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Old 09-10-2012, 11:33 AM   #1
DIS Veteran
Sheaboys's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Brimfield, Massachusetts
Posts: 719

FREE Dining Review, 8/24-9/2. 7 People, 8 Table Service, CS and Snacks!

This is my first ever dining report. I did not take pictures so please forgive me.
CAST: Me, 41, Dh, 41, DS1 14, DS2 12, Ds3 10, DS4 6 and Ds5 3. We stayed at Caribbean Beach Resort, so it will include counter service and snacks from the resort.

8/24- First night, not on dining plan. We arrived late at Old Port Royale, we decided on:
Fettacheni with meatballs
Large Pepperoni Pizza
Breadsticks with Sauce
2 Large Cokes

We thought this was pretty good. We all enjoyed the pizza and shared the pasta. We even had an extra slice of pizza, so it was plenty for our family of 7.

I will do table service meals first, we had FREE dining plan:
8/25-Garden Grill- 4:15 reservation
We were hungry, arrived about 4, I checked in, we got a buzzer, and within 3-5 minutes it went off and we were seated. Top row seating. This restaurant rotates slowly, character meal with Farmer Mickey, Chip and Dale. It was also DS4's 6th Birthday, so he had on his birthday shirt and pin.
The waitress came right over and explained the dining plan to us. This is a Family Style place as well. She took our order for drinks and off she went. The drinks came fast, and was quickly followed by bread and salad. The bread included a maple butter, so yummy, the salad with dressing (ranch I think) was also very good. We had even made a dent, when the food came out, it was very quick. Too quick in our opinion as it would have been nice to enjoy a bit of salad first. There was not enough room for all the stuff on tables so the plates we sort of on top of each other. Other than that, the Talapia was great, as was the turkey and steak. I did try the steak but ds3 did and loved it, it looked dry to me. The turkey was very moist, and the fish was great, all my boys and my husband and I love fish, we got more of this since it was all you can eat. It also came with sides of macaroni and cheese, a seasonal veggie (I just can't remember what it was, squash maybe). The kids meals were drumsticks, mac n cheese and sweet potatoe french fries. The little kids thought this was good. WE all enjoyed the meal, the characters and the dessert. Which was a fruit type cake with icecream. DS4 also got a cupcake with a candle and we sang. We finished our meal at just about 1 full rotation. It was quick that is for sure.
Price: $186.33 for 5 adults and $36.19 for 2 child Tip OOP was; $37.61

Day 2: Liberty Tree Tavern- again another family style meal.
We had reservations for 5:40. We did get there a bit early since it was rainy out. The place was packed! I checked in, and we found a spot to sit a few of our kids, the rest of us stood, along with everyone else. Did a few bathroom runs. We were called probably about 15 minutes later and it was right about our ADR time. We were seated to the right, upper level. Nice large seat in the corner. We were again explained the dining plan and what was included. We were hungry again at this meal. Drinks were ordered, crayons handed out, but nothing to color on (there was a table in the waiting area that had papers to color, we did not get them), so napkins it was.
Bread and salad was served first, again a big hit with my family. Meal included flank steak, turkey and pork. ALL of it was cooked perfectly, this time I ate the steak because the spices on it was just so full of flavor, the turkey was very moist and pork had a cranberry type sauce to go with it. Macaroni and cheese, veggy was a squash, zuchinni and onion type thing which I loved, so did almost everyone else in our family. Dessert was an apple cake type thing with ice cream. Again we enjoyed this meal, it was a bit slower paced than Garden Grill which was nice, but not so slow you were always waiting. Down side, was the bathrooms being so far and so small. Having little kids that never have to go at the same time proves to be difficult. No matter how many times during the trip I tried to get the 2 little ones to go at the same time, it did not always work that way. So you know how it goes, you take 1, sit down, get ready to take a bite, then another one has to go. Dh and I do trade off though, and we also have the olders take turns too. Ds4 did not receive any mention of his birthday, which was disappointing but also ok, since he did receive lots of happy birthday's through out the week, and by Friday we were so done with celebrating at every restaurant.
Price: $159.95 for 5 adults and $31.98 for 2 kids. Tips OOP: $34.55

Day 3: We were supposed to go to Rain Forest Cafe in Downtown Disney, however, the day started with tons of rain. We went to Animal Kingdom anyway, ponchos on. Stayed until about 11 or 12. Went back to the hotel, changed and by 2ish it was no longer raining. So we decided to head to Epcot. We had reservations for 5:40. We began heading out of Epcot around 4:15, asked on the way out, if we take the monorail to TTC can we get a bus to Downtown. Yes, was the answer. So off we went. We asked again, at TTC if there was a bus to Downtown and yes was the answer, so off we headed, to what DH now calls it "The Dump of Disney". Now, in 2005 we were able to do this, go from TTC to Disney Marketplace. There were a few other people there as well. After about 15 minutes, we saw a sign that the buses to marketplace are available at hotels. So dh says, maybe we can't take a bus from here, but again we asked 2 people and got the same answer, so 20 minutes later a bus driver comes over asks all of us where we want to go, we tell him, he says there are no longer buses to downtown market place from TTC only to the hotels there and you have to be staying at the hotels to use the bus service (which I get), because he said people who were not staying at those hotels were using the service to take them to the marketplace. So while I get it, why is there not a bus to marketplace/downtown disney there for disney resort guests like there is at the resorts on property. So we hike it up to the monorail, we were going to take it to the Poly, hop on a bus there. I did not know how close the walk was or how far, but my kids were dragging, especially the little kids. We waited the line was getting big and it was now about 5:20, we got out of line and decided to just hit MK at this point for counter service. Everyone was asking if we knew something about the monorail taking so long, no we did not just going somewhere else. So out of that line and moved to the MK monorail.
Peco's Bills was our choice, but that is for the counter service part of the review.

Day 4: Teppan Edo 5:25
We had eaten here in 2005, it was a request from the older 3. Here we get to all order what we want. We got there right on time, I checked in, which is at the bottom of the stairs, it was about 5:25-5:30. We received a buzzer, walked up the stairs and waited on the deck. It had been raining on and off all day. We were seated about 6:15. Again kids were dragging. My 2 youngers were not napping between parks, we would go to one in the morning to resort for a break but would end up swimming. Then off to another park for dinner. Before we sit down the dining plan was explained to us, and again when we sat down, but it was more of what was on the menu. We ordered our drinks, then our meals and received towels to wash up with. We got: ds1, ds2, dh and myself ordered the Asakusa (steak and shrimp) ds3 ordered Kajiki Maguro (swordfish) and the 2 little kids ordered Child Ebi (shrimp). Everything comes with noodles, white rice and veggies (mushrooms and onions). The chef, was very thorough with what the 3 sauces were. He was entertaining, but not as entertaining as the chef at the next table. This restaurant is very very loud, very hard to hear. Thankfully rice was served while he cooked, as ds5 was hungry and beginning to slump into a rest at the table so this perked him up. Our food was very good, we enjoyed it, entertainment could have been better, but whatcha gonna do. Dessert was rice pudding for ds1, ginger cake for ds2, dh and ds3, and ice cream for myself and 2 little kids. Everyone liked the desserts, ds1 made me try his rice pudding, I have huge texture issues and this just made me gag, I spit it out in the napkin, dh told him to do it and knew I would do that. This meal took longer as we got out of the restaurant around 7:45. And it was pouring. We had no ponchos. We waited a little bit and it was not letting up, so off we went, into the rain. WE were beyond soaked, by the time we got to the bus stop for Caribbean Beach.
Price: 4 Asakusa $119.80, 2 Child Ebi $27.00 and 1 Kajiki Maguro $26.95
Tip OOP: $42.96

Day 5: 50's Prime Time 5:25
We again arrived early, about 5, so pretty early. I checked in, was told if we can get you in we will try. I received a buzzer (I think). Honestly I don't remember, we chatted with the ladies up front, boys sat on the couch, people are just in awe that we have 5 boys. We were seated about 5:15, not too bad. Our server was very nice, explained the dining plan, per usual. All servers by the way, told us, automatically 18% will be added for tip. She took our drink orders, introduced us to our cousins (table next to us), he was having a birthday we sang to him. DS4 was wearing his birthday shirt and pin, he was sitting up tall so Jennifer would notice him. She certainly did. After ordering our drinks we switch the kids around, and Jennifer came back and we were all switched up. She did fine adjusting the drinks. She mentioned to DS1 what she expected of him, he set the table and would be the one to clean up and make sure everyone's elbows are off the table. She called him "Scooter" which we proceeded to call him throughout the rest of our trip. What we ate:
Me: Mom's Favorite (pot roast, fried chicken and meatloaf with greenbeans and mashed potatoes), apple cobbler ala mode and cherry coke.
Ds2- Chicken Pot Pie, Boston Creme Parfait, and Vanilla Coke
Ds5- kids chicken strips (I think they were grilled), vanilla coke, fruit salad, and ice cream sundae for dessert
Total for these 3: $61.18 for adults and $9.14 for child Tip OOP: $11.89
Ds1-Mom's Favorite, Vanilla Coke and PB&J Shake
Ds4-kids mac n cheese, fruit salad, vanilla coke and ice cream sundae.
Ds3-Mom's favorite, vanilla coke and rootbeer float.
Dh- Mom's favorite, coke, and Boston Creme Parfait.
Total for these 4: $91.19 for adults and $9.14 for child Tip OOP: $16.96
This was the only restaurant that our meals were rung up separately. I told her we had no problems just putting everything on 1 card (we had 2 rooms), she said sometimes there are issues when you have 2 rooms, but for us, the entire trip was flawless with the meals being on 1 card. We had connecting rooms, so all our dining was tied together.
We enjoyed our meals here, everyone just about ate everything ds2 had a hard time finishing his pot pie, and ds3 ate everyone's fried chicken. Scooter did a great job cleaning the table. The waitress had a celebratory cup cake for ds4, our "new" cousins sang with us.

Day 6: Tony's Town Square 6:05
We were early again, about 5:45, again this place was packed. I checked in, I think we got a buzzer, I can't remember. Found a seat when a family got up. We were seated about 6:10 maybe. Our server explained the dining plan and tip. He went into much more detail about the plan then everyone else, but I had read up on it and used it in 2005, I already knew the ins and outs. But he explained how it would look on the receipts, very thorough.
Drinks were ordered and rolls with olive oil came out. Again we were hungry, but the olive oil was pretty bland, but we all ate it anyway. Here is what we ordered:
DS1-Spaghetti and Meatballs, Sorbet and a rootbeer
Ds5- kids mickey ravioli, ice cream sundae, apple slices and a cok
ds3-Seafood Diavolo, sorbet, coke
ds2-Seafood Diavolo, Tiramisu and iced tea
ds4-kids grilled cheese dippers, fruit salad, ice cream sundae and coke
dh-NY Strip Steak, Tiramisu and coke
me-Shrimp Scampi, Tiramisu and Iced Tea
Price: ? I can not find the receipt... sorry Tip OOP: $30.70
I was apprehensive about this meal after all the reviews I read. We really enjoyed it, the food was pretty good, ds1 liked the red sauce, I loved my scampi, the steak was cooked perfectly and the rest was yummy as well. Aside from the bland olive oil it was good, we would go back, the service was good, the atmosphere is cute. Very nice sit down. Bathrooms, were not the best, the floor was wet from something leaky, and only 3 stalls for womens.

Day 7- Coral Reef 5:45
We, again arrived a bit early. Checked in-got a buzzer. With in 3, minutes we were seated. The family that checked in before us was a family of 5, who had reservations before us, and we were seated first, weird.
We were seated up top, in a big half circle booth. Ds4 was beside himself, very upset because he wanted to be closer to the tank and was having a melt down. He was tired and hungry and just falling apart. By day 5, we were having the little kids get a nap in the afternoon, but this still was not enough for him. But after about 10 minutes, he was fine.
What we ate:
Ds1, ds3 and I: Lobster Pasta, desserts were: seasonal fruit cheesecake, classic brulee and B and J Mouse.
Dh- Corvina (a fish of the day), with B and J Mouse
Ds2-New York Strip Steak with B and J Mouse
DS5-Kids fish, with lobster soup and kids parfait
ds4-He wanted mac and cheese, they do not serve this here, so they made him noodles with butter and parmesan cheese, carrots and celery and brownie sundae.
Drinks were either soda or iced tea. Here the waitress explained the dining plan, she was quick, but the people that brought the food just about threw the plates on the tables, not sure what their problem was. This was really the only place we had an issue with service.
Price: $211.33 total and Tip OOP: $38.04
We all enjoyed our meals, with the exception of Ds1, he did not care for the lobster pasta, no clue why, he loves lobster, I think it was the texture of the pasta or the flavor of the sauce. So the boys shared ds2's steak when he was done with it. Dh finished his pasta. Or maybe it was ds3, I can't remember. Desserts were good.
Wish we could have sat closer, but figured the wait would be longer and no booths that close.

Day 8- Crystal Palace for Breakfast 8:25 and 'Ohana for supper 5:30.
I had scheduled CP, even though I did not have enough Table Service credits. We were going to Pay OOP for RainForest, but since we never made it there, we used those credits for CP, it worked out perfectly.
We took some pictures going down main street, very nice. The check in line was outside and huge, but it went very quickly. I checked us in about 8:20, received a buzzer. We were seated about 8:25, the server took a while to come over, then came out and said "Oh", as if she had no clue we were there. She explained the dining plan, got our drink order, told us we probably have enough time to go up to the buffet, so we did. Now, we did this in 2005 with just 3 kids. I despise buffets, when your kids out number you, it is very hard. Plus, it is a buffet. But I thought this would be a great place to meet Pooh and friends. None of us Loved the buffet. We got some eggs, bacon, fruit (lots of fruit), I can't remember what else. We ordered coffee, milks and oj's for drinks. We saw Piglet and Tigger, pretty quick. Then we waited, waited and waited. We left around 9:15 and Poor and Eyeore never made it over to our side of the room. Yes, I was disappointed because that is why we came, but we were done eating, and just sitting. With 5 kids, 2 of them being 6 and 3, it was time to hit the park while it was still pretty empty.
Price: ?? can't find that receipt Tip OOP: $25.37. The server was good getting the plates removed, although I think only 3 of us went back up for another plate of something. For us, this was not a great meal, we were not big breakfast eaters during our vacation. All week we had been getting up and out of the room, to the parks and eating breakfast around 10:30 or so. At home, we eat breakfast like normal, before school 6-7 am. So this was a waste for us, but again I did it for characters, which we were disappointed we did not see them all. Oh well, live and learn.

'Ohana for supper. We had never been here either. We took a bus to Mk then the monorail to the Poly. Very smooth transportation. We had reservations for 5:45. We were a little early, checkin was easy. We got a buzzer and were seated right on time or very close to it. We were explained by our seating guy what our meal includes, where the food is cooked, saw what the dessert was etc. Sat down, got towels to wipe up, again the waitress explained the dining plan, and that it is family style all you can eat. Now, I will say, I think we would have enjoyed this restaurant more had we been hungry. We made the mistake of eating lunch really late around 2:30, at Wolfgage Puck's no less, so we were quite full. So, the salad was yummy. I only at salad at lunch, so I was the only one who could actually eat. There was friendship bread, which we all tried. Everyone tried the salad, loved it. Then the meats come, first Pork, I thought it was dry, but pork is also not my favorite meat. Steak came, that was pretty good, ds3 ate alot of steak, then the shrimp, which I loved, we all ate that as well. I know a few of the kids ate noodles and brocolli, but I ate more than anyone on that stuff. Dh kept eating even though he was stuffed. They had coconut races for kids, which mine did not par take in. Then I took ds5 to the bathroom when I returned ds4 and ds1 were with the other kids doing something, no sure what, then they were told to go get someone you love to dance with so ds4 came and got me. Sweet, it was cute. We danced with other families. Sat down to more food coming around. We declined. Dessert came, some sort of Banana thing, can not remember the name. It was sweet and good. Especially with the sauce, the little kids ate ice cream only that came with it. They ate alot of ice cream during our vacation. Would we come back, sure, as long as we were hungry.
Price: $196.93 Tips OOP: $35.45

All in all, the meals were good. If I could do things differently it would be to schedule our meals for around 6:30-7. Towards the end of the trip we were eating lunch later and later, and that was throwing our supper off, plus we were going back to the room for rest and pool time, and that was hard. Had we scheduled them later, we would have a bit more down time and then maybe we would have lasted later in the night, you see, we missed every single parade (due to heading out of parks for rest) and every single firework show (since we were wiped by 8!). Oh well, again live and learn.

We loved the dining plan and it worked great for our family. We would eat at a table service for supper no matter what, so it was nice that it was free. Would we eat at all these again, sure, but would love to try new ones as well.

Next up, the counter service meals and snacks!
Trip Report August 2014:

Our August 2012 Free Dining Review. http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2990330

Mom to 5 little boys
WDW-various days during the 70's and 80's as a child. DisneyLand-July 1991, DisneyWorld-April 1992 offsite
Caribbean Beach-June 1995 honeymoon, All Stars Sports-December 1998, All Star Movies- November 2000 (me, my mom and the 2 boys) DTD Hotel - May 2001, All Star Movies-September 2001 (me, the 2 boys and my girlfriend), Disneyland-December 2003 (us and the 3 boys), POR-October 2nd-8th 2005 (us and the 3 boys)Caribbean Beach-August 25, 2012-September 2,2012
POR-August 2014 (16th-26th)

(dh43) (me 43) (16)(14)(12)(8) (5)

Last edited by Sheaboys; 09-11-2012 at 12:32 PM.
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