Tag Archives | Downtown Disney dining

Frontera Cocina Restaurant

Disney Springs recently opened the new Frontera Cocina restaurant by Chef Rick Bayless. While there are plenty of Kissimmee restaurants serving Mexican cuisine, this new dining option in Lake Buena Vista offers gourmet Mexican fare. There are traditional items on the menu, but like the new surroundings in the beautiful new Town Center in Disney Springs, be prepared for a contemporary experience.

Frontera Cocina Interior

The restaurant itself has a very contemporary and lively look. There are different sections within this new Lake Buena Vista restaurant. The section with the open kitchen is framed with black and festive warm colors, while the bistro/bar area is highlighted with brighter blue, white and cool gray colors. There are three main dining areas and additional seating outside. Various shades of back-lit tequila bottles line the walls and add to an overall contemporary look.

Interior Frontera Cocina

Chef Rick Bayless has been perfecting his Frontera franchise since 1981 when he opened a restaurant in Chicago. Since then he has opened several award-winning restaurants under various brands. He is best known for winning the “Top Chef Masters” award on television. Moving on to host his own show “Mexico – One Plate at a Time,” Bayless offers unmatched insight into Mexican cuisine.

Frontera Cocina Menu

The menu at Frontera Concina features many dishes that will appeal to many diners. However, there are several dishes that will surprise you. Along with Carne Asada, Carnitas and other traditional Mexican dishes, there are dishes listed on the menu that are not so traditional. How about some Shrimp Mojo de Ajo? Queso Añejo Mashed Potatoes? These are the dishes you’d expect from a gourmet restaurant. Far from ordinary.

For the heat-loving diner, as in spicy, there are dishes that offer a good kick. Habanera peppers are used to provide an authentic experience which is missing in many Kissimmee restaurants that feature Mexican cuisine. If you like it hot, try the Atomic Guacamole. To cool your taste buds, save room for dessert. These dishes too are out of the ordinary.

Exterior photo of Frontera CocinaFast Food Option

If you want a quick sample, try the walk-up window. You can order tacos, chips with guacamole and a delicious margarita or cerveza. The small outdoor seating in the patio area is nice and will be a great place for outdoor dining once the summer temperatures subside.

This new Buena Vista restaurant is open Sunday – Wednesday from 11am to 10pm; Thursday – Saturday from 11am to 10:45pm and the bar is open Sunday – Wednesday from 11am to 11pm and Thursday – Saturday from 11am to 1am. Reservations are not mandatory, however, you can make them through the Disney reservation system. For information about Frontera Cocina call 407-560-9197.

If you don’t care for Mexican cuisine, but love Italian and American food (and loads of it), make reservations to visit Capone’s Dinner & Show. It is just a short drive from Lake Buena Vista’s Disney Springs and offers a hilarious show.  This Kissimmee restaurant attraction features a delicious buffet with drinks included. Call 407-397-2378 for more information and to reserve your seats at half price.

Disney Dining Updates & Kissimmee Restaurant News

There have been some recent updates when it comes to Disney Dining and Kissimmee restaurants. Most of the focus is on the menu. Like Capone’s Dinner & Show, the menu is constantly monitored for quality, freshness and consistency. Food items must also follow the public’s eating trends. That’s why Capone’s added a salad bar, meat carving station and pizza a few years ago. The guests love it!

What’s trending these days in the theme parks and area chain restaurants? For starters, what is taken off the menu is often as important as what is put on the menu. Just as Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins will be cutting salt, sugar and calories in their menu items over the next two years, many new restaurants are removing additives from ingredients used in their menu items, and also introducing healthier dishes.

Amphicar at The Boathouse

Guests go for a ride in a Captain-guided tour aboard an Amphicar. If planning to dine at the new Lake Buena Vista restaurant – The Boathouse – be sure to include this adventure. (photo by Matt Stroshane)

New food and beverage offerings available at Downtown Disney’s new restaurants, The Boathouse, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Dockside Margaritas provide healthier choices for diners in the Lake Buena Vista area. The world-famous Dole Whip is being served at the Pineapple Lanai which goes nicely with the Polynesian-themed dishes and tiki cocktails at these new restaurants.

Walt Disney World Resorts is also offering new allergy-friendly menus to many of its quick-service and table-service locations. The new menus provide allergen content for each menu item, allowing guests to make informed choices on what to eat. From appetizers to entrees and desserts, common allergens such as gluten/wheat, milk, peanuts, tree nuts and fish are noted.

Later this month, the Harambe Market is set to open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It will provide park guests with a taste of African-inspired street food. Two of the most noted venues are Kitamu Grill and Chef Mwanga’s. Kitamu Grill will feature skewered chicken and a kabob flatbread sandwich. Chef Mwanga’s will be serving up a spice-rubbed karubi rib with green papaya-carrot slaw. These new food items are sure to be intriquing enough for guests to try out.

Mini FrappuccinoIf you are watching your diet using portion control, you’ll be happy to know that those delicious Frappuccino’s at Starbucks are now offered in a smaller portion. Recently Starbucks Corp. debuted a new 10-ounce “Mini” size to its Frappuccino line in response to customer requests. The size is smaller than the 12-ounce “Tall,” which was previously the smallest size on the menu. It will save you about 60 calories, 12 grams of sugar and about 20 to 30 cents. However, this smaller size is only available through July 6.

It is difficult to be on a diet when spending an evening with the gang at Capone’s. The delicious dinner buffet is filled with American and Italian favorites. Take smaller portions of your favorites or skip the buffet line and enjoy the fresh salad bar. Better yet, just go all-out and eat what you please. An evening at this Kissimmee dinner show is a treat. You can go back on your diet tomorrow.

Bon Appetit!

Spotlight: Bongos Cuban Café at Downtown Disney

Created by music superstar Gloria Estefan and her producer husband Emilio, Bongos Cuban Cafe transports you to a Miami hotspot. This vibrant Orlando restaurant is a mosaic of colors and flavors set against infectious music. The internal architecture and mosaics were designed by the well known Luciano Franchi de Alfaro, and the outside was designed by Bernardo Fort Brescia. Both the interior and exterior are exquisitely themed. The ambiance is that of a lively 1950s Havana nightclub, and the bar is housed inside a 75-foot tall pineapple sculpture and features bongo drum bar stools. There’s lush greenery, a fantastic mosaic mural, and waterfall. There are two levels which offer indoor and outdoor seating. The pulsing, Latin rhythms add to the great ambiance, however, sometimes it’s so loud, it can be difficult to have a conversation. This tropical theme brings South Beach to Downtown Disney.

Each night, the official Desi Arnaz impersonator takes the stage and brings back old Havana. Along with state of the art sound systems, there is a fascinating light show every Friday & Saturday night. In addition to the two story Orlando restaurant, there are three bars featuring specialty drinks, including Mojitos, and an Express window. The Express window is open daily from 9:30am until midnight. There are live bands on Friday and Saturday nights from 9:00 to 2:00pm. There may be an entertainment venue scheduled which requires separate cover at the door or pre arrival ticket purchase.

The food consists of traditional Cuban cuisine like the delicious paella de mariscos (seafood paella) Cubano (Cuban sandwich), pan con lechon (pork sandwich), pollo asado (roast chicken), and flan de leche (traditional flan). Reservations are suggested, especially on the weekends. Although the atmosphere is lively, the food and service get mixed reviews.

$$, casual dress, Cuban cuisine, full bar, Reservations suggested, lunch and dinner
Downtown Disney West Side, 1498 East Buena Vista Drive Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-8422 – (407) 828-0999
Special & Unique Dining
A la Carte
Price Level:
$$ ($15 to $35.99)

Spotlight: Rainforest Café at Disney Springs

Well, it’s a jungle out there, especially if you’re dining at the popular Rainforest Café at Disney Springs. This Orlando restaurant is wildly decorated with lush tropical vegetation. It even has banyan trees and waterfalls! Just to make sure you feel like you’re in the actual rainforest, there are simulated thunderstorms, trumpeting elephants, gorillas, and animated animals roaming around.

Along with the ambiance, you’ll enjoy a variety of American fare, from salads and sandwiches to burgers, poultry dishes, as well as vegetarian selections and kid-friendly meals. The ‘Best of Citysearch’ and ‘Trip Advisor’ have given The Rainforest Café awards and Certificates of Excellence for being the best of family-friendly restaurants. So, enjoy a great meal, but leave room for dessert. Their signature dish is the Sparkling Volcano, which is a chocolate brownie with ice cream, whipped cream, caramel and chocolate sauce, yum!

There is also a retail village where you can find souvenirs for the whole family. Since this is such a popular place, you definitely want to make a reservation at the Disney reservation line: (407) 939-3463.  If you have any special dietary needs or allergies, they are happy to accommodate you; just let them know when making your reservation, which can be made up to 180 days in advance.

See you in the jungle!

For other extraordinary dining options, check out our dinner show directory, which includes the fabulous Capone’s Dinner & Show.

$$, casual dress, American cuisine, reservations recommended, full bar, open for lunch and dinner
LOCATION: Disney Springs Marketplace
ADDRESS: 1800 East Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830 – (407) 827-8500
Hours: Lunch: 11:30AM-4:00PM; Dinner: 5:00PM-10:30PM
(Does Not Include Characters)
Service Type: Full Service
Price Range: entrees from $15-$35.99

Spotlight: Planet Hollywood

Movie buffs, this is the restaurant for you!  Planet Hollywood Restaurant and Bar offers an extensive collection of Hollywood memorabilia.  This planet-shaped restaurant is huge!  Towering on the outside is a spinning globe with “Planet Hollywood” in bright red neon lights. By the entrance to the side, anchored down, sits the Shrimp Boat ‘Jenny’, used in the movie “Forrest Gump”. They have Father Merrin’s cross and purple scarf from “The Exorcist“, Madonna’s high school yearbook AND one of the original blue/white dresses Judy Garland wore in “The Wizard of Oz“.  This place is loaded floor to ceiling with tons of stuff like that, everything from the rubber model of Christopher Lloyd that was run over with the steamroller in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” to Terminator’s body cast. In addition, some vehicles used in blockbuster films like Herbie the Love Bug and the Terminator 2 motorbike are hanging by string wires from the ceiling. Scary but cool!

I would recommend requesting a table on the 3rd floor, as it provides a great view of the entire restaurant.  Since this place is literally shaped like a planet, it is split into three separate levels…the rounded off edge of the planet structure makes the inside truly a grand sight to see.

It generally is super-busy here…partially because of its location at Downtown Disney, one of the most-visited tourist destinations in the world, but also because it’s so unique and everybody wants to see it.  Reservations are recommended, especially for parties of 8 or more.

I thought the food was decent, although a bit over-priced, but I have seen mixed reviews regarding the food quality.  One of the most popular meals is the World Famous Chicken Crunch, which are tender strips of chicken with a crunchy-sweet coating, similar to that of ‘Captain Crunch’ cereal.

Planet Hollywood is a fun place with plenty to see, including wall-to-wall memorabilia and a huge projection screen; a great atmosphere!

$-$$, casual dress, American cuisine, reservations accepted, full bar, open for lunch and dinner
LOCATION: Downtown Disney® West Side Walt Disney Resort – Located adjacent to Disney’s Pleasure Island
: 1506 E. Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
HOURS OF OPERATION: Restaurant: 11am – 1am; Bar: 11am – 2am; Merchandise Shop: 10:00am – 2am
: 407-827-7827
FAX: 407-827-7847
CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED: American Express, Diners Club, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, Visa
RESERVATIONS: For group reservations of 15 or more, contact their Sales Office at 407-827-7836.