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View Full Version : Are we the only ones not at all impressed with the food at WDW?


1st_trip4us
09-17-2007, 05:05 PM
We went last September and then just got back yesterday. We have had a total of 11 table service meals between the 2 trips. We chose the most popular places:

Whispering Canyon Cafe
Mama Melrose
Le Cellier (lunch one trip, dinner the next)
Chef Mickey (breakfast one trip, dinner the next)
Princess breakfast at Epcot
Boma breakfast
O'hana breakfast
Sci-Fi lunch
Tonys Town Square dinner

I cannot say that 1 meal we had was really great. This trip we thought Le Cellier was good, not great. If it was a local restaurant I can't say we'd go back, we have much better local steakhouses near home. Tonys Town Square and Mama Melrose were just downright awful! We did not care for WCC at all, the food was all dry and a bit overdone. O'hana breakfast was ok, nothing special. Chef Mickey breakfast last year was way better than the dinner this year. We all wound up eating more off the kids section and filling up on desserts, just couldn't find anything in the adult area that had any taste. Sci Fi was ok as far as greasy fast food goes. I do realize that we shouldn't expect much out of character meals food-wise, and we go mainly for the kids to have the experience of the characters. But the way people rave about the restaurants and how they can't wait to go for all this great food has me wondering what we're doing wrong.

So I'm wondering, does anyone else think the food just isn't that great? Or are we the only ones? Because of now having 2 experiences with free dining and not being at all impressed we're thinking we may just go in December next trip and enjoy nicer weather than icky food.

pta-mom
09-17-2007, 05:27 PM
Well, in my humble opinion, it's a little hard to have a "great" breakfast...how hard is it to mess up breakfast yet on the same hand, how can you have a "great" one? Eggs, sausage, waffles, bacon, home fries...not much to rave on there. So, that takes a large portion of your dining experience away.

Than, if you look at your list, MM, TTS & Sci-Fi consistently get low marks in the food dis-boards. WCC & CM dinners are well know for a specific dish &/or their entertainment value.

To be honest, the ONLY restuarant I see in your list that I would consider to be highly rated in the "great" department is Le Cellier...& that "great" rating depends on your tastes & sometimes on whether or not they happen to be having a bad night.

I feel bad that you didn't find DW food to be not great. Last year we loved the food at Le Cellier & Maya Grill. We were also pleased with Liberty Tree Tavern. This year after checking out the many reviews for consistently high marks, we feel confident that we will get "great" food from Spoodles, Boma, Kona & Wolfgang Pucks. Perhaps if you go again, you might want to look for the restaurants that are known more for their exceptional food & less for their gimics or character dining. I've found that that makes a big difference.

mom2aredhead
09-17-2007, 06:07 PM
...and what you eat when you go out for dinner at home.

I live in the NY metro area and am surrounded by (and go to) a lot of terrific restaurants around here - Italian, Mexican, Spanish, Steakhouse, you name it.

We looked at it this way - we were on a family vacation with a toddler at a theme park. Fine dining was not the purpose of our trip. I was not "wowed" by the food in any of the restaurants we ate in, but again, we did not eat in any of the Dis "favorites" like V&A, Le Cellier or Jiko. Our restaurant list was similar to OP's - including Chef Mickey's, Boma, & Tony's, and what we ate was fine - not exceptional, but fine. It served it's purpose for us - we ate, we were entertained, and we were fueled up to go back to the parks for some more fun.

Living in NY, I don't consider WDW to be a "dining destination"...I'm not faulting those that do, and I'm not looking to get flamed here, but its my opinion that a lot of the it has to do with expectiations and perspective.

1st_trip4us
09-17-2007, 09:07 PM
maybe that's a big part of it....I'm from the Chicago area and maybe we are just blessed with really great food here. I don't normally think of going on vacation as where I'll be enjoying fabulous meals. In most cases you go to a certain destination for something other than food. I guess I just don't get what all the hype is about on the dining boards where there's so many places everyone raves about and seems to think it's such fantastic meals there. In both trips I kept thinking I'd be blown away by our meals. Beaches N Cream is another one. We tried to get there on our first trip and the wait was so long. I was determined this time we'd get in there. We waited the 45 minutes and got ice cream. Which was simply that, just ice cream, like I could get at any local ice cream shop.
It's not like the food ruined my trip. We had an unbelievable time both trips. And really eating is just filling your gut to get you through the day, every meal isn't going to have you gasping at the end of it saying it was an amazing experience to eat that meal. I was just thinking we'd be a bit more impressed with the food. I guess that's why on the dining boards someone can ask an opinion on a restaurant and will get just as much positive feedback as negative on each one.

wildeoscar
09-18-2007, 12:06 AM
at WDW there is a difference between popular restaurants, and fine dinning restaurants.

Ohanna, WCC, LTT, etc. (the family style restaurants) are not fine dinning... and the food is ok, but you are really paying for the atmosphere and entertainment.

Cali Grill, Artist Point, Jiko... these are fine dinning.

ya just have to adjust your expectations on the difference between what is popular and what is fine dinning.

wildeoscar
09-18-2007, 12:09 AM
Whispering Canyon Cafe
Mama Melrose
Le Cellier (lunch one trip, dinner the next)
Chef Mickey (breakfast one trip, dinner the next)
Princess breakfast at Epcot
Boma breakfast
O'hana breakfast
Sci-Fi lunch
Tonys Town Square dinner


there is not one place on this list that is fine dinning, though Le Cellier does make a good steak, and the shrimp cocktail salad is killer.

Lintasare
09-18-2007, 12:48 AM
I'm sorry you didn't like the food but I can say from experience that the chefs at Disney try their best to create appealing dishes. Out of all my dining experiences I think I have only ever had one bad meal and that was at Sci-Fi. We went for the entertainment value and not the food and I was very unimpressed with the food. Course after working at the Brown Derby it takes alot to impress me. Of course that is not to say that the restaurants on your list havn't gotten into a rut. Sounds like they need to shake up their culinary staff a bit.

melomouse
09-18-2007, 07:13 AM
I agree with the PP - with the exception of Le Cellier, which gets rave reviews here on the DIS, your experiences were with breakfasts and venues where the focus is more on entertainment than on the food.

That said, I do think that from reading these boards sometimes, you'd think that every meal was a fine dining experience! While I have yet to try places I would consider to likely be on a par with MY definition of "fine dining" (V&A, Narcosee's, Citrico's, etc.), the food overall is a cut above "average" an in some cases, an extraordinary surprise (Kona, for example, amazed us this trip!)

I think we have had exactly ONE breakfast at WDW in all our visits - Yacht Club Galley this past trip. It was more than adequate, but nothing more than I've had at all my Marriott stays in the past.

All a matter of perspective, experience and expectations.

mom2aredhead
09-18-2007, 10:02 AM
If I'm going to be honest, I did a lot of researching and planning before our last trip. I had a whole list of restaurants that were "must do's" based on the hype here. But when I stumbled on the threads with the pictures, I was pretty underwhelmed, and it was partially the pictures posted in peoples reviews that made me not want to break my neck and rearrange my schedule to eat at some of those "Dis favorites". I ended up just going with the ones that were more for entertainment value, convenience and supposedly had decent food, and they were fine.
Now, I've never eaten the mushroom filet at Le Cellier, and I'm sure it's really good, but I do not for one second believe it is any better than the filet I can get at any good steak restaurant. And when I saw the pictures of some of the entrees at the "Dis favorite" restaurants, I decided pretty quickly that it's similar to the food we get regularly here at home. I know, some will criticize me for deciding that without tasting it, but again, the purpose of our trip was to have fun together as a family. I make grilled filet at home. I had lobster bisque and crab cakes on the boardwalk last week. I do not have anything like Sci Fi or Chef Mickey's at home, so that's what I picked, similar to the OP.
That being said, if you read some of the reviews, you would think that every morsel of food you will put in your mouth at Disney will be the most mind blowing dining experience you will have, and that's simply not true. I've read dining reviews that rave about that fried cheese at 50's PTC. Or the wings at O'hana. (I mean, seriously, wings??) And don't even get me started on the food at LTT - helloooo, it's stouffers mac and cheese! But because it's in MK, it's fabulous!
So I guess my point is this...I don't think it's right to tell the OP that she picked the "wrong" restaurants and that's why she was underwhelmed. Had she followed the hype, she may have been equally underwhelmed at Coral Reef or even (gasp) Jiko. She's got a right to be unimpressed the same as others are allowed to endlessly gush over a turkey sandwich.

my3disneygirls
09-18-2007, 11:13 AM
If I'm going to be honest, I did a lot of researching and planning before our last trip. I had a whole list of restaurants that were "must do's" based on the hype here. But when I stumbled on the threads with the pictures, I was pretty underwhelmed, and it was partially the pictures posted in peoples reviews that made me not want to break my neck and rearrange my schedule to eat at some of those "Dis favorites". I ended up just going with the ones that were more for entertainment value, convenience and supposedly had decent food, and they were fine.
Now, I've never eaten the mushroom filet at Le Cellier, and I'm sure it's really good, but I do not for one second believe it is any better than the filet I can get at any good steak restaurant. And when I saw the pictures of some of the entrees at the "Dis favorite" restaurants, I decided pretty quickly that it's similar to the food we get regularly here at home. I know, some will criticize me for deciding that without tasting it, but again, the purpose of our trip was to have fun together as a family. I make grilled filet at home. I had lobster bisque and crab cakes on the boardwalk last week. I do not have anything like Sci Fi or Chef Mickey's at home, so that's what I picked, similar to the OP.
That being said, if you read some of the reviews, you would think that every morsel of food you will put in your mouth at Disney will be the most mind blowing dining experience you will have, and that's simply not true. I've read dining reviews that rave about that fried cheese at 50's PTC. Or the wings at O'hana. (I mean, seriously, wings??) And don't even get me started on the food at LTT - helloooo, it's stouffers mac and cheese! But because it's in MK, it's fabulous!
So I guess my point is this...I don't think it's right to tell the OP that she picked the "wrong" restaurants and that's why she was underwhelmed. Had she followed the hype, she may have been equally underwhelmed at Coral Reef or even (gasp) Jiko. She's got a right to be unimpressed the same as others are allowed to endlessly gush over a turkey sandwich.

I agree with you for the most part. The reason that people are overwhelmed by the food is the same reason some are underwhelmed. Because it's Disney. Some go in so happy to be there and excited by the atmosphere that a good meal, feels like an excellent one. Others go in and expect to get food on par with The French Laundry and are let down.

There are tons of dining options and those who want higher end do have less to choose from, but I think thats because there is not as big a call for it. If I'm in the mood for Stouffer's mac and cheese and roast turkey (yes I do on occasion eat Stouffer's) then LTT for dinner fills that need for comfort food. This is why I try to research where I want to go. I have never gone to Sci-fi and expect a fancy meal, (it is a drive in) or go to Cali Grill for a burger.

People from all over the world go to Disney. This board is represented, by people all over this country and many others with a wide range of tastes. This is why I read reviews, but look at the overall picture and make my own decisions.

LSmith
09-18-2007, 12:21 PM
We just got back from 10 days of dining. We were underwhelmed by most of the food we had.
Coral Reef: Bland food, very spotty service.
California Grill: Terrible service, for example: waitress had to be asked 4 times to bring the kids drinks, we were well into our main dishes when she finally brought them. The sushi was average at best. My son's steak came out 15 minutes before the rest of us got our food. When we told the waitress she laughed and shrugged her shoulders. Our filet of beef was drowning in bbq sauce. Definitely not what I would consider a fine dining experience. That said, friends of our ate at CG the night before and had rave reviews of the place. Not to mention stellar reviews on this board.
Lilo and Stitch breakfast: Cold eggs, undercooked sausage.
Wolfgang Puck: Excellent service and excellent food.
San Angel: I know this one gets a lot of bad reviews but we quite enjoyed our meal here.
Hollywood and Vine: Good food one night for dinner and not so good for lunch two days after.
Boma: We really liked the food here. The service was amazing.

I guess at the end of the day it's "To each his own".

Donald&Tinkerbell
09-18-2007, 12:32 PM
I once lived in an area where the nearest Chinese restaurant was 60 miles away. Southern style BBQ was hundreds of miles away. As an adventurus eater, DH & I had to try to cook things ourselves. We tend to plan our trips around the restaurants. We go to the signature ones and spend far more than we would usually do at home because it is part of what we want to do on vacation. Disney needs to cater to all styles of travelers. It's up to you to choose, but I must say, I know we eat with our eyes, but taste trumps looks.

Kristie36
09-18-2007, 01:15 PM
I was also underwhelmed with the food at WDW but I think my expectations may have been set too high. I really researched our first trip last Feb. and from reading the reviews on this board, I thought that the food would be better than it was. We didn't have any really BAD meals, but it was not as good as I thought it was going to be based upon what I had read, especially for the price. I knew it was going to be marked up since it's a theme park and was expecting that, but I guess I didn't realize how much more money it was going to be and for the prices we paid, I thought the food should have been better. In some cases, a lot better.

Since we have a young son, we did eat at places that catered more to families and had more "entertainment" like Chef Mickey's, Crystal Palace, Liberty Tree, O'Hana, Boma, Coral Reef, Whispering Canyon, Hollywood & Vine, etc.

Food aside, we did have a ton of fun and are going back next Feb.

:cool1:

KatMark
09-18-2007, 01:59 PM
I'm sorry you didn't like the food but I can say from experience that the chefs at Disney try their best to create appealing dishes. Out of all my dining experiences I think I have only ever had one bad meal and that was at Sci-Fi. We went for the entertainment value and not the food and I was very unimpressed with the food. Course after working at the Brown Derby it takes alot to impress me. Of course that is not to say that the restaurants on your list havn't gotten into a rut. Sounds like they need to shake up their culinary staff a bit.

I agree with you. I think the chefs try (and often succeed) in creating appealing dishes. Not every meal is going to please every person's taste buds. We have had outstanding meals (LeCellier, Concourse Steakhouse, Fultons); we have had good meals (50's Prime Time, Mama Melrose, Crystal Palace, Cape May Cafe); we have had so-so meals (Sci-Fi, Maya Grill, etc.) and we have had terrible meals (Boatwright's and, sorry no offense...Brown Derby). But as in every thing in every day life, everyone can have a bad day (I'm having a really bad day at the office today and someone snapped at me and then apologized because they were having a bad day). Nothing in life is perfect!

MickeyNicki
09-18-2007, 02:08 PM
Please tell me your thoughts on Boma, we are going in a few weeks for the first time.

LSmith
09-18-2007, 02:19 PM
Personally speaking, we thought the food at Boma was terrific. The salads are amazing, as are the soups. One of the chefs cut me a huge slice of roast beef that was perfect. I mumbled something under my breath about horseradish to my husband and the chef heard and took off and came back with some for me. The service was outstanding. One of the people we were dining with has a nut allergy and a chef was out in less than a minute to personally walk him through the entire buffet. There was so many things to try but I got full too fast and wasn't able to try a lot of things. The entire party of 9 agreed the food was great. Didn't try dessert but my husband had a much talked about Zebra Dome. It was way too sweet for our liking. The decor of the restaurant was very nice as well.

mom2aredhead
09-18-2007, 02:26 PM
I once lived in an area where the nearest Chinese restaurant was 60 miles away. Southern style BBQ was hundreds of miles away. As an adventurus eater, DH & I had to try to cook things ourselves. We tend to plan our trips around the restaurants. We go to the signature ones and spend far more than we would usually do at home because it is part of what we want to do on vacation. Disney needs to cater to all styles of travelers. It's up to you to choose, but I must say, I know we eat with our eyes, but taste trumps looks.

Oh my goodness hundreds of miles for BBQ...I'd never survive LOL!

Coming from a more rural area, someone may look at a menu or pictures and think - "Wow, it's been ages since I've had ________" or "I can't wait to try _________" I've never had it before.

Others may think "I just had __________ last week, lets go see Pooh and the gang instead" or "I make _________ all the time, but Sci Fi looks like fun!"

Neither one is right or wrong, just different perspectives. The point I was trying to make earlier was that people were telling the OP she picked the wrong restaurants, and there's really no such thing...it just depends on your family's vacation/dining style. I think the problem is that all of the restaurants get sooo much hype on these boards, people may go expecting way too much.

tfoster
09-18-2007, 02:37 PM
We just got back and I was also underwhelmed. It wasn't that things were BAD; it was more that nothing stood out as being particularly good. Actually, that's not totally true. We ended up loving Pepper Market and preferred our meals there over all others, even the table service ones. To us, everything else (besides Cindy's Gala Feast) seemed pretty mediocre.

At Chef Mickey's lunch, I kind-of struggled to find anything I thought was good. And yes, we did go to some places primarily for the entertainment, but unfortunately, most of our experiences didn't match the DIS masses in that regard either. CP breakfast, the characters were very rushed and we didn't get to see them all. CM lunch, we sat ignored for the first 3/4 of our time there and the staff had to get the characters to come to our table. When they did come, they were great - maybe our table was just in a bad location??? 50's PT, our waitress was very nice but didn't play a role in any way whatsoever. Cinderella's Gala Feast, however, provided wonderful character interaction, service, and food.

I sometimes see people write that counter service is counter service and should be judged accordingly. Before our recent experience, I agreed. However, after waiting in those lines for seemingly forever, I did expect better food than we received. The thing about CS is that you may expect to maybe get mediocre food, but the benefit should be that it's quick and convenient. If I'm going to wait a long time, I do have higher expectations. A couple of times, the process of getting that mediocre food in it's little plastic containers was almost painful. Again, Pepper Market gets a big thumbs up for great fresh food in a great environment!

Amyshubby
09-20-2007, 03:59 AM
WCC & CM dinners are well know for a specific dish &/or their entertainment value.


Do tell!

We are going for 8 days in January and are renting a car so many of our meals will be off-site. However, the 4 places we are looking at are WCC, CM, Ohana and a lunch at sci-fi (for the atmosphere). We have 4 and 7 yr old boys.

If there's a specific dish at WCC or CM that you can let us know about, that would be great. I thought CM was buffet and WCC was a choice? We were planning on buffet at WCC but if there's a special dish we don't know about...

WildGrits
09-20-2007, 04:39 AM
Oh my goodness hundreds of miles for BBQ...I'd never survive LOL!

Coming from a more rural area, someone may look at a menu or pictures and think - "Wow, it's been ages since I've had ________" or "I can't wait to try _________" I've never had it before.

Others may think "I just had __________ last week, lets go see Pooh and the gang instead" or "I make _________ all the time, but Sci Fi looks like fun!"


I totally agree with you. We pick our TS meals for two reasons.

One reason is that the restaurant holds good memories for our family i.e. went to Cape May Cafe for dinner years ago with great grandparents who a gone now. I never did feel the food was anything special but being there brings back warm memories for me and the other 7 folks joining me. And Ohana is the only character meal I can get my kids to go to. I have video of them there with Goofy and the rest when they where still in high chairs.

Secondly, Boma and Beirgarten are the only places I get my fill of food that you can't find here. For me it has been 5 years since our last visit and since I had sauerbraten.:love:

I have never done any of the high end places at Disney so I can't say how good they are, but, I can honestly say I do enjoy mostly what I get where we eat. Except for Chef Mickey's and WCC, we didn't care for them at all. Mainly too loud for us.

Laura
09-20-2007, 06:07 AM
I'm not terribly impressed by WDW's food at table service restaurants. We thought Boma was great, Biergarten was good but nothing out of this world, and while I loved my risotto at Raglan Road, it's now off the menu. DH wasn't wowed by his meal. But I don't go to WDW for the food. If I wanted a gastronomic vacation, I'd go to NYC or San Francisco or whatever. WDW is not catering to both locals and tourists, they're trying to appeal to the masses of people who come from all over the country/world to see Mickey. I'm sure eating offsite you'll find better "regular" restaurants, and the fine dining would be "finer".

Counter service on our last trip was generally better than I was expecting. Lots of choices for me as a vegetarian, some more healthy items--generally, better variety than they've had in the past when it was all burgers and dogs. Expensive? Yes, but WDW has really good fast food for a theme park.

pta-mom
09-20-2007, 06:09 AM
Do tell!

We are going for 8 days in January and are renting a car so many of our meals will be off-site. However, the 4 places we are looking at are WCC, CM, Ohana and a lunch at sci-fi (for the atmosphere). We have 4 and 7 yr old boys.

If there's a specific dish at WCC or CM that you can let us know about, that would be great. I thought CM was buffet and WCC was a choice? We were planning on buffet at WCC but if there's a special dish we don't know about...

WCC has a family platter that they serve that is very popular on the DIS & yes, CM has a buffet. Both places are known as well for their entertainment value (WCC's CM's antics) & CM has character dining. I've never eaten at WCC but I have at CM....the food is certainly edible but by no means' fine dining. Your 4 & 7 year olds will however, love it.

gina2000
09-20-2007, 07:01 AM
For the most part, dining in the resort restaurants has been better than any of the theme park restaurants and that includes EPCOT. I do think, however, that prices have gotten out of control verses the food quality. It's one thing to get an Applebees type meal at an Applebee's type price.....it's another to be paying 40-50% higher. And I know people always say it's because it's a theme park and captive audience but the reality is that people don't go to WDW for one day. They go for several days and the restaurants are busy so why not give patrons some value? The DDP had been the answer but with declining quality, smaller portion sizes and rising costs, it no longer is. We've gone back to offsite dining and we're happier.

Andy B
09-20-2007, 07:20 AM
Firstly it seems the OP had mainly chosen dining experience restaurants rather than quality of food restaurants, therefore you have the surroundings atmosphere and characters as well as the food.

Secondly the Mushroom fillet at Le Cellier was the best entree I had when we were there in August as the whole dish was good not just a piece of meat.

Miz Diz
09-20-2007, 08:14 AM
I enjoy the TS at the resorts, more so than the parks. We love Le Cellier at Epcot. We ate at Brown Derby once and was not impressed - although Food Network featured them on a show as a MUST!

California Grill is our favorite.

Mickiethepooh
09-20-2007, 08:43 AM
I have never thought highly of any Disney food. Even if culinary schools from all over send people there to train. the only truely positively memorable meals I have had there have been at Boatwrights, both breakfast and dinner and Alfredo's which is now gone. and I have eaten at most of the places over the many years I have gone there.

ntsammy5
09-20-2007, 08:53 AM
... I definitely think you have a point. I've got to think about this one. I think a lot of it has to do with the ambiance and the fact that everyone is on vacation at WDW.

asmit4
09-20-2007, 08:54 AM
Depends on where you are coming from & your family budget in a lot of instances.

I have a girlfriend that lives in the "middle of nowhere" and by that I mean, it's over an HOUR to get to the nearest grocery store! She grew up in Chicago but now lives in farm country.

To her, driving to any # of restaurants just isnt possible. For us, we can get ANY kind of food we want within 10 minutes drive- mexican, all sorts of fast food, chinese, thai, BBQ, steakhouses etc.

Also, many people don't go out to eat much at home. If you are on a strict budget, going out to eat is a luxury. My husband and I don't have kids yet, so we tend to do takeout once a week and go out to eat at a sit down place once a week. For us, going out and getting a burger and fries or getting ribs is not a "big thing".

On the flip side, we went out to eat with some friends about 3 months ago for dinner, they have 2 kids under the age of 8 at home. While eating, they said they had not eaten at a restaurant (even with the kids) in 4 months....lots of families, for various reasons, just don't eat out much.

It's all about perspective I think.

Markstudy
09-20-2007, 09:18 AM
I look at the bussiness model behind Disney Food :teacher:

Its Disney's goal is to provide High Quality Theme Park Food. If you keep in mind... that for Theme Parks, they are the tops in their catagory....but they can't compete with restarants that only serve food because Disney has to deal with huge crowds, average taste, make the food so that as-many people as-possable can eat the dishes. A good resturant can cater so much more to exact taste and be so much more focused. Disney has to keep it safe to apeal to 100,000,000 from all over the world (spice it down)

A $60 meal in my hometown is probably a $90 meal at Disney because you are paying for the location....the benefit of being so close to the rides and attractions, and the time savings. Disney adds about 30% to the bill for this benefit.

So I don't compaire a $90 meal at Disney to a $90 meal at home :cool2:

ADP
09-20-2007, 09:50 AM
A couple things to keep in mind:

This is theme park food. For theme park food Disney cuisine is very good.
As previously mentioned, food at the resorts is typically better.
Whenever food is cooked for the masses, it will not be great. As many people that dine at Disney World food has to be prepared for the masses.

helenabear
09-20-2007, 09:58 AM
I think it depends on what your expectations are with the food. We go there expecting something along the lines of Applebee's or TGIFridays in quality. Not bad, but nothing earth shattering. We have our favorites and we have ones we don't like just like all restaurants. Truthfully we never spend a lot of time at TS for that reason. We do far better and eat healthier in general if we stick to CS (not to mention saving money).

Rocktire
09-20-2007, 10:10 AM
The last few TS meals I've had have been good...not great, but good...I think where Disney has done very well is with the CS food....much better then I remembered...the sandwiches at WL's Roaring Forks were all outstanding, imo...and I found the food at Columbia Harbor House in MK very good as well...those are the two places I got most of my food from on our last trip and I really enjoyed them.

mickeymousemom
09-20-2007, 10:15 AM
As has been said on many threads, you will find many different opinions on anything and everything about WDW.
As far as the food goes, We are somewhere in the middle. We really have no complaints. I do believe there are many things that are over hyped, such as Dole Whips, turkey legs, and the breadsticks at Le Cellier.
I think many people go to Disney and WANT there to be awesome food, so they MAKE it awesome. Others expect perfection because its Disney and do nothing but complain because things were only mediocre.
I am amazed that people go gaga over the Dole Whips. I can get them at my local fairs and can get pineapple sherbet in the grocery store. The turkey legs are ham on a stick, IMO. The breadsticks at LeCellier are nothing special and the pretzel ones are horrid. If you are mad because they took away your pineapple and caramel at Ohana and replaced it with that decadent bread pudding, then run out and buy a fresh pineapple and some caramel sauce and have at it. This is what we do and it's the same thing, I assure you.
As for the restaurants, we have liked everywhere we've eaten, some more than others. The only one we won't return to in the near future is San Angel Inn. The food was so so and the service was terrible. I've never had BAD food at Disney. Ever(well...that pretzel bread....:upsidedow ). We aren't picky, we don't expect perfection, we just go and enjoy. Some of the places we love, others hate. Because of the DP, we've been able to eat at places we normally wouldn't which makes it nice.
We like it all, but at the same time, we haven't been GREATLY impressed by anything. Other than Boma, most things we can get at home. We aren't expecting grand and glorious meals, just good food with a nice atmosphere while on vacation. I think this is what we've gotten pretty much every trip.
We go with the flow and alot of the time walk away from a meal talking about things we really enjoyed with maybe a negative or two thrown in.
I think some people expect alot and that's fine for them. We expect decent food and that's what we get almost every time. :)

Christine
09-20-2007, 10:16 AM
No offense, but I think some of your restaurant choice were "obvious" failures. I wouldn't set foot in some of them. You've got to find your dining niche at Disney. There are legions of people who thing buffet food makes for a gourmet meal--they LOVE the food at Chef Mickey's which, IMO, is barely edible. With the exception of Le Cellier, I think most of those restaurants are about the entertainment factor, food quanity, and lastly quality.

jfinke
09-20-2007, 11:03 AM
Our last trip to the California Grill in Jan will probably be our last for a while. Which is unfortunate, because that is where we held our wedding dinner. However, service seems to have dropped, food quality seems to have dropped, and they still do not enforce the dress code.

I was particularly disappointed in the sushi. But, it may be that my sushi tastes has become more sophisticated. Kimono's has far superior sushi.

We also discovered Jiko. Nice, quiet, relaxing atmosphere with just enough variety from your typical fare to make it unique without scaring away too many people. We are definately going back.

We have yet to try V&A, Citricos, Nacoosies (sp?). This trip, we are going to try to hit new places.

I think a lot of the problems are expectations. One you may have many resturants near your home. Two, even in the world showcase, they are still americanized versions of food. I can't swing a hammer without hitting 5 restaraunts that are owned by hispanics. And I have a chinese restaurant a couple of blocks away which is constantly filled with chinese people and the menu on the wall in is mandarin. We even had an authentic german restaurant for a while (now gone:guilty: ). So, most of the restaurants in the world showcase don't do much for us.

I agree with a couple of the previous posters. Try more resort based TS and the DTD TS.

Laura
09-20-2007, 11:04 AM
Depends on where you are coming from & your family budget in a lot of instances.

I have a girlfriend that lives in the "middle of nowhere" and by that I mean, it's over an HOUR to get to the nearest grocery store! She grew up in Chicago but now lives in farm country.

To her, driving to any # of restaurants just isnt possible. For us, we can get ANY kind of food we want within 10 minutes drive- mexican, all sorts of fast food, chinese, thai, BBQ, steakhouses etc.

Also, many people don't go out to eat much at home. If you are on a strict budget, going out to eat is a luxury. My husband and I don't have kids yet, so we tend to do takeout once a week and go out to eat at a sit down place once a week. For us, going out and getting a burger and fries or getting ribs is not a "big thing".

On the flip side, we went out to eat with some friends about 3 months ago for dinner, they have 2 kids under the age of 8 at home. While eating, they said they had not eaten at a restaurant (even with the kids) in 4 months....lots of families, for various reasons, just don't eat out much.

It's all about perspective I think.

That's a good point. I used to live in a very small town with only 3 real restaurants. Pizza, burgers and fried chicken baskets were my choices. I thought WDW food was great when I was a kid. Now, I live in a city with great restaurants that feature most of the cuisines you can find in WDW (except Scandinavian, which is why I made a point of going to Akershus--until the princess invasion--sniff). So it's probably not so appealing to me now for that reason.

branv
09-20-2007, 11:59 AM
It's funny - I consider myself a person that likes all types of food, from junk food to cuisine. I have great appreciation for some of the finest foods but the next day I'd crawl through the desert for some nachos or baked Cheetos :lmao: What I find inexcusable is anything BLAND. And I think this is what WDW suffers from. Even in the most talked up restaurants or the priciest ones at WDW (and DCL btw), an entree will have a beautiful description but simply not execute on its promise. I remember on my and DH's first trip as a couple to WDW we ate at Brown Derby. I'd read wonderful things about the food and the infamous grapefruit cake. The steak was chewy - sure you have to chew steak, but you shouldn't have to GNAW at it, and certainly not at that price. The grapefruit cake was bland as could be - no not delicate or simply subtle, just bland. On our last trip we ate at Boma. I honestly feel Boma is WDW's best execution - one of the few restaurants still true to its theme and not overly watered down to suit the masses. Is it truly an authentic representation or astounding in quality? Well of course not. It's still a buffet after all. But for what it is, I was impressed and enjoyed trying something different than you'll find around the parks/resorts. Le Cellier surprised me - as with the rest, I expected it to be, well good for park fare. We eat some pretty high quality steaks around here (you know the type, where even the fat tastes like butter?), but the Mushroom Filet was darned impressive. I recognize it may not always be so, of course ;)

I recognize that everyone is going to have a different experience. Even if we didn't take into consideration that everyone has different comfort zones, different expectations, likes, dislikes, the difference can just depend on who was cooking that night, the quality of the food shipment, or how busy they were. I imagine most dishes when created in a test kitchen are great, but suffer in translation to the reality of a busy park kitchen. I truly expect that if we took DH's dad to WDW and on DCL he would find the food GREAT. He also thought the dining room food on RCCL was haute cuisine, yet he turned up his nose at the highly lauded coffee-rubbed venison entree at a bistro we took him to for his birthday ("too much seasoning and not cooked enough" :rolleyes: ). The man is a Luby's fanatic. It makes him happy. I think he's missing out. But we both like what we like, and WDW is in a position of trying to please each of us at the opposite end of that spectrum. I honestly think that in the process of trying to please everyone, they sometimes end up messing it up entirely, taking what was once a good restaurant down into a mediocre to bad one (remember how widely loved O'hana used to be?)

But I do love me some Dole Whip ;)

NJOGRE
09-20-2007, 12:08 PM
We went last September and then just got back yesterday. We have had a total of 11 table service meals between the 2 trips. We chose the most popular places:

Whispering Canyon Cafe
Mama Melrose
Le Cellier (lunch one trip, dinner the next)
Chef Mickey (breakfast one trip, dinner the next)
Princess breakfast at Epcot
Boma breakfast
O'hana breakfast
Sci-Fi lunch
Tonys Town Square dinner

I cannot say that 1 meal we had was really great. This trip we thought Le Cellier was good, not great. If it was a local restaurant I can't say we'd go back, we have much better local steakhouses near home. Tonys Town Square and Mama Melrose were just downright awful! We did not care for WCC at all, the food was all dry and a bit overdone. O'hana breakfast was ok, nothing special. Chef Mickey breakfast last year was way better than the dinner this year. We all wound up eating more off the kids section and filling up on desserts, just couldn't find anything in the adult area that had any taste. Sci Fi was ok as far as greasy fast food goes. I do realize that we shouldn't expect much out of character meals food-wise, and we go mainly for the kids to have the experience of the characters. But the way people rave about the restaurants and how they can't wait to go for all this great food has me wondering what we're doing wrong.

So I'm wondering, does anyone else think the food just isn't that great? Or are we the only ones? Because of now having 2 experiences with free dining and not being at all impressed we're thinking we may just go in December next trip and enjoy nicer weather than icky food.

Come on you need to step up to the plate and eat at a real resturant in the world, Go to California Grill or Flying Fish or Narcossi (spelling) to get a good meal. The places you went pretty much push out fast food, to the masses. ITs good for what it is, fast food. But if you want to get good food you need to go to the signature places that will cost you $200 a meal to get good food. Get off the free dining and spend some money and you will get good food.

You also got to remember just because people rant about the food doesn't mean its good. Look where these people are from. In some places in the USA, Applebeas & Olive Garden is really good food. I know I am a food snob but being form NJ 20 miles outside of the city, I get really good food and wouldn't place 1 step inside of an Olive Garden.

Again I must say if you want good food get off of the free dining, and spend some good hard cash at the signatures at the resorts, You won't be upset

ElizabethB
09-20-2007, 01:45 PM
I just returned from a trip with girlfriends. The 1 TS restaurants have declined, IMO. A place like Spoodles used to offer lots of great choices and some unique and rather inventive dishes. No more. We used to love Chefs de France but don't go there anymore. We had an okay lunch at Coral Reef, but the price was outrageous. We ordered the "surf and turf appetizer" which, for something like $11 turned out to be a couple of insipid shrimp and a couple of pieces of meat. Clearly, the appetizer was designed to be a cheap one to give people on the DDP. Unfortunately, we were paying OOP for it. Alfredo's was still pretty good, but of course they're now shuttered.

We don't care for buffets so don't go to those. But, we have certainly seen a decline in quality at the 1TS restaurants, especially those in Epcot. The WDW goal seems to be to make everything kind of an Appleby's food-wise. I guess that's partly a function of that's what a lot of people like, and partly a function of DDP and trying to bring the costs of the DDP in line with the amount being paid for it. Oh yeah, I forgot, as of 2008 DDP will be a profit center given the more than 20% price increase imposed via deletion of the appetizer (no real loss since appetizers have declined so much in quality) and the 18% tip.

What's the answer? We go to 1TS restaurants if there is an experience to be had that we want -- we want to see the fish at Coral Reef, we want to sit in a car at SciFi. Otherwise, we stick to Signature Dining places.

As for counter service, what we had was really not good. We ate at, I think it's called Cosmic Ray's in Tomorrowland. Basically, big portions of inedible food. The ribs were very fatty and, oddly, tasteless to boot. The chocolate cake dessert was . . . well . . . .just gross.

Overall, we came away less than impressed with WDW food, too. And, I don't go for all the excuses -- it's theme park food and whatnot. There used to be some 1TS restaurants, especially in Epcot, that were pretty decent. Not any more.

We were even underwhelmed by the food offerings at GF RPC. Some good, some okay, but there clearly was an effort made to not serve some pricier things like berries at breakfast and shrimp at cocktail hour. And, the price was $700 per night! But, if people will pay it . . . . .

As DH often says, there is nothing so good at WDW that a couple of MBAs with sharp pencils can't ruin it. DH is to the point that only the F&W Festival will lure him there anymore. When that goes the way of other Disney Dining (notice I didn't say if, but when), that'll be it.

Praying Colonel
09-20-2007, 02:00 PM
Another good resource to consider when planning your ADR's is Kevin's restaurant reviews on the DIS Unplugged Podcast, as well as the roundtable discussions. They could've saved OP from bad decisions on WCC and Chef Mickey's, to name a couple, and pointed to some good choices not on OP's list.

liz2d2
09-20-2007, 06:20 PM
We just got back from a week of dining and I have to agree -- the food at many of the TS restaurants isn't earth-shatteringly good. BUT, it beats the heck out of another burger from a long line at a CS place.

We live in an area where we can get any kind of Asian food any day of the week. So we kept that in mind and did more American-style restaurants. We looked forward to our nightly TS dinners as a chance to see some beautiful resorts, enjoy a tasty meal and relax in the a/c.

I think it's all in how you look at it. I'd never pay those prices at home for food like that. But then again, at home there isn't a geyser in the main lobby, a savannah outside the back door or the castle outside the window!

Colleen27
09-20-2007, 09:40 PM
I think it is all about perspective. I don't think Disney is a dining destination on par with NYC or Chicago or DC, but for a family destination the food is very good and it is one of few destinations where young children are not out of place at nice restaurants.

That said, I don't think those choices are a great selection if you're looking for the best of Disney dining. Aside from Le Cellier, none of those restaurants are even among the better reviewed Disney restaurants, and there isn't a single signature dinner on the list. There are also a lot of buffets and family style restaurants. IMO, there is only so much that can be done with buffets and family style meals because the food isn't cooked to order.

Lisa BC
09-20-2007, 11:24 PM
Well,

I admit that we are little concerned about dining for our upcoming trip. However, we are staying offsite this time, so that will open up a lot more dining choices for us. And we fully intend on taking advantage of that. On our last week long trip in Dec 2004, we were generally happy enough with our choices. We found breakfast at Boma as well as breakfast at Fresh to be really very good... yes pricey, but not anything crazy when compared to offerings near our home. We had Ok meals at Les Chefs & Brown Derby, but like most places, we felt that we were really better off sticking with their one or two signature dishes.

I've seen the menus that that have been updated to accommodate the DDP, and I'm not thrilled. We aren't high cuisine kind of people, with all the sauces and chutneys... but we do like high quality food... real food, made fresh. And that seems to be lacking now in WDW. I think most people are looking for a good value. I have no problem spending $30-40 on a meal, especially on vacation, but I better perceive it as a good value. I don't want Applebee's food at double the price. I'd rather run down to Publix and pick up a couple of prime steaks, kwim?

Because of the talk about service problems... likely brought on by a combination of the DDP increasing demand, and staffing problems that WDW is currently experiencing, we are scaling way back how many "nicer" meals we consume at WDW for this trip. Now we have very specific reasons for choosing our dining locations - like ambiance or character experience. Otherwise we'll be sticking with counter service. If more people start doing the same, Disney will start making some changes. Since ADR's are hard to come by right now, I don't think the changes will come anytime soon.

Lisa

MartDM
09-21-2007, 07:41 AM
IMO, you chose some of the worst that Disney has to offer. There are many great restaurants at WDW...you just didn't visit any of them.

Next time look into Blue Zoo, California Grill, Spoodles, Brown Derby and some of the better reviewed restaurants.

PrincessKitty1
09-21-2007, 11:10 AM
There are very few meals I've had in WDW that I consider delicious. I love to eat, and eating is a BIG part of my trip to WDW. Most of the meals I've had at table service restaurants range from "OK" to "pretty good" to a rare "really good." In general, the food is pretty average, plain-jane, run-of-the-mill in the parks.

BUT, DH and I still eat at the parks every chance we get, because the food is really just 50% of the experience. The theming of many of the table service restaurants is just breath-taking; far, far more beautiful, creative, and awe-inspiring than anything I can find in my small city (even though I can find much better food in my hometown!).

Even many of the counter service restaurants have really fun theming (Morocco, the garden next to the fish-and-chips kiosk in the UK, Pizzafari in the Animal Kingdom, to name a few). Generally, I have a glass of wine to whet my appetite and help me transition into what I think of as the Disney dimension--the dreamy, movie-set, fantasy-feeling of eating dinner in a park designed to be one of the most entertaining and beautiful places on earth.

I hear the restaurants in the resorts are much better than the ones in the parks, but who wants to leave the parks?? :goodvibes :goodvibes

Mr Man
09-21-2007, 11:18 AM
A couple things to keep in mind:

This is theme park food. For theme park food Disney cuisine is very good.
As previously mentioned, food at the resorts is typically better.
Whenever food is cooked for the masses, it will not be great. As many people that dine at Disney World food has to be prepared for the masses.

This is an excellent point. Can you remember the last meal you had at [insert non-disney theme park]? I know I can't.......cuz a hot dog is a hot dog.....

For me and mine, our eating preferences and habits are our own. They only apply to us and us alone. The whole thing on judging restaurants is very subjective and inevitably varies from person to person, day to day, mood to .......I think you get the picture......


Having said this, we love the varied menus and entertainment opportunities WDW offers in it's resort/park restaurants. I am struggling to think of another place on the planet that provides this variety of family entertainment in on central location w/convenient access to all at a fair price.

Because of this, I can generally look past the little things that bother me about individual restaurants & always find something good to eat.

I am not a foody, but have passion for grilling/smoking etc. Because of this, I shy away from BBQ & Steaks when eating out. I would be too critical of what I am served (and Lord help me, what if theirs is better than mine!!!)

When we are at Character buffets, we are generally there because the kids want to spend time with characters. We take lots of pictures and enjoy the time with the characters......food is secondary in this situation.

Given that OP is blessed to live in the culinary paradise that is Chicago (no sarcasm, I visit frequently on business and concur- great great restaurants & a wonderful tradition of fine dining- Manhattan also), perhaps you could use your visits to WDW to try out foods that you normally don't eat back home. If not, ride more rides, see more shows etc.

We like to mix things up when it comes to dining at WDW. We have done All TS vacations, All CS vacation, All "eat at the MH" vacations. One time, we did 3 days at WDW during Food and Wine Festival. The rule for the weekend was, you could only eat snacks and appetizers (no entrees). Now THAT was fun!

We have been lucky so far and have never had a bad meal anywhere at WDW (9 vacations so far). When that day come, I will just have to reconcile myself to the fact that yes, it was a bad meal, but hey......we're at Disney World!!!!! :woohoo:

apostolic4life
09-21-2007, 11:42 AM
....don't buy into the hype!!!

If you know what you and your family like/dislike and are fully aware of the level of expectation you have, I would suggest using those factors to decide your dining itinerary. When you put too much faith into the opinions of strangers you are bound to be disappointed. Taste and perception of value are unique to each person so unless the person giving a review is a friend (someone who knows your likes/dislikes) ignore them.

Will you always be 100% satisfied when you walk out of every WDW dining venue.......highly unlikely, but you can increase the likelihood of satisfaction by planning to visit restaurants based on your likes/dislikes, habits, or tastes rather than the opinions and judgments of perfect strangers. If you don't usually like buffets at home, you probably will not like buffets (characters or not) at WDW!!

Don't Buy Into The Hype!!!!




:thumbsup2

Brad Bishop
09-21-2007, 11:43 AM
That being said, if you read some of the reviews, you would think that every morsel of food you will put in your mouth at Disney will be the most mind blowing dining experience you will have, and that's simply not true. I've read dining reviews that rave about that fried cheese at 50's PTC. Or the wings at O'hana. (I mean, seriously, wings??) And don't even get me started on the food at LTT - helloooo, it's stouffers mac and cheese! But because it's in MK, it's fabulous!


I think you bump into a few different things in these comparisons.

- expectations. People read the reviews here (like you mentioned) and expect the food to be cooked by an actual chef, rather than a cooking staff in the kitchen. This can work the other way, too, when people who expected that, didn't get it, and then report back that it was horrible.

- definitions. I bumped into this on a different thread by saying the food at Dollywood was good. My definition of 'good' was more along the lines of 'didn't make me sick - tasted ok'. Anther reader took that as, "really tasty food".

- Kids (the 'magic') - For some it seems to be all about the kids. They could be having PB&J an Mickey could come over take a picture with them and they'll talk about what a wonderful time they had and how the PB&J was 'just right'.

- zealots / haters - There are some who will say Disney can do no wrong or will endlessly back Disney no matter what while there are others that will complain no matter what (it was too expensive for what I got).

I think there's a lot to weigh out in all of this from the price to the food quality to people's definitions/expectations, etc. I think it makes it really tough to judge what's good and whether you'll like the dining experience or not.

Usually, when comparing other things (non-Disney) like on Amazon, it's not too hard to pick out those who either love the product/company no matter what or hate the product/company no matter what and just get the 'average-joe' impression.

mrsltg
09-21-2007, 01:59 PM
No offense, but I think some of your restaurant choice were "obvious" failures. I wouldn't set foot in some of them. You've got to find your dining niche at Disney. There are legions of people who thing buffet food makes for a gourmet meal--they LOVE the food at Chef Mickey's which, IMO, is barely edible. With the exception of Le Cellier, I think most of those restaurants are about the entertainment factor, food quanity, and lastly quality.

MTE! My favorite meals at Disney have been at their signature restaurants. They cost a lot for a reason! One of the best steaks I've ever had was at Artist Point - it was indescribable! The wine list at Jiko is stunning and really compliments the meals served. I don't expect the same thing at Chef Mickey's. However, we do love Liberty Tree Tavern. Yes, it's Stouffer's - yes, it's good! I don't make that at home and so we enjoy it on vacation.

As far as certain areas having the market cornered on dining - I disagree. No one zip code/culture/country has the best food. Every place I've ever gone had something to offer - I may have needed to open my mind ever so slightly to allow it, but I have enjoyed food all over. And, I'm from NY - you can and do find good things to eat everywhere!

Mr Man
09-21-2007, 02:14 PM
As far as certain areas having the market cornered on dining - I disagree. No one zip code/culture/country has the best food. Every place I've ever gone had something to offer - I may have needed to open my mind ever so slightly to allow it, but I have enjoyed food all over. And, I'm from NY - you can and do find good things to eat everywhere!

I understand your point. My intent in singling out inside the loop Chicago & Manhattan along with WDW was mainly geographical i.e. a reasonably short distance to travel (taxi/subway/El Trai) for a vast array of dining choices. Maybe not the best analogy.....sounded good at the time.

Completely agree that good food is everywhere.

For example, Here in Texas, there is a BBQ joint in Huntsville called "Church of the Immaculate BBQ". It is located in the back of a church in an African American part of town. I have never EVER had better BBQ than there. Everyone has a place like that.

I also recall a seafood restaurant outside Esenada Mexico. Served the best lobster I have ever had. Run by a retired USN Rear Admiral......great stuff. Unfortunately, the taco stands in Ensenada proper....... not so good.....:scared1:

mom2aredhead
09-21-2007, 02:25 PM
No offense, but I think some of your restaurant choice were "obvious" failures. I wouldn't set foot in some of them. You've got to find your dining niche at Disney. There are legions of people who thing buffet food makes for a gourmet meal--they LOVE the food at Chef Mickey's which, IMO, is barely edible. With the exception of Le Cellier, I think most of those restaurants are about the entertainment factor, food quanity, and lastly quality.

Oh, no. That's not the least bit offensive.

apostolic4life
09-21-2007, 02:57 PM
As far as certain areas having the market cornered on dining - I disagree. No one zip code/culture/country has the best food. Every place I've ever gone had something to offer - I may have needed to open my mind ever so slightly to allow it, but I have enjoyed food all over. And, I'm from NY - you can and do find good things to eat everywhere!


I could not agree more. People who know food and truly appreciate food will not discount someplace just because they do not have grand cuisine available. My personal travel philosophy is simple, " you haven't been there till you've eaten the food". Local offerings can offer more insight into the local culture and its people than any 5 star restaurant in the same city. Don't get me wrong, 5 star restaurants make me happy too, but I would not assume great food is not available just because the location I'm visiting does not offer a famous 5 star restaurant. An example: what better defines New York City - a trip to the Papaya King for a smoothie and dog or a trip to Le Bernardin for some uni seviche and shrimp ravioli with truffle sauce??? I would bet most visiting people would go for the dog and smoothie , and they would be justified in doing so because those are things that truly define a large part of New York's culture and its people.

The same premise applies to WDW......no, the average visitor is not looking for 4/5 star type cuisine, but those that are (and are willing to pay for it) can find it in locations such as V & A's Chef Table, Bistro de Paris or Wolfgang Puck's Dining Room (upstairs). Most people are more than happy with food offered by Disney restaurants; the average WDW guest will be pleased with the menus offered by most TS venues in WDW and will leave very happy about their meal. Again, I would recommend for every person/family to avoid the hype and go to places that offer the experience you are looking for. If you want 4/5 star cuisine do not expect it from most WDW restaurants, and definitely do not think you will get it on the DDP. You can get closer to that kind of cuisine by going to signature restaurants (2 TS credits on DDP), but again, most people do not want to spend that much cash or use that many credits for a great meal.

You get what you pay for (at WDW that tends to be 20/30% more than the real world).



:thumbsup2

Christine
09-21-2007, 02:58 PM
Oh, no. That's not the least bit offensive.


Thanks!:goodvibes

I realize the statement itself *is* a tad offensive. I wanted the poster to know that in saying that I wasn't trying to make him/her feel badly. As a first-time planner, it is hard to know where to eat and it takes a few tries to realize that if you are truly there for the food experience, the places the OP picked wouldn't be where you would go. I've been to Disney a few times and I can assure you that my first trips consisted of places like Chef Mickey's, LTT, and 'Ohana. I learned from those visits that those restaurants weren't what I had in mind and moved to signature dining. This is apparently what the OP needs to do and it takes some experience and time to figure it out.

SereneOne
09-21-2007, 03:00 PM
I look at the bussiness model behind Disney Food :teacher:

Its Disney's goal is to provide High Quality Theme Park Food. If you keep in mind... that for Theme Parks, they are the tops in their catagory....but they can't compete with restarants that only serve food because Disney has to deal with huge crowds, average taste, make the food so that as-many people as-possable can eat the dishes. A good resturant can cater so much more to exact taste and be so much more focused. Disney has to keep it safe to apeal to 100,000,000 from all over the world (spice it down)

A $60 meal in my hometown is probably a $90 meal at Disney because you are paying for the location....the benefit of being so close to the rides and attractions, and the time savings. Disney adds about 30% to the bill for this benefit.

So I don't compaire a $90 meal at Disney to a $90 meal at home :cool2:

I totally agree! I can't think of any other restaurants that have to feed as many people for as many hours and days as Disney does. I take that into account and do not expect fine dining at their restaurants, unless it was like V&A. I am looking forward to LTT and am glad thier mac and cheese is Stouffer's...if I do not have time to make homemade, I pick up a pan of Stouffers they are great. I don't think people mean that LTT and Stouffers are on par with fine dining, I think they are saying for what it is, it is good. It is all in your perspective.:confused3

apostolic4life
09-21-2007, 03:06 PM
I totally agree! I can't think of any other restaurants that have to feed as many people for as many hours and days as Disney does. I take that into account and do not expect fine dining at their restaurants, unless it was like V&A. I am looking forward to LTT and am glad thier mac and cheese is Stouffer's...if I do not have time to make homemade, I pick up a pan of Stouffers they are great. I don't think people mean that LTT and Stouffers are on par with fine dining, I think they are saying for what it is, it is good. It is all in your perspective.:confused3


Very Well Stated!!!



:thumbsup2

tasha99
09-21-2007, 03:48 PM
For the most part, I think Disney food is okay but nothing to write home about. I enjoyed Jiko (thought the flatbreads were great) the most, along with Kimonos (though the sushi was visually boring and plain), and Scifi (just for basics--I would never stray from burgers or sandwiches there, but I love the atmosphere.)

The only truly bad meals I've had at Disney World were Goods to Go at OKW (just awful food) and San Angel Inn (Tostitos as their chips was just lazy.)

Planning the dining for Disney is fun, but I do always leave realizing I get better food at home for far less money.

Mrs. D
09-22-2007, 02:57 PM
On our recent trip, I was definitely underwhelmed as well. I know it's theme park food, and you don't necessarily go to Disney for the food (though it seems some do), I still expected more, especially for the money you're spending on the meals....we loved Chef Mickey's breakfast, not that the food was the greatest, but IMO it was at least what you'd find at a local buffet breakfast... I enjoyed Rainforest Cafe @ AK, the atmosphere was so much fun, and the food was at least what we would've gotten at a comprable local restaurant...

In the future we'll probably eat breakfast in the world, some lunches and dinner's, but we'll definitely venture out more to eat. Because though I don't go on vacation primarily to eat, that is part of my vacation experience, and I'd like that to be enjoyable as well.

gina2000
09-22-2007, 04:25 PM
See, this is a problem of perception. For the last 7 or 8 years prior to the DDP, WDW was actively wooing foodies. We're a foodie family that enjoys everything from great burgers to escargot. And in the last 2 years, we've been severely underimpressed with the quality of food. One of the major highlights of any trip for us is the food. We have a TS meal every night no matter where we go. And seeking out good food at a reasonable price or great food at the market rate is our goal. WDW seemed be pursuing that sort of goal as well. But since the homoginization began, WDW food has lost that edge, that special something that made each and every meal at every restaurant an enjoyable adventure, even if it wasn't a culinary masterpiece. The pizazz is gone. The regionality is disapppearing. It's just become flat for us.

I never expected gourmet food at what are now labelled 1TS restaurants. But I did expect well prepared, well thought out entrees that piqued my interest. The entrees may not have been as piquantly spiced as should have been but they were interesting interpretations. That's gone. And with it is gone everything that gave each and every restaurant a unique character. That's why we're totally underwhelmed and disappointed. We've experienced what WDW restaurants were once presenting and appreciated it.

OKW Lover
09-22-2007, 05:05 PM
I've got to agree with several posters here that the places the OP chose to dine at aren't the the best at WDW. OK, maybe leCellier would be good, but most of the others are catering to the lowest common denominator.

For some really good dining experiences we like Artist Point, Yachtsman Steakhouse, Jiko, Flying Fish, Portobello Yacht Club, and Narcoossees

jw50
09-22-2007, 11:00 PM
See, this is a problem of perception. For the last 7 or 8 years prior to the DDP, WDW was actively wooing foodies. We're a foodie family that enjoys everything from great burgers to escargot. And in the last 2 years, we've been severely underimpressed with the quality of food. One of the major highlights of any trip for us is the food. We have a TS meal every night no matter where we go. And seeking out good food at a reasonable price or great food at the market rate is our goal. WDW seemed be pursuing that sort of goal as well. But since the homoginization began, WDW food has lost that edge, that special something that made each and every meal at every restaurant an enjoyable adventure, even if it wasn't a culinary masterpiece. The pizazz is gone. The regionality is disapppearing. It's just become flat for us.

I never expected gourmet food at what are now labelled 1TS restaurants. But I did expect well prepared, well thought out entrees that piqued my interest. The entrees may not have been as piquantly spiced as should have been but they were interesting interpretations. That's gone. And with it is gone everything that gave each and every restaurant a unique character. That's why we're totally underwhelmed and disappointed. We've experienced what WDW restaurants were once presenting and appreciated it.

This seems to be a common complaint from the "foodies", that the DDP has "ruined" the Disney restaurants, not only has the quality gone down but they can no longer just walk in and be seated at any TS restaurant at whatever time they feel like eating.

The purpose of any business is to make money and Disney has succeeded in significantly increasing the business at their TS restaurants with the DDP and "bland" food so why would you expect Disney to go back to the older business model with "better" food but less than full restaurants?

And if you want truely fine dining at Disney just go to V&A's, I doubt you will be disappointed;)

gina2000
09-23-2007, 08:45 AM
Last edited by jw50 : Yesterday at 11:01 PM. Reason: Not picking on you Gina, there are alot of others that post the same complaints that you did :)

Not to worry....I have thicker skin than that!

I have no problem with making advance reservations so that argument is futile with me. I'm a planner and don't live locally.

Here's the dilemma as I see it. WDW food has changed. The DDP has changed. Will the DDP continue to have the overwhelmingly positive response that it has had in the last 3 years? If so, no problems on WDW's part. If not, where do they go from here?

For the OOP dining guest, WDW prices are no longer in line with the quality and value received. They've always been more expensive than many restaurants in many parts of the country (I live in the NY metro area and truthfully, it's still more expensive here) but the menus were creative and imaginative and the food well prepared. People talk about how much value the DDP delivers verses OOP prices. But no one talks about the lack of value OOP diners are currently receiving for their money. And depending on who you talk to, DDP patrons make up anywhere from 20-50% of the patrons. What if they no longer feel that the price is worth the cost? And what happens if the OOP patron similarly reaches the same conclusion?

serendipity
09-23-2007, 09:20 AM
We went last September and then just got back yesterday. We have had a total of 11 table service meals between the 2 trips. We chose the most popular places:

Whispering Canyon Cafe
Mama Melrose
Le Cellier (lunch one trip, dinner the next)
Chef Mickey (breakfast one trip, dinner the next)
Princess breakfast at Epcot
Boma breakfast
O'hana breakfast
Sci-Fi lunch
Tonys Town Square dinner

I cannot say that 1 meal we had was really great. This trip we thought Le Cellier was good, not great. If it was a local restaurant I can't say we'd go back, we have much better local steakhouses near home. Tonys Town Square and Mama Melrose were just downright awful! We did not care for WCC at all, the food was all dry and a bit overdone. O'hana breakfast was ok, nothing special. Chef Mickey breakfast last year was way better than the dinner this year. We all wound up eating more off the kids section and filling up on desserts, just couldn't find anything in the adult area that had any taste. Sci Fi was ok as far as greasy fast food goes. I do realize that we shouldn't expect much out of character meals food-wise, and we go mainly for the kids to have the experience of the characters. But the way people rave about the restaurants and how they can't wait to go for all this great food has me wondering what we're doing wrong.

So I'm wondering, does anyone else think the food just isn't that great? Or are we the only ones? Because of now having 2 experiences with free dining and not being at all impressed we're thinking we may just go in December next trip and enjoy nicer weather than icky food.

I also live right outside of Manhattan and can be underwhelmed with the food at Disney World. We go in without high expectations- and we always have a great time. But when it comes to character dining, or regular TS like WCC, Sci Fi etc I really think they need to be judged on the same level as say, TGI Fridays, or Applebees. I did enjoy Le Cellier but I would agree I could definitely find a better steak at say, Peter Luggers. My suggestion for your next trip would be to avoid the character dining, try a few of the signature restaurants (which we've always loved).

Disney Ella
09-23-2007, 09:28 AM
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For the OOP dining guest, WDW prices are no longer in line with the quality and value received. They've always been more expensive than many restaurants in many parts of the country (I live in the NY metro area and truthfully, it's still more expensive here) but the menus were creative and imaginative and the food well prepared. People talk about how much value the DDP delivers verses OOP prices. But no one talks about the lack of value OOP diners are currently receiving for their money. And depending on who you talk to, DDP patrons make up anywhere from 20-50% of the patrons. What if they no longer feel that the price is worth the cost? And what happens if the OOP patron similarly reaches the same conclusion?

I definitely agree with this. A lot of the food is the same quality as Applebee's, but the price is so much higher. I don't expect a lot when I go to Applebee's, but I also know I won't be paying a lot. I know theme park restaurants are always going to inflate their prices, but it has gotten to the point that the prices are just too high for what is often mediocre food.