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TyRy 10-22-2006 10:16 AM

Dining Extravaganza 9/23-10/3/06, Free & otherwise-Pics. Updated 10/16/07 Last Meal
In the coming days, I'll try and get the rest up - we ate everywhere from Pioneer Hall to Narcoosee's to the California Grill.

9/23 - Our first meal on the FREE dining plan. We had actually planned on paying for the DDP before it became free, so that was just a bonus. I had all the usual reservations about using the plan – would service be worse since they had a guaranteed tip? Would free dining bring the throngs of people and again, service would be bad? Would we have hour-long waits for our ADR’s? Thankfully, none of these came to fruition. I think the longest wait we had was about 20 minutes for Jiko, but I’ll get to that later.

The Contemporary Steakhouse was where we were going to have dinner that first night. Now I know some hate it, some love it, we fall somewhere in between. As DH says – we go for the atmosphere of the restaurant not the food. We love seeing the Monorail and that just adds to the experience.
*This is a pic from our 2004 visit – I just looked and all we took was video of the monorail this trip, but it looked the same ;)

Since it looks like the CS will be moving next year, we may visit one more time and see if the food can hold up without the “atmosphere.”

When we walked up for our 7:00 ADR there were a bunch of people sitting around waiting for tables, and I thought we might be for one of those long waits I’d heard about. NOPE – 5 minutes later we are sitting down and others are still waiting…I’m guessing bigger parties or walk-ups? Our server was Xia and she was pretty good. I knew how the DDP worked but DH did not so I let her explain it to us. She took our drink orders (alcoholic) and brought us warm dinner rolls. Ooops – this is not starting well with my promise to take picture – forgot to take a picture of the rolls.

OK – we move on to the appetizers. I must warn that I am a baked onion soup nut, so even though it was a 100 outside (ok – not quite that warm but it was hot!) I was going to try the onion soup whenever I had a chance. The soup was good, but not as good as I’ve had back home. DH had the lobster bisque, which he liked.

Entrees were brought out after we finished our soups. DH had the prime rib with mashed potatoes, which he said was ok –

and I had the NY strip with mashed potatoes, broccoli, red wine sauce & red wine butter which was pretty good.

Another tip I picked up from the disboards was if you like things medium-rare, make sure to ask for medium. We did that and throughout the trip some things were closer to rare than med-rare, so I’d hate to see what happens if someone asked for it rare!

We both had the vanilla bean crème brulee for dessert and that seemed pretty popular throughout the restaurant that night as we had a view of the pastry chef constantly using the torch on crème brulees.

Overall a good dinner and our first experience with the dining plan. Xia even threw in free glow cubes in our drinks for our anniversary. The food did come quickly, but we never felt rushed. The only bad thing I noticed was, our server asked if we wanted another drink (alcohol.) We might have and that would have upped her tip. The drink tap did have an 18% gratuity already added to it, so we added just a little more. DH is big on leaving at least 20% for good service, more if service is great so we still left extra.

Total Free DDP – 85.21

Next: Chefs de France and Roaring Fork

Minniespal 10-22-2006 10:22 AM

Enjoyed reading your review ~ Can't wait for more.

Schucraig 10-22-2006 03:19 PM

Great review and pictures! I can't wait for more! :banana:

TyRy 10-23-2006 01:16 PM

Thanks so much for the feedback -I'm glad you are enjoying the report!

9/24: Today we had ADR's at Chefs de France and Rose N Crown. Unfortunately due to time constraints we only made our lunch one at Chefs and no RNC this time.

Our ADR was for 12:15pm at CDF and we walked in just about on time. The restaurant was EMPTY - uh-oh is this a good or bad sign that during free dining it is soooooo empty. Doesn't matter I decide. I am in search of French Onion Soup. Yes I am drenches from the heat and humidity outside, but I need my soup. I’ll just drink a lot of pop and water with ice to combat being a crazy person eating soup on a hot day.

We were paying for this meal OOP. Our server was Elodie, and she was great. I had prompt refills on my Sprite without even asking. After ordering she brought out hot rolls.
MMMMM – they were yummy with good butter!

We both ordered the French Onion Soup and it was the best we had on property.

I then had just the house salad with the balsamic vinaigrette and DH had the Crepe Basquaise. He really enjoyed them, as I did my salad. In fact we enjoyed it so much we forgot to take pictures! As I said, this was OOP and when we received the bill we looked and NO gratuity had been added.

Due to a whole bunch of things that happened during the day (all in my trip report) we ended up skipping R&C. That left us hungry at the end of the day, so it was off to Roaring Fork back at the WL. I had the chicken strips, Mickey rice krispie and a water.

DH had a bacon cheese burger, brownie and water.

Total of 2 CS or $23.88 on the DDP. Food was what you expect at a CS restaurant – ok, but not great.

Up next: Fort Wilderness and Cosmic Ray’s.

luciloo 10-25-2006 06:26 AM

Great report and great pictures, can't wait to see more

TyRy 11-01-2006 12:57 PM

Crystal Palace and Yachtsman Steakhouse
Crystal Palace. We had an early ADR – 8:10am – for the CP, figured eat and still get out in time to beat the crowds. Not us – we were running LATE, and did not arrive until about 8:30am. We had about a ten minute wait and then were seated…but what is this:
A little pixie dust to start our day. I think I noted our anniversary on every ADR and this was the second time it was recognized.

The breakfast buffet here is your standard buffet – sorry forgot to get pics – with made to order omelets. I went right for the kids section, hey – I had to get my Winnie the Pooh and Tigger waffles :rotfl:
We both thought the food was very good and I tried my hardest not to think of all the gross stories I’ve read on the Disboards about buffets.

After we were finished, our server An Yuh brought us out another surprise, a cupcake and a certificate for our anniversary.

I must add I LOVE frosting, way better than cake. And this had awesome frosting. It was only after this that the characters made their way over and I don’t think we ever saw Tigger as it was getting late and I wanted to get out to the parks. Overall – very good, although the characters getting around were a little slower than I remembered. We did pay OOP for this meal.

Our snack today consisted of a chocolate milkshake and a Mickey ice cream sandwich…I think we paid for the ice cream, but used a snack credit for the milkshake.

We skipped lunch today since we were having dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse. I’ve wanted to try this the past couple trips, but never had the chance. Free dining or not we were going – although it was nice just having a bar bill :cool1:

We arrived on time for our 8pm ADR. We were seated within a couple of minutes and met our server who took our drink order. We then met our second server, we were confused momentarily, but I guess that is the way YS works – so we had two servers for the night.

The rolls with butter and garlic came out first. I’m talking whole cloves of garlic – whoo hoo – score for me – I LOVE garlic. It was really yummy spread on the rolls.

Then came our appetizers. I had the Caesar salad which was a Caesar salad. This is pretty had to screw up and it was good. It came out as full romaine leaves though, so next time I may ask them to cut it up in the back just to make it easier.

DH had the lobster bisque which he proclaimed very good.

Then came the entrees – I had been looking forward to this all day and it did not disappoint. I had and fingerling potatoes, the porterhouse done medium and again I was glad I ordered it this was as it was a perfect med rare. Very good and tender.

DH had the boneless rack of lamb with some type of polenta and also really enjoyed it. I think he also ordered it medium, but I’m sure he’ll correct me if I’m wrong.

For dessert I had the sorbet trio and DH had the key lime pie. Both were good

Overall a great experience and we left extra tip. Our meal was timed perfectly and we did not feel either rushed or too slow. We will be returning again.

Up next - LeCellier - you'll either love it or hate it......

jenrose66 11-01-2006 03:14 PM

great review. thanks for posting. :thumbsup2

tinkamom 11-01-2006 03:58 PM

That steak from YS looks YUMMY! I think I have to fit in an ADR there.

*Susan* 11-01-2006 07:10 PM

I'm with you on soup: I could eat it every day, hot weather or not :thumbsup2

Great reviews & pictures - keep em coming!

susieq76 11-04-2006 07:24 PM

More Please. Yummm- after seeing that Porterhouse we may just have to switch ressies & go to Yachtsman

TyRy 11-09-2006 02:09 PM


Originally Posted by *Susan*
I'm with you on soup: I could eat it every day, hot weather or not :thumbsup2

*Susan* - We are lucky to have a place by our house that had the BEST onion soup I've ever had - I crave it constantly!!


Originally Posted by susieq76
More Please. Yummm- after seeing that Porterhouse we may just have to switch ressies & go to Yachtsman

susieq76 - glad you are enjoying and I would say if you can swing it, definitely go to Yachtsman.

TyRy 11-09-2006 02:17 PM

Love it? Hate it? LeCellier
Today started with me getting up earlier than DH and grabbing pancakes and bacon from Roaring Forks. Yummy, but I still wish they had Mickey waffles!

I actually skipped lunch since I was still full from the pancakes, but DH was hungry so while we were at DTD, he decided to give Earl of Sandwich a try. Of course, once we got in there, I decided that I also wanted a small something. DH had the original 1762 Sandwich. I was going to use a snack credit to get a small garden salad, but they let us substitute the salad for his dessert with CS meal – cool by me!

We had a 7:10 ADR for LeCellier that night. I had warned DH that the reviews on the Disboards seemed to either be you love it or you hate it. And I hadn’t told him, but I was a little worried about the stories I’d been hearing lately about people waiting two hours for their ADR’s. We were using our “free” DDP for this.

We arrived about 5 minutes early and they seated us in about two. Our server was Mo and he promptly took our drink orders..a Torontopolitan for me and a La Fin Du Monde for DH.

The one thing that did ring true was the tables being close together. We had a table for two on either side of us and I did feel a little on top of each other.
Luckily they were just finishing as we were starting.

Mo brought our drinks and then took our orders. Hmmm where was the bread – oh wait – just as I started to wonder here came the bread. Although we did not get an explanation as to what the three types meant. DH didn’t even know why I was making a face so I told him about the explanation. He then pointed out if I did not spend HOURS on the boards I would not even know about it…I pointed out if I did not spend HOURS on the boards his trip would not have planned as well! We both enjoyed all the bread, but I think favored the pretzel bread.

DH started with the cheese soup and I opted for the beef tenderloin kabob. DH thought the soup was a little salt, but liked it. And as you can see, I did not care for mine at all :rotfl2:
I don’t even know if I gave DH a bite! It was very tender and tasty.

Dinner was next, but DH had told Mo at the beginning that he wanted wine with his meal. I also said I did as I really wanted to try the Ice Wine. Mo talked me out of having it with dinner and to have it with dessert instead – boy was I glad I listened.

But back to dinner. DH had the prime rib and it came cooked perfectly – again we said medium and it came medium rare….just the way we wanted.

I had the NY strip done the same as the prime rib with roasted potatoes. All I have to say it YUMMY!

Mo did forget to bring DH’s wine with dinner at first, but when he came by to see how everything was he suddenly remembered and returned quickly with it.

The first two courses were timed great, but when it came time for dessert, it seemed like we waited an extra long time. HOWEVER, we were so full from dinner, we were happy that we had the time to digest before dessert came out.

I had the seasonal sorbet and DH had the seasonal dessert which I think was some kind of blueberry buckle….
Looking at the state of my sorbet – half melted – I think it may have sat a little to long in the kitchen. But if that is the only thing that goes bad, I’m happy with the meal. OH – this is also where I had my Ice Wine – wow, it might have even been too sweet for me. But no worries, I still finished it!

Overall I think we fall on the side of really liked LeCellier and would probably return in the future. The service was overall good and the food was very good – we were there about and hour and a half total. Free dining picked up the meal tab, but once again our bar bill was about 2/3 of our food bill – and the gratuity of 18% was already added. Although we left extra for the meal anyway. We really need to quit ordering expensive wines and martinis – but I guess that’s what you do while on vacation :goodvibes

MemoryMakers2669 11-09-2006 03:02 PM

Great reviews, keep them coming!

TigerKat 11-09-2006 04:52 PM

Ooh, those drinks look good. You can betcha I'm gonna have a few! ;)
So enjoyed reading about LeCellier, love the part about you anticipating the explanation of the breads, I will be expecting the same!

Flossbolna 11-10-2006 03:13 PM

Great reviews! It is interesting to hear about and see your drinks, too!

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