Food Sub-Par??

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by moore523, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. Keurigirl

    Keurigirl let's all sing like the birdies sing

    Nov 15, 2008
    I would say that this review is spot on. Food is edible, but not going to blow you away. It's presented beautifully but doesn't taste as good as it looks. It's very bland, even when something sounds like it will be tasty. I'm not even a food snob and regularly visit chain restaurants, but I was not impressed with the food. It's not enough to keep me from returning, however!
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  3. over50visits

    over50visits DIS Veteran

    Jan 16, 2004
    First and foremost, foodie = Remy. World class dining at a bargain price.

    As for the MDRs, I kind of feel they fall into you get exactly what you expect. It is more than food, it is an experience (setting, decor, very attentive waitstaff, sharing the experience with many others who generally dress/act up to the class of the evening). Unfortunately, there are too many people who call themselves "picky" and their requirements dictate reasonably ordinary foods. The presentation is well above your local restaurant, though.

    We expect to have a great time, and we always do! If the food is not at hot, spicy, or prepared perfectly, that doesn't upset us. We love the menus, the dishes really are something unusual, and there are plenty of choices.

    If you expect to have a great experience, you will! If you want food, go to Cabanas. If you want a wonderful, Disney dining experience, go to the MDRs! And the food itself is really pretty good.
  4. moore523

    moore523 Mouseketeer

    Sep 14, 2012
    Thanks everybody! It's good to hear your take on it. I definitely wouldn't call us "food snobs", so being open minded is not hard for us! We just like LOTS of different food experiences and are very open to new things.

    It definitely doesn't take away from my excitement- I was just very surprised to hear that the food was just "meh". I actually, contrary to what one poster said, had some amazing dining experiences at Walt Disney World so I was kind of thinking along those lines. But, I'll be honest, I didn't even think about the freshness vs frozen aspect of it.

    And I will share what we thought afterwards!! (still have some time left, though! :( )
  5. Henlady

    Henlady DIS Veteran

    Jun 12, 2004
    I agree with others that you should go with an open mind. We've only been on 6 DCL cruises - Wonder, Magic and Dream (Fantasy coming up in April). I have never found the food to be bland. But I don't like highly seasoned foods and am not fond of "hot spiced" foods, I do like flavor though. There have only been maybe 2 meals out of all of them that I did not care for, so I think that's pretty good odds. I always find items on the buffet that I like. I would not class "ALL" foods on the buffet as terrible. If you do get something you don't like, let your server know and they will bring you something else of your choice.
    Not all so called "great" restaurants prepare great meals all of the time. I've had some pretty lousy restaurant meals that weren't replaced, that I paid good money for, and I've had some great meals at "lesser" restaurants.
    Just know you wont go hungry while onboard. You will be able to find food to your likeing somewhere, and if you don't like something speak up and they'll take care of it for you.
    Have a great cruise:thumbsup2
  6. pearlieq

    pearlieq <font color=green>They can sit & spin<br><font col

    Aug 3, 2004
    That assessment is spot-on for me. The food is generally going to be equivalent to your local AppleChiliMcFunster's, just gussied up a bit. Go in knowing that and avoid disappointment.

    There are ways to work with it. You can get fresh eggs at the omelet station at breakfast. When the fruit looks fresh and ripe it's definitely good. Look for salads and "one-off" type items on the buffets--they tend to be products of a sous-chef's ingenuity in using something up and have tended to be quite good in my experience. Indulge your taste for greasy cheeseburgers, gooey pizza, and chicken tenders for a few days.

    It's definitely institutional food, but it's a great opportunity to sample a little of everything as there's really no consequences like there are at a shoreside restaurant. Don't like something? Try something else! You'll eventually find something you enjoy.
  7. PrincessShmoo

    PrincessShmoo DIS Veteran

    Feb 12, 2009
    As long as you're aware that your food isn't actually being prepared to your specific order (except in Palo and Remy), you'll be fine.

    Food is very subjective. What I like, there will be others who feel what I like is garbage. It's very similar to banquet quality food, prepared for hundreds of diners at once. And there's only so much you can do with chicken, fish, and beef.

    I think the range on DCL runs from fair to very good, with occasional greats and not so goods.
  8. gone2disney

    gone2disney Mouseketeer

    Sep 1, 2006
    Oh no-I am getting a little worried from reading these posts. We are going in July on our first cruise and honestly, I was expecting some really great food. I realize that probably thousands of meals are prepared, however at the cost of almost $5,000 (family of 4, cat 4) for 4 nights, I do expect excellent and in some cases over the top food. I do not expect powdered eggs, which I can get at a free breakfast at Comfort Inn...or poor quality steaks or frozen pastries. I guess I was just naive...
  9. pearlieq

    pearlieq <font color=green>They can sit & spin<br><font col

    Aug 3, 2004
    It really is subjective, I think. The food outside of Palo/Remy is mass-produced and while it generally looks good, the logistical limitations of storing that much food, feeding that many people, and catering to the tastes of Middle America result in food that isn't generally amazing.

    This is not to say I haven't had some tasty meals. I've also seen lots of lovely presentation (DCL really does excel at making their food look good). To be clear, the food isn't bad by any means. You will find some things you really like. You will find many, many things that are fine. There will be a few duds.

    The best thing I can say is that many of the people here posting that the food is middle-of-the-road (myself included) are very satisfied repeat customers for DCL. I'm sure you'll have a great experience overall!
  10. MillauFr

    MillauFr Buzz & Woody

    Aug 5, 2011
    I concur. The food was bland but the service was great and the company of other cruisers like other cruisers like Keurigirl and her family more than made up for the bland food. :)
  11. kcashner

    kcashner DIS Veteran

    Dec 4, 2003
    You get the same food whether you booked a cat 4 or a cat 11C. A family of 4 can cruise for a whole lot less than $5000 for 4 nights. However, I do get your point.
    The food is decent....just not great, and not as good as it used to be. In the early days, we'd go to the fruit station at Castaway Cay and the CM would cut up the mango (or pineapple or whatever) right in front of us. Yup, that's fresh. Honestly, the food was a lot better on Celebrity and the price was a lot less. However, there are many things other than food that my family liked better on Disney.
  12. Yokelridesagain

    Yokelridesagain Mouseketeer

    Dec 7, 2011
    If you're going FOR the food (i.e., having great dining experiences is a major expectation for your vacation), you should consider a different cruise line--quite possibly a different type of vacation. With the possible exception of a few of the 'if you have to ask, you can't afford it' luxury lines, there are limits to what is feasible in the food realm on a cruise ship. Celebrity is usually said to have the best food, although if you go to a board for Celebrity fanboys, you will find many of them complaining that the food was MUCH better 10 years ago.

    I do think you can enjoy eating on Disney, however. I second the comment about 'special' (i.e., not repeated from day-to-day) items on the buffets. That's the one place where you may find some more interesting flavor profiles. I imagine that they may let the chefs try out some local flavors from their home countries on the buffet where it's not such an issue if some people don't like it.

    I wish DCL would move more in that direction in terms of what they serve. There are many inexpensive and delicious preparations from the Caribbean, Latin America, India, etc. that could be served in a banquet setting. I would much rather have a dish made with chicken with assertive flavors than a tired dish made from frozen elk medallions. DCL seems to be trying to convince us that elk medallions are 'fancy', when in fact it just means that their supplier got a great deal on farmed elk.
  13. believinthemagic

    believinthemagic Mouseketeer

    Sep 28, 2011
    We just returned from a wonderful trip on the fantasy! my sister and I both agreed that the food in the MDR's was not great. Most was average. Only one entree stands out as amazing and that was a pan seared sea bass served on risotto in enchanted garden.

    Surprisingly my two favorite things I ate were the BLT from room service, and a turkey & cranberry sandwich at Flo's cafe. I also thought the pirate night buffet was yummy!! Especially the crepes!!
  14. tartemis

    tartemis DIS Veteran

    Feb 8, 2009
    Add me to the list of folks that were disappointed in the food on the Dream. We sailed Princess for our honeymoon (granted, 11 years ago) and thought the food was much better on that cruise.

    In general, things looked much better than they tasted -- some things were even inedible.

    We have young kids, so are likely to do a Disney cruise again some day -- but we definitely won't be coming back for the food.
  15. PrincessTrisha

    PrincessTrisha DIS Veteran

    Dec 10, 2004
    I liken the food on the Dream to "Wedding food". It's mass produced, may have sat around for a bit, looks nice but is overall bland.

    I also find that a number of dishes there's one part that's good but the rest, not so much.

    For instance - in the Enchanted Garden - the scallops were cooked well and warm but the pearl pasta was almost cold, flavourless and mushy. I ate the scallops and the vegetables (I think asparagus?) but the rest I left. It looked pretty but there wasn't anything there to wow me.

    The sit down lunches in the Royal Palace were better than our dinners. I think because they serve fewer people, it's more cooked to order so it was fresher and better put together. They also had a decent menu (I think to entice people to use the dining room).

    DCL also does the "fast food" stuff by the pool well - good quality cheeseburgers, chicken fingers and the fries were always hot in my experience. The fruit was fresh and plentiful and the sandwiches weren't just a slice of meat and cheese - there were some interesting combinations.

    On our first cruise on the Magic - there were some standout dishes - things that made me go "wow - that is good!". I didn't have that experience on the Dream.
  16. sopandbass

    sopandbass Mouseketeer

    Jan 10, 2004
    As the PP mentioned, we have found the sit-down breakfasts and lunches to be much better than the buffets on our cruises - we've only been on the Magic and the Wonder, though. Maybe it is because the crowds are smaller, but the food is generally hot and very good. I know it's less convenient than the buffets and our DD has to be in the mood to be seated for a while but try them each at least once during your cruise if you can!

    We enjoy MDR dinners because we can dress up a little and enjoy the special time with each other. We generally like the food and most of our servers have gladly met any special requests. Palo is, of course, yummy but we've had nice dishes in the MDRs as well. Maybe we're easy to please but we tend not to stress about things when we're cruising. Maybe that's why we like it so much!

    I just know you will have a good time and I hope you find the food to your liking so it won't distract from your experience!
  17. JnDRader

    JnDRader Mouseketeer

    May 29, 2012
    Everyone in our group of 15 liked the food on the Dream last June. Several of us were vegetarians. I wouldn't call it gourmet and not as nice as places that the tab runs to $80-100 for the two of us(we don't drink alcohol so take that into account lol). But it was better than your standard chain sit down places.

    It's mass produced food. I try to keep that in mind. I loved it all though.
  18. lbgraves

    lbgraves Little Cinderella's Mommy

    Feb 25, 2003
    It's not as good as it was when we started cruising in 2003. Back then it was difficult to narrow my selection down to one or two entrees. Now I find it difficult to find one thing that I would settle for on a couple menus. We really started to notice the change in 2010.
  19. soonerdoc

    soonerdoc Earning My Ears

    Dec 1, 2001
    I consider myself a "foodie", and I've been on 10 Disney cruises. I think you are getting really good information from the previous posters.

    I think that "banquet food" really describes the quality level of the food in the MDRs. In typical Disney fashion, however, they do a very good job of putting on a good "show" in the dining rooms. The decor is either fun, whimsical, or elegant, the servers are generally very attentive and engaging, the food is presented as if it were much higher quality than it actually is, and the whole dining experience is, in my opinon, "fun". I look forward to dinner at night, even though I'm well aware that I'm not exactly going to have the best tasting meal I've ever had.

    If you close your eyes and eat the food, you probably couldn't tell the difference between the quality of Disney and your average Marriot/Sheraton conference room, but when you put the whole experience together, it SEEMS like you are eating in a much higher quality establishment. That's what makes Disney "Disney", I guess.
  20. JnDRader

    JnDRader Mouseketeer

    May 29, 2012
    This pretty much nails it.
  21. tigger137

    tigger137 "Smile and wave boys, just smile and wave ..."

    Feb 1, 2006
    Spot on! I don't see how people can expect the food to be anything but banquet food when it is being prepared for so many people at the same time.

    But what I have always found is that the servers will do their best to let you pick and choose between dishes - the meat from one entree with the potatoes from another, that sort of thing - even though it is being mass produced.

    I'm certainly no foodie but when we cruised Celebrity we didn't enjoy the food in the MDR at all, although their buffet restaurant was far better than on DCL.

    And our servers on Celebrity really didn't match up to the supposed 'cut above' that the cruise line portrays. They didn't care two hoots whether we had a good meal or not. I will never forget asking if I could have a baked potato with my entree instead of whatever was on the menu and being told, starkly, "No". Being used to Disney service I initially thought he was joking, but he wasn't!

    It was the most expensive cruise we've taken, it cost more than the 15-night Disney Panama, but I wasn't allowed to have a baked potato at dinner. :confused3

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