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Old 12-23-2004, 11:34 AM   #1
jenjersnap
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Restaurant reviews-first timers Silver plan experience, Pt 1

We returned on December 20 from an first family trip to the world. We had the Silver plan – a splurge financially and dietarily (ha, made up a new word!) but we wanted to treat ourselves after a very rough couple years. I think I ate more than I ever have for 9 days straight. Oh my, back to South Beach for me. We found the food quality to be excellent, we were just amazed that Disney feeds so many people so well every day. OTOH, our service rarely rose above “below average”. My definition of below average: drinks never refilled unless you request it, checking in on us exactly ONCE before bringing the check. There were a couple exceptions in each direction and I will note them so here we go …

We are:
Me, mid 30s, hasn’t eaten red meat for years except when pregnant and a quality burger is the only thing that will suffice. Meat doesn’t agree with me though I did break this rule a couple times on this trip. I eat mostly vegetarian and seafood for my main meals.

DH, mid 30s, not a picky eater except about a few quirky things (like chocolate!). He doesn’t eat red meat normally either *** I cook for the family but get him to quality restaurant and all cows had better watch their backs.

DS, 4, a blessedly cosmopolitan eater too. He’ll eat anything but zucchini. He ate mostly from our plates. ETA: except at buffets, of course, where we paid for his meals!

DS, 16 months, lives on air. Seriously, won’t eat anything but raisins, cheese crackers, kiwis and ice cream so isn’t a factor here.

We arrived late on 12/11 and checked into AKL (I will do a separate resort report).

12/12 We had breakfast PSs at Boma. Lots of people milling and, though this was the longest wait of our trip, it was 10 minutes at the most. We absolutely loved Boma’s breakfast. We thought the food was incredible and, since it was the cheapest breakfast buffet we encountered, a good value. I wish there was more African-themed food since all we had was the boboti and the biscuits over veggies in sauce (it was like chicken a la king but so much better!). The buffet station set up bugged us too. A line would build up to go onto a 2nd station from the first. Well, people would come along and want food from the 2nd station, and, despite seeing lots of people who already have their food from the 1st station and are waiting in line to visit the 2nd, would just cut in line instead of getting in line. Does that make sense? That’s one of my pet peeves and I think the buffet could be designed better for crowded conditions.. Food grade: A-

Dinner was at Beaches and Cream. We’d been looking forward to this and I bought QC vouchers to use for this meal. We (the adults) had heavenly real vanilla and cherry cokes while we waited for our sandwiches. I had a chicken sandwich that was terrible, consisted of dry chicken, lettuce, tomato and bun, that’s all. With mayo on the side. DS ate it and the okay fries. DH had a sandwich, possibly roast beef?, but he said it was excellent and the onion rings were great too. For dessert, we ordered a No Way Jose and a banana split. Both were massive and yummy. Food grade: B-

Monday, 12/13: We had breakfast in our room at AKL since we were moving over to Ft. Wilderness cabins and the beginning of our package. We headed over to MGM for lunch at the Brown Derby. Unfortunately, this was the only meal that either of the boys acted up during and BOTH of the boys were crabby. It was the worst place to have cranky kids, seated in the middle of the room. Our waiter seemed repulsed by the shenanigans and probably applauded when we left. I barely got to eat or enjoy the surroundings since I (and DH) kept taking turns leaving. However, everything was excellent, though portions were small. We had the mushroom chevre ravioli and coconut shrimp for appetizer; I had the grouper for my entrée and DH had the strip steak with shrimp skewers. I honestly don’t remember eating dessert though I am sure we did! I looked on the allearset menu and nothing rings a bell. Food grade A-

Well rested, we ventured over to Kona Café for dinner. We fell in love with this place. The people working here were so friendly and warm. Everytime anyone - other waiters, bussers, hostess, etc. - would walk by they would stop to flirt and chat with my two boys. The waitress brought a smoothie divided into two cups without us saying a word. My older DS was admiring the drink umbrellas, next thing you know one in every color materialized. The food was fantastic too! We had the crabcakes and duck potstickers for appetizer with the macadamia mah mahi and shrimp and scallops as entrees. The mahi was to die for, absolutely amazing. We had the chocolate macadamia nut tart and white chocolate cheesecake for dessert. Yum! The koko puffs didn’t appeal to us visually – do they taste better than they look? Ah well, doesn’t matter we’ll try them on another trip. Grade: A+

Tuesday, 12/14. Our long awaited breakfast at CRT had arrived. We chose the last breakfast seating to make it an early lunch. This was the best possible thing to do. The restaurant mostly emptied out and we had the princesses to ourselves. They were all lovely and spent lots of time with my older DS who was- literally – the only boy in the room the entire time we were there. The food was okay, what I expected, just traditional hearty breakfast fare like bacon, scrambled eggs, and a potato casserole we liked very much. The french toast was disgusting – deep fried in what tasted like old oil. Gag. We ate lots of the mixed fruit. The baby slept through all of the breakfast and the waiter brought a box and extra food so that “we could feed him when he woke up” I thought that was really thoughtful. We will do this again in a heartbeat if we are lucky enough to score a table! Food grade: C, overall grade: A

Dinner was at Crystal Palace before MVMCP. It was LOUD and crowded. Both boys loved all the hustle and bustle, we had a great table – the last one along the windows but closest to the food. Characters were rushed, hey that is a mighty big room to cover so we understood. The entrees were really good for a buffet. I liked the diversity of the foods. Heck, I even got to have tasty tofu and veggies in curry sauce and that made my day. The desserts weren’t as good, pretty much on par with Golden Corral. Food grade: B-

Wednesday, 12/15. Ate yogurt and bananas in the room for breakfast. We had PSs for Le Cellier today, but realizing that we had more wishes than we knew what to do with and that older DS would love it, we decided to try to get into Coral Reef at the last minute. I called over 45 minutes before we wanted to eat and they said, “Sure no problem”. Well, we arrived to find out that, because of some plumbing problem, the restaurant wasn’t open and hadn’t been. They wanted us to come back in an hour and check. Why did they let us make a PS when they knew they weren’t open? Grrr. Needless to say, we ran over to Le Cellier where we had an excellent meal. We had smoothies to start, along with the delicious asian shrimp cocktail and okay seafood salad selections. DH talked me into ordering beef while he ordered the chili shrimp (and told me we could switch) and I am glad he did. I had the tenderloin over gorgonzola bread pudding. You could cut the meat with a fork, it was that tender. Truly the best beef I’ve ever experienced! We ordered a cup of cheddar cheese soup for DS, we all thought it was wonderful. At a certain point, DS refused to share anymore. LOL! Service was absolutely abysmal, worst of the trip. The waiter ignored us, basically, despite only having two other tables. Oh, after we requested the eagerly anticipated pretzel bread, we though it was just okay. I had the Canadian Club cake for dessert, DH had apple cranberry crisp which he pronounced the best crisp in the world. Food grade: A

DH and I sneaked out for a date night dinner later on. We (I) agonized over our decision and ultimately chose Narcoossee’s. I am so glad we did. We dashed over to MK to ride a couple things we hadn’t done with the kids, came back to tour GF which we find romantic all dolled up for Christmas, then headed over to the restaurant. We had a window table looking at the castle. We screwed ourselves up a bit since we were supposed to watch Wishes from the restaurant, but we were a little late and watched them from the monorail. It seemed like Narcoossees would be a fabulous place to see them, what a beautiful restaurant, just our “style”! I had a pink lemonade martini-thing to celebrate our date. We started with langostino crab cakes and PEI mussels. Both were delicious, but the mussels had the best broth I’ve ever had (and we consider ourselves mussels experts. For example. we once spent time in Brussels when I was pregnant and their famous mussels were all I could handle. I think we ate every mussel in town)..I had lobster which hard to screw up, DH had surf and turf. The tenderloins were a little tough but the lobster was good too. The desserts here were the best of the trip. We argued over who would get to order the almond crusted cheesecake. DH won, darn him. It was, as the waitress said, divine. I had the chocolate dome, also delicious but not in the same league. Food grade: A-
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Last edited by jenjersnap; 12-23-2004 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 12-23-2004, 12:31 PM   #2
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I have to agree with you on the french toast thing....gross!! After my first experience there I have since opted for the healthy choice option, which is really good, its yogurt with fruit and little mickey cereals!!

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Old 12-23-2004, 04:36 PM   #3
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Wow, fantastic reviews!

Were you happy with the Silver Plan?
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Old 12-23-2004, 09:15 PM   #4
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Golden Corral??? You must be kidding

We dine at the Crystal Palace every trip to WDW. It certainly doesn't remind me of the Golden Corral. The food is very well prepared - pork tenderloin and salmon excellent, real mashed potatoes, etc. I agree it is noisy, but what character meal isn't? I wouldn't want anyone who never tried the Crystal Palace to think it is on par with the Golden Corral. Sorry to disagree with you on this one.
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Old 12-23-2004, 10:55 PM   #5
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As I stated, I thought the food at CP was pretty good, didn't I give it a grade of B and use words like "tasty"? It was the desserts only that were sub-par and not much different than Golden Corral. Sorry, but I feel you are mis-interpreting my opinion. I enjoyed CP overall and would recommend it to anyone. We won't be going there next trip but I would gladly try it again in the future.
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Last edited by jenjersnap; 12-23-2004 at 11:11 PM.
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Old 12-23-2004, 11:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsusanmb
We dine at the Crystal Palace every trip to WDW. It certainly doesn't remind me of the Golden Corral. The food is very well prepared - pork tenderloin and salmon excellent, real mashed potatoes, etc. I agree it is noisy, but what character meal isn't? I wouldn't want anyone who never tried the Crystal Palace to think it is on par with the Golden Corral. Sorry to disagree with you on this one.
She said the DESSERTS were on par with Golden Corral! Just her opinion based on HER exp's THAT night.

OP: Thanks for sharing your exps! I hope you enjoyed your first visit to the world!!!!!!
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Old 12-24-2004, 06:18 AM   #7
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DOn't know how to spell it, but

The tira misu - love to eat it, can't spell it, was excellent at dinner - the desserts for supper are different. I have also had key lime pie. Again, sorry, I disagree with you about the Golden Corral - just the thought of it conjurs up filth and work release inmates who work at the one in our area. I could never compare anything at WDW to that place.

Do you think that the Silver Plan was worth the cost? I am thinking of trying it. I think it would be great to have the option to eat just about anywhere or use the options for other entertainment.
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Old 12-24-2004, 07:27 AM   #8
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Thanks for the report, Jenjer. Isn't the Silver Plan fun? We've had some of the best meals with that plan. Interesting report of Narcoosee's. We hated our recent experience there. Seemed like the level of service went down when we mentioned Silver Plan. Our server was a real witch! We were seated by the window also. The view was nice, but did you find it to be loud in there? I had the mussels too. A first for me and I swear they gave me a hundred of them. LOL! DH and I both had the surf and turf and were less than pleased. The medallions were tiny and the lobster was overcooked. So it's kinda neat how we had such different experiences, which makes it great for others on the board to get two sides. We also dined at Kona and I agree, the service is warm and friendly. Do you feel you got the value out of the Silver Plan and if they were offering something similar next trip would you choose it again? Thanks for sharing!
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Old 12-24-2004, 10:55 PM   #9
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I thought that we got a great value out of the silver plan. We ate at places that we would have not normally eaten at, and enjoyed it.

I haven't figured it out yet, but I'm pretty sure that we saved over 300.00 as the wishes included tax and tip.
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Old 12-25-2004, 06:12 AM   #10
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Great reviews! Thanks! Now I'm sad I cancelled my Kona Cafe PS this past trip- it sounds wonderful.

Glad you got out for a date night!
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Old 12-25-2004, 08:22 AM   #11
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Merry Christmas

I have tried to talk my DH into the Kona Cafe for meals other than breakfast. Think I will just go ahead and do this one the next time. Sounds great. Thanks for your reviews. Don't you love these boards for ideas and suggestions?
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Old 12-25-2004, 03:02 PM   #12
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Great reviews ~ Thanx for sharing.
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Old 12-29-2004, 06:39 PM   #13
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Sorry for the delay in answering about the Silver plan. I wanted to add up our receipts to see how much we saved and Christmas family time got in the way of accomplishing that. We saved about $480 total over the course of 5 days so for us it was worth it. Now, the caveat here is that we ate ever so much more than we usually do, so we probably won't do the Silver plan again next December (even if I got my act together enough to book it in the next two days). But, overall, it felt right for our family, since we wanted to be indulgent and reward ourselves on this trip. In addition to "just" food, we did the HDDR and the Luau, rented a boat and got a couple souvenir items - all fun and (except for the Luau) worthwhile.

Please let me know if you have any more questions.

bsusanmb - I would love to try tiramisu - yum, my favorite - at CP but it wasn't available that night. I think we tried every dessert available at CP at our dinner. When I spoke of Golden Corral - which in our area isn't a purveyor of quality food by any means but not as dire as your experience! - I was specifically talking about the peach cobbler, bread pudding, brownies, cookies and carrot cake. All seemed very standard "food service", the kind of things you get anywhere. We also tried the creme brulee and it was gritty. I am sure that properly preparing a huge pan of creme brulee is tough to do, maybe the chefs ought to move away from that one ...
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Old 12-29-2004, 06:59 PM   #14
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Thanks for the detailed reviews--really enjoyed them!
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