Makin’ our way, it’s an ADVENTURE every day! A Nov trip w/a toddler-FINISHED!

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by JulieODC, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. JulieODC

    JulieODC DIS Veteran

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    Dinner at California Grill and a little visit to MK (Wednesday, Nov 13th)

    We headed over to the Contemporary for dinner at California Grill. To be totally honest, our last few visits here were disappointments, but we decided to give it a try after the refurb.

    We checked in downstairs and confirmed that we needed a booster seat. We hopped on the elevator and were seated promptly - right next to the area where the food comes out (we realized this week that when dining with a 2 yr old you generally get placed at the worst table in the restaurant - not shocking, but still disappointing). We didn't get the booster seat or a kids menu and had to ask. It took over 15 minutes for the booster seat to arrive, and our server literally threw the kids menu on the table. :mad:

    Apparently CG does not have crayons or coloring stuff for kids, so DH ran downstairs to our stroller to grab our bag of activities for DD that we had forgotten. This is where things got a bit ugly! DD dropped her pacifier, and when I ran around the booth to get it, she leaned over in the booster seat and fell out of the booth into the floor. It was like a slo-mo flip, Olympic style. My fault, but not a single person came to make sure she was ok (and our waiter saw it all happen). She was upset, I was upset…BLECH! It was awful! Luckily, she was fine…it just scared both of us. :hug:

    DH returned just then (lucky to have missed the drama) and we finally got to order.

    DD had the kids pasta that came with broccolini. She ate every single bite.

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    DH and I ended up sharing several dishes because we couldn’t decide on just one…and some of the appetizers/sushi were more appealing to us than the entrees.

    So, we shared the tuna 4 ways...

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    Pork belly nigiri...

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    Dragon roll...

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    ...and Duck in all it's Glory.

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    Our bread arrived after the food came so we didn't eat much of it. :confused: We also had 2 rounds of drinks, wine and beer…though I don’t remember what we ordered!


    We also ordered dessert.

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    DD's meal came with the fruit skewers (which we had to ask for). She loved these, especially the yogurt dipping sauce. Sorry I took the picture after removing the skewers - consider it "deconstructed" fruit skewers!

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    DH and I had coffee (we were heading to MK after dinner so needed a caffeine boost!).

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    We shared the seasonal tasting dessert, which featured apple. It was good - but the apple creme brûlée was our favorite part.

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    Overall the food was good, but our server was pretty terrible. Dishes were plopped on the table with no explanation, and our server just wasn't very attentive at all. He kept referring to our meal as "appetizers" and seemed annoyed that we didn't order main dishes. But the 4 dishes we did order, along with 2 drinks each, a kids meals, and dessert/coffee, was well over $200 - so not exactly a paltry order. Also, the meal took 2 hrs and we missed most of the MK parade.

    We have done a lot of high end dining over the years, and this just didn’t live up to our expectations. I hate to be negative about the experience, but it seemed similar to other reviews I’ve seen (though some are good, so it just seems very inconsistent). Unfortuately, we won't be back here anytime soon. :sad2:



    After we finished at CG, we quickly hopped on the monorail to try and salvage the evening. I love, love, love the Main Street Electrical Parade, and was really hoping to see it. We raced through the park, and managed to see the end of the parade over near Liberty Square.

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    After the parade finished, we headed back to the entrance area of MK to watch wishes (thinking we’d make a quick getaway to the bus depot as soon as it was over). We watched some of Wishes, but unfortunately, my heart just wasn’t in it after a frustrating night and DD wasn’t in the best mood either. :headache:

    So, to avoid any further melt downs, we headed out and grabbed a bus back to YC….knowing that tomorrow would be another day….and one in which we got to meet DD’s absolute, all-time, favorite Disney Jr character (and the inspiration for our TR title)!! :woohoo:


    Coming Next: Disney Jr. Dine n’ Play at Hollywood and Vine!
     
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  3. KatMark

    KatMark DIS Veteran

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    Sorry...it's been a busy two weeks and we were out of town this weekend seeing our son and daughter-in-law after his surgery.

    I'm so glad you took the time and did the trails at the AK. I LOVE doing the trails. In truth, AK has moved up on our list as our third favorite park and pushing to tie Epcot for second. Wonderful picture of my favorite...the giraffes.

    I'm glad you got to see the Lion King. And :thumbsup2 on numerous rides on EE (although I won't ride it at all).

    I'm sorry you had such a disappointing experience at Cali Grill. We've never done it and after the reviews that I've read lately, I'm not sure I want to.

    I'm glad you got to see the tail end of the electric parade at least.
     
  4. Tinker326

    Tinker326 DIS Veteran

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    Aww man, that's too bad about spending so much money on a meal that was less than magical. That is a hard pill to swallow.

    I love the electrical parade as well. It's so neat seeing those floats & Elliot the dragon is my favorite! (I love that movie!!).
     
  5. teekathepony

    teekathepony DIS Veteran

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    Wow, that sounds like pretty poor service. That's too bad. I've never eaten at CG, but yours isn't the first negative review I've read, so I can't see me giving it a try. Sorry to hear you had a bad experience, especially with that kind of price tag.
    Yikes! Glad to hear DD was fine after her tumble! No one came to see if she was ok? That's awful! I thought that was just something that human beings did. :confused3
    Glad you caught the end of the parade, hope the rest of the evening looks up!
     
  6. DisneyKid4Life

    DisneyKid4Life DIS Veteran

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    Oh my goodness, I'm so glad to hear DD was OK after her spill. But to have absolutely no one check on her is just shocking and sad.

    So sorry your night didn't end up as planned, but that is the absolutely right attitude to have. Tomorrow is another day. :goodvibes
     
  7. JessM

    JessM We all have a dream

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    I'm sorry your meal wasn't very good at California Grill : ( it really bugs me when service is bad!

    I hope the next day turned out better!
     
  8. RGirl

    RGirl Change Is Good

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    I was VERY interested to read your experience at CG. It is a place that we have not tried yet, and I have been really struck by the bad reviews since the refurb. I’m sorry to hear about your service experience - I have been reading a LOT of service complaints! Really sad. :(

    LOVE the pic of your DD pointing at the electrical parade - precious! :lovestruc
     
  9. JulieODC

    JulieODC DIS Veteran

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    Hope your son is doing well!

    We had a great time exploring AK --- having a 2yo along really helped us see this park through new eyes! :)

    The parade always makes me smile --- the music always gets stuck in my head! :goodvibes
     
  10. JulieODC

    JulieODC DIS Veteran

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    I thought so too :confused3 Oh well!

    It did make me sad...because it seemed out of character with WDW's customer service? But regardless, it was one bad experience on a trip full of so many fun experiences! :thumbsup2

    I agree -- even if the food is fabulous, bad service can make or break the meal!

    I was glad we caught a little of the parade -- we took DD when she was 14mo and she was mesmerized, so I knew she'd enjoy it!! :goodvibes

    I haven't been following recent CG reviews...but hopefully things are improving??
     
  11. Marsheliz

    Marsheliz DIS Veteran

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    Well that just stinks about Cali Grill... Spending that kind of money.. It better be good. :( Sorry about DD too, I let Landen fall off the bed at POFQ in 2012.. I guess accidents happen in Disney too.

    I'm glad you got to see the end of the parade. That is a favorite and a must-do for me. I cannot miss it!!
     
  12. katt789

    katt789 DIS Veteran

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    Awwe, yay!! I had no idea you were on my instagram lol!! Thank you! I do hope that day is in the very near future!

    Oh man, this experience does not sound like it was off to a good start so far!! Sorry that the experience really didn’t live up to it’s expectations, that really sucks. At least the food was good!! The food seems like a good enough reason to go, but I have not heard many good reviews since it re opened, and it sounds like your server really needed a kick to get them revved up again, seriously!!

    Awe, sucks that your evening really was put off to a bad start after dinner, that really does put a sour taste in your mouth! At least the parade and wishes were partially watched and some MK time was had! I hope thigns look up in the next day!
     
  13. amazingact21

    amazingact21 Upendi

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    I know you're already well under way, but I'm joining in for the remainder of the report. popcorn::

    Your DD is adorable, and it sounds like she toured Disney very well. I hear horror stories of going to the parks with a 2 year old, but that doesn't seem to be the case at all, here. :thumbsup2
     
  14. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    Sorry to hear about your experience at CG. I've been debating whether to try California Grill for our upcoming trip in October but your experience definitely puts the restaurant in the negative column. And I've heard a lot of mixed reviews about the place. We may just end up going back to Jiko! :good vibes
     
  15. JulieODC

    JulieODC DIS Veteran

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    Its always nice to hear that other parents have accidents too. I feel like a fall off the bed or out of a booster is sort of a right of passage -- for kids and parents! ;)

    Yes, we caught just enough of the parade for me to have the song stuck in my head for days! :woohoo:

    And yes, things most definitely looked up the next day!
     
  16. JulieODC

    JulieODC DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for joining - welcome!! :yay: We've done Disney with DD at 14 months and 26 months, and both were great. Its all about managing expectations, and not pushing too hard -- and LUCK! :)

    I hate to discourage you...but I don't think we'll be back to CG for a while. Jiko is high on our list for next time though --- I've never been, and I've heard great things! :)
     
  17. JulieODC

    JulieODC DIS Veteran

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    Play n’ Dine at DHS (Thursday, Nov 14th)

    Thursday was DHS day! The park was scheduled to open at 9am, so we booked an 8:05 reservation for breakfast a Hollywood and Vine. With FP+, we didn’t have to worry about getting to TSM right at opening, but we still liked the idea of getting up and at ‘em early!

    We walked over to DHS from the YC. I sadly did not take any pictures…but it was a nice walk. It’s a bit longer than the walk to Epcot, but quiet and peaceful. :cool1:

    There was a pretty big crowd at the DHS entrance, which surprised us. So, it took a little time to get in, and we were a few minutes late for our reservation. But, we arrived, checked in, and waited ~10 minutes before our name was called.

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    Let’s see…I’ll start with the food first! The characters weren’t out, so after we were seated, we pretty quickly took turns going up to the buffet (while the other stayed at the table with DD).

    This was probably our least favorite meal of the trip. I mean, the basics were fine…but nothing really “wowed” us. I did like the banana bread, and of course, the croissants! DD liked her watermelon and pancakes. The Mickey waffles were definitely on the extra crispy side. The corned beef hash casserole was kind of “ew.” :rolleyes2

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    The character interactions were good. They seemed to make their way around the tables faster than at Crystal Palace. Although, while DD loves Disney Jr., she just didn’t know the characters that were greeting during our visit. She knew Jake --- but was not familiar with Oso, June, or Handy Manny. :confused3 I wished at the time that Sofia and Doc McStuffins were greeting instead! Well, I guess someone was reading my mind…because now they are! :listen:


    Jake:

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    Oso:

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    June:

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    Truth be told….we didn’t wait for Handy Manny to come around.


    After leaving, I thought to myself that we wouldn’t be back. Well, with Sofia and Doc in the line-up now…we will probably return…but we’ll see! :stir:


    Coming Next: Sofia, Sofia, Sofia, Sofia (oh, and the rest of our DHS visit)!
     
  18. RGirl

    RGirl Change Is Good

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    Oh, I love that walk to DHS - so peaceful!

    We have never done H&V for the very reason that you mention - DD didn’t really know any of those characters. She never watched TV at the Baby Einstein age. :confused: She would have enjoyed seeing Jake though and would even now like to see Sofia, I think. So I am not telling her that Sofia is there. :rolleyes1

    I’m glad you had an okay time at least - the food LOOKED good anyway! :laughing:
     
  19. JulieODC

    JulieODC DIS Veteran

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    Sofia's arrival at H&V is our little secret! ;)
     
  20. teekathepony

    teekathepony DIS Veteran

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    I did breakfast at H&V once with no kids. We just wanted an early breakfast in DHS! I would have to agree about the food, it was ok.
    At first I thought we were at DHS that day too, but I checked my notes and no, this was our AK day.
     
  21. amazingact21

    amazingact21 Upendi

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    The big draw for early morning reservations is getting in the parks early, but that shouldn't mean the food can be subpar. Not to mention, it's breakfast food...pretty basic fare.
    The Mickey waffles in your phoo did look kinda burnt. Guess the chefs were having an off day...

    Too bad Sophia wasn't doing meet and greets yet. I have yet to meet a toddler that doesn't adore her.
     

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