The opportunity to share with my family my memories of running wild through Disneyland as a child, brings it all back! So any opportunity I have to visit my west coast love is very special to me. Couple that with Dining Experiences like the Chef's Counter at Napa Rose, and I fall in love all over again, every time!

Executive Chef, Andrew Sutton, explaining the course

The Show Kitchen! 

Thank you for joining me today.Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail loop is the Many Adventures of a Disney Lovin' Spectrum Mom. 

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Loop should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

3rd Stop ~  The DisneyFAITHful
Final Stop ~  Return to Disney


  1. I am sooo jealous. I have only done two of these. But I think your list is a perfect one for me to add to my bucket list.

  2. We absolutely love California Grill! The view can't be beat and somehow we have been lucky enough to be seated at a window table overlooking the Magic Kingdom. Great list! I hope to try each and every one of these at some point!

  3. Those are some pretty great dining experiences Faith!! Count me as jealous too!!

  4. I've never had the chance to try California Grill! We were going to do a Mom & Dad night out there in February, but then discovered it will be closed for refurbishment! Oh well, there's always next time!

  5. This sounds like the perfect itinerary for a kid-free vacation!