Young or old, child or adult, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at Disney World. And if you’re a foodie, then there is no end to the delicacies you can enjoy here. But this isn’t all as there are some food secrets Disney doesn’t want you to know. For a few tricks and life hacks, here’s 10 Disney World Food Facts Disney Will Never Tell You – Part 3
10. The Grand Floridian has a life-size gingerbread house in the lobby
Christmas time is unarguably the best time to visit Disney World. True, there are more crowds and the queues are longer, but there is also magic in the air and the decorations are unbelievable! Christmas comes quite early to Disney World, lasting from early November right until early January. And to make the most of your holiday visit, be sure to check out the lobbies of all the hotels and resorts at Disney World. The Christmas theme is everywhere and the decorations are magnificent enough to even make the Christmas Grinch smile! One Disney World resort that takes Christmas décor to another level is The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, for it sets up a life-size gingerbread house in its lobby each year. The gingerbread house at The Grand Floridian is about 14 foot tall and made from real gingerbread. About 800 pounds of flour, 140 pints of egg whites, 600 pounds of powdered sugar, 1050 pounds of honey, 600 pounds of chocolate and 35 pounds of spices go into making this astounding creation. The structure is made from more than 5000 individual gingerbread shingles and a dusting of classic Disney magic! The pastry team of this hotel spends about 160 hours putting it together and over 400 hours baking it! But this superb structure is not just for looking; it doubles up as a sweets shop selling a variety of festive treats and gingerbread items. If you are a keen observer, you might be able to spot a few Mickeys and other Disney characters hidden in the gingerbread house decorations!
9. There are more than 475 places to eat at Disney World
Disney World, officially known as Walt Disney World, is the happiest place on Earth. People come from far and wide to visit, enjoy and take in the delights of everything that Disney World has to offer. There is something for everyone to enjoy here; rides, attractions, food, characters, parades, fireworks and more. Besides holidaying at Disney World, you could even get married here, celebrate birthdays or anniversaries, have family get-togethers, etc. From EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) through Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom to Hollywood Studios, Disney World has a ton of attractions in each theme park. Whether you are here to ride the Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom, go on a Kilimanjaro safari at Animal Kingdom or enjoy a time machine-themed experience at Spaceship Earth in Epcot, chances are that you will be left feeling extremely hungry after each of these rides. But food is never too far away at Disney World. Especially when there are reportedly 475 places to eat here! This includes fine-dining and full-service restaurants, quick-service restaurants, food carts, kiosks, etc. The number of full-service restaurants hovers around 90, plus hundreds of quick services, restaurants, and kiosks. Several food carts selling fruits, snack packs, drinks and more are scattered across the various parks at Disney World. And all these food outlets cater to even the pickiest of eaters. There are turkey legs, churros, hot dogs, Mickey bars, popcorn, citrus swirls, fish and chips, desserts, fine dining options and more to choose from. With over 475 options, selecting the best dining choice for you and your family can be quite tough. Food is extremely tasty and well made, wherever you choose to dine at Disney World. So plan ahead and make sure you try a different place for each meal.
8. Disney Dining Plans are not for everyone
Like we have seen before, there are more than 475 food outlets at Disney World. For most visitors, it would be physically impossible to try out all these places in one visit. Thus, it becomes imperative to do your research ahead of time so that you’re not left running helter-skelter, come mealtime. And unsurprisingly, food at Disney World is not cheap. While we agree that food is very well made here, it is also a fact that their prices are quite high. A meal for one, two or a family of four can cost you a pretty penny. To ease your pocket pains, the folks at Disney came up with an ingenious way to help visitors save money on food – Disney Dining Plans! In essence, Disney Dining Plans are like prepaid plans for food that can be bought beforehand and used at various food outlets across Disney parks. These dining plans also enable you to get hefty discounts on food purchases throughout Disney World. So, springing for a Disney Dining Plan sounds like a no-brainer, right? But experts suggest otherwise. Many believe that going for the dining plan may not be the right choice for everyone. On a dining plan, to get your money’s worth, you might have to go for a proper sit-down meal at each mealtime. Most people won’t be doing that. Dining plans may make sense to a certain extent for families who wish to spend most of their time in the parks, eating from various outlets, but it could also lead to over-spending, which could ruin your vacation budget completely. So, be wise and plan well before you buy a Disney Dining Plan.
7. You can ask for free water at all food outlets in Disney World
Here’s the truth about water; what is a basic and free commodity in most countries, when packed in a clear plastic bottle, it becomes a chargeable item. And at Disney World, bottled water could cost you a pretty penny. While you could be an eco-warrior and carry your own water from home, but in the stifling Florida heat, that water is not going to be able to last you for long. Sooner or later, around your fourth or fifth theme park ride, you’re going to have to spring for bottled water at one of the beverage stands. But there is a secret Disney hack for those who don’t want to pay for bottled water or carry their own water from home – you can get free cups of water at practically every food and beverage stand in Disney World! Tap water is free and available at all quick-service locations if you just ask nicely. All you have to do is walk up to a quick-service restaurant or fountain drink stand and ask for a cup of water, plain or iced. If you ask even more nicely, the staff member might even give you a large cup of water. Alternatively, you could go to the various Starbucks outlets in Disney World for your fix of tall, grande or venti waters. You may have to stand in a queue but it’s certainly a cheaper alternative to bottled water. Besides the water at Starbucks is filtered and tastes better than Florida tap water, which many visitors claim to have an odd taste. Speaking of Florida tap water, you can get it for free from one of the many drinking water fountains installed across the parks at Disney World. Most of them are located outside restrooms and easily accessible. But the water dispensed at these fountains may not necessarily be cold and might leave you wondering about the odd taste and lukewarm temperature. But if you’re lucky, you might come across a fountain that has ice-cold water sufficient enough to fill up all your water bottles!
6. A table at Coral Reef restaurant is one of the most difficult to reserve
With almost 475 food outlets, including full-service and quick-service restaurants to choose from, it can be quite a task to pick the right dining spot. Even if you choose to go the fine dining route, there are dozens of restaurants to select from. But one fine dining restaurant that stands out from the crowd is Coral Reef restaurant in The Seas with Nemo & Friends (formerly Living Seas) pavilion at Epcot. And the feature that makes this restaurant one of the most sought after ones amongst diners is the giant aquarium around which the restaurant is created. Guests at Coral Reef can dine next to this 6 million gallon aquarium containing a spectacular array of marine life – from coral reefs through colorful fish to sea turtles. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a diver swim by! As one of the largest aquariums in the U.S., Coral Reef restaurant has acquired quite a fan following. A table at the restaurant is hard to come by and a table right next to the aquarium is even harder to obtain. Reservations for the Coral Reef restaurant fill up almost as soon as they open up. Like most Disney World restaurants, you can book a table up to 180 days in advance and reservations are highly recommended at this restaurant.
5. Check out Animal Kingdom restaurants for free on culinary tours
As one of Disney World’s most popular parks, Animal Kingdom is a big hit with adults and children alike. Besides going on wildlife safaris and admiring the wonderful landscapes, you can also eat tasty food from across the African lands at one of the many themed table-service restaurants in Animal Kingdom. But if you don’t want to spend a lot or are unable to get a reservation, there is another secret hack to checking out the superb Animal Kingdom restaurants – by way of free culinary tours! For those wanting to experience the exotic décor and offerings of the famed Animal Kingdom restaurants without paying for it, Animal Kingdom Lodge is the key. All you have to do is show up at the designated meeting spot and time, generally the front desk of the lodge at 4 pm, and embark on a free culinary tour guided by an expert. On the tour, you can check out the gorgeous African themed décor, review the fantastic menu offerings and learn about the meaning behind each restaurant. During the half-day tour, you might visit restaurants like Boma, Sanaa, and Jiko and the best part is, you will even get to sample some menu items for free! Now that’s one heck of a hack to visiting some of the best-themed restaurants at Disney World!
4. Hamburgers and hotdogs are popular snacks too!
We’ve seen in parts 1 and 2 of this article series that Mickey bars, turkey legs, popcorn, Mickey pretzels, and churros are some of the most popular snacks at Disney World. And during each festive season, the folks at Disney come up with interesting variations of these snacks to charm the visitors. Besides Mickey bars and turkey legs, there is a whole range of other items that visitors can enjoy snacking on at Disney World. These include hamburgers and hotdogs, the most beloved of all American fast-food items! Hamburgers are enjoyed so much by visitors at Disney World that reportedly seven million of them are sold each year in the various Disney World park, and hotdogs are not very far behind. About three and a half million hot dogs are eaten each year at Disney World. If that’s not fast-food love, we don’t know what is!
3. Victoria & Albert’s have very impressive food stats!
Perfectly described by Disney World as ‘Classic Victorian elegance meets haute American cuisine’, Victoria and Albert’s is a fine dining restaurant in The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. This multiple award-winning restaurant has a timeless elegance in its Victorian décor, sumptuous food, and impeccable service. It is a AAA Five Diamond Award Recipient since 2000 and has many impressive statistics to its name. To begin with, the restaurant offers an exclusive 11-course menu to guests seated at the Chef’s Table. While you continue to wonder what the heck is served at an 11-course menu, how long does it last, how many calories you might consume and how much it might cost you, allow us to impress you with some more stats. The über posh restaurant has 700 selections on its wine list with 4200 bottles in the cellar, and reportedly, about 10,000 soufflés are served during the dessert course each year at the restaurant. Is it any wonder that reservations at Victoria & Albert’s fill up months in advance?
2. Try The Grand Floridian for a dreamy Disney cake
Disney World is not just a magical place with rides, roller coasters, parades, and fireworks, it is also one of the most popular places for weddings. In fact, Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings continue to be featured in the list of the top destinations for weddings and honeymoons. If you get married at Disney, you can be assured of top-notch decorations, arrangements and of course, the most gorgeous wedding cake ever! The pastry chefs at Disney are masters at creating the wedding cake of your dreams. Reportedly, five pastry chefs exclusively work on making a wedding cake for Disney weddings. In fact, the tallest Disney Fairy Tale Wedding cake ever made was ten feet tall. To get a uniquely Disney cake, The Grand Floridian is your best bet! Whether you are after a mini cake, a mini-castle cake, a fancy, fondant-covered cake for a special occasion or a Disney character cake topper, you can be sure that the masterful pastry team at The Grand Floridian will be able to make it for you. The pastry chefs at the hotel are also known for their grand wedding cakes, including a multi-tiered one with a stunning Disney castle on top. Regular diners at the restaurants of The Grand Floridian can sample the gorgeous Cinderella Slipper Dessert.
1. You can actually try ‘the grey stuff’ at a Magic Kingdom restaurant
Remember Lumière from ‘The Beauty and the Beast’ and the song where he boasts of ‘the grey stuff’? Thanks to a bit of Disney magic and ingenuity, you can actually taste ‘the grey stuff’ at the Be Our Guest restaurant in Magic Kingdom. Whether you are a fan of the movie or not, this is a must-try dessert for all because not only is it simply delicious but it’s also served in the most adorable manner. On the ‘Dessert Trio’ section of the menu, besides two other delectable desserts, you also get an adorable teacup filled with the famous ‘grey stuff’. The fully edible teacup looks exactly like the character ‘Chip’ and is made from white chocolate. Guests can even get ‘the grey stuff’ on a cupcake topped with edible grey pearls. And for those wondering about the taste of this grey stuff, it’s absolutely delicious!