7 Nights Deluxe Dining March 2009 [Complete]

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Reviews' started by Faldred, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. Faldred

    Faldred DIS Veteran

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    Akerhaus (Princess Storybook Breakfast), Thursday Breakfast

    We got the earliest possible ADR (8:30), so in the park before open again for breakfast. I have to say, it was actually a little tough to get there on time -- the parking lot doesn't open until 8:00, and by the time you park, unload the strollers, kids, backpacks, etc., walk to the gates, get inside, and hoof it over to the Norway pavilion, 8:30 is pretty tight, though we did make it on time.

    We had to wait 5-10 minutes to be called in, at which point we went into the line to see Belle. DD2 was having none of it (and DS2 wasn't far behind) because she saw and smelled the food. After asking, we were allowed to skip the picture and come back to do it later when the critters were in a better mood. It worked out well enough -- we still got to meet Belle (and she was slightly less rushed), and the picture was halfway decent as all of us were at least looking at the camera.

    Service was solid, with drink (and hot food) refills arriving in a timely fashion and empty dishes being cleared away quickly. The cold buffet foods were fine, nothing too memorable, but the potatoes on the hot plate were quite good. On the whole, I tried to eat light here because we had a full day of food ahead.

    As for the characters, I had heard that the "princesses" tend to be rushed. I didn't get that feeling -- they came out in a "rush", as in, a burst, after we had settled in and gotten some food (and our late picture with Belle), but they spent time at our table with each of the kids, signed autographs, played up conversations in character, and the like. The closest we came to being "rushed" was with the food -- the hot plate was at our table before we had even finished taking turns going to the cold buffet, but I didn't mind that at all.

    "Princesses" present: Belle (greeter), Aurora, Jasmine, Snow White, and Mary Poppins.

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    With the photo package included, this may be one of the best 1 TS values on the dining plan.
     
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  3. Faldred

    Faldred DIS Veteran

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    Coral Reef, Thursday Lunch

    Thursday was another hotter-than-expected day, and Epcot was pretty crowded. By the time we got to Coral Reef, we weren't the most patient people on the planet. Once we were seated (about 10-15 minutes after check in), DW and I both nearly exploded when they took us to a table without high chairs.

    Mind you, we specified two high chairs when we made the ADR. DW confirmed this again a week before we left. And we mentioned it at check in at the restaurant as well. After getting things partially remedied (DS2 wound up having to be seated facing away from the aquarium wall, and in the aisle), we managed to settle down for lunch.

    DW ordered the shrimp and lobster cake and I went with the lobster soup. Both were quite good. For main courses, DW went with the lobster salad and I had the BBQ salmon sandwich. DW was disappointed in the lobster salad -- she said it had bits of shell in there, which really threw her off. My salmon, on the other hand, was done quite nicely -- very moist but still coked through.

    For dessert, DW had the chocolate wave... it looked different from the photos we'd seen, but still tasted good. I had the Jack & Bailey's mousse and was very happy with my choice.

    The kids stuck with their usual choices (DS3: pizza, DD2: grapes, DS2: milk and nibbles from my pack).

    After the initial problems with the seating, service was fine. I didn't even have much problem when I went back an hour later to pick up my KTTW card that I had inadvertently left behind!

    With the exception of the lobster salad, the food was good, but yet we are unlikely to return particularly soon (and given how infrequently we go to WDW, that "soon" is still a long time). It just wasn't good enough to justify gong there again with so many other places in Epcot still to try.

    Edit: By the way, as a note, I was annoyed (and slightly offended) that the men's room did not have a diaper changing station here. We had split up to take care of the twins after lunch, and there was no place for me to change DS2 -- I went outside the restaurant and changed him on the benches outside instead. Which was better than my original thought to do the change in the restaurant lobby as a form of protest. :crazy2:
     
  4. Faldred

    Faldred DIS Veteran

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    Rose & Crown, Thursday Dinner

    Despite snacking our way through "the world" throughout the late afternoon, I was still quite ready for dinner as we wound up up tour in the UK pavilion. We actually got there early so we went to the toy store for a little shopping, and then still checked in about 10 minutes early. We were seated about five minutes later.

    We got an outside table, but it was nice in the early evening and actually much more pleasant than I had expected, with a decent view over the lake. We asked if we could go off the (oh-so-standardized) kid's menu for a kid's fish & chips, and we were told no problem! We chatted with a manager later on, and she mentioned that Disney requires them to use the "standard" menus for kids because of the whole "healthy eating" thing, but that asking for a kid-size portion of an adult meal would work at most places -- wish we had known that earlier in the week!

    For starters, we chose the cheese and meat plate (for 2). This was Irish cheddar, a mushroom brie, and a Stilton pastry, each with accompaniments, as well as two types of sausages -- these cheeses were nice (the brie was a bit salty), but neither I nor DW had the courage to try blood sausage. The candied nuts served with the pastry was an excellent pairing, though!

    DW got the fish and chips. (Someone's gotta do it, right?) She liked them, but she wouldn't say it was her best meal of the week. I went for the "lamb two ways", which looks like a new item -- a couple of rosemary lamb chops and a portion of lamb shepherd's pie. The chops were good, and the shepherd's pie was excellent -- very robust in flavor as well as moist and well-balanced in textures.

    DW went for sticky toffee pudding, which she liked, but said it was much different than she had imagined. I went for the Bailey's trifle, which was similar to my earlier dessert, but still different, and still tasty.

    Service was above average, and we actually had a little interaction with another waiter who was passing by when DD2 managed to bonk her head on the table, and he helped settle her back down and chatted with DS3 for a minute as well. While our own waiter was fine, it always seems that some other table got the "cool" waiter. *sigh*

    Short version: decent meal, good service, maybe a place to try again for lunch.
     
  5. natalielongstaff

    natalielongstaff <font color=deeppink>I need a cup of tea and a big

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    great reviews, i loved Kona cafe :thumbsup2
     
  6. Faldred

    Faldred DIS Veteran

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    Cinderella's Royal Table, Friday Breakfast

    We got a later ADR than we'd like (9:35), but who's complaining? We had a light breakfast in the room before heading out, so the kids wouldn't be starving, and made rope drop for the first and only time all week. DW and DD2 went to get a quickie hair sparkle from the Main Street barber shop while I took the boys over to fast pass Peter Pan and ride the carousel. (DD2 didn't like it, but the boys did. Go figure.) We met up just in time for our ADR and were taken in immediately.

    Again, pictures went OK, and with no line, they were able to take a little time with us. I have the feeling we were the last to arrive in our seating "block". We were given our pastries, drinks, and hot plates almost simultaneously, and the princesses were already making their rounds. There was a "wishing ceremony" not long after we were settled.

    Princesses present: Cinderella (greeter), Belle, Aurora, and Snow White. Yup, all repeats from the day before (except Cindy), though it was "blue dress' Belle this time.

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    This time, I did feel rushed. The princesses hurried through, mostly spending time only with DD2 for pictures (Belle excepted), and we were done with the whole meal in 45 minutes. That said, the food was good (I loved the stuffed french toast!) and the atmosphere is amazing. It was also, by far, the quietest restaurant and the one with the least crowded table spaces that we went to.

    I'd do this again, maybe once more, when DD2 is old enough to really get into it -- probably in 3 years or so, which is likely our next visit.

    Edit: As with Coral Reef, there were no diaper changing facilities in the men's room. This time, at least, we noticed it early enough so that I wasn't trying to find a place to change a diaper when I discovered the fact.
     
  7. Faldred

    Faldred DIS Veteran

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    Cosmic Ray's, Friday Lunch

    With a late breakfast and an early dinner, we decided to split a single CS meal for lunch -- Cosmic Ray's was a good choice because we were in Tomorrowland anyway, and we could get the chicken & ribs combo plate. We were later than we'd like for lunch (around 1:30) because we just kept finding perfect gaps in crowds to do rides like TTA and Carousel of Progress.

    Even as late as it was, there was a line out the door just to get into the place. Since I was going to the chicken "bay", I didn't have to wait quite as long as folks heading for burgers. Still, it took a while (once again, stressing the wisdom of the lunch ADRs), and not even trying to find a table, I got to-go containers and headed out to meet DW, who called to tell me that she was camped out at the Terrace Noodle Station (closed for lunch), where she found plenty of room for us.

    We split the chicken & ribs, with mashed potatoes and green beans. I got the chocolate cake again, and used snack credits for an extra soda and a carrot cake for DW. The food was good (the beans were a bit tasteless, though) and hit the spot. The kids got chicken nuggets, grapes, and applesauce, along with some extra milks.

    Aside from the crowds and waits, a solid CS option, though I'd go CHH if forced to choose just one in the MK.
     
  8. Faldred

    Faldred DIS Veteran

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    Tony's Town Square, Friday Dinner

    Cutting it close on ADR time again, we check in right on time, and proceed to wait a good 15 minutes for a table. Once we were seated, we had little trouble settling in and getting our orders.

    The bread was a bit bland -- even DD2 didn't seem to care for it too much, but our appetizers were good. We ordered calamari and the caesar salad, and both were pretty tasty. Our entrees, however, arrived almost immediately after the appetizers, which caused a rushed feeling and a crowded table. The entrees were fine (seafood pasta diavolo for me -- the salmon provided a very unexpected but appreciated flavor, spaghetti and meatballs for DW), just rushed.

    On the other hand, we had to wait a while for dessert orders. DW went with the creme brulee (she must really have liked the one at Kona!) and thought it was OK. I had the ice cream bomb, which was nice, but nothing I'd miss if I never had it again.

    The kids had, yup, you guessed it, cheese pizza, apple slices, and grapes.

    Aside from the timing, the service was good. All in all, I thought this was much better than the average review I've read on the DIS. The food was better than average and plentiful, and the service was OK.
     
  9. MAGGIED

    MAGGIED DIS Veteran

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    still enjoying your dining reviews... how did you like POR.. we are staying there in May
     
  10. MickeyNicki

    MickeyNicki It is pretty darn sad when a valet picks you out a

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    We ate there earlier this month and agree with you...the bread was blah and the calamari and the caesar were both excellent! Service was great but the food was rushed out....we really enjoyed it and will be back in June!
     
  11. DRS_Are_Best

    DRS_Are_Best Mouseketeer

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    DW here -- Faldred may have something to add or contradict -- overall, POR was a really nice stay -- as a family of 5 we are somewhat limited on our choices if we want to get just one room. We were in the Alligator Bayou rooms -- the room was tight but we are both "Pooh sized" and still have to find space for the 3 kids. DS(3) stayed on the trundle bed and fell asleep as soon as he was tucked in every night. DD(2) and DS(2) were both on air beds that we brought with us. There wasn't much room to walk around, but we were able to find space for everything.

    We had a slight problem with the fridge -- it wasn't cold at all when we arrived. We called to tell them and by the next day it wasn't so bad anymore. I don't know if it fixed itself or if someone came by to adjust it while we were at the park on Monday.

    Kids loved the pool and the play area on "Ol' Man Island". Personally, I think I would have preferred the pool in our section of the resort.

    It was also really nice to be able to get on a river tram and get to Downtown Disney. We did that to get to Wolfgang Puck for our dinner reservation -- we were planning on another trip but we just didn't have the time....

    The laundry facilities weren't far from our room also, which made life a bit easier on Wednesday when we DESPARATELY needed to run a couple of loads. Just a word of warning if anyone is planning on doing laundry -- it takes AT LEAST 2 times through the dryer until the clothes are dry. Just budget both the quarters and the time.

    Hope that helps, and sorry to put in my 2 cents in someone else's review -- but since it's the exact same vacation I thought it might be appropriate.
     
  12. Faldred

    Faldred DIS Veteran

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    Tusker House, Saturday Breakfast

    Another day, another character breakfast. This time, with Donald and friends at the Tusker House in Animal Kingdom. This had multiple levels of appeal -- I've heard the food was good, a chance to see Daisy, getting to walk through a nearly empty park on the way, and hopping on the Safari right after breakfast.

    We checked in on-time (again, it was a tight push due to having to go all the way across the park as soon as we could get in!) and were taken for pictures (yuck!) about 5 minutes later. Our server was efficient but rather abrupt. I never lacked for the jungle juice, though, and I must have had a full five glasses of it (yum!).

    I have no complaints about the food, but I didn't see a signature item like the puffed french toast at Crystal Palace. It was good, hot (when it was supposed to be), and the lines weren't too bad.

    I had heard the characters here were rushed, but I found it a mixed bag -- Donald and Daisy took plenty of time, Mickey was in the middle, and Goofy seemed very rushed. But he was in our room for the dance/parade, so that made up for the rush a little bit.

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    I let myself fill up a bit, since we were going to do a lighter lunch. It was also the only time all week I actually had Mickey waffles, though they were available at all the buffets.

    The park was open before we were done, but we still had only 5 minutes wait for the Safari, which was very nice indeed.
     
  13. Faldred

    Faldred DIS Veteran

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    Yak and Yeti Counter Service, Saturday Lunch

    As much as I loathed passing on Flame Tree, we were on a mission to try new places this time. Besides, we had chicken and ribs the day before, and were getting chicken and ribs for dinner...

    Still, there's nothing like waiting in yet another longish line (though the shortest of the CS lines I had to deal with) to then have to place 3 orders (meal credit, snack credit, OOP). Oh, well, seating was available and no one was asleep yet, so I dutifully used our last unspoken-for meal plan credit on a shrimp lo mein, diet coke, and mango pie. This was supplemented with "snacks" of egg rolls and chicken fired rice. The kids were ordered for OOP with chicken nuggets, applesauce, and cookie, along with the requisite milks.

    I had the fried rice and snagged one of the kid's nuggets -- these were different from the generic park chicken... I think it's the same nuggets used in the chicken dishes, just without a sauce. Light and tasty, and the kids did a credible job splitting the remainder. DS3 had the applesauce and the three of them split the cookie. DW had the lo mein and the egg rolls, so she had a pretty full meal, leaving me the lion's share of the mango pie, which was surprisingly good.

    I thought the fried rice was a good use of a snack credit. DW thought the lo mein and the egg rolls were OK. They offer good kid's meals here that are at least a little different than the typical park fare.
     
  14. Faldred

    Faldred DIS Veteran

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    Hoop De Doo Revue, Saturday Dinner

    We had to hoof it quickly out of Animal Kingdom to make the 5:00 HDDR show, arriving just 10 minutes prior, and waiting in line for yet another picture that didn't turn out well. The one from our own camera was marginally better:

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    We were seated on the floor, in the back, almost dead center. The view was actually pretty good from there. The show was fun, but loud, which caused problems with DS2, who had difficulty with shows all week due to the noise. This, unfortunately, hindered our enjoyment of the show, especially for DW, who was trying to soothe him as best as she could. He did like bits with Claire Delune in them, though.

    On to the food. We ordered sangria, for the heck of it. For some reason, I expected it to be sweeter, so I only had the one. (Just as well, since I was driving.) I stuck with diet Coke after that.

    The cornbread was tasty, and appreciated by all at the table. I was worried about the chicken, having seen bad reviews, but ours was perfect -- the white meat especially was juicy but fully cooked; it was also crunchy and tasty. The ribs were a little more generic. I still wound up (after having a really light lunch) having most of 4 pieces of chicken and about half a rack of ribs. Potatoes were good, even DS3 ate them (as long as I picked out the skin). Beans were OK.

    We asked for an alternative for the critters, and got a bowl of mac & cheese, which they didn't eat. DS2 and DD2 did have some of the meat off our chicken, though, and DW and I liked the mac & cheese. :thumbsup2

    By the time the strawberry shortcake came out, I'm surprised I had room for it. Didn't stop me from having a fair bit of it, though. Not bad, but other options would have been nice. DS3 was too interested in the show to eat much, despite having looked forward to it, in theory.

    This is one I'd like to do again when the kids are older. I love the schtick and I was pleased with the food.
     
  15. Faldred

    Faldred DIS Veteran

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    Actually, the laundry was about as far away from our room as you could get -- with each "cluster" of buildings having their own pool/laundry area, we were the furthest out, or very close to that, in our cluster.

    It would have been nicer to have been closer to the main building -- as it was, we were on the opposite side of the resort, which made using our free mugs a bit of a hassle. We might have used them 4-5 times each all week.

    In retrospect, I would have liked to have had a "resort day" where we spent more time just hanging out -- the resort is quite nice, and it would have been fun to just relax for a while. Not sure how well that would have worked with the critters in tow, though...
     
  16. Faldred

    Faldred DIS Veteran

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    Crystal Palace, Sunday Lunch

    A fairly late addition to the ADR list, we decided to repeat CP, but for lunch, so that we could start the drive home on full tummies, especially under the assumption that the critters would all have something to eat.

    This time, we didn't have to worry about the autograph book, or so we thought. I decided to buy the "deluxe" birthday goody bag for DS3, since we were celebrating his 4th birthday a couple of weeks early on Sunday... and so, the canvas bag that it comes in made for perfect signing fodder, no?

    We also got more pictures with Pooh and the gang, and DS3 got to do the parades again.

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    As for the food... I found the "main dish" items to be underwhelming. The rotisserie chicken was tasty in its seasoning, but the meat was dry. The flank steak was again marinaded well, but overcooked. Still, the "side dishes", especially the spooned corn bread, were very good (the corn bread needed a fair amount of salt, but was otherwise very tasty). And I will admit to... um... sampling more desserts than would be considered good for me. And they were all excellent.

    Service was spot on. Still, I preferred breakfast, even though I liked lunch as well.
     
  17. Faldred

    Faldred DIS Veteran

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    Final Thoughts

    The deluxe plan worked really well for us, given our need to stick with toddlers' schedules for meals and naps. I was happy with the food, on the whole, noting that, unsurprisingly, the out-of-park food almost universally was superior to the in-park food. (Notable exceptions: Boatwright's and Crystal Palace).

    We were full, but typically not over-stuffed, but the idea of using all of the snack credits was crazy -- though we admittedly were more aggressive with them as the week went on.

    Best and Worst

    By my opinion... DW will have her own list...

    Best beverage: Berry smoothie (Kona/Boatwright's)
    Best bread: Kona Cafe
    Best appetizer: Crab cakes, Wolfgang Puck Cafe
    Best entree: Lamb two ways, Rose & Crown
    Best dessert: Jack & Bailey's mousse, Coral Reef
    Best counter service: Columbia Harbor House
    Best buffet: Crystal Palace (breakfast)
    Best character meal experience: Akerhaus

    Worst beverage: Sangria, HDDR
    Worst bread: Flatbread, Wolfgang Puck Cafe
    Worst appetizer: 7 bean chili, Sci Fi
    Worst entree: Prime rib, Boatwright's
    Worst dessert: Celebration cheesecake, Sci Fi
    Worst counter service: n/a (I can't bear to call any of them the "worst")
    Worst buffet: n/a (ditto)
    Worst character meal experience: n/a (ditto)
     
  18. summersalt

    summersalt DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the reviews, Faldred! I enjoyed reading them all!:thumbsup2
     
  19. clc053103

    clc053103 DIS Veteran

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    This review was fantastic!!! I love your summary with "best and worst"!
     
  20. Faldred

    Faldred DIS Veteran

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    Added (non-food, sorry!) pictures where appropriate.
     

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