We love so many things about fall – the turning leaves, the cozy nights, the approach of the holidays, apple-picking, and crackling fires. But surely one of autumn’s very best gifts is the seasonal food! From roast turkey and stuffing to savory stews, apple crisps, and yummy braised root vegetables, fall is a season of good eating. All of summer’s bounty is ready for our tables, and temperatures have cooled enough to awaken our appetites.
The crown jewel of autumn is, of course, the feast of Thanksgiving, when families gather around the table to break bread and count their blessings. In celebration of fall, we’ve got the rundown on Thanksgiving meals at the Disney Resorts on both coasts – and as a gift from the kitchens of Disney’s renowned Napa Rose restaurant, a luscious apple crisp recipe perfect to grace your autumn table, for Thanksgiving or any meal you’d like to turn into a seasonal feast.
Most of the sit-down restaurants in the Disney Parks and Resort hotels have holiday fare on the menu on Thanksgiving Day, so you can be assured of finding turkey with all the trimmings almost anywhere you choose to dine. At both Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, however, there are a handful of showcase locations that offer an extra-special Thanksgiving experience. For these, you’ll want to make reservations (book online for Walt Disney World Resort or call 1-714-781-DINE for Disneyland Resort).
At Disneyland Resort, a Disney Family Thanksgiving Feast offers a lavish buffet in the Grand Ballroom of the Disneyland Hotel, with beautiful décor, a wide variety of holiday dishes, and an unbelievable dessert buffet. Kids will find a buffet designed just for them, as well as Disney Characters on hand to sign autographs.
For a memorably luxe meal with table service, Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel will be offering a four-course menu (Guests can add a wine flight specially chosen to complement the dishes), and there is also a children’s menu. At Carthay Circle Restaurant there will a three-course Thanksgiving feast with flavors of the Americas – since the restaurant is located in Disney California Adaventure Park, you’ll need purchase Park admission to dine there.
At Walt Disney World Resort, among a plethora of great offerings, two options especially stand out – for very different experiences. If you want perhaps the ultimate in elegant dining experiences, you must attend Victoria and Albert’s Thanksgiving Dinner. With six spectacular courses and optional wine pairings, this is the grandest of grand cuisine, served in an exquisite setting. It will be an experience to remember forever.
At the other end of the formality scale, do you want a family event unlike any other? You’ll want to head for Mickey’s Backyard Thanksgiving Feast at Disney’s Ford Wilderness Pavillion. There will be a lavish outdoor buffet, plus live entertainment and, of course, Characters on hand to meet and greet. The relaxed outdoor atmosphere and down-home fun bring to mind the community spirit of the first Thanksgiving, with everyone gathering to break bread with family, neighbors, and friends, old and new.
Finally, if you’ll be cooking up your own fall feast, try this delectable apple crisp from the master chefs at Napa Rose – it will have your own family, neighbors, and friends clamoring for more! It’s a perfect ending for Thanksgiving dinner, or for any meal in this delicious season.
Apple Crisp Recipe
From the Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel® & Spa
1 1/2 pounds crisp apples, such as Fuji or Braeburn
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Calvados (apple brandy)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup shredded coconut
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Manchego Cheese Ice Cream:
8 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
3 cups half-and-half
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/2 pound Manchego cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
For Apple Filling:
1. Peel apples and cut into 1/4-inch dice. Set aside.
2. Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat; add sugar, and stir about 2 minutes or until sugar melts.
3. Add diced apples, and cook about 3 minutes or until apples just begin to soften. Combine lemon juice, Calvados, and cornstarch in a small bowl; stir until cornstarch is dissolved.
4. Add lemon juice mixture to the pan, and cook about 4 minutes, stirring, until juices thicken. Serve warm.
For Crumble Topping:
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, oats, pecans, and coconut in a large bowl; stir until well combined. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt butter. Slowly add melted butter to the bowl, stirring to incorporate.
3. Pour mixture onto an ungreased cookie sheet, breaking up large clumps with your fingers. Bake 10 to 14 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside to cool slightly; break up any remaining big pieces to achieve a crumbly consistency.
For Manchego Cheese Ice Cream:
1. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy; set aside.
2. Combine cream, half-and-half, and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a simmer. Slowly ladle 1 cup hot cream mixture into egg yolks, whisking constantly. Pour egg/cream mixture back into the saucepan, and cook about 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. Pour mixture into a large bowl.
3. Add cheese cubes and stir. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Once cooled, pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Discard cheese and vanilla bean. Refrigerate custard until cold, then freeze in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
1. Spoon apple filling into serving dish and sprinkle with crumble topping.
2. Serve with a scoop of Manchego cheese ice cream on the side.
This recipe has been converted from a larger quantity in the restaurant kitchens. The flavor profile may vary from the restaurant’s version.
All recipes are the property of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc., and may not be reproduced without express permission.