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Old 10-07-2007, 08:53 PM   #1
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Ears to the Food! September 19-30, 2007 - 12 Days on DDP, COMPLETE!

This is my Disney Dining Trip Report for September 19 – September 30, 2007. Please keep in mind, this is my first report here! I’ve received so much help and information from this site, I wanted to post our experiences, in case they help another WDW traveler.

Cast of Characters
DH – (56) He’s a meat and potatoes guy, and the meat had better have made a strong moo or a valid oink, no chicken, lamb, or fish. Deeply suspicious of most vegetables, but is a true Dole Whip devotee. I had him check the menus of each restaurant before I made a reservation, and he usually found at least one entrée he was interested in, and then at the last minute, several restaurants changed their menus!

DS – (25) We used to worry he’d starve at WDW when he was young, he survived on popcorn, baked potatoes from the Potato Cart, and an occasional chicken nugget. Now as an adult, he’s willing to try most any food and is becoming a serious foodie.

Me – (53) The trip planner, the DIS Boards reader, the menu inspector. She Who Makes the ADR. I’m the most adventurous eater of the three of us.

Why We Took This Trip – We’re all big Disney park fans, and have been visiting almost yearly, sometimes several times a year. We usually purchase an Annual Pass, and have never used the Disney Dining Plan. Our last family trip was in August/September 2004, where we got caught in a hurricane and had to ride it out at Port Orleans Riverside for several days!

When I heard that Disney was going to offer a free Disney Dining Plan this year, I talked to my family about going again and taking advantage of it, and said I knew that eating would take a lot of time out of going to the parks and other things, but since we had done so many of the attractions already, this time we’d be doing something new and seeing WDW in a different way.

These are the places where we ate:

Table Service
Wolfgang Puck Café - page 1
California Grill - page 2
Liberty Tree Tavern - page 2
Boma - page 2
Kona - page 2
Spoodles - page 2
Coral Reef - page 3
Raglan Road - page 3
Jiko - page 4
Chefs de France - page 4

Counter Service
Pop Century - page 2, 3, 4, 5
Captain Cook’s - page 2, page 5
Pinnochio Village Haus - page 2
Flame Tree BBQ - page 2, 3
Starring Rolls - page 2
Backlot Express - page 2
Sunshine Seasons - page 2, 4
Main Street Bakery - page 3, page 5
Columbia Harbor House - page 3
Restaurantasaurus - page 3
Riverside Mill Food Court - page 4
Cantina de San Angel - page 5
Wolfgang Puck Express - page 5

We also stopped at several booths for the Food and Wine Festival - page 4

I tried to take a lot of food pictures, honestly I tried! But sometimes the food would come and we’d start eating and I’d forget about the camera, or think about it too late and the food was already not as pretty as when it was first served. I think the WDW waiters are getting used to people taking pictures of the food, most even offered to take our picture at the table after I took the food pictures!

I’ll also try to post prices. I tried to keep track of things, but as those of you who’ve used the Disney Dining Plan know, the receipt the wait staff gives you to keep is zeroed out, so I had to write it down on our slip before they took their copy, which has the amount on it. So, I usually managed to get the total, but not itemized prices.

Last edited by FirstMagic; 11-14-2007 at 10:09 PM.
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Old 10-07-2007, 09:11 PM   #2
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Arrival Day!

Day 1 – Wednesday, September 19 – Arrival at Pop Century
We arrived at MCO at 2:00 p.m., took the Disney Magical Express to Pop Century, checked in, and headed to the food court to get and fill our refillable mugs. They have three different handle colors, gray, blue and black, and we each chose a different color so we’d be able to tell our mugs apart. I’ll post a picture I took of the mugs here, to test if I can get my photos to post to this site, and if they are going to be the correct size.

Cost of three travel mugs $35.97 + tax of $2.34 for total of: $38.31

We used them for breakfast and often for a drink at night when we returned from the parks. They make a nice souvenir!

I want to make sure this picture works, then I’ll post our first dining experience, at Wolfgang Puck Café, because I have several pictures to post from there.
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Old 10-07-2007, 09:15 PM   #3
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Old 10-07-2007, 09:38 PM   #4
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Old 10-07-2007, 09:48 PM   #5
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Looking forward to more.

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Old 10-07-2007, 10:38 PM   #6
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Wolfgang Puck Café

Day 1 – Wednesday, September 19 – Dinner at Wolfgang Puck Café
We took the bus from Pop Century to Downtown Disney. The Marketplace and Westside bus stops are currently being refurbished, so the only stop the bus made was at the Pleasure Island bus stop. Wolfgang Puck Café was the one restaurant my DS had specifically requested to dine at, and I had made a reservation for it early in our planning, for a night we’d planned to do EMH at Animal Kingdom! So, I had made several attempts to reschedule the reservation and was finally told they weren’t taking any more reservations for the entire time we were to be at WDW, they would only take walk-ups, and I cancelled our original reservation.

So, I figured our first day of vacation was going to be our best shot at getting to Westside early to try for a walk-up at Wolfgang Puck Café.

We arrived at the restaurant at 4:30, and were happy to see most tables were empty, so we figured we’d have a good chance at dining there. My DH and DS waited at the entrance while I approached the hostess podium. What ensued was a total Catch 22 conversation, and somehow, neither one of us was quite communicating with the other! I finally asked what time we could come back and she said “Maybe 5:30?” so I said ok and went back to my family who was at the entrance, still smiling hopefully about getting to eat at this place, and tried to relay my futile conversation.

So, we went out and looked at a couple of shops and at 5:15 my DH said “Let’s try again!” and I suggested that he go up to the podium and ask this time, and in seconds, we were shown to a table!

I was starting to fear the Disney Dining Plan was not going to be a good thing, but didn’t want to relay my fears to my DH and DS, so I was relieved when our waiter stopped by, introduced himself, and nicely explained how the Disney Dining Plan worked at the Café.

This meal set the bar for our Disney dining very highly, and overall for appetizers, entrees and desserts, we feel it was our best dining experience!

Arrive: 5:15 (except for that initial inquiry at 4:30)
Seated: immediately
Waiter: Irvin – he was a fantastic waiter, very courteous and attentive.

DH – appetizer: Roasted Tomato Soup 6.95
entrée: Slow Roasted Double Cut Pork Chop
Natural- hormone free Berkshire pork, braised swiss chard golden raisins, pickled red onion, whole grain mustard sauce 27.95
dessert: I don’t have the name for it, but it was a chocolate ice cream cake 7.95
DH’s notes: liked the soup very much, it was very good. The chop too was very good, quite thick, with a nice sauce. I didn’t eat the swiss chard and gave it to my DW, and also removed the picked red onion. The ice cream cake was wonderful, I really liked it. This was my favorite meal.
My note on the Braised Swiss Chard: I tried it and really liked it, if I hadn’t had so much other food of my own to eat, I would have eaten all of it. Funny note, the next day we took the boat ride at The Land in EPCOT and saw Swiss Chard growing there. Its scientific name? Beta vulgaris.

DS – appetizer: Barbecue Chicken Quesadilla
Pico de gallo, guajillo chili sauce and sour cream 11.95
Entrée: Macadamia Nut Crusted Breast of Chicken
Papaya marmalade, micro greens and garlic mashed potatoes 23.95
Dessert: Crème Brulee 7.95
DS’s note: the BBQ chicken quesadilla was one of the best appetizers I had on this vacation. The chicken was one of the best chicken dishes I’ve ever had, and I didn’t think I’d like the papaya marmalade, but I did and it tasted great although there wasn’t a lot of it. I scraped off the micro greens (sprouts?) and the mashed potatoes were good too.
Everyone’s note on the Macadamia Nut Crusted Breast of Chicken: we all thought this was the best dish of the night, and even though we were happy with our individual entrees, would probably order this next time, even Mr. “doesn’t like chicken”, my DH!

Me – appetizer: Asian Style Vegetable Spring Rolls
Plum and Japanese mustard dipping sauces 9.95
Entrée: Mahi Mahi
Warm couscous salad, lemon caper butter 26.95
Dessert: Florida Key Lime Pie
Swiss meringue with a buttery graham cracker crust 7.95
My notes: I enjoyed the spring rolls, they were very nicely flavored and crispy. I shared with my DS and he said he would have preferred some meat in them, but I preferred them as they were. The mahi mahi was quite good, nicely balanced with the couscous. It wasn’t an exciting entrée, but quite pleasing. The key lime pie was good, but my son preferred it over his crème brulee, so we swapped halfway through and the brulee was fine too.

Drinks: we all had root beer. Glasses were refilled promptly.

Bread: we were brought a basket of complimentary breads, wonderfully soft hunks of rosemary, wheat and white (I think Irvin said it was a soda bread, that’s what I have in my notes), with olive oil for dipping. The bread was so good we could have made a meal of it!

Total bill: $132.00, I don’t think that include tax

After dinner we went back to the Pleasure Island bus stop and caught our bus back to Pop Century, where our baggage awaited us in our room and we unpacked and went to bed early, since we had gotten up at 4:00 a.m. to catch our plane.

I’ll put the pictures from Wolfgang Puck Café in another post, this was one place I managed to get individual pictures of each appetizer, entrée and dessert!
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Old 10-07-2007, 10:54 PM   #7
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Great start, can't wait for more!
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Old 10-08-2007, 03:41 AM   #8

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Brillant, looking forward to reading more.
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Old 10-08-2007, 07:01 AM   #9
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great detail in your reviews - ready for more!
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Old 10-08-2007, 09:53 AM   #10
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Very much looking forward to more of your reviews! I think Wolfgang Puck's might be too adventurous for my 2 teenage boys, but it sounds wonderful to me.
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Old 10-08-2007, 12:31 PM   #11
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We can't wait for Wolfgang's!!!!
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Old 10-08-2007, 04:50 PM   #12
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All aboard the food porn train!
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Old 10-08-2007, 07:40 PM   #13
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Thanks for the great reviews. The macadamia crusted chicken is what I am planning to order at WGPC when I go in December. I am glad to hear you all enjoyed it so much.
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Old 10-08-2007, 08:36 PM   #14
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Wolfgang Puck Café – The food pictures

Words are words, but pictures are worth thousands of them!

Let’s start with the appetizers we had at Wolfgang Puck Café:

The Roasted Tomato Soup – a bowl of soup, but a very good soup it was.

The Barbecue Chicken Quesadilla – voted “One of the Best Appetizers of the Trip” by DS, nice to look at, better to eat.

The Asian Style Vegetable Spring Rolls – you can almost see the crisp on them, and the dipping sauce was artfully presented on the plate.

Now for the entrées:

The Double Cut Pork Chop – DH estimates the chop was three inches thick, also note the chard, before its unceremonious removal to my bread plate.

The Macadamia Nut Crusted Breast of Chicken – underlayer of garlic mashed potatoes, the chicken was placed on top, covered with sauce and sprinkled with the micro greens. The pink sauce is the papaya marmalade, quite tasty!

The Mahi Mahi – surrounded by the couscous and other lovely plate dressings.

And now, what we’re all here for…. The desserts!

The Double Chocolate Mud Pie – I just found where I wrote the name of this dessert down! DH thought it was a cake, but its pie shape belied what it really and truly is. I believe the strawberry was originally on top of the pie, and it looks like DH moved it and was ready to start eating it, before I said "I have to take a picture of that!"

Crème Brulee – one of many crème brulees consumed during this trip. The spoon in the foreground seems to dwarf the dessert, but it was a large portion and I think that was a very large dessert spoon.

The Key Lime Pie – lovely to look at, lightly tart, and tasty too.

Atmosphere of the restaurant – it was a little loud, enough to almost drown out the sound of a crying child a couple of tables away, but not so loud to be annoying or that we couldn’t hold a good conversation at the table. There are windows along two walls that look out on the lake, adding to the airy feeling of the restaurant. Beside our waiter Irvin’s fine attention to our dining, a manager also stopped by to make sure everything was ok, and as we exited, every staff member we encountered wished us a Good Night.

Will we return? You bet’cha! If it wasn’t such a long drive, we’d be eating there at our next special dining occasion.
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Old 10-08-2007, 08:56 PM   #15
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Thank you everyone for your kind comments and for reading my food thread!

If you noticed dates and times on my photos at Wolfgang Puck Cafe, I hadn't set my camera time to Florida time yet, so they are an hour behind. I brought a brand new 1Gb and an older 1Gb card, and one 2Gb memory cards along, and thought I had deleted all my old pictures off the cards I had used previously. After taking about nine pictures at Puck's, my 1Gb card showed it was filled up, and my family said "You haven't even taken any pictures of us yet, just food!" and I had no idea why the card filled so quickly and was quite distressed!

So, I put another card in the camera and finished the food pictures for the night, and got out my camera manual back at Pop to see if I could figure out what went wrong. It seems to have created a second folder on the card, but I didn't want to risk losing the night's pictures by trying to get to the other folder, so I figured if I kept having problems, I'd see if the Disney camera center people could help me out, or dump the photos to a CD.

It turned out the other memory card held all my pictures for the trip, but because of that experience, I probably didn't take as many pictures as I originally had planned on taking.

Next up: Day 2 at Captain Cook's and California Grill
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