View Full Version : Bad dinner at Coral Reef

06-11-2007, 08:37 AM
We were hopeful that our dinner would be good after reading some recent reviews. In one word it was horrible. My son's chicken was very pink inside and when asked to bring it back the server responded that the chicken is cooked to the correct temp. and checked before being sent out. He did not send it back and my son said he didn't want to eat anything after that.

My mahi was completely raw inside. I showed the waiter said he would take that back. It took 30 minutes to get my food back. It was not a fresh piece of fish ...they took the part I had cut up and re-grilled it. I had lost my appetite and my family had already eaten and was ready to get out of there.

We won't go back.

06-11-2007, 01:27 PM
So sorry you had such a bad experience.We were there a few weeks ago and had a great meal. Maybe you should have asked for the manager to come to your table if your server was not being helpful.

06-11-2007, 01:36 PM
after walking all day in the heat...sometimes it's just not worth it...it wasn't that the server was rude it more that it was crazy busy, the chicken could have gone back if I pushed it but my son was turned off at that point and my fish took waaayyy tooooo long and we were all just plain over it...

it was a pity because we were looking forward to eating there...

06-11-2007, 03:00 PM
Thanks for the review. We have not had good luck at Coral Reef either. We've found that even when the rest. is not busy the wait staff always seems overwhelmed.

06-11-2007, 07:30 PM
We are giving it another try this August after our bad experience last August. My ds9 and I both ordered the Mahi and it was so hard you could pick it up and eat it in one piece. By the time we finally got out waiter my little ones were running out of patience to sit any longer.. I am hoping for a better time this year.. Sorry yours was so horrible. I hope I don't regret giving it another try..

06-11-2007, 07:32 PM
We had a horrible meal there and will never set foot in the place again. Sorry to hear your experience was no better than ours.

06-11-2007, 08:31 PM
I know exactly what you mean. When it is hot, and you are tired, sometimes it is just not worth the trip to get the manager and deal with that. Hope folks going have a better experience!

06-12-2007, 07:54 AM
we've had bad service there before too - but are going to try again this coming october - have 4pm for dinner there - figure since it's the first dinner seating, just how "cranky" can the waiter be??!!

06-12-2007, 08:01 AM
I am sorry to hear that you didn't have a good experience at the Coral Reef. DH and I ate there for the first time last month and have a great meal, so much so that I booked it again for October.

I see your point about being tired and hot and just not wanting to have to deal with all of that, perhaps asking for the manager next time would mean a quick fix to the problem.


Mom of 3
06-12-2007, 10:41 AM
We ate there last year and we had a great waiter and great food.

All our food was cooked to perfection and was delicious. Our waiter bought our DS2 a pizza which we were going to pay for out of pocket and he didn't charge us for it. All the desserts were yummy and my DS6 loved the build your own sundae.

We're going back again this Sept.

06-12-2007, 10:45 AM
Whenever we've eaten there recently, we've had listless service and poor quality food, except for the Chocolate Wave, which was still very good last time we visited. What stood out to me was a $9.95 shrimp cocktail consisting of three small, limp shrimp with one wilted lettuce leaf.

For us, we now go only for our boys because they enjoy seeing the aquarium while eating a meal.

06-12-2007, 03:12 PM
Sorry to hear you had a bad meal at the Coral Reef. It is so disappointing when that happens:sad2:

06-12-2007, 04:27 PM
I also had a bad experience, my meal was great and about an hour later I was sick for two days. I know it was the food nobody in my party got sick during our stay. It was the catfish or salad whatever it was I was so sick. Never knew I could vomit so much.

06-12-2007, 08:16 PM
I am so sorry you had such a bad experience.

Hands down Coral Reef was our favorite meal!

The NY Strip was the best I have ever had. Dh had the Mahi Mahi and I tasted it was good.

It is sad that a restaurant like Coral Reef which has the potential of being the best on WDW property is so sporadic in a meal will be good or not. We will do Coral reef again.

06-12-2007, 08:47 PM
That is too bad that you had an unhappy experience at CR. I've eaten there 3 times this year and am scheduled for another 4 meals later this year. Every meal I've had there recently were the best meals of my entire trip. Sometimes bad things happen and if I never went back and revisited a place after a bad meal, I would've run out of places to eat by now. It took me 3 visits to LeCellier before I got a good meal and after our visit to WDW last month I've removed Cape May and Spoodles from my dining list for any upcoming trips. I too would've never eaten "pink" chicken, that was scarey.

06-12-2007, 08:48 PM
I canceled our ADR for Coral Reef even though we really wanted to see it. Usually I don't pay too much attention to negative reviews but I've read the exact same complaints so many times about this place...
The way our schedule is, we could only do it on our last day and I don't want to take the risk of finishing our trip with a bad experience.

Sorry you had a bad time there, I hope the rest of your stay was better!

06-12-2007, 08:57 PM
We'll be trying Coral Reef for the first time this July. I am so torn about it because I keep reading negative reviews, but then for every bad experience, someone else says it was great. I'm hoping that even with mediocre food, my kids will like the atmosphere, and we can say we did it.

06-13-2007, 10:44 AM
I'm sorry you had such a bad experience.

How dare the server refuse to send a dish back to the kitchen! It isn't his place to determine whether your complaint has merit or not. You were not satisfied with the way it was cooked, he should have apologised and removed the plate.

06-13-2007, 04:11 PM
We ate at Coral Reef 2 years ago and it was the best food and service of our whole trip. I'm sorry you couldn't say the same. We are going back to Coral Reef again in Sept.

FYI--- It takes at least 24 hours before you can get sick from bad food. Sometimes we eat things that don't agree with us but that doesn't mean the food was bad. I don't mean to sound harsh but I don't want people freaking out thinking they're going to get food poisoning from the place.

06-13-2007, 04:59 PM
I hope it gets better by the time we get there - maybe they will learn how to finish cooking.:confused:

06-13-2007, 05:12 PM
FYI--- It takes at least 24 hours before you can get sick from bad food.


(Sorry for the formatting / Aussie spelling)
Pathogen Incubation period (time between eating and onset of symptoms) Symptoms Associated foods *
Bacillus cereus toxin (vomiting) 1 - 6 hours Sudden onset of severe nausea and vomiting Improperly refrigerated cooked rice
Bacillus cereus toxin (diarrhoea) 6 - 24 hours Abdominal cramps, nausea and watery diarrhoea Meats, stews, gravy, vanilla sauce
Campylobacter 2 - 5 days Fever, nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhoea (sometimes bloody) Raw and undercooked poultry, unpasteurised milk and contaminated water
Clostridium perfringens toxin 6 - 24 hours Abdominal cramps, watery diarrhoea and nausea Meats, poultry, gravy, dried or precooked foods
Escherichia coli (STEC) 2 - 10 days more commonly 3 - 4 days Diarrhoea (often bloody), abdominal cramps Improperly cooked beef, unpasteurised milk and juice, sprouts and contaminated water
Hepatitis A 2 - 7 weeks Jaundice, fatigue, anorexia, nausea Raw or poorly cooked seafood harvested from contaminated waters, ready-to-eat foods handled by an infected food handler
Listeria monocytogenes 3 days - 10 weeks Meningitis, sepsis, fever Soft cheeses, unpasteurised milk, ready-to-eat deli meats
Norovirus 24 - 48 hours Fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhoea and headache Poorly cooked shellfish, ready-to-eat foods touched by an infected worker
Salmonella 6 72 hours, usually 12-36 hours Headache, fever, abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea Undercooked poultry, raw egg deserts and mayonnaise, sprouts, tahini
Staphylococus aureus toxin 0.5 8 hours Sudden onset of vomiting and abdominal cramps Cream deserts and pastries, potato salad
Vibrio parahaemolyticus 430 hours, usually 12-24 hours Nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and watery diarrhoea Undercooked or raw seafood.

06-13-2007, 06:41 PM
I almost died from food poisoning last year after eating pork chops with round worm. I was told by my Doctor and my DFIL who is retired from being head of a childrens hospital that it took at least 24 hours so I quess it's who you talk to.I still say it would be very rare to develope symptoms within a hour like was stated. I didn't mean to cause trouble but saying you got sick because of a restaurants bad food is a serious accusation.

06-13-2007, 06:54 PM
I almost died from food poisoning last year after eating pork chops with round worm. I was told by my Doctor and my DFIL who is retired from being head of a childrens hospital that it took at least 24 hours so I quess it's who you talk to.I still say it would be very rare to develope symptoms within a hour like was stated. I didn't mean to cause trouble but saying you got sick because of a restaurants bad food is a serious accusation.

Anything with poorly refrigerated mayo can make you sick in a matter of minutes.Been there, done that.Several times.

06-13-2007, 08:26 PM
I did not like CR either. My beef polenta appy was cold and it came back the same way. My chicken caesar salad was ok but the service was slow slow slow.

06-14-2007, 09:18 PM
We have been to CR five times and the first four times everything was fantastic. This past time (just my DD and I), the initial server ignored us for about 15 minutes (he visited the tables around us multiple times). When he finally came over and asked how we were, I asked for a manager and got a new server.

Overall, we love their food but the service leaves something to be desired. It's as if they have no clue how to serve everyone and spend a lot of time walking back and forth. We'll give it another shot, but not because of the service.

06-16-2007, 01:05 PM
:confused3, this morning i was searching though the dis boards, i am pretty sure i read that if you stay at the Swan or Dolpin you cannot use disney dinning plan. is this ture? thank you in advance for your help and answer!!!

06-19-2007, 09:52 PM
We ate at CR one year ago and thought it was okay. We ate again two weeks ago and it was one of the best meals of our trip. It was so good, that I asked to send compliments to the chef! I had the salad with key lime dressing and it was amazing. I also had the blackened catfish, and the mousse dessert. The strip steak was also incredible. Mmmmmmmmm.

06-20-2007, 01:08 PM
Welcome Daniel! you are correct if at the S/D no food plan. HTH!

06-20-2007, 03:06 PM
I have to add my .02, for whatever it is worth. We had 7:30 Ps at CR on Wednesday night. We had horrible service and the food was not great. Our server took about 15 min. to approach our table and after she took our order we never saw her again. My DD dropped her fork and after waiting for about 5 minutes (our food was sitting in front of us and no one was eating -should have been a clue). We asked two different servers for a new one. Finally, DH got up and went over to another table where there was another server and she gave him a fork. I'm not sure what our server was doing. She looked very busy whenever she walked by but she wasn't helping us.

06-20-2007, 07:26 PM
Thanks for the review, and I am sorry you had a bad experience there.

Ours was pretty bad too. Family & I ate there in February and had horrible service. My DH liked the Mahi Mahi well enough, but my steak was not cooked how I wanted it (medium). It was WAY over done, so it was dry and tasted like beef jerky :eek: I didn't send it back because, our waiter showed up to our table all of three times...once to take our drink orders, 15 minutes later with drinks and to take our FULL order (appetizer, entree, & dessert), then came back to give us our check. We had 2 other servers bring us our food & only had our drinks refilled once :sad2: . I am assumming he went on break during our dinner.

I plan on giving Coral Reef another chance, just not anytime soon either. Hope your experience next time is better too :goodvibes

06-21-2007, 10:34 AM
We ate at Coral Reef about 2 weeks ago and LOVED it:love: ! It was our first TS meal to start of our vacation and we were not disappointed. The food was excellent and the service was great. There is 5 of us total so we had quite a variety of foods. For appetizers we had the cod cakes (excellent); the land and sea (good); crab claw salad (great); and the lobster soup (awesome). For dinner the rest of the family was less adventurous and 4 of them got the NY steak and I got the Mahi Mahi. We all loved our entrees. For desserts, we got them all except the citrus creme brulee. The kids loved the chocolate wave cake. I had the baileys mousse (excellent) and DH had the cheesecake (excellent). The waitress was very friendly and attentive. She even brought us the recipe for the chocolate wave cake and the lobster soup since we loved them so much!

06-21-2007, 02:21 PM
We ate at CR this past May. The Hostesses were very nice, our server was a snot. the Food ok. DH had better fish the next night at GF Cafe.

But the worst was everyone were throwing fits if they did not get to sit next to the tank. I mean"I paid darn good money for this trip fits" We heard that phrase at least 3 times. And then they would tell their kids just to go stand by the tank & they did. they squeezed between the tables & got next to the tank. I felt so sorry for the folks sitting by the tank. We where on the 2nd tier & had a great view. One family had a triple stroller & the husband said they where taking it in the CR & if they did not like it he would call Michael Eisiner;) himself, I wanted to him to go for it. and I never saw them in the Resturant.


06-29-2007, 10:19 AM
We had dinner at the CR years ago and it was a very nice fine dining restaurant with a cool calming atmosphere. Well we just ate there 6-28-07 and let me tell you hands down this is the loudest Table service restaurant in the resort. The food was average but very small portions. My DD "11" who counts as an adult had little to choose from. She ordered the ceaser salad which she normally loves but it was so heavy with garlic she could not even eat it .. I normally love garlic and it was way over spiced.. I would have been nuts if I would have paid $174 for two adults and one child if we were not on the dining plan. Keep in mind we did not have any alcohol drinks and nothing extra outside the dining plan.

Coral reef has become a three ring circus and even our server was suffering from the noise .. she was older and we could tell she was not happy although she treated us very well .. We asked What happened to this place ?? she told us that some time ago they TOOK OUT all the carpet on the walls and acoustic tiles and the place has been so loud since .. Now when I say loud.. I mean we couldn't even have a conversation at most times and yes .. we were lucky enough to be seated at the tank and were constantly covered with people and there kids running up to the tank and standing at the edge of our table to watch the fish ..

Im sorry to say ... AVOID !!

06-29-2007, 10:28 AM
I agree, dinner is loud! We now opt for the lunch visit. We have a 2:00 ADR for August. I found out recently (in May) that there is a huge difference between lunch and dinner. Yes the menu is slightly different, but the noise level is like night and day.....Oh my, I just gave away my secret.....sorry, lunch is crazy too! don't go there....teehee.

I do agree with everything the above poster said. The kids do run up to the glass and really disrupt your meal if you are seated by the glass. We never ask for the glass and seem to get it most times since we are a party of 2. I prefer the booth on the bottom level as one of the better seats, but they only put large groups in them, not parties of 2.

07-06-2007, 09:56 AM
I am sorry you had such a bad experience, I wish I could say I had a great experience. I did not. Our waitress was very rude, when I asked for drink with no ice (sensitive teeth) so brought out ice anyway. I asked her to correct it and she slammed the drink down so hard some of it spilled out!:mad: The food was not very good my fish was also cold in the middle and I asked for it to be taken back it looked as if it was microwaved because not a thing was moved! We also were seated by the tanks which was nice, but we had a family of children that kept bumping our elbows and running into our seats. The family didn't say anything to their children and normally I wouldn't mind if there were some manners there.

I think it is really like winning the lottery with this resturant more people leave unhappy esp. for the money they spend. I would love to go back and have a wonderful meal, but that is a very expensive choice for something that was so bad the first time.

07-08-2007, 05:38 PM
I made Christmas dinner ressie's for this restaurant but now I'm rethinking them. It was basically the only restaurant with reservations still available last week.

We would like to be at Epcot on Christmas afternoon/Evening. Any suggestions where we can dine? Seems like everything is already booked as of the date dining reservations took place.


07-09-2007, 12:43 AM
I would keep trying to get the ADR you really want. My favorites in epcot are Le Cellier in Canada and France is really good lately. Have you considered some of the restaurants on the Boardwalk just outside epcot ? You could walk out the back of epcot for dinner then walk back in. There are several very good restaurants around the Boardwalk / Beach club / Yacht club area

Dont give up ..

07-09-2007, 04:42 AM
Thanx for the review ~ Shame that you had such a negative experience.

07-09-2007, 06:47 AM
From all these reviews, I'm glad I made a lunch ressie at 11:30 am the earliest possible time. The servers sounds like they are overwhelmed by the DDP. I'm thinking I should ask for the bill right away while the server is not so busy after we order all our food. I read in this forum somewhere that if there's a mistake it has to be corrected at that restaurant instead of at the hotel is that correct as of now ? Thanks in advance.

07-09-2007, 08:32 AM
I would keep trying to get the ADR you really want. My favorites in epcot are Le Cellier in Canada and France is really good lately. Have you considered some of the restaurants on the Boardwalk just outside epcot ? You could walk out the back of epcot for dinner then walk back in. There are several very good restaurants around the Boardwalk / Beach club / Yacht club area

Dont give up ..

I tried again for Le Cellier without luck, although we have it for a different day. I made the ADR at Flying Fish on the BW ~ it's DH favorite. As you mentioned, we can walk back in the park. The food and service is always wonderful.

Thanks for your help!


07-09-2007, 10:20 AM
"I tried again for Le Cellier without luck, although we have it for a different day. I made the ADR at Flying Fish on the BW ~ it's DH favorite. As you mentioned, we can walk back in the park. The food and service is always wonderful."

Thanks for your help!

Great Choice, plus its a nice break from the crowds for dinner.

07-09-2007, 01:09 PM
I was thinking of making another ADR for the Coral Reef. I'm glad I came across this thread...Now I am SERIOUSLY thinking about my other options!

07-14-2007, 12:30 AM
WhileI am usually a firm believer in judging by my own experience....
THe fact that bad reviews actually exist, and seem to be more consistent as of late...has me re considering our ADR for our first nights dinner at Coral Reef.

We have read positive comments, and thought our DD would be amused...however at what cost ?
So I am thinking of cancelling tomorrow...and reserve a breakfast at Cape May for a character breakfast...since we dont have that type of dining yet, and its so convenient:)
If there were just a few comments...but so many...service it just as important to us as the food!
Thanks everyone for contributing:)

07-14-2007, 04:47 AM
Thanks for the review, shame it was such a disappointing meal, raw food is never acceptable IMO.

07-18-2007, 09:06 PM
We have ADRs for Sept 30 and I'm REALLY hoping that we have a good meal, but if we don't, I am not above getting the server or the manager or whoever it takes to make it a good meal. We are not on the DDP and I will not willingly hand over (very) hard earned money if it was not worth it ...
They can't fix what they don't know about! And I can't believe EVERY server there is apathetic to the customers.....
So flame me, tell me I don't know what I'm talking about or that's not the way it works, but that's the way I see it.....
If I won't put up with bad food/bad service in my hometown, I CERTAINLY am not going to put up with it at Disney!
On the same token, if the meal is good (or GREAT!), I am also not above letting the server and the manager know that also .....

07-19-2007, 03:20 AM
That's bad news. I'm sorry that you didn't have a great time there. Maybe my friends and I were just lucky when we went there. We had a decent experience.

07-19-2007, 09:39 AM
We ate there last week for the first time. Our food was very good and our server was attentive and pleasant. DH said it was one of his favorite meals of the trip.

07-19-2007, 05:23 PM
Our experience last September was similar to what some of you have described with regard to the service. Our waiter was Haul, (maybe some of you with bad experiences had him also).

Setting the scene: It was 8:00 pm and our ADR was for 8:30, so admittedly we were 30 minutes early. There had been a massive downpour on the way to CR which we were caught in without protection, and we were all soaked to the skin. :rolleyes: Apparently everyone else in EPCOT thought that was a great time to go to CR, too. And upon arrival we were told the wait time would be an hour. :confused: So, we were soaked, now inside in air conditioning, and told we would still be waiting 30 minutes past our original ADR before our table would be ready. As time went on we were chilled to the bone. :sad2:

We tried to occupy ourselves while we waited by playing games, looking over the menu, taking pictures, etc. We finally got our table around 9:05, and our waiter brought waters out right away. We already knew what we were ordering, having had plenty of time to look over the menu. But, he had disappeared. After about 15 minutes, he came back and took our appetizer orders. Then he disappeared again. He finally came back and we ordered entrees. He brought our appetizers a little later. We had ordered coffees because we were so cold. :upsidedow :cool: They were never refilled, nor were our waters. The entrees came out about 45 minutes after sitting down. :hourglass

Since sitting there drinking our coffees, we had warmed up a little and dried off significantly. So, we ordered our desserts and asked for coffee refills. Well, about 20 minutes later our desserts were brought out but with no coffee. We asked for the check thinking that as MIA as this waiter was, we would need to get him started on that. :rolleyes: We just ate the dessert sans coffee. We finally received our check about 10:30. :confused:

My hubby says we were held hostage at CR by the waiter! He hates that. :eek: If the waiter had looked interested or communicated with us what was going on, we're a pretty understanding bunch... especially since they were obviously overloaded with people due to the rain. But, nothing! :confused3

HOWEVER, our food was delicious :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 even though we didn't have enough drinks with it. We WILL be going back this September but our ADR is much earlier in the evening (5:20 pm) and we're hoping we don't get Haul as our waiter. ;) We are giving it another shot because we really believe that our bad time was more due to waiter and weather than anything. HOPEFULLY, we will not be disappointed!

Pixiedust! pixiedust:

07-19-2007, 05:36 PM
THis has always been a family favorite, and we just dined there last Thursday--the service was horrible, the food just OK and the noise level way over the top--between the kids screaming a shark a shark, the crazy grandmother taking her grand kids table to table down front bothering the people who were seated and eating and the large party up top row running back and fourth from table to table to show each there what they ordered--well I won't be going back any time soon. My son and husband have hearing difficulties--but DH can turn it all off becasue if his hearing aids, DS can't and the noise got to him so much that he had to leave twice to clear his head. I am at a plce where at first I thought an increas int he DDP via having to pay my own tip would be a bad thing--now I'm just hoping it returns some of my favorite places back to normal since it may deter people from going to the more expensive places to avoid tipping higher (yeah I know these are the people that will max the plan and not tip anyway) but I can hope!

07-19-2007, 11:55 PM
Well, irregardless of negative reviews, we are still keeping our ADR here intact. I will have to experience it before I can judge....I am hoping for the best:) And if service, food, is not up to par...I will be sure to make mention of it:)
Knowing full well a restaurant can only be responsible for so many things..staff cannot control guests who cannot control themselves or their children.
I will be sure to report back....its our first night's ADR and we are looking forward to it:)

Sorry to those who did not have memorable experiences.

07-20-2007, 06:39 PM
We had dinner at the Coral Reef on Fri., 7/13 and it was the best meal, in terms of food, of our trip! We had the blackened catfish over cheese grits and it was sooo good! And the chocolate wave for dessert was quite possibly one of the tastiest treats I have ever had! Service, however, was the worst we encountered all week. We arrived about 5 min. late for our ADR time and were seated within just a few minutes. Hostess was friendly. But our waitress was very inattentive. She never once checked on us after we received our meals, to see if it was satisfactory or to offer drink refills. When she did come back, it was to give us our check. I had a question about the DDP and she smarted off at me in answering. This was the one case on the DDP where I lamented that the tip was included, because she sure wouldn't have gotten 18% from me. But the food was outstanding and we will try it again....hopefully with a different server!

07-20-2007, 06:49 PM
We were also there on Friday, July 13! Our service was great (we had a waiter). One thing--DS ordered chicken and ended up with mahi mahi, but he discovered that he likes mahi mahi, which is a good thing for us. The waiter apologized and said he'd keyed in the wrong item (DH and I both ordered mahi mahi). Since DS ate the whole thing before I told him it was really fish and not chicken, we didn't ask for a replacement.

Our waiter also volunteered to customize DS's chicken/mahi mahi so he got mashed potatoes instead of couscous. And the kids got the pizza with dessert even though the "complete" meal on the kids menu didn't include that option.

We will certainly return there again, but next time, DS is going to order mahi mahi to begin with.

07-20-2007, 08:23 PM
We also had a bad experience. Sorry you guys did also.