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Old 09-08-2010, 08:47 PM   #1
ChristyWI
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It Was Exquisite. It Was Weird. It Was Free DDP with 2 Tween Boys- NEW Citrico's 10/4

This is our third time doing free dining, and we’re determined to get it right this time! Being unable to resist a great deal, school and sports schedules what they are, and with DH being a teacher, it looks like we’re back in August. So we’ve got 7 great dinner reservations, a plan, and a hope that we’ll be able to survive visiting Florida when it’s hotter than Satan’s buttcrack.

Who we are:
Me – Christy – 41 After the last trip, I was DONE being tour guide only ever go back to Disney if someone else planned it all. Then I wised up and realized that could mean we’d spend untold hours at DisneyQuest (my own personal hell) and eating nothing but ribs and French fries, standing up. So my control freak tendencies took over and the itinerary is set. I love food and cooking, like to eat pretty much anything but olives – love seafood, ethnic cuisine, foodie-food, fancy-schmancy stuff…and pretty girly drinks too. I run my own marketing business, so this report lets me do a little “fun” writing for a change.

John -42 -- All around best husband and daddy and a big kid at heart, he loves and adores all that is Disney. Also an easy-to-please omnivore, he leans more toward meat, potatoes and pasta, aka, if it’s doughy, he loves it. (Let’s hope that’s NOT what he likes about me!) He will also eat sushi and other fun stuff. LOVES beer and cheesecake.

TJ – 12. (aka Captain Buzzkill of the SS Crabbypants) Never met a food wrapped in plastic he didn’t like. Anything else, he can find something to complain about. How he actually moves, grows and gets through the day without actually consuming anything of nutritional value is a mystery that should be studied by medical science. I occasionally force feed him fruit to ward off the scurvy and rickets. It’s our personal mission to not let his pre-teen surliness interfere with our food enjoyment. He will occasionally weigh in with a snarky comment, but is way too cool to take pictures of his food.

Ben -10. Yeah, he really is BEN 10, but he’s already tired of people commenting on it. He’s turning 10 the day we arrive, and is all pumped up that he gets to eat off the adult menu. He took it as a personal affront to his manliness to have to eat off the kids menu last time. He’s 63 pounds of gristle, can put away 7 tacos in one sitting. He’s adventurous and willing to try almost anything. He won’t always like it, but he’ll try it. Ben's agreed to be my co-reviewer, so you'll see some pictures of his meals.

I’ve been lurking on these boards a bit and got so many good ideas and tips, I thought we’d share our experiences. Turns out it’s harder than it looks…and many kudos to those of you who are able to do such great, thorough reviews!

Our reservations:
Biergarten – Ben’s been taking German and is really into history. So this was his birthday choice. Buffet means our pint-sized curmudgeon will probably accidentally find something to nourish him. Plus, large beer. Sounds like a win!

Sci-Fi Drive In – Yeah, really, I have two tween boys. Need I say more?

The Wave – This one’s for Mama – since the boys loathe characters (yay! No waiting in line for autographs!) We didn’t have any great “in the park” TS options. So, The Wave sounded cool and relaxing.

Boma – So many great reviews, really wanted to give this a try.

LeCellier – Grilled meat! Cheese soup! (Can you hear the grunting?) Sold!

Citricos (just the grown-ups) – Picked this for our date night – kids not invited!

Teppan Edo – ate here our last visit and it was a hit all around, so we’re going again.

First Review: Everything tastes better when you're sleep deprived: Sunshine Seasons and Biergarten.

Last edited by ChristyWI; 10-04-2010 at 09:31 PM. Reason: Update
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Old 09-08-2010, 08:56 PM   #2
rhondag508
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Fun start! So glad we're going in October and avoiding Satan's buttcrack type heat...too funny!
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Old 09-08-2010, 09:20 PM   #3
mimi'sgirl
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I'm in. Can't wait to hear bout your boys...TJ sounds like my ds but he's 7. LOL
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Old 09-08-2010, 09:33 PM   #4
ChristyWI
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Thanks for subscribing! I have my first day done, but can't post photo links until I have 10 posts...guess I should be more social!! Back soon!!
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Old 09-08-2010, 09:42 PM   #5
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I'm in!! My boys are 10 and 12. Last year we upgraded the then 9 year old to adult status so he could order from the adult menu. Loved it!! Looking forward to your reviews, many are places I want to try next year.
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Old 09-08-2010, 10:05 PM   #6
ChristyWI
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We arrive: Sunshine Seasons and a birthday dinner at Biergarten

Despite having to get up at 4:30, and waking up at 2:30 am worrying about getting up at 4:30 am, we arrived without a hitch – perfect flight and great bus karma got us to the Coronado Springs by 11 am. I fortified myself with an iced latte from Café Rix before we headed to Epcot – the boys' favorite park. We’d be looking forward to Sunshine Seasons since our last visit. My choice was seared tuna salad and a fruit tulip for me and a smoked turkey on foccacia for Ben.



The seared tuna was very fresh and the greens had a lovely vinaigrette – it looked at first like it might be overdressed, but the flavor was quite light. The salad had plenty of interesting greens, crispy wonton strips, carrots and peppers. The tuna was nicely cooked, but I think a little more flavor would have been nice…maybe a pepper crust, or something. But it really hit the spot, and was light but filling. Ben loved his sandwich – he could have done without the dried herbs on the bread, since “you can’t taste anything else” with them.

The turkey and bread were nice and moist and he managed to eat pretty much all of it. The sandwich was served with a potato salad – smoky vinaigrette type dressing, maybe with bacon. He didn’t like it but I did! Unfortunately my fruit tulip was a bit disappointing – tasted good, but a bit “old” and soggy. I managed to eat it all anyway. Ben passed on dessert (???), so we just got an extra bottle of water.

We did some soggy touring until dinner at Biergarten. (Handy planning tip – if you’re checking your luggage and heading straight to the parks in hurricane season, pack ponchos in your CARRY ON, people!) After our light lunch, early start, and raindrop dodging, we were ready for food and ready for it now! We were seated promptly, and managed not to elbow anyone out of our way to enjoy the buffet. We are from Wisconsin AND of German descent, so we knows us some good German food, and this was wonderful.
Flavors I remember my Grandma (the one who could cook) making. For the salad round, we had tomato salad, cucumber salad, and sausage salad. I’m pretty sure that’s the first plate.



You know, I just don’t know how to make a buffet plate not look disgusting in a picture. Neither do I know how to make myself not look disgusting after running around in the rain for six hours. Fortunately my boys all look adorable. I am SO getting a crew cut.



Our next course was everything delicious about potatoes and meat: roasted potatoes, spaetzle (not a potato, but you put gravy on it), roulade with gravy, roast pork with apricot, mashed potatoes, German potato salad.
John ordered a ridiculously large BUCKET of beer, far more than prudent.



I stuck with tea, as the sleep deprivation was making me nutty enough. We were all starving and the copious amounts of readily available potatoes and gravy based dishes were welcome and inhaled. I honestly didn’t see what TJ ate – I think he had the chicken schnitzel with gravy. We did manage to test the desserts, but kind of a disappointment again – the apple strudel a little soggy, but good flavor.

Well stuffed, we headed back to the CS.

One GREAT tip we got on these boards was the Garden Grocer delivery – I’d placed an order earlier that week for bottled water, granola bars, half and half, fruit and yogurt so we could have breakfast in the room before heading into the park each day. I know some people use their snack for breakfast, but the boys really enjoyed picking out their snack each day, and they wouldn’t have wanted to “waste” it on breakfast! Even with the delivery charge, I’m sure we saved money over buying water and breakfast every day! I also brought Starbucks Via packets to make with bottled water in the morning – two packets in the little coffee pot were perfect, and way better than the weak Disney room coffee.

Next: The atmosphere was delightful. The food and the attitudes? Not so much. Hollywood Studios
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Old 09-08-2010, 10:12 PM   #7
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Great reviews so far! The potato salad your son got at Sunshine Seasons looks good- I've never seen that before.
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Old 09-08-2010, 10:52 PM   #8
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great start. love your writing style and wit. looking forward to more. we are going to sci fi this trip - ds 12 request.

ps cute family
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:13 PM   #9
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Subbing and letting you know that I am totally stealing your nickname for TJ. I too have a Captain Buzzkill of the SS Crabbypants! I may change the b's to p's though.
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:33 AM   #10
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Nice report and pics, OP. Your sons may be crabby, but they're awfully cute anyway. Do you recall what kind of beer your DH had? It looks like a nice amber.

What's interesting is that I had the seared tuna from Sunshine Seasons on 8/26, but it looks mine was prepared quite differently. My tuna was coated in a spice mixture and served over a noodle salad. I asked for extra dressing and they told me they didn't have any, but that I wouldn't need it because it was so well-seasoned. They were right too; the dish had a real kick to it and was plenty moist enough. It was something I greatly enjoyed; my favorite CS meal of the trip.

Looking forward to reading the rest of your reviews.
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Old 09-09-2010, 12:53 PM   #11
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Can't wait to read your reviews, you ate at a couple of my favorite places!
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Old 09-10-2010, 02:48 PM   #12
ChristyWI
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The atmosphere was delightful. The food and the attitudes? Not so much. Hlywd Studios

Day 2 – Holly wood studios, Studio Catering Co and Sci-Fi Drive In
Caught up on a little much needed sleep, breakfasted on some granola bars and coffee (seriously, Starbucks Via with real half and half was a major contributor to my vacation happiness) and arrived at the park by around 11 am. Decided a good bet would be Studio Catering Company, as the boys eat paninis all the time, I figured it would make everyone happy. Bad decision, Mom. I don’t know if it was the barometric pressure or low blood sugar, but Ben didn’t seem to find anything he wanted on the menu. We talked him into a turkey foccacia melt with fries, and first the fact that the bread was grilled bothered him, then he discovered (GASP) a smear of olive paste on the sandwich, and it was all over. He ate the fries. Fine, whatever. I ordered the veggie grilled sandwich with fries. I thought it was great – grilled peppers, eggplant and cheese on nice crispy bread. No photos of lunch due to extreme crabbiness.

We kept the dinner location a surprise, and made them guess all day where we were eating that night. When they finally figured it out, they were SO excited! We arrived at Sci-Fi, and of course had to sit in a car. Got seated right up front, and the boys were thrilled to be able to sit it the front “driver’s” seat. DH and I got to sit behind them, and then a couple of CMs on a day off sat in the last seat, so it was fun eavesdropping on them. The restaurant is dark and cool, and pretty quiet since everyone is watching the cartoons.

The separate seats were nice to give us a little break from them, if you know what I mean! The boys started out with milkshakes



and I was in need of a Magical Star Cocktail.

Hello, gorgeous.

It was so pretty…and tasted nice, but could have definitely used more alcohol (I wonder why…) Had to protect my glowing ice cube with my life from little front seat poachers, though. MY CUBE! MITTS OFF!

I ordered the shrimp pasta, which the server described as Mediterranean-style.

John and Ben had the butcher steak, and TJ had ribs.

I believe this is the steak.
TJ didn’t love the ribs, thought the sauce was too sweet. The pasta…well, it’s not that it didn’t taste GOOD – it did. Creamy pasta, nice salty tangy feta cheese on top, fresh shrimp. It just seemed a little tired, like it had sat under the heat lamp for a while, and just not…special. Like a dish I would make at home. Ben and John both though the steaks were pretty uninspiring, as well – not especially tender or flavorful. But the Magical Star cocktail with sparkly glow cube and I were not interested in hearing your complaints. For dessert, we ordered the peanut butter cake – THIS was a highlight! I don’t even like cake, and it was creamy and delicious. I tried the no-sugar added brownie – gross. I should know better – I hate artificial sweetener. We also had an apple strudel, which was all kinds of yum. Even with dessert, they boys were not especially satisfied, and left with a need only fried dough and sugar can fill. So they got a Churro and funnel cake for their snack credit on the way out of the park. Both were great, and attitudes were much improved by the end of the day.


Next up: The breading was exquisite - Magic Kingdom, Columbia Harbor House, and The Wave

Last edited by ChristyWI; 09-13-2010 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 09-12-2010, 07:46 PM   #13
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I had that pasta @ Sci Fi a couple of years ago and you're right - nothing special. But tasty!

Your boys are so handsome! Can't wait to read more reviews!
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:01 PM   #14
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Hilarious!!! I want to travel with your family. Glowy drinks and everything!
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:59 PM   #15
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I'm in. Enjoying your reviews so far!!
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