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Old 03-07-2009, 09:12 AM   #1
Mich123
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Three Generations on the DDP--our 11 day dining adventure! 3/11 update Tokyo Dining

I'm relatively new to these boards, but wanted to share my thanks for all the wonderful reviews and research that helped to make our trip great! I love to plan for any trip, but I especially enjoy Disney planning. Before our trip, my family thought I was losing my mind, every spare minute was spent planning, I was obsessed!

I read all the guides: the official, the unofficial, Zagat's and Frommer's. I checked out the menus online and read various online reviews, lurking and then finally joining the DIS. I put together my DDP spreadsheet and quizzed my parents, DH and children about their preferred foods...I made my ADRs at the 90 day point, then I changed them! (Don't we all??)

When we booked the trip, I had two requirements, that we stay on premises and that we do the DDP. I did debate DDP v. DxDP, but ultimately, DDP seemed to make the most sense and I was willing to pay out of pocket (OOP) if necessary so that we could experience all the wonderful Disney meals that I thought would make our vacation great.

We spent the first 6 days with my parents at POR, then on the 8th day we switched to the Poly. Here's the cast of characters:

me: the planner who loves an awesome meal!
DH: never thought he wanted to go to WDW, but was converted in 2007 when my mom took us on a trip to celebrate her retirement. Likes good food and can snack on an hourly basis, won't eat fish, ever!
DG'ma and DPopPop: Took me to WDW and DL as a kid, they really like WDW! Both appreciate a good meal.
DD12: Loves to plan, but not for WDW! Enjoyed the choices of the adult DDP, but still pined for mac 'n cheese and the kid's menu.
DD9: Loves to eat and is adventurous, we were worried that the kid's menu would be too boring for her.

So, here's what we ended up with for our TS meals:
Biergarten
Ohana -- dinner
Akershaus -- breakfast
Tokyo Dining
Boma
Hollywood Brown Derby
Wolfgang Puck Cafe
California Grill
Kona Cafe
Ohana -- breakfast
Tutto Italia
Restaurant Marrakesh

We also sampled lots of CS, which I'll review as well:
Riverside Mill
El Pirata y el Perico
Sunshine Seasons
Yak and Yeti
Starring Rolls
Toluca Legs Turkey Company
Columbia Harbour House
Flame Tree BBQ
Capt. Cook's
Backlot Express
Main Street Bakery

Plus, we snacked and snacked and snacked around the World. DDP snacks are our favorite snacks! We used every last one of them...with a twist...can't wait to tell you about that!

And finally, my apology and disclaimer, I do not have pictures of the food, but felt encouraged to review anyway--next time THERE WILL BE PICTURES!

Coming up...our arrival at the World!
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Last edited by Mich123; 03-11-2009 at 05:17 PM. Reason: updated Title
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Old 03-07-2009, 11:51 AM   #2
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Yay! More reviews! You ate at many of the places we have ADR's for on our upcoming trip. Can't wait to read your reviews!
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Old 03-07-2009, 12:27 PM   #3
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It's funny...I am not eating at ANY of the places you listed for my trip in May! I am still looking forward to reading your reviews and I can't wait to hear about the "twist" with the snacks.

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Old 03-07-2009, 01:37 PM   #4
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Sounds delicious! I can't wait to read more!
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Old 03-07-2009, 01:57 PM   #5
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I'm in. Let the reviews begin!
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Old 03-07-2009, 08:11 PM   #6
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Welcome All!

I've just graduated from "Earning My Ears" to "Mouseketeer", but right now I'm feeling like I should be demoted! Just lost a huge entry...oh well, they always say that the second draft is better.

About a month before we left, we found out that DH's co-worker was going to WDW the same week that we were. I immediately inquired as to where they were staying and where they were eating. DH knew where they staying, but looked at me quizzically when I asked about the eating.

Well, one day a week before we left, DH said that his co-worker had asked where WE were eating and said that he hadn't been able to get reservations ANYWHERE. The light bulb went off! DH now understood my ADR mania! And he totally appreciated it, too. During the week, the co-worker checked in with DH and he said that they really had to work hard to get ressies and the choices were limited. Yes, my obsession was a necessity!

So we left early on a Saturday morning and our plane actually landed early--love that! Disney magic already! We took the Magical Express to POR, which, in case you're wondering, did not take that long. Even with the lines, I really think it was comparable to the amount of time it would have taken us to pick up our luggage, wait in the car rental line, find the car and drive to WDW. We arrived at POR at 1:20 p.m. and I then waited in line to check in while DH and the DDs checked out POR and ruled out Boatwright's for lunch (we'd had a so-so meal there in 2007). Somehow they missed Riverside Mill...
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Old 03-07-2009, 08:54 PM   #7
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Riverside Mill Food Court

So, as you can imagine, my hungry and tired family was thrilled when I led them to Riverside Mill Food Court, just a minute away from the main lobby of POR. We'd stayed at POR two years ago, but Riverside Mill was under construction, so we'd trekked to Sassagoula Floatworks for our meals (and yummy beignets!) in 2007.

The kids were so excited when we walked into RM, there were so many choices. RM is set up with various counters which have somewhat themed choices (grill, sandwiches, pizza and pasta and salad) in addition to a bakery section and a scooped ice cream/ice cream treat section. There were lots of bottled drink selections in addition to prepared foods to go such as yogurt and fruit.

I had read on these boards about the dearth of veggies at WDW so I was glad to see the salad bar. To call it a "salad bar" is a bit misleading, all the veggie and topping choices are behind glass and a CM prepares your salad at your direction. I had mesculun mix, grilled chicken, broccoli, feta cheese, tomoatoes, cucumbers, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries with balsamic vinaigrette. It was delish! All the veggies were fresh and crunchy, the tomatoes at WDW were consistently awesome. The chicken was perhaps the best chicken I had all trip, moist and tender.

DH had the muffaletta sandwich which contained salami, ham and cheese with an olive spread. The bread was really fresh and lighter than it appeared, something I didn't realize until a few days later when I commented on an egg sandwich made with the same bread. DH really liked the olive spread, it made the sandwich different from a sub you could get anywhere else.

DD12 had a personal pan sized cheese pizza, that was the one and only time anyone ate pizza on the trip. DD12 said it was too saucy which, of course, led to pizza dissection...ick! I was quick to let my family know that WDW is not known for its pizza.

DD9 had chicken fingers and french fries with apple wedges. I have to say that DD9 was often baffled by all of the side dish options for the kid's meals, but by day 9 she finally got it! The side dish options change from place to place and for a kid who doesn't like to be rushed, standing in line and having to make choices annoyed her. I was glad that there were good fruit choices with apples and grapes and I was amused that DD9 chose "double grapes" on day 11 at Capt. Cook's when she ordered on her own meal at the computer monitor. But I digress...DD9 did enjoy the chicken fingers and picked at the fries.

For dessert, DD12 and DD9 had chocolate cake and the carrot cake which were the standard Disney cakes served at all the CS restaurants. For CS day one, they loved the ooey gooey frosting, by day four, the frosting was scraped off and left as a pile of goo on a side plate. I think DH got a chocolate chip cookie, which he seemed to get every meal. He developed a habit of saving the cookies for an extra snack. The cookies looked dry to me, but they must have been decent because DH kept choosing them.

I knew from reading the boards that you can pick ice cream on the DDP and ask to get it after you eat your lunch. So, with receipt in hand, I ordered a mint chocolate chip ice cream in a waffle cone. After leaving 20 degree weather that morning, to eat an ice cream cone outside in 75 degree sunshine was heavenly! The ice cream was very good and the cone was a decent size.

I would definitely recommend RM if you're staying at either of the PO resorts. I'm not sure it's worth a trip from another resort, but it was nice to have so many choices in a very clean and updated restaurant.

Up next...the family reunion and Biergarten!
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Old 03-07-2009, 09:24 PM   #8
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Awesome reviews!!! Can't wait to hear more!!

I was confused about the kids sides as well. It seems like most times they offer grapes, applesauce and carrots, but some say french fries and a cookie available on request. Are the other options clearly listed somewhere or do you have to ask every time?
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Old 03-08-2009, 08:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msce2 View Post
I was confused about the kids sides as well. It seems like most times they offer grapes, applesauce and carrots, but some say french fries and a cookie available on request. Are the other options clearly listed somewhere or do you have to ask every time?
I don't think anything was clearly listed! Some of the CS places had a french fry, fountain soda and cookie exception in italics underneath the kid's choices, but I don't think that was everywhere. I'm guessing that if you ordered those items and they had them, they'd substitute them. I also might not have noticed other exceptions listed because I was trying to figure out my order, DD12's order and my own order in the midst of a line with a crowd in front of me! And DH was there as well, also trying to figure it out. Of course, it doesn't help that children naturally change their minds an average of three times by the time you get to the CM!
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Old 03-08-2009, 11:07 AM   #10
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I'm in. It seems there aren't many reviews of Tokyo Dining, especially on the DDP, so I'm really looking forward to yours!
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Old 03-08-2009, 11:23 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Colleen27 View Post
I'm in. It seems there aren't many reviews of Tokyo Dining, especially on the DDP, so I'm really looking forward to yours!
I should be at that review later this week, we ate there on day three...thanks for joining in!
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Old 03-08-2009, 12:15 PM   #12
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Biergarten

In real life, my parents live five minutes from my house. They are both retired and had decided to travel for the last week of January and the month of February, fitting in our trip between a cruise to the Panama Canal and a week in Miami (retirement is hard work!). This trip was, in a way, their idea...when we went to the World in 2007, my dad said, "If you ever go to Disney again, we'd love to go with you." I took that as a plan! (DH to coworker: "Well, my wife has been planning this trip for two years...").

Since we hadn't seen my parents in three weeks, we were all excited to see them. Their plane arrived about an hour and a half after theirs, so we had a head start to POR. I'd requested adjoining rooms with the evil plan of taking over their room when they left POR on Friday, since we were staying until Saturday and they'd booked the room through Saturday on the stay 4, get 3 days free plan (which saved them $200 and got them a $200 gift card--they were thrilled!). No one would confirm that we actuallly had adjoining rooms, though, so I wasn't sure until the CM checking me in said, "I can't tell you where they will be, but I can tell you that you will definitely hear their voices from your room."

My parents arrived at about 3:30 p.m. and the kids loved that they were right next door. DH, diplomat that he is, stayed mum on the subject! At about 4:30, we headed to Epcot.

Ah, the thrill of walking into a park...I love everything about the entrances...the music, the smells, even the crowds (since I'm not waiting in line with them at that point). The kids wanted to get in a ride right away and Mission Space has a short wait, so Mission Space it was! After that, DPopPop thought a snack was in order, DG'ma rolled her eyes and reminded us that dinner was in 45 minutes...snacking family that we are, we got the snack! We all shared a yummy pretzel from the cart outside of Mission Space and DD9 got a coke, the first of as many as she could drink on the trip since we'd relaxed our usual no caffeine and no sugar rules for vacation.

We checked in at Biergarten at 6:30 p.m. for our 6:35 p.m. ressie and picked up a beeper, we were told it would be a very short wait. After about eight minutes, we were ushered into the restaurant. I had decided that Biergarten would be fun because I'd remembered eating there in 1985 on a family trip so the nostalgia factor was big. Within minutes, I realized that my nostalgia was actually for...Busch Gardens! Oh the embarassment. But let me redeem myself by saying that Disney being Disney, I would go to Biergarten any day over BG and there were a zillion more choices than they had at BG, which was mostly a sausage fest.

Our first order of business was to study the beer menu. DH had long dreamed of that first Disney beer and here it was! DH, DPopPop and I all opted for a liter of beer in the gigantic stein, how perfect is that? DH and DPopPop picked the dark Beck's beer and I had the lighter one, it was delicious. That big stein helped keep the beer cold, which was great since it took me the entire meal (about an hour and a half) to drain it. The kids and DG'ma ordered iced tea that they sweetened on their own.

Off to the buffet! Food glorious food! I have had dreams of this buffet since leaving WDW. It was clean and plentiful, it seemed that nothing was empty, even though it was a full house that night. I started with the salads, taking a little of each, I had the Bayrischer Kraut Salat (Bavarian Cabbage Salad), Gurken Salat (Cucumber-Dill Salad), and Rote Beete Salat (Pickled Red Beet Salad) and, of course, the Kartoffel Salat (Warm German Potato Salad). All were crisp and fresh. I especially liked the Cabbage Salad, it had an interesting texture and crunch and I really like vinegar, which was a predominant flavor. On the side, I sampled the sausages, there was a smaller light pink sausage that was the best--it was flavorful, but not heavy.

I also picked up a bowl of the Potato Leek Soup and I had to try the much touted pretzel bread. I thought I'd share the Soup with DD9 who loves soup, but she already had a bowl, which she downed and then went to get another. She would love it if there was a DSP (Disney Soup Plan). She pretty much had nothing but soup, despite the 40 other items offered at the buffet that evening. I also loved the soup, it was creamy without being heavy and it was delightfully bland with a hint of leek. The pretzel bread did not seem to be the freshest and I just didn't love it. I'd take a soft pretzel any day over that clunky roll. Perhaps the fact that we'd just snacked on a perfectly warm and delicious soft pretzel ruined me for the pretzel roll.

On the hot buffet, I tried the roasted potatoes, the Sauerkraut, the braised red cabbage, the Salmon in lemon dill sauce, the pork roast from the carving station, the Roulades (which I would call "Rouladen") and the potato dumplings. I have to say that I liked it all! The roasted potatoes were the best and I had to stop myself from filling up on them. I am a cabbage fiend (my poor family!) and I was very happy with the variety.

The Rouladen was fabulous--thinly sliced beef rolled with bacon (I believe) in a rich, dark brown gravy. Absolutely perfect. you can never go wrong with bacon, but the beef itself was so tender that you could have cut it with your fork. While the Salmon was good, next time I will skip it, there's so much good food that you have to mete out your portions and I'd gain room by skipping the Salmon which was well prepared, but nothing extraordinary.

My whole family was intrigued by the potato dumplings. I thought they were good, crisp on the outside, soft and squishy on the inside. DPopPop explained that they are not easy to make and are a time intensive process so we were all sure to sample them.

The kids were not as thrilled with Biergarten as the adults, DD12 would probably say it was one of her least favorite meals as she pretty much stuck to the sausage and mac 'n cheese (ugh...is that neglect on my part??). And she complained that the Bavarian Chocolate Cake was just not chocolaty enough.

Other than that, we all enjoyed the desserts, especially the Bavarian Cheesecake. Now I thought that to describe cheesecake as light would be an oxymoron, but believe me when I tell you it was light and fluffy! DH had at least two pieces and I had one and a half (oink!). We also loved the apple struedel which was fresh with a beautiful flaky, but not too buttery, pastry wrap. DG'ma really liked the fruit cup which looked like cherries in a red sugary sauce. And, I can't believe I almost forgot, the Florentiner cookies were awesome. They had loads of almonds and were super crunchy, it was kind of like an almond layer on top of a butter cookie...they almost looked like a trail mix bar of sorts.

Lastly, the entertainment here is loads of fun. If your kids love to dance, they will be well entertained. DH and I loved the songs...I'll see if I can find one or two for a post.

I think this meal is a great deal on the DDP with the fixed price of $28.99 for adults and $13.99 for children. Biergarten makes our list of places we must eat at the World next time!

Up next: Riverside Mill breakfast, Pirata y Perico (not!) and 'Ohana...stay tuned!
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Last edited by Mich123; 03-08-2009 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 03-08-2009, 12:30 PM   #13
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So glad you enjoyed Biergarten. It is one of our all time favs. We skipped it last trip because our friends wanted Rose & Crown. But we'll be back at Biergarten in September.
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Old 03-08-2009, 12:53 PM   #14
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great reviews so far
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Old 03-08-2009, 08:25 PM   #15
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Riverside Mill Breakfast

Before I start with breakfast, I should note that we did drop by RM on our way back to our room after Biergarten for...a snack! DH had a chocolate chip cookie, DD9 had a rice crispie treat, DD12 had a milkshake and I had a cup of Twinings Earl Gray decaf tea. I love the rice crispie treats in any shape or form, the Mickey on the stick is cute, but we always seem to lose a precious chunk of it! DD12's chocolate milkshake looked awesome--freshly made with scooped ice cream and milk--since she had a cold, I didn't touch it and I forbade DD9 from tasting it, too, but I would definitely recommend it, DD12 is a milkshake connoisseur and she loved it!

We woke up relatively early on Sunday and joined my mom for breakfast at RM while DPopPop and DH took advantage of some extra shut-eye. The place was packed! Even so, things moved along and I dispatched DD9 and DD12 to get their own breakfasts.

For some reason (maybe it was the gigantic meal at Biergarten!), I wasn't that hungry, so I opted for the oatmeal with fixin's. This was at the station that had the salad bar during the day and worked in a similar fashion. There was oatmeal that was a bit on the mushy side, with choice of fresh fruit (strawberries, raspberries, apples), nuts (walnuts), granola, and dried fruit. In this section there was also a choice of three cereals, the only one I remember is Frosted Flakes because that was what DD9 picked, a couple of times...yes, there are about fifteen wonderful breakfast choices and she picked Frosted Flakes! So anyway, I had the oatmeal with raspberries and brown sugar. The oatmeal was just ok, but the raspberries were perfect, absolutely ripe and sweet and delicious. DD9 also got a side of raspberries.

DD12 could not resist the chocolate croissant which she loved! She also got a kids breakfast plate with eggs, potatoes, sausage, bacon and a biscuit and she managed to eat that, too. I was amazed at the time, but now I'm remembering her picky meal at Biergarten. The only item that DD12 didn't really touch was the biscuit, it was pretty rich and even a little greasy on the bottom. DD12 loves sausage and bacon and both were good. The bacon is notable because it doesn't look crispy, but it is. I recommend trying it, even if you think it looks like it won't crunch--it crunched every time! And the eggs at RM were very good, they were constantly making them so they were fresh. I really think Disney makes the scrambled eggs with cream because they are really yummy and I can't seem to duplicate them at home. I tried extra butter, but that didn't do it. Welcoming any suggestions!

DG'ma had a Mickey waffle with strawberries and whipped cream. She loves waffles, and thought this one was awesome! She said that the strawberries were a substitution, but I do see them on the menu at allears...so, I'm guessing she saw someone else with another substitution and then thought hers was different. I would note that the CM at RM were really friendly and accomodating and did substitute various items for breakfast when asked.

I had caffeine free diet Coke to drink, which I note because RM was the only place that I saw it, along with the usual Coke products. DG'ma had the Nescafe, and didn't complain, I never tried it because I'm just not a fan of fake coffee. The kids loved a bottled drink called Fuze, which I let them drink because it has less sugar and because vacation rules were in effect.

D'Gma picked up a chocolate croissant for DPopPop and DH declined breakfast at that point, opting to "pick something up at the park".

I enjoyed RM again, eventhough it was crowded, because the food was consistent and hot. It didn't seem that much different from the sit down breakfasts we enjoyed later. Pricewise, it was $14.87 for me and DD9, DD12 accidentally used a CS for her breakfast--eeks! That being said, she did somehow get a ton of food for a CS. I think the chocolate croissant counted as her dessert!

More soon!
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