One of the most popular questions I am asked is “Where is the best place to eat at Universal?”  Unlike Disney, Universal’s in-park dining selections are fairly limited and if you are in the mood for something a little better than burgers, chicken fingers and fries, it is really convenient to leave the park and head to CityWalk.  With so many selections for table service restaurants with prices comparable to in-park counter service restaurants, I highly recommend a table service meal at CityWalk as a much-needed break from the parks.  On my last trip, I visited NBC Sports Grill and Brew and it was my absolute favorite meal.

Menu Selections: For a bar and grill, this restaurant had a huge variety of pastas, burgers, steaks and comfort food selections.  My table enjoyed the Chicken Mac and Cheese, Chicken Pot Pie and the Smokehouse Stack Burger.  As much as we each enjoyed our entrees, the star of this meal was the Large Warm Soft Pretzel.  This was the biggest, most buttery, delicious soft pretzel I have ever had.   Aside from food, you can’t miss the brew!  The beer lover in your family will be in heaven with more than 100 beer selections including one beer brewed exclusively for the restaurant.

Service: Next to the pretzel, I think the service was the next best part of the experience.  Our server made the meal so enjoyable with quick beverage refills and timing the appetizer and main menu service extremely well.  She was fast and very efficient, while also friendly and engaging with our table.

Environment:  If you are there to enjoy each other’s company, this may not be the place for you.  However, if you are trying to catch a game or have a sports-lover in your family, this is the dream.  The restaurant boasts 90+ HDTV screens with every sport/match imaginable.  In the bar, you can find glass-top foosball tables if you want to have competitive drinks with friends.  The theming even carries into the bathrooms with more screens and an athletic locker room feel.  You just can’t help but smile in this place!

During my visit, my family and I walked in during prime dinner hours and were able to get a table immediately so reservations are not required.  With prices between $10-$40 per entrée, and just a couple minute walk from the entrance of Universal Studios park, I highly recommend dining at NBC Sports Grill and Brew.  It’s not only a great meal, but it is an incredibly themed experience you are sure to enjoy.

Julie Stewart

Travel Specialist

My husband and I decided to celebrate our birthdays by trying out a new dining experience. Despite our many visits to Walt Disney World, we continue to strive to have as many new experiences as possible!

We entered the restaurant and we felt as if we had been transported to the Pacific Northwest. The ambiance was very warm and comforting. The décor was rustic yet with notable elegance. We were promptly greated by our server and presented with a beautiful leather bound menu! There was also an extensive, award winning, wine list . They offered over 130 wines from the Pacific Northwest wineries!

We began our meal with a selection of artisanal cheeses all from the Pacific Northwest as well. Each cheese came with a delicious seasonal accompaniments. We had marinated pairs and grapes, a fig and nut bar, a fruit mustarda, and fresh honey. The Point Reyes Toma was my favorite. It was very creamy and delicious on its own, but when paired with the fresh honey it was a whole different flavor explosion.

Artist Point is known for using seasonal ingredients for their “farm to fork” menu. The menu offered many incredible offerings. We both ordered the filet mignon, however my husband added the blue cheese enhancement. The biggest debate of the evening was what sides we were going to order with our entrée! We decided on the mashed potatoes and the truffle macaroni and cheese. We made the right choice! The potatoes were light and creamy and there was plenty to share. The truffle macaroni and cheese was one of the best I have ever eaten. The creamy rich cheese sauce, with the perfectly cooked orecchiette pasta with a crunchy crumb topping. The steaks were perfectly cooked to our specifications and simply presented with a large grilled bulb onion! We were unfortunately too full to order dessert, but they were incredibly tempting!!

Our service was impeccable and we truly savored our celebratory dinner!! Artist Point is a Signature dining location and would require 2 dining entitlements per entrée. Guests are asked to adhere to a dress code, but no fear a jacket is not required! The next time you are looking for a unique dining experience, with a fresh seasonal menu, this is your
place to try. Your travel specialist is here to help you find your next delicious dining experience!

Missy Zolecki

Travel Specialist

 

Tucked away in the World Showcase at EPCOT, guest can enjoy authentic Italian cooking at one of my favorite restaurants…  Via Napoli!  This family-friendly restaurant and pizzeria is not to be missed on your next visit to EPCOT.

Family style the Italian way is felt with the large table that stretches all across the whole width of the dining room.  Via Napoli is a warm, welcoming restaurant where guests can enjoy a culinary tour of Southern Italy with authentic Italian cooking, including hearty pastas, fresh salads and thin-crust pizzas that are perfected in a wood-burning ovens named after the 3 active volcanoes in Italy – Mount Etna, Mount Vesuvius and Stromboli.

These mouth-watering pizzas are made with fresh mozzarella cheese, San Marzano tomatoes and real Caputo flour imported from Southern Italy. Water for the dough is even sourced from a spring similar to Italy’s Campania region.

Via Napoli is designed to be reminiscent of the architecture in Florence, Italy.  It features an open kitchen and prep area, where guests can watch pizzas be created.  Our family was sat in the middle of the restaurant at the “family table” with a great view of the ovens.  My children loved watching the chefs toss the dough, build each individual pizza and bake each pizza just under 2 minutes in the volcano ovens nearby. Our pepperoni pizza and baked lasagna were amazing!!

The World Showcase at Epcot is a dining destination for both local families and Guests to Walt Disney World.  If you are looking for a delicious Italian meal and family-friendly atmosphere, then Via Napoli will become a quick family favorite restaurant on your next Walt Disney World vacation!

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

I want to share one of Walt Disney World Resorts “Best Kept Secrets” for a mouthwatering Steak Dinner Introducing: Yachtsman Steakhouse located at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort in the Epcot Resort area.

Yachtsman Steakhouse is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you are using the Disney Dining Plan in 2017, you will need to use 1 Table Service Credit for breakfast and lunch and 2 Table Service Credits for dinner. In 2018, the Dining Plan can only be used at Dinner and will take 2 Table Service Credits. Advance Reservations are recommended and can be made 180 before your vacation begins so be sure to contact your Me and the Mouse Travel Agent for assistance with your dining.

This Signature Dining Experience, guests are asked to abide by a dress code. Men may wear khakis, slacks, jeans or dress shorts and collared shirts. Sport coats are optional. Women may wear Capri pants, skirts, dresses, jeans or dress shorts. The following items are not permitted: tank tops, swimsuits, swimsuit cover-ups, hats for gentlemen, cut-offs, torn clothing and t-shirts with offensive language and/or graphics.

During our visit, we were impressed with how friendly and helpful everyone was. The high- quality, grain-fed beef is aged in-house. As our gracious hostess seated us, we were able to watch butchers hand cut steaks to perfection and we also checked out the chefs preparing dinner on an oak-fired grill in the open kitchen. We were fortunate to be seated by the window and got to enjoy the view of the Stormalong Bay pool. If you choose to experience this fine dining location – after being seated, be sure to look up so you don’t miss seeing the exquisite and intricate woodwork on the ceiling.

Paul was our waiter and had a warm and welcoming personality. He was very helpful making suggestions to enhance our dining experience and was happy to answer any and all questions we had. We could not have asked for a better dining experience! Paul added his own special “magical” touch to our meal.

My adult children and I each selected the Filet Mignon served with Mashed Potatoes and Cabernet Wine Sauce. My husband chose the New York Strip steak served with Potato Gratin with Peppercorn Brandy Sauce. Each steak was partnered with the perfect sauce and potato choice. I could not resist adding a side of Truffle Macaroni and Cheese and it did not disappoint. I reluctantly shared with my family. It was a “winner” by a unanimous vote. Other tempting choices offered on the menu for starters were French Onion and Lobster Bisque soup. Salad choices include a Caesar Salad and the Yachtsman Wedge Salad.

Appetizer choices included: Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, Artisanal Cheeses, Tuna Tartare, and Quick-friend Shrimp and Calamari to name a few.

Steak choices were: Filet Mignon, New York Strip, Prime Rib-Eye Steak, Roast Prime Rib of Beef, Kansas City Strip Steak and a 32 ounce Porterhouse for two people. Additional Entrée selections included: Elk Tenderloin, Live Maine Lobster, Braised Beef Short Ribs, Sea Bass, All Natural Roasted Chicken and Okinawan Purple Sweet Potato-filled Pasta.

In addition to our favorite Truffle Macaroni and Cheese side dish, the Yachtsman’s Twice-baked Potato was very enticing as a side option. Caramelized Onions, Creamed Spinach, Spring Pea Risotto and Sautéed Mushrooms and Sautéed Vegetable Fricassee were also available.

We ended our meal very full, but couldn’t resist the opportunity to try (and share) The Admirals Cake. The Admirals Cake consisted of Valrhona Chocolate Brownie/Sponge Cake Layered Banana’s Foster Jam/Caramel Crisps/Sea Salted Ganache. We just couldn’t stop eating.

Additional dessert choices included: Chocolate Peanut Cake, Lime Semifreddo, Carrot Cake (a no sugar added dessert), Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake, The Yachtsman Sundae (a trio of Gelato), Seasonal Sorbet Trio, and Crème Brulee.

If you are bringing children, don’t worry, you are dining at Disney so children are not forgotten here. Yachtsman offers diverse kid menu options: Grilled Chicken Breast, Baked Fish of the Day, Macaroni and Cheese, Oak-grilled Steak Skewer, and Orecchiette Pasta and Meatballs.

I am excited to share my family’s experience with you and I hope you will consider visiting Yachtsman Steakhouse on your next visit to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Contact your Me and the Mouse Travel Agent to assist your family with a “magical” dining experience at Yachtsman Steakhouse.

Traci Perjak

Travel Specialist

 

Have you wondered what it is like to eat with a princess or several princesses? Dining for lunch in Cinderella’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom is just for you. From the moment you walk in for your reservation to the moment, you leave, they treat you like royalty. When you first walk in downstairs, you are greeting by your host and introduced to Cinderella. She will then pose for pictures with you and your guests.

You are then escorted upstairs to begin your dining experience. When you arrive upstairs, you enter the grand hall of Cinderella’s castle and are shown to your table for a prince or princess. Princesses are given a magic wand, and princes get a magic sword. Each prince or princess is also given a wishing star.

You will feel like royalty through your entire meal as you are greeted by being called my lord and my lady. The food is delicious, some of what I consider the best in all the Disney lands. You start with an appetizer or salad, continue to your main entrée, and then have a special treat for dessert – all included in your price. Some entrée selections include beef tenderloin, shrimp, pork tenderloin and a summer vegetable couscous.

All the while you are eating, princesses are announced and enter the main hall, then come around to great each table and pose for pictures. In addition to princesses, a wish ceremony takes place with the your wishing start and magic wand or sword! Close your eyes and be dazzled!

After all the wishing and personal visits with each princess, when you finish you meal, you may bid adieu. Dining in Cinderella’s Castle has been one of my favorite places to eat in Disney World since my first visit when I was 4, and I have yet to miss a visit since.

Jennifer Lovell

Travel Specialist

Kon’nichiwa! Greetings from Japan! Whether your family loves eating out at your local hibachi restaurant or you’ve never tried hibachi before, on your next Walt Disney World vacation be sure to have your Me and the Mouse travel agent reserve for you a lunch or dinner at Teppan Edo, a table service meal located in Japan on the far side of World Showcase Lagoon.

Check-in for Teppan Edo is located at the bottom of the stairs to the restaurant which is above the Mitsukoshi department store. After check-in, head up the stairs (an elevator is available for those that require it) and enter a calm and peaceful environment away from the hustle and bustle of Disney. Meals are served in one of several smaller rooms located along a hallway that overlooks Japan with a glimpse of World Showcase Lagoon. Four tables of 8 are located in each room and if your group does not fill a full table you will be seated with other Disney guests. Since everyone loves Disney, it’s a perfect ice breaker and before dessert you will become the best of friends.

Drinks, appetizers and sushi requests are the first thing offered after you sit down. The sushi options come with 8 pieces, perfect for sharing and they even have a sampler plate if you can’t decide between the various types of sushi. Please remember that appetizers and sushi are not included if you are on the standard Disney Dining plan but if you are interested in some of these I highly recommend the sushi sampler.

Once you have your appetizers and drinks, it’s time to pick the type of entree that appeals to you. Beef, chicken, salmon, shrimp, and vegetable options will all tempt you. Can’t decide? Select a combination meal. Garden salad, vegetables, and sukiyaki beef rice will accompany all choices. Now it’s time for the show! If you haven’t experienced a hibachi meal before, you are in for a treat. Each table will have their own amazing chef who will show off knife skills, toss food into the air, make a volcano from the sliced onions, and of course, being at Walt Disney World, you may also get treated to a hidden Mickey during your meal’s preparation. Once the show is over and your meal fully prepared, the food itself is delicious – a favorite on property for many.

Dessert is a choice between 3 different types of mousse cake and 3 different types of ice cream. My favorite is the mango mousse cake – a refreshing and light option.

Next time you have a day at Epcot, try something new and reserve a meal at Teppan Edo. You will not only have a great meal but an experience you won’t soon forget!

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

 

As a Floridian, fall means enjoying a pumpkin spice latte in 90-degree weather, instead of the normal 95, but luckily, it also means the Food and Wine Festival at EPCOT! Now those who know me, know that I love food, especially cheese (so much so that my husband wrote about it in our wedding vows, oy vey!). With that being said, I was really excited to see the return of one of my favorite kiosks, The Cheese Studio, which is hosted by Boursin this year. If you’ve never had Boursin cheese, you are missing out! It’s a creamy cheese that originated in France and it has a consistency similar to, but lighter than cream cheese, that melts in your mouth. Boursin boasts several different varieties, but my absolute favorite is garlic and fine herbs. The kiosk this year has three unique dish offerings utilizing several of the flavors.

The first dish, Braised Beef Stroganoff with Tiny Egg Noodles, Wild Mushroom, and Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese Sauce, could probably be skipped despite how delicious it sounds. We loved the idea of this one, but the flavors, unfortunately, just come out a little boring, even using the Garlic and Herb Boursin, which I think is hard to do.

The second dish, however, A Cheese Trio: Profiterole topped with Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese and Orange Apricot Jam; Smoked Salmon Pinwheel with Boursin Shallot and Chive Cheese and Everything Seasoning; and Strawberry Macaroon with Boursin Pepper Cheese, is really good! The Smoked Salmon Pinwheel is as expected and quite tasty. But the Profiterole and the Macaroon steal the show. I was hesitant because the sweet and savory combination can be hard to master, but these both are really fun and delicious combinations.

My favorite dish by far though is the Savory Caramelized Onion Boursin Garlic and Fine Herb Cheese Tart with cold Arugula Salad and Aged Balsamic. Let me just start off by saying that the Tart has dethroned the Grilled Lamb with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies (potato chips for the lay person) from Australia as my favorite dish at the Festival, which is saying a lot. Upon first bite, you immediately taste the great flavor and creaminess of the Boursin cheese, then from there, a slightly sweet flavor develops from the caramelized onions, and finally, there is a delicious tartness from the aged balsamic salad. If you are not a super adventurous eater, but want to delve into the spirit of expanding your horizons at the Food and Wine Festival, then this is a great item to start with. We’ve had it several times now and it has consistently been delicious. The other thing that I love about this dish, is that it’s one of the best values for your money ringing in at $4.50 for a very filling serving. I actually suggest sharing it if you want to eat your way around the countries.

Get to EPCOT to try a Tart before it goes away, but feel free to reach out if you have any other questions about the Food and Wine Festival or any food at Disney!

Jen Morrison

Travel Specialist

Ahoy! I welcome you to take a tour with me to explore the exceptional features of a popular upscale water-front dining experience offering indoor and outdoor seating with exceptional views. In addition to helping you travel through a variety of food choices you will find while dining at this family-friendly restaurant, I will also explain why The BOATHOUSE will provide you with a unique experience for kids of all ages in your family.

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Don’t sink your chances of dining here. While walk-up patrons are welcome, reservations here or at any restaurant on Disney property are highly recommended so be sure to discuss your dining preferences with your agent from Me and the Mouse Travel. You may use your Disney Dining Plan. Two credits are required.

BoathouseSeafood and Steak offerings are the main event. If you are a seafood fan, you will find a variety of starters and main courses featuring “authentic fresh daily” seafood options that your palate will love exploring. Featured on the menu is an Original Lobster Bake for Two which includes: 1¼ pounds of Whole Main Lobster, Shrimp, Mussels, Clams, Oysters, Andouille Sau-sage, Red Potatoes, Corn on the Cob and Boathouse Lobster Broth. Other seafood offerings include Maine Lobster Bisque, Firecracker Shrimp, and New England Lobster Roll. Dock Side Buckets with fresh cut fries are offered as follows: “Coconut Fried Wild Sea of Cortez Shrimp”, “Crispy Panko-Fried Fish of the Day”, “Fried Wild Caught Atlantic Surf Clam Strips”.

If you are like me and seafood is not your thing don’t despair. You can sink your teeth into your choice of a variety of steaks – a NY Strip Steak, Filet Mignon, Chicago Cut Rib Eye or Porterhouse.

Boathouse Steak

There are also many other delicious “shore” options that will delight your taste buds such as grilled chicken breast, BBQ/Baby Back Ribs, and a variety of pasta including seafood choices.Mouth-watering rolls and butter are served and one basket may not be enough.Salad varieties include Garden, The Wedge, The Chopped, and Caesar, and Buffalo Chicken salads.

Sandwich selections such as a variety of burgers, pulled pork, club, Angus brisket French dip, and my favorite “the filet mignon sliders” are served with fresh cut fries. For your sweet tooth, you may want to end your meal with Key Lime pie in a Mason jar, Mango Sorbet, NY Style Blueberry Cake Cheesecake, a Root Beer Float or Whiskey Carmel Cornbread Cake. If you are looking for a dessert for a party of 4, try S’mores Baked Alaska or Florida Sunshine Cake.

Kids’ menus are available for children ages 9 and under. You will find special entrées, beverages and desserts designed with kids in mind.

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Live musicians perform most nights offering old school rock and roll, country, or pop music.

If you find you have time before or after your meal, be sure to explore The Boatique gift shop which is adjacent to The BOATHOUSE and features themed authentic nautical items. You will find many unique gifts personalized with fun sayings.

Amphicars

The BOATHOUSE is the only place in the world to enjoy an interactive experience by land and water by taking a Captain’s Guided Tour in a vintage Amphicar. What is an Amphicar? Great question! Amphicars are dream boats that look like vintage cars from the ‘30’s, ‘40’s and ‘50’ but, SURPRISE – THEY FLOAT! Stop by the marina and book a 25 minute water tour of Disney Springs. The cost of the ride is $125. In addition to the Captain, an Amphicar will hold 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 small children. Be sure to capture the memories of your Amphicar water adventure by asking about flexible photo packages. Before you depart on your Amphicar sailing, a picture of your family will be taken outside the car, inside the car and in the water. At the end of your water adventure, visit The Boatique gift shop to select your photo packages. Flexible packages and pricing are available. BONUS: You will receive a souvenir magnet(s) with your photo package depending on the option you choose. Other boat tours are available through The BOATHOUSE marina.

***Please note that all menu items and boat tour pricing are always subject to change***

Want to know more about The Boathouse and other fantastic dining options at Walt Disney World? Visit our blog for more Walt Disney World Restaurant reviews and other “Helpful Hints and Tips”. Contact your Me and The Mouse Travel specialist, who is happy to recommend and book all your dining reservations for you.

Traci Perjack

Travel Specialist

Oh my favorite thing…food on VACA!! What’s even better? Having a meal where you can get a great portion and awesome food for the money (or quick service credit) you are spending. Below is the top 5 based on food quantity and/or quality based on my personal experience along with our agent’s and guest’s favorites!

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Wolfgang

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Megan Thompson

Travel Specialist

The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival begins as the summer crowds dissipate. From August 31st through November 13th , guests visiting Epcot can join in the celebration of food cultures from around the world they otherwise may never be able to experience. Guests can sample extended exotic food and beverages beyond what is typically found in World Showcase.

What to expect

For casual guests simply looking for different and fun food and drinks, along with a little entertainment,
they can enjoy:

  • Booths: With over 35 kiosks to sample new flavors, there is sure to be something for everyone. Throughout World Showcase you’ll see ongoing booths offering delightful eats and beverages from varying cultures! Grab a park map to see all booths offered and make your planfor the food locations you want to visit.

There are booths representing the existing countries in Epcot and many more to peak your taste bud interest. Some additional represented countries include: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Ireland,New Zealand, and Scotland… just to name a few.

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Complete booth list

  •  Eat to the Beat Concert Series: Each night of the festival, scheduled acts perform for your entertainment at the American Gardens Theater. They are scheduled for at least 2 consecutive nights to perform 3 mini concerts per night (5:30 PM, 6:45 PM, and 8:00 PM). Arrive early to reserve your spot, or for reserved seating, consider booking a special dining reservation that includes VIP seating at one of the shows!

Entertainment scheduled this year includes: Baha Men, Plain White T’s, Everclear, Billy Ocean, Hanson, and Boyz II Men…there is just so many!!

Eat to the Beat Performers

**Concerts subject to change/cancel without notice.

Some guests want to expand their experience beyond the booths and want to hear/see food
preparation, mixology, and hear from top chefs. Check out these offerings:

  • Culinary Demonstrations**: Watch a 45-minute demonstration from some of the best gourmets! They’ll share their knowledge and wisdom as they put together a delicious creation.
  •  Mix It, Make It, Celebrate It!**: At this hands on lesson, master the art of mixology, explore
    ingredients in cocktails, and learn how to wine pair with certain foods.
  • “What’s Cookin’ With…”**: Gourmet VIPs are in house for this event! On varying dates, a scheduled celebrity chefs will be present and have guests enjoy a plated favorite breakfast of the VIPs choosing while having a food centric discussion.
  • Beverage Seminars**: Sample amazing beer, wine, and spirits at this seminar! Beverage experts will also offer their knowledge!

**These events must be booked in advance and have a separate fee associated with them.

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Crowds
Disney vacationers and Florida locals love the Festival, so expect higher crowds on weekends. Expect lower crowds during the week after World Showcase opens (11 AM).

Dining Plan
Purple DDP symbols next to items on individual booth menus indicate a dining plan snack credit can be used for that item.

Make Epcot a destination this fall for your Disney World trip! You won’t be disappointed as you experience the smells, tastes, sounds and sites of the offerings of the Festival.

Contact your Me and the Mouse Specialist to book any additional offerings!

 

Megan Thompson

Travel Specialist