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PrincessTrisha 11-15-2009 08:32 AM

What do you mean "No Dining Plan"? Review with Pics
Hi all.

I was at the World October 24th to October 31st. This was the first trip since February 2005 where we did NOT have some form of dining plan. For the way we eat, the DDP (or in June the DxDP) really does meet our needs. We like to sit down and eat in the cool of a restaurant at least once a day. We tend to share at counter service meals. And we all love our sweets. So why no DDP this time? Well, there are several reasons.....

1. Leftover tickets. We have tickets left from a previous trip so buying even a 1 day ticket for each of us (4 adults) would have added $320 to the cost of the trip. And since we'll probably go back to using the DDP in the future....well, we won't really need those tickets will we?

2. Off site activities. 2 of the 4 of us were spending the day at Discovery Cove and another day at Seaworld. We also planned to spend a day shopping offsite (we had a vehicle so it made it easy).

3. My mom is still recovering from a stroke and severe illness which followed it. She did great on the trip but I was unsure of her stamina. I didn't want too much that was "use or lose" for her on the trip - that would include dining credits.

4. For the first time ever, we stayed Club Level (at the CR - Atrium Club). I knew it already included breakfast, snacks and drinks so I wasn't sure if we'd want or need lots of big meals.

5. Cake - I wanted to order a cake for my Dad with the chocolate monorail on top. With a 10 inch cake in the room, would we really need or want dessert at every meal?

6. Wishes Dessert Party - same as above. I figured, you never know if they'll continue to offer it. If this is our only chance to do it, I didn't want to pass it up.

So, I did a room only and paid out of pocket for our food. Would I do it this way again? Well, I guess you'll just have to wait and see........:hippie:

Cast of Characters
On to the Food...Pop Century
Whispering Canyon Cafe
Club Lounge Desserts and Breakfast
Food & Wine Festival Part 1
Food & Wine Festival Part 2
Contempo Cafe
Tony's Town Square
Wishes Dessert Party
Grand Floridian Cafe lunch
Grand Floridian Cafe Dinner & Room Service

PrincessTrisha 11-15-2009 08:43 AM

Cast of Characters
So this trip there were 4 adults:

Me (Trisha - the Princess part is optional). I am 35 and have 3 trips to WDW planned this year. This was number 2. I do all of the planning and the paying. I am obsessed but I'm okay with that. Other people smoke or drink, I "do disney". There's not much I don't like (except meatloaf, well cooked beef, hot dogs and fatty pork).

My Mom (Connie). She's 56 and recovering from some pretty bad stuff. She's doing great though (compared to a few months ago) and has learned to walk again (I'm more proud than I could every express with words). She has a hard time selecting food but will eat just about whatever is ordered for her. She doesn't do spicy and can't do Kiwi fruit, crab or calamari (allergies).

My Dad (Bill). He's 60 (61 in a couple of days). He's a good guy. Very traditional. I think the hardest part for him about these trips is letting me pay. He's always trying to pay for stuff anyways so I always make sure to have my hand out for the bill as soon as the server is at the table. He's a meat and potato kind of guy but has gotten a little more adventurous over the past few years (about 3 years ago, he tried bagels and now loves them).

Josee (my mom's care worker - well, she's become a friend of the family). She's never been to WDW. She's always wanted to swim with the dolphins so I took her to discovery cove. She'll eat just about anything but the cost of food (even though I was paying) concerned her and towards the end of the week, she stopped coming to dinner with us and just ate the food in the club lounge.

PrincessTrisha 11-15-2009 09:00 AM

On to the food.....Pop Century
So we arrived Saturday October 24th. We were staying 1 night at Pop Century before checking into the CR Atrium Club.

We arrived around 6:30pm and were pretty tired from the drive down. We also had a little laundry to do so we decided to just eat at the food court while my Dad did the laundry. My mom was pretty tired so she asked if we could just bring her back something.

My Dad got the parmasean chicken with the penne with white sauce (he asked if he could sub mac and cheese but was told no). He ate it, it was good. That was all. (sorry no pic since he went off to do the laundry).

Josee ordered the kid's pizza with grapes and a chocolate chip cookie with a bottle of water.

She ate it. It was good. She ordered the kid's pizza because she said it looked to be the right size. She was confused at first about the sides and the guy serving her wasn't very helpful. I told her she could pick any two sides but don't get the jello or the applesauce cause she won't like them. The cookie she saved for later and it was pretty moist. The kid's waters are the small Dasani bottles. She was happy since she doesn't drink pop.

I ordered two entrees and my mom and I shared them.

The first was the kid's macaroni and cheese (with grapes and carrots which I saved for the next day).

This was a pretty big serving. I've seen it before in the little micky plates but this was on the same size plate as the adult dinners were served on. I don't know if it's the standard size serving, but if you're craving mac n cheese and are at Pop, even as an adult, you'll be full. It was rich and creamy - no boxed junk here! It was very cheesy and good when it was warm but congealed hard when it cooled (I had saved a couple of bites for my Dad but it was cold when he returned with the laundry.

The second entree to share was the Vegetable Lasagna.

It came with salad and a breadstick. The lasagna was good - medium sized chunks of vegetables, enough cheese to stick it together, noodles were soft but not mushy and the sauce had a nice garlic undertone. My only real criticism is that they put the hot lasagna on top of the cold salad so half the salad was warm and wilted. :confused3

While I may not have been impressed with the hotel, the food was good. Not gourmet by any standards but good, tasty, warm food. And dinner for 4..... was less than $40.

GoofySon'sMom 11-15-2009 12:12 PM

Great start! Can't wait for the rest!

Christine9125 11-15-2009 12:42 PM

I am in

OurDogCisco 11-15-2009 01:02 PM

Excited to read more!

natalielongstaff 11-15-2009 02:22 PM

count me in :thumbsup2

pinkxray 11-15-2009 04:20 PM

great reviews so far, keep them coming!

KatMark 11-15-2009 04:43 PM

I'm here for more Disney food porn.

PrincessTrisha 11-16-2009 01:48 PM


Originally Posted by GoofySon'sMom (Post 34340481)
Great start! Can't wait for the rest!

Next installment coming up!


Originally Posted by Christine9125 (Post 34340744)
I am in

Glad to have ya!


Originally Posted by OurDogCisco (Post 34340917)
Excited to read more!

Thanks for the encouragement.


Originally Posted by natalielongstaff (Post 34341708)
count me in :thumbsup2

You're counted! Welcome aboard!


Originally Posted by pinkxray (Post 34342880)
great reviews so far, keep them coming!

I'll happily ablige.


Originally Posted by KatMark (Post 34343149)
I'm here for more Disney food porn.

Food porn coming up!

PrincessTrisha 11-16-2009 02:22 PM

Whispering Canyon Cafe
After checking out of Pop Century, we were headed to the ocean so we decided on a little Bob Evans (no pics cause I only take pictures of food at WDW). I have to say, if you're looking for some good, cheap eats - try them. They have a pretty extensive menu and over 30 items priced at $5.99 or less. And if you've never tried an Arnold Palmer (made with sweet tea of course), you don't know what you're missing!

Anyways, our next Disney meal was at the Wilderness Lodge. I know that the Whispering Canyon Cafe gets mixed reviews but I was looking for some place that serves ribs and would show my mom's caregiver Josee "a little slice of Disney style".

So we arrived for our 6:40pm ADR and were seated promptly. Our table wasn't the best since we were seated by the kitchen entrance but our server more than made up for it - We were graced by Heada Lettuce who was the right mix of fun, frolic and great service.

To start with my mom, dad and I ordered diet cokes and Josee ordered water.

Josee almost had a fit when Heada threw the straws at us but my mom quickly explained that it was normal and this was meant to be a "fun" place.

My mom, dad and I all ordered the skillet All You Care To Enjoy $26.99 per person Smoked Pork Ribs, Pulled Pork, Oven-roasted Chicken, Beef Brisket, Mashed Potatoes, Cowboy Beans, and Corn on the Cob Mixed Greens Salad with Apple Vinaigrette, Coleslaw, and Fresh-baked Cornbread. Josee gave way to sticker shock and stated she wasn't really hungry and ordered the Barbecue Pork Spring Rolls - Barbecue Pulled Pork, Cheddar, Herbs, and Barbecue-Mayonnaise Dipping Sauce $9.99



Heada brought out 4 plates for the salad (including Josee) which I thought was very nice of her. The salad itself was good - fresh and crisp. The dressing really tasty - a little tangy but kind of sweet. My Dad (who is a ranch, ranch, ranch kind of guy) ate some of it as well which surprised me. Of course, everyone stopped after one plate not wanting to be too full when the good stuff came. :rotfl:

Josee's spring rolls came:

I have to admit I thought, "that's all for $10! They are two small, skinny rolls." The plate they are served on is a side plate - the same size they gave us for our salad. Josee said they tasted good but all I could think is, "for another $8 or $9 you could have gotten a full meal", especially since I was paying. :hippie:


They put down our skillet

There was good and not so good in the skillet.

Good (actually kind of great):

Mashed Potatoes
Pulled Pork
Corn on the Cob (rolling around in buttery goodness)
Pitcher of BBQ Sauce (I would like to pretend that I am a rib and roll around in a vat of this stuff).


Ribs (I only had two ribs) They were kind of dry - really needed the extra sauce. The second batch were better and meatier. Of course, the rest of the ribs got eaten so maybe it was only the 1 rack that wasn't so great?

Not so good:
Chicken (it was cooked and everything - the seasoning is just "off" and not well flavoured).

We got more pulled pork, brisket and mashed potatoes (didn't need more corn since my mom is missing a couple of teeth and my dad has dentures so all three pieces were mine, mine, mine).

The aftermath:

Josee had picked off the skillet after she ate her two spring rolls and though Heada pointed it out that "we'd let her knaw on a few bones" there were no other comments made (nor any extra charges).

There was loads of fun throughout the meal - most of which we made Josee partake it - asking for ketchup (and then delivering it to another table), pony ride, singing Happy Birthday to another table. We also saw the jail being passed around and a few other tricks. It was boisterous and enjoyable.

We didn't order dessert since we would be able to enjoy some of the club offerings and I knew the cake would be delivered as well.

The bill came to just over $100 for the 3 meals, 1 appetizer and 3 sodas.

We left full and it was a great restaurant to start off the trip with to get us into the mood for silly fun.

lizzyb 11-16-2009 03:14 PM

Great reviews soo far!

natalielongstaff 11-17-2009 01:01 PM

ooh i do love that Skillet :)

PrincessTrisha 11-21-2009 02:42 PM


Originally Posted by lizzyb (Post 34355596)
Great reviews soo far!


Originally Posted by natalielongstaff (Post 34368289)
ooh i do love that Skillet :)

Thanks for joining in.

I really enjoyed the skillet this time.

PrincessTrisha 11-21-2009 02:53 PM

Club level desserts and breakfast
So after dinner we did stop by the club lounge to check out the desserts. They had a good selection for both adults and kids.

There were little cakes and tarts, assorted cookies and uncrustables.

Breakfast was good - bagels, fruit, pastries

They had little containers of plain cream cheese, little jars of jam and the little cups of peanut butter. It was kind of like breakfast at home except someone else did most of the work (slicing the bagels, cutting up the fruit, opening the packages). It provided us a good start to the day but I did miss what I call "vacation breakfast" - either a big hearty, hot breakfast or leftover dinner from the night before (mmmm, morning steak).

The lounge was occassionally quite crowded but there always seemed to be plenty of food out.

Desserts on a different night:

the little chocolate mousse cups with the cookie crumbs and the gummy worm were really good - it certainly wasn't "kiddie pudding" but real chocolate mousse - rich, thick and chocolate-y.

The cupcakes were cute but pretty tasteless. The other cakes were good and just the right size - a bit or two so you could enjoy a number of treats.

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