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Meet the Foodie Behind the Disney Food Blog-Interview with AJ Wolfe

mickey waffles

For those of us on twitter and facebook, this is how we recognize AJ ;)

When first stumbling upon the Disney fan-site blog-o-sphere, one site stood out and instantly became a favorite. That would of course be the Disney Food Blog. I know I am not alone in loving this site and the wonderful person behind it, AJ Wolfe. It’s funny that since AJ has chosen to be for the most part completely anonymous on the internet, I actually spent the first 6 months or so I communicated with her, thinking she was a he! I actually think that’s a great testament to the power of her factual reporting and her blogging prowess. Of course, when I was lucky enough to meet AJ in person back in February, she couldn’t be a more stereotypically sweet and ladylike Southern lady! {Even though she’s technically a New Yorker, having only relocated to Texas a year ago – she’s just that charming!}

AJ was kind enough to let me post as a guest author on her site back when I was just getting started, and I appreciated that so much. Many of my blogging friends have contributed to her site as well, once again proving that there is no end to wonderful Disney food topics! I thought it’d be fun to get to know AJ a little better and discover some of the background behind her passions. So without further ado, here’s AJ –


Tell us a little bit about your background – how did you become a certified Foodie? How did Disney get into the picture?

My hobbies have always included writing, travel, and food, and I’ve been a Disney fan since I was knee-high. The Disney Food Blog is the perfect marriage of all of my passions! I eat a lot and love to try new things.

When did you first visit a Disney Park? Do you happen to remember your first Disney dining experience?

To my parents’ certain dismay, I don’t remember my very first trip. We’d do the overnight drive to a Florida beach for Spring Break every fewyears, and Mom and Dad would make the requisite pilgrimages to the Magic Kingdom and what was EPCOT Center at the time.

I can remember clearly stopping at the Worldkey kiosks in EPCOT to make dining reservations at World Showcase restaurants when we arrived. I didn’t understand what “French” food was at Chefs de France, and I was mightily turned off by the cottage pie at Rose and Crown!

One food memory that will always stick with me is of a little clear plastic box filled with tiny tarts candy. Disney sold them at MouseGears in Epcot, and you could get other types of candy besides tiny tarts, but I coveted that little box with the Disney World logo on it and all of the rainbow-colored candies inside. {I have to interject here and say that I share both of those same memories! I loved the WorldKey kiosks and remember fondly my dad talking to the reservation agents on the screens! I, too, remember getting one of those clear plastic boxes at the (then) Centorium. Fun times. ~Z}

 

Sleepy Hollow ice cream cookie sandwich
The Sleepy Hollow homemade cookie ice cream sandwich is a favorite snack.


How did you come up with the idea for DisneyFoodBlog.com? I have to admit, Disney Moms Panel Erin and I have discussed both wishing we’d thought of your brilliant idea!

There was a site a few years ago where a couple of Disney fans would document their meals from their trips to Disney World. I visited that site every day, even when it wasn’t updated for weeks or months, and couldn’t wait to see a new restaurant discussed. I also had all of the message board “food pics” threads bookmarked! But it wasn’t filling the need.

I wanted to see lots of pics of Disney food, but I didn’t want to have to scroll through hundreds of message board pages or wait for months for website updates. I envisioned a website that would easily be MY favorite thing on the internet if it existed, and my husband and I created it.

I do try to share an honest view of what’s great, and what could be improved, in Disney restaurants. I have been amazed by how many of my reviews have been corroborated by readers. I started the site to share photos of Disney food, but the reviews are really helping people plan their trips!

What has been your favorite dining experience thus far at a Disney park? Which experience surprised or exceeded your expectations?

That’s a really difficult question to answer; I’d have to say that my favorite meal is always my *first* meal — the meal I have when I first arrive in a Disney park on the first day of my vacation (and, as readers of Disney Food Blog know, that distinction usually goes to Liberty Tree Tavern).

I’ve been surprised and delighted by many Disney restaurants and individual dishes, but recently I was really thrilled with a meal at the Hollywood Brown Derby. I guess I didn’t know what to expect of the restaurant; the menu didn’t thrill me, and I’ve always chosen other Hollywood Studios restaurants over spending the money and taking the time to eat at the Derby. But this place is truly outstanding and deserving of accolades. We’ll be back again many times.

 

eggplant parm at tutto italia
The eggplant parmesan at Epcot’s Tutto Italia

 

Is there a dining location or item no longer available in the parks or resorts that you sorely miss?

I mourn every day the loss of the potatoes at ‘Ohana and the fried Boursin cheese at 50’s Prime Time Cafe. There are many others, but these two top the list. My husband would have me add the Beef and Barley Soup at Le Cellier.

 

What type/genre of food do you wish Disney would offer? Either just a dish, a specific restaurant or even a country represented at F&W…

It sounds way too standard, but it would be wonderful to have consistently good pizza in Disney World. My fingers are crossed for the new Italy pizzeria!

 

As a foodie – is there anything you *don’t* like, or refuse to eat? What’s your guilty junk-food pleasure??

I like to think I’ll try everything once. :-) And my guilty junk food pleasures are splayed all over the blog — cupcakes, chocolate, hot melty cheese on french fries, popcorn, cookies, ice cream sundaes, shall I go on?

 

marble cupcake at disney
One of the Disney Food Blog’s favorite topics: Cupcakes!


I know you run and you took part in the Expedition Everest 5k – what are some of your other hobbies and interests?

That race was so much fun! I’m also a big fan of hiking, and I’m a novice paddler (but I love it!). I’ve always got my camera with me, so I like to think of myself as an amateur photographer. And when the option presents itself to travel anywhere, I take it!

What is your favorite Disney resort? Attraction?

My favorite Disney resort is the one I’m staying in at the time. I’ve answered this question differently every time I’ve been asked, but the truth is I’m happy anywhere as long as it’s near a Disney park! Favorite attraction varies as well, but I usually stick with Space Mountain.

 

Can we get an interesting fact or bit of trivia about you?

Interesting fact: I put ketchup on everything. ;)

 

 

So there you go; a little insight into the foodie behind the blog. Big thanks to AJ for taking the time to talk with us and sharing some of the fabulous Disney food pictures you can find every day on her site. With features like in-depth photo reviews, Disney food “throw-downs“, incredible coverage of Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, even discussions about dining at Disney with dietary restrictions –  you’re guaranteed to walk away from your computer hungry. Be sure to add the Disney Food Blog to your daily reads, so you don’t miss out!

What’s your favorite Disney food experience? I’d love to hear it!

 

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  • jdvm

    Hey Suzannah, thanks so much for this post! Like you, I was instantly impressed with the Disney Food Blog that seemed to come out of nowhere but looked and read as if it had been around forever. Also like you, I wondered whether AJ was a she or a he?!? AJ does a super job and she deserves to be discovered by more and more folks. Thanks for helping let the secret out!
    john

  • TheAngelForever

    Bravo – what a fabulous interview with AJ. I fell in love with her blog and like you did not realize AJ was a woman at first. Note to AJ – I mourn the loss of those little plastic candy boxes. I remember getting tons of those as gifts to bring back to neighbors and family from our trips. When we went on our honeymoon almost nine years ago they were gone. Thank you both for bringing Disney World to those of us that are not there nearly enough as we wish.

  • MyMuse18

    yes! ketchup people unite! LOL!!!

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  • http://www.disneyeveryday.com Amanda Tinney

    AJ…a man…who wouldda thunk it? LOL!!!!

    GOOSEBUMPS! I too used to leave every trip with a small plastic box of tart-n-tiny's. Way back in the day when they were not covered in a hard candy shell but were powdery on the outside and super tart!!! Z…I think we had this conversation already =)

    AJ…you say you eat a lot but I must say…you are one of the most stunning lil things I have ever met and I would never guess that you ate much at all. But am glad that you do or I wouldn't have my daily fix of Disney nom noms.

    I love the Disney Food Blog and visit it every day!

  • http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/ AJ

    Zanna — I just thought of a BETTER “interesting fact” — I always plug my ears during fireworks!! Thank you so much for this opportunity to be highlighted on your wonderful site. I'm so glad we've “grown up” together!

    John — Thank you for the kind words. As always, I'm honored to have kudos from someone I so highly respect.

    TAF — Rock on! I'm so excited that so many of us remember those plastic candy boxes! Maybe Disney'll bring 'em back!!

    Michele — Woo!! The best is the combo of ketchup and hot cheese…I'm just sayin'.

    Tinney — YES! Powdery on the outside! It's all coming back to me!! (You are too kind with your compliments!)

  • http://wdwnotjustforkids.com/ Hedy

    Glad to hear more about AJ!

  • http://zannaland.com Zanna

    It was my pleasure, John! We are all so passionate about our Disney food – I'm glad we have AJ to write all about it!

  • http://zannaland.com Zanna

    So funny how we all remember those! (see Amanda's comment below too!)

    (I'm also glad I'm not the only one that confused her gender too!) ;)

  • http://zannaland.com Zanna

    LOL!!

  • http://zannaland.com Zanna

    I guess I'm just a terrible judge of gender! (I had to ask AJ about Jordan of DisMarks too! :P)

    I agree with your assessment of AJ too – she is definitely the most beautiful and tiny food reviewers I've ever seen! :)

  • http://zannaland.com Zanna

    I think there is even more to discover about Ms. AJ but I bet she's saving it for her tell-all book! ;)

  • http://zannaland.com Zanna

    Haha! I think the ketchup thing is pretty interesting for someone with such gourmet tastes otherwise! ;)

    It's been an honor to blog along side you – thank YOU for all your support when I was starting out. :)

  • TheAngelForever

    AJ – My favorite of the little boxes were the Petit Swiss Fruits. There were fruit shaped candies that actually tasted like the items they looked like. Bananas, pears, plums, raspberries, lemons, apples and so on. For years we only found them at Disney and brought them to everyone. Finally found them in Boston when I was in college and got a store or two in NYC that ship them here. Oh my the memories. BTW – I feel so left out that I never met you in February when you met Zanna and Tinney.

  • http://tracifishbowl.blogspot.com/ tracileigh

    another great post, Zanna!

    I too was lucky enough to meet AJ at the DisneySMMoms in February and I've had the chance to talk to her online and, she is truly one of the sweetest people in the Disney online community! Reading the Disney Food Blog is a daily MUST for me :)

  • http://twitter.com/RoraBorieAlice Aurora Moore

    2 of My MOST favorite Bloggers on one blog in the same day!!!!! PERFECTION!!!!!!
    I used to get one of those little boxes (i think they were tart and tinys) every year on the last day! They were perfect squares with a gold stamp of the EPCOT logo on them Right? I think I have a few of those boxes tucked away…

  • http://cutecharactershoes.com/ Jon

    I love the Disney Food Blog! My “home” park is DL, and it's always amazing to see (and envy) the great dining options at WDW. Anaheim is much less developed this way, with a handful of mostly non-Disney options in Downtown Disney, plus Napa Rose at the Grand Californian. We DL people should underwrite a Disney Food Blog junket for AJ to come out this way. I'll bet she'd find dozens of gems that have been lurking right under our noses all these years. Plus lots of stuff you can eat with ketchup!

    Thanks to both of you for bringing us this great interview!

  • http://www.disneyfoodblog.com AJ

    Yum Yum Yum! I've never seen them! Post a twitpic if you can — would love to see them. They sound right up my alley…

  • http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/ AJ

    Thank you Ms. Traci! I feel the same about you! Your enthusiasm and motivation is inspiring.

  • http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/ AJ

    Ooh… ebay here you come! ;-) It's so cool how many of us share the same candy memories.

  • http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/ AJ

    JON! I will be in Disneyland in 3 WEEKS!!!!!!!! Expect LOTS of Disneyland goodies to be lovingly presented on the Disney Food Blog's pages in the upcoming months, my friend. And if you have suggestions for things I should check out while I'm there, pepper me with them at AJ @ DisneyFoodBlog (dot) com!!

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  • RoriTravel

    I found Disney Food Blog thru my other Disney World friends & am blown away by the quality of it – but also tempted at every turn by the food. As a kid going to Disney I didn't much think about the food other than was it good or bad. But we we grow, it takes on a while new meaning! That AJ took such a thing – Disney Food – and made it even better, well thats a testament to her passion!
    Rori

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  • Jane

    I have to agree with several of you. I am 42 and have been going to WDW since '71 when it opened. When I was a kid my grandparents took my brother and I at least once a year. Before leaving we always stopped on Main Street and bought one of those little clear plastic candy cube boxes, I usually got red hots, as a memento of our trip and I would try to keep that candy as long as I could. Actually, even though the candy was probably made by one of the candy giants for Disney, WDW had the best red hots I ever tried. I greatly miss buying my candy box on the way out. I too would love to see them bring back these bits of American history. Oh well, who knows?

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