Are the signature restaurants that much better?

Discussion in 'Disney Restaurants' started by eeyoresmom, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. eeyoresmom

    eeyoresmom Guest

    DH and I are doing a 3 night non park trip. I am considering ADR's at a few signature restaurants ( Flying Fish and Citrico's) I've never eaten at a WDW signature place because most trips it is just me and the kids and we are in the parks at dinnertime. Right now I have ADR's at Raglan Road and Turf Club. Looking at allears, the prices at the signatures are just about double the average TS. Worth it? Is the atmosphere at the signatures better?
     
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  3. Pakey

    Pakey DIS Veteran

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    Food quality is probably better; certainly variety is better, particularly with appetizers. Service will be much slower paced as most people dining at these restaurants are not in a hurry to rush back into a park. I've done all of the signatures several times.

    As far as atmosphere, Flying Fish and Citricos are nothing alike. Citricos is quiet and subdued and Flying Fish is noisy and bright. Citricos has a tendency to be more adult; Flying Fish will be full of kids and the tables are on top of each other. As a party of two, you may get lucky and get one of the tables against the wall. Although the tables are small they do provide a bit more privacy. My last meal here, in December, we got to enjoy the argument between a husband and wife seated at the next table. Although the were talking quietly, the acoustics carry and we could hear it probably better than they could.

    I enjoy both Raglan Road and Turf Club. I don't know if they are worth "half" the value of the signatures as I think both of them are pretty good. The signatures are not what they used to be pre-dining plan but if you haven't tried them from back then, you might think they are worth twice the value. I'd say you should pick what menus really appeal to you and not give as much weight to signature vs non-signature.
     
  4. Pygoplites

    Pygoplites Mouseketeer

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    Only you can answer the "worth it" question. If you're not used to paying Signature-level prices, then you may not have a good experience. I enjoy WDW dining at all price levels, but I will admit that almost all of their restaurants are capable of delivering a "not worth it" experience (except for V&A, which has never let me down at all). However, I have found that the Signature places are somewhat more consistent in delivering a good dining experience compared to the regular TS restaurants.

    As far as atmosphere...it depends on the place. Some, like Citrico's and bluezoo, definitely have an upscale ambiance. Others might feel more casual than what you might be expecting.
     
  5. sleepydog25

    sleepydog25 Been here awhile

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    Both PPs have made excellent points, so all I'm doing is adding to what they've said. As a general rule, signatures do offer a bit more ambience, quality, and adult-oriented dining experiences. We usually do a mixture of signatures and non-signatures, and some of the latter restaurants have been quite good (Portobello comes to mind). However, we still find that signatures are more consistent as mentioned above. What one defines as "worth it," however, may not be the same to another. For some, the amount of food served makes one eatery worth it over a signature that provides smaller portions. For others, the quality of service and imagination of the menu ranks higher than sheer volume.

    That being said, since it's just you and your DH, why not try places you wouldn't with your kids? Though you don't say when you're going, if California Grill has re-opened (late summer), the food has consistently been among the best in WDW, and it has great views of MK. Jiko is a unique restaurant with a menu that goes beyond mere steak and seafood. Artist Point is relaxed, quiet, and romantic with a couple of exceptional dishes and nearly always very good service. For a real treat, there is Victoria and Albert's which, though very pricey, is hands-down the best restaurant on property.

    In the end, only you can decide what is worth it for you when it comes to food, ambience, and price. But, I say step out and do at least a couple of signatures on this next trip so that you can definitively say you liked or disliked them based on your own merits. Enjoy! ;)
     
  6. eeyoresmom

    eeyoresmom Guest

    Thank you for the excellent resposes. We live in a high COL area so I am not at all put off by the prices.Thanks especially for warning me of the atmosphere at Flying Fish. Not at all what we would want for this trip. I think I am going to stick with our Turf Club and Ragland Road reservations as we are staying at SSR and these will be so easy to get to. I am, however very tempted by the description of Bluezoo......:rolleyes1 Our trip is early April so California Grill is not an option. Too bad because that too would be easy to get to from our resort.
     
  7. frannn

    frannn <font color=blue>please stop the madnesssss alread

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    We have done Narcoosies and Brown Derby a bunch of times in the past, and use to love them. The cuts of steak and availability of "higher scale" entrees, such as lobster attracted us. In recent years, we haven't been back there because the quality of food has dimished. We have been to Flying Fish more recently, and found that not only is the food amazing, the level of service has not been matched at any other WDW eatery. Having management approach us specifically to see how we were enjoying our meal was wonderful. We loved the attention and easy going manner of the wait staff as well. We mostly dine at 1 credit places while at WDW, and those places are good as well, but we can definetly feel the difference between those and the signatures.
     
  8. Uncleromulus

    Uncleromulus <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/index.

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    Well--all I can say is that if I had the choice among Flying Fish, Citricos, Turf Club and raglan road, I wouldn't hesitate a second before choosing FF and Citricos.

    Turf Club is nice but perfectly ordianary.

    Raglan Road is Irish Pub-grub...and when the band starts, is extremely noisy.
     
  9. Pakey

    Pakey DIS Veteran

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    I go to WDW often and do a lot of signature dining. IMO, bluezoo is the 2nd best restaurant at WDW behind Victoria & Alberts. Unless there is a convention happening at the Swan/Dolphin, bluezoo is very quiet and adult. Tables are spaced so there is no intrusion on your privacy. The scallop and pork rib appetizer (two scallops so this appetizer is huge) is the single best dish at WDW. I've had a few raw oysters and this appetizer as my entree and I've been very happy. All of the entrees I've had have been great; the Catonese lobster is excellent. The pasty chef here is award winning and I've had some incredible desserts-this is the only restaurant where I always save room for dessert. And the mixologists here are fantastic with a huge menu of interesting mixed drinks.

    You don't read a lot about bluezoo on here because it's not on the dining plan and it's not what I would consider family friendly. However, it's very good and if I was going to try one signature experience at WDW, outside of V&A, it would be this one.
     
  10. Uncleromulus

    Uncleromulus <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/index.

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    Agree completely!!
     
  11. jude&jonah

    jude&jonah Mouseketeer

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    Bluezoo is one of the last sigantures at Disney i have yet to try- but it looks amazing! Walked inside there this last week to check it out. If I was going on an adults only trip with my spouse I would NEED to do one high end dinner- and I think bluezoo would be ideal for that.
     
  12. kapoof

    kapoof DIS Veteran

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    Yes they are better, but i still enjoy counter services as well. I think the best for the money would be the cafe in France.
     
  13. davedmaine

    davedmaine DIS Veteran

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    The problem is when you involve the dining plan and you hear the comments - 'it's not worth 2 credits' or 'I wouldn't go if I had to pay for it.' For the life of me, I don't understand what people mean. How does one determine what's worth one credit, but not two?
    Also, as I've mentioned before, go back and look at the reviews of LC just before it went to two credits. The place, with few exceptions, could do no wrong - the food was a gift from heaven. As soon as the place went to 2 credits on the dining plan, suddenly the place was serving the worst slop imaginable. Why? What happened?
    Bottomline: Get rid of the dining plan and maybe dining at Disney can get back to what it once was -- better quality, separate lunch and dinner menus, desserts created at the restaurant, people not wearing flip flops and bathing suits at sigs, options at a CS besides a bacon angus burger, etc..
     
  14. MissionMouse

    MissionMouse DIS Veteran

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    Agree. Everyone pays for their meals. Nothing is free. They pay for the dining plan or pay room rack rate. Most people have no clue what the value of a TS ticket equates to, but they just recite Disney claim of savings. Hard to demonstrate if you can reference what you TS, CS and snack ticket are worth. A ticket system with multiple offering level makes it hard for a customer to associate it back to a monetary value. This allows Disney to be paid in advance, greater room and ease to slide profit margins by quality and menu offerings. In this case, Disney markets the affordability of the DDP and brought in a very large population not familar to the golden TS dining era and converts their money into a ticket system providing table service, counter service and snack. Now time has passed and even this group is experiencing things their not happy. I think the quality we experienced in the past is gone as they have a new customer base with affordability being number one.
     
  15. fuzzlekins

    fuzzlekins Mouseketeer

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    Yikes! For the prices, food quality had BETTER be better! We're planning to do some signatures on our next trip. We're not into "upscale" dining, but we do enjoy GOOD food. The problem for me is that everyone's definition of good is different. I wish, in reviews, people had to put in some sort of benchmark rating of their palate. LOL Like ... I think Olive Garden is da bomb. Or, nothing beats Red Lobster. Or, I've had one of my recipes published in a magazine. :lmao: Seriously though, I never cease to be amazed. I've seen Chef Mickey's breakfast trashed. Yet, when we went, it was our favorite character meal. I really don't know how any of the breakfast buffets could screw up waffles, bacon, croissants, etc. Then we see rave reviews for Coral Reef and get there to find that the food is terrible b/c they use farm-raised seafood. Any restaurant that uses farm-raised seafood CANNOT be considered excellent. Sorry but that's just not a matter of opinion - that's fact. Farm raised is disgusting and not even healthy to eat (farm raised shrimp is the most bacteria ridden stuff that comes out of water).

    I'd really hate to spend $50 on a dinner that's not as good as my favorite local restaurant that costs $25 for an entree. I guess there's only one way to find out though...
     
  16. princessallegra

    princessallegra They call me Mrs. Disney

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    The food quality IS better. But honestly olive garden and red lobster may be good to you, but I can't make it through a dinner at either of those places without a trip to their restroom. Yikes! The entrees at the Signatures are about $25-$47 an entree and the quality and iventiveness of the dishes are apparent. Some of our favorites are Citricos, Flying Fish, California Grill, and Artist Point.
     
  17. sleepydog25

    sleepydog25 Been here awhile

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    Back on topic, glad to hear you've made a decision to stick with the two reservations. Nothing wrong with either one, and I'm sure you'll enjoy yourselves. :thumbsup2
     
  18. fuzzlekins

    fuzzlekins Mouseketeer

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    LOL! No, no, that was my point. If someone gives a seafood restaurant a great review but also thinks Red Lobster is top notch, then that kind of negates the review for me. The problem is that you have no idea what every reviewer's taste is like so it's a crap shoot most of the time. :\
     
  19. princessallegra

    princessallegra They call me Mrs. Disney

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    Ohhh got it! Hahaha! Derrrrr
     
  20. Masonmj84

    Masonmj84 DIS Veteran

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    It's hard to compare the signatures to chains outside the World because there are so few that make for a good comparison.

    But just to provide my frame of reference as far as chain table service restaurants go . . .

    To me, the low end (Level 1) are chains like Denny's, Friendly's, and Applebees. In my book, most fast food chains serve better food than these places. I'm also not a fan of Red Lobster.

    Next up (Level 2) are chains like Chli's, Olive Garden, and Outback. To me, these are just okay.

    Somewhat better (Level 3) are chains like P.F. Chang's, Macaroni Grill, and Texas Roadhouse. I generally enjoy these places and find the food to be good but not great.

    Above these (Level 4) are places like Bonefish Grill, Hillstone Group Restuarants (Houston's etc.) and some of the Brazilian steakhouses (e.g., Fogo de Chao, Tejas de Brazil, etc.). I really enjoy these places and usually find the food to be quite good.

    Yet above those (Level 5) are places like Morton's and Ruth's Chris. I rarely frequent those unless on an expense account (not enough bang for my buck relative to the next level down).

    Now back to Disney . . .

    To me, most of the dining plan signatures are at least as good, if not somewhat better, than Level 4. While I definately think some of these are better than others (and approach Level 5), to my palatte, there's not an enormous amont of difference between the best and worst of them.

    In contrast, the non-signatures are all over the place. Some are closer to Level 1 while others approach Level 4. I will say that the best of these are a better deal than the average signature (either OOP or DDP). For example, I'd put Via Napoli at nearly Level 4 (by way of comparision, I'd put California Pizza Kitchen somewhere between Level 2 and 3 and Pizza Hut and Domino's closer to Level 1).
     
  21. bedogged

    bedogged <font color=purple>Choose parents that aged well<b

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    I guess I am in the minority here, but I think that the quality of food at the Signature Restaurants is MUCH better than at the non signature restaurants. We always do Deluxe Dinning with a one point TS lunch and a Signature Restaurant at Dinner. I guess everyone has their own opinions, but I would not be willing to give up Signature meals for one point TS meals. Let's face it, regardless if it is CS, TS or Signature, ALL food sold at WDW is very expensive and IMHO not worth it! We put up with it because we are a captive audience and WDW knows it.
     

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