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Be Our Guest At The Magic Kingdom – Lunch Edition

Be Our Guest At The Magic Kingdom – Lunch Edition

Be… our… guest…, be our guest, well you know the rest and good luck getting that out of your head! It’s time for the Be Our Guest lunch edition! We have long touted this quick serve as a gem in the Magic Kingdom. You can find our breakfast review here but today, we’re talking about the meal that keeps us going through those long Disney days! One of our strategies to hitting up this ultra-popular restaurant is planning for the “between times” which means that you may find yourself with either a late breakfast or early lunch reservation – embrace whatever magic floats your way! If you do happen to get a lunch reservation, today we’ve got you covered!

Ballroom Dining area at Be Our Guest
The Ballroom Dining Area

Setting The Table (Or Stage)

Nate and I have been to Be Our Guest several times for lunch and we’ve had Alicia (Serena’s sister) join a few times. Between us, we’ve had most of the lunch menu so let’s browse the choices!

French Dip at Be Our Guest
The French Dip

The Serena Go To!

Starting things off, the French Dip (how fitting) is my usual go to. With tender thinly sliced prime rib, on a garlic bread baguette (Maurice!), with a peppy horseradish slather and a smattering of greens (usually arugula), this is a respectable sandwich for those beef buffs among us. Served with warm jus for dipping (I like mine extra sloppy) and the standard Disney fries which are always perfectly cooked. The quality of the beef is excellent and the baguette is light and crispy. This sandwich is truly the sum of all parts.

Passholder Insight: A great way to hit the in-between times is to rope drop the Magic Kingdom, then as the park gets busy around 10:30 am head over to the restaurant for the perfect break!

Croque Monsieur at Be Our Guest
The Croque Monieur

Nate’s Favorite!

Coming up next is the croque monsieur. This is an elevated version of a grilled ham and cheese. Typically a ham and cheese (gruyere c’est la classique!) with a bechamel slathered top that is bubbled under a broiler, the Be Our Guest version is a bit more portable. A griddled ham and gruyere on multigrain bread with a thick schmear of bechamel on the inside brings this basic sandwich to level 2. As the French dip, the ham here is high quality carved ham. I personally feel like a little dijon mustard or even a little fruit chutney on the side would be a nice addition here just to mix up the flavors but overall this is a stellar ham and cheese, one worth trying.

Passholder Insights: Be Our Guest is the only quick serve can make Advance Dining Reservations for at Walt Disney World. You’ll want to try to book this at the 180-day mark.

Carved Turkey Sandwich at Be Our Guest
The Carved Turkey Sandwich

When We’re Mixing It Up

For those of us who prefer to limit our saturated fat intake on vacation, the carved turkey sandwich is a hearty portion of freshly roasted turkey breast, aioli, arugula all on the garlic bread baguette. Yum yum yum! Alicia has also had the nicoise salad which has a healthy sized portion of perfectly seared ahi tuna along with all the proper fixings – poached green beans, roasted bell peppers, fingerling potatoes, and a poached egg. This is drizzled in a tangy herb vinaigrette. This is a hearty salad for those of us who are carb conscious and love fresh seared tuna. Definitely an updated classic.

nicoise salad at Be Our Guest
The Nicoise Salad

Using The Dining Plan

For those using the Disney Dining Plan (DDP), your meal also comes with dessert. As they say in the song, try the gray stuff, it’s delicious! But seriously the desserts here are an assortment of cupcake offerings, one for every taste – chocolate, vanilla, lemon. There’s also a creme brulee with that unmistakable crust crack that us brulee junkies love.

Passholder Insights: Be Our Guest is one of the best values if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan.

Our Thoughts  

Overall this is quite a bit of food for the price and again the real treat here is the ambiance – three separate dining rooms, the magical food delivery, the whole castle theme. It’s certainly one of the most magical quick serve locations on property. Grab a seat and order up some magic!

The Backlot Express Is Live And Ready For Dining!

The Backlot Express Is Live And Ready For Dining!

The Backlot Express is tucked way in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Associated with one Nate’s favorite show, the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular (which could be removed in favor of a new Indy themed land). Backlot Express is themed on a grab n go lunch spot on the next big Hollywood movie set. It had a brief intermission recently for a refresh, but it’s back now with a revamped menu that’s a little more contemporary and adventurous. On our last visit to Walt Disney World, we laced up our shoes and headed to the Backlot Express set at for some grub!

Inside seating at Backlot Express
Inside of Backlot Express

The Theming

The decor remains fun and movie filled – there’s props everywhere and the restaurant feels like a big sound stage! With ample seating both inside and out, you’ll have no problem finding a spot. Backlot Express was previously known for its burgers, salads, and sandwiches – not much has changed in regards to the staple offerings but these have all gotten a serious upgrade! Take two and ACTION!

BacklotBurger at Backlot Express
The Backlot Burger

The Grub – Burger Time

For us, we did the usual – sandwich and a salad to split. This time we went with the classic Backlot Burger and the Southwest Salad. The burger is the standard Disney burger, nothing too fancy, dressed up with a decent sized portion of pulled pork, pepper jack cheese, tomato, lettuce, and pickles.

The DVC Duo are a duo divided on this burger – Nate really liked it, Serena, not so much. Pros: pulled pork was soft and juicy with a sweet BBQ sauce. Pepper jack cheese was spicy which helps cut the sweet pork. Cons: for Serena, the sauce is too sweet and the pulled pork was the same texture as the burger – let’s change up the texture! An alternative approach would be spicy melty pepper jack cheese, BBQ sauce, and onion rings – now that’s a backlot treat! The onion ring would add crunch and onion flavor while still getting the sweet from the BBQ sauce. For this burger to work better, in my opinion, a tangier sauce needs to be implemented to the pulled pork, that would help break it up!

The Southwest Salad at Backlot Express
Southwest Salad

The Grub – Healthier Option

We also had the Southwest salad which was a hearty portion of lettuce with crispy crunchy wonton strips, black bean salsa, and avocado with a Mexican style vinaigrette. This can also be had with chicken which would be more than filling! This was as solid as you can get of a salad at a theme park – lettuce was crisp, toppers weren’t too skimpy, dressing flavorful and on the side so the salad doesn’t get soggy. Good enough for me!

Backlot Express Menu
The Menu

Maybe Next Time

We were eyeing other menu items too: the Chicken Tenders looked amazing – crispy battered and golden brown, a hearty portion at 4 tenders and fries. The Chicken and Biscuits was stick to your ribs looking and a spicy strawberry glaze? Wow Disney, taking it to the next level! The Chicken Club also looked delicious with a juicy grilled chicken breast, cilantro aioli, pickled red onions – yum yum!

They even have special desserts for the 30th Anniversary (though when we were there it was still Mickey’s birthday celebration). I imagine these desserts are similar to what you’ll find at other quick serve locations – perfectly sized to share and always fun and fresh with familiar yet elevated combinations of flavors and textures. This is some high-quality stuff for quick-serve land!

Overall, the heart and soul of Backlot Express remains with a delightful upgrade into new tastes, flavors, and food ideas. We definitely love a solid restaurant in each park – something not too crazy that everyone in the party can enjoy with healthy and naughty options to satisfy any food craving. Backlot Express sure delivers! AAANNNDDDD Cut! We’ll see you at the Backlot!

‘Ohana – Bring a Family Sized Appetite! – Dinner Edition

‘Ohana – Bring a Family Sized Appetite! – Dinner Edition

‘Ohana means family and with a large group of your closest humans is definitely the best way to enjoy this popular Disney dining destination. Luckily for us, on our last trip we scored a coveted reservation the evening of our runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon! This was my first time dining there and Nate hadn’t been in awhile, plus we had some relative Disney newbies so we were all in for a treat! Let’s dive in!

Dining Room at Ohana
The Dining Room

Location

First of all, ‘Ohana is obviously tucked into the Great House at the Polynesian Resort, next door to the Kona Cafe. It is a beautiful restaurant with tall thatched roof ceilings, large windows overlooking the lake, and the open grill is almost a dinner show in itself. For those of you who have thought that the food is the same as the Luau Dinner Show, you are luckily wrong. The themes are obviously similar – Pacific Island flavors but that’s about where the similarity ends.

Pineapple Coconut Bread at Ohana
The Pineapple-Coconut Bread

A Little Nibbler To Begin

For starters, there is a communal salad with a tangy and citrusy lilikoi dressing. Plus the famed ‘Ohana pineapple-coconut bread. The salad is bright and fresh and that bread is to die for, but don’t fill up too much on these delicious amuse bouches!

Passholder Insights: If you arrive a little early for you reservation, check out the Tambu Lounge right next door. A great place for a Polynesian inspired cocktail!

Ohana appetizer platter
Appetizer Platter

Bring On The Apps!

It’s time for the appetizers – crispy pork pot stickers and glazed chicken wings. These were everything you hope them to be – not too fancy but the pot stickers had that translucent wonton skin with a crunchy pan fried bottom and succulent juicy pork and scallion filling. The chicken wings were in a teriyaki style sauce (yes the menu says honey-coriander, no I did not think they tasted like honey or coriander…) and cooked perfectly – grilled, crispy, juicy. I honestly could have made a meal of these little beauties. They are both served with an assortment of salty, tangy, peanuty, sweet sauces. Mix and match til your heart’s content!

Passholder Insights: If you have extra food left on the table, believe it or not you can ask for a to go container. Nothing wrong with beginning the next with some extra dumplings!

Open Air Kitchen

The Stars of the Show!

Onto the main course! Along with your wings and dumplings, you also receive communal stir fried vegetables and teriyaki noodles. The veggies are solid standard mixed vegetable fare and anytime I get a big portion of veggies at Disney World I’m a happy camper! The noodles are also delicious and standard fare which is what you want at this type of dining experience – they are toothsome and well seasoned and just plain fun to eat!

The star of the show however are the grilled skewers of meat. This is where Pacific Island meets Brazilian steakhouse – with a surprisingly awesome result! Servers start coming around with delicious oak-fired cuts of chicken, steak, and shrimp! The chicken was tender and juicy, the steak you could almost cut with a fork. The flavors are neutral preferring instead to showcase the oak-fire smokiness and allow guests to utilize the array of dipping sauces. This is fun for kids and adults alike! The winner for me was the grilled shrimp – these were monsters and there’s just something about grilling shrimp in their shell that gives them such a shrimpy smokey flavor – I had at least 2 servings!

Passholder Insights: If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, ‘Ohana is a great value. It’s only one meal credit.

Bread Pudding at Ohana
The Bread Pudding

There’s Always Room for Dessert!

But wait, there’s more! For those bread pudding lovers like me, dessert is the famous ‘Ohana bread pudding smothered in a Banana Foster-like topping and vanilla ice cream. Lordavmercy! This bread pudding is soft and decadent, the bananas are carmelized and sweet, the ice cream is good quality vanilla not too sweet. It is served again in a communal style.

Passholder Insights: After dinner we like to head downstairs to the beach, and check out the views of Seven Seas Lagoon, Contemporary Resort, and potential the fireworks over the Magic Kingdom (they play the music as well)!  

Our Thoughts

The unique thing about this dining experience is that it’s all you care to enjoy! We definitely enjoyed a second helping of dumplings and chicken wings! In hindsight though I wish I had saved a little more room for the main meal, but oh well, you’re on vacation! Aloha!

Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge – A Safari of Flavors – Breakfast Edition

Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge – A Safari of Flavors – Breakfast Edition

I know you’ve heard this before, the DVC Duo loves breakfast! Trouble is, when doing Disney vacations the way we do them, there’s generally not a lot of time in the mornings between rope dropping and early morning magic hours, and don’t get us started on our exercise routine! So, the point is, when we go out for breakfast at Disney, we choose places that are worth the time! Que Boma – the fantastic African inspired buffet located in the Jambo House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort. We have been there for both breakfast and dinner and loved them for both, but today we’re talking about the most important meal of the day! I’ll have my eggs over medium please, Nate takes his with the yolk broken and flipped over, you grab the hot sauce!

Boma Entrance
Entrance to Boma

The Setting

Boma is themed around an African meeting place and the centerpiece is an overflowing buffet line. The star of the buffet for me is the oak fired grill which produces succulent grilled meats and vegetables with a “can’t be beat” charred flavor. You’ll find Boma is on the bottom floor of the resort across from Jiko, and below one of our favorite lounges, Victoria Falls.

Bobotie at Boma
African Bobotie

The Buffet

For breakfast at Boma, there’s generally an African inspired baked egg dish similar to a traditional crustless quiche. When we dined, it was prepared with ground turkey, onions, peppers, tomatoes, and curry – I loved the unique combination and although it sounds unusual, curry on eggs is delicious!

Pap served at Boma
Pap and Tomatoes

You will also generally find another dish at Boma called shakshuka with is traditionally Northern African but now more commonly seen in middle Eastern cooking. Think of a spicy tomato sauce with onions and herbs and perfectly baked eggs nestled right inside. Grab yourself a little pap to soak up the sauce and you’re in business! There are usually also a few African grain staples such as “pap” which is very similar to grits, sweet plantains which are akin to a starchy banana that are served with honey, and more traditional offerings like oatmeal.  

The Boma Craving Station
Craving Station

Making your way to the carving station, you’ll find a selection of  either a grilled turkey breast, ham, roast beef, or salmon. The flavors of all of them are generally pretty standard though all are well prepared from the oak fired grill. This is great for those of you who prefer a more approachable taste profile!

After the carving station, you hit more traditional breakfast offerings – scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, waffles (all the Mickey waffles you care to eat!), pancakes, etc. These are all very standard, but let’s face it, we all love a big ol American breakfast from time to time!

Bread and Danish Section of the Boma Buffet
Danish and Breads

After the traditional offerings, you hit the cold section – fruits, yogurt bar with a wide variety of toppings (think nuts, granola, raisins, seeds), cereals. There is also a bakery selection with fresh croissants, muffins, bagels, English muffins, danish. Since you’re here, you might as well get a Kenyan press pot and really treat yourself!

We love the breakfast buffet at Boma and its popularity is infamous. You’ll want to make sure to make an advanced din

Yak & Yeti at Disney’s Animal Kingdom- The Expedition For Great Food

Yak & Yeti at Disney’s Animal Kingdom- The Expedition For Great Food

On a recent “expedition” to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the DVC Duo and friends had the opportunity to dine at Yak & Yeti. This previously unassuming restaurant is modeled after a hotel restaurant one would find in the Himalayan foothills. While I had never been terribly excited to try Yak & Yeti (I have no idea why), we thought it would be perfect for a late lunch with friends on our arrival day. The secret is out on this joint – it was packed even at the odd 3:00 lunch hour!

Menu for Yak & Yeti
The Menu

Prepping For Adventure

My impression of the style of Yak & Yeti is its definitely more of an Asian-fusion tapas style meal. There are plenty of appetizers, small plates, and large plates all of them generally able to be split quite easily. This was our approach and we would recommend it as the portions are plenty big and you’ll be able to try a lot of different things!

Ahi Tuna Nachos at Yak & Yeti
Ahi Tuna Nachos

The First Steps

We started with the Ahi tuna nachos and the dim sum basket. The Ahi tuna nachos were a respectable offering to the realm of wonton chips, wasabi aioli, and fresh Ahi tuna. I loved the tangy soy slaw which really added a nice crunch and heft to the nachos. This is what sets Yak & Yeti’s nachos apart from the rest of the school!

Dim Sum Basket at Yak & Yeti
Dim Sum

We also sampled the dim sum basket – pork pot stickers, shrimp siu mai, cha su bao bun and pork siu mai. There were 3 delightful nuggets of each and 2 bao buns. Given that there were 4 in the group, I was able to try the pork pot sticker which was sticky as advertised and with a pork, ginger, garlic filling that just popped with flavor. The shrimp siu mai was steamed perfectly, with nice little chunks of shrimp to help reinforce the flavor. For me, these were a little bland though, or maybe it was more unadventurous. It’d be fun if they played with the flavors a bit because otherwise the shrimp and 2 pork offerings are similar riffs of the same concept – ground meat in sticky wrapper. Maybe the shrimp siu mai is curry flavored? And the pork siu mai is teriyaki? The possibilities are there and mixing it up would fit the adventure theme a bit better!The bao buns for me stole the show, with tender flavorful cha su pork and soft sweet buns. I wish these were a little bigger!  I did not try the pork siu mai, but overall this would be a great starter for 2

Lo Mein Combo at Yak & Yeti
Lo Mein

Finding Our Stride

For the main dish, we shared the lo mein combo which had tender noodles with perfect amount of chew and fresh vegetables including bean sprouts which are just so crunchy and bright it really elevated this dish. Next time, I’d love to try the pork belly ramen and the lobster garlic noodles!

Again, being that we were there with friends in a shareable environment we went for the Korean beef – this was the winner of the table for sure. Thinly sliced and tender stir fried beef, fresh peppers and onions, sweet chunks of pineapple and a sweet spicy sauce! This one hit all the flavor notes – sweet, heat, tang, savory, acid – yum yum yum!

Korean Beef at Yak & Yeti
Korean Beef

Some of the more standard and highly recommended offerings included the Korean BBQ ribs and the Kobe beef burger which we saw at other tables – this thing was a monster! We have also had really good luck with steak dishes at several other 1 credit sit down restaurants like Sebastian’s Bistro or Jungle Navigation Co. and the soy herb glazed rib eye I bet would be fantastic. I can’t want to try the Bhaktapur duck on my next go around. Overall though, those 4 items were plenty for 4 adults. We probably could have had one more dish or dessert and been stuffed but given that this was the day before our half marathon, we didn’t want to feel too weighed down

Reaching The Summit

Yak & Yeti is a fantastic place in the Animal Kingdom, perfect for a light bite given the many shareables and with unique yet familiar flavors, all your party members are sure to find something they enjoy! We just recommend riding Expedition Everest before you eat!