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15
Sep 14

How to Get a Dinner Reservation at Disney’s Be Our Guest Restaurant Without Booking 6 Months in Advance

Be Our Guest Restaurant Gargoyle

How fitting that these sad little gargoyles line the walkway to the entrance of Magic Kingdom’s Be Our Guest Restaurant. Undoubtedly the hottest reservation to score for guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort. Reservations (by Disney resort guests) book up six months in advance leaving locals, day guests and guests staying at non-Disney owned and operated hotels scratching their heads on how to score a dinner reservation.

Take me for example. I’ve only had dinner here once since they opened and that was because I swindled my way into a friend’s reservation (Thanks Carol!).

But there is a way, a not-so-well-known way to get a walk-up dinner reservation at Be Our Guest Restaurant…however, it’ll cost ya.

The secret lies in the “Hard Ticket Event”.

On Friday night my family and I attended Mickey’s Not-so-Scary Halloween Party. The party runs from 7pm – Midnight. Normally on nights like this, Be Our Guest Restaurant takes dinner reservations up until 6:30 pm for regular park guests. These are the reservations that book up six months in advance. If you look on the MNSSHP Map you will see that the only restaurants advertised as “open” in Fantasyland for the party are Pinocchio Village Haus, The Friar’s Nook, Storybook Treats and Gaston’s Tavern. So how did my husband and I score dinner there that night?

We arrived at the Magic Kingdom around 6pm and made a bee line for Be Our Guest Restaurant. When we arrived, there was a manager with a clip board taking walk up reservations. The company isn’t stupid. They know visitors are clamoring for a chance to throw more money at them, so why not allow them to during these “after hours” events? Our dinner bill ended up totaling around $130 that night. Why turn this kind of money away?

When I asked the manager what the “Special Event” protocol was, I was told that on Mickey’s Not-so-Scary Halloween Party nights, she would book walk-up reservations from 6:30 pm to around 7:10 pm. It’s not always a guarantee that this will be the case and depends on the demand that she sees. She said that the same protocol was in place for the Night of Joy events the previous weekend. I assume this will also be the case for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. We arrived at the hostess station around 6:30 pm and were given a “Party of Two” reservation for 6:45 pm. Being that this was one of the earlier parties, we only saw a handful of other guests arrive after us and ask for a reservation. By around 6:40 pm that booking cast member was gone.

Once inside, our server told us that if there is still demand beyond 7:10 pm, management will open up another one hour block of reservations for guests, again this is on a case-by-case, night-by-night basis and only on separate hard ticket event nights. I don’t think that I would have wanted to take a later reservation time slot however. Dining at 6:45 pm put us out of the restaurant at around 8:45 pm, just in time to see Hallowishes. A later reservation and we would have missed this limited time fireworks extravaganza and that would have been a deal breaker for me.

So there you have it folks. If you’ve been dying to get into Be Our Guest Restaurant for dinner and have been unable to secure a reservation, here’s your chance. It’s not a guarantee, but it’s worth a shot and if you don’t make it in, at least you can party the night away after hours in the Magic Kingdom.

Stay tuned for my dinner review, MNSSHP review and a look at an event exclusive dessert offered only during party nights at Be Our Guest Restaurant.


14
Sep 14

See Where You Can Find These Disney Inspired Desserts at Walt Disney World

Disney Halloween Desserts

Guests can scare up some fun at a devilish new dessert party, the Villains’ Sinister Soiree: A Wicked Takeover of Cinderella Castle during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom. Set within the majestic halls of Cinderella’s Royal Table, this special ticketed event allows guests to meet Disney villains while they indulge in decadent desserts and specialty non-alcoholic beverages. Guests also will receive preferred viewing for the 8:15 p.m. performance of Mickey’s “Boo-too-You” Halloween Parade, as well as preferred viewing for the Happy HalloWishes Fireworks Spectacular. For more information and reservations, guests may call 407-939-5262.


12
Sep 14

Dates for the 2015 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival at Walt Disney World

2014 epcot international flower and garden festival

Spring will bloom in a big way with bountiful blossoms, colorful Disney topiaries, gardening seminars and flavors of the season when the 22nd Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival runs March 4 to May 17, 2015, at Walt Disney World Resort.

Dozens of Disney character topiaries, from Chip and Dale to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, will rule the festival kingdom in the park’s Future World and World Showcase, and popular Outdoor Kitchens will return with refreshing beverages and tantalizing tastes from the garden and grill.

Home and garden seminars, children’s play gardens and other popular festival features will return for the 75-day event.  At the Festival Center, interactive gardening workshops will set the stage for outdoor do-it-yourself inspiration, and guest speakers will cover the latest in outdoor trends and home and garden topics.

Guests can try new food and beverage tastes from Outdoor Kitchen menus and pose for selfies among whimsical topiaries, multiple themed gardens and children’s play areas. Disney-crafted “flower towers,” herb gardens and beds of multi-colored blooms will add to the floral splendor of the park’s landscape.  On the park’s Future World lakes, more than 200 mini-gardens will be set afloat.

Hundreds of butterflies of several species will dazzle guests at the festival’s screened butterfly house.  As the sun begins to set, illuminated gardens will brighten the evening and cast a magical glow across the park.

Festival events are included in regular Epcot admission.


11
Sep 14

Another Walt Disney World Theme Park is Getting a Starbucks

Starbucks-Disneys-Hollywood-Studios

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will welcome a Starbucks location in February, 2015. The new store, The Trolley Car Café, will be themed to a classic trolley car along Hollywood Boulevard and offer a unique experience for coffee lovers visiting the park. Guests to the store will also be able to enjoy Disney baked goods and Starbucks’ La Boulange pastry items. The Trolley Car Café will be the fourth location serving Starbucks products at Walt Disney World Resort. Locations are already open at Magic Kingdom and Epcot, as well as at Downtown Disney.


08
Sep 14

Why You Should Splurge on Bull and Bear Steakhouse on Your Next Walt Disney World Vacation

Bull and Bear Steakhouse Waldorf Astoria Orlando Walt Disney World

On a recent “Girlfriend Getaway” to the Walt Disney World Resort, my friend Zannaland and I decided to splurge on a three hour dinner at the Bull & Bear Steakhouse inside the Waldorf Astoria Orlando. My first visit to this restaurant was back in July of 2011. You can read my very first Bull and Bear Restaurant Review here. That first visit won me over and I have been back to dine at the steakhouse several times since then. It’s a special treat.

Suzannah and I started our dining experience with an exquisite cheese board. This is actually something on the dessert menu, but it worked well as a starter and complemented our white wine.

Cheese Board

Bull and Bear Steakhouse Waldorf Astoria Orlando Cheese Board

Artisanal Cheese Selection ($19) Assorted Accoutrements. That night’s offerings were Pleasant Ridge, Taleggio, Roquefort, Fontina, Petite Munster and Vermont Bijou.

Bread Service

Bull and Bear Steakhouse Waldorf Astoria Orlando Bread Service

Not so much a bread as this is a cracker. My heart goes a flutter when the Feuille de Brick is part of bread service. Feuille de Brick is a pastry similar to phyllo. It’s crisp and buttery and sure to make your mouth sing. Suzannah opted for the monkey bread. Yes, monkey bread and fine dining go together like hand and glove.

Salads

Bull and Bear Steakhouse Waldorf Astoria Orlando Wedge Salad

The Wedge ($14) Smoked Bacon, Chopped Egg, Red Onion, Russian Dressing. This was the first time that I had ordered a salad at Bull & Bear. Normally I opt for the Shrimp and Grits, but sadly that is no longer on the menu. This salad did not disappoint and showed off the extraordinary knife skills of the chef. The salad wasn’t overdressed and portion size was controlled so that the main entrees could still be enjoyed without that uncomfortably full feeling.

Wine

Bull and Bear Steakhouse Waldorf Astoria Orlando Goldeneye Pinot Noir

Bull & Bear offers an extensive selection of wine to pair with each dinner course. The restaurant has moved from boring paper menus to iPad menus. This gives guests the opportunity to preview what each dish will look like and gives a suggestion of proper wine pairings for each offering. Suzannah and I started our dinner service with a Schloss Vollrads Riesling ($17) which complemented our cheese board.  I then switched over to a crisp Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc ($14) for my salad course and made my way into reds for the meat course where I opted for a Goldeneye Pinot Noir ($27).

Beefsteaks

Bull and Bear Steakhouse Waldorf Astoria Orlando Short Rib

Beef Short Rib ($48) 8 oz. Prime Slow Braised on the Bone, Syrah Wine Braised. I pray that this never goes away. It’s the only cut that I order when dining here. It’s literally like candy. Fork tender. Unctuous with the wine glaze and top on my list. I’ll be attending a special wine pairing dinner this month at Bull & Bear which will hopefully push me out of my comfort zone and force me to try something different as a main course. No doubt I will like it just the same. I have never tried anything here that I haven’t liked.

Sides

Bull and Bear Steakhouse Waldorf Astoria Orlando Pomme Frittes

Bull & Bear Frittes ($18) 100% Idaho hand Cut tallow Crisp, Organic Garlic Aioli. I think these are the things I dream about most when planning a visit to Bull & Bear Steakhouse. Big, thick, salty and crisp. THE perfect french fry. Cooked in the drippings from the seasoned cuts of meat served that day. I picture an angel and devil sitting on both of my shoulders while I’m eating these crispy potatoes.

Bull and Bear Steakhouse Waldorf Astoria Orlando Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese with Applewood Smoked Bacon (Complements of the Chef) When the manager found out that I had never tried the signature mac and cheese he brought over a dish for us to enjoy with our meal. Perks of being a regular. Creamy and delicious. There’s also a version with lobster.

We were both so stuffed at this point that we were going to forego a sweet ending but for research purposes, and so that we could share the photos with you, we were offered two complementary desserts.

Desserts

Bull and Bear Steakhouse Waldorf Astoria Orlando Chocolate Bar

Chocolate BarMade with the Most Velvety Smooth Valrhona Chocolate, Chocolate Vodka Syrup. This dessert has been a mainstay on the dessert menu since my very first visit. The chocolate bar is a smooth mousse which contains small crispy chocolate cookie pearls and a well of chocolate syrup. Use caution when ordering this to share as a fork battle may ensue.

Bull and Bear Steakhouse Waldorf Astoria Orlando Chocolate Cigar

Chocolate Cigar – A novelty dessert. Most novelty desserts are nice to look at but lack any real flavor and are hard to eat. Not the chocolate cigar. This sweet treat is a crisp cookie shell with decadent rich chocolate filling. The ash is comprised of a meringue powder which was so tasty, Suzannah and I would dip a bite of the chocolate bar into the powder for added flavor and texture.

The Bull & Bear is located within the gates of the Walt Disney World Resort at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando. The Waldorf is adjacent to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Valet service is offered at a reduced rate when dining here or you can choose to self park in the Hilton Bonnet Creek parking garage and walk through the convention center space to access the restaurant. If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel you can take a taxi or use the free bus service. Buses run to the Waldorf Astoria from the four major theme parks and Downtown Disney. Reservations are not required but are strongly recommended.

Bull & Bear Steakhouse
Inside the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort
14200 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane
Orlando, FL 32821
407-597-5500
BullandBearOrlando.com