Deluxe Dining 12/10 An Honest Review without the Hype! 20 Reviews with Lots of Pics

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Reviews' started by DisneyFamily123, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. DisneyFamily123

    DisneyFamily123 Use the Force, Luke!

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    This review is complete. I hope this returns the favor because reading all the reviews here really helped me plan my trips. Enjoy!

    Without the Hype I give you an honest review with explanations about why I enjoyed a restaurant or liked a specific dish. I will not rave about the food if I don't think it is deserved. I'll tell you why I didn't like it. I've read a lot of restaurant reviews and posts. Some get consistently good reviews, others not so good. But some restaurants are loved and hated by people who dined there the same week! I'm sure that has everything to do with the basis for comparison. Some people are just shocked by the cost. Some people are used to very high quality fine dining. Some people have never eaten food better than a Howard Johnsons. Some have access to great dining at home, others have limited choices. So, in fairness, here's our basis for comparison.

    What I Like to Eat, My Basis for Comparison At home, we don't dine out much. We like fine dining, but are so busy with work, coaching, and other things... we are usually happy just to be home. We live near Baltimore, MD with access to a great variety of restaurants: chain restaurants, fine dining, trendy cafes, local pubs, ethnic restaurants (Indian, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Italian, German, just about anything). I like seafood but will only buy it from a few places where I trust it is fresh and cook it myself. And we steam our crabs ourselves with plenty of seasoning, we don't buy them already cooked. If just looking for great food (not fancy presentation), there are some wonderful hidden gems in small inexpensive pubs and cafes. That's where we like to go. Some of the best shellfish (steamed mussels) I've had were cooked behind the bar at old pubs in a old district called Fells Point. On most days, I'm happy with a steak sub from our local independent pizzeria or whatever the special is at the nearby cafe. So, my taste buds are probably too common to appreciate a place like Victoria and Alberts, but I do enjoy good tasting food in a fun environment with good people.

    Who We Are This was our 3rd trip together to Disney World with our youngest son. We are DH46, DW44, and DS5. I (DH) first got hooked on Disney World in 2008 when Grandparent In-Laws took everyone to Disney World. We did the Plus Dining Plan (DDP) in Nov. 2008, Deluxe DDP in Oct. 2009 and Dec. 2010. We love the rides and attractions but dining out at Disney is also an important part of our vacation fun, and a way to take a break from all the walking. This trip was Dec. 3-12 and we came for all the Christmas stuff. Last year we came for the Halloween Stuff. I'd like to go again in October after the Magic Kingdom expansion is finished. Or maybe a Disney Cruise.

    Best of the Best Post #2

    Review of Dining with DS5 - The Kids Meals Post #23

    Deluxe Dining Plan Savings Post #24

    Restaurant Reviews Are In Order on Posts that Follow.... Select link or scroll to the post.
    Signature Restaurants
    Flying Fish Cafe Post #3
    California Grill Post #4
    Narcoossees Post #5
    Brown Derby Post #6

    Other Restaurants
    Yak and Yeti Post #7
    50s Prime Time Post #8
    Sci Fi Diner Post #9
    Coral Reef Post #10
    San Angel Inn Post #11
    Chefs de France Post #12
    Biergarten Post #13
    Le Cellier Post #14
    Ohana Post #15
    Whispering Canyon Cafe Post #16

    Character Meals
    Crystal Palace Post #17
    1900 Park Fare Dinner Post #18
    Garden Grill Dinner Post #19
    Cape May Cafe Post #20
    Tusker House Post #21
    Hollywood and Vine Post #22
     
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  3. DisneyFamily123

    DisneyFamily123 Use the Force, Luke!

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    Best of the Best
    Very difficult to pick favorites, like comparing apples to oranges. Many restaurants are just different. We do like the restaurants that are different (themes, shows, characters, music, etc.) and we like the signatures - it's great to try some finer dining with DS. So here goes some of my favorites by category.

    Best Signature Restaurant - Flying Fish Cafe. The mussels appetizer sent me to heaven. The tuna entree was divine. DW loved the crab cake and red snapper. No complaints at all. The reviews of FF Cafe are consistently positive. That's a good sign. The boardwalk entertainers outside the restaurant gives Flying Fish bonus points. But I'll have to give a close tie to California Grill. The sushi is great and I just loved that they had Pacific Monchong - a deep sea Hawaiian fish, it was nice to try a fish that is not usually available. I can only eat so much Mahi Mahi at WDW.

    Best Restaurants by Park -

    Magic Kingdom - Crystal Palace. Great variety of delicious food, excellent service, convenient location. Love the Pooh characters. For a non-character meal, I'd pick lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern or go to one of the monorail resort restaurants.

    Animal Kingom - Yak and Yeti. The food here is just simply delicious. Everything is great -- appetizers to desserts. Not one complaint. The decor is fun, convenient location, great place to relax for a late lunch.

    Hollywood Studios - 50s Prime Time. Fun joking around, delicious filling food. Awesome homemade milkshakes. If looking for the fantasmic package I'd pick Brown Derby (if still only a choice of BD, Hollywood n Vine, and Mama Melrose).

    Epcot - This is a tough choice because all the restaurants are different. But... I pick Restaurant Marrakesh! We didn't go here in 2010 because we wanted to try other places... but I wish we did. I really enjoyed the music. I really felt like I stepped out of Disney World into Morocco. I didn't get that in other countries as much. This place gets very mixed reviews but we thought the food was delicious and service was great. San Angel Inn might have won if they had the Mariachi Cobre band playing in the restaurant.​

    Best Dinner Show - Didn't go to one in 2010, but again... depends on what you are looking for. We had a good time at Mickey's Backyard BBQ in 2008, Spirit of Aloha in 2009, and Hoop Dee Doo in 2009.

    Best Character Meal - This is a tough choice because it really depends on what characters you want to see. But I pick Hollywood and Vine breakfast (not lunch). The food is much better at breakfast, and this has the most character interaction with the children dancing with characters and cast members to Playhouse Disney music, and doing the usual table greetings. DS loved it at age 4 and 5. The really great thing about character meals... is.... well meeting characters (with no lines!). Here's photos of our pillow cases showcasing autographs!

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  4. DisneyFamily123

    DisneyFamily123 Use the Force, Luke!

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    We were very excited about Flying Fish Cafe because we love seafood and the reviews consistently praise Flying Fish, and we wanted to go to signature restaurants we didn't do last year. We arrived early so we walked through the Boardwalk resort to look at the Christmas decorations. Nice resort and I think I'd have trouble deciding whether to stay here or Beach Club on a future trip.

    About 20 minutes before our 7:10pm ADR, one of the boardwalk entertainers started (right outside the restaurant entrance) and our DS5 was pulled into the act! Here's a clip of part of his act... DW checked with the restaurant to see if we could be seated later (no problem, whenever we are ready!). After dinner, there was another entertainer. We were going to head through Epcot for illuminations but we never left the Boardwalk because the entertainers were so much fun. Juggling, balancing acts, comedy, and a little magic. You'll just have to see it for yourself.

    I like the setting of this place, the decor, and the open kitchen. Makes it a little noisy which is fine for us. I don't want to eat in a place where you can hear a pin drop. Our waitress was superb and knew the menu very well. My only regret is we didn't schedule a 2nd ADR for this place during our trip. Total cost = $168 (or 2 DDP credits per person) not including tip for 2 adults and 1 child. Now on to the food...

    DW had 2 drinks called Bay Breeze. I guess she liked it! I usually just drink ice tea or water with my meal, coffee with dessert. Sometimes wine. But we didn't order wine anywhere this trip. I like my wine and beer by itself.

    The mussels... ooohhhh the mussels. Look, I know my mussels... and these were absolutely great! Nice texture, large in size, and the broth was out of this world. I usually like mussels in a simple broth with garlic but I couldn't stop dipping my bread in this. I stopped because I didn't want to fill myself up but used my spoon to eat it like soup! While I was being weird and falling in love with the mussels, DW already chomped down her crab cake before I could take a picture (sorry...). I did get 1 bite. We are from the Chesapeake Bay Region and picky about crab cakes, so when we both say it was very good, don't question it.

    DW had the signature potato wrapped red snapper entree. I didn't care for the presentation, seems like a heavy tasting sauce for fish. I usually just season my fish with salt, pepper, lemon, fresh herbs. But, DW thought it was great tasting and so did I. Nice of her to let me taste all her food, isn't it? I don't think red snapper has a lot of taste by itself anyway. Now Rockfish (striped bass) should be seasoned very lightly....I was disappointed it wasn't on the menu while we were there. So.... I had the yellow fin tuna. Very nice presentation and tasted awesome! Again, I think my opinion counts because I've had tuna cooked the same day it was fresh caught in the Atlantic Ocean. This tasted just as good. Some people might not like the tuna just seared like this... but really it's the only way to eat it. Flying Fish had a few side dishes... not that I was hungry...but we both like beets. It was a very tasty dish. Nice beets, definitely tastes more like the Amish variety, not the processed kind.

    Dessert. At this point, I didn't even care about dessert. I was so happy! But we had some kind of pear ginger creme brulee, and key lime pie. Both were good.

    I'm not putting many photos or reviewing specific kids meals, but DS5 loved his mickey pasta and the paint your own puzzle dessert. Strangely, he is not big into cake or ice cream, so the puzzle dessert was fun to play with. For kids meals, he usually has whatever is on the menu and we request at least 1 large serving of strawberries for an appetizer. Not on the menu, but most restaurants have strawberries when we ask. The strawberries at Disney World are so sweet, much better than what we get at home. And DS LOVES strawberries.

    Mussels Appetizer - Chardonnay steamed Maine Coast Blue Hill Bay Mussels -- Fennel, Chilies, Pesto Crema and Grilled Sourdough. I already started eating these before taking the picture.
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    Red Snapper
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    Yellow Fin Tuna
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    Beets Side Dish
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    Creme Brulee
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    Key Lime Pie
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    Kids Mickey Pasta
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    Puzzle Dessert
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  5. DisneyFamily123

    DisneyFamily123 Use the Force, Luke!

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    Our 2nd time at California Grill. DW liked the filet so much last year, this was a must do for us this trip. Last year, we had a 5:30pm ADR and walked into the restaurant right at sunset -- beautiful views from the restaurant. Well this trip our ADR was 5:45 but being a month later in the year, the sun was already down. We did have a nice view of the Castle from our table and I imagine the fireworks are great from here but we don't want to eat dinner that late.

    No wait at all to be seated. We both like the food here and the service is excellent. The atmosphere could be better. Tables are close together and it just feels crowded. The views from up high are fun but the observation deck is just cement with a railing that makes me nervous with DS, plus people smoke out there. I'll have to come back here during fireworks one trip. Total cost = $178 (or 2 DDP credits per person) not including tip for 2 adults and 1 child. Last year was about the same price add the cost of a bottle of wine.

    I had the mussels appetizer and this was a tough choice because I like sushi and the Spicy Kazan Roll was very good last year. I enjoyed the mussels but I was so overwhelmed by the Flying Fish mussels, everything else was going to pale in comparison. The broth was very good though. DW chose the Asian Rock Shrimp Salad. Strange choice for DW but she was tired of eating crab cakes by now (California Grill was near the end of our trip). We both thought the salad was very good but it just wasn't interesting to me. Nothing to rave about, but still good.

    I had the Pacific Monchong fish entree and I was very happy this was on the menu. I saw it on an online menu and had my heart set on it before we even got to Disney. It's a deep sea Hawaiian fish and I wanted to try a fish I've never had before. Our waiter said the fish is flown in overnight from the market fresh, not frozen. I liked the presentation, especially that the fish was on top of all the side items and broth (not in it) so I could taste the fish by itself. Aside from enjoying the novelty, this was great tasting fish...it had some delicate flavor on its own, was moist, and had a nice texture. Eventually, I dipped some of it in the broth and that was good too! DW had the filet and still maintains this is the best steak she has had at Disney World or anywhere else. I thought it was very delicious and tender (could cut it easily with the side of a fork). I just think steak is kind of boring to order at a restaurant when there are so many more interesting choices.

    Again, we enjoyed our meal so much, we didn't even care about dessert. But, I had some of the granny smith apple dessert and DW had the Valrhona Cake - we liked both. The desserts were very good, don't get me wrong... but we were still so very happy with our entrees that dessert wasn't going to wow us.

    DS5 had strawberies of course. Waiter brought him some goldfish crackers too, didn't ask but I guess he knew kids liked them. DS has an egg allergy so he can't have some bread. DS enjoyed his pizza. He also liked the sushi dessert - it's a fun dessert made to look like sushi rolls -- he didn't really eat much of it but gave him something to play with while we ate our dessert!

    I can't remember if DS had veggies too, but that reminds me of something that bugs me... the kids menus at restaurants really lack variety more than the usual pizza, pasta, or nuggets... some have grilled chicken or fish, but there's no vegetables! At every restaurant we ask for either beans or peas for DS and only about 1/2 could accomodate. How can a restaurant not have some veggies for kids? DS doesn't eat cake but he will make a meal out of a bowl of peas. Go figure...

    Mussels - Maine Mussels with coconut lime and curry broth, lime aioli, coriander bread.
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    Asian Rock Shrimp Salad with Asian Pears, Red Onion, Soy Reduction, Wasabi Cream
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    Oak Grilled Filet of Beef
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    Pacific Monchong with stir fry vegetables, soy shtakes (spelled wrong so not edited out!), sticky rice, ginger soy hijiki broth
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    Granny Smith Apple Dessert
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    View
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    Sunset View from 2009 - Looking Toward Resorts, not Magic Kingdom
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  6. DisneyFamily123

    DisneyFamily123 Use the Force, Luke!

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    Our 2nd time at Narcoosees. Last year, DW had the filet and lobster tail, I had seafood diablo. Since I didn't get the lobster last year, this year I was going to find out what makes a lobster worth $58. We took the boat from MK which was a nice ride except for the woman who was acting a little weird then climbed off the side of the boat onto the dock before the boat stopped! We also timed our 7:30pm ADR perfectly to view the 8pm fireworks here and the lighted boat parade on the Seven Seas Lagoon. After dinner, we didn't get to enjoy much of the Grand Floridian lobby because DS was falling asleep (had a busy day earlier at AK and MK park) so we came back later in the week. Total Cost = $164 (or 2 DDP credits per person) not including tip for 2 adults and 1 child.

    Overall, I'm not sure if I'd come back here again. Don't get me wrong, we think Narcoosees is great and deserving of signature status. But for seafood, I'd much rather go to California Grill or Flying Fish Cafe. We dined at Citricos last year and it was great enough to warrant a visit next trip instead of Narcoosees. Artist Point is the other signature we still want to try... we traded that for Whispering Canyon Cafe on our 1st night (I make a lot of sacrifices for my DS!). No interest in Yachtsman.

    On to the food... I had the fried oysters appetizer which I had already eyed up on the online menus. It was good but just different. May aunt used to make fried oysters and we would dip them in just a little mustard. Narcoosees was interesting but just not as good as my Aunt's. Sorry. DW had the crab cake appetizer and we both agreed very good (and that means something since we are from Baltimore).

    Now, about my lobster. $58? No way, but I was on the dining plan so I didn't care about the cost. With the dining plan savings, it was really about $36. I have to tell you there's a corner bar in Baltimore that used to have a lobster happy hour special with a 1 1/2 pound whole lobster, salad and baked potato for about $15. Plus they had $1 Rolling Rock draft beers. I had lobster one time before at Ocean City, MD. So, I'm no expert on lobster... I wouldn't know a good lobster if it bit me. The lobster at Narcoosees is flown in from Maine and I'm sure it is good. The meat was all very tender and tasty. I understand lobster tails are always tougher than the rest of the lobster... I'd say the tail was a little tougher... but definitely not tough to chew at all. If someone likes lobster, I'm sure they would love it, it was just kind of plain tasting to me. But I'm not a lobster person...

    In Maryland, we don't do lobster... we steam Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs with lots of hot seasoning. And we always buy them live and cook them ourselves... too many restaurants have cut corners and cook dead crabs. You know it was dead when put in the pot because it will smell like ammonia when you open it. NEVER eat a crab like that. I like J.O. Spice and McCormick's Old Bay spice (good on corn on the cob too). My uncle regularly crabbed and caught Rockfish (striped bass) so we ate good seafood often. Enough about crabs....

    DW chose the Seared Ahi Tuna entree which again I think is a more adventurous choice for DW -- she likes the seared tuna... but will come no where near sushi. We both that it was very good. By the way "very good" means a 9 or 10 out of 10 in my book. Now, I wished I ordered the Crispy Whole Red Snapper. I saw it being delivered to a nearby table and it was an interesting presentation, battered and fried and standing upright like it was swimming. It crossed my mind to ask to take a picture but DW might have slapped me so I put that thought back in my mind....

    Desserts... the almond crusted cheesecake was very good (there's that very good thing again). The other dessert was a pear thing. All were fine with great presentation but nothing spectacular to me.

    Bread
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    Fried Oysters
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    Crab Cake Appetizer
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    Lobster
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    Seared Ahi Tuna (not quick enough with the camera...!)
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    Almond Crusted Cheescake
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    Pear Dessert
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  7. DisneyFamily123

    DisneyFamily123 Use the Force, Luke!

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    Before our trip, a lot of the reviews did not favor Brown Derby as much as the other signature restaurants and/or said it just isn't worth 2 credits. I disagree. We scheduled a fantasmic dinner package here and came back later in the week for lunch. We were not planning on going here twice but ended up shuffling our park plans around a little bit -- this shuffle gave us another half day at HS and an extra dining plan credit (canceled one of our ADRs on last day). So, we decided to use it up at Brown Derby for lunch instead of going to a 1 credit place in HS. Glad we did.

    We did the fantasmic package last year at Mama Melrose. Why wait in lines if you don't have to? I like that the fantasmic package is no additional cost. If on a non-deluxe dining plan, appetizers are included with the fantasmic package. That's a plus! The reserved seating is fine, actually you can sit anywhere. We got there about 30-40 minutes early and sat as close as we wanted. It was cold too... For the Fantasmic package, Brown Derby was a much greater experience for us (compared to Mama Melrose)...it's closer to Fantasmic, service was faster, food was better...it also costs more.

    We did not do the Candlelight Processional dining package at Epcot... it bugs me that Disney charges an extra dining plan credit (or more money if not on DDP) for that! We waited in line at CP for about an hour and had great seats. It was fun talking with people in line, we all took beer and bathroom breaks while in line. Now, we went to the 5pm CP on a weekday when Jodi Benson (voice of Ariel) was narrating and it was earlier in December. For a very popular narrator (Whoopi), or later in December, I understand you have to line up much earlier if you don't have the reserved seating that comes with the package.

    Now back to Brown Derby. We enjoyed both lunch and dinner but there was a difference. Our fantasmic dinner ADR was 3:50pm and no wait to be seated. Service was just fine but our waiter was clearly hurrying to manage a lot of tables and get everyone out on time for the 6:30pm Fantasmic show. He was very attentive to us so I'll give him a lot of credit for still giving great service even though he was under pressure. Lunch was more relaxed and the waiter had more time to chit chat with us. Some things were not on the online menus, they do change their menu items. The decor was nice too. Dinner was $135 and Lunch was $140 (or 2 DDP credits per person) not including tip for 2 adults and 1 child.

    Appetizers - At our dinner, I had an oyster and brie cheese soup (finished with champagne, chives and lemon aioli). Tasted excellent and I liked that it was different. DW had the crab cake and we both agree it met our high expectations for crab cakes (being from Maryland). I'll have to ask her which crab cake she liked best... I'm glad we came back a 2nd time because we shared the cobb salade appetizer (plenty for 2 or even more people). For our lunch, the sashimi tuna appetizer was very delicious. Very good quality tuna and the presentation was interesting. Everything was edible, even the blue ice in the glass. Think of it as a blueberry snowball underneath (I tasted it!). I didn't really get what could be so exciting about a cobb salad... I mean it's just chopped lunch meat and cheese and stuff, right? Well, I'm wrong. That salad was soooo..... good.

    Entrees - I had the Black Grouper (description with picture below). I love it when places get it right. I've had grouper many times before and this was darn good (that's a little better than very good). Great quality fish, tasted wonderful. I was looking forward to the Whiskey Salmon that was on the online menus but my disappointment quickly went away when I started eating the grouper. DW had the Sterling Silver pork chop. I looked this up on line and it's from a high quality meat company. DW enjoyed it immensely. For lunch, we both had the filet. It was very good and seemed much larger than other filet steaks at Disney. I thought it was delicious, tasty, and tender. DW enjoyed hers but said California Grill's is better.

    Desserts - DW is more into dessert than me. For dinner, we shared the Chocolate 3 Ways and took a slice of grapefruit cake to go. For lunch, DW had the grapefruit cake and I had cheesecake. It was all good but dessert just doesnt' excite me. I was surprised that DW liked the grapefruit cake because she doesn't like grapefruit.

    Overall, I would DEFINITELY return here if we are spending enough time at Hollywood Studios. But 50s Prime Time is now a new must do for us and probably the Hollywood and Vine breakfast depending on the characters there. DS likes SciFi Diner although I don't care for the food so much there... I can be happy with a sandwich, onion rings and a shake there.

    Sashimi Tuna Appetizer
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    Crab Cake Appetizer
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    Cobb Salad Not Mixed and After Mixing
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    Brown Butter Almond Crusted Black Grouper with Golden Beets, Roasted Celery Root and Leeks and a Lobster Beurre Blanc
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    Sterling Silver Pork Chop
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    The Filet (Lunch)
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    Brown Derby Kids Food
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    Grapefruit Cake (Oops, 2nd time ate it without taking a photo first!)
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    Cheesecake
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  8. DisneyFamily123

    DisneyFamily123 Use the Force, Luke!

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    We love Yak and Yeti. The food is sooo.... delicious. Love the location, the service, the decor, everything! Had a great visit here in 2009. Service and food still just as great a year later. This is a Landry's owned restaurant. Landry's buys up failing restaurants and makes them better. The company has a good reputation and owns some well known restaurants like the Chart House in Annapolis, MD. T-Rex and Rainforest Cafe are Landry's restaurants too.

    Here's part of what I wrote in a review last year: "Lettuce Cups and seared Ahi Tuna was great. Couldn't eat it all. DW had sweet and sour chicken, I had Crispy Mahi Mahi -- both were out of this world good. For dessert, the fried wontons with skewered pinapple was delicious. Liked it so much, we thought about skipping our Jiko dinner and returning here... Waiter said, no ADR, no problem. We went to Jiko anyway to try something different. Would come back here, absolutely!"

    And we did. The Thai Chili Wings were sooooo good. The chili sauce is very similar (or the same) as the sauce provided to dip the wok fried green beans. DW's ribs were very good. We can get very good babyback ribs here at home, and these were among the best. Great sauce, sweet but not too overwhelming.

    Ok... now onto my food... the Malaysian Seafood Curry. I just fell in love with this dish. It was incredible. The lousy photo I took doesn't do it justice. I asked if it was spicy when I ordered because I like spicy food. Our waitress said she would ask the chef to kick it up a notch. It was the best seafood dish of all the restaurants we went to. Ok.. I'll stop. If you like curry and spicy seafood, this is for you. It's a red curry which is always so much better than the yellow curries that are more popular in everyday food. I also like the safari amber draft beer.

    Dessert. I'm not big into dessert and found most of our desserts boring. But the fried wontons were interesting and delicious again. My mango pie was yummy. Total Cost = $95 (or 1 DDP credit per person) not including tip for 2 adults and 1 child. Doesn't include the beer either.

    Service was great. The decor is perfect. We now have a strange tradition. In 2009, DS(then 4) was not being real cooperative about sitting down for lunch. So, I allowed him to stand next to all the statues in the restaurant and he could make silly faces for my camera. Well guess what he wanted to do the moment we walked in there this trip? And they say kids don't remember?

    Thai Chili Wings
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    Wok Fried Green Beans
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    Ribs
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    Seafood Curry
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    Yak and Yeti Kids Food
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    Fried Wontons Dessert
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    Mango Pie
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  9. DisneyFamily123

    DisneyFamily123 Use the Force, Luke!

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    First time here. Lunch ADR at 1pm. Seated right away. Fun place. Food was very good and filling. The milkshakes alone are worth a trip here! And keep your elbows off the table!!! Cost = $85 (or 1 DDP credit per person) not including tip for 2 adults and 1 child.

    We didn't get too many jokes or antics but we were not tempting our waiter either. I was quietly reminded about keeping my elbows off the table, not being a tattle tale, and we were both reminded to our walkie talkies (cell phones) away. The decor was fun, just like in an old 50s kitchen. We liked watching the TV black and white sitcoms. The dessert menu was viewed in a viewmaster (old toy if you don't know)... DS liked that. Other people were getting about the same...

    The milkshakes are delicious! Very thick with real ice cream (as I say) unlike the pureed milkshakes with a lot of artificial flavoring added (that's what the SciFi Diner milkshakes are). Best milkshake ever and quite a big serving (included as drink if on the dining plan). Strawberry is my favorite flavor for milkshakes but I had to try the Peanut Butter and Jelly too so I took one of those to go for dessert... calories don't count when on vacation.

    I had the seafood salad for an appetizer. It was very good, better than what I expected for a "diner". DW had the crabcake - I thought it was good but DW says Flying Fish Cafe has the best crabcake.

    The pot roast was very good. Meat was tasty and tender, gravy was a lighter beef gravy. Large portion for a lunch (I still ate it all!). DW had the chicken pot pie - she liked it but it was a lot of food.... I'll vouch that it was a LOT of chicken pot pie, and delicious (I took a small taste - was plenty full from my own food).

    For dessert, DW had the hot fudge sundae. All the sundaes being served were huge... The kids meal was good here too. DS enjoyed his chicken nuggets...

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    Strawberry Shake - This was my drink. I had a Peanut Butter and Jelly Shake for my dessert to go!
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    Crab Cake
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    Seafood Salad
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    Chicken Pot Pie
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    Pot Roast
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    Kid's Meal (he had strawberries and other stuff too).
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  10. DisneyFamily123

    DisneyFamily123 Use the Force, Luke!

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    Early lunch here at 11:20am, requested car seating and got it. Total cost = $77 (or 1 DDP credit per person) not including tip for 2 adults and 1 child. It's a fun place to dine in the cars and we like watching the old movie clips. I'm pretty sure DS will want to come back here.

    Dined here last year too -- I really did not like the ribs (fatty). But this year, the Reuben sandwich, onion rings, and milkshake served me well. I wish they had a greater variety of sandwiches and burgers. I agree with other reviews that the best things here are the sandwiches, burgers, fries, onion rings, etc... not the other dishes.

    Appetizers - same thing as last year... the artichoke dip and chips, and onion rings. Both were the same as last year. Onion rings are great. The chips are good, the artichoke dip tastes Ok but not visually appealing. I should have tried something different but the other appetizers don't appeal to me. DW and I both had the Reuben sandwich - I thought it was very good and was happy it didn't have too much dressing on it. For dessert, the peanut butter chocolate cake was delicious (sorry, no picture). The brownie dessert pictured was good. DS had pizza.

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    Chips with Artichoke Dip
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    Onion Rings
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    The Reuben Sandwich
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    Brownie Dessert
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  11. DisneyFamily123

    DisneyFamily123 Use the Force, Luke!

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    A new winner! We had a table right next to the aquarium window. Made it a fun dining experience to watch the fish and sea turtles. Had lunch at 11:30am. Seated in about 10 minutes. Food was good, we enjoyed it. Will definitely return next trip. Total Cost = $114 (or 1 DDP credit per person) not including tip for 2 adults and 1 child. Here's a link to a video of the aquarium from our table.

    Appetizers - The mussels were good. I was on a mussels kick this trip and each restaurant prepared them differently. DW liked the lobster soup.

    Entrees - DW liked the Mahi Mahi but it wasn't the best. It's kind of grilled and they really should devein the shrimp. I ordered the NY strip steak because it gets great reviews (even though I prefer to order seafood). It was a very good steak (tender, tasty, cooked right), just as good or better than Le Cellier's. Tasted great all by itself in it's own juice (I never use steak sauce anyway, shouldn't need it if it's a good steak).

    Desssert - Our desserts were enjoyable and tasty, nice presentation.

    DS had pizza, strawberries, etc... I'm not writing too much about the individual kids meals, I commented about kids meals in a separate post in this review. But he enjoyed his food here. We also liked the pomegranate lemonade.

    Bread
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    Lobster Soup
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    Mussels
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    Mahi Mahi
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    NY Strip Steak
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    The Wave
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    Mouse
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    Table, Views of Fish
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    Click this photo to see the video! (Same Video as Linked Above)
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  12. DisneyFamily123

    DisneyFamily123 Use the Force, Luke!

    Joined:
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    We enjoyed San Angel Inn. We wanted more time at the resort in the morning so I tried to reschedule our 11:30am ADR. There were other openings but later than what we wanted. I found out that ADRs can't be made if less than an hour away. So we just arrived very late... I started to explain but they said no problem and they were expecting us... Seated immediately. Service was excellent. DS5 liked the decor and watching the volcano. We also looked over the railing and could see the boats from the Three Caballeros boat ride. After lunch, we met Donald Duck in his Mexican outfit and rode the boat. All fun.

    I posted part of the menu as an image because the menu was different than what we saw online. Total cost = $87 (or 1 DDP credit per person) not including tip for 2 adults and 1 child. Doesn't include the margarita either.

    For appetizers, I had the tacos al pastor made with duck meat. DW had the soup. The soup was better, I liked that it had whole pieces of avocado. The chips and salsa were good too but I'd like to try a variety of salsas. I love chips and salsa. Both of our entrees were delicious. I liked how they prepared the Mahi Mahi -- just different, and tasty. Dessert was something similar to fried ice cream. Overall, I liked San Angel Inn... and it was on par with other Mexican restaurants I like at home. Good food, great service, but nothing super special. I'd still come back though... I like Mexican food.

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    San Angel Inn Menu
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    Chips
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    Tacos al Pastor - Duck meat marinated with Mexican spices topped with red onions, cilantro, diced mango, and salsa verde.
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    Soup Azteca - Tortilla sou withe tortilla chips, avocado, cheese, and pasilla pepper.
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    Mahi Mahi
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    Sirloin Entree - That's black beans in the front.
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    Kids' Meal - one of the best ones...
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  13. DisneyFamily123

    DisneyFamily123 Use the Force, Luke!

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    Arrived to France a little early so we saw Pere Noel the holiday story teller, and Marie from the Aristocats. Checkin was easy, seated in a few minutes, checking in 5 minutes early for our 1pm ADR. Our waiter was definitely French and service was good. DW thought he was stuffy but couldn't explain why... I don't know. Total cost = $92 (or 1 DDP credit per person) not including tip for 2 adults and 1 child.

    We timed our ADR just right to see Remy about mid-way through our meal. DS liked asking him questions, getting some squeeking in reply, that the waiter interpreted. He started making his rounds at 1:40pm matching the times we got from this web site. Times listed are Mon.-Sat. 12:30, 1:40, 2:50 & 5:20pm. Be sure to schedule your ADR before Remy starts, because he only makes one round through the restaurant. We figured a 1pm ADR would give us extra time in case we were seated late.

    I tried escargot for the first time, just wanted to try something different. I ate them all and it was interesting... but I don't think I'd order them again....just the idea of eating snails. DW had lobster soup and said it had large pieces of lobster in it.

    For my entree -- Beef short ribs braised in cabernet, with pasta pearl onions and mushrooms. It just sounded good. I was very pleased...the meat was very tender (no knife needed) and the sauce was very good. DW had Crepe Florentine (chicken) and liked it. DS had flounder and I mention it because he is very picky and usually doesn't eat fish if it doesn't look like fish sticks. Be he was hungry and ate quiet a bit of it (adding ketchup of course..).

    For dessert, I really liked the Profiterolles au chocolate. It hit the spot just right! DW had creme brulee and liked it very much.

    Remy
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    Escargot
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    Lobster Soup
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    Short Ribs
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    Crepe Florentine
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    Kid's Flounder (already ate some)
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    Profiteroles au Chocolat
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    Creme Brulee
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  14. DisneyFamily123

    DisneyFamily123 Use the Force, Luke!

    Joined:
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    2,628
    Finally made it to Biergarten! Rearranged our schedule while there so moved Biergarten to our last day. Epcot was not busy at all.. it was cool outside and a rainstorm blew over earlier. Scheduled around 12:45pm. Several web sites give 1:15pm as the time for the first music show.. so that's why we didn't schedule our ADR too much earlier. You can find videos of the music on YouTube.

    Total cost = $61 (or 1 DDP credit per person) not including tip for 2 adults and 1 child. I think that's a good price for 2 adults and 1 child, especially considering we are in Disney, and there's music entertainment. After lunch, we used up the rest of our snack credits at the Werther's caramel shop. Yummy.

    Sitting with other people didn't bother us. We sat with a local couple who had an older son. We talked a little but no one was real talkative... we were tired and just happy to be warm (it was cold outside!). I took DS5 to the floor to dance, but he wanted to break dance or something so I showed him how to do a little polka (like I know what I'm doing!). I wonder if Biergarten can be louder and more fun at dinner. I don't recall the (ziggy, ziggy, oy, oy) cheer. But I did love my draft beer in a giant liter mug!

    The buffet had a large variety. I'd like to return for dinner on a future trip since that's when they have sauer braten. I tried a little of most things...I'll highlight a few... The pretzel bread was very good, soft and delicious... just as good as Le Cellier's. I liked the Lentil soup but probably not for everyone's tastes. The German meatballs were delicious. The carved pork and German meatloaf was delicious too, I liked it with the apricot chutney and sweet mustard. I skipped over the cold salads but liked the red cabbage. The desserts were all mini-desserts, nothing spectacular. But my favorite had a bavarian type creme in the middle and powdered sugar on top (triangle shaped one in the pictures).

    Beer
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    Music - band plays on the stage. Dancing is where the instrument you see is resting on the floor.
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    Lentil Sausage Soup and Breads
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    Pretzel Bread
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    Salads and Slaws
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    Beets, Meatballs, Sausage, Mac Salad
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    Sausage and Potatos
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    Meatballs, Chicken, Salmon
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    Carrots, Mac and Cheese
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    Carved Meats - Pork and German Meatloaf
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    Cheese Spatzel, Red Cabbage
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    Chicken Schnitzel, Hunter's Sauce
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    Desserts
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    And More Desserts
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  15. DisneyFamily123

    DisneyFamily123 Use the Force, Luke!

    Joined:
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    2,628
    I didn't make an ADR for Le Cellier at 180 days... I thought other restaurants would be more fun. But an ADR became available (rare) and a took it.. 6:15pm dinner. Waited about 20-30 minutes to be seated and that was fine. The restaurant staff tried to keep everyone waited occupied with trivia questions and a few little things for children. We would have been happy to wait outside but it was cold. When we were leaving, people said they were waiting an hour, one guy was stretched out on the floor. It is a small waiting area inside. I don't think Le Cellier is worth all the praise it gets. It sure isn't worth 2 dining plan credits or signature status unless they are doing a complete makeover. There's no way Le Cellier, as is, can compare with places like Flying Fish Cafe or Citricos. Total = $120 (or 1 DDP credit per person) not including tip for 2 adults and 1 child.

    The pretzel bread was good but nothing to go crazy about. It's soft pretzel bread. I had DS get the cheese soup for his appetizer so I could try it. They said it's the same as the adult cheese soup (does it really have beer in it?). It didn't look appetizing or taste good either, plain and tasteless. Not even worth dipping the bread in it as some suggest. I didn't like the mussels either. They were small and had a strange taste -- the chef explained that it has pernod (spelling?) which has a strong taste like black licorice. DW wasn't impressed with the crab corn custard appetizer, neither was I.... oh boy.... bad start.

    Our steaks were cooked right and wonderful. DW liked the filet and I agree it was delicious. My NY Strip was very good. But, I have to say...it was just a good steak. The NY strip steak at Coral Reef was just as good. And the steaks at the signature restaurants were definitely better. So, if you're looking for a decent steak, Le Cellier has it... but it's nothing to go crazy about... I've had better at other restaurants (at home) for much less $$$.

    Now, the chocolate whiskey cake was VERY good. One of the better desserts I had this trip. DW had the chocolate "Moose" which was cute, I guess. DS liked some of his sundae. If the ice cream looks funny, it's because is Tofutti (non-dairy ice cream).

    Bread
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    Pretzel Bread
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    Kids Cheese Soup (Same as adult cheese soup, just smaller).
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    Mussels
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    Crab Corn Custard Appetizer
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    Filet
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    NY Strip
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    Chocolate Whiskey Cake -- this was gooooooodddd.....
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    Chocolate Moose
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    Kids Meal
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    Kids Build a Sundae
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  16. DisneyFamily123

    DisneyFamily123 Use the Force, Luke!

    Joined:
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    Never again for dinner. Checkin is a nightmare and the food isn't worth it. Total cost = $80 (or 1 DDP credit per person) not including tip for 2 adults and 1 child.

    Checkin process was a nightmare and had to wait way too long. Arrived on time for our 5:10pm ADR and there were only about 8 people in front of me waiting to check in... But it took at least 20 minutes... then when I got there, the computer stopped working. So, by the time I got a pager, it was after our ADR time -- what they didn't tell me is they put me in their computer as a walk-up (no reservation) because of it!!! Every 20 minutes, I asked the person at checkin how we were doing... but we ended up waiting an hour to be seated and were late for the Christmas party because of it. Lesson -- if you really must dine at Ohana, make sure you don't have anywhere to go. When we were seated, half the tables were empty....what? I did talk with the manager and the resort manager. They offered to make a "seamless" dining experience if I came back and to comp the gratuity which I declined. I was still irritated because the manager never took my complaint seriously.

    We stayed at the Polynesian in 2009 and had dined at Ohana then. The menu is still the same, but the quality of food was MUCH better in 2009. The shrimp were still not deveined.... but all the food was delicious... I remember leaving there stuffed! There was a chef named TJ who was there (and he has a great reputation). TJ made a special dessert for DS who has an egg allergy. Well, I guess TJ is gone and he took the quality with him.... I questioned myself several times to make sure my irritation about checkin wasn't shadowing my opinion of the food. Not the case. All the food just tasted like it was made hours before, it was almost cold. The skewer meats were very good... as good as 2009. Sauces the same. The dessert was also very good but I got irritated they wouldn't put it in a to go container since we were already very late for the Christmas party.

    I will not come back to Ohana again. Next time, if I want a Polynesian experience, I'll book category 1 seating for Spirit of Aloha like we did in 2009. That was much better than Ohana (food, service, show, beer/wine included).

    In contrast, we like the Ohana character breakfast. Went twice in 2009, didn't wait at all, food was very good, and loved seeing Stitch and Lilo, Mickey and Pluto were fun too but they can be found everywhere around Disney World.

    Ohana Wings and Pot Stickers
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    Noodles and Broccoli
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    Salad and Dipping Sauces for Grilled Meats - no pictures of meats, looked like meat!
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  17. DisneyFamily123

    DisneyFamily123 Use the Force, Luke!

    Joined:
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    We wanted to visit Wilderness Lodge to see the Christmas tree and decorations. Went here in 2008 too and it's the same corny jokes. But DS5 really liked it. It's simple stuff and you can be surprised if you decide to go here. If I tell you, it will be even more corny when you get there. This was our first night's dinner (2010) and I gave up Artist Point to go here. I really wish we went to Artist Point but I made this sacrifice for DS because I knew he would have more fun and we were already going to several other boring restaurants. Total cost = $119 (or 1 DDP credit per person) not including tip for 2 adults and 1 child.

    I wouldn't come back here unless I was staying at Wilderness Lodge, not worth a special trip. I'd rather go to Hoop Dee Doo for a funny show and better food even though it is 2 dining credits.

    For appetizers, we had western chips and dip, and the Trout Wrap. Absolutely nothing remarkable. We had the skillets. The food was OK. I didn't like the ribs, lots of fat in them. Not baby back ribs. It's pretty darn expensive for this lower quality of food. I didn't mind using a dining plan credit but if I had to pay $120 for this, I'd flip out. I remember the food in 2008 being much better. I did like my strawberry milkshake. Desserts were a berry cobbler dessert, and an apple caramel pie. No pictures of dessert.

    Adult Skillet
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    Kid's Skillet
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  18. DisneyFamily123

    DisneyFamily123 Use the Force, Luke!

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    Crystal Palace is one of our favorites. Dinner in 2008, lunch twice in 2009, and twice in 2010. What we really like about Crystal Palace is the variety and higher quality of food on the buffet. I thought I took more photos of the food... I'll post if I find them. I'd like to go to breakfast next trip (before park opens), just to get some photos in Magic Kingdom before the crowds roll in...

    Crystal Palace was our first and only character meal in 2008. It was so wonderful and easy to meet Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore and DS3 liked the little parade they do through the restaurant. In 2009, we did many more character meals because of this experience. The service is great. And our servers, each time, would tell us how the characters come around and give us warning when they were about to make rounds by our table. Crystal Palace is consistent and dependable. 5 times here... and each time the food, service, and characters were just as good each time.

    There's a variety of cold salads - I like that. The carved meats are delicious. The salmon very good too. I love squash so the ratatouie pictured is a favorite. There's a large variety of food on the menu so it should be easy to satisfy everyone.

    I can't say enough good things about Crystal Palace, and if not on the dining plan, the lunch is affordable compared to other dining options at WDW. Total = $68 (or 1 DDP credit per person) not including tip for 2 adults and 1 child.

    Carved Beef, with Horseradish Sauce (in large container).
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    Ratatouie
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    Salmon Basil Aioli
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  19. DisneyFamily123

    DisneyFamily123 Use the Force, Luke!

    Joined:
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    Who doesn't like to visit the Grand Floridian? Fun transportation on the monorail or boat between Magic Kingdom, the evening orchestra and piano player, the wonderful decor and tile work in the lobby, Christmas decorations...

    Really liked the breakfast here in 2009... Great food! Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter, Tigger and Pooh... We came back for dinner in 2010 because we had a fun encounter with the crazy stepsisters at the Halloween Party (sorry Cinderella)...

    We had a 4:30pm ADR right when the restaurant opened. Took a boat from Magic Kingdom. We were seated right away and the dining room was already near full. The decor at 1900 Park Fare is nice, but it is a little crowded in there with the tables... not a ballroom atmosphere. I wish it were more like a ballroom, a little fancier but then they would probably charge more $$$ or 2 DDP credits.
    Total cost = $96 (or 1 DDP credit per person) not including tip for 2 adults and 1 child.

    DS5 enjoyed meeting Cinderella and Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, and Drizella and we got some great photos of course and autographs. Looking around, some of the younger girls were really enchanted by meeting Cinderella.

    The buffet was pretty good. I liked the asparagus soup, the chicken coq au vin, green beans, and the carved beef. There was a dried cherry relish that was very tasty on the beef. The buffet is set up by country/region -- France, Spain, Asian, etc.. I didn't care for the Asian part but it was OK.

    1900 Park Fare dinner is a great way to meet these characters without a long line. But we were at WDW during a less busy time of year and it was not a long wait to meet Cinderella and other princesses at MK. I bet the line is VERY long other times of year.

    And it's only 1 DDP credit compared to Cinderella's Round Table... but I can't compare because I've never been to CRT (don't have girls, not interested). I'd definitely return here if staying at one of the monorail resorts or coming for dinner from Magic Kingdom. While I'll say there are better restaurants if you're just looking for food quality.... this was a fun place.

    Carved Meats
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    Soups
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    Salads
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    Asian
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    France
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    Italy
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    Spain
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    Desserts
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    Strawberry Soup
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    Kid's Food
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    Desserts - very hotel like, but it's a buffet. Still tasted good!
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  20. DisneyFamily123

    DisneyFamily123 Use the Force, Luke!

    Joined:
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    First time here. Loved it. Character were great. Chip and Dale (hard to find) were fun to meet. We picked Garden Grill because we wanted to try new restaurants and Chip and Dale were the first characters we ever met at WDW when DS was 3, at the entrance to Magic Kingdom (our first park together).

    We also learned how to tell these 2 squirrels (er... chipmunks) by the color of their nose and number of teeth. The character interactions are at the table and like others say... it feels private the way the tables are spaced apart, not rushed at all. And the characters are in their farmer type of outfits. DS5 really enjoyed this.

    Ride the living with the land ride before dining here. We were on the first floor and it spins (very slowly) and you can view parts of the living with the land ride.

    Total Cost = $87 (or 1 DDP credit per person) not including tip for 2 adults and 1 child. The food was served family style and I prefer that to a buffet.. even though there is less variety, I don't have to get up and leave the table to get food... it feels more like a family meal. The Mahi Mahi was very good, moist and tasty. I heard they used to have catfish... I guess it depends on the time of year. The turkey was good too. I didn't care for the beef, it had a lot of fat, but that could be trimmed... Still tasted good. The vegetables were very fresh and delicious -- I think they come from the Living with the Land gardens. DS loved his oreo cookie ice cream dessert that looks like Mickey ears.

    I'll definitely return here again!

    Mahi Mahi on Left, Turkey on Right (half eaten)
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    Apple Currant Crisp
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    Oreo Cookie Kids Desert
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  21. DisneyFamily123

    DisneyFamily123 Use the Force, Luke!

    Joined:
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    This was a nice breakfast. We picked this because we wanted to see the Beach Club resort Christmas decorations. I'm not sure I''d make a special trip here since we can see the same characters at many other places. But it worked out fine... We came to Epcot for morning extra magic hours 8-9am, then headed through international gateway to the Beach Club for a 9:20am reservation. It was a nice walk... not many people, enjoyable views of the water and scenery. You could get some nice photos without a lot of people in the background. Total Cost = $63 (or 1 DDP credit per person) not including tip for 2 adults and 1 child.


    Minnie, Donald, and Goofy were great. The usual table greetings but each took their time with us and joked around a bit. There was plenty of variety on the buffet and everything I tasted was very good... (and I tasted almost everything!).

    Yogurt Bar,
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    Oatmeal, Grits
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    Fruit
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    Asparagus, French Toast, Breakfast Pizza
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    Eggs Omelet, Breakfast Meats
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    Mickey Waffles, The Syrup was very good here... but a little too hot.
    [​IMG]

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