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Old 10-01-2012, 06:45 AM   #1
MichelinMan
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Restaurant Selections - Please Help Me!

I will be staying at the Polynesian for 11 nights next year, so we will be on the free DDP. I am starting to look at potential table service dinner reservations, and have pretty much decided on some of the restaurants, but I am struggling to decide on the remainder.

First a bit of context - it will be myself, wife and 8 year old son. My son is a fussy eater, and also easily bored (pretty sure he has a touch of ADHD). As a consequence, we tend to like places with lots going on (no romantic meals for us on holiday!). Our favourite restaurant at DLP, for example, is Inventions - we love buffets and characters!

So far I have decided on:

Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show (2 credits)
Hoop de Doo Dinner Show (2 credits)
Ohana
Chef Mickey
Boma
Biergarten

That leaves us 3 table service credits left. I am looking to choose 3 out of these 4:

T-Rex
Coral Reef
The Garden Grill
1900 Park Fare

Which ones would you choose? Or is there something I have missed which can be recommended instead? For example, everybody raves about the 50's Prime Time Cafe, but meat loaf and pot roasts don't really tickle my fancy as a menu.

Also, are the dinner shows worth using 2 credits for?

Because we will be using 2 credits for the 2 dinner shows, we will need some decent counter service restaurants for a couple of nights, or cheap eat OOP table service restaurants - any suggestions? Already know about the Sci Fi Dine In ( we ate there back in '94) so know what we will get there.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:03 AM   #2
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Definitely Coral Reef! Out of 16 ADR's last time I'm only repeating two, Coral Reef and Mama Melrose as both were fantastic, food, theming, service, excellent.

Coral Reef has mouthwatering Mahi mahi, was groaning at the table! lol

T-Rex we did, was ok, VERY large portions, fun, but very loud and dark as well. If I didn't have a baby this time we may have considered booking it again if another was unavailable but it would be far too noisy and possibly scary for my 1 year old.

Booked Garden Grill for the first time this year, looking forward to it, characters and the rotating restaurant.

1900 park fare we booked last time then cancelled so not tried it. Considered it for this year but chose Crystal Palace for our last meal this time purely because the baby in the family loves Winnie.

We wouldn't have booked otherwise, not looking forward to it myself but the kids will love it :D It would have been 1900 park far otherwise.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:12 AM   #3
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We love Coral Reef this is on our must do for every trip. We love the food (never had a bad meal) and the atmosphere. The only negative thing is, if you go later on in the evening for your dinner then you will probably end up having to wait a while (at least that's been our experience) We've never been to T. Rex or Garden Grill so can't comment. We've done both b'fast and dinner at Park Fare and while we all loved the b'fast and have done that several times (great character interaction and buffet) we have only been for dinner once and at the time said that we wouldn't go again, and haven't. We are not picky eaters but I couldn't find anything that I liked on the buffet except for the chicken which to me didn't look cooked properly. We were totally rushed through the meal. It was our DDs 10th b'day and we had ordered a cake which again was just rushed. It was not a good experience!!
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:46 AM   #4
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how about the sci fi dine in at disney hollywood studios?
your son might get a kick out that restaurant...
you sit in a car and there's a giant movie screen you watch...with short trailers for lots of stupid old sci fi flicks...


of the list you gave, t-rex will probably interest him the most..

coral reef will only be good for him if you're near the aquarium, so request a table right up against it...
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Old 10-01-2012, 10:32 AM   #5
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We were at the back at Coral Reef and my kids still loved it, you can see the sea life wherever you're sitting :D Obviously right up at the tank would be fab, and hopefully we'll get that this time, but if not you can still see plenty and the food is absolutely gorgeous. :D
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Old 10-01-2012, 10:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madmumof2 View Post
We were at the back at Coral Reef and my kids still loved it, you can see the sea life wherever you're sitting :D Obviously right up at the tank would be fab, and hopefully we'll get that this time, but if not you can still see plenty and the food is absolutely gorgeous. :D
i said right up against the tank because of the way he described his son.

we also sat all the way at the back, and i didn't think we could see the tank very well from where we were.
we happen to LOVE the food there, but for a restless boy, i think they need to be closer to the tank.
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Old 10-01-2012, 10:49 AM   #7
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I have definitely decided on the Coral Reef now.

So it is down to 2 out of T Rex, The Garden Grill or 1900 Park Fare.

I am leaning towards 1900 Park Fare after reading about the interactions with the Step Sisters - I can see my son having a right blast with that - he never stops talking!

I also like the sound of The Garden Grill, but I reckon if I don't plan a meal at DTD, then I probably won't go out of my way to visit it, so I am also leaning towards a meal at T Rex.

As I mentioned earlier, I may well do the Sci Fi Dine In paying out of pocket on one of the 2 nights we don't have enough table service credits for. It seems a bit of a waste of a table service credit for glorified fast food in that restaurant, and the prices are a bit cheaper there.
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:01 AM   #8
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So difficult to advise on places to eat, everyone likes different things. we wouldn't go back to Coral Reef again but we were at the back and got a poor server so it put us off.
Dinner shows, we have done Hoop 5 times, we think its the only meal worth 2 credits. Aloha we went to look around and didn't like the openess of it, going in August we like to be in full aircon.
You have picked places we don't really like, with the exception of Garden Grill. Chef Mickeys is the best of the buffets IMO but still not fans of Disney buffets.
As I said difficult, before we did DDP we loved buffets, first time on DDP someone (I think paulh) said you have a lot of buffets on your list, change some to full TS, we were not sure, he was 100% correct, we didn't enjoy Disney buffets anywhere near as much as we expected.
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichelinMan View Post
Also, are the dinner shows worth using 2 credits for?
they're worth it because you get the DDP for free.

BUT, you're loosing from a credit value standpoint.

your DDP day is worth $53 (rounded)
let's take a $4 snack, a $12 QS, and take $1 off per day for the refillable mug, this leaves $36 as a rough value for your TS credit.

2 credits means you're actually spending $72 for your dinner show.
paying OOP the show is $68.
So you're not getting a full value out of your DDP credit (and you "lose" even more if you do not get the most expensive snack and most expensive QS you can get.

Now since you get if free, you might not care about maximizing your DDP and paying OOP for something you can get free just defeats the purpose of saving.

but if you were paying for the DDP that would not be worth it using 2 credits on dinner shows
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:21 AM   #10
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Personally i think go where you want. To us it's not about getting the most value out of Disney we are doing a lot of character meals including a lot of breakfast ones because it's what we want and I'd rather enjoy ourselves in the restaurants that interest us then rinsing Disney of a couple of extra $$'s
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:34 AM   #11
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Quote:
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i said right up against the tank because of the way he described his son.

we also sat all the way at the back, and i didn't think we could see the tank very well from where we were.
we happen to LOVE the food there, but for a restless boy, i think they need to be closer to the tank.
I know, my son is also mildy ADHD which is why I gave my experience. :D
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:38 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichelinMan View Post
I have definitely decided on the Coral Reef now.

So it is down to 2 out of T Rex, The Garden Grill or 1900 Park Fare.

I am leaning towards 1900 Park Fare after reading about the interactions with the Step Sisters - I can see my son having a right blast with that - he never stops talking!

I also like the sound of The Garden Grill, but I reckon if I don't plan a meal at DTD, then I probably won't go out of my way to visit it, so I am also leaning towards a meal at T Rex.

As I mentioned earlier, I may well do the Sci Fi Dine In paying out of pocket on one of the 2 nights we don't have enough table service credits for. It seems a bit of a waste of a table service credit for glorified fast food in that restaurant, and the prices are a bit cheaper there.
That's why I booked 1900 before, and why I almost booked this year, I've heard the interaction is brilliant :D

T rex is fun, lots going on, a meteor shower every 20 minutes with moving dinosaurs etc. If you all don't mind it being a bit dark and noisy it's fab, and the portions are huge!! And if it means you don't go to DTD if you don't book T rex I would go with that as DTD is fab as well :D

I would have suggested Sci Fi too had you not already said in your OP you were going, another one I'd like to try one day :D
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chmurf View Post
they're worth it because you get the DDP for free.

BUT, you're loosing from a credit value standpoint.

your DDP day is worth $53 (rounded)
let's take a $4 snack, a $12 QS, and take $1 off per day for the refillable mug, this leaves $36 as a rough value for your TS credit.

2 credits means you're actually spending $72 for your dinner show.
paying OOP the show is $68.
So you're not getting a full value out of your DDP credit (and you "lose" even more if you do not get the most expensive snack and most expensive QS you can get.

Now since you get if free, you might not care about maximizing your DDP and paying OOP for something you can get free just defeats the purpose of saving.

but if you were paying for the DDP that would not be worth it using 2 credits on dinner shows
Not quite as simple as that for dinner shows as they include a show, unlimited alcohol for 2 hours and tips, so using 2 credits for 2 meals would have 2 lots of tips ontop. Personally I think the signatures are a poor use of credits but the dinner shows a good use.
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:01 PM   #14
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the step sisters and step mother are at 1900 park fare for dinner, and yes they are a hoot....they are very much in character....they were really going at it with DD (who totally gets into the act with them)..

also at dinner are cinderella and her prince....my daughter in law went all googoo eyed for them....i never knew she was a princess lover until that dinner...

as Wayne noted, Chef Mickey is another very nice character meal....
dinner there is very good as far as buffets go...
we enjoyed our dinner there......it was much more peaceful than dinner at 1900 park fare...and you get the classic characters there...

i didn't notice that you were going to go to sci fi anyway...yes, it's pretty cheap there, but the hamburgers are not at all fast food quality - they're really very good....and their veggie burger is the best on property (for any vegetarians out there)....and they have a really tasty pasta dish as well...
we're sci fi fans as you can see...also a yummy milk shake, if you're into milk shakes...oh...and a really cool looking cheese cake - it looks like another planet or a flying saucer or an alien spaceship...something like that..
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Old 10-01-2012, 01:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Not quite as simple as that for dinner shows as they include a show, unlimited alcohol for 2 hours and tips, so using 2 credits for 2 meals would have 2 lots of tips ontop. Personally I think the signatures are a poor use of credits but the dinner shows a good use.
I hadn't realised tips were included for the dinner shows - that makes it better value when you look at it that way. Unlimited alcohol always sounds good too!

Staying at the Poly, it would seem odd not to do the Spirit of Aloha dinner show. Ohana also sounds great to me - the menu sounds right up my street.

I have been thinking about DTD - Wolfgang Pucks Express is a CS credit I believe - the food from there looked great on a recent trip report (I think it might even have been Wayne's). I could use that as an excuse to go to DTD, so wouldn't need to do TRex (which sounds like Rainforest with dinosaurs, and we've done the Rainforest gig before in London).

Just come across the Whispering Canyon Cafe menu too - that sounds really interesting, anybody eaten there?

Too many decisions - dammit, we will have to go back again!
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