Free dining, oh yeah, oh yeah - 8/26-9/2 (W/ Pics)

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Reviews' started by lauritagoddess, Sep 6, 2007.

  1. lauritagoddess

    lauritagoddess Disney mommy

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    I have to say, the free dining didn’t disappoint. I had already booked our trip long before the free dining promotion which happened to start the day we arrived, so this was a really nice bonus for our trip. Athough I have to say that the free dining made a much bigger impact this year. It wasn’t just the TS restaurants where they were turning away all the walk-ins. But the CS places were crazy crowded and the parks seemed a lot more crowded to me than the same time last year. I think maybe more people were aware of the free dining this year and with it starting the week before Labor Day, the parks were stuffed with everyone whose kids don’t start school until after Labor Day. Seriously when were at one of the stores in DTD they were keeping a chart on the wall of where everyone was from who bought something that day. There were a few checks by most states, but then you got to NY, NJ, MA and PA and there were a ton of checks.

    8/26

    But on to the food. We were already well-stuffed having come off a 3 day cruise on the Wonder where the food was spectacular. From that to free dining, clearly there was some serious eating that was going to be going on, especially when one of your party is a 5 year old who eats more like a 15 year old who hasn’t been fed in months.

    We got off the Wonder so early that we were at OKW by 8:30am. Our room wasn’t ready so we headed off the to MK. We’d eaten breakfast really early so late morning we stopped for a snack and went to Mrs. Potts’ Cupboard. We used two snack credits and I got the brownie sundae with chocolate ice cream and Mr. B got vanilla soft serve with hot fudge. They didn’t have any whipped cream but it didn’t matter, this was fabulous enough as it was. I had been tempted to get a shake when I saw someone else with a scrumptious looking chocolate one, but was happy with what I got. I give mine an A and DS concurred with his and gave it an A also.

    Our room was ready by early afternoon so we went back to OKW to settle in and went for a swim. We were both hungry and were trying to decide between a snack or an early dinner. Since we’d decided to go to DTD to see a movie starting at 6:15, we opted for early dinner. I’d actually had an ADR for Olivia’s Café at 5:00, but we went at 4:00 instead. It was almost empty there, just a few other people so the ADR probably wouldn’t have been necessary anyway, at least not for an early dinner. And at 4:00 they were still on the lunch menu. DS for his appetizer ordered the chicken soup and I got onion rings. The onion rings came with 3 dips, mango ketchup, ranch, and I think a mustard. Very good rings and DS loved the mango ketchup. The chicken noodle soup went untouched so I have no idea how it was. DS for his entrée got mickey pasta with meat sauce. The mickey pasta on the mickey plate was very cute. He ate a good bit of it so it must have been good. I got the soup/sandwich combo which was a cup of conch chowder, a turkey club sandwich and a garden salad. It was good, but nothing special. I skipped dessert since I was paying for these meals OOP, but DS got the make your own sundae with his meal. Overall I’d give my meal a C+ or a B-, Mr. B gave his a B.

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  3. lauritagoddess

    lauritagoddess Disney mommy

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    This was the TS I was really looking forward to, our breakfast at CRT!!! I’d made the ADRs at 180+10 and was so excited to get it. We had a 8:15 ADR but got there a little and were inside the castle by about 8:05. We took our pictures first with Cinderella and then went upstairs. DS got a plastic sword and was happy to play with that. After we were seated our server came over with a basket with cinnamon buns and muffins, fruit and orange juice. He asked if we wanted the healthy breakfast, but lets get real, lol. It wasn’t very long before he brought our plates. For DS, it was eggs, bacon and French toast sticks. For me, it was eggs, bacon, sausage, potato casserole and I think it was French toast with berries on it. DS loved the French toast sticks and also ate all the bacon (he’s a bacon fiend) and my sausage. The eggs were tasty, the bacon good, but I didn’t like the potatoes and would have preferred the French toast without the berries on it. While we were eating in quick succession, Snow White, Belle, Aurora and the Fairy Godmother. Snow White had DS laughing when she told him that when she wishes, that she wishes for French Toast sticks. Belle didn’t impress him much but ohmigod did he fall for Aurora. He saw her as she was getting near our table and whispered to me that “she’s the prettiest princess I’ve ever seen”. He was all over when she came over. She asked him who his favorite princess was and he told her that she was. When she signed his autograph book she gave a kiss with lipstick and he kept saying “Sleeping Beauty left me a kiss”. I was hoping he wouldn’t fuss too much about me dragging him to see the princesses, but I guess a little Sleeping Beauty lovin’ made it all good.

    All in all, I’d recommend going to CRT for the atmosphere and I’m glad we went. But I wouldn’t go if not for the free dining and I don’t think it’s worth it for the food. My grade B-, DS – B.

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    Lunch was at Cosmic Ray’s Café. I was amazed at how packed it was. We’ve been there 3 or 4 times before and I never saw crowds like this. The lines were many people deep and I was peeping around trying to see if there were any available seats and not seeing any. My DS got the chicken nugget meal with fries, chocolate milk and the triple chocolate cake for dessert. I got the rib meal with red-skinned potatoes, carrots, diet Coke and the no-sugar brownie. When we stopped at one of the fixings areas I turned around from getting the ketchup, napkins, etc. to find my DS nowhere to be seen. Like I mentioned, it was packed in there and I didn’t see him anywhere. I called his name out loudly several times and got no answer. I was pretty sure he was probably trying to look for a seat. I wasn’t sure what to do. I wanted to look for him but didn’t want to leave the area since he knew where I was. I also had a heavy tray full of food I was trying to balance. I screamed his name a few times and was about to go to a CM to ask for help when he popped up by my side. Sure enough the little bugger had gone looking for a seat. After hugging him to pieces, I yelled at him about how he was never to go away from me like that, etc. But just a heads up, it was so crazy in there, keep your eyes and hands on your kids at all times.

    We did eventually find a seat though. DS enjoyed his nuggets and thought very highly of the triple chocolate cake. The ribs were very good, not too fatty. The mashed potatoes were delicious. I can’t say how the carrots were since I didn’t taste any. The no-sugar brownie was very good too. Overall I’d say a B+ for both meals.

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    After the fairly large breakfast and lunches that we had we opted for ice cream dinner. We stopped at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor and used some snack credits and I got double scoops of chocolate and DS got mint chocolate chip. A+ for both.

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    TBC. :)
     
  4. lauritagoddess

    lauritagoddess Disney mommy

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    We grabbed breakfast from Goods to Go at OKW, a bagel for DS and a cinnamon bun for me, with chocolate milk from the Conch Flats general store. Pretty good cinnamon bun.

    I had been planning on us going to Sunshine Seasons for lunch but when were in the Land to get fastpasses for Soarin’ my DS saw Garden Grill and begged to go there. We’d been there last year and had had a good meal and he’d loved the characters. We already had ADRs for Chef Mickeys that evening and other character meals coming up, but he begged and you know how it is. I went over and asked if they had any reservations available. It was about 10:15 then and they said to come back around 11:00, that if they could fit in any walk-ins, it would be then. We went back at 5 after 11:00 and they did fit us in. We had about a 10 minute wait to be seated. I have to say we could have skipped the meal. The characters were good and my DS loves seeing Mickey dressed up like a farmer, but the food just wasn’t that good. I remember liking it a lot more last year. We got some biscuits, rolls and butter first. The biscuits were very dry and the rolls seemed stale and even my DS the carb king wouldn’t eat them. I got a plate with turkey, flank steak, catfish, potato casserole and green beans. The turkey was good and the green beans, but the flank steak was very underdone, the catfish was just okay and the potatoes, well yuck. The kids meal is chicken strips, fries and mac & cheese. My DS doesn’t eat mac & cheese and we asked the server not to bring it, but she brought it anyway. He ate the fries and nibbled at the chicken strips but that was it. I didn’t like the adult dessert too much last year so I asked if I could have the kids dessert and we both enjoyed it, the make your own cupcakes. My ratings for this meal, for atmosphere B+, for food C-.

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    Now dinner at Chef Mickey’s that was good!! We always enjoy it there. At first I wasn’t happy with where we were seated, up in the back away from the action. We’d never been seated there before and I wanted to be down. But we had great character interaction there and actually it was better being away from some of the craziness. The food was very good. My DS who has newly discovered peel and eat shrimp ate a whole plate of it, some prime rib, chicken strip and stuffing. I also had some shrimp, prime rib, pork loin, potato wedges, stuffing and I think some salmon. For dessert we both grabbed some soft serve ice cream. I had to stop my DS from shoving a whole hand into the gummy bears next to the ice cream and I just filled a little dish with them. We also sampled sugar and chocolate chip cookies that were good and a brownie which was too dry. I’d give Chef Mickey’s an A-.

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    More to come
     
  5. wilma-bride

    wilma-bride <<This space intentionally blank>> Moderator

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    Sorry we missed you on the cruise Laura. We were at MK the same day as you also - we couldn't help but notice how busy everywhere seemed.

    Enjoying your food reports so far - looking forward to more :)
     
  6. Busymom85

    Busymom85 Mouseketeer

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    Great reviews and pictures. Look forward to the rest.
     
  7. honeybee213

    honeybee213 Mouseketeer

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    great report and pics!
     
  8. my3disneygirls

    my3disneygirls <font color=blue>I have never had the disire to tr

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    Great pics! I can't wait for more.:thumbsup2
     
  9. sandybobandy

    sandybobandy DIS Veteran

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    Everything looks fantastic so far! can't wait for more! :)
     
  10. Schucraig

    Schucraig Disney World is my World!

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    Great job so far! I can't wait for more!:banana:
     
  11. Carys

    Carys <font color=darkorchid>Mouse-Eared Kiwi<br><font c

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    I'm hooked on your great reviews! Can't wait for the next installment. Adorable story about Sleeping Beauty, what a little cutie you have.
     
  12. swankybeth

    swankybeth <font color=teal>Loves bubble tea!<br><font color=

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    Great review and pics, looking forward to the next installment. pirate:
     
  13. lauritagoddess

    lauritagoddess Disney mommy

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    Thanks everyone!!! I've been having fun writing this and am already craving all the yummy food all over again, lol. :)
     
  14. lauritagoddess

    lauritagoddess Disney mommy

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    We were going to get breakfast from Goods to Go again but woke up later than expected and just decided to head over to MGM and get breakfast there. We got breakfast at the ABC commissary. I got eggs which came with hash browns, bacon, sausage, biscuit and orange juice. DS wanted the kids pancake meal which didn’t come with any bacon, so I got a side for him OOP, and he got chocolate milk too. It was pretty good for CS breakfast, and we both rated it a B+.

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    We probably should have gotten a smaller breakfast though since we had a lunch ADR at 50s PTC and I think were both still a little too full from breakfast when we go there. We were seated pretty quickly and had Uncle Patrick as a server. I got onion rings as my appetizer and DS got chicken noodle soup. He didn’t touch his soup again, but helped me with the onion rings. He said he preferred the rings we’d had at Olivia’s Café, I think because he’d really liked the mango ketchup. I got a chocolate shake as my drink which didn’t cost any extra. It was spectacular!!!! Can I say that again. Wow, that was good. For the entrée, DS ordered the meat loaf which surprised me since he’s never eaten at home. He did eat a little and said he liked it and he got fries with it instead of mashed potatoes (per my DS any meal is enhanced by fries). I got the pot roast. It was very tasty, nice and tender and the mashed taters were good too. But after breakfast, the onion rings, and the shake, I really couldn’t manage much of the pot roast. Uncle Patrick had the table next to me say “shame shame” and then had them do an airplane sound while he made me eat another bite. DS couldn’t stop laughing at that. He was too full for a dessert even though it came with the kids meal, but we ordered the smores as my dessert just so we could get a chance to taste them. I wish we hadn’t been so full, because the couple of bites we had were yummy. I’d give the shake an A+, the rest of my meal a B+ and DS gave his a B, but the Smores an A.

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    We had snacks later in the afternoon of an Itzakadoozie bar and a Mickey cookies & cream sandwich, mmmm…..

    MGM was closed early that evening so we went to MK to see the fireworks. We went to Pecos Bill for dinner. I got the pulled pork sandwich which came with fries, baked beans, a diet Coke and I got the peanut butter mousse brownie for dessert. My DS got the chicken nuggets with fries, chocolate milk and got chocolate pudding for his dessert. I really liked the pulled pork. I’d never tried it before there and was very happy with my choice. I actually just opened it up and ate the pork with a fork and left the bun since it just seemed like too much and too unwieldy to eat as a sandwich. The beans were okay, not great. The peanut butter mousse brownie was very good. Actually, it’s a brownie with peanut butter mousse on top of it, but very tasty. DS didn’t seem enamored of his nuggets, but I think he just wasn’t that hungry. He did enjoy the pudding. I’d give both meals a B.

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    Despite not being that hungry at dinner, DS started begging me for ice cream as we were waiting for the fireworks. We were on Main Street so went back to the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor. Ohmigod, was it busy in there. The fireworks were starting at 9:00 and we went in there about 8:30 and got out only about 5 minutes beforehand. I used a snack credit for a double scoop of vanilla that DS and I shared and we still left over a lot of it, but very yummy. I’d give it a B+ since I’m not as a big a vanilla fan but DS gave it an A.
     
  15. lauritagoddess

    lauritagoddess Disney mommy

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    We went to Goods to Go again for breakfast, cinnamon buns for both of us. DS broke from his chocolate milk tradition and decided to get strawberry milk which he drank about 2 sips of and decided it was a mistake and that he wanted chocolate instead. Grrrrrrr.

    We went back to MK. In the morning we were in Toontown to commune with the big M and pals and were in the store where you meet the other characters and DS weaseled me into getting Goofy sour gummy worms, which he enjoyed but also killed his appetite for lunch.

    Around lunchtime we were in Tomorrowland so we wound up back at Cosmic Rays where I kept a death grip on DS who even after the last time still wanted to go off and look for a seat. DS decided didn’t want chicken nuggets again and none of the kids meals were calling to him so I got the adult hot dog meal for him with fries, orange juice and the triple chocolate cake again. I was going to get a kids meal for myself but then found out that although the TS meals are being tracked by adult vs. child, the CS meals are not and was able to get a second adult meal for myself. I wish I’d know this before and I wouldn’t have had to order a separate bacon side for DS breakfast at the ABC Comissary, I just could have gotten the adult pancake meal that came with bacon. I got a hamburger with fries, Diet Coke and the chocolate cake. The hamburger was a CS hamburger, but I really did like the chocolate cake a lot. DS nibbled at his food since he was sugared up with the gummy worms and told me I could eat the rest of his food, but I declined. I’d give my meal a B-, DS gave his a C, but I think he just wasn’t hungry and would have rated it higher otherwise.

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    We cooled off with two Itzakadoozie pops later in the afternoon before heading over to the Liberty Tree Tavern for the Goofy Liberate Your Appetite Dinner. We’ve done a lot of character meals before this one, but I have to say that hands down this was my favorite one we’ve ever been too. I know there are a lot of negative reviews about the food, saying how it all tastes like it comes out of the box, but I really thought it was good. The atmosphere in LTT is really nice, you really get that colonial feel. Goofy came around to our table almost as soon as we sat down which made DS very happy. We were given rolls with honey butter right away and the rolls were very fresh and tasty. DS ate almost all of them and wanted more. We also got salad with strawberry vinaigrette which I liked. We did have to wait a little too long between the salad and rolls and the main part of the meal or maybe it just seemed that way because there was a lull in the characters coming around at that time too. Then the server brought the rest of the meal, turkey, flank steak, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, green beans and gravy. I have to admit that to me Thanksgiving is the best meal of the year so this was definitely my kind of fare, same thing for DS. DS is also about as far from a vegetarian as you can get these days and was very happy. He had slices of all the meets and some stuffing. For some reason he’s the only kid who won’t eat mashed potatoes, leaving them all to me. Uh, maybe that wasn’t so good, because my waistline expanded accordingly. They were sooooo tasty. And the gravy was great. I just keep spooning them out. The meat was very fresh and definitely wasn’t processed. The stuffing did taste like the Stouffers from the bag cornbread stuffing, but luckily we like that, lol. Neither of us ate the mac & cheese so I can’t comment on it. While we were eating, Chip, Dale, Pluto and Minnie came around. I loved the dress Minnie had on and all the characters spent a lot of time at the table. We were stuffed when they brought dessert, apple cobbler with vanilla ice cream. DS just ate some of the ice cream, I nibbled at the cobbler and it was very good. Dale came around again while we were having dessert and mimed eating DS ice cream which made him laugh. DS gave this one an A and I’d give it an A+!!

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  16. sandybobandy

    sandybobandy DIS Veteran

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    Oooh that cobbler with ice cream looks awesome.

    Yum-nothing like a trip report in the morning to get your day started! :)

    Was the cobbler all you can eat as well or was it just one serving?
     
  17. lauritagoddess

    lauritagoddess Disney mommy

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    I'm pretty sure that cobbler was all you can eat since I saw them bringing more to another table after they'd already been served some. We were too stuffed to even contemplate any more of it though. :)
     
  18. lauritagoddess

    lauritagoddess Disney mommy

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    8/31

    This morning we headed over to the Polynesian for the Lilo & Stitch breakfast at Ohana. Actually we made a panicky dash to get the bus to MK to get the monorail over since we slept in a little. They seemed a little disorganized when we were checking in and got our pager. And when we were seated they seemed flummoxed over how to seat 2 people. They took us over to a table for 4 and then kept looking at the other table settings like they weren’t sure what to do. We sat down and our server came over and asked us if we were going to be moved and I said no one had told us that and a little later the server came over with someone else and said that they’d just remove the other settings because they didn’t think could seat anyone else at the same table. Uh, you were planning on seating someone else at our table? And the tables are very long when you’re seated across from each other. I guess for two adults this wouldn’t be an issue, but I couldn’t reach across the table for my DS’ plate when I needed to cut things for him and it was just a little off-putting.

    But to the food, shortly after we were seated our server brought a basket with pineapple bread and a cinnamon roll, a fruit plate and juice which I think he said was a combination of passionfruit, orange and guava. DS didn’t like the juice and asked for orange instead. We both like the cinnamon roll but didn’t care for the pineapple bread. The server didn’t come back for awhile and when he did brought apple juice instead. When he came back he had the main meal in a big dish that had eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes and biscuits. Someone else came around later with mickey waffles. Everything was very tasty. DS asked me to ask for seconds on the bacon and sausage, and to get the correct juice since our server was hard to find. We waited awhile for any characters to come. Stitch started coming near our table but then there was a parade and the kids did that and then he did come over. DS loved when Stitch who tickled him before he signed his book. Lilo and Mickey came pretty soon after that he gave Lilo the lovin’, but Pluto was taking a long time to come by and DS didn’t want to stay and wait so we didn’t get to see him. Overall, I think we’d both grade this one a B at best. The food would have made it an A, but the service just wasn’t that good and the character interaction was too slow. I don’t see us going back and doing this one again.

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    After breakfast we went over to Epcot. Neither of us was that hungry for lunch, but I had some CS meals to burn so we stopped at Sunshine Seasons. I got a pork chop with read skin mashed potatoes, lemonade and the same peanut butter mousse brownie as at Pecos Bill. DS wanted a very healthy lunch of fruit punch jello and cookies & cream ice cream. I didn’t think he’d eat much of either but I got him both anyway (yes, I’m a pushover). I didn’t eat much of my meal, but the pork chop was good, not dry like some can be and the mashed potatoes were tasty. I’d give my meal a B+. DS gave his jello and ice cream which he ate about 1/3 to ½ of, an A.

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    We weren’t sure what to do for dinner so decided to head over to DTD. We got dinner from Wolfgang Puck Express. DS decided on the kids linguine with marinara, a Sprite and a brownie and I got the rotisserie chicken with herb fries, a diet Coke and a chocolate chip cookie. The serving sizes of these meals was just huge!! Two adults could have easily have eaten my meal. And DS meal could have easily fed an adult. DS said the linguine was very good and the chicken and the fries were very tasty, but even after we were done it looked like we’d barely touched our food, there was just so much of it. The brownie was fairly tasteless but the cookie was good. This is an extremely good value for two CS credits or even paying OOP. Overall I’d give it a B+ and DS a B.

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  19. saffymom

    saffymom DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the great pics and reviews!

    I'm sad to hear that the Ohana breakfast wasn't good. I was planning on that one for our next trip. Maybe we'll just stick with Chef Mickey's.

    And I think you've sold me on Liberty Tree Tavern. I've been debating between that and Garden Grill and you've definitely helped me make that decision!
     
  20. mom2fivecs

    mom2fivecs Mouseketeer

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    Enjoying the pictures and reviews...thanks:thumbsup2
     
  21. TigerKat

    TigerKat DIS Veteran

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    Enjoying your reviews & pics !!
     

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