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MouseStation 266 - Walt Disney World Dining Top Picks

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Show run time 0:35:44


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In today's show, Mark and Mike talk about their single top picks for various dining categories around Walt Disney World. See below for the runners-up.

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Thanks to our sponsor

Today's show is sponsored by Advantage Vacation Homes, a great vacation home rental company that gives you a place to stay with lots more space than a regular hotel room for a lot less money.

Remember, if you're planning a trip with a large number of people, a multiple-bedroom vacation home can be a lot cheaper than multiple hotel rooms.

For more information on what a vacation home is and what to expect when renting one, check out our interview of Fred Zorayq from Advantage Vacation Homes in Episode 219!

Feature: Walt Disney World Dining Top Picks

Mike and Mark decided to put together a list of some of their favorite dining spots at Walt Disney World. They were actually a little surprised to see some of the things that they agreed on. They also only listed their top picks, so these show notes will be the only place to see their runners-up.

Best Breakfast On-the-Run in the Park

Mike started this off with the coffee cart outside the main entrance of Disney's Animal Kingdom (DAK). Mark countered that he preferred Safari Coffee, which is inside the park and just over the bridge onto Discovery Island. Both have good selections, usually short lines, and are well situated for grabbing a quick bite before rope drop. (And they're not nearly as crowded as the Main Street Bakery).

Mike's runners-up include Pretzels, Main Street Bakery in the Magic Kingdom (MK), Sunshine Seasons at Epcot (EP), and Sunset Ranch Market in Disney's Hollywood Studios (DHS). Mark's runners-up include Main Street Bakery (MK) and Starring Rolls Bakery (DHS).

Best Coffee

Mark doesn't drink coffee (him on coffee is not a pretty sight), so he excused himself from this topic. Mike hates the "Nescafe slop" served through most of the property, but prefers Jiko & Boma at the Animal Kingdom Lodge (AKL), everywhere at DAK and the Polynesian (Poly) and Contemporary (Contempo), somewhat forgetting the principle of just listing our top picks. In clarifying his runners-up, Mike listed Animal Kingdom Park Shadegrown coffee, Kona Cafe (Poly), Concourse Coffee (Contempo), Wolfgang Puck Cafe at Downtown Disney (DTD) and Starring Rolls Bakery (DHS).

Best Outdoor Seating

Mike changed his top pick from conversation prior to the show, grabbing Mark's top pick of Flame Tree Barbeque (DAK). Both love the quiet seating areas down by the water where you've got a great view of Expedition Everest and Discovery River.

Mike's runners-up include the Rose & Crown (EP), Sunset Ranch Market (DHS) and the Dawa Bar (DAK). Mark's runners-up include Casey's Corner (MK), Rose & Crown (EP), Raglan Road (DTD) and the Turf Club Grille at the Saratoga Springs Resort (SSR).

Best Character Dining

Mark went with the Crystal Palace for its quality of food, the fun parade for kids through the restaurant with the characters and the ability to get into the Magic Kingdom before park opening and walk down a deserted Main Street, U.S.A. Mike went with the Garden Grille (EP) for the fresh food, the better personal attention from the characters and the rotating view of the Living with the Land attraction.

Mark's runners-up include Chef Mickey's (Contempo) for the character interaction and the Beach Blanket Breakfast at Cape May Cafe in the Beach Club Resort (BC) for the smaller crowds and therefore greater attention. Mike's runners-up are Liberty Tree Tavern (MK), 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian Resort (GF), and Mary Poppins Tea Time (GF).

Best No-Wait Drop-In Table Service Location

Mike went with Boma (AKL) for overall, including resorts (though some people have problems getting in to Boma) and Marrakesh (EP) for overall. Mark took Olivia's at the Old Key West Resort (OKW) because he often stays at the resort and it's convenient to just drop in there and Marrakesh (EP) in the parks for reasons stated in the Epcot Top 3 show and because there never seems to be a problem getting in there.

Mike's runners-up: Trails End Buffeteria at Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground (FW) - is it really table service?, Shutters at the Caribbean Beach Resort (CBR), Planet Hollywood (DTD) , Rainforest Cafe (DTD & DAK), Bongo's Cuban Cafe (DTD). Mark's runners-up: Plaza Restaurant (MK), California Grill (Contempo) if you're willing to eat at the bar, Turf Club Grille (SSR), and sometimes Flying Fish Cafe at the Boardwalk Resort (BW) or the Biergarten (EP).

Best Snack Cart Treat

For Mark, it was a tight contest, but the Mickey Premium Bar had to be the big winner. Mike went with the pretzel. (He just loves pretzels.)

Mark's runners-up: A close second was the churro, and the roasted nuts in Adventureland (MK) are great, as well. (Of course, if The Kid was on the show, his top pick would easily be the Itzakadoozie pop.) Mike's runners-up: Mickey's Premium Ice Cream Bar, Lion King Pecan Clusters, Fantasia Peppermint Bar, Water, NOT Organic Pressed Fruit.

Best Interactive Dining Experience

Here, Mike and Mark agreed again, with the Whispering Canyon Cafe at the Wilderness Lodge (WL) easily taking the honors. Between the Pony Express rides, the mass ketchup deliveries, cast member joke-telling (to the entire restaurant), presentations of the world's longest straw and so forth, it's just a fun time for all.

Mike's runners-up: Mickey's Backyard Barbeque (FW), The Hustle at Everything Pop at Pop Century Resort (PC) and Tony's Town Square Restaurant (MK). Mark's runners-up: 50s Prime Time Cafe (DHS) if the wait staff that day is actually attentive, Marrakesh (EP), Biergarten (EP) and 'Ohana (Poly).

Best "Date" Restaurant

Mark went with the Coral Reef Restaurant (EP) during the last seating of the night, down on the floor one row back from the tank. It's quiet, and by the end of your meal it's just you, the wait staff and the fish. Mike picked Jiko (AKL) for the extensive wine list, the mac & cheese side dish, its private yet intimate environment, the great wait staff, fresh food and the fact that it's American comfort food and fine dining with African flair.

Mark's runners-up: Flying Fish Cafe (BW), California Grill (Contempo) with a window seat and Tony's Town Square Restaurant (MK) for the Lady & the Tramp atmosphere (just don't nudge your meatball with your nose - it looks silly). Mike's runners-up: Cinderella's Royal Table (MK), Victoria & Albert's (GF), Flying Fish Cafe (BW) and Biergarten (EP).

Best After-Hours Food

Mark went with Raglan Road (DTD). Mike picked Planet Hollywood (DTD) because it's open even later.

Mark's runners-up: not much. He misses Jungle Jim's at the Crossroads, though. Mike's runners-up: local Domino's locations, Buffalo Wild Wings at the Crossroads, The Mara (AKL).

Best Overall Dining Value

Mike picked going to The Mara (AKL) to get three Zebra Domes for $2.89. For breakfast or lunch, he recommends Trail's End buffeteria (FW), but dinner is too pricey. Mark's best dining value is to go to Pecos Bill's (MK) and get a burger, then go to the salad bar ... er ... fixin's bar and load up your burger and plate. Mark hasn't actually done an entire salad plate, but he has made very tall burgers with the sauteed onions, lettuce, mushrooms and more.

Mike's runners-up: endless milkshakes at Whispering Canyon Cafe (WL), pretzel and sauerkraut at Sommerfest in Germany (EP) and turkey legs in Tomorrowland. Mark's runners-up: giant hot dogs at Casey's Corner (MK), Yorkshire County Fish & Chips (EP).

Doug Price update

We recenly told you about the effort to help Doug Price of The Radio Advenures of Dr. Floyd, who was interviewed earlier this year by Steven Ng. Apparently, they quickly reached their goal, and they are now directing any additional donations to the American Red Cross. Thanks for your support!

Listener Feedback

Thomas wrote in for the first time in a while to let us know that he agrees that it's not the drop at Splash Mountain that gets you wet, but rather it's the water that they throw at you later on. He also noted that the end of the last song during the Lion King musical includes the lyrics "Busa Simba," meaning "Rule Simba", therefore indicating another reason that "Simba Rules." Mark added Thomas to Mike's column of supporters in the Nemo/Simba debate..

Maryann Fekete wrote in to let us know that she's still out there and still listening. She's enjoying the "Ask the Kid" segments and notes that there's probably never a dull moment at Mark's house. (True enough!)

Sil Spagnuolo wrote in to let us know that he's really enjoying the show, and that he'd be happy to talk to us about the 15-day Eastbound Repositioning Cruise thru the Panama Canal on the Disney Cruise Line in August. He also donated to Broadway Cares and was wondering how far into the future Ray Mercer will honor his offer of backstage tours for donors. Mark noted that he did not recall Ray putting a time limit on the offer. He'll ask Ray get in touch with Sil to set things up.

 

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS

Mike is again joining Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Gypsy of the Year online fundraising campaign. This year, he has aligned himself with The Lion King Gazelle Tour team. For more information or to donate, go to his fundraising page. Note that Mark has said that he wants to change his Facebook avatar to a red ribbon for World AIDS Day as many have urged him, but he'll only do it if Mike hits his $500 goal. Mike upped the ante and said that, if contributions hit $700, he'll change his Facebook avatar to Nemo for an entire month! Ray Mercer has offered to provide a backstage tour at The Lion King on Broadway to any MouseStation listener who donates to the cause. Please donate now!

Facebook

We're now on Facebook! Join the MousePlanet and MouseStation groups. You can also become a fan of MousePlanet or the MouseStation. If you join the club and use Pieces of Flair, you can get your MousePlanet and MouseStation flair from Mark (though you have to friend him first).

MouseFest

Registration is now open for MouseFest! You can sign up now, and check out the many meets being hosted by MousePlanet as you plan your trip.

Listener of the Month

If you're interested in joining us aboard the MouseStation as our "Listener of the Month", call the toll-free feedback line at 1-866-939-2278 and tell us what the show featuring your guest appearance would be about. Listen to the show for restrictions.

Wrapping up

We've put together a new listener survey to help us learn more about you and what you like most about this podcast. This one is much more targeted than the old Podtrac survey. Please take a few minutes to fill it out and let us know what you think.

Don't forget to go to the iTunes podcast directory and give us a good rating for the combined feed!

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Also remember to go out to our main podcast page and stick a pin into our Frappr map.

Thanks to our audio engineer and sound editor Steven Ng.

Thank you for listening!

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The MouseStation crew (@MouseStation) currently consists of Mark Goldhaber (@MPMark) and Mike Demopoulos (@MPMike).