View Full Version : just read bad review of Coral Reef....is it still true?

07-11-2009, 01:08 AM
I just read the bad review of Coral Reef dated 04/09....
Has there been any improvements since then? This is 1 of the 3 resturants we had hoped to go to......so we're disappointed in the bad review.
Any comments?

07-11-2009, 01:18 AM
I just read the bad review of Coral Reef dated 04/09....
Has there been any improvements since then? This is 1 of the 3 resturants we had hoped to go to......so we're disappointed in the bad review.
Any comments?

I went in December of 2008 and it was fantastic. This is after I went in 2004 and vowed never to again because the food was horrible.

Don't base your decision on one bad review. No one can be prefect. I think collectively most will say it is a great experience.

07-11-2009, 01:29 AM
Thinking of taking my Dsil to the Coral Reef next trip...she has never been to WDW before :rolleyes: . Anyway, I think she would love the atmosphere of the CR but I am not sure if the food/service is really that bad. We went on a FW tour last year and CR was part of the tour. I loved the inside of the place. I have left one more night open for a good, fun meal for her and I thought Coral Reef might be fun for her but she is a sometimes picky eater.

07-11-2009, 01:45 AM
Our food was good at CR, much better than Sci-Fi. However our impressions of the two restaurants are completely different because of the servers. At Sci-Fi our server was very good, at CR our server was not good at all. I was really looking forward to this restaurant as I had personalized menus for the kids and was also given a diver to hold a sign (not available anymore). Unfortunately, even with all the nice extras at the restaurant, the service we received was not what we expected at any Disney restaurant.

You just can't go by one post. Everyone has different tastes. You will have to try it and see for yourself.

07-11-2009, 01:57 AM
We ate here in Jan and it was very good. We were lucky to sit right next to oe of the windows.

07-11-2009, 01:59 AM
Actually the "review" was on DIS not here on the boards part/thread.
They had several apps, 2 meals, and desserts....wh/ they thought was way below par and not good especially for a $95 bill.
So you can see my concern since it was a "review" not just a posted opinion....even tho it is still someone's opinion :)

07-11-2009, 06:23 AM
We had dinner there a few trips ago and liked it!!

07-11-2009, 07:48 AM
We loved the Coral Reef. My DH had the New York Strip Steak and he said that it was, by far, his best meal at Disney. We found our server to be very good and the kids loved the special drinks that they could get with their meals. It is on our "must do dining list" for next time!!!

07-11-2009, 08:12 AM
Ahhhh Coral Reef. I love the ambiance of this restaurant. Beautiful and serene colors - not a bad seat in the house. That said, the food is definitely hit and miss. I usually plan a visit here once a trip because I love the experience so much but have learned to keep my expectations in check regarding the food (and service). We never use the dining plan so it hurts (a lot) to pay OOP for a not so great meal - but I always take the chance. One time I had a steak here that was one of the best I've ever had anywhere - and one time I had to send back two different dishes during our meal. We usually go for lunch and don't spend the extra cash for higher end entrees. But we keep coming back!

07-11-2009, 08:28 AM
Actually the "review" was on DIS not here on the boards part/thread.
They had several apps, 2 meals, and desserts....wh/ they thought was way below par and not good especially for a $95 bill.
So you can see my concern since it was a "review" not just a posted opinion....even tho it is still someone's opinion :)

I personally thought it was a ridiculous review for the reason I bolded.

Who orders like that? I don't think my family has ever ordered several appetizers anywhere.

07-11-2009, 08:36 AM
We ate there in 2006 (for lunch) and again this past Sept. during FD for dinner. Both times the food was very good as well as the service. My only compaint this past time was the noise but it was packed so it is to be expected.

07-11-2009, 08:37 AM
I wouldn't worry about a bad review or two if it's a place that you think sounds really good from the menu, and the ambiance appeals to you.

Any restaurant in WDW (with the possible exception of V&A) is going to have servers/chefs/hosts/hostesses, who are off on any given night, and there are no restaurants in WDW that get 100% positive reviews.

Also, factor in not only off nights by staff members, but the fact that we all have different tastes and expectations of restaurants. That means even more bad reviews for very good places.

Unless it's a place that gets 100% bad reviews on the internet, I wouldn't cancel a reservation based on reviews. Just my two cents. :hug:

07-11-2009, 08:49 AM
You are going to get varying opinions from everyone. You just have to read 'em all and make a decision based on how you feel about various reviews.
So....to add to your confusion...
We ate at the Coral Reef back in 2006..it was wonderful. We had great service, wonderful food. The only drawback were the two little kids who were allowed, by their parents, to shove in behind us to get right up next to the tank. We were lucky enough to be seated right alongside the tank. But this was also a spot where others felt it was okay to shove behind us, draping themselves over us, in order to peer right into the tank, up against the glass.
Then, we returned there last Sept. A whole different experience. We had looked forward to repeating our great dinner, but that didn't happen. We went during free dining. There were about 4 times as many large families eating there this time. Many screaming children, lots of chaos and confusion. Our server was okay...seemed to be really stressed. The food was okay, but not up to what we had expected based on our prior meal. And we ordered exactly the same things!!!
It was so noisy in there that we decided to leave without dessert, although we had been looking forward to it. But, we weren't able to carry on a conversation due to the noise level...we had to shout at each other.

I have no basic issue with free dining. But, it does fill up the more expensive restaurants. There are a lot of people who would not feel comfortable paying to eat at some of the restaurants, due to the prices, but with free dining, it almost tends to become a free for all...pardon the pun.

We won't be back again...at least not during free dining. But, we can say that about a lot of the 'better' restaurants at WDW during free dining.

07-11-2009, 09:01 AM
Our last trip I allowed each of my 6 kids pick a restaurant. Two of them picked Coral Reef. I warned them of the mixed reviews and showed them the menu. We are not seafood eaters (Probably because I am allergic to shellfish so we don't go to seafood restaurants). We went and no one ordered seafood. The atmosphere is nice and the tank is interesting. We had a large booth in the last tier. Our server was great, he was our second favorite server of the week. The food was just alright. It was our least favorite meal of the week as far as taste. That being said, I think it has to be experienced once. How often can you eat dinner and look at a aquarium.

07-11-2009, 09:07 AM
We ate there for lunch on the DDP in Jan. 09 and it was by far the best meal we had at Disney. We ordered the mahi and the grouper - both delicious and split a appetizer of the crab/shrimp cakes which we liked very much. This is the same dish that was poorly reviewed by the Dis reviewer and it turned out to be the one food item that my 14yo still talks about as his favorite, even today. My dd orderd off the childrens menu and I had her lobster soup. It was good, but maybe if you had to pay $$$ it might have not been as good? My take is that the Dis reviewer paid out of pocket and consequently had higher expections... a $100 for a few appetizers is alot of money. I'd say give it a try and see for yourself. We also ate at an early lunch seating when the restaurant was not yet full. Our waiter was excellent and made suggestions on how to get full value of the DDP, like suggesting we order fruit smoothies (non-alchoholic) for our drinks at no extra cost. I am going back in Sept, and plan again to go for lunch at the early seating. Hopefully, it will be just as good. Enjoy wherever your dine!

07-11-2009, 11:00 AM
I have eaten there twice in the past couple of summers and both meals have been excellent. In fact, I have an ADR for September and I am looking forward to eating there again.

07-11-2009, 12:18 PM
We've eaten here several times, including 3 times within the past 12 months. CR has some very good dishes and some terrible dishes. There are servers here who are attentive and there are some who are "never to be seen" and you wait for drink refills, your check, etc. Sometimes it's a nice atmosphere and sometimes it's so noisy that you can't hear the people at your own table.

It's not the best place at WDW and it's not the worst either. The only way to know what your opinion should be is to go and check it out for yourself.

07-11-2009, 12:51 PM
We had lunch at CR in March 09 and had a great experience. We sat on the second tier which was good, but probably not as nice as by the window. We had one of our favorite dishes of our trip there - the scallops appetizer. The rest of the food was very good. We skipped dessert, because we were full. Our server was very friendly. We paid OOP, since we weren't on the DDP and yes, like all food in the world, it's expensive.

One fun memory from that lunch was my 13 yo niece decided that she would take care of the check since she had charging privileges on her card. It was good practice for her.

We would definitely go back here.

07-11-2009, 01:58 PM
we had lunch at coral reef last month on my birthday and it's now become a favorite epcot restaurant.my children also loved it. the food was delicious i had the tilapia which was wonderful and the creme brulee for dessert. we had a table by the tank which was also wonderful. it wasn't at all noisy.OP i hope you give it a try.

07-11-2009, 02:07 PM
I was there the end of April. As most stated, it seems to be hit or miss in terms of food and service quality. If you would would like to read my review of Coral Reef(with pics), I had a food trip report here:


Or to read my full trip report, it is here:


07-11-2009, 02:28 PM
You'll find bad and good reviews for every restaurant.

IMO, Coral Reef is all right. The atmosphere is wonderful, but the food is hit or miss. I've always enjoyed the desserts though.

07-11-2009, 04:13 PM
We've eaten at CR several times with mostly good to okay results. We did feel that you are rushed. One meal we received our apps,salad and main course within 5 mins of each other . There was no room on the table. Our waiter saw what was happening and had our dinners returned to the kitchen ans remade. We do love the atmosphere.

07-11-2009, 04:28 PM
Coral Reef....well we have eaten there a few times! We have always left satisfied. I recommend the mahi mahi, and my children and dh loved the grilled chicken, my mom had the lobster salad....it was okay, but remember, we are from VT and we are only 2 hours from fresh Maine lobster. :goodvibes I say go for it! I haven't been disappointed yet~

07-11-2009, 05:09 PM

07-11-2009, 05:40 PM
I would advise not making a decision based on one review. It's one review. Whether it's showcased on the front page of the dining section, or posted on a message board, or published in a magazine -- it's just one review. My advice would be to get a consensus of recent reviews. The "rate and review" section on allears is a great place to do that. Reading through the restaurant reviews on this board is another great resource.

That said, there are some very well-reviewed restaurants that my family has just not enjoyed. Likewise, there are some panned restaurants that we thought were quite good. Research can be very helpful in enabling you to make an informed decision, but ultimately you'll have to make a judgment call.

I have never eaten at Coral Reef - probably because there are so many enticing choices in World Showcase. I always consider Coral Reef, but ultimately opt for something else. From what I have seen of the reviews of food there, it seems to be hit and miss.

07-11-2009, 06:08 PM

07-11-2009, 06:58 PM
Actually the "review" was on DIS not here on the boards part/thread.
They had several apps, 2 meals, and desserts....wh/ they thought was way below par and not good especially for a $95 bill.
So you can see my concern since it was a "review" not just a posted opinion....even tho it is still someone's opinion :)

So? What makes it more weighty than a posting here? It's still one review. You'll find plenty of good and bad reviews on every restaurant in WDW. Use the tools at your disposal and book what appeals to you.

For what it's worth, we ate there last August and are going there again this August.

07-11-2009, 07:01 PM
All I can say is... different strokes for different folks!!!

I've eaten there every year since 2005, and we're going again this year. Yeah, sometimes you get a suck waiter/waitress, we don't let that ruin it for us. As long as the food is good, we're good to go. I've read all the negative reviews, but that didn't stop me from making an ADR. They have great steaks there, the fish are great entertainment, and the dessert is good.

You just have to decide for yourself, not someone else for you.

karen l
07-11-2009, 08:19 PM
We've had dinner at Coral Reef several times over the past few years & have always enjoyed it. Hope you try it & have a great time.

07-11-2009, 09:42 PM
Don't go off of the bad reviews, go off of the good ones, lol.

Coral Reef is very good. Go, try it, and enjoy yourself!

07-11-2009, 09:44 PM
Haven't been there since the date you mention, but we have had nothing but very bad experiences here and will never return.

07-11-2009, 09:52 PM
You should take every review with a grain of salt- whether the review is good or bad. Even if someone wrote a glowing review of a restaurant, you may not like it. Coral Reef has been bashed on the disboards ever since I've joined. I think it's because it's a restaurant in which you either like it or don't (no in-betweens)- which mainly may have to do with that particular experience (service, diners around you, wait times) or whether or not you like seafood. This is a seafood restaurant. I laugh every time I read reviews in which someone writes, "I don't like seafood, but I tried it here anyway." I don't know if that person thinks Disney will suddenly cure them of his/her dislike of seafood or whatnot, but let's be realistic. While there are many great menu items for those who do not like seafood, this restaurant is centered around seafood.

We loved Coral Reef when we went six months ago (during the busy week of Christmas to New Year's, no less) and are SO glad that we didn't listen to the negative reviews. To each his/her own, right? We enjoyed every entree and dessert at the table. (I was with my parents, so we each got to try a bit of everything off of each other's plates.)

The table we were seated at was smack dab against the glass at the far end (as in the furthest front and furthest away from the entrance). Our table was FANTASTIC. The interior atmosphere was FANTASTIC. The ambience- not so fantastic. A couple minutes into our meal a large family came in and chose to seat there ten (I may be exaggerating- probably more like six) children at the table right behind us while the parents kicked back at a large booth across the aisle from them. While I think that kids' tables are great (fond memories of Thanksgiving), maybe not so much at Disney. Let me just say, these kids were brats. I can understand why the adults in the party were kicking back cocktails like it was their job. :lmao: I don't blame them! Thus, this restaurant was LOUD LOUD LOUD. And while it is partially the restaurant's interior design (I mean come on, noises do bounce off glass), the children (and drunk adults) were also to blame. And I'm not only blaming this children, all children (and adults) in the restaurant were amazed every time a diver, sea turtle, large fish, or stingray swam by. This restaurant put the majority (if not all) diners in awe, including me. :thumbsup2

We would return this restaurant in a heartbeat. However, we would definitely consider eating at a later time. I think our reservations were for around 5pm. I think a seating around 7:30 or 8pm would be ideal, depending on whether or not you wish to view Illuminations.

07-11-2009, 10:41 PM
:fish:Thank you, thank you for all the posts. Thanks for the links; I will read them.
Someone asked why I thought a review had more weight than posts.....the only reason was it's date of the review. It was dated 05/09. I also looked at pictures of food (apps, entrees, desserts) of more recent visits compared to several years ago (food porn thread). To be honest the older pics look more appetizing than the more recent ones. The Chocolate Wave is one that quickly comes to mind. It wasn't just the desserts but the main dishes seem different and the dishes seem to have smaller portions.

Because of these things, I just wondered if it had lost it's "magic." I appreciate your encouragement to try it. We will be trying it, as it looks like it has great atmosphere and we hope to "hit" it right with great food too.

I knew where to come to get the best info and that is why I asked my questions here. If anyone else has eaten there in the last month, I'd love to have your opinion of the food.:fish:

07-11-2009, 10:57 PM
5/20/09, lunch. service a little slow, food good except for the shrimp and lobster cake which was mushy, tasted like iodine.

07-11-2009, 11:28 PM
Well-I haven't been since the date you mentioned. But it is one of our favorites. We did my son's 5th b-day there 2 yrs. ago. We ordered a wonderful cake. We've always had great food & service there. I love the atmosphere. I say don't go on one bad review. You need to experience it yourself. I read a lot of good reviews on Le Cellier but we had a bad experince there. I wouldn't discourage anyone from going there because of my experience. I personally don't care to visit there again but it's from my experience & my opinion. I do read other's reviews/opinions but if I want to try it, I do.

07-12-2009, 07:35 AM
We used to love it. Last 3-4 visits over a period of two years, the food has been poor at best. We won't go back.

By the way, I would not take reviews and posts "with a grain of salt". People report their experiences. It helps to know what others think in order to make good choices!

My opinion -- definitely skip Coral Reef.

07-12-2009, 07:44 AM
I personally thought it was a ridiculous review for the reason I bolded.

Who orders like that? I don't think my family has ever ordered several appetizers anywhere.

Somebody who is doing a restaurant review to get a better perspective of the quality & flavor of the food.

07-12-2009, 09:36 AM
Hands down the worst food every time we have tried it. And the professional review in question was the authors 2nd bad one if I am not mistaken. Like many here we keep thinking, "Oh that was a bad night and it's got to turn around" and so we return only to once again get more terrible food!:sick:

07-12-2009, 09:53 AM
I people on the boards are really split on this restaurant.

We have probably eaten 50 TS meals at WDW over the last 10 years and Coral Reef has definitely been our worst experience.

DH, DS and I ate there last December and (with the exception of DS's inedible pizza) we literally can't remember what we had had. We waited a long time to be seated and the service was terrible. The food was completely unremarkable. Dinner took us an hour and a half and we didn't even bother with dessert. The tank is neat, but did not compensate for the rest of the meal.

It definitely was not worth a $100 tab and we won't be back.

TDC Nala
07-12-2009, 10:11 AM
The reviews of most WDW restaurants on this board are so divergent that I pay no attention to them anymore.

I'm going to Coral Reef for lunch in September. With the exception of Food & Wine Festival events (which that restaurant doesn't do anymore) I have not been there in at least five years.

A couple of times during food & wine events in 2007 (which were held in the restaurant during meal service) I noticed the place was extremely noisy.

07-12-2009, 10:51 AM
Coral Reef is one of those places that gets the really harsh reviews, and really outstanding reviews. We first went in 2006 and have gone every year since. We've never experienced a bad time, service or foodwise. My own personal opinion on reivews is that it's all relative to what people's expectations are when going in. If they expect five star service and their waiter is having an off day, then it fails. If they go in expecting to have Disney Magic and have a great server, it makes it a five star experience. The atmosphere is beyond belief, the desserts are outstanding, and I can't do without my Blue-glowtini while I'm there! The steak is delicious and we all fully enjoy going there every year. Good luck and enjoy if you go! :)

07-12-2009, 10:57 AM
I haven't read any of the responses, so I suspect I'll repeat.

I follow the "Any given Sunday" philosophy.

On any given visit to ANY establishment-- resort, restaurant, theme park, store or wahtever--someone is bound to experience the best or worst that that establishment has to offer. Someone will get the chef at his best, while someone, maybe someone at the next table, will experience his worst. Someone will get the waiter who just got dumped by his girlfriend, while someone will get the one who just got engaged. Someone will get the room overlooking the Castle, and someone will get the one overlooking the dumpster.

No one else's review is any indication of what your experience will be. While the review you read was valid, it was someone else's experience, not yours.

We love the Coral Reef and plan to return next month. We hope you'll enjoy it as much as we have.

07-12-2009, 12:00 PM
We go every time we are in Disney. I absolutely love the catfish. It is still the best I have ever tried. The soups are also very good. My wife had a cold meal once, but that was the exception.

07-12-2009, 12:23 PM
I used to dislike CR due to 2 very bad experiences we had there, regarding both the food and service. However, after a few years of not going there, we decided to give it another try. We were glad we did! Since then we have dined there two times, and each time was fantastic! The food was very good, and we had great service! I still think it is not worth it if you are not on the DDP though. Even though the food is good, I think it is way overpriced for what you get. However, if you are on the DDP, it is worth the value.

07-12-2009, 08:04 PM
I have eaten there twice- once was during free dining, the other time was not. The quality was drastically different during free dining. What was a fine dining experience during a regular night became "crowded night at Chuck E Cheese's" during free dining- the place was SO loud, ADR wait time was long, the service was so slow, the table next to us didn't get their food because it was given to the wrong table who ATE IT (it wasn't the right meals!) and there was a line at the bathroom. So I think when you go could affect your enjoyment of Coral Reef.