They year of 2012 brought many changes to Disney World – from the major expansion of Fantasyland to the new Test Track (now sponsored by Chevrolet instead of GM), from the new Art Of Animation resort to Splitsville in Disney Springs. There were some major investments that created major changes.
In addition to new Disney resort hotels and attractions, there were quite a few changes in the food offerings around Disney World.
Let’s take a look at the top 7 food stories at Disney World in 2012:
1 – Sunshine Tree Terrace Reintroduces The Citrus Swirl
Disney remodeled the Sunshine Tree Terrace in Adventureland and brought back the Little Orange Bird – a character from the 1970s originally created when the Florida Citrus Commission was a Disney sponsor. As part of the Terrace remodel, Disney brought back the Citrus Swirl – combination of soft-serve vanilla ice cream and tart citrus. It’s an interesting taste combination that many folks love.
2 – Tutto Gusto Opens In Epcot Italy Pavilion
A new wine bar called Tutto Gusto, located in the Tutto Italia Ristorante in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion, opened this year to the delight of wine lovers. With high ceilings and plenty of stone work, the location feels like an old but welcoming Italian wine cellar. It features more than 200 different Italian wines as well as small entrees and appetizers.
3 – Landscape of Flavors Opens In Art Of Animation Resort
Disney took quick service dining at value resorts up a notch with the Landscape of Flavors food court at the Art Of Animation Resort. The large location serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The dinner menu contains some interesting and tasty dishes, including Buffalo style turkey sandwich, Mongolian grill beef stir fry, and Tandoori boneless chicken thigh with naan bread.
Normally the opening of a bowling alley would not qualify for a list of new stories on food, but Splitsville is different. The location features upscale dining options that include salads, pulled pork, sushi, fried calamari, and filet mignon.
5 – New Fantasyland Premiers Three New Eating Locations
The Magic Kingdom got not just one but three new dining locations: Be Our Guest, Gaston’s Tavern, and Big Top Treats in the Big Top Souvenirs tent at Storybook Circus. Each brings something unique and welcome to Fantasyland. At Be Our Guest, you can step into the Beauty and the Beast movie and enjoy quick service French food at lunch and fine French dining at dinner. Gaston’s Tavern introduces LeFou’s Brew – a frozen apple juice concoction that is delicious. And Big Top Treats features a show kitchen and many unique and highly designed treats.
While this change won’t come until 2013, many people had strong opinions about the 2012 announcement of Starbucks coming to Main Street USA. Given how many people complain about Disney coffee I thought this might be a welcome announcement, but so far fan reaction hasn’t been very positive. I think we need to give Disney a chance to work their magic. I think that Disney World guests will be pleasantly surprised when the change is complete, just as Disneyland guests seem to like the change on the West coast.
7 – Alcohol Comes To The Magic Kingdom
The biggest food story at Disney World was the announcement that Disney will serve alcohol for the first time in the 40 year history of the Magic Kingdom. Available only with table service dinner, and only at the new Be Our Guest restaurant, Disney now offers a variety of French and Belgium beers and wines. There is no carry out, so you won’t see people walking around with a beer in their hand like you do at other Disney parks.