By Amanda Kondolojy, Monday, August 22, 2016 05:55
Though it may not initially seem like it, Walt Disney World has truly come into its own in recent years as a real food lover’s paradise. If you count yourself as one of the many who love eating their way around the Walt Disney World parks and resorts, there are some big changes taking effect right now and very soon that you should know about.
For this month’s Walt Disney World dining update, we take a look at the return of a fan-favorite snack to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, reduced hours for a favorite Epcot location, a bunch of new deals for Tables in Wonderland members, and even a surprising celebrity partnership for a reimagined Disney Springs eatery.
1. Mickey’s Backyard BBQ introduces new “category” seating options
Mickey’s Backyard BBQ at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground has begun offering guests the option to choose between a Category 1 and 2 seating option when they book this character dining experience in advance. Category 1 is a little bit more expensive at $72 for adults ($47 for kids), but guests who opt for this seating option can enjoy the following perks:
- Early access to the backyard pavilion
- Priority seating that allows guests to get as close to the action as they’d like
- A pre-show character greeting with Mickey, Minnie, and friends
- Early access to all food and beverages on the buffet
Category 2 does not include these additions, but is a little bit cheaper, costing $62 for adults, and $37 for kids 3 to 9. As always, the Disney Dining Plan is accepted at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ, and guests choosing either Category 1 and 2 will need two table service credits for this character dining experience (so, if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, definitely pick category 1 for the best experience!)
2. Turkey Legs are now back at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (but you’ll have to really look for them)
Though Turkey Legs were recently removed from Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this iconic snack item has actually returned to Disney’s Animal Kingdom after a nearly half-year long hiatus from this park. However, guests who want to grab this unique snack will have to do a little bit of hiking in order to find it at this park. The only place that serves Turkey Legs at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the Quality Beverages window, which can be found around the corner (near the seating area) from the Local Foods Cafe in Asia. Though this seems a little far (and off the beaten path), if you really want a turkey leg, now you know where to go!
3. Sunshine Seasons discontinues breakfast service at Epcot
Though it was only a few weeks ago that popular Epcot eatery Sunshine Seasons debuted a refreshed breakfast menu just in time for summer, it looks like this new menu was destined to be short-lived as Disney confirmed a few weeks ago that this dining location would no longer be serving guests before 11:00AM, effective immediately. No reason was given for the abrupt halt of breakfast service at this popular early-morning dining location, but we think this sudden closure might have something to do with this year’s attendance slowdown, which you can read more about here.
4. Tables in Wonderland members get a bunch of new discounts
Earlier this month, Disney announced that the Tables in Wonderland discount program was expanded to include four of Walt Disney World’s newest dining locations at the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney Springs:
- Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar
- Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen
- Nomad Lounge
However, in addition to these discounts, Disney has also confirmed that Tables in Wonderland members will also recieve a discount on the newly-reinstated Club Villain upcharge event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Instead of the usual $129 per person price, Tables in Wonderland members will only need to pay $99 per person to experience this villains-themed event.
And in a third bit of good news, it has been announced that now through Labor Day, Tables in Wonderland members can snag a 20% discount at World of Disney Store in Disney Springs. Though this limited-time deal cannot be stacked with other discounts (annual passholder, DVC, etc.), it is greater than annual passholder or DVC discounts, and should provide for some great last-minute summer shopping for Tables in Wonderland members.
5. Guy Fieri to create new menu for Planet Hollywood Observatory
Construction on the Planet Hollywood Observatory continues in advance of this restaurant’s fall 2016 relaunch. However, while this building is transforming on the outside the company behind this restaurant has announced that TV personality Guy Fieri will be helping to develop the redesigned menu for this dining location. Fieri will be bringing his signature style of cuisine to new dishes at this dining location including the Kobe-Inspired Burger and the Turkey Pic-a-nic Sandwich. While we still don’t have an opening date yet, we’d imagine that one will be released soon as we’re only a few weeks away from fall officially kicking off at the resort.
6. New quick service eatery Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza is now open at Disney Springs
Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza, a new fast casual quick service restaurant at Disney Springs, is now open. This new dining location allows guests to create their own personal pizzas using an assembly of toppings. Once assembled, pizzas are “fast fire’d” using two blazing hot ovens that turn out thin-crisp pizzas in an ultra-fast 180 seconds.
Dough is made in-house, and pizza and salad ingredients are free from artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. In addition, gluten-free dough and vegan cheese is also available, making this new dining location an attractive option for those with dietary restrictions. Beverages for sale at this new restaurant include lemonades, aguas frescas, real cane sugar sodas plus beer and wine.
All menu items are under $10 and the Disney Dining Plan is accepted at this new dining location. You can check out the full menu here.
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