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Old 11-11-2012, 12:26 AM   #1
momof3poohlovers
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Chef Mickey's or Garden Grill?

My son is almost 3 and we are going to WDW at the end of January. We want to do one character meal for him and both are available for the days we will be there. Which one would would you suggest and why? He really likes Toy Story but other than that, he doesn't have a preference for any characters so I guess I am interested in which one has better food and better character interaction.
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Old 11-11-2012, 12:34 AM   #2
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The characters at Chef Mickey's are the only thing I like there.
The food is not good, the place is not clean, and the service is often less than stellar.

With such a little guy, I'd probably pick Garden Grill.

Their food is not gourmet, but it's always been good enough.
The main thing is, it isn't a buffet - it's all-you-can-eat, but served family-style (the waiter brings platters to your table). When my nephews were small, this was much much easier to handle than the buffet-type set up.

The characters at Garden Grill are great, too. Actually we've had more interaction there than at Chef Mickey's, primarily because Chef Mickey's is a madhouse much of the time while Garden Grill is somewhat calmer.
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:19 AM   #3
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I don't know that the quality is all that different. To me the main thing is that at CM you have the plus of more food choices since it's a buffet whereas at GG you have the plus that they bring the food to you, rather than you having to juggle his tray plus your tray plus taking the chance of missing a character because you're in the buffet line.

Unless 1 adult can stay with the child at the table while another adult collects all the food at the buffet, I'd go with GG.
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PictureJumpr View Post
The characters at Chef Mickey's are the only thing I like there.
The food is not good, the place is not clean, and the service is often less than stellar.
This is so sad, but so true. Chef Mickey's is the pits.
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:38 AM   #5
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I don't know that the quality is all that different. To me the main thing is that at CM you have the plus of more food choices since it's a buffet whereas at GG you have the plus that they bring the food to you, rather than you having to juggle his tray plus your tray plus taking the chance of missing a character because you're in the buffet line.

Unless 1 adult can stay with the child at the table while another adult collects all the food at the buffet, I'd go with GG.
I just wanted to add that my husband will also be with us so if we did a buffet, I would most likely go up and get his food while DH stayed with my son.
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:45 AM   #6
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While the PP's may or may not be true, the atmosphere at Chef Mickey's is louder, more fun, more like a party. The Garden Grill is easier as they come to your table, it is more interaction with the characters, but more sedate. I think for as young as your child is, Garden Grill may be easier for you.
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:46 AM   #7
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I just wanted to add that my husband will also be with us so if we did a buffet, I would most likely go up and get his food while DH stayed with my son.
In that case it's really a question of whether the particular food choices on the GG platter appeal to you. If they do, eat there. If you're not sure that you and DH and DS will like them, then go to CM. At CM DS will get to be a little more active (napkin twirling, etc). My middle-aged feet would MUCH prefer to remain seated for my entire meal, but little ones seem to have energy to spare so if he'd get antsy sitting for a full hour+ meal, then CM might be better for him.
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Old 11-11-2012, 02:07 AM   #8
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I've been to Garden Grill a few times once solo, twice with family. The meals are served family style and were refilled many time by the staff, and the even brought me out a special order of Mac and Cheese without a problem or extra charge. You will get your fill without all the extra noise and multiple trips to the buffet.
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:02 AM   #9
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Chef Mickey for the character's. It's the Fab 5 and I'm fairly sure this is the only place at WDW to get all 5 in any single meal. The food however is not that great and it's very noisy! This is a buffet so you have to get up and down when you want more food.

Garden Grill has Chip and Dale, along with Mickey and Pluto. The food is much nicer and it's brought to your table, which is often easier with a little one.
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Disney_Princess83
Chef Mickey for the character's. It's the Fab 5 and I'm fairly sure this is the only place at WDW to get all 5 in any single meal. The food however is not that great and it's very noisy! This is a buffet so you have to get up and down when you want more food.

Garden Grill has Chip and Dale, along with Mickey and Pluto. The food is much nicer and it's brought to your table, which is often easier with a little one.
yes. I totally agree.

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Old 11-11-2012, 11:00 AM   #11
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I had a terrible experience at Chef Mickey's this summer. The service was terrible as was the character interaction. I emailed Customer relations and complained and they ended up refunding us the cost of the meal for the 4 of us.

Garden Grill is much more laid back and I do not feel as rushed through the characters. I would take Garden Grill over Chef Mickey's any day, hands down!
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:18 AM   #12
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I can't believe how many people dislike CM and like GG. I feel the exact opposite. I love CM. It FEELS like WDW to me. It's exciting and fun and bright and upbeat whereas GG is dark and quiet and old and feels kind of crammed in there. I didn't like the food at GG at all (and you have no choice. you get what they bring you) and with CM you have a lot of options so you'll find something you like to eat. The character interaction at GG is very good but having to slide out of the table with small kids (and one in a booster seat) was a pain. I will never ever go back to GG and I can't imagine going to WDW without a trip to CM.
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:19 AM   #13
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Another vote for Garden Grill. We have three boys, ages 5, 12 and 13 and we've been taking kids to Disney since our oldest was a year old. We've been to both Chef Mickey's and Garden Grill multiple times. Garden Grill is our family's favorite character meal in all of WDW for the reasons others mentioned: great character interaction, far more relaxed setting than any other character meal, fresh food that they bring directly to your table, etc.

Even if you have another adult to sit with your children while you juggle buffet plates, we think it's far easier to just sit with our kids, let the food come to us, visit with each other and meet the characters. The high booths on the lower level also keep little ones focused on food for just a few minutes because they don't see the characters walking around until they arrive at your table. Our kids always get a few bites in at Garden Grill! As our kids get older, we've significantly decreased our character dining at WDW, but Garden Grill is the last character meal standing for so many reasons.
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:34 PM   #14
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GARWSH! I hate to rock the boat here, but we enjoy both places. I feel very confident that most three year olds enjoy the heck out of both places too. We eat at nearly every character meal location on our trips, and rarely have an issue, with over three dozen character meals over the past three years
We feel that the management at Chef Mickeys are very attentive, and will address any concerns or requests you may have. If you do miss a character making the rounds, let the workers know, and they will get them back by your table.
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Old 11-11-2012, 02:59 PM   #15
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Thank you for all of your replies! My little one does not like loud noises so based on your responses, it looks like Garden Grill is it. I was leaning towards Garden Grill anyway before I posted because we had eaten there several years ago for lunch (before little one was born) and we thought it was pretty good. I have 3 older children as well (2 teenagers who will not be joining us on this trip and a 21 year old who works at Animal Kingdom) but for some reason we never tried Chef Mickey's and I thought since it is just DH and I plus the 2 year old, we might give it a try but maybe next time when he is a little older. I do find that buffets with little kids are hard because it seems someone is always away from the table getting their food and you don't really get to eat together. Thank you again for all of your responses, they really did help!
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