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Old 08-29-2012, 06:36 PM   #1
englanddg
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 162

Art of Animation - Food Court Staff

This is a post-trip thank you to the Food Court Staff at Art of Animation. I was there Thursday the 16th of August.

I elaborated on it in my trip report, but I wanted to give a special thank you to Rob at the Hamburger place at AoA. I ran into him later at Pop.

My daughter had gotten very ill, and it tanked one of our Disney Days, and...well...I'm going to quote from my trip report here:

(excerpt)

I was rushing to beat an oncoming Thunderstorm, and today's storm was a big one. I'm sure the people at the parks got thoroughly drenched. The food court was lively, but not crowded at all, and I took a moment to take a closer look at what they had to offer (pictures attached). Everything looks very tasty. They run a mostly open kitchen with most of the preparation areas fully visible.

They were obviously training new cast members, and I saw a lot of "I'm still earning my ears" tags. Behind the counter was very busy, but also well organized and clean. I went over to the sandwich shop, which is where the soups are, and unfortunantly they only had minestrone and potato leek. They do have chicken noodle, but not today.

I picked up a bowl of each and asked for extra crackers, planning to offer my kid a choice when I got back. Then I stopped at the Indian restaurant and got a Tandoori Sausage plate. I had some questions about some of the sides, and the cast member was extremely knowledgeable about what each dish consisted of, and very enthusiastic to answer my questions. Then I headed over to the burger spot and decided to try the Veggie Burger (though, turning down the Surf and Surf or the Pastrami Cheeseburger was a tough call for me). I wanted to report on something that most people probably *won't* try if they eat there, just to give you all some interesting reading. So, Veggie it is! I'm glad I did, because it was delicious. But, I'll get into that more later.

While I was waiting for my burger to be cooked (yes, they cook them fresh per order), I struck up conversation with a nice gentleman who, as it turns out, is also a Disney regular (he has kids ranging from age 6 to 27, so he's been coming for quite some time!). He was staying with his family at AoA, and he raved about the suites, saying it's basically like getting 3 rooms in terms of beds, and the extra space was certainly worth the cost for a larger family (he was there with his wife and 2 youngest children).

The topic of my sick kid and La Nouba came up, and a cast member overheard me. Now, I don't know if I'd already set off "reviewer" alarms or something because I'd circled the food court snapping pictures of the menus, setup and foods before ordering, or if they were just trying to create magic (perhaps a touch of both?), but at this point my visit changed from ordinary to extraordinary.

The cast member slipped out to the floor and spoke with someone who was obviously a floor manager, and a few moments later the manager came up and asked me if everything was ok (he had seen me checking the windows to make sure I was going to beat the storm...I had brought my poncho just in case). I told him I was waiting on a burger.

A few minutes later, he came back and said "Sir, have you been having trouble with Cirque de Soleis?" Now I knew the Cast Member had tipped him off, and it was a nice touch. He listened while I explained the story.

His response was "Obviously you can't make it to the Box Office tonight. Here's what I would do. The Box Office opens tomorrow at Noon, so don't go before Noon. But, if you can take a few moments and stop by there tomorrow, if they are doing things they way they are supposed to, they should be able to assist you in arranging something."

I don't know if he'd already gotten something in the works, or what "if they are doing what they should be doing" means, exactly, but I thanked him for his advice. I had already planned to go by the Box Office tomorrow anyhow to see if there was anything I could do (still not expecting anything).

For the cast member to take that initiative was very nice. After this, to my further suprise, the chef came out and apologized for not having any chicken noodle soup available, and offered to make some for my kid! He did prepare me that it wasn't going to be classic chicken noodle, but he'd see what he could throw together. He gave me a pager so I could wait in the seating area and nibble at my food while he worked his magic.

What he created was pretty good, considering what he had to work with. I was slightly surprised at a kitchen that doesn't have chicken stock handy, but one of the other chefs explained it was because all the soup stocks come in bagged form, and are only kept while the soup is being served. They add fresh veg and meat when the stock arrives. This makes sense.

The soup he made ended up being a tomato base that he had watered down slightly, added cabbage, peas, chopped carrots, fresh chicken, mushrooms and red pepper, and then seasoned (obvious salt, probably trying to emulate chicken broth as best as he could).

The soup was very good, and the kid ate about half of it before her stomach disagreed. Even though the soup went mostly unfinished, the gesture from the chef is greatly appreciated.

I took my food over to the seating area and took pictures of the original plating before I boxed them up for the walk home. At this time I was approached by a Disney Researcher, and we chatted for a bit. She said she would love to get my feedback if I would be by later. I informed her I probably wouldn't today, but I would love to answer any questions she had while I waited.

We continued to talk about my impressions of the AoA food court, the chef delivered his soup, and I trucked it back to the hotel room.

The kid was still watching TV, and decided to try some crackers and soup. It wasn't long before that turned out to be a poor decision, but I am encouraged her appetite is there). I checked her temperature, and still no fever, so I gave her some medicine, tucked her in and found a movie on Netflix to watch (Labyrinth).

(/excerpt)

So, thank you Rob! And thanks to all the CMs who helped turn a rather dreary day into a wonderful experience!

Last edited by englanddg; 08-29-2012 at 06:44 PM.
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