Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Mouse-standing List: Best Holiday Meals

It's been a while since we've done one of these and with the Holidays upon us, now is the perfect time to take a look at what meals make the best options for all the merriment and festivities. 

All too often people wonder, just where should I eat for Thanksgiving or Christmas and it sometimes is a hard choice, because of the fact that for the most part, the Disney restaurants don't change their menu offerings to fit in with the Holiday Season. 

Therefore, I'm going to take a look at the best options in each park that I think will help make the Holidays bright.

Animal Kingdom

I figured I'd start with the hardest one first.  This park already has limited options as it is, but I think if I had to choose, I would pick Tusker House.  This buffet is a great option because there are lots of choices available on the menu.  Granted, quite a few items have a tiny bit of an African flair to them, but I think there is enough on the menu that is traditional enough to make for a satisfying Holiday meal. Items here include:

Spiced Tandoori Tofu
Carved Beef Top Sirloin Roast and Rotisserie Pork Loin
Horseradish, hot and sweet mustard, Au Jus
Spiced Rubbed Rotisserie Chicken
Cape Malay Curry Chicken
Peri-Peri Marinated Salmon Filet
Seafood Stew with Tamarind BBQ sauce

Cold cuts platter: Turkey, ham, cheese
Saffron-infused vegetables and cabbage
Green bean, mushroom and carrot medley
Marrakesh Couscous with Roasted Vegetables
Vegetable Samosa
Oven-roasted Yukon Gold Potato Wedges
Mashed Potatoes
Orzo Pasta
Jollaf Rice
Pearl Couscous laced with Sweet Basil Essence
Basmati rice with Toasted almond slivers

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches - choice of whole wheat or white bread
Corn dog nuggets
Corn medley
Chicken drumsticks
Green beans
Macaroni and cheese
Mashed potatoes

Warm Banana-Cinnamon Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce
Assorted Pastries and Cakes
Cookies and Brownies
Whole Fruit


Next I thought we'd head over to Epcot.  Now, while Epcot has a lot of great restaurant choices, it's options for a more traditional meal for the Holidays is quite narrowed down.  (I mean, nothing say Thanksgiving like Japanese food, right?!)  However, there is one restaurant that I think is perfect for this time of year and that's the Garden Grill.  While this restaurant doesn't get much praise for it's food, it most certainly is the best option if you want a festive spread.  Items include:   

Warm Breads with Maple Butter
Harvest-inspired Farmer's Salad
Char-grilled Beef Strip Loin with Herb Sea Salt
Roasted All Natural Turkey Breast with Cranberry-Orange Relish
Sustainable Fish of the Day with a Florida Citrus Crumb
Garden Fresh Vegetables
Smashed Potatoes
Turkey Dressing
Freshly Baked Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp with Hand-Whipped Vanilla Bean Cream

Oh...and totally random, but why doesn't the American Adventure Pavilion have something that serves up a traditional Holiday meal from America?  It would seem like a no-brainer to haver Turkey, Ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, green bean casserole, gravy, and rolls here in a sit down restaurant format.  I think a restaurant like this would do really well in this pavilion.  However, maybe Disney hasn't done something like this here because it's too close to the meal I'm going to discuss later that can be found at the Magic Kingdom. 

Disney's Hollywood Studios

As for DHS, there was really only one restaurant that I thought of when I thought of the Holidays.  What better way to spend Christmas or Thanksgiving than with the family...yes...your mom, aunt, uncle, and cousins.  I'm talking about taking a trip to 50s Prime Time Cafe.  Now granted, this isn't going to be a "traditional" Holiday meal, meaning you certainly aren't going to find turkey or stuffing, but what you will find is good old home-cooking, which really is what this time of year is all about!  If you're thinking about eating here, you can look forward to eating:  

Grilled Boneless Pork Loin - glazed with peppered mushroom gravy with mashed potatoes and green beans
Char-grilled Butcher Tender Steak - with red wine sauce, sauteed mushrooms, cheddar scalloped potatoes, and green beans
Uncle Dana's Artichoke and Ricotta Agnolotti - Pearl Pasta with Roasted Zucchini and Crookneck Squash with spicy Tomato Broth
Aunt Liz's Golden Fried Chicken - served with mashed potatoes, chicken gravy and southern greens
Cousin Barry's Olive Oil Poached Salmon - served with sweet peas, brown rice pilaf, and a dill cream sauce
Uncle Charlie's Grilled Tuna Casserole- classic creamy casserole with egg noodles, peppers, mushrooms, onions, carrots, and celery topped with grilled tuna steak and crunchy bread crumbs
Dad's Traditional Meatloaf - a blend of beef and pork topped with tomato glaze, mashed potatoes, and green beans
Mom's Old Fashioned Pot Roast - Slow cooked 'til fork tender, served with mashed potatoes, carrots, celery and onions

Dad's Brownie Sundae - Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream, Hot Fudge, and Caramel topping
No Sugar Added Cheesecake - topped with fresh whipped cream and strawberry sauce
Seasonal Cobbler
50's Boston Cream Cupcake - White Cake filled with Pastry Cream and covered with a Chocolate Glaze
Ice Cream Sundaes
Magic Kingdom

Of course, the easiest restaurant of them all to choose for the Holidays is the meal you'll get at Liberty Tree Tavern.  This one screams Thanksgiving as it is all about eating a traditional American meal.  This is one of my favorite restaurants to eat in anytime of the year because I really feel like the menu has a lot to offer.  (And by the way, that Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing on the salad is AMAZING!!!) 

DECLARATION SALAD - Tossed Mixed Greens, served with our special Tavern Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing

PATRIOT'S PLATTER - Roasted turkey breast, carved beef, and smoked pork loin, with mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables, herb bread stuffing, and Macaroni and Cheese.

Rolls and gravy also included.

DESSERTS -Fruit crisp with vanilla ice cream included. 
Now while the resorts have a lot of options in the way of restaurants, they really don't have many that are great options for traditional Holiday meals.  However, to me, the best option here would be Chef Mickey's.  Once again, this restaurant, like Tusker House, will have a lot of choices for everyone to make each family member have their own Holiday meal, just the way they want it.  Options here include: 

Items like Spiced-rubbed carved beef and Oven-roasted turkey will be featured
Oven Roasted Chicken with Bourbon BBQ Sauce
Mango BBQ Pork Ribs
Baked Salmon Fillet with mango wasabi coulis and rice
Orecchiette Pasta with vegetables, garlic oil, and goat cheese

Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Mickey Cheese Ravioli and Marinara Sauce
Chorizo Red Beans and white rice
Green Beans with a mushroom cream Sauce
Broccoli with Cheese Sauce

Chef Mickey's Macaroni and Cheese
Goofy's Cheese Pizza
Chicken Breast Tenders
Pluto's Chicken

Rice Krispy Treats
Peach Cobbler
Warm Bread Pudding
Seasonal Melon
Fresh Fruit Display
Of course, one thing to keep in mind with many of the restaurants that have been discussed is that Disney does like to charge a Holiday surcharge during these busy times of the year.   So often these meals will cost a premium, but if you really are looking for tradition, the extra charge may be worth it for you.  

So that's my list for the best of the best for your Disney Holiday festivities, but I want to know what you think.  What meals would you pick if you wanted to celebrate this time of year down in WDW.  (Or, if you've already done it before, where have you eaten previously?)  

Finally, to you all, I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!  I am quite thankful that I have you all in my life!  Even if I've never met you yet, I can't express how blessed I truly am.  

So, enjoy your football and your time with your family....and of course, enjoy the meal...and I'll see you all on Sunday for this week's news and rumors!   

(PS:  Big thanks to for having all the menus available online, as that is where the menu offerings came from.) 


Anonymous said...

Having been there during a holiday week, I've found that if you call Disney Dining and ask which table services offer traditional Thanksgiving fare they will tell you. I thought I booked Liberty Tree Tavern on my 180 day mark only to find out two weeks before that I booked it on the wrong day. So having limited options, I found out that The Wave was offering traditional fare. I booked it, and the family really enjoyed it. We also ate at the Garden Grill. That could have been great for Thanksgiving as well. I'm a sucker to traditional fare during the holidays so this would be the way I would go again. Although next time I book I'll be sure to have my calendar out so that I don't book the table service on the wrong day. LOL!

Unknown said...

Good tip!!! I didn't realize that some restaurants changed their menus up a bit on Thanksgiving to accommodate the holiday.