View Full Version : A Whirlwind Dining Review

08-24-2007, 02:10 PM
We're just back from a quick, three night trip to the world to celebrate DD6's birthday. We were on the dining plan, which is tons of food in the August heat, and had a great time with lots of good food! I tried to remember to take pics at our TS meals with mixed results, but I didn't bother with the camera for the counter service.

Restaurants we tried:
ESPN Club (post #1)
Refreshment Port (post #2)
Kona Cafe (post #2)
Main Street Bakery (post #5)
Pinocchio Village Haus (post #5)
Grand Floridian Cafe (post #5)
Hurricane Hannah's (post #6)
Beach Club Marketplace (post #6)


I couldn't decide on a Boardwalk area restaurant for our arrival night, and decided I didn't want to be tied to an ADR given the uncertainties of plane schedules and the kids' appetites. Since the ESPN Club doesn't do ADRs and the menu looked good, it seemed the perfect choice.

We walked over from the Beach Club around 5:45 and had about a 5 minute wait for a table. We were seated on the main floor of the dining room so that we could be at a normal height table, since DD still has a hard time with tall tables. When we first arrived, there was a live talk show broadcasting from the restaurant, and one of the DJs commented on DS's Tigers cap. It was really neat to see them talking to people in the audience about various sports topics, but it was kind of loud. The show ended at 7, and Monday Night football started. The restaurant got more crowded as it got later, especially once the football game and the Red Sox game started.

I didn't catch our waitress's name, but she was excellent. Very quick with the refills of iced tea. For appetizers, my mother ordered the nachos and I ordered the boneless wings in mild. The appetizers could have been a meal in themselves! The nachos were good, typical bar nachos. My mom & DS pretty well finished them off, and both took their entrees to go. The dingers were amazing - even the mild had an excellent kick (a bit too hot for DD6, who was the reason I ordered mild, but great for DS9 & I), and they were meaty and juicy. The bleu cheese they came with was perfectly creamy with chunks of bleu cheese and just the right tang.

Nachos (Macho Nachos - crispy corn tortilla chips piled high and topped with spicy ground beef, shredded cheddar cheese, fresh pico de Gallo, sour cream, and sliced jalapenos $9.99):

http://inlinethumb16.webshots.com/10447/2762289670051332420S500x500Q85.jpg (http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2762289670051332420YOwsDQ)

Dingers (ESPN Dingers - breaded chicken strips tossed in mild, hot, flame or barbecue sauce, served with celery and blue cheese dressing $8.99):

http://inlinethumb54.webshots.com/13045/2647152540051332420S500x500Q85.jpg (http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2647152540051332420VBvnxP)

Unfortunately, after the appetizers I forgot about taking pictures, so I don't have any of the entrees, kids meals or desserts.

For entrees, I had a chicken sandwich (Championship Chicken Sandwich - grilled chicken breast topped with sun-dried tomato pesto, greens and goat cheese on rosemary focaccia served with fries. $12.99) that was good but huge. I took half of it to go, and it was just as good at midnight as at dinner! The tomato pesto and goat cheese added an interesting combination of sweetness and flavor to the grilled chicken breast, and the bread it was served on was delicious. I didn't care for the seasoned fries, but I'm picky about french fries and like mine thick-cut and plain. These were thin sliced and seasoned. DS enjoyed them, but we left most of them behind.

My mother had the turkey and brie sandwich (Triple Play Turkey and Brie Sandwich - turkey, brie, greens and cranberry mayonnaise on multigrain bread served with ESPN chips $9.99), something that became a recurring item throughout the trip. She had it packed to go and we split it the next night after the Pirate & Princess Party. It was very good. I was a little surprised, because I'm not usually a fan of cranberry, but with the turkey & the brie, the cranberry blended well.

The kids' menu here was uninspired, but DD loved it anyway. She had veggies & ranch dip, mac & cheese, and vanilla ice cream. DS had veggies & ranch, a hot dog, and chocolate ice cream. They both really liked being able to get veggies and dip or salads as their appetizers, but the kids' entrees and desserts were sometimes disappointing, particularly here.

For dessert, I had the cheesecake (New York-style Cheesecake - $5.49) and my mother had the apple pie (Individual Apple Pie - $5.49). The cheesecake with berries was too sweet for me. I expect a creamier, subtler taste from cheesecake. However, the berries - a mix of strawberry, blueberry, and blackberry - were very fresh and DD put what I left on her ice cream. The apple pie was excellent, not too sweet and just warm enough to be perfectly matched by the vanilla ice cream it was served with.

Our total bill came to $87.29, and we used 2 adult and 2 child TS credits for the meal. Our only OOP cost was an extra $5 I left for the waitress, who I cannot say enough good things about - being quick with the refills means a lot in August in Florida!

We would definately go back here, and plan to on our January trip when DH the sports nut will be with us. My only complaint, and it is a minor one, is that the tables are small, so having 4 meals plus the nachos we were still snacking on made for a very tight fit. Overall, it was a good meal with great service, and an excellent choice for our first night at DisneyWorld.

08-24-2007, 02:57 PM
We slept in, after hanging out in the pool until the 11:30 closing time, and walked oer to Epcot for the afternoon before hopping the monorail to dinner and the Pirate & Princess Party.

Refreshment Port

The kids were hungry by the time we got to Epcot, since we slept until about 10:30 and didn't grab anything before leaving the room. Our plan was to stop by Refreshment Port for the kids then head over to Cantina de Angel for ourselves, but the meals at RP were so large that we just ended up finishing the kids' food. Because there is no child's menu here, even the kids' counter service credits are good for a 9 piece chicken nuggets, large fries, large drink, and McFlurry. DD got chocolate milk, DS got orange punch, and we got one Crunch and one Butterfinger McFlurry. I was disappointed that they didn't have M&M, which is all our favorite.

Since we were there so close to opening everything was fresh and there was no line. Aside from that, there's not much to say. It was McDonalds. The kids liked it, and it was good enough for us since we weren't very hungry in the heat.

Our total here was $27.39 for 2 counter service credits.

Kona Cafe

We missed our ADR here because we wanted to do the Behind the Seeds tour, but they were able to fit us in with a short wait later in the evening. I was really looking forward to the meal, but developed a migraine over the course of the afternoon and really couldn't fully appreciate the meal. I didn't take pics for the same reason - I was just too out of it, and I'd forgotten my painkillers in the room. Tylenol from the gift shop took the edge off, and the meal perked my up enough to enjoy the P&PP, which is high praise since I normally can't eat at all when I have a headache like that.

Once again, we had a waiter who was excellent about refills. I must have had 6 iced teas and 3 waters over the course of dinner, because I thought maybe dehydration was behind my headache.

Even with as crappy as I was feeling, I loved the Poly. What a beautiful resort! The sun was just setting as we walked over from the Transportation & Ticket Center, and the grounds are so lovely. The waterfall in the lobby is so pretty and the Hawaiian singer in the lounge was the perfect accompaniment to spending the evening there.

We were seated about 20 minutes after we checked in. I ordered the caesar salad appetizer (Caesar Salad - crispy romaine lettuce in creamy Caesar dressing with Pecorino Romano $5.49). I so wanted to try the sticky wings, but I knew from experience to stick to light, cool foods and the salad was excellent. Crisp and fresh, with just enough cheese and dressing. My mother had the crab cakes (Lump Crab Cakes - pan-seared lump crab cakes with Asian tartar and pineapple relish $10.49), and left me one which I ate the next day. They were excellent, lots of crab with very little filling and perfectly seasoned.

For entrees, we both had the shrimp and scallops (Shrimp and Scallops - panko breaded shrimp and pan seared scallops with sticky rice and ponzu, spicy guava-passion fruit and wasabi cream sauces $20.49). I tried one of each and shared the rest with the kids. The shrimp was very good, sort of coconutty and the sauce they were served with was the perfect hint of sweet. I was a little disappointed with the wasabi cream sauce on the scallops, because I was expecting a little more of a wasabi kick, but the scallops themselves were huge and fresh and juicy.

Once again the kids menus were less than thrilling. They both enjoyed their appetizers, chicken noodle soup for DD and a salad for DS, but the entree choices were pretty lame. DD was happy enough with mac & cheese, especially once I passed her 2 leftover scallops. DS didn't want anything off the kids menu, but ordered the hot dog and ate half of it before polishing off the shrimp I didn't finish and all of my mom's leftovers. It would have been nice to see one specialty on the kids' menu here, either grilled chicken or fish or something in addition to the standard hamburger/hot dog/mac & cheese.

For dessert, I took the chocolate macadamia tart to go and had it the next morning. This was fabulous, and I'm not even a chocolate lover. I adore macadamia nuts and this was rich and full of them! DD wanted the Kona cone, so DM ordered it and swapped with her. DD was so awed by the Kona cone - I had to bite into the chocolate Mickey to conince her it wasn't just a plastic decoration, and her eyes just lit up when she saw the cotton candy! The kids both ordered the make your own sundae, and DM & DS both enjoyed them. That is the perfect size dessert for after a full meal, I think.

Our total here was $111.14 for 2 adult and 2 child TS credits. I would definately go back, and I was so disappointed that I wasn't feeling well enough to really enjoy this meal. What I did have was excellent, however, and everyone else loved it.

08-24-2007, 04:06 PM
Can't wait for my want to hear all about GF Cafe we are trying to decide between it and Concourse. :cool1:

08-24-2007, 05:37 PM
I'm so happy you enjoyed ESPN as much as we do. I agree the appetizers there are enormous!!

Ahhhh - my fave dessert in all of WDW - KONA's macadamia nut tart, isn't it incredible?????:love:

08-24-2007, 06:00 PM
Since we closed the park the night before at the P&PP, we once again slept in, but this time I woke earlier than the kids and ran down to the Beach Club Marketplace for a snack to get us started. So we started our day with the much-discussed Entemann's donuts, which are still available for a snack credit and headed off to spend DD's birthday at the Magic Kingdom.

Main Street Bakery

After drooling over reviews and pics here on the Dis, I knew this was where I wanted to stop for brunch. We walked in around 11AM to plenty of empty tables and only two families in line at the counter, and barely had time to decide before it was our turn.

We used one counter service credit for a turkey, cranberry and brie sandwich, apple turnover, and a strawberry & cream smoothie. We also used snack credits for a banana, a bottle of water, and a chocolate milk.

The kids weren't very hungry, having enjoyed a few too many of the glazed donut holes from the Marketplace. DS had the smoothie, which he passed around so we could all try it. It was cool and pretty good, but I'm not a fan of dairy smoothies so I gladly let him finish it himself. DD had the banana and chocolate milk. What's to say? It was fresh fruit and Nestles, same as she'd have at home for breakfast. DM & I split the sandwich and turnover. The sandwich was on a dark pumpernickel type bread and was excellent, even better than the one at the ESPN Club. The brie was soft and creamy and the cranberries were the perfect balance of sweet & tart. The apple turnover was absolutely heavenly - perfect apple pie filling in a flaky, fresh pastry. We meant to stop for another on our way out, but lost track of time in the quest for "just one more ride". We all agreed that this is now on our must-do list, because there were so many other tempting goodies that we want to go back and try!

The counter service meal came to $13.81 for one CS credit. The snacks came to $5.30 for 3 credits.

Pinocchio Village Haus

Since dinner wasn't until 7:30, we wanted something light for lunch, and I remembered the menu here looked good. Plus it was close, since we were heading towards Philharmagic.

We got a pepperoni pizza meal, which comes with a side salad, and an antipasto salad, which came with a side - I chose apple slices - plus two large Cokes, and a chocolate shake and a strawberry shortcake for our desserts. This was more than enough food for the 4 of us. The kids shared the pizza and apples. DS ate the side salad, while DM, DD & I shared the antipasto.

The pizza was just okay; the kids liked it, but I thought it left a bit to be desired. The sauce and cheese were fine, but the crust was a little off... too dry or something. Not bad, but not great either. The antipasto was very good, but the presentation could have been better. The meat and cheese were in whole deli-type slices rolled all together and set atop the lettuce, and I couldn't find a knife at the sliverware/condiment station. The chocolate shake was probably good. It was too thick, too rich, and too chocolatey for me, but I don't really like chocolate that much so I tend to be pretty picky about chocolate treats. The strawberry shortcake was pretty good for a quick service dessert. I love strawberries, so it didn't have far to go to make me happy - it was fresh tasting and cool and had lots of strawberries.

The total cost here was $30.81 for 2 counter service meals.

Grand Floridian Cafe

I chose this one because it is the Cinderella character meal, and I wanted to be at the GF so I could order one of their custom cakes. We really enjoyed the Cinderella dinner at 1900 Park Fare on our last trip, and I was a little apprehensive about the new location & menu, but DD had to have a princess meal for her birthday dinner.

We checked in about 2 minutes before our 7:30 ADR and were seated about 5 minutes later. I'd never seen the Cafe before, and I was struck by what a nice space it is, with all those windows and the view out to the courtyard. We were at a table opposite the windows, with a booth on one side and chairs on the other, which worked out well for the characters and pictures. The peach rose on the table was a nice touch.

http://inlinethumb10.webshots.com/12425/2848933960051332420S500x500Q85.jpg (http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2848933960051332420TmnDBA)

The waitress took our drink orders and explained the much-discussed mushroom trangoli (a ****ake, portabello & cremini mushroom ravioli in a mushroom broth, topped with julienned veggies). DM ordered that for her appetizer, and I ordered the spicy shimp over grit cake. Along with our drinks came a bread basket with crusty sourdough and a softer, sweeter bread with raisins. The sourdough rolls were good, but not as good as the bread at Kona Cafe.

http://inlinethumb58.webshots.com/11321/2698288470051332420S500x500Q85.jpg (http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2698288470051332420LJaeIM)

Mushroom Triangoli:

http://inlinethumb08.webshots.com/10503/2722839990051332420S500x500Q85.jpg (http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2722839990051332420yfQFnl)

Spicy Shrimp over Grit Cake:

http://inlinethumb02.webshots.com/9409/2308540390051332420S500x500Q85.jpg (http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2308540390051332420KRltQU)

The mushroom triangoli was good; it had a nice blend of musroom flavors inside a typical ravioli pasta, and the veggies in the broth added a nice bit of texture. I thought the shrimp was better, though. Lots of fresh, two-bite size, juicy shrimp in a sauce that had just enough kick to be spicy without being hot. The grit cake was a perfect accompaniment, soft and subtle in contrast to the slight snap of well prepared shrimp and the mild kick of the sauce.

For our entrees, DM & I both had the salmon napoleon, which was presented atop a polenta cake that DS thought looked like a sponge. :rotfl:

Salmon Napoleon:

http://inlinethumb45.webshots.com/10028/2561556580051332420S500x500Q85.jpg (http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2561556580051332420CptWoY)

Like the appetizers, the salmon was very good. The sauce on the plate had a light, lemony flavor and the salmon was lightly seasoned. Despite DS's initial impression of the look of the polenta, he really liked it and ended up eating about half of it.

The kids meals here were better - there was grilled chicken and salmon on the kids' menu as well as more typical kids fare. DD had chicken soup and cheese pizza. She loved the soup, especially when she dipped the sourdough rolls in it, but wasn't impressed with the pizza. DS had a fruit salad appetizer and the salmon. He didn't like the rice - he never likes rice - but he loved the fish with the polenta I shared with him, and he liked the fuit salad but thought it had too much pineapple, which he doesn't eat plain.

We skipped dessert because I ordered a cake for DD's birthday, but the waitress packed some fruit tarts and chocolate mousse bites to go which we ate later after the pool closed. The tarts were excellent. The chocolate mousse was too chocolate for me, so I only tried one bite. The cake was simply amazing. It was vanilla cake with white buttercream frosting and fresh strawberries in custard between the layers.

The cake:

http://inlinethumb25.webshots.com/10008/2893326050051332420S500x500Q85.jpg (http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2893326050051332420tmyxwa)

http://inlinethumb58.webshots.com/12921/2897531110051332420S500x500Q85.jpg (http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2897531110051332420EqHJxP)

The character interaction at this meal wasn't as good as the last time we were there, but it was still good. Cinderella was especially fun, joking with DS about being a pirate and acting scared when he said he would make her walk the plank. The Fairy Godmother wasn't there, but Snow White was filling in which was great because those were the two princesses we hadn't gotten to meet in the parks. Suzy & Perla came over to sing Happy Birthday with us when they brought DD's cake to the table.

The costs that the meal plan covered came to 108.23, plus $49.80 out of pocket for the cake and $14.92 out of pocket for pirates' punch with the glow clips for the kids. I was very happy with the menu at this temporary location, and liked it even better than the buffet, which we really enjoyed on the last trip. I don't know if we'll do this one again, simply because there are other character meals and other Grand Floridian restaurants we want to try, but it was the perfect dinner for DD's special day.

08-24-2007, 06:29 PM
The whole reason we stayed at the Beach Club was the pool, and that's where we spent our last day so we just ate at the resort to use up our remaining credits.

Hurricane Hannah's

I was pleasantly surprised with the menu here. I had expected much more typical fast food type food. The kids had chicken strips, which came with grapes and applesauce. I had the veggie wrap and DM had the grilled chicken flatbread, and as usual, we swapped half so we both got to try both meals. Both were very good, but I preferred the veggie wrap just for being cold and fresh on a hot day at the pool. I also had two bites of a chicken strip DD left behind, and it was pretty good for a chicken strip - a nice breading-to-chicken ratio, unlike some places where the chicken strips seem to be more breading than chicken. The presentation of the kids' meals in the sand buckets was great too, and as soon as they were done eating the kids ran off to build sandcastles. We saved our desserts - big, soft chocolate chip cookies - and ended up giving them to my brother & his girlfriend when they picked us up from the airport at home.

Total cost of this meal was 37.71, for 4 CS meals.

Beach Club Marketplace

We had 3 snacks and 3 counter service to use up at this point, with an hour left until our ME pickup, so I got one of each of the sandwiches that the BC Marketplace had - roast beef with brie, turkey with mozzarella, and ham with cheddar, 2 with rice krispie treats and 1 with a cookie from the bakery and bottled waters. For the snacks, I got a bag of Mickey pretzels for DH, a bag of peanut butter cookies for DM, and a box of chocolate & vanilla character cookies for the kids to share with their friends.

We had the sandwiches at the airport between being dropped off and the time we had to get through security for our flight. The roast beef was good, but I liked the way turkey paired with brie better. I didn't try the other sandwiches. The cookie was soft and just chocolatey enough to be perfect. I didn't try the rice krispie treats, but they were dipped half in chocolate with Mickey ear sprinkles, and the kids sure seemed to like them.

The total cost of the CS meals here was $35.40 and the cost of the snacks was $11.55.

08-24-2007, 07:11 PM
Thanks so much for the wonderful reviews, especially regarding Kona and GFC! Now, I just have to ask the standard CS question- are the adult & kids CS credits pooled or separated? At the Main Street Bakery, was their a kid's meal (for breakfast or lunch), or was it just a "generic" credit? At Pinnochio's (or anywhere else) did you have to specify which meal was for the kid's, so it was deducted correctly (or did it not matter)?
Sorry for beating a dead horse, but there has been so much conflicting info on CS lately, and we're going in 2 weeks.

08-24-2007, 07:16 PM
Thanks for the reviews. You're DD is just gorgeous!

Kona's sounds soo good. You're DS is right though, the polenta does look like a sponge.:laughing:

08-24-2007, 07:29 PM
We really enjoyed the food this trip! That might be one of the biggest differences I noticed in this trip, which was our first since I discovered the Dis - we never would have known about Kona otherwise, or made a point to look at CS menus to decide on a couple good places in each park.

The service at all 3 of our table service meals was good. No slacker servers coasting because of the guaranteed 18% this trip!

The value of the dining plan is simply amazing. Eating where and how we wanted with no thought to maximizing the plan, we spent $469.63 on the plan - a 36% savings! We used most of our snack credits for bottled waters or other drinks because of the heat, and it really was too much food, which was an interesting contrast to our last DDP trip where we did pay some meals OOP because we wanted more TS than we had credits for. Even with the changes, we'd do it again if we do another summer trip at some point. I'm really looking forward to the deluxe plan in January, but I couldn't do it during the summer!

08-24-2007, 07:36 PM
Thanks so much for the wonderful reviews, especially regarding Kona and GFC! Now, I just have to ask the standard CS question- are the adult & kids CS credits pooled or separated? At the Main Street Bakery, was their a kid's meal (for breakfast or lunch), or was it just a "generic" credit? At Pinnochio's (or anywhere else) did you have to specify which meal was for the kid's, so it was deducted correctly (or did it not matter)?
Sorry for beating a dead horse, but there has been so much conflicting info on CS lately, and we're going in 2 weeks.

They aren't seperated. On the receipt, it just shows how many CS credits are left with no distinction between adult and child. I never did order more than 2 adult meals at a time, so we never tested how well they're enforcing based on the party size noted on your key card.

08-24-2007, 08:33 PM
"The waitress took our drink orders and explained the much-discussed mushroom trangoli (a ****ake, portabello & cremini mushroom ravioli in a mushroom broth, topped with julienned veggies)."

Shame on you. You typed a dirty word. :laughing: Love your reviews, but I cracked up when I saw this certain type of mushroom **** out.

08-25-2007, 02:03 AM
loved your review of the GF cafe :) your dd looked adorable

08-25-2007, 03:14 AM
Brillant reviews, thanks for posting.

John's Mom
08-25-2007, 08:52 AM
Thanks for posting your reviews!

08-25-2007, 06:01 PM
Thanks for the great reviews and pictures!:thumbsup2

08-26-2007, 06:38 PM
"The waitress took our drink orders and explained the much-discussed mushroom trangoli (a ****ake, portabello & cremini mushroom ravioli in a mushroom broth, topped with julienned veggies)."

Shame on you. You typed a dirty word. :laughing: Love your reviews, but I cracked up when I saw this certain type of mushroom **** out.

I got a giggle out of that too! I love the automatic profanity filters - they can get so creative! I post on one forum where posting links can get rather tricky, because the .com is starred out. :rotfl: