Snowbirds will find fun. fine food at Disney World

Local snowbirds are preparing to head south, particularly to Florida, for fun in the sun and surf, and to check out great places to eat.

It’s almost unthinkable to visit the state without stopping or staying at Walt Disney World, where a wide variety of dining adventures awaits winter-weary Michiganders.

One of my favorite eateries, the Hollywood Brown Derby in the Disney’s Hollywood Studios area, offers guests an opportunity to dine under shade umbrellas at a new patio lounge. The lounge serves wine, beer and cocktails, along with such small bites as Brown Derby sliders, duck confit and special cheeses.

The restaurant’s dessert menu includes the 1920’s Grapefruit Cake from the 50th anniversary Brown Derby Cookbook, published in 1976. I have made the cake, which features yellow layers with grapefruit sections folded into a cream cheese frosting. The cake is incredibly delicious.

Other sweets served at the Disney eatery include Strawberry Cheesecake, Bananas Foster and a banana and white chocolate toffee tower perched on a cocoa-almond cookie. Yum!

The menu also includes the famous Cobb Salad, which was created by Bob Cobb, then-owner of the historic Hollywood and Vine restaurant, which was the meeting place for such movie stars as Gloria Swanson, Marlene Dietrich and Dorothy Lamour in its heyday.

A new addition to the Walt Disney World Morocco Pavilion is the Spice Road Table, which features a variety of Moroccan small plates and special drinks in a setting inspired by outdoor cafes along the Mediterranean.
A collection of shops lures visitors, and a henna tattoo artist is available to design temporary body art.

A treat that debuted recently at Epcot is the cronut, a cross between a croissant and a donut, which is topped with cinnamon and sugar.

Among popular desserts at other Walt Disney World eateries are the warm berry cobbler at Artist Point in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge; the Key lime pie at Olivia’s Café (in the Old Key West Resort), old-fashioned s’mores at the 50’s Prime Time Café (in Disney’s Hollywood Studios) and the crème brulee at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

Save the date . . .
Jan. 9 — Lecture by historian Richard Norton Smith in the Downriver Town Hall series; 11 a.m. at Crystal Gardens, 16703 Fort St., Southgate; for additional information, call 734-783-9224.

Jan. 9-19 — “Girls Night: The Musical”; a comedy about five girlfriends as they travel from heartbreak to happiness; at the City Theatre, in the Hockeytown Café Building; tickets, $38, are available at all Ticketmaster lo-cations and; to charge tickets by phone, call 800-745-3000; for more information, call 313-471-6611.

Jan. 10, 17 — Dinner theater, musical comedy, “Vaudeville,” a TNT production featuring memories of Fanny Brice, Milton Berle, Lucille Ball, Sophie Tucker and other legendary performers; 7 p.m. at the James R. De-Sana Center for Arts & Culture, 81 Chestnut, Wyandotte; for tickets and other dinner options and prices, call the Downriver Council for the Arts at 734-720-0671.

Feb. 8 — Trenton Rotary Club’s seventh annual “Winter Beach Blast”; 6 p.m. at Crystal Gardens, 16703 Fort St., Southgate; buffet supper, open bar, raffles, games, dancing to a live band; tickets are $45 in advance or $50 at the door; for additional information, call Kathy Kane at 734-676-9561.

March 18-23 — Music and dance spectacular, “Heartbeat of Home”; at the Fisher Theatre; featuring Irish, Latin and Afro-Cuban music and dancing with a cast of 37, including a 10-piece band; tickets, $35 to $85, are avail-able by calling 800-982-2787 or online at or