And when he does, he goes for a taste of the magic. So can you! Disney food guru Trisha Daab samples the best delicacies at Walt Disney World, and serves them up in an almost edible A-Z encyclopedia of yum.
You probably spend more time at Disney World eating food than you do riding rides or seeing shows. Whether edible or potable, the goodies are everywhere, from fancy sit-down meals to iconic snacks like Dole Whip and turkey legs. It helps to know exactly what you're putting into your mouth.
Trisha is your taster. No matter your culinary adventure—Victoria & Albert's for dinner or a churro in the afternoon—she has the food facts and alimentary advice to put the delectable back into your next Disney vacation.
Packed with original illustrations, Tasting the Magic is the only menu you'll need to eat and drink your way through Walt Disney World.
A: Apples, Art Smith’s Homecomin’, Assiette Campagnarde
B: Beef Brewat, Be Our Guest, Beverly Soda, Breakfast, Butter Chicken
C: Character Meals, Church Lady Deviled Eggs, Cinderella’s Royal Table, Cookies
D: Dawa Bar, Dining Discounts, Dining Packages & Dessert Parties
E: Éclair a’ l’Orange, Epcot International Festival of the Holidays
F: Fireworks Dessert Party, Food Studios, Fruit Burger
G: Gaston’s Tavern, Grey Stuff, Grilled Cheese
H: Harissa Chicken Roll, Harambe Market
I: Ice Cream Bar (Mickey Shaped), Ice Cream Your Way, Inside a Disney Restaurant
J: Jack Skellington Candy Apple, Jiko, Journals
K: Kiddie Cocktails, Kona Café, Kungaloosh Beer
L: Large Krisy Head, Les Chefs de France, Liberty Tree Tavern
M: Marketplaces at Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, Mickey-shaped Foods, Mugs
N: Naan, Nighttime Snacks
O: Ocean Beach Sea Salt Caramel Sundae, Outdoor Kitchens at Epcot Interntional Flower & Garden Festival
P: Paddlefish, Pool Bars, Popcorn, Pretzels (Mickey Shaped)
Q: Queso Fundido, Quick Service
R: Restaurant Marrakesh, Roast Beef, Room Service
S: Sanaa, San Angel Inn, Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre, Spice Road Table, Starbucks
T: Tacos, Tiffins, Tune-In Lounge, Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar
U: Unique Eats, Urban Fairy Cocktail
V: Victoria & Albert’s, Villain Cupcake
W: Waffle (Mickey Shaped), The Wave, Wedding Cake, Whispering Canyon Café
X: Xtra-Large Margarita Flight
Y: Yak & Yeti, Yogurt Parfait
Z: Zimbabwean Soda
Appendix A: Dole Whip, Turkey Legs and More Ways to Taste the Magic
Appendix B: Disney Dining Challenge
Appendix C: Best of Disney Dining Lists
Tasting the Magic from A-Z: The Best Food and Beverages at Walt Disney World will take you on a tasty journey through Walt Disney World. This is more than a guide to eating at Disney World, it’s a celebration of the food. You will:
In addition, you’ll get answers to food questions like:
From American style fare at Liberty Tree Tavern and 50s Prime-Tme Café, to exotic eats at Sanaa and Tiffins, plus lots of snacks in between, you’ll experience Walt Disney World in foodie style.
Trisha Daab is an author, mom/not-so-evil stepmom, marketing strategist, and food lover. She is the author of The Not-So-Evil Stepmother in the Most Magical Place on Earth: Planning Your Walt Disney World Family Vacation and is the co-host of a Disney food segment on the DizRadio podcast. According to her sons and husband, she takes way too many pictures at Disney.
Trisha has been visiting Disney since she her first trip at 3 years old in the 80s. She even has a very embarrassing picture with Chewbacca in all of her coke-bottle-glasses-and-90s-hair glory. Writing books about Disney World has been the perfect excuse to visit the parks more frequently, eat a lot of Disney food, and get new pictures with Chewy.
You can find out more about her, get updates on her next book, check out pics from the Disney food challenge, and see that epic 90s hair on Instagram @notsoevil_disneystepmom and on Facebook @authorTrishaDaab.
Even though there's always magic on the menu, many guests forget that chefs are cast members, too. Chef Lee from Liberty Tree Tavern in the Magic Kingdom provides some insight into the culinary challenges that face a Disney chef day in, day out.
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like behind the scenes at a Disney restaurant, here is your chance. Chef Lee worked at Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom. From his training and funny reminders of working at Disney, to serving the best green beans every day, Chef Lee experienced a Disney kitchen first hand:
"Like every cast member you meet at Disney, chefs also go through the Disney Traditions training. The Disney training and experience changes your perspective on what Disney is about. In Traditions training, one of the first things they try to help you understand is that even though this is your job, for the guest, this may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Some families save up for years to spend four days at Disney. So every experience they have should be magical.
"During training, cast members at Liberty Tree learn that visiting the restaurant is a tradition in some families. There are grandparents that tell their grandkids that they went to Liberty Tree Tavern and they had the best Thanksgiving meal they ever had. When those grandchildren take their kids to Liberty Tree Tavern it must also be the best Thanksgiving dinner they have ever had. I took it to heart. Most cast members do. Disney really does try and get you to have that mindset, that all of the jobs, from the custodial staff, to characters and culinary staff, to entertainers, it’s all on us to make it magical for the guest. So that first green bean I cooked had to be as good as the last one because every guest deserved the consistent, high-quality experience.
"The challenge of being a chef at Disney is that in the average restaurant, you may serve 2500 people in a night. Cooking that volume in four hours time, to nail that dish every time in incredibly large quantities, is a huge challenge. For example, mashed potatoes. To make mashed potatoes for thousands of people, it required a giant floor mixer the size of one of the spinning teacups! The kitchen team would steam off trays and trays of potatoes then take them to a giant floor mixer, dump in giant pans of potatoes, gallons of milk, a salt mixture, and big pound blocks of butter. It was so fun. The sheer volume of making such large portions and still having it be good was a challenge, but the consistency had to be there. It’s part of the magic of Disney.
"There is so much camaraderie between all the cast members. Even though you’re on show and on stage, these are all real people.
"It was Disney’s preference that cast members who aren’t on stage aren’t seen. Cast members enter the park in a non-public area. Some cast members go directly from the tunnels into the kitchen of a restaurant. Once in the kitchen, it feels just like most other restaurant kitchens. Then, there’s the reminder. You’re rushing to your shift and see Chip ‘n’ Dale bouncing down the hallway and then you’re shocked, like, “Oh yeah, I work at Disney. There are two chipmunks over there.” A kitchen is a kitchen and it’s work, but it’s when you’re on break with a couple of princesses and a giant dog that you remember you’re at Disney."
Continued in "Tasting the Magic from A-Z"!
When you've had your fill of Disney films, you can chow down on burgers, fries, and shakes while watching trailers from films where the women are fifty-feet tall, the aliens wear gorilla suits and diving helmets, and the tarantulas are bigger than a Buick.
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre is off Commissary Lane at Hollywood Studios. Stepping inside is like going back in time to a 1950s drive-in theatre. It’s a big dark room with walls painted to look like a neighborhood, complete with glowing windows on houses. At the end of the block there is a giant movie screen. Diners sit facing the screen in old cars that have been converted into booths. There are café-style tables along the outer edge and the kitchen looks like a concession stand.
Sci-Fi’s menu is in keeping with the 1950s diner theme: burgers, shakes, and a few pastas and salads thrown in, just in case. The burgers are gigantic, the fries crispy, and the shakes thick and creamy. They even have cocktails for the grown-ups.
Location Tip: Ask to sit in a car when you check in. Sitting in the cars while watching the old movies really makes the experience.
During the meal, Sci-Fi entertains with trailers of cheesy old science-fiction movies including Oliver’s favorite Attack of the 50-Foot Woman. Sci-Fi is Nate’s favorite restaurant at Disney World and it’s always on our list. In 2015, Annie discovered another Sci-Fi perk: it’s a good place to take a quick nap. I almost joined her after a few sips of the Habanero Lime Martian Margarita. It was just what the Disney doctor ordered. Sci-Fi servings are very generous. Unless you’re starving, you can probably get away with sharing. There are a lot of options on the menu: New York strip, pastas, and a caprese sandwich. The onion rings are a must. They are always straight from the fryer, so the outside is crisp, the onions are sweet, and they taste great with a quick dip in a pool of ketchup.
Ordering Tip: One special treat that can be a fun souvenir item are light-up cups. These are just standard Disney cups that have a plastic character or symbol with a light inside (some of them clip on and others are used like ice cubes). The Disney marketing machine is in full force with these cups and they are always themed to the latest movie, show, or big event. At past Star Wars weekends there were light-up Death Stars added to the strawberry lemonade. One of Oliver’s most memorable light-up cups was Lightning McQueen at Sci-Fi. It’s pretty cool to order a light-up cup at a dark restaurant because you can see your cup glowing from across the room long before it reaches your table. It just increases the anticipation for your little one ... and helps you feel a bit better about the cost of this pricey souvenir.
Make sure to try the milk shakes. Just like at any 50s diner, the shakes are thick and fattening and served in a frosty glass. Ask about that day’s specialty flavor. Also ask about the seasonal specialty burger.
Continued in "Tasting the Magic from A-Z"!