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Old 10-02-2012, 03:54 PM   #1
lilpooh108
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Is Garden Grill Worth it Out of Pocket?

I'm trying to pick a good restaurant to eat at on our first day at WDW (arrive at 2:00pm, MCO). I will be by myself and my 3 YO, and 8 month old.

Is Garden Grill a good choice for us? Do they bring the food to the table (as opposed to a buffet)? Are there vegan choices there (my DD is allergic to dairy, nuts, eggs)?

There is evening EMH that night at Epcot which would work for us since its our arrival day.

Is Garden Grill worth it out of pocket?

Does it take a long time for all the characters to come around?
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Old 10-02-2012, 03:59 PM   #2
STILLWISHING
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We ate at Garden Grill a couple visits ago when my kids were closer in age to yours. They do bring the food to you. Character interaction is good but I think this restaurant experience pales compared to other character dining options. The restaurant is kind of dark and just wasn't my favorite for dining. Save your money...
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Old 10-02-2012, 04:01 PM   #3
lilpooh108
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Originally Posted by STILLWISHING View Post
We ate at Garden Grill a couple visits ago when my kids were closer in age to yours. They do bring the food to you. Character interaction is good but I think this restaurant experience pales compared to other character dining options. The restaurant is kind of dark and just wasn't my favorite for dining. Save your money...
Thanks! I was a little worried about the decor actually. I've never been inside the restaurant but the Land building itself does seem kind of old.

Would love to hear other opinions though!

Last edited by lilpooh108; 10-02-2012 at 04:10 PM.
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Old 10-02-2012, 04:06 PM   #4
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This is one of my DD's favorite character meal's, having said that we've been going there for the last 10 years and after the last visit we decided that we won't be going back. Don't like the changes to the food offerings and the price has risen beyond what we consider a good value.

Last edited by WLSILVERCREEKSPRINGS; 10-02-2012 at 04:09 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 10-02-2012, 04:13 PM   #5
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I don't know about vegan options, but I can tell you that Garden Grill is our boys' favorite character meal at Disney (and ours, too!) It's our arrival night tradition and a great way to start the trip. It's particularly great for little ones - our boys are now ages 5, 12 and 13, but we've been taking kids to Disney regularly since our oldest was a year old.

For comparison, our other character meals include multiple times at each of the following: Crystal Palace, Chef Mickey's, CRT, Tusker House, Ohana, Liberty Tree (when it had characters), Akershus, Cape May and Hollywood & Vine. Garden Grill remains our favorite because:

1) You sit and they serve the food family style, so no juggling plates, buffets, etc. Love that - especially with kids.

2) It's the most relaxing character meal around, especially if you request a booth on the lower level. If you are in the semi-circle booths on the lower level, all you see is different scenes from the Land. Our boys love the slow rotation and constant changes in scenery - that was particularly great for them when they were tiny. So that makes it all far more laid back and less hectic than other character meals.

3) It offers some of the best character interaction at WDW, in our opinion. Dinner is usually no more than one hour and the food arrives very quickly. In that time, we usually see each character TWICE. But they aren't rushed in the least.

4) I think the food is pretty good - some trips it's been better than others, but most of it is quite fresh. Love the rolls and salad.

Good luck with your decision - we highly recommend it!
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Old 10-02-2012, 04:18 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by pixarmom View Post
I don't know about vegan options, but I can tell you that Garden Grill is our boys' favorite character meal at Disney (and ours, too!) It's our arrival night tradition and a great way to start the trip. It's particularly great for little ones - our boys are now ages 5, 12 and 13, but we've been taking kids to Disney regularly since our oldest was a year old.

For comparison, our other character meals include multiple times at each of the following: Crystal Palace, Chef Mickey's, CRT, Tusker House, Ohana, Liberty Tree (when it had characters), Akershus, Cape May and Hollywood & Vine. Garden Grill remains our favorite because:

1) You sit and they serve the food family style, so no juggling plates, buffets, etc. Love that - especially with kids.

2) It's the most relaxing character meal around, especially if you request a booth on the lower level. If you are in the semi-circle booths on the lower level, all you see is different scenes from the Land. Our boys love the slow rotation and constant changes in scenery - that was particularly great for them when they were tiny. So that makes it all far more laid back and less hectic than other character meals.

3) It offers some of the best character interaction at WDW, in our opinion. Dinner is usually no more than one hour and the food arrives very quickly. In that time, we usually see each character TWICE. But they aren't rushed in the least.

4) I think the food is pretty good - some trips it's been better than others, but most of it is quite fresh. Love the rolls and salad.

Good luck with your decision - we highly recommend it!
Thanks so much for your opinion! My main reason for considering this restaurant is b/c I can't do a buffet toting my baby, a plate and holding my 3YO's hand. I figured it'd be easier if they served us.

Good to know that the atmosphere is laid back.
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Old 10-02-2012, 04:26 PM   #7
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I'm not sure what the menu changes are, but I really like the food; this is one of my favorites. Ive always found the character interaction is great here. I like having my food brought to me, esp. with kids. Ive always sat in the "outer rim" and thought it was pretty cool. Maybe I'm just easy to please, but I've never had a bad experience here.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:39 PM   #8
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We actually love Garden Grill but we are always on DDP so we don't really pay attention to the cost OOP Looking at the price it does seem pretty high. we really like the food they bring a salad made with the veggies from the land it does have egg and ranch and cheese I think but I'm sure they could adjust that all of our food was very good. DS9 and DD 2 love it. This was out 4th time eating there and as far as the character interaction we had beat out all the other places we have done "Tuskery House Breakfast, Chef Mickey's for dinner and breakfast, Hollywood and vine and crystal palace' The will adjust based off of dietary need the kids plate they can bring out has roasted chicken, mac n cheese, broccoli and sweet potatoe fries on it.

In Feb this year we saw all the characters at least 3 times it was crazy and they always joked around and did funny things.
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:30 PM   #9
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Sorry that I can't help you out with your Vegan question, however, I can tell you that Garden Grill is a "must do" for my DH! When we decided to start planning our spring break trip he told me that he doesn't care what we do but that he needs to go to Garden Grill. The food and character interaction was awesome for us! Good luck with your decision!
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:37 PM   #10
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Disney is really good about handling food special requests. Just list it on your ADR. I think it might be fun if you take the Living with the Land boat ride before you dine so your little one can see the vegetables growing and then know they are the ones being served at the meal.

It's been a long time since we ate there but the revolving restaurant is pretty cool. It takes about one revolution of the restaurant to eat and it would make me VERY happy to be served instead of dealing with a buffet and just that would make it worth it for me.

Hope you have a really great time!
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:47 PM   #11
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They're good about menu accommodations in general at Disney so I wouldn't worry about the allergies. It's one of our faves though and is the best character meal as far as actual characters go in my opinion. They play with our kids, sit next to them and are very interactive. We also usually get to see them more than once. The food is only so so in my opinion for my taste, but we still do it.
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:53 PM   #12
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It's very different from other character meals and we like parts of it and not others. The character interaction is VERY good. Your seats are sorta isolated which help prevent other kids from bothering you. The characters come around several times and really give you some time and attention. They are however dressed a little bit different than you might want for photos.

Food was well done, presented very nicely but it just was not our style. It was good, but not what we would have chosen if we were ordering or at a buffet. We reordered certain items and the waiter just wanted to bring us a whole platter...ok... but we did this a few times and we wasted a lot of the fish and veggies.
Our waiter was fine....he did his job, but not over friendly or anything. We have food allergies and those were handled fine by the chief. If you want to see Mickey and a buffet will not work, I would try it. May be just perfect for your family.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:27 PM   #13
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They bring the food to you as others have said. I can't imagine them not being able to accommodate your daughter's dietary needs, because that seems to be something Disney does very well.

We love this restaurant. If you get to sit on the bottom level, you get to see some of the ride as the restaurant turns.

To be honest, I don't know that I go to too many restaurants for the decor so much as the food or the experience. The character interaction is the best on property hands down and the food is good too. Go.
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:28 AM   #14
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Hmmm, sorry to be the negative one here but we just returned from WDW. We did 10 character meals during our trip --we were on the dining plan and my dd LOVES characters. Of all, Garden Grill was our hands down least favorite. We didn't care for the food at all and we generally like disney food. The character interaction was fine (not great, not awful) but other than mickey they don't wear anything special. It is nice that they bring the food to you but the whole thing was such an eh experience. Overlooking the land area is very pleasant. It was by far the calmest character meal we attended. Its hard to take photos because there's very limited space. Our service was good.

Here's a link to a post I did about our experience which includes pix. The Garden Grill portion will be the second half of the day.

http://crowellgang.blogspot.com/2012...t-in-late.html
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:56 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilpooh108 View Post
I'm trying to pick a good restaurant to eat at on our first day at WDW (arrive at 2:00pm, MCO). I will be by myself and my 3 YO, and 8 month old.

Is Garden Grill a good choice for us? Do they bring the food to the table (as opposed to a buffet)? Are there vegan choices there (my DD is allergic to dairy, nuts, eggs)?

There is evening EMH that night at Epcot which would work for us since its our arrival day.

Is Garden Grill worth it out of pocket?

Does it take a long time for all the characters to come around?
I love garden grill! Especially with little ones. Food is great, interaction is great (just sit kids on outside of booth, stay seated and take their pics! I think Crystal Palace is very loud and overwhelming, where gG is nice and calm and fairly quiet for a character meal! Especially with two tiny ones and no other adults, sounds like a good choice! Your other options for non-buffet character at epcot would be akershus, all princesses.
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