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Old 02-23-2011, 03:29 AM   #226
The_Aviator
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvc4life View Post
Man those shrimp tacos look sooooo good. We have visited over at the Pepper Market and stuff, never stayed there, but it looks to be a beautiful resort. I told my DH that we need to try dinner there at Maya Grill sometime because of your reviews.
Yes please do try it! I'm certain you will enjoy it

Quote:
Originally Posted by cajunbaby1 View Post
Thank you so very, very much for your detailed dining report. It's the best one i've read yet!!
We appreciate all the work that went into this.
Now I'm totally hungry and of course have nothing worth while to snack on in the house
I'm glad y'all had a wonderful time. Hopefully this will tie me over til I can go teh 1st week in May
Haha, that's always the curse of these food reviews, you get so hungry afterwards

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great time on your trip!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dtstampz View Post
I've really enjoyed your dining reviews. You are a terrific writer--thanks for sharing!
I'll be heading to the Coronado in May, and MUST try those shrimp tacos...
Thanks for reading the reviews!

I'm sure you'll enjoy your stay at the Coronado immensely, we all loved it and although we stayed at the WL last time, this place felt more like an upgrade than a downgrade!

And you really have to try the restaurants there, each one is so different from the other and you can get some real variety in food, quantity, price etc.
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Old 02-23-2011, 04:05 AM   #227
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Our final dining experiences - Cafe Rix

Since the Magical Express was going to pick us up at 3:45am (well, it was booked last minute!) and we had to wake up at about 1:30am this was never going to be a really big day. We decided to err on the side of caution and just have one meal today.


Part One of Two - Lunch at the Cafe Rix


So at around 2:15pm we went to the Cafe Rix to grab some lunch. Similar to the breakfast menu, there's a chef in the kitchen preparing hot items cooked to order. The menu included hot dogs, cheeseburgers, pizza, Cuban sandwiches and meatball subs. This was in addition to the cold sandwiches, salads, pastries etc that are also available to purchase. The hot menu was fairly limited and simple in nature, but the pricing reflected this, I think the absolute cheapest options were around $5.90 and the most expensive options were a touch under $7.

DM, DS and DD all decided to get the cheeseburger ($6.09ea) and I went with the Meatball Sub ($6.59). We used our mugs for drinks. The meals were prepared straight away by the chef and served in the polystyrene takeout containers, like they did with the breakfast we had on the 30th.

The Cafe Rix has two seating areas. One is inside and is actually located in part of the Rix Lounge. It is open for guests of all ages and looks pretty cool and modern, like the Rix Lounge does. The second area is outdoors near the water. This was a nice, warm day so we chose to sat outside and just look at the lake. They had probably half a dozen tables in each area, but this seems to be enough.

Sorry, but I didn't take any photos of the food today! However I'll try to explain what it was like...

The cheeseburger was just your standard kind of cheeseburger, but it was fairly large and they really liked it. It was the first meal that DS actually finished since she'd fallen ill so it must have been pretty good. As for my meatball sub, it was probably around 6" or maybe a little longer, packed with lots of meatballs and cheese. I really liked mine too, it was filling, fresh, hot and above all, tasted good. Both meals were served with a MASSIVE amount of Kettle potato chips. Sadly they don't have French fries here and that would make the meal a lot better, but we really liked the Kettle chips as well!

After we finished the meal I decided to get some gelato for dessert, purely for DisBoards reviewing purposes of course!

They have a fairly large selection of probably around eight different gelato flavours and two different sizes, small and large. I asked for a large cup with Cookies & Cream and Chocolate Mint. I believe it was just one scoop of each but they were just about the largest scoops I've ever seen! The gelato was very good, perhaps the best ice-cream of the trip. The fact that this was probably the warmest day so far probably made it taste even better!

Looking at the receipt now it says $2.99 but it also says 1 scoop instead of 2, so I'm wondering if perhaps I was undercharged and didn't realise. Anyway, I suppose the large cup must have been like $4-$5 or something like that. Even at that price it was pretty good and I would recommend it.

So all in all the Rix once again produced an excellent meal. Not the most extravagant meal or anything like that, but it was cheap, fresh and tasty. The staff there are all friendly and they work very hard making sure your order is filled as quickly as possible. The only thing I would consider changing about the Rix is having an option of French fries with your entree. Even if they had like a dollar or two additional charge I think it might be worthwhile. It's never going to be a place that I recommend you visit from other resorts, but if you're staying at the CSR, then you've got a really good place for a cheap meal!

For those on the dining plan I probably wouldn't recommend wasting a credit here, if you're on the DDP and want to eat at the CSR you should really be going to the Pepper Market. But if you're paying OOP, this is definitely the place.

Cost:

4 entrees, 1 dessert
Bill Total - $29.67 (avg. $7.42ea)


Part Two of Two - An evening snack


Later in the evening I picked up an M&M's cookie ($2.75) from the Rix, like Dad's one yesterday but with M&M's instead of the chocolate chunks. The cookies here are big and they are really soft. I would recommend it if you're looking for a quick sweet treat, and they are really easy to share as well!

Cost:

1 dessert
Bill Total - $2.93

NEXT UP: Well that's it folks, all the reviews done and dusted

I'll do some further DDP analysis before completely wrapping up this Dining Report. I really hope it's been both useful and entertaining!
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Old 02-23-2011, 07:22 AM   #228
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So sad your dining report has come to end... And yucky about the early MME depart time!
Glad you guys enjoyed the last meal. Aren't Disney cookies the best!?! I brought a few home from our last trip thinking I would give them away as gifts. Uh...yeah, that never happened
Your report has been very helpful! But also made me hungry... Looking forward to some final thoughts!
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Old 02-24-2011, 05:39 AM   #229
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Some further DDP Analysis

I thought before my final thoughts I would provide a little more DDP analysis, since there were a few things I left out that might be useful.

So just a quick recap first, here's how the dining plan broke down for us...

$1728.97 of TS meals
$841.62 of CS meals
$143.06 of Snacks

Now for some more info! Let's start with the TS meals shall we?


Table Service Meals

The average cost of each Table Service meal was $157.18, or $39.29 per person. In order from best to worst value it was...
  1. Les Chefs de France - $186.22
  2. 1900 Park Fare - $170.36
  3. Le Cellier - $166.93
  4. Maya Grill - $158.38
  5. Cape May Cafe - $157.58
  6. Boma - $157.58
  7. Liberty Tree Tavern - $153.32
  8. Mama Melrose's - $153.12
  9. Raglan Road - $151.72
  10. Kona Cafe - $151.22
  11. 50's Prime Time - $122.57

So it appears that you can get a fairly decent spread of values out of a credit!


Counter Service Meals

The average cost of each Counter Service meal was $76.51, or $19.13 per person. In order from best to worst value it was...
  1. WPE - $98.67
  2. WPE - $96.81
  3. Pepper Market - $89.25
  4. Pepper Market - $79.92
  5. Fairfax Fare - $78.18
  6. Yakitori House - $70.24
  7. Starring Rolls and Fairfax Fare - $69.11
  8. Sunshine Seasons - $67.52
  9. Columbia Harbor House - $65.92
  10. Restaurantosaurus - $63.37
  11. Casey's Hot Dogs and Turkey Leg Cart - $62.63

So once again, quite a spread between top and bottom!


Snacks

We had quite a few snacks all over the place so it's a bit harder to calculate, but the average was $3.25 per snack. Keep in mind that we weren't always trying to make the best value out of snack credits and bought a lot of cheap items, for example the $2.19 milks in the morning.

The most expensive items were the Pretzel from Germany, Ice-Creams at Mrs Pott's and Hollywood Scoops, the Funnel Cake at Sleepy Hollow and Kusafiri Bakery, all of which were over $4 on average per snack.

The cheapest items were the milks and yoghurts from the CSR (all low $2 area) as well as coffees and such from KRNR Station, Casey's Hot Dogs etc.

Below is just the average per individual snack credit
  1. Pretzel Stand - $4.79
  2. Sleepy Hollow - $4.57
  3. Mrs Pott's Cupboard - $4.41
  4. Hollywood Scoops - $4.14
  5. Kusafiri Bakery - $4.09
  6. Boulangerie Patisserie - $3.75
  7. Karamelle Kuche - $3.67
  8. Aloha Isle - $3.66
  9. Ice Cream - $3.50
  10. Churro Cart - $3.46
  11. Sassagoula Food Court - $3.18
  12. Panchito's - $3.17
  13. Casey's Hot Dogs - $2.44
  14. Panchito's - $2.33
  15. KRNR Coffee - $2.33
  16. Panchitos - $2.33
  17. Panchito's - $2.33
  18. Rix Café - $2.08
  19. Rix Café - $2.08


Just a quick calculation here...

So the Dining Plan cost $191.96 for all of us per night. Even if you take the cheapest TS meal ($122.57) and the cheapest CS meal ($62.63) you have $185.20. This falls $6.76 short of the cost of the dining plan, and this $6.76 is less than the cost of four of our cheapest snacks, which were the yoghurts and cost $8.31 for four, so the cheapest TS meal, the cheapest CS meal and four of the cheapest snacks (ie. one day's entitlements) comes to $193.51, or $1.55 more than the cost of the dining plan. So what I am trying to point out here is that even with the absolute cheapest meals we had the Dining Plan still breaks even! Anything above this and you really start to make some money!

I hope you've enjoyed my second edition of "Fuzzy DDP Math!" and that it will help you in your planning!

NEXT UP: The Grand Finale - A conclusion to our Disney Dining Experience.
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Old 02-24-2011, 05:43 AM   #230
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amandaluvsgoofy View Post
So sad your dining report has come to end... And yucky about the early MME depart time!
Glad you guys enjoyed the last meal. Aren't Disney cookies the best!?! I brought a few home from our last trip thinking I would give them away as gifts. Uh...yeah, that never happened
Your report has been very helpful! But also made me hungry... Looking forward to some final thoughts!
Thanks for reading! I think I would've done the same if I had brought cookies home
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Old 02-24-2011, 07:59 AM   #231
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Loved your Disney math! DH & I do it after every trip. We don't intentionally look for pricier menu items. We order whatever sounds good but want to feel like we come out ahead when it's all over. Since we got in on the Free Dining for our May trip, there won't be any need to keep receipts & total everything. I'm sure we still will though!

I've loved your reviews & am sad they're coming to an end.
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Old 02-24-2011, 08:46 AM   #232
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I have read only good things about Earl of Sandwich in DTD, they would be on my list if we were paying OOP for sure.

I like your final analysis of the DDP , it was quite interesting to see the cost of meals (TS & CS) and snacks all listed .

Having been someone who has never before used the DP always prefering to pay OOP , I now see the real value in using it and I do not think you can go wrong, just having the freedom to order what you want without worrying about the price is a major bonus. I am so looking forward to our trip in September.

Thank You for taking the time to do this review
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:42 PM   #233
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Thank you; I have very much enjoyed reading your dining reports.
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Old 02-25-2011, 06:48 AM   #234
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Sorry folks, the Internet has been down today and now it's midnight here in Sydney so I won't be able to post the conclusion tonight. I'll post it tomorrow!
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Old 02-25-2011, 06:51 AM   #235
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Just wondering if you have any future trips planned? Because I have really enjoyed your report and am hoping you do another one if you ever get back to WDW.
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Old 02-25-2011, 04:19 PM   #236
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Thanks for sharing your cost breakdown, I really enjoyed reading your report.
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Old 02-26-2011, 12:17 AM   #237
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Well! I can't believe I've stayed up past midnight reading your dining review. I just want to say that it's the best one ever, and you are clearly a kind, highly intelligent and caring person. You and your lovely family are very blessed to be able to travel and experience so much. I live in the southern United States and will always feel I "know" someone in far
away Australia. Thank you for all your time and effort and God Bless!
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Old 02-26-2011, 03:16 AM   #238
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lblume91 View Post
Loved your Disney math! DH & I do it after every trip. We don't intentionally look for pricier menu items. We order whatever sounds good but want to feel like we come out ahead when it's all over. Since we got in on the Free Dining for our May trip, there won't be any need to keep receipts & total everything. I'm sure we still will though!

I've loved your reviews & am sad they're coming to an end.
I think even with the free dining it is good fun to keep receipts and make calculations, just to see how much you've saved!

Thanks for reading

Quote:
Originally Posted by sjs314 View Post
I have read only good things about Earl of Sandwich in DTD, they would be on my list if we were paying OOP for sure.

I like your final analysis of the DDP , it was quite interesting to see the cost of meals (TS & CS) and snacks all listed .

Having been someone who has never before used the DP always prefering to pay OOP , I now see the real value in using it and I do not think you can go wrong, just having the freedom to order what you want without worrying about the price is a major bonus. I am so looking forward to our trip in September.

Thank You for taking the time to do this review
Oh it really is a major bonus to be able to just choose whatever you want, and I really think that overall the DDP is probably quite valuable.

Thanks for reading!

Quote:
Originally Posted by HolidayRose View Post
Thank you; I have very much enjoyed reading your dining reports.
Thanks for reading!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dvc4life View Post
Just wondering if you have any future trips planned? Because I have really enjoyed your report and am hoping you do another one if you ever get back to WDW.
No future trips planned as yet, but I'm sure that we will return some day!

And it's probably quite likely we'll visit some other Disney parks in the meantime so perhaps I could report back on them!

Thanks for reading!

Quote:
Originally Posted by princess aleya View Post
Thanks for sharing your cost breakdown, I really enjoyed reading your report.
Thanks for reading, I hope you found it useful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Granfan View Post
Well! I can't believe I've stayed up past midnight reading your dining review. I just want to say that it's the best one ever, and you are clearly a kind, highly intelligent and caring person. You and your lovely family are very blessed to be able to travel and experience so much. I live in the southern United States and will always feel I "know" someone in far
away Australia. Thank you for all your time and effort and God Bless!
Thanks for your kind words! I'm glad you enjoyed reading and I'm sorry you had to stay up past midnight to finish!
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Old 02-26-2011, 04:34 AM   #239
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The Final Thoughts - A conclusion to our Disney Dining Experience

After 38 days and many hours of writing we have finally come to the end of the reviews .

So I suppose I should write some stuff about our favourite restaurants.

We all agreed that the best counter service meal we had was Wolfgang Puck Express. There is nothing that comes close to beating Wolfgang Puck for a CS credit, both in terms of food quality and value out of a credit. We all got nice big meals, a bit of table service and it was by far the most expensive CS meal on the dining plan! I think everyone should find a way to include this in their dining plans. The way we did it by having dinner here on the first night was a pretty good idea, since we weren't going to be visiting the parks on this day anyway.

The TS meals were also good, but we all agree that the best TS meal was Le Cellier. It will be sad to see this great gem become a 2TS place, but I suppose I should wait and see the menu before making any conclusions. We would return to any of the TS restaurants we visited, although the one we would be least likely to return to based on our experience alone would be the Liberty Tree Tavern. However, with so many other restaurants left to visit we might have to try a few new places next time! They were all truly excellent meals and I think 2nd and 3rd place after 1st placed Le Cellier would have to go to Maya Grill and Raglan Road, but only by a whisker!

We found the buffets to be good value. The food was of a high quality and it gave us a good chance to try many different things. Perhaps the better buffets of the three we visited were Cape May and Boma. I think that at 1900PF the food is good, but the characters are perhaps the main reason for the buffet. It's not that I wouldn't recommend it, it's just that Cape May and Boma have far more 'interesting' selections in terms of the food.

While on the topic of 1900PF, I reckon that after seeing all these poor reviews of CRT and the fact that it is a 2TS place I think that 1900PF is an absolutely perfect alternative. It is cheaper, both on and off the dining plan compared to CRT and you get a buffet! I reckon as more and more people find out about 1900PF it will definitely start to become harder to pick up a ressie here. It was hard enough for us!

We were also able to visit restaurants both owned by Disney and owned by private companies. We found that the experience at both was of a very similar standard and there is no reason to stay away from the private operators. I suppose Disney must put great effort into making sure that private operators have certain quality standards before allowing them to operate in their parks and across the resort, because they were all very good.

Also, we got to eat at restaurants both inside the park and in the resorts and Downtown Disney. We found that the resort and Downtown dining experiences were either better or interesting enough to make the time it takes to get there worthwhile. However, I think it is important that if you are going to go to a resort for dinner, try to go to a park nearby, eg. don't book dinner at the GF when you're going to the AK for the day! . This just helps to cut down on travel time and in some cases you can even walk to dinner, for example Epcot to BC for Cape May!

The counter service meals inside the theme parks were all pretty good. The one's that would stand out in my mind personally are Sunshine Seasons, Columbia Harbor House, Starring Rolls and Restaurantosaurus. However, I would return to any of them if there was a need to. The CS meals outside of the parks were also good, although outside of DtD I don't think the CS places really warrant the effort to leave your resort, go to a park and head over to another resort just to try their CS offering. I think the resort hopping is best left for the TS restaurants

The snacks were quite a fun way of getting to explore different foods. Some of the more memorable snacks were the bakery items in France, the caramel cookie in Germany, the Beignets at POFQ and the Dole Pineapple items at Aloha Isle. While all the snacks were good, these ones were just a bit different to what we would usually have.

Being able to experience Disney dining without the Dining Plan was also a bit of an experience. We were able to find some cheap eats (by Disney standards of course) and food was still good.

Now for some of the questions that I have seen pop up often on Disney forums

Was it too much food?

There was definitely plenty of food! I don't think there would have been any way that we could have fit in three meals during our time in Disney, because we would have been too full! Prior to going we were a little worried if two meals and a snack would be enough but it proved to be plenty. But as I have found in the DDP analysis, really if you can't finish your whole meal or you only eat a bit of the dessert, it really isn't so bad because you can still get your money's worth out of the DDP! So don't feel bad if you refuse dessert once in a while!

Personally I would get the Dining Plan again, mostly because it was convenient, it allowed us to choose whatever we wanted, it made our trip more fun and enjoyable and there truly were some savings.

Did having dining plans prepared months in advance cause the vacation to become too structured?

I don't think that it did. We had dining reservations all over the place from just before 7:00pm to around 9:00pm and it never seemed to effect the structure or put stress on our plans. I think that by this time of the day we really wanted to just wind down and take a breather from the rides, and being able to just go into a TS restaurant, relax and enjoy a nice meal was a good way of doing this. We were also lucky to be able to get in early for our reservations when we arrived earlier than planned, which was good especially during peak period!

With the CS meals there is plenty of flexibility, although we found that eating early in the day perhaps after our first or second ride (or straight away if we were a little late into the parks) seemed to work well.

And with so many different uses for the snacks it really doesn't matter if you skip a day along the way, you will definitely find uses for it later on.

I think one of the best ways to avoid it becoming too structured is to check out where the extra magic hours are before making your reservations (this information is usually available like six months in advance at least!) since if you weren't making reservations, you would probably be going to the park with EMH anyway!


Our Final Conclusion

Overall our Dining Experience at Walt Disney World was a highly positive one and there are very few places that I wouldn't recommend to others or visit again myself. I have read many reports of people who believe that Disney dining has gone downhill or just isn't very good, but all of us agree that Disney should be very proud of themselves for being able to produce such a great selection of both TS and CS restaurants that blend well into their surroundings and I hope that they can stay this way or even improve as they move into the future.

There is plenty of variety in terms of the food offered and surely there is something to please even the pickiest eater. However, I think it is very important that you do plenty of research prior to going and make sure you can get some good reservations at restaurants you think you will enjoy, because if you only decide to start making reservations when you arrive it can severely limit your number of choices! I remember well on the 24th when we went to Guest Services at Epcot that the only restaurant taking ressies for that evening was the one in China, so it really is important to choose where you want to go well in advance. The good thing is you can always cancel your reservation and book somewhere else if other opportunities pop up. We did this a couple of times prior to going and we even made changes while we were there, but we always made sure to cancel our existing reservation as soon as we had changed so someone else could take it.



Last but not least, I would like to thank everyone for reading! I hope everyone found the reviews to be both helpful and enjoyable and I hope that sometime in the future I can write another one, it was a lot of fun!

If you have any questions please ask them here, I will be around to answer any questions you might have about any of the restaurants or the dining experience as a whole. Let me know if there's anything I have missed and I will add it!

And I'll leave you with this final picture, the only other picture of all four of us at WDW . This was taken on our second visit to the Maya Grill



And as Mickey might say...

"See you again real soon!"
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Old 02-26-2011, 07:36 AM   #240
sjs314
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I am truely starting to second guess about doing the DxDP this trip, but was feeling out DH a few days ago and he definately wants to do the TS breakfast to start off our day, it is something we have always enjoyed so most likely will keep the DxDP. Maybe we will do Brown Derby for the Fantasmic Pkg and Le Cellier for Dinner instead of lunch using up 2 credits each. My head is spinning just thinking of all the planning I have to do soon.

That is a lovely family pick at the Maya Grill and I hope to see you real soon !
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