Two Vegans, Too Much Food - Including D23 Party! (March 3 -6)

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Reviews' started by v_gan, Mar 7, 2010.

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  1. v_gan

    v_gan I can go the distance!

    In the first week of January, I found out that the Disney Store that I work at (and have been shopping at for nearly 22 years) is going to be closing in April. :sad2: I had also just been told that I was getting to stay after the holidays, and would be able to use my discount for WDW vacations. So, obviously, this situation really sucked. Especially since me and my boyfriend had already had a trip planned in May, couldn't change our dates, and I wouldn't be able to use my discount then. :rolleyes:

    So, when I found out about the D23 First Anniversary Party, I used it as an excuse for a quick trip so that I could use my discount at least one good time before the store closed.

    Before I go any further, I would just like to say that the dining plan, under any other circumstances, wouldn't be worth it for us. For the meals me and my boyfriend plan on eating in May, we would pay less out of pocket since we wouldn't eat TS every day, never order dessert, and almost always order water. Sometimes we even share an entree. So we're cheap.

    But when one of my co-cast members mentioned that I could get the dining plan half off :worship:, I figured this was the best possible time to try it out. So we only ended up paying about $25.99 per person, per day for the regular dining plan. Right around $80 per person for our whole trip. Well, well worth it this time around!


    This trip included me, my sister, and my mom. My mom planned on staying at the resort the whole trip (something I honestly wish I could have done, as you'll read later), so, since I found out the dining plan credits are pooled together for everyone on your reservation, my mom used most of the counter service credits, while me and my sister used most of the table service credits.

    I'll start out by saying that two days before our trip, I started getting sick. It developed very quickly, and my worst two days were spent at the theme parks. So, in between chest pains, breathing in cold air, shortness of breath, aches and pains, blowing my nose, and coughing up mucus, I tried to enjoy our super cheap and wonderful meals. Oh, and not to mention it was FREEZING and WINDY the full four days we were there (barely got up to 60 during the hottest part of the day - but it didn't feel like it because of the wind). Just those four days, though. Temperatures jumped up into the mid-upper 70s the day we left.

    Needless to say, this was probably the worst Disney trip/vacation I've ever had. It was just miserable.

    But the food was good. So, from now on, we'll focus on that. :goodvibes

    Sorry for all the depressing background information :lmao: I'll get on with the show now!
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  3. v_gan

    v_gan I can go the distance!

    I got very lucky with our ADRs, considering I made them about three weeks out. Here's where we ended up eating:

    Wednesday, March 3

    Thursday, March 4
    Mama Melrose's

    Friday, March 5
    Crystal Palace
    Diamond Horeshore Saloon (D23 party)

    Saturday, March 6
    Old Port Royale breakfast
    Old Port Royale lunch

    I do want to mention that, while the Dining Plan wouldn't be worth it for us on a normal trip, I really did enjoy the system. I enjoyed not having to scramble for cash and a tip at the end of every TS meal. (And by that I don't mean I didn't leave a tip! I just mean it was just less trouble. haha.) It was just very simple and easy. I wish they did custom dining plans. Then I might consider it again. :lmao:
  4. v_gan

    v_gan I can go the distance!

    I honestly don't even want to go into any details about the trip before dinner. We left home 50 minutes later than scheduled. We had a horrible check-in at Caribbean Beach (lasted 30 minutes - not counting waiting in line), were horribly late and rushed, and checked in at the podium one minute before our ADR. Luckily, it wasn't crowded and we were sat almost immediately.

    We were seated in that little semi-enclosed, rounded area that's right across from the fruit and salad greens:


    My view from where my chair was facing:


    Suprisingly, I had both the same server (Gilberto) and the same chef (Lance) as I did the last time I visited. Blast from the past. :wizard:

    Just like last time, Lance showed me and (instead of my boyfriend) my sister around the buffet, naming off nearly the exact same list of items as last time. He did, however, leave off the mealie bread that he said I could have on our last trip. So I'm thinking he was a bit mistaken that night :sad1:

    Since everything was mostly the same, I'm going to leave off the buffet pictures this time around. And since my sister got all the same food I did, I'm just going to post pictures of my plates.

    Plate #1: Falafel, Tofu and Green Bean Curry, Geelry's Rice, Kokonut Rice with Sauteed Vegetables, Cous Cous Marakesh.

    Everything was SO much better than last time, except for the Cous Cous Marakesh. I guess maybe I ate it so much last time, I didn't like it as much this time around? I don't know, but I enjoyed everything else much more, even though it was still good the last time.

    Plate #2: Tunisian Cous Cous Salad, Geelry's Rice, Cous Cous Marakesh, Tofu and Green Bean Curry, Pasta with Marinara Sauce, topped with Falafal Balls instead of meatballs :goodvibes

    The Tunisian Cous Cous salad was a lot better than last time, too. I wish I hadn't put my falafel balls on top of the marinara, because EW. I just wiped it off. haha. The marinara tasted like a jarred variety. It was on the kid's buffet section, so it probably was from a jar. Oh well.

    Plate #3: More Tunisian Cous Cous salad, more Kokonut Rice with Vegetables, salad greens, and Mango Vinegarette.

    Ohhh my gosh, that vinegarette was nasty. I don't remember why, but it was just gross. I wish I had gotten the cilantro kind. But I didn't want any more after that.

    Plate #4: Strawberries, grapes, cantelope, pineapple, watermelon.

    Those strawberries were heavenly.

    After everything was consumed and we were just about ready to go, my sister made me ask for some ice cream. I didn't want any ice cream, but I did it anyway.

    Chocolate Tofutti with yummy, fresh, mixed berries.

    Overall, the meal was great. My mom didn't try anything new, as usual. She went for what she knew she would like and didn't have any comments on anything. Our server was better this time (even though it was the same guy), and the chef was still very nice and made sure everything was ok after the meal. He even asked for suggestions for improving the vegan selections. I didn't have any, but it was nice of him to ask. I should have told him to make some vegan mealie bread, though :laughing:

    Coming Up: Mama Melrose's!
  5. Vegcentric

    Vegcentric New Member

    Oh yay, you're back!
    I always love reading your reviews. My husband and I visited Boma in November and we loved it, since you can have a really enormous meat-free meal there. I didn't know they had tofutti ice cream :( I'm vegetarian, my husband is pescetarian but oh man I would have loved some tofutti instead of the desserts they have out. They are just way too dense for me (and some of them have gelatin in them).

    I'm excited to read your other reviews, yayyyy!
  6. lilpnutmama

    lilpnutmama It's a small, small world

    I am so sorry you were sick and the weather sucked :( that is too bad. I will be looking forward to reading your reviews.
    I hope one day far in the future my girls and I will be doing a sisters-and-mom trip. :)
  7. Plasticletters

    Plasticletters Ride a Bike

    Alright! Bummer about the store, but at least I get to see your review sooner than expected :)
  8. ehartman4

    ehartman4 Do you believe in something beautiful?

    What a bummer about you being sick! I hope the food at least cheered you up.
    Boma looks delicious! Can't wait to see what else you ate :)
  9. v_gan

    v_gan I can go the distance!

    Thank you! I'm excited to post new reviews!

    I'm not a big dessert person, myself. I would much rather eat a lot of savory food than save room for dessert! :upsidedow

    Yeah, it really wasn't a good trip at all. (And that's hard for me to admit, since I can't imagine any trip to Disney being bad.) I wish I could have moved our dates as soon as I got sick, but since I couldn't really move the D23 party I already had non-refundable tickets for, I couldn't exactly do that. :laughing:

    Meeting Gaston at the D23 party was almost the only good part about the whole four days. And, believe me, it was a very, very good part! I love Gaston. Ironic, I suppose, since he uses antlers in all of his decorating :rolleyes1 (My what a guy, that Gaston!)

    Haha, I guess that is a plus side! By the way - we did get Chef TJ this time around! It was awesome, and very similar to your experience except for dessert. I can't wait to get to those reviews!

    Oh, the food definitely cheered me up! :goodvibes Sitting down to eat was the best part of my day, every day. Warm restaurants, comforting food, no cold wind.. :laughing:
  10. v_gan

    v_gan I can go the distance!

    Today was the day I wanted to relax at the resort, do fun stuff I never get to do when all we do is go to the parks, and just get to enjoy the resort for once. But my sister had to see Fantasmic. So we spent the whole day at DHS.

    Had to go to the concierge at Caribbean Beach to add tickets to our cards that morning - Again, it took forever. But I'm going to partly blame this on the VISA gift cards we were trying to use, even though it shouldn't have been as much trouble as they made it out to be. I process them all the time at The Disney Store. You'd think a WDW resort would have a little more experience dealing with different kinds of payments. :confused3

    But, anyway.. We somehow made it for rope drop. Rode Toy Story Mania, got FPs for later, rode Tower of Terror, Great Movie Ride, Star Tours, saw Muppets, got FPs for Rockin' Roller Coaster and rode that right before deciding where to eat.

    I had had enough of both Sci-Fi and 50s Prime Time by this trip, so I didn't want to eat there again. I originally wanted to eat at The Wave, but I was just feeling too horrible to do any more driving and traveling than I had to. So we stayed in the park.

    I had an ADR for Mama Melrose's for mine and my boyfriend's trip in May, but I cancelled it because he didn't want to eat a lot of TS on that trip. I still wanted to eat there, so I tried a walk-up on this trip.


    I asked at the podium how long of a wait we would have without reservations, and if there was anything available for vegans. The super nice girl said the wait would be about 20 minutes, and that they could send a chef to us to explain what we could have. Sounded good to me!




    We were seated in a little section closer to the backside of the restaurant:



    This is what the ticket said when we sat down: "Approx. 20, vegan, female, Mickey hoodie" :laughing: I guess that narrows it down!

    Our server was very nice, and upon learning that we were vegan and after taking our drink orders, went to get us a chef. We admired the decor while we waited..


    I want the pizza sunshine!

    The chef, whose name I can't recall, came to our table and proceeded to name a few things he could make for us. He first mentioned a pasta dish with vegetables and an olive oil/garlic sauce. That sounded awesome to me. He then asked if there was anything on the menu that we had our heart set on. I asked about the pizza, and he mentioned that they had a dairy-free cheese :scared1: and an allergy-free crust. I started freaking out, and said that would be awesome. I had heard they had Follow Your Heart mozzerella at the parks, but I had never been offered any. I told him I would love some pizza, and that he could put whatever he wanted on it, since I like all vegetables.

    So we decided on the pasta he had mentioned, and the pizza. We were going to split the two entrees so that we could both try them.

    But first we were brought out our bread:


    I don't know if this is the same kind everyone else gets, but this is what we got. It's those yummy little baguettes that I like to get at home, because they're awesome. They were served with olive oil and cracked black pepper.

    After a short while, our entrees were brought out:

    This is the pasta dish he mentioned. I'm not sure about the name of that type of pasta.. But it had the pasta, the olive oil/garlic sauce, basil, green peas, red peppers, artichokes, onions, and a few other random vegetables.

    My sister took one bite and said she felt sick. But that's just because she's a picky baby when it comes to food people make for her. :sad2: I, however, thought it was very tasty. I liked all the vegetables, and the garlic helped with my sickness. The olive oil was a little strong, though. Could have toned that down a bit. But, overall, I thought it was great.

    Pizzas! These had tomato sauce, the dairy-free mozzerella (which I assume was Follow Your Heart brand), onions, red and green bell peppers, and amazingly awesome slices of tomato.

    The tomato sauce on these was AMAZING.:lovestruc I don't know what made it so good, but it was thick and savory and I loved it. I honestly would have loved the pizza without any cheese substitute at all, and I think I would ask for it that way the next time, because I would want that tomato sauce to be the star. Gosh, it was good.

    I really enjoyed both of the entrees, and ended up up having to eat the majority of both since my sister only took about 3 or 4 bites of the pasta and had two slices of pizza.

    After our meal, my sister made me ask for ice cream again. I didn't want any.. again. But I asked for it anyway. This time we got vanilla Tofutti:


    Considering we gave no advance notice, I give Mama Melrose's two, big, vegan thumbs up for accomodating special diets. I'm really glad I decided to eat here on this trip, and I would definitely go back again.

    Coming Up: 'Ohana with the amazing Chef TJ!
  11. ehartman4

    ehartman4 Do you believe in something beautiful?

    Holy crap, Mama Melrose's is soooo awesome! It's great that they had dairy free cheese for you.
  12. disney_princess_85

    disney_princess_85 <font color=blue> Liked the <img src=http://photop

    Your reviews are great, looking forward to more! I'm glad you received such good service at Mama Melrose's. :thumbsup2
  13. Vegcentric

    Vegcentric New Member

    My husband will flip when he finds out there is vegan cheese at Mama Melrose'. He loves pizza, hates dairy. Me, I'm not a huge pizza fan (and I'm Italian) but I am going to definitely remember that they have vegan cheese.

    That pasta dish you had looks so fresh and clean. That is usually what I am in the mood for, for lunch on a daily basis. Definitely looks good!
  14. dpndka

    dpndka New Member

    Thanks V_GAN! Looks great so far!

    And, so sorry to hear about your store closing.
  15. v_gan

    v_gan I can go the distance!

    I know! I was so glad we tried it that day. I was amazed at what they did with no advance notice.

    Thank you! I'm about to post my 'Ohana review :goodvibes

    I flipped when I found out! I had read that they had Follow Your Heart cheese on site, but I never encountered any. I was so excited when I found it!

    If the pasta hadn't been so heavy on the olive oil, it would have been fantastic. But it was great anyway, with all the veggies!

    Thank you. We've all had a little time to adjust since we found out, but with April getting closer and closer, it's like the end is now in sight :sad1:
  16. aprilisis

    aprilisis <a href="" targ

    I'm SO glad I found your dining review! I had no idea I could get tofutti or vegan cheese anywhere in WDW. :woohoo: I will definitely be asking for that stuff next time I'm there!
  17. v_gan

    v_gan I can go the distance!

    Before I go on, I want to mention that I followed in the steps of ehartman4 and Plasticletters by calling the Special Dietary Request Line (407-824-5967) and leaving a message with all my information. Within the hour, I recieved an e-mail containing a message along with three different documents. One was a Guest Allergy-Dietary Request Form, which I was asked to fill out and send back.

    The other was a Food Allergy/Dietary Reference sheet which contained allergy information about most of the regularly used items in the park (breads, condiments, baking mixes, snacks, etc.) It also had a section on where to find specialty items like Tofutti ice cream, Divvies cookies, and a section about what items are available to guests with allergies or special dietary needs (Earth Balance margarine, Follow Your Heart cheese, Ener-G foods, etc.)

    The last document was basically a letter to those with special dietary needs about how to go about talking to the chefs and how to make reservations and whatnot, along with suggested counter service restaurants for each park.

    After I sent in my Dietary Request Form, I recieved another e-mail stating that they had notified the locations I had mentioned and that they would be expecting me, and also a reminder to talk to a chef upon arriving.

    Like ehartman4 and Plasticletters, I don't know how well this worked, as it was never mentioned when we arrived for our ADRs. But I guess it's worth a try whenever you go. It could have been the reason we had such good service, but I don't really know.

    Now onto 'Ohana! :thumbsup2
  18. v_gan

    v_gan I can go the distance!

    After lunch, me and my sister did a little shopping, stopped for a few minutes during Block Party Bash, and then headed to the car so that I could take some medicine for my horrible sickness. When we made it back into the park, we rode Star Tours again and then met Sulley and all the guys from Up!. Then it was time to try to cram ourselves into the Fantasmic theater.

    Just another slap in the face on this trip: The only reason I like going to Fantasmic is so I can see Megara. So, of course, she went to the other side of the boat when it sailed in front of us and I didn't get to see her :sad2:

    But anyway.. After that, we rode Tower of Terror with our two remaining Fastpasses for the day, rushed with our last-minute shopping, and then we had to high-tail it out of there to make our 'Ohana reservations. We were three minutes late, but that's a lot better than I was thinking it was going to be the whole way there.


    Once we arrived, I made sure to ask if Chef TJ was working that night, since we were going to find somewhere else to eat if he wasn't there. But he was! I breathed a sigh of relief, and sat down to wait for our table.

    I would have been much more excited had I not been so sick and tired and miserable. But I was still really looking forward to everything after months of looking at and reading about everyone else's Chef TJ experiences.

    We were seated within about 10-15 minutes, near the front left-hand side of the main window. Our server's name was Roy, and he noticed our ticket and let us know that as soon as he found Chef TJ, he would bring him over to talk to us. In the meantime, he took our drink orders. My sister had water, and I had the Pomegranate Lemonade:


    Ugh, this was so good. I probably went through 3 or 4 glasses.

    After about five or ten minutes, our server came back with Chef TJ. He asked about our "allergies", and I told him that we didn't actually have any and that we were both vegan, but that the lady on the phone wouldn't note that on our reservations, like I had had done on our previous trip. He said that was fine, and asked if we ate honey. I said no, and he said that was great and told us that we were going to have a 7 (or was it 8?) course vegan meal, and I told him I was really excited :goodvibes

    Within five minutes, our first course arrived:

    Baba ganoush and red pepper hummus with pita chips. Ohhh, that hummus was good! I had never had baba ganoush before this, so it was really new to me. I liked it, it was just different. I really liked getting a little bit of each onto a chip. That made everything a thousand times more awesome than it already was. But the hummus was definitely my favorite.

    Ten minutes later, our salad arrived:

    Chef TJ explained to us what all was in the salad - I remember salad greens, red onion, carrots, some kind of nuts, and pears. It was all wrapped in this amazing seaweed wrap and tossed in some kind of sweet and tangy vinegarette.

    He mentioned that we could either pick it up like a wrap and eat it, or put it on a plate. I tried picking it up at first, but everything just started falling out. So I layed it all on a plate.

    Absolutely, 100%, the best salad I've ever had. I don't know what else to say about it. It was fantastic. Salads are usually pretty "blah" to me, but this.. :worship: Perfect.

    Another ten minutes, and our sides were brought out:

    Peanut noodles. Same as last time, if not slightly better.

    Broccoli and sugar snap peas. The broccoli was good, the peas were a little too crisp (undercooked?) for me, but they were fine.

    Yet another ten minutes, and this was brought out:

    At first it was just bowls filled with peanuts and watercress, along with a wedge of lime. Then Chef TJ pulled out a steaming pitcher filled with a ginger and coriander broth/soup and poured it over the top. Then he placed the skewer of fried tomatoes on top, all while explaining what everything was.

    OMG. This soup was HEAVENLY. :lovestruc With me being sick, I couldn't have asked for anything more perfect. It did wonders for my congestion, and it tasted amazing. It was definitely spicy (which I like!), and I probably could have done with less peanuts and more watercress. But the broth itself was just perfect. The tomatoes were nicely seasoned, but they weren't anything out-of-this-world. Just nicely seasoned tomatoes.

    This is when our courses began spacing out a little more. It was about 15 minutes until our next course arrived. Fine with me: more time to digest!

    This is bok choy with sauteed mushrooms and potatoes, with a pomegranate sauce. Mm, that sauce was good. I loved the mushrooms and potatoes, but wasn't a big fan of the bok choy. Don't get me wrong, it was good. I just had to pick and choose at that point what I could fit inside my stomach. And the mushrooms and potatoes ruled out the bok choy.

    It was nearly 20 minutes until our main course arrived. That's right - the biggest course hadn't even arrived yet! Look at all that food!

    During this time, the restaurant really started to empty out. It was just us and a few scattered tables of large groups, who had finished eating, but were still socializing.

    I was hoping with everything in me that I would be able to consume plenty of the entree, but I was really feeling full at this point. So when Chef TJ brought this out, I was terrified:

    LOOK AT HOW MUCH FOOD THAT IS. I decided to suck it up, because this was too beautiful to ignore.

    This is tempura vegetables (asparagus and broccoli rabe), fried and marinated tofu, and a ton of hidden vegetables under a tall stack of rice noodles with an amazingly savory sauce. Chef TJ explained that instead of regular tempura batter, made with eggs, he used a Hawaiian beer to make the batter rise. And, let me tell you, that is the best fried batter I have ever consumed. I don't know how to describe it. It was just phenomenal. I didn't even realize we had the vegetables until I was about to pop, but I found room for a few bites:

    Look at all the pretty colors! There was onions, peppers, broccoli, purple cabbage.. just all kinds of stuff. It was so good.

    Chef TJ told us that it was ok if we didn't finish the entree, as we would be able to take it with us when we left. I thanked him, and he asked our server to bring out two to-go boxes.

    You can see the pitcher the soup was brought in on the left.


    By this time, I had already forgotten about dessert. And when Chef TJ came back to check on us and mentioned that it might be a while for dessert, my stomach started to protest: "There's no more room! Leave now!"

    Needless to say, I ingored it's requests.

    And I'm so glad I did.


    This is a frozen pina colada mix, which Chef TJ explained is what they use at the bar - but it is made with coconut milk and is completely vegan. On top is frozen mint leaves and frozen crumbled chocolate chip Divvies cookies. In the bottom of the glass is chopped banana and kiwi, along with whole raspberries and lychee fruit.

    And hidden inside..


    Ohhhh man! This was the most impressive dessert I have ever seen/eaten in my entire life. It was absolutely beautiful, and there were so many wonderful suprises. There were so many flavors, but they all came together as a fantastic combination and I just loved everything about it.

    Chef TJ came back as we were finishing dessert and I told him how completely impressive I thought the dessert was, and he thanked me and started talking about all the little details he enjoyed about the dessert. I told him how I had never had lychee fruit before and he asked how I liked it. We just had a wonderful conversation, and I wish I had been feeling better the whole time.

    By the end of our conversation, Chef TJ told us that if we ever came back and had trouble getting reservations, to contact him. And then he gave us his personal business card! I told him that me and my boyfriend were coming back in May, and that we had reservations already. And then said that was great, and that he would try to make us a different dessert next time.

    I thanked him a thousand times over and complimented everything he did, mentioning how hard it is to eat out as a vegan and how special he made me feel. He said it was his pleasure, and that he loves doing what he does.

    When he finally said goodnight, and we had payed for our meal (quality and quantity far exceed the price here, by the way), I left a large tip and a note that said, "Chef TJ, Thank you again SO much! This was such a fantastic meal, and I can't wait to come back! -(love)- Andrea"

    By this time, we were the only ones remaining in the restaurant:


    We saw him cleaning up in the kitchen on our way out, and I said thank you one more time and we said goodnight.


    The Polynesian is pretty empty at 12:30 AM.
  19. lilpnutmama

    lilpnutmama It's a small, small world

    My goodness that man is a legend. I HAVE to eat there on my next trip. This just sounds and looks so fantastic. Could any meal you have ever again compare though? :)
  20. Plasticletters

    Plasticletters Ride a Bike


    What an awesome dessert! It seems that Chef TJ does variations on a theme when it comes to vegans at 'Ohana, but I have not seen that dessert before...amazing! Now I need to try it!
  21. Vegcentric

    Vegcentric New Member

    Hawaiian beer?
    That sounds soooo good!

    Andrea I love reading your reviews because you're just so excited in all of them! It's so great, I'm really great you were able to get Chef TJ. Now, you're going back in May, right? I'm actually making my dining reservations in May for our trip in October (so far away! D:) so I hope you have an awesome trip but I'm wondering if your dining reviews will be here in time for when I'm making my reservations.

    Would you mind if I direct messaged you later on in May before I make my reservations to see how you made out and where you ate?

    I probably sound like a pain in the butt but your reviews have always been so helpful. :rotfl:
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