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View Full Version : Horrible Experience at Coral Reef


angierae
05-10-2010, 08:27 AM
5/6/10 was my husband's birthday, and he really wanted to eat at Coral Reef. The only time we could get in for reservations was for 8:10. We showed up at 8, didn't get seated until 8:25. Okay, that seemed reasonable, they were pretty busy.

But our service was just awful - the waiter was very chatty, and then would disappear for long periods of time. We told them when we made the reservation that it was my husband's birthday. When the waiter sat us, he said to my daughter "So, it's your birthday?" We pointed out that no, it was my husband's birthday. And then it was never mention again, even though we saw another waitstaff bring a dessert and sing to someone else.

Every course came out exceedingly slow. Even when we ate at Narcoossee's later in the week, our food came at a better pace. Eventually, we were done with dessert and we didn't see our waiter at all for over 20 minutes. He came and dropped off the bill, and it was ANOTHER 15 minutes and he hadn't come back for our KTTW cards or anything. My husband actually got up and went up to the front desk to ask where our waiter was. He came back while my husband was gone, and my MIL was getting upset at this point. Finally the manager came over and just kept saying "He's working on it, he's working on it" but it was still 10-15 minutes MORE and he still hadn't returned with our paperwork to sign. He finally came back with one of our three cards (six people, three rooms) and the said he had to do the other two.

At this point my usually incredibly laid back MIL was fit to be tied. We had been done eating for nearly an hour, and still hadn't been able to pay and leave. It was going on 11 and we'd had 8:10 reservations! No other meal all week took this long, including three signature restaurants. Eventually they waived the required 18% gratuity (since we were a party of six) and we got out of there, but it was just AWFUL. Waiting and waiting and waiting and absolutely no acknowledgment of my husband's birthday - the waiter never even said happy birthday to him once he realized it was an adult's birthday and not a child's.

Every other meal we had last week was fabulous, but dinner at Coral Reef? Absolutely horrible. And everyone I've talked to since then says they had great service there.

(The food, on the other hand, was wonderful. No complaints there.)

(Apparently after like 9pm they only had two servers. Granted, the restaurant wasn't super-full, but two servers? Really?)

68wdwmom
05-10-2010, 09:21 AM
We have had similar bad service at coral reef We have tried it four times and only had good service once .We will not be back Love the food the service is horrid

toddd
05-10-2010, 09:41 AM
We ate at the Coral Reef on May 1, 2010. Did not have any of the problems that you describe but I would rate the service at mediocre (not very personable, somewhat slow). We did really enjoy our food although I would say the Chocolate Wave was just okay. This may be a case of too high expectations as we had heard great things about it ahead of time. All in all, we would try it again.

jackskellingtonsgirl
05-10-2010, 10:09 AM
Argh! I am already hemming and hawing about keeping or changing our ADR at Coral Reef. I know the last time we ate there it took a solid 2 hours. They never seem to seat on time, and once you are seated it takes a LONG time to finish up and get out.

I am sorry you had a bad experience. :guilty:

disneydreamer98
05-10-2010, 10:12 AM
Hmmmm...we haven't eaten there in about 5 years and I have it booked for our August trip. Maybe I should rethink this....

KELLY
05-10-2010, 10:14 AM
We ate a coral reef 2 years ago and that was our experience also. Same wait time around 25 minutes than the service was so slow. We much perfer the garden grill we had a awesome time there last year. Loved the food and the bouns was there were characters. Not so great for a adult birthday but we are returing there again this year.

MariDisney
05-10-2010, 10:15 AM
OP, your post basically describes every experience we've had at Coral Reef. After several tries, we have vowed not to go back. Sorry you had a bad experience.

princessallegra
05-10-2010, 10:31 AM
Argh! I am already hemming and hawing about keeping or changing our ADR at Coral Reef. I know the last time we ate there it took a solid 2 hours. They never seem to seat on time, and once you are seated it takes a LONG time to finish up and get out.

I am sorry you had a bad experience. :guilty:

This was our same experience :sad2:

keishashadow
05-10-2010, 10:39 AM
I've never had any service issue @ coral reef, including last Dec.:confused3 although we never dine so late either, experience probably due to just 2 waiters expected to handle the entire restaurant.

over last few years, most places in WDW seem to be rushing the meal service:headache:to turn the seats over quicker

melissa5583
05-10-2010, 10:47 AM
Hmmmm...we haven't eaten there in about 5 years and I have it booked for our August trip. Maybe I should rethink this....

I'm the exact same way! We have it booked for our Aug trip too, and I'm rethinking. It was good the last time I was there 5 yrs ago, but I haven't heard anything good about it lately!

ROEDISNEY
05-10-2010, 10:53 AM
That's a shame we had good food & great service every time we ate here.
Happy B-day to your DH.

sydneysmom
05-10-2010, 11:15 AM
I'm so sorry you had such a lousy experience ! I truly hope this was a fluke thing .....we've got ressies for Sept at lunch. Since you mentioned the wait to get in, I think we'll plan to be there at least 30 min earlier and see if that helps. :confused3

I sure wish (hope) that Disney reads these reviews sometimes and thinks about how they can make their service better. I realize the restaurants and parks are busy, but it's your business... it's what you do. And people save their very hard earned money to take these trips. I know we've been saving and planning for 2 years to take our trip in Sept. It's alot of money and I don't think that the restaurants should just assume it's okay if their wait staff give crappy service just because you're in the park so you HAVE to eat there. It's not like you're eating at Denny's or someplace where the prices aren't steep. The prices at Coral Reef are somewhat steep. You're eating there because you CHOOSE to have the experience. Good service should be a part of any good restaurant that takes pride in itself.

BEASLYBOO
05-10-2010, 01:42 PM
We had been done eating for nearly an hour, and still hadn't been able to pay and leave. It was going on 11 and we'd had 8:10 reservations! No other meal all week took this long, including three signature restaurants. I give you all credit for being that patient! That's absolutely ridiculous!In teh 90's Coral Reef was outstanding both in food and service but service can certainly spoil the whole experience.

mama2cli
05-10-2010, 01:47 PM
Our experience the first week of April this year was much the same. Out of curiousity, was Bung your waiter? Yes, our service was so bad that we recorded our server's name so that when we return this summer we will request to NOT have him as our server.

MsStinkerBelle
05-10-2010, 02:09 PM
So sorry to hear about your experience.

Unfortunately 4 out of the 5 times we've dined there within the past two years I've noticed the waiters at the Coral Reef have two speeds: slow and slower. DD10 and I dine there usually for lunch to have a nice TS without having to go over to the World Showcase. Sometimes there will be a good CM server who unfortunately has to pick up the slack for ones who aren't so good.

ccgirl
05-10-2010, 02:13 PM
We ate there that same week; May 3rd to be specific. First we got there and they said they did not have my dinner reservation. Of course, I left my confirmation #'s in the room. I called my friend who was dining with us and she gave me the confirmation #. When I gave it to the desk they said I was already auto checked in (he also stated they were having issues with their computers that night). They asked another CM what that meant and they looked and very rudely said that I messed up and the ressie was for the night before. When my friend showed up; I showed them the itinerary that the BC CL put together for her showing them the ressie was for the 3rd like I said. They finally sat us in the back row. We had a female waitress, I forget her name and don't remember what she looked like as we only saw her once. Service was AWFUL and incredibly slow. No refills on drinks etc. By far the worst meal of the week. WE will not be eating there again!

Tink2312
05-10-2010, 02:25 PM
Worst service we have ever had at WDW was at Coral Reef last trip. The server was downright rude - should have complained to manager but was that bad that we just wanted to get out really.
Such a shame because great atmosphere other than that. :confused:

maxiesmom
05-10-2010, 02:41 PM
Sorry you had such slow service. I ate there last July, and we had no problems whatsoever. Other than some strange lady that wanted to join our table.:confused:

I do feel like I need to mention a couple of things. First off, a Disney ADR is not a reservation for a certain time slot. It gets you the next table available for your party size at that time. So 15 minutes past your ADR time is not a big deal at all.

Second, I know it is disappointing to not have your husbands b-day celebrated by the restaurant, especially when you see that someone else is being made a big deal of, but it is not something they guarantee doing. It is supposed to be an extra bit of magic, and if they did it for eveyone it would not be as magical or special.

Sorry for your less than stellar experience at the Coral Reef.

n2mm
05-10-2010, 03:05 PM
We ate at CR 2 weeks ago and had a great meal and great service. However, we generally only do lunch here as it's nice and quiet. We eat here during every trip (6 times a year) and always have great service. We just returned from a 2 week trip and overall we had good service at most of our locations. However, we went to check into LeCellier on our first night and our reservation had been cancelled, not by us. They refused to seat us and could not explain what happened. I was humiliated and very upset. It was not how I had hoped my trip would begin. I had checked all of my ADRs prior to arriving and all was in order. The front desk looked up my reservation and said that it had been cancelled a week earlier. Another great mystery!

cmpdw4me
05-10-2010, 03:13 PM
Argh! I am already hemming and hawing about keeping or changing our ADR at Coral Reef. I know the last time we ate there it took a solid 2 hours. They never seem to seat on time, and once you are seated it takes a LONG time to finish up and get out.

I am sorry you had a bad experience. :guilty:

No hemming and hawing here girl, I'm in! I've always wanted to try and this trip we will. ;)

mommykds
05-10-2010, 04:16 PM
We had lunch at CR last October. The food was very good & our server was friendly however very s-l-o-w. I took 1.5-2 hours from start to finish. We were in no rush so we did not mind but if it had been late at night it would have been a different story.

Sorry about your experience there. Glad they waived the gratuity.

Pumpkingirl7
05-10-2010, 04:21 PM
We had a similar experience at the Coral Reef in Dec. 09. My little 2 yr old boy was hitting his fork on a plate and the waitor actually came and riped the silverware and the plate from him. Then mumbled under his breath. We will not be eating there again!

Chloesmom
05-10-2010, 04:29 PM
CR is the worst meal I have ever had... ANYWHERE... service was slow... and the food was barely edible. In fast we all got upset tummies from something we ate there.. it wsnt food poisoning but something didnt sit right with us. You could not pay me to eat there again.. ever... I can still remember the awful smell in the place.. like rotten old fish.... :worried:

Harlemgirl720
05-10-2010, 04:31 PM
I am sorry you had a bad experience. I had an early dinner there on May 2. It was an early dinner 4pm. No problems and they even put a banner of chocolate that said happy birthday with my dessert. I guess its the luck of the draw.

tammymacb
05-10-2010, 04:32 PM
Another one who won't go back.

Our last time there the service was the worst I've ever had in Disney and was near the end of what I can take for any other eating establishment.

We went with two teens ( Thank goodness! ) and waited and waited and waited some more. We had the dining plan and left without desert and I finally had to get up and walk around while my DH waited on the bill as my back was killing me from sitting so long. Then, when the waiter finally returned, he asked if I was out smoking...

It was just plain poor slow service with a big gratuity attached to boot. I live in coastal SC and can get seafood any time I want it. I can promise I won't be getting it at Coral Reef again.

jess20k
05-10-2010, 04:33 PM
Sorry about the experience you had. We have had spotty service at CR, not as bad as yours, but I think of all of the restaurants that we have been to on several occasions, CR is the one that overall has the worst service. At least that is what I have experienced.

summerlady
05-10-2010, 05:01 PM
So sorry about your bad experience at the Coral Reef. We had dinner there in 2008, our server was pleasant enough but very, very slow and we weren't seated until about 45 min. after our ADR. Even though we liked the restaurant itself and the food was good, we won't go back.

jackskellingtonsgirl
05-10-2010, 05:27 PM
No hemming and hawing here girl, I'm in! I've always wanted to try and this trip we will. ;)

I wish you the best dinner ever! :wizard:
I was looking for a reason to book a second night at Flying Fish. This thread gave me just the reason I needed! :rotfl:
The Coral Reef menu wasn't thrilling me, but I need AT LEAST 2 nights at Flying Fish to order all of the amazing food I see on their menu. ;)

princessallegra
05-10-2010, 05:29 PM
I wish you the best dinner ever! :wizard:
I was looking for a reason to book a second night at Flying Fish. This thread gave me just the reason I needed! :rotfl:
The Coral Reef menu wasn't thrilling me, but I need AT LEAST 2 nights at Flying Fish to order all of the amazing food I see on their menu. ;)

:rotfl: :thumbsup2

Tiger926
05-10-2010, 06:12 PM
So sorry you had this experience.

Birthdays - they are hit and miss. we've had lots of birthdays and other celebrations at WDW, and so at many restaurants, you have to remind them of the celebration.

Service/Food - after several trips, it's off our list too. it's also very noisy, horrendous wait times to check in and receive bills, subpar food and high prices.

Seems to be a common sentiment among many TS restaurants as of late, but especially Coral Reef.

Tiger

Micca
05-10-2010, 06:35 PM
I hate to wait around for the check, especially at WDW. Slow service to bring the food is one thing, but you'd think at the end of the meal they'd want to turn the table. I would think most people eating at WDW would be fine with that because they have better things to do than sit & wait for the check.

Coral Reef is such a cool place with the atmosphere, too bad they can't do better with service & food.:earsboy:

jdisnut
05-10-2010, 06:52 PM
Sorry to hear about your disappointing experience at Coral Reef. My family has been lucky. We've never had a bad meal there. Our server in January ranked among the best of our entire trip. She was attentive, kind and possessed a wealth of knowledge about the restaurant's menu and history.

I never stop visiting a restaurant based on service, unless it becomes a noticeable pattern. If I enjoy the food, I won't indict the whole establishment because of a uninterested waiter. I meet bad servers everywhere. Rarely is it an indication of poor training by the managerial staff.

I suppose my feelings would change if I ever had a truly horrendous experience. Though I think I have had service that people on this board would classify as "horrendous." I guess I have low standards.

3floridarays
05-10-2010, 07:48 PM
We had dinner there in February and our service and food were excellent. Our ADR's were for 6:30pm, we arrived at 6:10pm, mentioned to the hostess that we would like to be seated in the front for DS's B-Day, then were seated at a great table right next to the tank by 6:20pm, even though they had a lot of people waiting. Our server was wonderful - very informative regarding the menu and prompt throughout our meal. The chef came to our table to discuss DS's food allergies before we ordered and then came out again when our food arrived to give us details of how he cooked DS's food.

We were there for 2.5 hours, but not because our service was slow - we just didn't want to leave!

Madisonsmom45
05-10-2010, 08:02 PM
Hi
We've thought about trying the Coral Reef, but mostly all I've seen is negative comments. I think we will go somewhere else.
We'll be there in August. I don't think we have had any problems with any restaurants except the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney.
Also good food and good service.
Bonnie

di19
05-10-2010, 08:09 PM
So sorry you had such a negative experience. My husband and I were actually on the same day but for lunch and the service was very good. The food was excellent and we were celebrating our anniversary (which I noted when I made our reservations) and our waiter came out with a special Celebration chocolate accompanying our desert and he lit a special candle to top it off - just Disney going that little extra mile that we have all come to expect (and therefore, don't mind paying for) glad you enjoyed your other meals

baileysp
05-10-2010, 08:55 PM
i heard there were bad reviews

tkitna
05-11-2010, 12:15 AM
Reading these reviews has me concerned. I have Sept. reservations, but I just checked and their for lunch around 1:00. It'll probably be blazing hot so I think i'm going to gamble and keep the reservation. Hope for the best.

disEAR
05-11-2010, 12:56 AM
I'm sorry to hear about those that had a bad experience at Coral Reef. My DW and I have had two meals there and both have been exceptional. Our first time eating there was last summer and it was easily our best dining experience of our trip and one of the best over highlights of the trip. We went back there in January this year and again had great service and food. We plan on going back again our next trip.

I think every Restaurant can go either way, we had done our research on coral reef and were expecting a loud, dirty, unpersonal experience, and we achieved the complete opposite.

Dining experiences have to be decided by each party. If you find something intriguing, then do some research and give it a try. If you don't like it, you can always say you tried it.

Marine Mom
05-11-2010, 07:05 AM
But our service was just awful - the waiter was very chatty, and then would disappear for long periods of time.

We had the same experience. We were seated within 20 min of our reservation time and that was it we didn't see our server for over 20 min. We finally up and left because we felt enough time had been wasted. Never again! Ugggh!!!!

Brandis
05-11-2010, 07:17 AM
While we sometimes had not so good service at some restaurants at WDW, we never encountered slow service there. Rather the opposite, service was almost too fast. When we had finished one course, plates were cleaned away (which is fine) but then almost without a break the next course is served. Of course this is nice if you want to go back out into the theme park, but sometimes we felt rushed. So now we tell them that we are not in a hurry and wouldn't mind a few minutes wait between courses. Until now this always worked.

Kit'smommy
05-11-2010, 07:50 AM
This was similiar to our experience. It took us forever to get seated, get drinks, food, pay, etc. Our server was nice, but rarely around.

The food wasn't great, and the restrooms and lobby were filthy.

We won't be going back.

ColinCodyMom
05-11-2010, 08:03 AM
Just got back from nine days of the dining plan and I completely agree with the OP. Our server talked for such a long amount of time and the food was mediocre at best. I was disappointed they took the short rib off the menu and replaced it with pork. I had the chicken and it had way too much pepper. I was looking forward to it, but we won't be back. Our son couldn't stand the smell either. Most of our other meals were great though.

LisaInNc
05-11-2010, 08:24 AM
That was exactly our experience. The service was awful and our food was cold. I won't ever go back.

This used to be a favorite restaurant of ours and we would go every trip but over the last 10 years I have watched the menu change and the service decline. After 2 bad experiences I had to just move on there are so many restaurants in WDW.

Lisa

disneyloveNY
05-11-2010, 08:36 AM
Same thing with us. The food was so cold but we couldn't find anyone to let them know. The lobster bisque that I used to love was salty and close to inedible and the caesar salad was inedible. it used to be our favorite but no more...:confused3

TreslovesWDW
05-11-2010, 09:28 AM
We ate there in 2007. We waited about 40 min after our adr time. It was our Anniversay and my parents so we had the diver sign and the personal menus they did not do, it took till the day before we were leaving Disney to get them. Our waiter was very slow, he also keep messing up when he took our cards and keep coming back to ask questions about which cards were for who, we had 2 rooms. Not that hard but he really seemed to make it that way maybe he was new. The food was ok, I agree with the cake thought it was going to be great and it really was not and no ice cream with it. We went on the Dp and now with no app I just dont think there portions are that big to fill us. I asked everyone about going there this time and got a big no from all. I thought the place itself was nice though.

Celesdragon
05-11-2010, 09:35 AM
I was there about a week before OP, and didn't have the service issue. In fact, we had one of our best meals there, and a spectacular waitress. Of course, the one thing that we noticed was that the earlier we made our ressie in the day (Coral was for 4:30), the better the service was.

Sweet Melissa
05-11-2010, 10:14 AM
I've been to the World four times and eaten at Coral Reef on all four trips. My experiences couldn't be further from the OP's, but I think I look for different things in a restaurant. On our first visit to Coral Reef we did wait for what felt like ages to be seated, but the staff were very attentive once we got inside. On our last visit, we specifically told the staff that we'd like to take our time, which was a relief to them because there was a very disruptive and needy family of four at the table next to us (both kids were having huge meltdowns the son was screaming for the entire 90 minutes we were there and the daughter actually spat in her father's food at one point). Nevertheless, both our server and the one manning the adjacent section made sure that our drinks were filled and our needs otherwise met. When we finished dessert, we didn't have to wait long for the check or for our credit card to be returned to the table.

I don't like a hovering server and I hate feeling rushed. I have never had any complaints about the Coral Reef staff. They're friendly, knowledgeable, able to make great recommendations and inform guests about any menu questions they may have. That's all I really need from any wait staff. Combining that with the totally unique atmosphere and cuisine that has never disappointed, I'd say that the Coral Reef is one of my favorite restaurants in the World.

Magic Maker
05-11-2010, 10:18 AM
The food was mediocre, service was slowww, and it was LOUD. NOT a good dining experience...

happybratpack
05-11-2010, 11:13 AM
Another vote for poor service at CR. The food was really good, but the frustration over the service made it not worth it. If we do eat there again (because the kids like the atmosphere) it will just be for desserts.

buzyanne
05-11-2010, 11:40 AM
We went in Sept of last year and had a wait which is to be expected at any sitdown resturant at Disney as it is not as specified time as much as a next table for your size. We always try to arrive 15 min early like requested. Our waiter was fantastic and the food was great. I did not notice and exceptional long wait between courses. We did get refills on our drinks as needed. Now there is a delay checking out as I was watching and saw 3 tables trying to leave at the same time. So we knew not to get in to much of a hurry as he had to deal with 3 parties tabs at the same time. :goodvibes

angierae
05-11-2010, 12:08 PM
Second, I know it is disappointing to not have your husbands b-day celebrated by the restaurant, especially when you see that someone else is being made a big deal of, but it is not something they guarantee doing. It is supposed to be an extra bit of magic, and if they did it for eveyone it would not be as magical or special.

Sorry for your less than stellar experience at the Coral Reef.

I would have been happy if he'd said "Happy birthday" to my husband, rather than shrugging it off once he was corrected that it wasn't our DD15's birthday. He literally went "Is it your birthday?" and she said "No, it's his" and the waiter went back to handing out menus.

brunette8706
05-11-2010, 04:14 PM
I would have been happy if he'd said "Happy birthday" to my husband, rather than shrugging it off once he was corrected that it wasn't our DD15's birthday. He literally went "Is it your birthday?" and she said "No, it's his" and the waiter went back to handing out menus.

Hi! Personally, how you were treated by the wait staff and manager is unacceptable. I would have complained to guest services. May I suggest on your next visit Boma (the best buffet at WDW in my opinon). Always good food, and good services. Sorry about your experience what a downer.

Brunette

grace&philipsmom
05-11-2010, 05:58 PM
Your description of your Coral Reek experience could have been us at Sanaa last fall. The food was fine but 3 hours for dinner with 2 small kids was not good.

Dziactor
05-11-2010, 07:02 PM
I have ate there twice. The first time the service was very slow (not as bad as yours), but my December trip was much better. I'd eat there again, but with the reviews it would be a tough decision. Honestly, there are so many good Epcot restaurants you have a ton of choices.