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View Full Version : Quick Dining Review 5/6/10 - 5/10/10


thebs19
05-11-2010, 10:49 AM
So we didn't do any pictures or anything, and I don't wanna take up TOO much space here, but this was a learning experience for us on our first trip (as a family...me and wife had been before as kids but obviously never had to do planning), so I wanted to share what we learned.

The Good:

Dinner at Coral Reef, 5/6, 4:15 PM: I know the time looks ridiculous, but we KNEW our son would love it, and since we only booked our trip about 90 days out, we had to take what we could get for reservations. This actually worked out WONDERFULLY. It was our day of arrival, and son (he's 3) was too excited to actually nap after we got in at 11am or so. We stayed at BC, so he played in Stormalong Bay all afternoon. We walked over to Coral Reef, and while he was looking tired, stayed awake just long enough to get in the doors and once he did he was wowed. We requested a first level table and it only took an extra 5 or 10 minutes to get seated. We have some of our best video of the trip of our son shrieking with delight everytime a shark passed by in the tank, and the food was AWESOME. I got the Rainbow Trout and wife had the NY Strip and for dessert she had the Chocolate Wave and I the Almond Gelato...everything was perfect. I know reviews are mixed here, but our experience was wonderful...not rushed, but not too long. And then we proceeded right to Nemo and Crush afterwards...great start to the trip.

Tusker House Breakfast, 5/8, 8:20 AM: Got us in Animal Kingdom early, which was good, because that day was SO HOT midday that we wouldn't have gotten to do everything we wanted to if we had a later start. Luckily we were able to get out by 1:30 and go swim because we were all dying. The food at the restaurant was great...huge variety beyond your typical breakfast buffet. A few recommendations are the banana bread pudding and spiced corn beef hash. And the juice of course is great. Character interaction was top notch, and I was able to run out at 8:59 or so to grab a Safari fast pass, which was for 9:20 which directly coincided with us leaving the restaurant. Another great experience.

TRex Cafe, 5/8, 6:45 PM: My son was in AWE the entire meal. The place is CRAZY busy, so definitely be sure to have a reservation (and call the restaurant directly...don't bother going thru Disney itself here). Allot time for little ones in the sandbox/fossil dig area. Also, be sure to reward well-behaved little ones with a Build-a-Dino (its a Build-a-Bear workshop, only with different dinosaurs). I would say the Meteor Shower is more visually stunning, and less likely to scare youngsters, than the Thunderstorm at Rainforest Cafe (although our son, for all his faults, loves both). I also didn't understand the reputation that the food isn't any good...I went a bit "crazy" and had blackened Mahi-Mahi tacos, and they were actually very good. Plus, for the beer drinkers in the house, their beers are served in frozen, giant chalises. I'd say its gotta be 24 ounces, but I'm not sure (and judging by other place's prices for beer in Disney, the 8 bucks or so they cost at TRex was pretty good!!). My one recommendation here is that if you go as late as we did, make a night of it in DTD. Its so crowded around there, but so much to do...leaving to try to get back and do something else was one of our biggest regrets. Our son was so happy there and then we spent the rest of the night traveling for really nothing.

The OK:

-Hurricane Hanna's/Beaches and Cream: We were at SAB just about every afternoon, so we used these 2 for all they were worth. Basic menus, but turkey sandwiches and burgers were very good quick lunch (or even dinner) choices. Good drink options, too, at Hanna's and the shakes at B&C were great. One note: where are chicken nuggets for the kids!? Why are they so hard to find at Disney!?

-Beach Club Marketplace: we did two mornings' breakfast here, and the quick options were very solid. Yogurt Parfaits made-to-order, croissants, muffins...the standard. Had everything you wanted in a quick breakfast. No complaints here...except for the fact that they only sell individual bottles of beer, which contradicted what I had heard. And they were 5 or 6 bucks each (aka, a 25-30 dollar sick pack on Bud Light or Mich Ultra!!). I must've missed something here because I for sure thought I had heard resorts had overpriced 6 packs, but in the 10-12 dollar range.

-Epcot Countries stand: after Coral Reef on our first night, we did a bunch of attractions and the little guy was OUT by 7:15 (very long first day for him with a 7am flight down)...so we headed over to try to some drinks in the countries before sneaking out before the fireworks so we wouldn't wake him up. We did the Fiesta Margarita first...I thought it was tasty, but my wife complained hers was incredibly salty...and that was without salt on the rim. I had a Spaten in Germany after and my wife one of the Grand Marnier slushes in France...both were very good. My complaint here is that we came back later in the week when Epcot had EMH after our little guy passed out on the monorail ride over (we were coming from MK), and everything was closed down in the countries!! The only thing I saw open was the inside of Rose and Crown, and obviously that wasn't an option for us with the little guy in the stroller. I believe this was Friday...I would think EMH at Epcot would equal a lot of parents pushing around sleeping kids in strollers and getting to enjoy the adult side of Disney. Apparently not.

-Pizza Planet, lunch, 5/10/10: not much to say here. Pizza was better than I had read, little guy loved the place. Nothing spectacular, but very solid lunch option.

The Bad:

-Ohana, 5/7/10, 10:50 am: This was completely our fault in poor planning. We did the rope drop at MK (this was our first full day) and our son was LOVING it...we got to do Buzz Lightyear 3 times to start the day with no line, Its a Small World and ride the railroad around the park (his choices...obviously would make a trip planner scream with how all over the place it was!!). Then...we had to leave. "Why?" he asked. "Cuz Daddy's stupid and thought the lure of a 15 minute each way trip to eat a breakfast you probably don't want with characters you could just see at the park later was a good idea". So after a battle, we got over to Ohana at more like 10:57. I ran from the monorail to check in...met a LOT of attitude at the front desk. We were seated pretty quickly, but you could tell they were peaved we were late. We understood this was the end of the breakfast seatings, but they were literally sweeping the floor around us, the cooks were cleaning up the kitchen area (not cooking, so you know our food wasn't fresh), and the waitress, while friendly, was clearly looking to have us out of there in 20 minutes. The skillet was OK...nothing spectacular. The characters honestly seemed tired of the whole meet-n-greet act, and I don't blame them. Our little guy had fun at the parade, but was a bit skittish over the one on one action (first real experience with characters). He warmed up later though, and Lilo was nice enough to come back for a second "Hello" and he gave her a hug (and we got a good picture). However, the whole experience felt like a waste of time and it is one of our bigger regrets. Advice: either do breakfast before park openings or do it in the park. Don't get up and leave after an hour with little ones...its very silly and made me feel awful for planning it.

-Tutto Italiano, 6:40 pm, 5/9/10: This was on Mother's Day, so I booked this knowing my wife loves Italian food. However, we had no other reason to be in Epcot (son had already done everything he wanted), especially not the countries, and after a week of themed/character meals, he couldn't have been less excited to go here. The food was OK...I had the Veal Ravioli and the wife had the Farfale...but nothing better than Olive Garden, I'd say. The host was a beast, claimed he didn't have our reservation, then sat us anyway 5 minutes later (I assume he found our reservation but wouldn't admit to such...there was a long wait outside and doubt we would've suddenly been pushed to the top). Our little one, however, was MISERABLE the entire meal. We kept having to take turns taking him outside to walk around and calm himself, so our romantic "last dinner" turned into a solo meal for each of us.


Our advice:

My advice to those with little ones who aren't the best "sitters" at restaurants (like ours): plan your days, and then work your meals around your days, not vice versa. We thought it was so important to get good reservations that we would just take whatever we could get and then bend around those times. Not a good idea. Too much trips to places that made no sense for what we wanted to do, too much making our son go places he didn't (and we didn't) want to go to. We also learned that the difference in quality of meal from a quick service to a table is not worth having your little guy be miserable...we had a ton of fun on our trip, but it was really about him. If we wanted to do a meal, we should have either made really late reservations (and have him sleep) or early (and have him sleep). Not worth doing something he doesn't want to at all on a Disney vacation.

I would also suggest looking into what the dinner has in it as far as "shtick", characters, gimmicks, whatever, and weighing that as much as the quality of the food. I find that very rarely do places stick around if the food is atrocious, so its not like your gonna be eating muck. If we could do it again, we would definitely do more TRex/Coral Reef type meals and junk the ideas we had (almost booked The Wave, did Tutto, were looking to do Le Cellier, etc). We learned that although we don't think he even knew them before the trip, our son LOVES Chip and Dale (weird, I think)- so Garden Grille would've been a much better choice for us. Also, timing...4:15 sounded ridiculous at the time, but we would've done all our meals then if given the chance. We barely ate lunches and it opens up your entire night, rather than having dinner become your entire night. Or even doing the Clam Bake at Cape May, just because its loud, it was IN OUR HOTEL, right next to SAB...its just easier. Don't put undue pressure on yourself in your vacation by making your dinners tough to get to and a hassle on top of everything else. Our meal planning was our biggest mistake.

Hope this can help another 1st timer out there. Thanks everyone!!

Dawner
05-11-2010, 03:01 PM
I have to agree with you !!!! I have spent hours, upon hours, upon hours (did I mention a lot of time) working TS ressies during my upcoming trip - and countless cancellations, etc... What I have found that works the best ... (like you mentioned) do an early breakfast and a late dinner!
This trip coming up I did the DxDP (they'll have to roll me out of the parks) and I made my bfast adr's between 8-10:00 am and dinners between 7-9:30 pm ... This way I have the option of park hopping (AM at Animal Kingdom, afternoon at EPCOT, and late night at MK) - my only 'problem' is that since I have the DxDP, it's so HARD for me substitute a table service restaurant with a QuickServe meal ... I know, I know ... this will give me so much more time in the parks, etc ... But, I just HATE knowing that I could have a $30 steak and not a $5 cheeseburger combo meal ! LOL!!! :rotfl::rotfl:

This next trip I'm only going for 3 very full days... and, I tried to pack some of the restaurants in that my dear boyfriend hasn't been to...
***Day we get there***
Sci-Fi (noon the day we get in)
Hoop de doo Review
**Next Day***
Tusker house bfast
Cinderella's Royal Table 9:45 pm ... it's late, but looking forward to it!!
***Last Day***
Coral Reef
Liberty Tree Tavern

7:00 have to say goodbye ... :sad1::sad1::sad1: