Via Napoli in Epcot, my new must go to Reataurant in DisneyWorld

I am from New Jersey, a short car ride or train ride into the city, and this area has some of the best pizza in all the world outside of Italy. I’ve been all around the country, and no one can beat NY/NJ pizza. So we are pretty serious about our pizza. But I’ll say Via Napoli in Epcot has pizza that can match it, if not surpass it.

A little background of Via Napoli. Almost Everything used in the restaurant is shipped from Naples. The tomatoes, the mozzarella, flour, yeast, everything except the water. Now it’s been a while since I have gotten something other than pizza here, but I assume the pasta, spices are shipped from Naples also. Everything for the pizza is from Italy except for 1 item, the water, and even the water is specially shipped from someplace in Pennsylvania because the ph levels are almost identical and exact to the water used in Napoli. They make sure any small detail is not overlooked(which is a very big thing with Disney).

On our last visit to Via Napoli we had a party of 7, and ordered 2 Large pizza pies, one Margherita and one Pepperoni. First the pepperoni pizza, and this is real pepperoni, not the packaged stuff you see in stores or pizzerias. This was fresh pepperoni, the taste was different and just better than the normal pepperoni you normally get. The crust on the Via Napoli pizza is so light and not heavy like you normally get in the states. The pizza doesn’t feel heavy and sit in your stomach. I really is amazing how light it is and you don’t walk away with a heavy feeling in your stomach, it is quite a good feeling. The sauces on the pizza a very good also, you don’t get a very overbearing flavor from the sauce, they don’t pound the pizza with spices like oregano or and other seasonings. It’s a light flavored sauce that compliments the pizza very well, it doesn’t take over the pizza with flavor.

With the Margherita pizza, it’s your standard Margherita, mozzarella, basil, light on the sauce. Another big diffeeence with normal pizzeria pizza and this pizza is the fact the mozzarella was so much fresher, and was “real” mozzarella. It wasn’t shredded mozzarella your normally see here on the United States. The flavor was quite different and again the mozzarella seemed lighter.

I had maybe four slices of pizza, and walked away not feeling full at all. The crust was thin but not too thin, honestly the thickness was perfect. I didn’t walk around Epcot with a heavy full stomach, it was a great feeling.

There are other entrees to order at Via Napoli, pastas and other Italian enteees and appetizers, but I come mainly for the pizza, and you can feed your family and not spend as much. We had 7 people and paid roughly $70 for everything including tip, $10 a person is pretty good if you ask me.

Next time you go to Walt Disney World make sure you make it a point to get a reservation for Via Napoli, and make sure you do because the restaurant was completely packed for dinner, and from what I can see on the my Disney experience app it is getting harder and harder to find reservations and the popularity of this true Italian pizzaria is growing and it’s not hard to see why

 

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Are the crowd level patterns at Walt Disney World completely changing?

It is no secret that crowd levels and patterns have changed since Walt Disney World changed their ticketing prices to coincide with busy times, and with blackout dates on annual passes. But how much has this changed, and have they changed so much that if you base your time of travel around how crowded it is there, do you now change the usual times you go?

We all know the usual slow times at WDW, January through most of February, usually a couple weeks after Easter until Memorial Day,  the last 2 weeks of August really until Jersey Week in early November, and the week after Thanksgiving until the week of Christmas.  But there are also days where certain parks are busier than others. In my experiences, Saturday and Monday are very crowded days at the Magic Kingdom, and Tuesday and Friday have been incredibly slow on a normal week. Websites like Undercover Tourist have crowd calendars that can give you a prediction of how crowd levels should be on a certain day. But, in the last year or 2, I have seen a slight change. The days that have used to be slower are now more crowded. Usually Tuesday’s were a very slow day, now not so much. Are the crowd levels changing to the point you change your game plan on which park to go to on which day? That is to be seen.

Some times of the year now when it has been less crowded, the parks and resorts seem more crowded, and some times during the year when it is very crowded now seem a little less crowded. This seems to coincide with the fact that attendance is down at Walt Disney World, and it seems less people are walking through the 4 theme parks there for one reason or another. I have heard reports that after The initial crowd surge with Avatarland the entire summer has been much slower than normal at Walt Disney World. This most likely has to do with black out dates and the higher ticket prices for this timeframe. You start to think,”Disney has to start doing something to combat this, either lower prices, better deals or do away with blackouts”. Problem with that line of thinking is the fact that Parks and Resorts revenue keeps going up, so crowds may be lower, but the people going are spending more. Also add in with this is the slightly lower labor costs associated with lower crowd volume.  This makes me believe that you won’t be seeing any crazy changes anytime soon with price structuring or lowering of any prices.

Now with all this, would it make you more inclined to visit during the summer if you previously tried to avoid that season, or would you not go during a season that you normally would because it is becoming more crowded? That is for you to decide, I would still continue with your same line of thinking of times of the year to visit. But keep an eye on things, crowd patterns are changing, not saying it’s for good or bad, but they are changing.  Question is will you change with them?

Top Buffets or family style restaurants at Walt Disney World for food quality

One of the things I look forward to the most on my Walt Disney World Vacation is the dining and the dining experiences. Admittedly not every Restaurant at Walt Disney World has the best tasting or quality food. Some have very good quality, and some you are just paying for the atmosphere and experience more so than the average quality food. In this post I am going to look at what I believe are the top 5 TABLE SERVICE buffet style or family style restaurants on property in terms of food quality. If you do not know what a table service is. It is a sit down Restaurant that is worth 1 table service credit if you were on the DDP.  Now this is just my opinion, and you may have different tastes than me, but if you disagree or agree, let me know and leave a comment or tell me on twitter @vacaasistant.

5. Whispering Canyon- I love BBQ, just love it, and Whispering Canyon does a pretty good job at it. They have a pretty good a la carte to choose from for breakfast, lunch or dinner. For lunch and dinner the smoked pulled pork sandwich and the St. Louis style ribs are very good and the Bison Burger was good also. But for lunch and dinner, what I usually get when I am with a group is the all you care to enjoy skillet. For lunch and dinner you get the pulled pork, ribs, roasted chicken with sides like Mashed Yukon Potatoes, corn on the Cobb and baked Beans, all served family style. With dinner you will be served a mixed green salad and corn bread. But best item on the skillet is the western style sausage, this is absolutely amazing and one of my favorite items at any Disney restaurant. Add all this in with the very unique atmosphere and this is a special restaurant, just wait until you need ketchup.

4. Boma(dinner)- This all you care to enjoy buffet located in the Animal Kingdom Lodge is a real hidden gem. Animal Kingdom Lodge is a little out of the way so some don’t bother trying this place out. Well, get on a shuttle or get in your car and head over to Boma.

Like I said I am a real big fan of BBQ, and Boma had very good BBQ ribs and chicken. The thing that really makes these items is the BBQ sauce they have at Boma. I’m not sure if it’s cinnamon or coriander or whatever it is in the sauce, but it was very good and nothing like I have tasted before.

Another unique quality about Boma is the vast array of salads and soups offered. These give you very unique mixture of flavors that you don’t see offered in regular restaurants.

There are other meats and vegetables offered on the buffet which are cooked and seasoned in conjunction with the flavors of Africa. This buffet will truly be a unique experience for your taste buds.

3. Cape May Cafe(Dinner)- Cape May Cafe is located in my home DVC Resort the Beach Club. Themed after a New England/Cape Cod style clam bake, this buffet is a must do for all seafood lovers. Now, I am not the biggest seafood lover out there, but one thing I do love is crab legs, and you can find steamed crab legs every night. You can also find peel and eat shrimp, mussels, clams, and fried shrimp. Also you have steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, fresh rolls and cornbread, a meat carving station, assorted pastas and salads and fresh fruit. Only on Wednesdays and Saturdays does the buffet have as a choice BBQ pork ribs which are good but not great, but many people I know seem to love them.

The buffet for me is worth it just with the crab legs,  but then add some of the other items and it’s well worth it. You just have to realize that with a buffet marketed around seafood you will have to pay a little bit higher than average price but it is not too expensive if you go by Disney standards. This is definitely someplace where I have to eat at each trip.

2. Crystal Palace(breakfast)- By far my favorite location for breakfast is Crystal Palace. The food is just absolutely great. Now if you go for dinner or lunch, the food is probably below average, but breakfast is amazing.

The Star of the buffet is the Pooh French Toast. This French toast needs no syrup whatsoever, and the best way I can describe it is that it is like eating a zeppole, it is amazingly good. Of course that’s not the only reason, you can find yogurt, fruit, lox, pastries, breakfast cereals and of course the usual things like sausage, bacon, eggs,  regular French toast, Mickey waffles, and my favorite, biscuits and sausage gravy. Also there is an omelet station where you can have eggs made any way you desire or have the chef whip up an omelet of your choosing.

This is another must do for my family each trip, it is 100% worth it just for the food, which seems to be getting better each time I go as other places seem to be getting lower in quality and higher in price(cough cough, Chef Mickey’s, cough cough).

1. O’hana(Dinner)- My top spot goes to this restaurant located inside the great ceremonial house inside the Polynesian Resort. My only issue with O’hana’s is the fact I wouldn’t go eat here for years. I figured I wouldn’t like the food so I never tried it. I decided a few years ago at the urging of my sister to try O’hana’s, and now it is by far my favorite table service location at WDW.

You start off with a salad with a mango dressing served family style, then the real fun begins. Your server then brings out a platter of Asian style sweet and sour noodles, pot stickers and chicken wings. Don’t worry when you finish all this you can ask for more. As you are choking down on these specialties, servers will be coming around with metal skewers filled with marinated shrimp, chicken and beef. I am not a big steak person but I even liked the beef. The  and shrimp were out of this world. They will be walking around waiting to fill your plate up again so bring your appetite.

After all this make sure you still save some room for dessert. Many people have told me the bread pudding with bananas and caramel sauce is the best dessert on property. Cannot disagree with them. Your server brings out the pudding and then drenches it with the caramel sauce right before your eyes. It looks as good as it tastes.

O’hana takes the cake as the top table service restaurant on Disney property. Again, if you disagree or feel I missed your favorite, let me know in the comments or check me out on twitter @vacaassistant

 

Top Buffets or family style restaurants at Walt Disney World for food quality

One of the things I look forward to the most on my Walt Disney World Vacation is the dining and the dining experiences. Admittedly not every Restaurant at Walt Disney World has the best tasting or quality food. Some have very good quality, and some you are just paying for the atmosphere and experience more so than the average quality food. In this post I am going to look at what I believe are the top 5 TABLE SERVICE buffet style or family style restaurants on property in terms of food quality. If you do not know what a table service is. It is a sit down Restaurant that is worth 1 table service credit if you were on the DDP.  Now this is just my opinion, and you may have different tastes than me, but if you disagree or agree, let me know and leave a comment or tell me on twitter @vacaasistant.

5. Whispering Canyon- I love BBQ, just love it, and Whispering Canyon does a pretty good job at it. They have a pretty good a la carte to choose from for breakfast, lunch or dinner. For lunch and dinner the smoked pulled pork sandwich and the St. Louis style ribs are very good and the Bison Burger was good also. But for lunch and dinner, what I usually get when I am with a group is the all you care to enjoy skillet. For lunch and dinner you get the pulled pork, ribs, roasted chicken with sides like Mashed Yukon Potatoes, corn on the Cobb and baked Beans, all served family style. With dinner you will be served a mixed green salad and corn bread. But best item on the skillet is the western style sausage, this is absolutely amazing and one of my favorite items at any Disney restaurant. Add all this in with the very unique atmosphere and this is a special restaurant, just wait until you need ketchup.

4. Boma(dinner)- This all you care to enjoy buffet located in the Animal Kingdom Lodge is a real hidden gem. Animal Kingdom Lodge is a little out of the way so some don’t bother trying this place out. Well, get on a shuttle or get in your car and head over to Boma.

Like I said I am a real big fan of BBQ, and Boma had very good BBQ ribs and chicken. The thing that really makes these items is the BBQ sauce they have at Boma. I’m not sure if it’s cinnamon or coriander or whatever it is in the sauce, but it was very good and nothing like I have tasted before.

Another unique quality about Boma is the vast array of salads and soups offered. These give you very unique mixture of flavors that you don’t see offered in regular restaurants.

There are other meats and vegetables offered on the buffet which are cooked and seasoned in conjunction with the flavors of Africa. This buffet will truly be a unique experience for your taste buds.

3. Cape May Cafe(Dinner)- Cape May Cafe is located in my home DVC Resort the Beach Club. Themed after a New England/Cape Cod style clam bake, this buffet is a must do for all seafood lovers. Now, I am not the biggest seafood lover out there, but one thing I do love is crab legs, and you can find steamed crab legs every night. You can also find peel and eat shrimp, mussels, clams, and fried shrimp. Also you have steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, fresh rolls and cornbread, a meat carving station, assorted pastas and salads and fresh fruit. Only on Wednesdays and Saturdays does the buffet have as a choice BBQ pork ribs which are good but not great, but many people I know seem to love them.

The buffet for me is worth it just with the crab legs,  but then add some of the other items and it’s well worth it. You just have to realize that with a buffet marketed around seafood you will have to pay a little bit higher than average price but it is not too expensive if you go by Disney standards. This is definitely someplace where I have to eat at each trip.

2. Crystal Palace(breakfast)- By far my favorite location for breakfast is Crystal Palace. The food is just absolutely great. Now if you go for dinner or lunch, the food is probably below average, but breakfast is amazing.

The Star of the buffet is the Pooh French Toast. This French toast needs no syrup whatsoever, and the best way I can describe it is that it is like eating a zeppole, it is amazingly good. Of course that’s not the only reason, you can find yogurt, fruit, lox, pastries, breakfast cereals and of course the usual things like sausage, bacon, eggs,  regular French toast, Mickey waffles, and my favorite, biscuits and sausage gravy. Also there is an omelet station where you can have eggs made any way you desire or have the chef whip up an omelet of your choosing.

This is another must do for my family each trip, it is 100% worth it just for the food, which seems to be getting better each time I go as other places seem to be getting lower in quality and higher in price(cough cough, Chef Mickey’s, cough cough).

1. O’hana(Dinner)- My top spot goes to this restaurant located inside the great ceremonial house inside the Polynesian Resort. My only issue with O’hana’s is the fact I wouldn’t go eat here for years. I figured I wouldn’t like the food so I never tried it. I decided a few years ago at the urging of my sister to try O’hana’s, and now it is by far my favorite table service location at WDW.

You start off with a salad with a mango dressing served family style, then the real fun begins. Your server then brings out a platter of Asian style sweet and sour noodles, pot stickers and chicken wings. Don’t worry when you finish all this you can ask for more. As you are choking down on these specialties, servers will be coming around with metal skewers filled with marinated shrimp, chicken and beef. I am not a big steak person but I even liked the beef. The  and shrimp were out of this world. They will be walking around waiting to fill your plate up again so bring your appetite.

After all this make sure you still save some room for dessert. Many people have told me the bread pudding with bananas and caramel sauce is the best dessert on property. Cannot disagree with them. Your server brings out the pudding and then drenches it with the caramel sauce right before your eyes. It looks as good as it tastes.

O’hana takes the cake as the top table service restaurant on Disney property. Again, if you disagree or feel I missed your favorite, let me know in the comments or check me out on twitter @vacaassistant