View Full Version : Garden Grill vs. Chef Mickey's
04-10-2012, 10:58 AM
DH, DS4 and I will be going to the World in mid October. This is DS's first trip! :goodvibes My original plan for our arrival day was NO park tickets, take it easy that afternoon, ride the monorail (DS is going to LOVE that!) and have dinner at Chef Mickey's. But nearly ALL the reviews for CM's are just terrible! It would only cost us $25 total to add another day of tickets...then we could go to Epcot and do Garden Grill, which looks fun! What would you recommend? Is the food better at Garden Grill? Would it be worth it to add the extra day of tickets to go to GG?
I'd definitely like to do a Mickey meal that first night. It just seems like the perfect way to start DS's very first trip. :)
What do you think?
04-10-2012, 12:09 PM
My family loves garden grill. I would personally skip Chef Mickey's our last 3 visits food, service, and character interaction were horrible.
04-10-2012, 12:26 PM
We are going to give Garden Grill a try for the first time in June. We have a picky eater and have heard good things about the food.
04-10-2012, 12:44 PM
I love GG... we are going there in a couple weeks and it's a must for every visit as we love the character interaction, food, and rotating over The Land. We also made reservations for Chef Mickey's, because I've never been there and want to try it, but I'm nervous, too, hearing all the bad reviews!
04-10-2012, 12:49 PM
For a first timer kiddo, CM's is almost one of those "must do" experiences. Yes, the food is less than spectacular (really horrible IMO for veggies/vegans). However, it had been a favorite for both my boys - they love the character interaction, the monorails overhead, etc.
As a vegan, I would choose Garden Grill anyday! GG awards me with one of my top three meals at WDW. I do not have to request anything in advance, the servers are always stellar - and my meal rocks. The rest of the family enjoys their adult/child meal option, the characters are incredible (I like the farmer outfits), and everyone seems to get a trip out of the rotating restaurant.
If it were me, I'd skip CM's and do GG. However, if you asked my kids - CM's comes first :confused3
04-10-2012, 12:56 PM
We always do breakfast at Chef Mickey's - I really like the fact that all 5 main characters are there (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, & Pluto), & it's the only character meal where you can see both Mickey & Minnie. Plus, the Contemporary is a cool resort! It feels very Disney-ish w/ the monorail running through.
That said, again, we always do BREAKFAST. :thumbsup2 In my opinion, it's harder to mess up breakfast than it is dinner. The dinner buffet does not get very good reviews. And I think the breakfast is typically "calmer" than the dinner.
We really enjoy Garden Grill! The food always tastes fresh. The character interaction is great! (It's the only character meal w/ Chip & Dale.) Service can sometimes be slow though. Plus, the kids think it's cool that the restaurant rotates.
If I were only doing one Mickey character meal, however, I would do Chef Mickey's - especially for a 1st trip. But I would try breakfast instead of dinner.
04-10-2012, 01:03 PM
We have always done Chef Mickey's as our first night meal at the World, it's a tradition. We find the atmosphere there just gets us in the mood and makes us feel like we're at Disney finally. If it's a first trip, I think I'd do CMs instead of the Garden Grill. JMHO - YMMV
04-10-2012, 01:07 PM
We adore Chef Mickey's (but for breakfast only). It just feels like Disney and the characters are awesome. That said it is pricey and the dinner food isn't super great, IMO.
If you're looking for an experience, go for Chef Mickey's. If you're looking for a relaxing, delicious dinner then I'd do Garden Grill!
04-10-2012, 01:48 PM
CM has always been our traditional first meal in the World, and has now become our scheduled last meal as well. We don't have unreasonable expectations as far as food quality, but it's always been a pleasureable experience. We were disappointed in our last GG visit, though we have always enjoyed it in the past. Nothing I could put my finger on, but it did not make the cut this year for us.
04-10-2012, 03:29 PM
We won't be doing any breakfast buffets, for a couple of reasons, the primary one being there is very little on a breakfast buffet that I can eat. :) (Have to closely watch my carbs AND I don't eat eggs...that leaves...bacon, pretty much. No thanks!)
Soooo, that said, for those of you who feel like the CM's experience is sort of the epitome of Disney, why is that? It sounds like nearly everyone agrees that the food is, at the very least, not that good and that, for the most part, food at GG is better. So, for those of you who enjoy going to CM's anyway, what is it about the atmosphere that keeps you coming back? (Wendy 31 gave a great answer to this question...anyone else have opinions?)
I'm really leaning toward GG right now, but I just keep hearing what a tradition it is to do CM's. I'm torn! (I will admit, just looking at the menu, GG looks so much better...CM's doesn't seem to serve any actual vegetables!)
04-10-2012, 07:14 PM
We are a family that loves Garden Grill. It is good food, a great atmosphere, and wonderful character interactions. I know people think the fab five are great to see at CM, but honestly for us, the fact that Mickey and Pluto are there are enough for my kids to get the Disney experience and they love Chip and Dale. I love the desserts at Garden Grill, the salad is wonderful, and yes, you get real vegetables that they harvest from the Land ride below. How cool is that? My kids love that part. I would do Garden Grill over CM in a heartbeat.
04-10-2012, 07:29 PM
Chef Mickey's was our girls' first TS and first character meal on their first trip to WDW. We did dinner and while the character interaction was perfect- exactly how I wanted that first night and first Mickey meeting to go- the food was pretty foul. We had breakfast at Crystal Palace the next morning and I swear DH and I ate like we hadn't seen food in a week...just making up for the lack of food and low energy from the vile dinner the night before.
We have not tried Garden Grill, but we plan on it this next trip. If it were me and there were still adrs open, I'd drop Chef Mickey's for dinner and spend the extra to head over to Garden Grill.
On the flip side- we love CHef Mickey's for breakfast, but I see you won't be doing any of the breakfasts....soooooo I guess that's out. There are some other options on the various buffets that might work for you (not sure if smoked salmon at breakfast appeals to you), but you've got to do what works best for you. Oh well. I'd still go for Garden Grill in this situation. :goodvibes
04-10-2012, 07:41 PM
People say that CM is "the place" solely due to being able to knock out about 6 characters in one meal.
Personally - I will never eat at CM again after a HORRIBLE experience there both with the server and the food.
We always make ADRs at GG. My kids love it, and it's one (if not the only) place to see Chip and Dale. The food is good (and family style rather than a buffet) and the added bonus of the restaurant moving the whole time is like built in entertainment!! My boys are constantly talking about look what's there now...and now...and now...
04-10-2012, 07:56 PM
I completely understand how you feel. With that I will tell you we did CM for dinner we left thinking we were happy we didn't pay for the meal (Free dinning) because we would of been really upset the food just was not good at all and the characters were very rushed so the next trip we went to CM for breakfast and did a dinner at the Garden grill. Once again we were not impressed with our CM meal then later in the week we went to Garden Grill it was so nice it felt like the characters were hanging out with you and interacting more so than running by your table to snap a quick picture and run off. Our son doesn't even ask about CM when we go by on the monorail because I think he really didn't like it either and he loves Garden Grill and we really liked the food at Garden Grill where neither time at Chef Mickeys we haven't.
However if you don't want to go to a park and want to start off with CM I see your point and I am sure the kids will like it. I just think Garden Grill is better but you have to buy an extra day ticket. If you didn't want to do that maybe you could eat at T-Rex or RainForest the first night and not use a park ticket and eat at Garden Grill later in the week. I don't know your plans of course but just wanted to throw that out there. Just go with your gut feeling that is what I do and it usually works out for the best!:thumbsup2
04-10-2012, 08:09 PM
OP, if you're interested, here's a link to my review of our Garden Grill dinner from last September...
We had a less-than-wonderful experience at Garden Grill this last time - mainly because of the service. However, it wasn't bad enough to make us not go back. The food was still good, & the character interaction was great! In fact, I made another Garden Grill ADR for our trip this September. We chose it over Le Cellier. (DH & I like Le Cellier better, of course, but we chose Garden Grill for the kids.)
I don't have a Chef Mickey's review, because I haven't finished our dining reviews yet! LOL!
04-11-2012, 10:05 AM
CM was our first meal at WDW as a family, so it's special to me. The food was nothing special, just a normal buffet, IMO. I know they had green peas on the kid's bar, so there is at least one veggie there!;)
We loved the GG for the character interaction & watching the scenes of Living with the Land as we circled around the restaurant. I appreciated that it was served family style. We didn't really enjoy the food that much, but I think now that we aren't as picky with our food choices, we'd like it more. It has to be one of the healthier choices at WDW.
I'd do CM the first night & GG another night of the trip.
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