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Old 08-23-2004, 10:48 PM   #1
I'm not in the book, you know.

I'm a certified "geekus optima", if you know what I mean!
gopherit's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Neither here nor there...
Posts: 1,277

Good News, Bad News... Our Dining Reviews!

Good news: I lost 10 lbs with all the walking I did on Vacation!

Bad News: I gained 15 lbs with all the FOOD we ate!

Our dining reviews- pardon the length, but it was a long (tasty!) trip! In fact, you may just want to eat something while you read this… When you get done (reading that is, not eating) you can read the full trip report. Better bring a few meals along for that ride, too....

Mostly this report consists of the dining exploits of our fam of 5 (me, dh, and ds 9 and 8, plus dd age 4) but also BIL, SIL, nephews (aged 4 yrs and also 8 mos), and on some meals, my sis and her two teenage dds.

Day 1: Lunch, Burger King in Orangeburg, SC. Ewww. Not too clean. Dinner: La Cucina in Kingsland, Ga. Italian food -- very good! We all decided it was an excellent meal, and we got 10% off since we were staying at the nearby Country Inn. Gotta love that. Service was a bit slow, though.

Day 2: B'fast in the Country Inn, Kingsland GA. Lunch at WDW was snack stuff and drinks from Hurricane Hanna's at BCV. Nothing to write home about in either place. Dinner at Chef Mickey's -- Great as ever! We were seated in the back this time... personally, while some of us seemed disappointed to be relegated to the "back", I rather liked the space we were given, and the ability to eat and not be always "in the hub-bub" of it all. Front was good too, though. As for the food -- There was no seafood pasta -- wah. That was my dd's fave last time -- tasted just like lobster bisque! But they DID have that AWESOME chocolate pie. Oh YUM. Anybody got a recipe for that? Good parmesan mashed potatoes too, as always.

Day 3: B'fast at Cape May. VERY good. Seated promptly. Used b'fast vouchers for the adults -- saved a few bucks! LOVED that cream cheese filled crepe thingy but it had no name above it so I can't tell you what it was called... were those the blintzes, maybe? But I sure ate a bunch of ‘em. Everything appeared and tasted very fresh. Characters were good too (not to eat, of course -- just to see. We were hungry, but not THAT hungry.) We saw most of them at least twice, although we never did see Dale. (Chip pantomimed that Dale was eating in the kitchen ... that, or he was choking on his Krispy Kreme. Hard to tell.) Had a late lunch / early dinner at ESPN. Forgot my stinkin' 10% DVC discount until the next day... phooey. Had a beer, shared a platter of nachos, then had sandwiches. I think I had a reuben? DH had the pulled pork, as did BIL. The pork looked really good. SIL had a chicken sandwich. Kids enjoyed their food as well (burgers, dogs -- typical kid fare), and it was great timing since we went in just as the rain came and left just as the rain stopped!

Day 4: Breakfast in our BW villa -- the usual quick and easy "breakfasty" stuff. Lunch at Prime Time Café, MGM. Our server (Liz) was one of the much, much more "subdued" servers. She was attentive to us -- just not very colorful, as some are. I thought about how some folks might actually be drawn to try Prime Time if they could have her, yet we had come here LOOKING to be harassed, at least a little! Bummer. Oh well -- it was rather hot outside, and perhaps the kids weren't in the mood to be fussed at about their elbows and napkins, anyway. On the other hand, I think my hubby and BIL definitely yearned for more "spark" and teasing. Kids had root beer floats, one son had a glow-cube soda drink, dh had a vanilla shake, I had a PB&J shake. Frankly, I didn't taste the J... only the PB. And I can't honestly say it was better or worse than Dairy Queen! (That’s not a bad thing – I happen to love Dairy Queen PB milkshakes… just meant as a point of comparison.) DH tasted it and said next time that's what HE'S getting. Kids, however, said "No Next Time!" They were NOT impressed wtih Prime Time... as one son noted, "Geez, Mom, they don't even have COLOR TV!" (Well, there ya go. Our technology-spoiled, non-nostalgic progeny.) One son got a hot dog -- said it reminded him of the ones at school (not meant as a compliment). Our dd got the chicken noodle soup and for some reason would NOT eat it. Now this is a girl who LIVES for soup. It looked (and tasted) good to me. I think she may have heard my SIL talking about how her son would not like the "stuff" in it (celery and such) and dd decided she wouldn't either (even though she eats my veggie soup at home which is rife with celery and other little veggie things...) I mean, this is a gal who loves gumbo, Hot and sour, french onion, bisques, mulligatawny -- never met a soup she didn't like, til now. To the server's credit, Liz tried to make things right. She saw our dd not eating, and offered to swap her soup for anything else she wanted -- then made the same offer to School Hot Dog boy as well. The two kids shared a bit of pasta in exchange for their unsatisfactory meals, but still didn't eat too well. Of course, the floats could be a BIG part of that appetite loss, too. I really wish she hadn't mentioned those (until maybe the end, as a dessert). I would have paid for 3 glow-cups to have avoided the ice cream issue.

(Before you say, Hey – you’re the parent – just say no! -- Please realize their cousin was with them and he ordered his first, at his parents’ suggestion. In the interest of harmony, I just didn’t feel like playing bad cop/mean mommy at that moment.)

As for food -- I had the fried chicken (as did DH and SIL); BIL had the pot roast. I never heard what he thought of the roast, but my chicken was very very good -- hot, juicy inside, tasty crispy outside, and it was a VERY large amount of bird, too. SIL got Dad's Sundae for dessert -- man what a pile of ice cream. Wanted to try the Smores but had no “Smore” room in my belly. If we do ever convince our Technicolor-only kids to return, I think I'll get the soup and save lots more room for dessert. For dinner we went back to villa and had Tacos in a Bag, and my sister brought down some dip and chips to share.

And now a brief interlude -- it's Recipe o' the day: Tacos in a Bag
Buy those indiv. bags of Doritos or Fritos. Make taco meat (I did mine the night before, fridged it, then nuked it). Crush the chips inside the bag, then open the bag. Spoon in cheese, meat, lettuce, sour cream, salsa, olives -- whatever you like on a taco. Stick in a spoon and eat right out of bag. This is a big thing at the ballfields, expos/fund raisers, etc. FWIW, sister's dip was cream cheese softened and mixed with salsa -- very tasty hot or cold, on a table or in a closet (see trip report...)

Day 5: : Bfast in villa, packed lunches for Blizzard Beach, then spaghetti in the villa. Sorry folks -- no Disney meal reports for this day! We did get a snow cone (of gigantic proportions in a cup) at Blizzard Beach for each kid. Cart located near the Tike’s Peak and chair lift area. You can pick up to 2 flavors. DD got one with bubble gum and pineapple flavors – personally, the concept makes me gag, but she loved it. The boys got more “reasonable” flavor mixings (cherry / lemon, blueberry / grape) They have these in sugar free, too – quite refreshing on a hot day. I got a cherry/vanilla – very tasty. I think they cost 3 bucks?

Day 6: 2 "Palace" Breakfasts to report on here: Me, dd age 4, and my sister and her two teen dds went to Cinderella's table. The "princess-impaired" folks (dh, our 2 ds, my sil, bil, and their 2 ds) went to Crystal Palace to dine with Pooh and the "UnPrincess" Pooh-Gang. All adults used b'fast vouchers -- this saved my sister alone almost 20 bucks.

Our b'fast at Cindy's was much better than I had geared myself to expect! I thought the princesses were quite attentive, and my daughter was treated like royalty. The stuffed toast was bizarre -- but tasty. It was like a round fried ball with the fruit/cheese stuffing inside. Not exactly the flat square one imagines when thinking "toast", french or otherwise! Mind you it was quite good, it just wasn't what I was expecting. We asked for more fruit, bacon and bread and received prompt attention. Our server was wonderful. I would do this again if my dd wanted to -- it was worth the phone hassle to see her face light up! Plus, she actually ATE HER FOOD. That's not often the case at some character meals. She had french toast "sticks" and Belle asked her to eat them all (I guess because they are french?!?) And my dd was good to her word! Because the room is small, the noise, I thought, was low as well. All in all, a great experience.

As for the Pooh Bear crowd, they loved their meal, too. I am told that our eldest positively chowed down, and all ages of the boys (from infant to adult) enjoyed the food and characters. DH isn't very adventurous and DID NOT TRY the b'fast lasagna! I love that sort of stuff…he should have smuggled a bite out for me! They all said Crystal Palace was a "keeper" !

For lunch we snacked around the MK on nibbles we had brought with us, then went to a fairly early dinner at Ohana at the Poly. Sister and her dds joined us for this too. WONDERFUL. Dh loved this! Our eldest won the coconut race -- he was so proud. Our other son, however, was not pleased with the menu. He did not tell me this, though, until dinner was nearly over. He's normally quite the carnivore, so we thought he would be thrilled. However... he said he would have been happier with a hot dog. In the future, when we return here, we will ask for something else for him (from Kona). He seemed to agree that with that provision, he would return! It was our 14th anniversary so they brought us 2 cupcakes with candles and sang a song to us. Very nice. I really wanted to try a LapuLapu – they looked good! But alas, we were headed back to MK and I had full charge of 4 kids for Wishes at MK while DH and BIL went to e-ride with my nieces and SIL took the baby back to the villa. I figured I ought to be sober for that duty! All in all a wonderful meal and a "keeper" for future trips.

Day 7: Pirate Cruise. The kids set sail at 9:30 am for ports unknown. SIL and I shared a quiet b'fast at Grand Floridian Cafe. EXCELLENT service and food. I had the french toast (made with challah bread) and SIL had... I want to say an omelet? I was too focused on my own meal to notice! We both agreed the corned beef hash and peppers that the man at the next table had looked awesome. Very good meal. Kids enjoyed the cruise (although none of our kids like Uncrustables, so while the cruise supposedly includes lunch, we had 4 hungry little pirates to feed back at the BWV.) Dinner: HoopDeeDoo. OK, by far, the BEST meal of the trip! I got there ahead of the gang to get our tickets, and then began to fret when they didn't show up and everyone was seated! Another lady was also waiting with me on the porch for her party to arrive. Radioed DH and determined the problem at last -- Turns out that in the VERY wicked rain storm, their boat couldn't dock at WL, then they left a crew member by accident, just one mess after another. A kind CM went down to the dock to usher up the missing parties once they arrived. Once they arrived, the fun (and food!) began! The food was very good (I love that sweet honey butter), the chicken hot and crispy, the ribs tasty, and the shortcake was excellent. Most of our kids aren't shortcake eaters, though, so I had come prepared with some rice krispy treats I had bought over at the FW store. The show was really funny -- my sons are still talking about it, especially about the character Six Bits. My dd fell in love with "the yellow guy" (guy in a yellow shirt) and asked me to take his picture so she could have it to keep -- her first crush! They made DH and I dance to "Let me Call You Sweetheart" since we had celebrated our anniversary the night before. After dinner, we let the kids play on the playground, then headed back to BWV. I didn't see how it would be possible that our scheduled Illuminations dinner (Grand Gathering) for the next night could EVER top the Hoop Dee Doo. As it turns out, it wasn't a comparison I would ever have to make.

Day 8: Friday the 13th. We were awakened at 7 am as my sister departed BWV for her home in S.C. She was determined to get ahead of Hurricane Charley! We were told that the parks were opening at 8 am that day but closing at 1 pm, so we grabbed a hasty b'fast and set off to EPCOT. We headed back to BWV for lunch but everything was packed or closed. We stopped off in the general store outside BWV and bought a few more provisions (some little pizzas, water, bread -- typical "bad weather's comin!" foods! At least we already had the milk...). BWV management promised all the guests a meal in the lobby at 4:30, but when we showed up at 4:33, all the food was GONE. According to those who witnessed it, it was greed in its finest hour – folks just made off with as many bags as they could grab, never thinking that there wasn’t enough to go around if they did that. Sad, but at least we weren’t dependent upon Disney’s kindness to feed our crew. Thank God for that kitchen and a stocked pantry! I made a pancake dinner for our gang while we watched the storm pass through. Needless to say -- our Illuminations Dinner was canceled.

Day 9: Off to EPCOT again. Had funnel cakes in America, chased by Italian lemon granitas, as a mid-day treat. Love those lemon granitas, and the funnel cakes are a particular fave of my middle son. Went to Beaches and Cream for early dinner -- used Q&C vouchers for the adults. The bill for the adults WOULD have been over 80 bucks but instead it cost only 46 dollars. Wow, did I ever impress my table mates with that bit of data. DH and I got dble cheeseburgers; he got fries, I got onion rings. The onion rings are thick and wonderful. Kids got hot dogs, except eldest son got a single burger (which he proclaimed EXCELLENT. And he’s picky.) My burger was really good too – and BIG. Want to note that unlike some folks' reports, the waitress we had would NOT let us get anything but sodas and tea and such with these vouchers (no malts or milkshakes), nor would she let us “combine” our desserts for a kitchen sink (even though we were willing to use all four vouchers to get one “sink”, if need be.) She was all rules, I guess! DH got a No Way Jose – wow was THAT good. I got a Fudge Mudslide, just to be different… we all liked it, but we agreed we liked the Jose better. The brownie started getting mushy down in the bottom of the fudge mudslide! My SIL didn’t think she could manage a big dessert so she ordered the chocolate cake with the idea that she would nibble on the vanilla ice cream that came with it and box up the cake to take back to the villa for a later date. BIL got a No Way Jose too. Their 8 mos old son thought that puppy was ALL HIS and cried for it! They would give him a tiny bit of whipped cream and he would gobble it down, then cry for more. You scream, I scream, he screamed for ice cream… and it was all verrrrry good. After all that food, I then waddled back to Epcot with the boys, wherein they somehow convinced me to ride Mission Space. Houston… I have a problem. If I thought I could go to B&C and stuff myself senseless and then ride Mission Space and NOT feel queasy… well, No Way, Jose. They should modify Gary Sinise’s instructions to include this warning: “If you feel you have entered this mission in error, or if you have made a pig out of yourself at Beaches and Cream, please expeditiously remove yourself from the spacecraft via the intergalactic chicken run door on your right…” In short, it was NOT one of my better moments. I hate that feeling of motion sickness... YUCK. Nonetheless, I did feel well enough by night’s end to get a cinnamon sugar Beaver Tail for the 3 of us to split. (So there too, Gary.) We even bought an extra one on the way out for dd and DH to share back at the villa.

Day 10: DownTown Disney. Bfast and lunch at the villa. Dinner was at Whispering Canyon Café at WL. We love the lodge – just can’t beat it for the atmosphere. We did not get the “rowdy” waiter. Just as at Prime Time, we were given the tamer option. We must have “These folks CAN’T TAKE IT” stamped on our foreheads or something, to get the tame waiter (rather, waitress) yet again. Nonetheless, the food was good. I had the pork chops, DH got the endless skillet, BIL got the chops and SIL got steak. Our family loves birch beer – wish they sold this stuff where we live. Kids got hot dog, grilled cheese, and burger meals. Of those meals, the burger looked the best. Kids got worms and dirt for dessert – adults were too stuffed. Great meal as usual. ALways a fave.

Day 11: Bfast in villa, lunch on the run. Dinner at Shula’s. This was SO great. I just can't say enough about it! We dropped the kids off at Camp Dolphin (complimentary 2 hr kid camp with Shula’s meal!) This whole event was kept as a surprise for my entire family – only I knew! DH was really puzzled when everyone got dressed and the kids were in casual shorts / tees and he and I were more dressed up (skirt/top for me, slacks/polo shirt for him). Eldest son panicked at first when I told them they would be going to Camp Dolphin (“But I don’t like fish or seafood!” he wailed…) After I explained that Camp Dolphin was not about EATING fish, but rather, a place to play with other kids, do crafts, play video games, and choose from pizza or similar kid-fare foods, etc., they all let out a cheer! I was instantly made Mom of the Year. Once they were settled in there (which took all of 2 seconds!), DH and I went to Shula’s. DH was very very happy with the choice. Understand that DH is VERY reserved in his food choices and words like “wasabe” or “red wine reduction” make him clammy. Seeing an a la carte menu with words like “steak”, “potatoes”, and “caesar salad” was very comforting to him! And it didn’t hurt to have the football motif. We received EXCELLENT service, and our waitress was great at suggesting ways to maximize our dining experience. I had a Long Island Iced tea, and we split an appetizer of barbequed shrimp wrapped in bacon – very good. Then we split the Caesar salad – wow. I cannot fathom eating a whole unsplit one of these and then expecting to eat a steak dinner. The “split” salad covered the whole plate! It was very fresh. Our steaks were wonderful, although I wished I had gotten the filet instead of the prime rib – a bit too much meat for me! DH got the Cowboy Cut ribeye. Our steaks were done exactly to our wishes. We even split the potato – that thing was huge as well. And they made it without onions for my culinarily challeneged spouse. We weren’t sure if we would have room in our stomachs when the chocolate souffle’ arrived – but oh did it look (and taste) so good! I was glad I had resisted the temptation to order asparagus… I wouldn’t have been able to touch that dessert, and that would have been a real shame! A surprise on this – as one of the waiters poured the coffee, he congratulated us on our anniversary. ANother did the same. This was amazing to us – I had not flagged the dinner as a special event or occasion, nor had we mentioned it to our first waitress. It was enough for me just to have a dinner alone with hubby! Besides, our anniversary had been on the 11th… it was now the 16th. How did they know? We noticed too that the soufflé was absent from our bill – found out it was a “gift” to us for our anniversary. We thought long and hard about how this could have happened, and can only arrive at one answer. I had called WDW Dine that morning to confirm our reservations while we were in the process of switching resorts. The CM was a very chatty personable fellow, and noted that as we were waiting to check in, we must have missed “Charley”. I informed him that on the contrary, we were very much present for it, and we had a long conversation about the effects it had on us, him, his coworkers, the area, etc. He asked if it had ruined any of our plans, and I said no, then laughed and added that our 13th anniversary was spent with me installing a new dishwasher while DH reheated leftovers because each of us thought the other had gotten a babysitter (and when we realized NEITHER had, it was too late!) So a hurricane anniversary for our 14th was pretty much on par for us! Nonetheless, I added, I’ll take a rainy day at Disney over a sunny day at home anytime! He and I chatted a bit more (sorry if you were waiting for a dining CM at 11 am on Monday, Aug 16th!), then he confirmed our Shula’s ressie was still there. We think he added the anniversary “cue” at that time to the ressie. Whatever the case, whoever is responsible, bless ya, whoever you are! We picked up the kids and tipped the Camp Dolphin staff for their services – the kids really seemed to have enjoyed themselves! We returned to Saratoga Springs Resort quite fat and happy!

Day 12: B’fast in villa. I took dd over to MK on this day, while DH took boys to DTD / Disney Quest. DD and I had lunch at Crystal Palace with Pooh and gang. Very good selection – especially the citrus flank steak, the alfredo pasta, and I really liked that chipotle butter they had for the bread! The coconut soup was a bit odd – not bad, but odd. DD scarfed up her pizza, a chicken strip, and lots of fruit and mac-n-c. The Mac-n-c looks like Stouffers – she approved! The characters were wonderful to her, but for the life of me, I wish other parents would keep their kids at THEIR tables! How this one toddler didn’t get stepped on by Pooh or bounced on by Tigger, I’ll never know. And it was very hard to get a pic of my dd when OTHER KIDS kept horning in! I am a fairly patient woman, but this was starting to bug me, especially when the parent would watch it and just shrug their shoulders and say, “He really likes Pooh!” Well let’s see how much he likes him when Pooh, not knowing he’s THERE because, after all, Pooh has the visual radius of a blind mole rat, trips over your tot and flattens him like a veggie frittata… Yes, that’s a bit grim, but it truly was that bad! I don’t blame Crystal Palace – they did their best to control this, and we observed this at Chef Mickey’s as well – it’s the parents I blame. Back to the food – they had a bread pudding with what was labeled as a Bailey’s Irish Cream sauce, but for the life of me, all I could taste was bananas. Weird. I much preferred those little squares with the fudgy bottoms and marble-cheesecake tops… those were to die for! DD lovedthe cookies and ice cream. All in all, dd loved this experience, and did eat well. We would do it again, although perhaps try dinner or bafast instead. Lunch just seemed to sit too heavily on us in the heat…. Later that day we grabbed a frozen lemonade, then later still we got a Dole Whip Float. This was the first I had tried these – DD and I both like pineapple and found it quite tasty, but I am positive DH would NOT like it… he’s no pineapple fan. Dinner that night in the villa (more spaghetti).

Day 13: Bfast in villa. Lunch was snacks we had packed. Got the kids a big pretzel to split over at Kali River exit, along with some frozen lemonades. The lemonades had these cool AK pluto spoon/straws in them -- they are cute souvenirs! (We are still using ours at home anytime the kids have a rootbeer float!) We had Mickey bars a bit later and then an early dinner that night at Rainforest Café at AK on our way out of the park. 10% DVC discount here (I finally remembered! Woohoo!) I had the ribs, DH got some pasta dish he had them exclude all the onions and peppers from, kids all got pizzas and Rainbow Icees in the BIG collectible Rainforest Cafe cups. Those drinks rocked us for about 6 or 7 bucks each… I will admit, however, they drank every bit of the icees (they were about a quart each ,I swear!) and we did bring the cups home with us, along with the monkees that came with them. Kids wanted a volcano dessert, but eldest son was “greatly disturbed” by the gorilla he swore was looking RIGHT AT HIM. We decided to leave and just get a treat later at the parks. DH and son #2 went to MGM; I took the other 2 kids to EPCOT. Got a chocolate hazelnut beaver tail and a cinnamon beavertail for the road. Decided we like the cinnamon best… the chocolate wasn’t spreading too well that night, though, so maybe it wasn’t optimal.

Day 14: Bfast in villa… today we are checking out and heading homeward (wah wah wah!) Lunch at Burger King in Kingsland GA. (99cent dble cheeseburgers) – fairly clean, much beter than our other BK stop, and cheap gas too. Dinner at my mom’s house in S.C.

From here on out, it’s either dining with my mom, or more chow on the road, so I’ll stop. Arrived home 2 days later.

In summary, our “faves” (in no specific order):

Me and DH: Ohana, HoopDeeDoo, Shula’s, Beaches & Cream
Son #1: Ohana, HoopDeeDoo, Beaches&Cream
Son #2: Rainforest Café, HoopDeeDoo, Beaches&Cream
DD: Crystal Palace lunch, HoopDeeDoo, Chef Mickey’s

Chef Mickey’s didn't make the "faves" but it continues to be a super “kick-off” to our trips! All agreed it was a great meal to get you “in the mood”. Of the character meals, the kids seemed to think Crystal Palace, Chef Mickey’s and Cape May were all good – one was pretty much as good as another, I think Pooh might have "won out" because it was new for them (compared to Chef M's) and in the MK park (compared to Cape May). DD enjoyed both lunch with Pooh at CP as well as b’fast with the princesses at Cindy’s… she rated Pooh slightly ahead, but I think that’s because she liked the desserts at the lunch. Not sure how a Pooh b’fast would compare for her versus a Cindy’s bfast. We like the dinner character meals -- we feel like we get more bang for the buck, because of the type food served and the desserts option. Plus, mornings are such a frenetic time, it's either hard to get the kids going and to the place on time, or it's hard to keep them seated and eating when we get there because they are so excited and ready to start the day!

Least fave: We all agree that PT Café was NOT the stellar experience we had so hoped for. Maybe we had built it up too much in our minds. Maybe we were hoping for a more colorful server. Maybe we needed to bring my sister and her teen dds along (the wait staff seems to REALLY love hamming it up for the teen group and having them do silly stuff.) Mind you, the food for the most part was good, but the kids were not liking either the theming or their meals, which does throw a curve in things. We think we’d like to go back to our old standby (SciFi) or maybe try Mama Melrose next time instead. My sister RAVES about Mama’s. Our son #1 has informed us that he doesn’t care to EVER set eyes on the RF Café gorilla again. Son #2 wrinkles his nose at Ohana, but does agree that he would try it again if he could order from a menu instead. DD had no specific dislikes, but did mention she really wanted to “ride in cars again” (translation – eat at Sci Fi. Imagine -- she was only 2 the last time she went there, but it made a BIG impression on her!) We had no truly “bad” experiences – which means once again, we will have lots of tough choices on our next trip!

Sorry for the length… any questions, ask away!

Last edited by gopherit; 03-25-2005 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 08-23-2004, 11:19 PM   #2
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Thanks for such a great and detailed report. If we ever got one of those less colorful servers at PT or WCC, we could go again. Hubby hates that stuff. He was soo embarassed and quite annoyed at me for choosing those two. Yikes.

Can I ask an unrelated to dining question? You stopped in Kingsland, GA? How far is that to WDW? We're probably driving from MD and want to drive most of one day and the next day only have 4 hours or so left to make it, so I'm trying to figure out our options. Thanks.

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Old 08-23-2004, 11:28 PM   #3
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Originally posted by disney4us2002
Can I ask an unrelated to dining question? You stopped in Kingsland, GA? How far is that to WDW? We're probably driving from MD and want to drive most of one day and the next day only have 4 hours or so left to make it, so I'm trying to figure out our options. Thanks.
It was blissfully easy from there. We are in WV (right on the Ohio edge, actually) and coming straight down I-77, then I-26 over to I-95, it took us about 10 hrs to get to Kingsland. That was a long hike, but the kids are real troopers who were clinging to the promise of a swim in the pool! The next day, we got in the car around 9 am and arrived at Disney before noon. I will add, however -- it was a Saturday, so little or no Jacksonville traffic. You may need to plan your departure from Kingsland to avoid a mess there, depending upon the day you travel. On the whole, I would gladly stop in Kingsland again. Decent gas prices, lots of hotel choices, plenty of food places, and all very convenient to the I-95. The Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn express, and Country Inn/Suites were literally side-by-side and equivalently priced. We made a ressie in advance, but used a coupon from RoomSavers.com to get the room cheaper, then just phoned in our cancelaation of the prior ressie.
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Old 08-24-2004, 12:47 AM   #4
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THANKS for the reviews! I love details =)

The last two times at PT we didn't get playful waitstaff, either... and were disappointed. THough i really love the food, I think we PAY for the atmosphere and if we aren't getting in then we should move on... you know? '

Anyhoo, thanks again!
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Old 08-24-2004, 02:24 AM   #5

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Thanx for such a detailed report.
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Old 08-24-2004, 05:16 AM   #6

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Enjoyed the reviews--Shula's sounded particularly fine!!
1'st Disney experience-- Movie "Peter Pan", 1953, Naval Air Station Theatre, Pensacola Florida.
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Old 08-24-2004, 09:32 AM   #7
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Great Reviews!

Crystal Palace is our favorite breakfast spot at WDW - we also can't wait to try Cape May's breakfast & Cinderella's Castle for the 1st time on our upcoming trip.

We've never eaten at Prime Time - never really wanted that interaction - sounds like it would've been perfect for us. We're trying Mama Melrose's next time instead.

Thanks again!
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Old 08-24-2004, 09:41 AM   #8
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Fabulous report, thanks for sharing!!!
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Old 08-24-2004, 04:37 PM   #9
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Originally posted by Uncleromulus
Shula's sounded particularly fine!!
It WAS! DH had never heard of the place and was so very pleased (and he's not one to plunk out a lot of moolah for a meal). And that in turn made me quite happy. I was especially tickled he listed it among his "top meals". That means a lot!

It was so dark in there, with mostly just candlelighting. We didn't mind -- we found it nice, after days in the bright Florida sun, but I can see why they tend to discourage bringing kids. One couple at the end of our meal came in with what couldn't have been more than a 18 mos old child. The kid wanted to get up and go -- but in that lighting, I would be afraid he'd trip a waiter or tumble a lobster cart... He could hardly see pictures in a book. He wanted the candle -- but yowza, what a mistake THAT would be! Sitting in his chair in the dim lighting, he was one unhappy tot.

It was interesting watching the "Crumb Catcher Guy" come around, too. Wonder if that gadget he uses is sold as a "crumb scraper" or is his own personal tool? It's been a LOOOONG time since I've eaten anywhere that cared if I had crumbs! It looks sorta like the sample spatulas we use in our lab at work... Kinda made you feel like you should make crumbs intentionally just so he would have something to do and you could look at his little scraper doohickey.
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Old 08-24-2004, 04:50 PM   #10
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Had been planning on changing the PS for PTC down in WDW if BIL doesn't like the antics at WCC, but maybe I can just ask for a toned down server.
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Old 08-24-2004, 05:07 PM   #11
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Originally posted by Hollymom1229
Had been planning on changing the PS for PTC down in WDW if BIL doesn't like the antics at WCC, but maybe I can just ask for a toned down server.
To be honest, we saw far more toned-down sorts than the wild ones. After a long talk with some CMs during our trip, I halfway wonder if the CMs have been instructed to tone it down (or are nervous and just afraid to get crazy for fear of repercussions). Apparently all it takes is one disgruntled customer who thinks you were rude and bam, you're slapped with discipline or time off or fired or being sued. One server at Cindy's said that one day, a little girl was clearly NOT in a good mood. When Snow White approached thier table, the parents once again chided the girl, saying, "Cmon, get up, we'll take your picture! Go!" The girl responded quite crossly, hands across her chest, with an adamant, "No! I don't WANT to!" So Snow White, trying to be diplomatic, responds in her sweet, sympathetic Snow White voice, "Ooooh, I see! Are we feeling a bit like Grumpy today?" And the mother became enraged -- demanding that her family's breakfast be free of charge, seeing as how the princess had insulted HER princess. One bus driver said he loves to play games and get his passengers singing... however, if so much as ONE passenger says, "Geez, I just wish everybody would be quiet." then he was told by his management the fun stops there -- he must then announce that for the courtesy of all passengers, they will observe the rest of the trip in quiet, so sit back and enjoy the ride. Amazing, ain't it. So I imagine all it would take is one customer to say, "Hey! He picked on me! Bad Form!" at Prime Time or WCC or such, and it would make a server nervous. So if you go -- ask for Liz. As I said, she was very very mild... just had us set our table. When I spilled some of my milkshake, she just shook her head and said, "Hmmm. Well, there you have it. THat's why Momma says we just can't have nice things." And she commented (but did not scold) about our elbows on the table only once. She was very sweet to my kids, too, and as I already said, the food was essentially quite good. Give it a shot....and let me know how it turns out!
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Old 08-24-2004, 07:19 PM   #12
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Thanks for sharing your wonderful, witty reviews!!! What an excellent sense of humor you have. I really enjoyed reading them. I agree about the ill-mannered parents with the not-waiting-their-turn ill-mannered children. Too bad that a buzzer doesn't sound when the children don't wait their turn and a shoot/slide open up which deposits the offender OUTSIDE the restaurant. I know, I know...but wouldn't it be nice if rude behavior caused the offender to break out in big itchey hives or something?

As for your later post with the enraged mom at Cindy's. I wonder what would happen if all the other visitors started booing and hissing the nasty Mom so that she ran out in shame. Well I can dream, I guess...

Thanks again gopherit!!! Glad you made it safely through Charley.


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Old 08-24-2004, 07:28 PM   #13
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Thanks for the long reviews!! Everything sounded so wonderful. Can't wait to eat eat and eat
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Old 03-25-2005, 11:05 AM   #14
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Thank you for the detailed reviews. Reading threads like this really helps increase my excitement for our upcoming trip (as if I need help ). I was wondering about the kids' club at Camp Dolphin while eating at Shula's. Is there a minimum age? We have a 2 year old (well he'll be a few weeks shy of his third birthday on our trip). I saw no mention of the free club in the passporter or elsewhere, so I'm really hoping this is still the norm, as DH and I would LOVE a solo dinner on our trip. Thanks for your help!!!

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Old 03-25-2005, 03:03 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by jenr812
I was wondering about the kids' club at Camp Dolphin while eating at Shula's. Is there a minimum age? We have a 2 year old (well he'll be a few weeks shy of his third birthday on our trip). I saw no mention of the free club in the passporter or elsewhere, so I'm really hoping this is still the norm, as DH and I would LOVE a solo dinner on our trip. Thanks for your help!!!
It's one of those unprinted benefits you only find through word of mouth and the DIS, I guess -- it isn't in the otehr Disney guides, either!

As for ages -- you would have to follow Camp Dolphin rules, which are the same as any other "kid's camp" at WDW -- meaning, it serves ages 4 to 12, and they specifiy "potty trained". If you want to inquire how flexible they are with this (as in, what about a potty-trained 3 yr old?) you can call Camp Dolphin (I think I called them a couple times before our trip, just to get some info and then to reserve a spot for our 3 kids -- I dialed a 1-800 number for Swan/Dolphin, and got an answering machine. I left a message, they called me back -- they were very good about answering all my questions, etc.)

Unfortunately, due to the ages of your kids, it doesn't appear like this will be a good fit for you. We hope to do it again next year, but after that, it won't work for us either -- our eldest will be too old to "kid-camp"! Hope this answers your questions, even if maybe it's not the answers you wanted... Nonetheless, hope your trip is a great one!
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