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View Full Version : WDW restaurant X is equivalent to Chain Y...


KashaKasha
08-27-2012, 11:21 AM
Is there a thread like this already? My search-fu is failing if there is.

Iím going to be planning the ADRs for our family trip next year. This is for four adults Ė me, my parents (60s) and my grandmother (80s). We will most likely be doing 3 table service meals a day. My grandmother is in a wheelchair and will need the breaks. Iíve looked over the menus for the different restaurants but I really want a sense of what quality food they have. Iíve read a bunch of reviews but those tend to focus on specific dishes.

Iím looking for more generalizations I guess. Like WDW restaurant X is like Cheesecake Factory or like Ruthís Chris or Applebees or some other popular chain. Is Teppan Edo similar to a Benihana in food quality?
Does that make sense? Iím not sure how else to ask. :confused3

Iím more focused on TS, signature and character meals but would also be interested in QS meals. Are those like Fast Food quality like McDonals? Or better? Or worse?

I havenít been to WDW in almost 20 years and canít even remember eating there.
Thanks in advance all!

TDC Nala
08-27-2012, 11:26 AM
You can compare Teppan Edo to a Benihana only concerning the style of cooking.

American Japanese steakhouse chains in general have much more extensive menus and serve items that are not traditionally Japanese, like fried rice. There has been some consternation on the boards about being unable to get fried rice at Teppan Edo.

As for the other WDW restaurants, you will find that most of the restaurants have far more limited menus with fewer choices than a typical chain restaurant. Most of the time Disney restaurants can be compared to chains only vaguely. The exceptions can usually be found at Downtown Disney - most of those restaurants either actually are chains or are operated by third parties (not Disney).

KashaKasha
08-27-2012, 12:34 PM
You can compare Teppan Edo to a Benihana only concerning the style of cooking.

American Japanese steakhouse chains in general have much more extensive menus and serve items that are not traditionally Japanese, like fried rice. There has been some consternation on the boards about being unable to get fried rice at Teppan Edo.

As for the other WDW restaurants, you will find that most of the restaurants have far more limited menus with fewer choices than a typical chain restaurant. Most of the time Disney restaurants can be compared to chains only vaguely. The exceptions can usually be found at Downtown Disney - most of those restaurants either actually are chains or are operated by third parties (not Disney).

I'm just trying to get a better idea of the quality of food and service at the restaurants. Not so much selection. I noticed when I looked over the menus that the WDW menus are very lean compared to someplace like Cheesecake Factory.

Maybe there is a better question to ask that I just can't think of this Monday morning. LOL

TDC Nala
08-27-2012, 12:36 PM
Food quality is generally good. I don't care for the buffets anymore due to what I see as a precipitous drop in food quality at Disney buffets, but I'd guess they're still considered better than Golden Corral.

JimmyV
08-27-2012, 01:18 PM
Like WDW restaurant X is like Cheesecake Factory or like Ruth’s Chris or Applebees or some other popular chain. Is Teppan Edo similar to a Benihana in food quality?
Does that make sense? I’m not sure how else to ask. :confused3

I’m more focused on TS, signature and character meals...


There really aren't good answers to this at the Signature level (or even most TS levels) as the Disney quality is often a half step to full step above any chain that could be used as a comparison, while still falling below stand-alone restaurants that are comparably priced. For example. Le Cellier is better than Bugaboo or Outback, but it isn't at the level of Shula's, Ruths Chris or Morton's. And price-wise, it is more like those latter restaurants.

Via Napoli is better than California Pizza Kitchen, but it isn't Pepe's, Sally's or Grimaldi's.

Tutto Italia is better than Olive Garden but it isn't Babbo, Valentino's or Vetri.

California Grill isn't comparable to any chain that I can think of. But it isn't as good as Spago, the restaurant that it most closely emulates.

Bistro de Paris has no fair chain comparison. But it isn't as good as Daniel or Le Bec Fin.

Flying Fish is better than Bonefish, but it isn't Le Bernadin.

All in all, the Signature restaurants don't have fair chain comparisons. They present (and charge) like high-end, stand alone restaurants, but they fall below that level in quality and service. Some fall a little below that level and some fall way below that level. But they don't fall all the way down to Applebee's or Golden Corral. Think of them as falling in the mid-range between "chain" and really good "big city restaurant". But you will pay the big city price and not the chain price because you are at WDW.

smiths02
08-27-2012, 01:29 PM
Food quality is generally good. I don't care for the buffets anymore due to what I see as a precipitous drop in food quality at Disney buffets, but I'd guess they're still considered better than Golden Corral.
I found Chef Mickey's dinner to be pretty much Golden Corral/Sizzler/Ryan's with better ambiance. (That was 2009) I don't have a problem with those places.

I found Sci Fi to be about like Johnny Rockets (cute ambiance, decent burgers/fries, but not the best I've ever had)

But, overall, I agree it is hard to compare restaurants to chains...it is also hard b/c some chains evoke such hatred

I am not upset if food tastes like Olive Garden or Cheesecake Factory or even Golden Corral...but many people here turn their noses up and tell you that, for example, Tony's Town Square was awful b/c it was like Olive Garden whereas others would describe it as Chef Boyardee or Ragu jarred sauce. To me, there is a BIG difference between Olive Garden (pretty good), Ragu jarred sauce at home (edible) and Chef Boyardee (I hate that stuff) whereas these people maybe are Italian so they see no difference between Chef Boyardee and Olive Garden.

KashaKasha
08-27-2012, 01:33 PM
There really aren't good answers to this at the Signature level (or even most TS levels) as the Disney quality is often a half step to full step above any chain that could be used as a comparison, while still falling below stand-alone restaurants that are comparably priced. For example. Le Cellier is better than Bugaboo or Outback, but it isn't at the level of Shula's, Ruths Chris or Morton's. And price-wise, it is more like those latter restaurants.

Via Napoli is better than California Pizza Kitchen, but it isn't Pepe's, Sally's or Grimaldi's.

Tutto Italia is better than Olive Garden but it isn't Babbo, Valentino's or Vetri.

California Grill isn't comparable to any chain that I can think of. But it isn't as good as Spago, the restaurant that it most closely emulates.

Bistro de Paris has no fair chain comparison. But it isn't as good as Daniel or Le Bec Fin.

Flying Fish is better than Bonefish, but it isn't Le Bernadin.

All in all, the Signature restaurants don't have fair chain comparisons. They present (and charge) like high-end, stand alone restaurants, but they fall below that level in quality and service. Some fall a little below that level and some fall way below that level. But they don't fall all the way down to Applebee's or Golden Corral. Think of them as falling in the mid-range between "chain" and really good "big city restaurant". But you will pay the big city price and not the chain price because you are at WDW.

This is helpful! Thanks! :thumbsup2

We're not a family that likes to dine out a lot but I know my parents like to splurge a bit when they go out on vacation. Gram will eat anything as long as it isn't calamari. I'm probably the pickiest out of all of us.

I've already got a list a mile long of places to try. Now I'm trying to work on making that list into a reasonable meal schedule. My spreadsheet is getting a work out. LOL
*cut, paste* repeat No, lets move that to a MK day, and that to an Epcot day. *cut, paste*

KashaKasha
08-27-2012, 01:37 PM
I found Chef Mickey's dinner to be pretty much Golden Corral/Sizzler/Ryan's with better ambiance. (That was 2009) I don't have a problem with those places.

I found Sci Fi to be about like Johnny Rockets (cute ambiance, decent burgers/fries, but not the best I've ever had)

But, overall, I agree it is hard to compare restaurants to chains...it is also hard b/c some chains evoke such hatred

I am not upset if food tastes like Olive Garden or Cheesecake Factory or even Golden Corral...but many people here turn their noses up and tell you that, for example, Tony's Town Square was awful b/c it was like Olive Garden whereas others would describe it as Chef Boyardee or Ragu jarred sauce. To me, there is a BIG difference between Olive Garden (pretty good), Ragu jarred sauce at home (edible) and Chef Boyardee (I hate that stuff) whereas these people maybe are Italian so they see no difference between Chef Boyardee and Olive Garden.

Ha! I understand. :)
I'm staying away from all the Italian places because I'm such a sauce snob! I don't want to be disappointed if it doesn't taste as good as what I make at home. I'll be sticking to things that aren't my specialties!

I'm staying far away from Chef Mickey's. I have yet to hear anything good about it.

hgeisler
08-27-2012, 01:42 PM
I found Chef Mickey's dinner to be pretty much Golden Corral/Sizzler/Ryan's with better ambiance. (That was 2009) I don't have a problem with those places.

I found Sci Fi to be about like Johnny Rockets (cute ambiance, decent burgers/fries, but not the best I've ever had)

But, overall, I agree it is hard to compare restaurants to chains...it is also hard b/c some chains evoke such hatred

I am not upset if food tastes like Olive Garden or Cheesecake Factory or even Golden Corral...but many people here turn their noses up and tell you that, for example, Tony's Town Square was awful b/c it was like Olive Garden whereas others would describe it as Chef Boyardee or Ragu jarred sauce. To me, there is a BIG difference between Olive Garden (pretty good), Ragu jarred sauce at home (edible) and Chef Boyardee (I hate that stuff) whereas these people maybe are Italian so they see no difference between Chef Boyardee and Olive Garden.

Agree with this:) I think Mama Melrose is on par with Olive Garden,and Coral Reef is only slightly better than Red Lobster. IMO if you have been to any Japanese steakhouse,you don't need to go to Teppan Edo.

hgeisler
08-27-2012, 01:44 PM
There really aren't good answers to this at the Signature level (or even most TS levels) as the Disney quality is often a half step to full step above any chain that could be used as a comparison, while still falling below stand-alone restaurants that are comparably priced. For example. Le Cellier is better than Bugaboo or Outback, but it isn't at the level of Shula's, Ruths Chris or Morton's. And price-wise, it is more like those latter restaurants.

Via Napoli is better than California Pizza Kitchen, but it isn't Pepe's, Sally's or Grimaldi's.

Tutto Italia is better than Olive Garden but it isn't Babbo, Valentino's or Vetri.

California Grill isn't comparable to any chain that I can think of. But it isn't as good as Spago, the restaurant that it most closely emulates.

Bistro de Paris has no fair chain comparison. But it isn't as good as Daniel or Le Bec Fin.

Flying Fish is better than Bonefish, but it isn't Le Bernadin.

All in all, the Signature restaurants don't have fair chain comparisons. They present (and charge) like high-end, stand alone restaurants, but they fall below that level in quality and service. Some fall a little below that level and some fall way below that level. But they don't fall all the way down to Applebee's or Golden Corral. Think of them as falling in the mid-range between "chain" and really good "big city restaurant". But you will pay the big city price and not the chain price because you are at WDW.

Agree with this too!

smiths02
08-27-2012, 01:53 PM
Oh, I would add that I didn't find Cape May to be any better than Red Lobster (except the all you can eat aspect)...but I am not a huge crab legs fan. I would have been happier having a meal at Red Lobster. Then again, I've never had a bad meal at Red Lobster.

KashaKasha
08-27-2012, 02:54 PM
Oh, I would add that I didn't find Cape May to be any better than Red Lobster (except the all you can eat aspect)...but I am not a huge crab legs fan. I would have been happier having a meal at Red Lobster. Then again, I've never had a bad meal at Red Lobster.

I'm tempted by the crab legs! And I've never had a bad meal at Red Lobster either. I know what I'm going for when I go there (cheddar bay biscuits!) and plan my expectations around it.

Maybe that is what my whole point was. I don't want to be disappointed if I book a signature ADR expecting an amazing meal and then end up with food that I could get at the local mall. LOL

Masonmj84
08-27-2012, 03:18 PM
Here's how I'd compare a few categories of Disney table service restaurants to chains.

In-park 1 TS, from a quality and service standpoint, are generally in the ballpark of very pedestrian, mid-range chains, such as Applebees, TGIF, Chili's, Cracker Barrel, Red Lobster, Outback, Olive Garden, etc., with prices roughly 2X what you'd expect to pay in those establishments for comparable food (basically, you're paying a huge premium for the experience and convenience of eating in a Disney park).

Resort signatures, from a quality and service standpoint, are, on average, not quite to the level of a Palm, Morton's, or Ruth's Chris (unless we're talking non-DDPs, such as Shula's, which measure up very well) but are pretty close, with relatively comparable prices. Even though they're substantially more expensive than park 1 TS, they're also dramatically superior and, from a quality (not quantity) perspective, relatively better bang for your buck.

Character breakfast buffets, I think, from a food quality standpoint, compare favorabily to $17-$20 Vegas breakfast buffets with, perhaps, somewhat less selection (IMO, they're considerably better quality than places like Golden Corral or Shoney's). Given you're in WDW, get to meet characters, can have all you can eat, and can be allowed to enter a park before it opens (particularly cool at MK), I honestly don't think they're that terrible of a deal.

Given all of this, I have noticed that there is somewhat of an inverse correlation between how popular a Disney restaurant is and how hard it tries (part of the reason I've been reluctant to try Le Cellier). This is even true with the signatures.

For example, Artist Point and Jiko are two rather off-the-beaten-path signatures where you can often get seated without an ADR. Yet, IMO, these are among the very best on the DDP. In contrast, Cali Grill, perhaps the most popular resort signature, while substantially better than any park 1 TS, is not, IMO, as good from a food stand point as either Artist Point or Jiko (or, for that matter, Flying Fish and perhaps a few others).

mrjef
08-27-2012, 03:40 PM
I'm staying far away from Chef Mickey's. I have yet to hear anything good about it.

Since you don't have any kids in your party, I would agree with this statement. However, when you have kids you can not beat the characters at Chef Micky's! ::MickeyMo::MinnieMo:donald::goofy: I view it as paying for the experience and getting some food that will keep me alive til the next meal. Plus, the deserts are pretty good.