Top 5: Places to get Cupcakes at Walt Disney World

In the past few years WDW has entered into the Cupcake Game. The whole idea of oversized gourmet cupcakes has taken off and Disney has dived right in, which is… not a bad thing at all, really.

I’m going to be honest up front: I have never had one. Not a single one. I haven’t even seen them in person. I have to watch my sugar intake, so the most I’ve ever done has been to drool over pictures. I WILL have one, one day, but at this point picking one out of 50+ is like… picking a favourite child.

Meanwhile, though, there are already plenty of lists out there of the best cupcakes. You don’t need me for that, so it’s okay that I haven’t tried any. Instead, at the suggestion of Natalie from The Ink and Paint Blog, I’m going to list what I think are the Top 5 locations to get these cupcakes on WDW property. This was researched from several sources, namely the Disney Food Blog, the Ultimate Disney Cupcake Guide on A Pinch of Pixie Dust, and this post on the Disney Tourist Blog (Top 5 cupcakes. How coincidental, eh?).

Based on these and other minor inputs, here’s my Top 5 places to go to get some really good, really huge and extravagant cupcakes at Walt Disney World! As with all Top 5 lists, your experiences and tastes may vary!

Now to start out, I wanted to have the Main Street Bakery in the Magic Kingdom on here. But given that it’s closed and becoming a Starbucks… well, I can’t bring myself to do it. 😦 Now it’s SAID that the offerings will remain the same, but until the new place is open and everyone says “These are the cupcakes I remember!” I don’t think it’s fair to put this on here. Plus, I must say, the idea of having a Starbucks recommended as a place to buy cupcakes at Disney, when there are so many other great places that aren’t corporate chains (I appreciate the irony of what I just said, don’t mistake me) just sits wrong with me.

Anyway…!

Between the sugar, the chocolate, and the coffee beans, you'll be awake for a week.

Between the sugar, the chocolate, and the coffee beans, you’ll be awake for a week. Photo (c) pajamapenguinproductions.com

#5: Okay, if I had to pick ONLY one resort to go to for cupcakes, it’s going to be the Boardwalk Inn. First of all, two of the top 5 selections on the blog list I posted above (from the Disney Tourist Blog) came from their Boardwalk Bakery – the Cappucino and the S’mores cupcakes; second of all they seem to have the widest selection of any bakeries selling these sugar bombs. However, the reason this is at number 5 on the list is because, in looking around for reviews, I saw a few that suggest that the Boardwalk cupcakes aren’t always as good as they could be; whether standard experience or not, there were a couple of “dry cake” reviews and so I thought, well, what’s variety if the quality isn’t up to snuff? Not ALL were like that, but y’know. So Boardwalk Bakery makes the list, but doesn’t top the list. (Also, to be fair, Boardwalk Bakery is currently closed for refurbs and won’t open again until April 26 2013.)

#4: Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery, in Animal Kingdom.
This shop is home to three amazing cupcakes: the Cotton Top Tamarin cupcake, the White Chocolate Elephant cupcake, and the Zebra cupcake. Let me tell you an important secret: you want these cupcakes. Look at them. Now I haven’t seen these cupcakes topping any of the all-time best cupcakes list, but for style/unique design you cannot beat these. That’s some good theming, here. So Kusafiri Coffee Shop is the place to go for cupcakes you want to take a picture of before you so much as touch it.

This counts as foreign food which means I'm adventurous for eating it.

This counts as foreign food which means I’m adventurous for eating it. Photo is from a post by danicaca at Disboards.com

#3: Contempo Cafe at the Contemporary Resort
From what I have read, most of Contempo Cafe’s cupcakes are seasonal; but they appear to be really fancy-pants ones and the few that remain year-round apparently include Pina Colada, Black Forest Cherry, and Dos Leches. Now I think those are subject to availability, but honestly, if I had my choice of any one of those I couldn’t pick between them. Contempo seems to have a very appealing selection of cupcakes that is more than worth going back for. Here’s a review someone wrote of the Black Forest cupcake including photos, and some of the other cupcakes as well.

It's got fruit on it. It's healthy, right?

It’s got fruit on it. It’s healthy, right? Photo (c) MainStreetGazette.com

#2: Sunshine Seasons in the Land at Epcot.
This place has a great menu, period. Lots of variety, a good alternative to fast food, and the cupcakes – while I’m not pretending they are HEALTHY, mind you – are quite unique. Often fruit-themed, such as guava cream cheese or pineapple coconut, these are combinations you’re not going to see at an average bakery. You might need to be a bit brave to try them if you prefer the old yellow-cake-with-chocolate-frosting, though. 🙂

Here it is: Mount Butterfinger.

Here it is: Mount Butterfinger. Photo (c) DisneyFoodBlog.com

#1: Starring Rolls at Hollywood Studios.
This is partly based on my own preferences: although I’ve never tried it (and may never get to try it), Starring Rolls is known for the Butterfinger Cupcake, which just looks like heavenly death on a plate to me. They also have peanut butter chocolate cupcakes, which is a similar kind of pleasant end to meet. I hear great things about Starring Rolls, but the only reason I put it at number one is, honestly, because that Butterfinger cupcake looks like it’s got to be amazing. Plus, out of the park-based places to get cupcakes (which are predominant on this list just because I think more people spend time in all parks than at resorts they’re not staying at), Starring Rolls appears to be the best one; it’s the one I hear most about, anyway.

 

As always, leave me your own opinions if you agree or disagree!  I can only research so much. 🙂

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Flame Tree BBQ – A Review

It’s Review Day at Disney With Me! I’m trying not to only do restaurants but BOY there are plenty of restaurants at WDW to review. (By the way, did anyone see my Boma review before WordPress ate it? I’m not kidding, it’s GONE. I’m peeved, it was an early post but a GOOD one. Anyway.) So today I thought I’d do a counter service restaurant, so as to get a little bit of variety in.

I had researched our dining options in Animal Kingdom in advance to try to figure out what would probably be the most family-pleasing, budget-friendly, and still thoroughly delicious place to grab quick food. I chose the Flame Tree Barbeque (or as you plebes would spell it, Barbecue, but I like my fancy-pants spelling better and will stick with it, unofficial or not), because first of all, “flame” and “barbeque” in the same cluster of words makes me drool.  I have no clue why. It just sounds so… so… flamey.  And barbequed.  It’s funny, because I’m not a meat fanatic and I’m not even that big on actual BBQs but… somehow that combo hits all the right spots in my brain to make me REALLY crave it.

Uh, but I digress (I think this is one of those “don’t type hungry” moments).  I picked this counter service restaurant out because they had a good variety of options and I was definitely looking for something non-pizza, and because the reviews on it were consistently very good.  After reading the menu at AllEars.net, I was doubly sure I had picked the right place.  Chicken?  Pork sandwich?  Ribs?  I am a ribs fanatic so they had me at “hello”.  (Ironic spoiler alert: I did not actually order the ribs.  Go figure.)  The kids’ menu was good, because although my children both love mac and cheese, it’s ubiquitous at WDW and I wanted someplace with OTHER options.  Same deal with chicken nuggets.  So the baked drumstick and the hot dog were music to my ears.

So what we ended up with was a drumstick for my daughter, a 1/2 chicken for me, 1/2 ribs for my husband, and my 1 1/2 year old son shared my chicken.  My daughter didn’t finish her chicken, but that was pretty standard for her at the time.  My husband said the ribs were very good, and I tried a bit so I know it’s true.  I loved the chicken.  I ’bout died over it.  Oh wow.  I know I said I’m a rib fanatic but I’m glad I got the chicken.  (Yes, you can get a rib/chicken combo; I didn’t because I have a weird thing about getting something different from what the hubs gets.)  It did not cost that much, and I had a hard time finishing it because it was so large.  There was no problem giving my son some without me feeling short changed.  Also, the beans and coleslaw that came with it were GOOD.  I don’t consider myself a big fan of coleslaw, but when it’s GOOD, I really like it.  This was some good slaw.  Beans aren’t all that hard to get right, so I don’t have a lot to say there. 😉  Funny thing: I don’t remember having dessert.  I’m pretty sure we did but I have NO idea. According to the menu, the desserts are mousse, and I just don’t remember having any mousse.  Chalk this up to a poor memory and not to it being underwhelming, okay? *G*

We also got two conservation pins, one for each kid, and a beautiful outdoor seating area with birds wandering around on all sides.  I don’t have any pics of my own to share so rather than nip off with someone else’s, here are the results of a Google Image search for you to enjoy!  (That chicken. I’m dying here.)

If ever in Animal Kingdom, this is my first and most vehement recommendation for a dining location.  Good food, good location and good prices.  I didn’t try the chicken salad but based on the quality of the food we did have, I’m willing to bet it’s great.  I have yet to read a bad review of this restaurant. 🙂  Admittedly, it is not the ideal place for a vegetarian to dine, but other than that – go!  Enjoy!

Vegetarians: Bradley Falls and Tamu Tamu Refreshments have a few good, and not-just-cheese-pizza, options.

Disney Social Media: News Updates

Good morning! Here’s a weekly round-up of mostly-official, some-rumoured Disney News! I’m not affiliated with any of these blogs or companies, I’m just trying to provide a resource for all the news coming out each week. 😀

Disney World:

  • So last week, during True Love Week, WDW hosted a number of couples for
    A Celebration of Love; here are some photos from that event, which looks to have been utterly sweet.

  • The latest version of the Disney Junior Live On Stage show has opened as of 2/15 at Hollywood Studios. This version includes characters from Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First, to accompany good old Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and returning champ Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Check out official pictures here!
  • In my Limited Time Magic blog post yesterday I mentioned the Land of Oz play area in Epcot. Here’s more information and a movie. I think if my kids see this we won’t be able to avoid going to Disney.
  • Updates at the Magic Kingdom Park have inspired some great new merchandise you can purchase at the parks. I want that PUSH phone cover, and I don’t even have a smartphone. The Belle and Beast music box is lovely too – coming this summer so MAYBE I won’t miss it!
  • Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival is part of Disney’s new Magic of Healthy Living initiative, and they are bringing out a campaign called TRYit, encouraging kids to eat diverse and healthy dishes. More information on the Disney Parks blog. I’m not sure how much luck they’ll have with the beet lollipop.

WDW News from non-Disney Sources:

Disneyland:

  • Also as I mentioned yesterday, from now until March 31 you can sneak preview “Oz the Great and Powerful” at Disneyland Park. In 4D. You know you want to.
  • And to help you get over to Disneyland to do that sneak preview, for a limited time you can get a 3-day park-hopper to both Disneyland parks for just $220. That’s a savings of $30 or so. This offer is only good until 2/27 (ie one week), and has to be used for a visit before March 12. (Self-promotion: If you need any help getting a very quick booking in, I actually have experience with that and can have everything done for you within a week!)
  • Back to Disney news… Here’s a list of March merchandise events at Disneyland. Some of those paintings are lovely; the Maleficent one is giving me fits. I can do without those Precious Moments dolls though. If I had one I’d be afraid I’d wake up in the middle of the night and find it staring at me from the foot of the bed. Yeesh.
  • The only reason I don’t trade Disney pins is because I’m a completist, and if I started, I’d be unable to stop. It’s a horrible sickness. Do have a look at the 2013 pins coming out though.

Food News:

  • I should probably count this as a blog update, but it’s so hard to keep from linkblogging everything that the Disney Food Blog posts that I’m going to split this up. News in the Disney Food World, so like, new menus at park restaurants, food reviews, new items, pictures, things like that. I can look at this stuff all DAY and I swear I’m putting on weight just from the pictures.
  • For those of you who follow Disney cupcakes (this is a hobby, you know), there are two new flavours reported by the Disney Food Blog. Birthday cake and pineapple rum cream cheese.

Travel Offers:

  • Via D23, there is an awesome offer for Adventures by Disney’s Backstage Magic Experience. This is a full-on tour of Hollywood and related areas in Southern California, with experiences at the Walt Disney Studios and the Jim Henson Company. Right now D23 members can get $300 off this tour if they book before March 30, for travel between now and October 18.

Disney Social Media Round-up, 2/10/13

Blog Updates:

Podcast Updates:

Disney News:

Travel Offers:

Review: Princess Storybook Breakfast at Akershus

For my kids’ first trip to Disney World, my daughter was just turning five, and I knew a Princess meal was an absolute must. Her younger brother was 1 1/2, and he didn’t really care who he met, though he turned out to be pretty partial to the cuddlier characters; but D, my daughter, loved to talk to pretty much anyone and it turned out that the face characters, with their ability to react and have conversations with her, were a big, big hit.

But mostly, you know. Five-year-old girl, Disney Princesses? No-brainer.

Royal Proclamation at Akershus; if you can read this you don't need glasses

Royal Proclamation at Akershus; if you can read this you don’t need glasses

Rather than take the plunge for a meal in Cinderella Castle I decided to go a slightly-less-traveled route and opted for a breakfast at Restaurant Akershus in Epcot’s Norway Pavilion. I really didn’t know what to expect, except that I knew we got a picture with a princess included with the meal and that we’d see a number of princesses. And that it was a buffet meal with mostly typical breakfast and a limited amount of Norwegian food, and this was a tiny bit worrisome to me since D could be a picky eater.

Well, first, the restaurant is lovely. Not a huge surprise, I know, because this is Disney and all their restaurants are at least a little nice to look at; but the architecture and woodwork in Akershus is really striking, and quite classy. It fits more with the viking/early nautical theme than with a Princess theme, but it’s not jarring or anything.

Some local Norwegian architecture

Some local Norwegian architecture

The wait wasn’t too long… we weren’t seated right away, I think we waited about ten minutes or so, but the Norway shops were open even though the pavilion itself wasn’t open yet. We poked around and the kids looked at swords and things, you know, as you let your kids do. I have an ongoing thing about worrying that the buzzer will go off and I won’t be in range for it to go, so I always hover, but I got some nice pictures of the kids relaxing and browsing. 😉

When we went in we got a photo op with Belle, who greeted my daughter as her “twin” since D was also wearing a Belle dress. The photo op is in this little nook towards the front of the restaurant, and towards the end of your meal they bring you a folder with your print in it. A nice thing is that the photo is included with the price of the meal (not the case at Chef Mickey’s).

So at this point we were seated, rather near the front of the restaurant, very close to the door that the Princesses enter and exit from. We got some food and waited for someone to come by. The food was better than I’d worried it was and everyone was quite happy. In addition to your standard scrambled eggs, bacon/sausage, cinnamon rolls and so forth, there were also a few Norwegian type things like some fish, as well as some tasty biscuits and my kids’ favourite, a nice variety of fresh fruit. My daughter ended up with so much berry smeared over her face that she looked like she’d been guzzling a smoothie or something. Nope, actually, just nature’s candy.

It wasn’t too much longer before the Princesses started coming by! We saw Aurora, Snow White, Cinderella, and Ariel. D was very excited to meet Ariel, but honestly I think it was Cinderella who left her the most starstruck. Both of them, however, were amazing with her. They got down on her level and really talked to her, and although Snow and Aurora were both nice and sweet, they didn’t seem quite as involved as Cinderella and Ariel. Of course I’m a HUGE Ariel fan, so I am biased, but I will also say that I hold meetings with Ariel to a very high standard so I’m *less* likely to fawn over her in person than I am onscreen. 😉

But she was really really good and there was lots of attention and hand-holding!

But she was really really good and there was lots of attention and hand-holding!

And this is when Cinderella and D danced

And this is when Cinderella and D danced

On the other hand, I’ve never been much of a Cinderella fan, but she won me over that day. Just absolutely divine with my daughter, it was wonderful. Plus, we stayed just long enough to participate in something I hadn’t known about: the Princess Parade. An announcement came up asking all children to find the nearest Princess and join them in a parade around the restaurant. Cinderella came by and *found* my daughter, taking her by the hand and promising to show her exactly what to do, and the next time I saw her she’d made nearly a full circuit around the restaurant. And Cinderella had shown her how to lift her skirts as she walked, so she was walking by with her skirt pinched between her forefinger and thumb in each hand, all super-dainty; and later she showed us the right way to wave, with the wrist curl and everything.

Honestly, Cinderella's such a sweetie.

Honestly, Cinderella’s such a sweetie.

It was a unique experience, to say the least. I can’t say I always like the whole “Disney Princess” culture – too much adherence to gender roles – but it’s up to me how much exposure to it my daughter gets, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with moderate exposure. And she certainly loved it, and watching her be a princess was just… it just made my heart swell. 🙂

As for the price – it’s high, what with the cost of the photo being factored in. I won’t pretend it’s not high. But is it worth it? I can’t say for sure; I had the free dining plan deal and if I hadn’t been on the dining plan, I would not have done it, simply because I can’t afford to put down $40 or so per person on breakfast. HOWEVER, I would have regretted not doing it. Like, a lot. So I think the price is worth it even if that makes it something I can’t always do. That’s what special occasions are for, right? Seeing my daughter walk all dainty around the room, feeling like a princess, that’s worth it.

Limited Time Magic, February 1-9 2013

It’s February 1, and that means a new Limited Time Magic opportunity has started at Walt Disney World! (Did you vote on the 2014 art? Better say yes!) This weeks’ theme – well, okay, it’s approximately a week – is focusing on the Super Bowl this Sunday, with a pre-parade at the Magic Kingdom that is running from today until February 4, and an appearance by an MVP on 2/4 as well. To keep the theme going, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe is offering your choice between two Soup-er Bowls of soup: a “Bowl of Baltimore” Lobster Bisque, or a “Frisco Favourite” Tomato Basil Bisque.

This image comes from Disney Parks and is not by me. But MMM, check out that bisque!

This image comes from Disney Parks and is not by me. But MMM, check out that bisque!

You know, I’m a Maryland girl so even though I don’t care about football at all I’ve gotta give my love to that Lobster… but I’ll admit, the tomato basil is hard to pass up. So I’m not going to care who wins! 😀

Meanwhile, although I focus on Disney World, I’ll show a little love to Disneyland too since they have a different celebration – starting February 8 (so we’ve still got a week) they will be celebrating the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Snake! My husband is a Snake so yeah, got to appreciate. 😀 They’re going to have some really fun stuff from the sound of it, with appearances by Mulan and Mushu, and a Chinese New Year procession! This party is only going from February 8 to February 11, so if you’re there for it, take pictures and share them!