Done with Disney dining

Discussion in 'Disney Restaurants' started by ReganlovesWDW, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. ReganlovesWDW

    ReganlovesWDW Earning My Ears

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    I have been visiting Disney since 1979 and each time time we have enjoyed dining at Disney restaurants whether they be at resorts or in the parks. Over the last 4 years we have exclusively enjoyed signature dining. This most recent stay, last week, we dined at Narccoose's and California Grill and the remainder of our meals were between the Swan and Dolphin restaurants.

    Sadly, we found that Narccoose's was a glorified quick service restaurant. We were sat at 8:00pm and received our check at 9:00. It was extremely loud in the restaurant and it seemed as though more tables had been inserted than previously. The food was subpar for the cost. The topper was while waiting for our check to be processed, Wishes began and there was a rush of people to the surrounding deck. Not people from the restaurant but people coming in who were not dining at the restaurant. For $200+ dollars, I would prefer that the restaurant would limit the deck viewing to those dining there rather than diners such as I enjoying the view losing it entirely.

    The next evening we had a fabulous view of Cinderella's castle from California Grill. While the remodel decor was amazing, the food was a disappointment. I had the filet which was tough (medium rare) and gristly while my husband had the braised short ribs that were entirely to tough. The wine list while large is much higher in cost than other property restaurants. We were hard pressed to find a selection under $100 for a bottle if wine. Walter, our server, was engaging but actually sat down at our table for a period of time to talk about his stressors with his family. It was a little surprising.

    We enjoyed Bluezoo which we found to be sophisticated and offered fabulous food and service for a cost that was significantly less ($75) for two people. Their wine list was great and reasonable while the atmosphere was romantic and welcoming.

    By far, our best meals were at Shulua's at the Dolphin. Our first night, our server, Joe was outstanding! Engaging yet gave us space to enjoy our celebration. The food was amazing! The cost was $50 less than Narccoosse and by far the best restaurant on property. Additionally, if you join the Diner Loyalty program and enjoy the restaurants on Swan and Dolphin property, you earn points for every dollar spent. Thus, we dined at Shula's again with a $100 gift certificate that was redeemed readily by the manager, Ariel, in a most gracious manner.

    From here on out, we will no longer partake of Disney dining because it is not the experience it once was. Gone are the days of Empress Lily fine dining or Top of the World. While I enjoy all the other aspects of Disney, I choose to spend my dining dollars elsewhere where I am served well rather than pushed through the restaurant.
     
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  3. Uncleromulus

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

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    Sorry about CG and Narloosees--

    To only add that we always do Blue Zoo and Shulas each trip.

    But always felt they were MORE $$ than their Disney counterparts--

    BUt maybe thats because of what we order(?)
     
  4. TDC Nala

    TDC Nala <font color=red>1937, what a year that was<br><fon Moderator

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    Empress Lilly and Top of the World are reaching waaay back...I think those were both gone well before 2000.

    I do hear much more like this - and I agree that the Swan and Dolphin have the highest quality restaurants on WDW property (excepting maybe Victoria & Albert's). Does this have anything to do with them not being owned by Disney? probably. Haven't tried Shula's though, because I am not a steak fan.
     
  5. BEASLYBOO

    BEASLYBOO <font color=deeppink>It's part of the charm<br><fo

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    I agree, we love Blue Zoo, Il Mulino, etc. and though they can be more costly than some of the Disney TS restaurants (and not by that much) at least you can count on the quality of both the food and the whole dining experience.

    I haven't tried the Cali Grill yet since it's refurb, I guess we'll see in Feb,
     
  6. minnie mum

    minnie mum Unapologetic Disney Fan(atic)

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    I'm sorry to hear that you are completely writing off every WDW restaurant because of your experiences at 2 of them.

    While I agree that the Swolfin restaurants are excellent, I would never have ascribed that description to either CG or Narcoossees. They rank right at the bottom of the Disney signatures for us, and always have. IMO there are far better Disney restaurants than those 2.
     
  7. MiramarQE

    MiramarQE Mouseketeer

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    As another frequent, long-time Disney Guest I can sympathize:
    (don't think anything at the current WDW will ever top Sunday Brunch at the Top of the World - or the "atmosphere" in Captain Cook's Hideaway; thought the Papeete Bay Verandah was quite good in the 1980's too) I can say that food service both quick and sit-down at WDW runs in cycles - and we're nearly at the bottom of this downturn (I hope!).

    Let's see if current management can get some attention on the problem and get the trend improving in the next year - sorry that doesn't help with your latest experience (or some of ours) - but we're not giving up yet.

    There are still good experiences - and not TOO unreasonable with TIW - Artist Point was excellent, we had a VERY good experience at CG in Sep, good experience with Jiko last May.
     
  8. rwdavis2

    rwdavis2 DIS Veteran

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    Although we have not eaten at a lot of the TS restaurants, the reviews I read leads me to believe that they are way too inconsistent. It's obviously a management problem. They either are not paying (or caring) attention to detail or they are completely unaware of the problem.

    Maybe enough people don't complain about bad food and service to get to the point where's it's worth their trouble. One review here said a much as they did not want "to create a scene". A discrete and reasoned word to the server or manager can easily turn a disaster into something acceptable. Although, the cost of a meal at CG should ensure that every diner's experience should be almost perfect.

    As to the cost of wine, WDW is on the higher end of markups. Usually 3-4 times their wholesale cost. If you look hard enough there are a few that don't make you want to order a beer instead. I hat paying more for wine than the cost of the food.
     
  9. cheryllarsen

    cheryllarsen Mouseketeer

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    California Grill gave us excellent service and excellent overall dining experience.
     
  10. Jennasis

    Jennasis DIS life goes on

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    Aww. Walter is our favorite server at CG. Talking with him about both his family and ours was part of the charm for us. Sorry you didn't dig it.
     
  11. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

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    Us too...both times we have eaten there.
     
  12. robinb

    robinb DIS Veteran

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    Thank you for mentioning that! We love Kimonos and Shula's in the Dolphin and I think we're staying there for NYE. I looked and you get a $20 cert for $250 spent and $75 for $500 spent so it's about a 8-15% back depending on how much you save up and unlike the TIW card it's free!
     
  13. catheren

    catheren DIS Veteran

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    I have been visiting Disney since 1979 and each time time we have enjoyed dining at Disney restaurants whether they be at resorts or in the parks. Over the last 4 years we have exclusively enjoyed signature dining. This most recent stay, last week, we dined at Narccoose's and California Grill and the remainder of our meals were between the Swan and Dolphin restaurants.

    Sadly, we found that Narccoose's was a glorified quick service restaurant. We were sat at 8:00pm and received our check at 9:00. It was extremely loud in the restaurant and it seemed as though more tables had been inserted than previously. The food was subpar for the cost. The topper was while waiting for our check to be processed, Wishes began and there was a rush of people to the surrounding deck. Not people from the restaurant but people coming in who were not dining at the restaurant. For $200+ dollars, I would prefer that the restaurant would limit the deck viewing to those dining there rather than diners such as I enjoying the view losing it entirely.

    The next evening we had a fabulous view of Cinderella's castle from California Grill. While the remodel decor was amazing, the food was a disappointment. I had the filet which was tough (medium rare) and gristly while my husband had the braised short ribs that were entirely to tough. The wine list while large is much higher in cost than other property restaurants. We were hard pressed to find a selection under $100 for a bottle if wine. Walter, our server, was engaging but actually sat down at our table for a period of time to talk about his stressors with his family. It was a little surprising.

    We enjoyed Bluezoo which we found to be sophisticated and offered fabulous food and service for a cost that was significantly less ($75) for two people. Their wine list was great and reasonable while the atmosphere was romantic and welcoming.

    I totally agree! Since DDP came in, the restaurants quality, menu offerings, and service.... UGH! I remember when you could go to the YSH and have a Caesar salad made table side, and the Chateaubriand for 2 and they would carve table side. No MORE Disney dining for us, too!
     
  14. sookie

    sookie DIS Veteran

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    I'm sorry - all I could think when I read this thread was.....


    First. World. Problems!! :lmao:
     
  15. sookie

    sookie DIS Veteran

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    I think I should complain. My kid fell asleep in Jiko. Instead of making a real bed for him, they just brought him stuff and made him comfortable so he could sleep. The nerve...that was a signature! I think I shouldn't have tipped as well - and it was my birthday too. Tsk tsk.
     
  16. Pikezh638

    Pikezh638 DIS Veteran

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    I guess it is just me, but I rarely have anything to complain about when I go to Disney.

    Sorry you had a bad experience though.
     
  17. Suziannie

    Suziannie Mouseketeer

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    My husband and I actually had an amazing meal there in 2011. I know it's been a while now, but I think the food and service were in line with the pricing then. They had lovely confetti on the table as we were celebrating and even brought us a custom menu at the end of the meal so we'll always remember what we ate that night.

    However I have to absolutely agree with you on the desk viewing. I don't see why the restaurant let's people on what is basically the front porch of the restaurant blocking the view of the castle. We were seated front and center the night we went and when I started tearing up a bit (a day in the park that started at rope drop and being 22 weeks pregnant may have contributed) as the show was starting and I couldn't see my husband and a waiter banged on the windows to get people to move a bit for me. pixiedust:

    But I don't know why they can't block that area off. There's plenty of places in that area with nearly the exact same view.
     
  18. aprescher

    aprescher Mouseketeer

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    This!! The things people complain about... My family was blown away by the wonderful food and service at Disney at, get this, regular normal table service restaurants like Captains Grill! It kills me that some people are just so spoiled they forget to get over themselves and have fun on vacation :) I can't wait to go back and enjoy every single thing Disney has to offer because it sure beats going to work and managing my household!
     
  19. goofy4tink

    goofy4tink No tags...not needed! Transportation moderator Moderator

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    I'm not sure why the sarcasm. Isn't this the reason for these boards? To allow people to come and share their thoughts and experiences? In the big picture, no they aren't a huge issue when compared with things going on in the world. But, it's not such a bad thing to hear of other people's experiences.
    I know that I am eating in fewer WDW restaurants than in previous trips. Why? The prices have skyrocketed while quality has suffered. The upper end restaurants haven't suffered as much as the one credit restaurants. The variety has been reduced. I'm sorry but that has been my experience to date. My trip next week? Eating at Nine Dragons for Candlelight Processional...it's the least expensive. Other than that, only a lunch at WCC before MVMCP. Used to have an ADR at least once a day, sometimes two! This trip of 6 nights? Just two for the entire trip.
     
  20. sookie

    sookie DIS Veteran

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    I can appreciate being constructive, but sometimes I can also sit back and think "Man, I am so lucky that I was able to go to Disney and not only did I eat there, but I was able to dine at the best of the best while I was there."

    And in other news - there are children who are literally going hungry this time of year, who have no heat at home, and who are glad that tomorrow is a school day because they will have heat during the school day and maybe a free school breakfast and lunch tomorrow. Some kids may be worried about what they will wear tomorrow, because they need to stay warm on the way to and from the bus stop, not to mention while they are on the bus. Some kids may be worried about the long weekend because it may mean extra days they won't get lunch and breakfast due to the holiday. If they do get a breakfast or lunch, it may not be a proper one. It is all a matter of perspective.

    Sometimes, we need to take it all in stride. Complaining about a waiter sharing his or her life with us is not worth my time to get on a message board and complaining about. It is worth my time to say a prayer for them (and I am not overly religious).

    The last time I was at WDW, I had a taxi driver tell me about his life; his work schedule, how he misses and works for his family, and how the process of renting and working a taxi works. Those guys work really hard. I wouldn't want that life for anything. I didn't take to the dis and talk about it. I did say a little prayer for him though - I hope things look up for him. I heard similar stories when I was traveling through Baltimore earlier this year, so I am pretty sure that it is standard for the industry. And he wasn't doing it for the tip, as my company had pre-tipped him. He started talking to me because he thought I spoke french because of my name (and honestly, was irritated when I didn't - I have a very unique, regional french name due to both my maiden and married name). That lead to him talking to me about his immigration and what he was doing here, and his taxi work. Anyway, it isn't a pretty life. Sometimes, we all need all the positive thoughts we can get.
     
  21. bojangleshatdance

    bojangleshatdance Earning My Ears

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