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BearcatsFan 09-26-2012 10:26 PM

Our Adventures in Free Dining - 2 Adults x 5 Nights DDP (Complete w/a Few Pics)
Hello! :wave2: This is my first attempt at a dining report, so please be gentle! :flower3:

Who: Me and my Hubby
When: September 17th - September 21st
What: Disney Dining Plan ("Free")
Credits: 10 Table Service, 10 Quick Service, 10 Snacks (we had leftovers)

We just returned from our vacation on 09/22. We didn't get to do a whole lot of activities (see my trip report, currently in progress, to find out why), but hey everyone knows the best part of a WDW vacation is the eating, right?!? And eat we did! ::yes::

I started out with the intention of taking pics of absolutely everything, but that plan quickly flew out the window after day 1. :bitelip: I do have a few photos, but they're not good quality ... I may include them, I may not. I also had planned to keep track of every dollar spent down to the penny in my handy-dandy notebook. Well ... on some, I've had to estimate because I forgot all about the notebook AND we lost a couple of receipts. :rolleyes1

I am going to do a rating system. Since this is my first try, I'm going to keep it simple and do a thumb's up :thumbsup2 rating of 1 thumb to 5 thumbs. :teeth: I will also be rating level of service for TS restaurants.

We are not "foodies" - just average, ordinary people. I am diabetic and on a low-sodium diet, so I had many interactions with Disney chefs. I know there's not much variety (not nearly as much as there was supposed to be, which I will explain along the way), but I still hope you'll follow along! :goodvibes

BearcatsFan 09-26-2012 10:27 PM

A Little Food Porn For You!

Monday, September 17:
Lunch: Sassagoula's
Dinner: T-Rex
Snacks: Sassagoula's

Tuesday, September 18:
Breakfast: Sassagoula's
Snack (OOP): Sassagoula's
Dinner: Boatwright's Dining Hall

Wednesday, September 19:
Breakfast (OOP): Kona Cafe
Lunch: Artist's Palatte
Dinner: T-Rex

Thursday, September 20:
Breakfast: Artist's Palatte
Dinner: Sassagoula's Pizza Express Delivery
Snack: Artist's Palatte

Friday, September 21:
Breakfast (OOP): Wolfgang Puck Express (Marketplace)
Lunch: Rainforest Cafe (DTD)
Dinner: Artist's Palatte
Snack (OOP): Sleepy Hollow

Ro Z 09-26-2012 11:29 PM

We are at POR in 38 days so I am looking forward to reviews on PoFQ dining as well as POR. :)

njgrl622 09-26-2012 11:39 PM

Looking forward to reading your reviews ! We check in to POR on the 22!

Ro Z 09-27-2012 12:04 AM

Sorry resent message. Oops

emmysmommy 09-27-2012 12:50 AM

Hi there!!! I want to hear all about your dining experiences. :)

I see you managed a Kona breakfast - my favorite in all of WDW. I can't wait to hear. :goodvibes

BearcatsFan 09-27-2012 07:43 AM


Originally Posted by Ro Z (Post 46279214)
We are at POR in 38 days so I am looking forward to reviews on PoFQ dining as well as POR. :)


Originally Posted by njgrl622 (Post 46279262)
Looking forward to reading your reviews ! We check in to POR on the 22!


Originally Posted by emmysmommy (Post 46279560)
Hi there!!! I want to hear all about your dining experiences. :)

I see you managed a Kona breakfast - my favorite in all of WDW. I can't wait to hear. :goodvibes

Oh yay, I already have readers! :banana: Welcome, ya'll! :teeth:

BearcatsFan 09-27-2012 08:45 AM

Sassagoula's Lunch 09/17
Monday, September 17 - Lunch at Sassagoula's at Port Orleans French Quarter

First Impressions: This food court is TINY. After staying at POP last year, I was expecting something similar in size with similar variety, but not so. The ordering and eating areas are extremely clean, however, so that's a huge plus. We thought the decor was fun, even the giant heads in the seating area. :eek:

After reading over all the menu choices, I decided to order the Tuna Sub with Pasta Salad (hold the lettuce and tomato), and hubby ordered the Philly Cheesesteak with Fries. We both chose ice cream for our desserts and bottled water for our drinks. (NOTE: I have photos of this meal, but Photobucket is not co-operating this morning ... :rolleyes2 )

The Tuna Salad Sub featured tuna salad of the "chunk light" variety, not albacore, and was unremarkable in taste. It seemed like it was made of just tuna and mayo with a few tiny chunks of celery thrown in for color. It wasn't bad tasting, it just didn't taste like much of anything at all if that makes sense. It was also *very* skimpy on filling - this sub was mostly bread. The bread, however, was soft and fresh. The pasta salad that accompanied the tuna sub was vinegar based and not very good. I managed one bite - it left a sour taste behind, so I was finished. :crazy2:

Rating for Tuna Salad Sub w/Pasta Salad: :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2

The Philly Cheesesteak turned out to be half the size of my tuna sub. It was literally on half a sub bread with half the filling I received. My husband actually said, "Are you serious?" when they handed it to him. While the filling was skimpy, he said it tasted very, very good. It was, however, a little on the dry side, so he ended up adding some mayo to make it more palatable. He said the fries were seasoned and tasted great (and after stealing two off his plate, I would have to agree :teeth: ).

Rating for Philly Cheesesteak w/Fries: :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2

Ahhh dessert ... the saving grace for this entire meal. We both chose ice cream (there weren't very many choices, otherwise), and were given two very large scoops. The ladies working the ice cream counter were friendly and fun! DH chose cookies & cream, and I chose chocolate chip cookie dough. I'm diabetic, and I never would have imagined the scoops would have been that large or I would have chosen the sugar-free fudge marble they also offer. :eek: The cookies & cream had large chunks of Oreo cookies, and the cookie dough had lots of pieces of dough to enjoy. Both flavors of ice cream were good, but the texture was somewhat grainy and not very creamy. It was also frozen extremely hard and took forever to melt enough to be able to eat it with a plastic spoon. Really, though, how can you go wrong with ice cream? :teeth:

Rating for Ice Creams: :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2

Total Cost of Meal: $33.94 (2 QS Credits Used)

We also got 2 refillable mugs @ $14.49/each as part of the DDP: $30.86 value (2 Mug Entitlements Used)

Final Thoughts: We're both of the opinion that you should get more filling in the sandwiches, especially the cheesesteak, considering what this meal cost. Some of the CMs put off the air of being bored and disinterested and had attitudes that were not overly friendly. Sassagoula's is a convenient, clean place to eat while staying at FQ.

BearcatsFan 09-27-2012 11:24 AM

T-Rex Dinner 09/17
Monday, September 17 - Dinner at T-Rex in Downtown Disney

First Impressions: What a gigantic place this is! Our reservation was for 5:30 but we were seated immediately after we arrived at 5:15. I was surprised how busy it was at such an early hour. We were seated next to the baby Wooly Mammoth, just outside of the Ice Cave. The restaurant is clean and everyone seems friendly. The tables are very close together and it is quite noisy. It's a neat place and there's something different to look at everywhere you turn.

Once seated, our smiling waiter greeted us promptly and asked if we were on the dining plan. He then took the time to explain what was included and what was not with our plan, pointing out the items that we could not order on the menu for credits. He was not patronizing, and gratuity was never mentioned. He also explained the Landry's Club to us, but was not pushy about joining. He asked for our drink order, which was 2 ice waters, an iced tea, and a Coke. He told us to take our time reviewing the menu and he would be available to answer any questions we had.

This restaurant has a large menu and it took us several minutes to figure out what we were interested in. Our waiter appeared and asked if we had questions or if we were ready to order. Being diabetic with high blood pressure, I wasn't sure what would be best - he immediately offered to go get the chef so I could discuss my options with him.

Chef Chuck came out to speak with me, and he couldn't have been nicer or more helpful. He is very personable and friendly, and tried hard to work within my dietary needs. He made several suggestions and left the decision up to me.

I ended up ordering the Neanderthal New York Strip, medium-well, with Seasonal Veggies as the side. Chef Chuck said he could prepare it without any seasonings, and that the steak butter should be left off since it is salty. DH ordered the Neanderthal New York Strip medium-well also, but he wanted the Garlic Mashed Potatoes as his side.

Once we ordered, the food was brought out to us in no time.

My special-order Neanderthal New York Strip ended up being cooked well instead of medium-well, so I let our waiter know nicely that I would like to send it back. The waiter was very understanding and didn't make a fuss about it whatsoever - he said he would have a new steak out as soon as possible. It came out quickly and was cooked to perfection the second time around.

I have to say this was one of THE best steaks I've ever eaten. Tender, juicy, and it needed nothing at all. It tasted fantastic. I probably could have cut this steak with a butter knife - that's how tender it was. The Seasonal Veggies were zucchini, carrots, and green beans. They were cooked crisp-tender and were delicious as well.

Rating for Special Order Neanderthal New York Strip with Seasonal Veggies: :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2

DH's Neanderthal New York Strip came out cooked perfectly the first time around. He also pronounced it one of the very best steaks ever. Tender, juicy, and so flavorful. He opted to use the steak butter and loved it, too. The garlic mashed potatoes he chose as his side, however, were not good. :crazy2: Way too much garlic - so much, in fact, he couldn't eat them at all. I love garlic, so I went ahead and tasted them - even I thought they were yucky. When the waiter came over to check on us, he asked why they hadn't been eaten, and DH was honest. The waiter quickly offered to get him something else instead. He said it was absolutely no problem to switch out the side for something else.

DH opted to get the Waffle Fries, and they were brought out fast. Those were crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and oh-so-good. I should know ... I had a few! :teeth: They were hot, lightly-seasoned and needed no ketchup.

Rating for Neanderthal New York Strip with replacement Waffle Fries: :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2

After we were finished eating, the waiter appeared and reminded us of our choices on the dining plan for dessert. None of the options would work for me, unfortunately, so I asked for a few more minutes to try and think of how I could do dessert. The waiter disappeared only to come back a few minutes later to ask if I could eat fresh fruit. Most definitely! I asked him if I could possibly just get some strawberries and whipped cream. He said he would check, then came back a few minutes later and said yes, they definitely could do that. DH ordered the Ice Age Indulgence.

My dessert of strawberries and whipped cream was delicious! The berries were sliced and placed artfully on the plate with a large spiral dome of whipped cream beside them. It was the perfect light finish to my meal.

Rating for Strawberries & Whipped Cream: :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2

The Ice Age Indulgence my hubby ordered looked fantastic! I can't comment on the taste because I didn't try it, but he said it was delicious. He was worried he wouldn't like the Heath Bar Crunch, but it turned out to be just a sprinkle over the top instead of being coated in it. I've never seen him smile so much while eating dessert! He said the dessert was not as rich or overly-sweet as he thought it would be from the description, but instead was creamy, satisfying and pretty much perfect.

Rating of Ice Age Indulgence: :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2

Total Cost of Meal: $93.14 (2TS Credits Used)

Rating of Quality of Service: :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2

Final Thoughts: T-Rex is a great restaurant with a fun atmosphere. Chef Chuck was more than accommodating for my special requests - he's extremely nice and has a fun sense of humor. Our waiter Israel was friendly and provided excellent service - and he went out of his way to try and figure out what I could have for dessert. We did not feel rushed at all, even with as busy as the restaurant was.

We actually ended up speaking to one of the managers to compliment the chef and our waiter. She noticed the uneaten mashed potatoes on DH's plate. She told us the supplier for the mashed potatoes had been changed and that people weren't enjoying the new ones as much. If you've ordered them in the past, you might not like them now.

To us, this meal was worth the TS credits and then some.

ThePrincess&TheJohn 09-27-2012 11:48 AM

Hi! Looking forward to the rest of your review :) Interesting that you reviewed T-Rex because I feel like I never saw it on the boards and all of a sudden, a bunch of people have and I am planning on going in December and reviewing it. So, maybe we will see a trend?

shalom 09-27-2012 06:35 PM

I was not much for Sassagoula's either, but my main problem with them is that their "beignets" are really sopapillas. ;)

Wow, what a great experience at T-Rex! :dance3:

BearcatsFan 09-27-2012 08:05 PM


Originally Posted by ThePrincess&TheJohn (Post 46282646)
Hi! Looking forward to the rest of your review :) Interesting that you reviewed T-Rex because I feel like I never saw it on the boards and all of a sudden, a bunch of people have and I am planning on going in December and reviewing it. So, maybe we will see a trend?

Welcome! I'd been seeing an awful lot of T-Rex ADRs, so that's why I decided to make one to see what all the fuss was about! :teeth: It was definitely worth the trip - I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did. :goodvibes


Originally Posted by shalom (Post 46286837)
I was not much for Sassagoula's either, but my main problem with them is that their "beignets" are really sopapillas. ;)

Wow, what a great experience at T-Rex! :dance3:

HEY - you made it over here from my TR! :wave2: :flower3: I didn't even try the beignets at FQ - I saw them on someone else's plate and asked how they were - his comment was, and I quote, "Meh ...". :p That pretty much made up my mind. ::yes::

T-Rex was fantastic! We couldn't have been happier with the food or the service.

BearcatsFan 09-27-2012 08:22 PM

Sassagoula's Snacks 09/17
Hubby and I were hungry by the time we got back to the hotel on Monday night. It had been hours since the meal at T-Rex, so we decided to check out the POFQ food court and see what the late-night offerings were for snacks.

There was a pastry counter filled to the brim with muffins, cookies, rice krispie treats, and brownies ... and a cooler nearby with healthier options, also stocked to the brim. There was plenty of fresh fruit available as well, both of the whole and pre-cut varieties. Not included as snack credits, but the coolers were stocked with beer and small bottles of wine as well. :teeth:

For my snack, I chose a container of Carrots & Celery with Ranch Dip. The veggies were fresh and crispy, and the container was quite large. The ranch dip was in a tiny little cup and was kind of thin - not anywhere close to the Hidden Valley Ranch I'm used to eating at home - but it tasted good.

Rating for Carrots & Celery with Ranch Dip: :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2

Hubby chose a gigantic Brownie out of the pastry counter - no surprise. He's such a dessert fiend! He said his brownie was very yummy - not too sweet, and very chocolatey. He also said it was soft but not mushy (these are important brownie qualities :rotfl: ).

Rating for Huge Brownie: :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 (He wanted to give it 5 thumbs, but when I asked if it really compared to the Ice Age Indulgence at T-Rex, he backed it down to 4 thumbs :teeth: )

Total Cost of Snacks: $7.65 (2 SN credits used)

BearcatsFan 09-28-2012 01:09 PM

Sassagoula's Breakfast 09/18
Tuesday, September 18 - Breakfast at Sassagoula's at POFQ

The first thing we needed to do was talk to the chef about my dietary needs. When we opened up the door, the seating area was PACKED, but the actual food court was pretty empty.

I went up to one of the ordering stations and asked to speak to the chef - Chef Rafael came out to talk with me. While he was a little hard to understand, he was eager to help with my dietary requests and very nice.

I ended up getting a modified Bounty Platter with no-salt eggs, strawberries, and 2 small Mickey waffles with milk as my drink. I was told at the register where I could find sugar-free syrup as well. While everything was very good, and the strawberries were fresh and delicious, I was hoping for a little more variety and the portions of everything were very small.

Rating for special order modified Bounty Platter: :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2

My husband ordered the Western Omelette with Potatoes. He also got milk as his drink. He said the omelette was good, but the potatoes were what made the meal. He's a big eater, and he thought the portion was somewhat small (though it would probably be more than enough to satisfy the average appetite).

Rating for Western Omelette with Potatoes: :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2

Total Cost of Meal: $22.98 (2QS Credits Used)

MickeyNicki 09-28-2012 01:33 PM

LOVE your reviews, especially the POFQ ones. We arrive in 20 days and am so happy to hear of the celery and ranch dressing...sounds weird but when you are eating no carbs this is a lifesaver! And the chef coming out to talk to you...that is great too because I need to ask about hidden carbs in the breakfast items.

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