What do you mean "No Dining Plan"? Review with Pics

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Reviews' started by PrincessTrisha, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. PrincessTrisha

    PrincessTrisha DIS Veteran

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    Hi all.

    I was at the World October 24th to October 31st. This was the first trip since February 2005 where we did NOT have some form of dining plan. For the way we eat, the DDP (or in June the DxDP) really does meet our needs. We like to sit down and eat in the cool of a restaurant at least once a day. We tend to share at counter service meals. And we all love our sweets. So why no DDP this time? Well, there are several reasons.....

    1. Leftover tickets. We have tickets left from a previous trip so buying even a 1 day ticket for each of us (4 adults) would have added $320 to the cost of the trip. And since we'll probably go back to using the DDP in the future....well, we won't really need those tickets will we?

    2. Off site activities. 2 of the 4 of us were spending the day at Discovery Cove and another day at Seaworld. We also planned to spend a day shopping offsite (we had a vehicle so it made it easy).

    3. My mom is still recovering from a stroke and severe illness which followed it. She did great on the trip but I was unsure of her stamina. I didn't want too much that was "use or lose" for her on the trip - that would include dining credits.

    4. For the first time ever, we stayed Club Level (at the CR - Atrium Club). I knew it already included breakfast, snacks and drinks so I wasn't sure if we'd want or need lots of big meals.

    5. Cake - I wanted to order a cake for my Dad with the chocolate monorail on top. With a 10 inch cake in the room, would we really need or want dessert at every meal?

    6. Wishes Dessert Party - same as above. I figured, you never know if they'll continue to offer it. If this is our only chance to do it, I didn't want to pass it up.

    So, I did a room only and paid out of pocket for our food. Would I do it this way again? Well, I guess you'll just have to wait and see........:hippie:

    Cast of Characters
    On to the Food...Pop Century
    Whispering Canyon Cafe
    Club Lounge Desserts and Breakfast
    Food & Wine Festival Part 1
    Food & Wine Festival Part 2
    Contempo Cafe
    Ohana
    Tony's Town Square
    Wishes Dessert Party
    Grand Floridian Cafe lunch
    Grand Floridian Cafe Dinner & Room Service
     
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  3. PrincessTrisha

    PrincessTrisha DIS Veteran

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    So this trip there were 4 adults:

    Me (Trisha - the Princess part is optional). I am 35 and have 3 trips to WDW planned this year. This was number 2. I do all of the planning and the paying. I am obsessed but I'm okay with that. Other people smoke or drink, I "do disney". There's not much I don't like (except meatloaf, well cooked beef, hot dogs and fatty pork).

    My Mom (Connie). She's 56 and recovering from some pretty bad stuff. She's doing great though (compared to a few months ago) and has learned to walk again (I'm more proud than I could every express with words). She has a hard time selecting food but will eat just about whatever is ordered for her. She doesn't do spicy and can't do Kiwi fruit, crab or calamari (allergies).

    My Dad (Bill). He's 60 (61 in a couple of days). He's a good guy. Very traditional. I think the hardest part for him about these trips is letting me pay. He's always trying to pay for stuff anyways so I always make sure to have my hand out for the bill as soon as the server is at the table. He's a meat and potato kind of guy but has gotten a little more adventurous over the past few years (about 3 years ago, he tried bagels and now loves them).

    Josee (my mom's care worker - well, she's become a friend of the family). She's never been to WDW. She's always wanted to swim with the dolphins so I took her to discovery cove. She'll eat just about anything but the cost of food (even though I was paying) concerned her and towards the end of the week, she stopped coming to dinner with us and just ate the food in the club lounge.
     
  4. PrincessTrisha

    PrincessTrisha DIS Veteran

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    So we arrived Saturday October 24th. We were staying 1 night at Pop Century before checking into the CR Atrium Club.

    We arrived around 6:30pm and were pretty tired from the drive down. We also had a little laundry to do so we decided to just eat at the food court while my Dad did the laundry. My mom was pretty tired so she asked if we could just bring her back something.

    My Dad got the parmasean chicken with the penne with white sauce (he asked if he could sub mac and cheese but was told no). He ate it, it was good. That was all. (sorry no pic since he went off to do the laundry).

    Josee ordered the kid's pizza with grapes and a chocolate chip cookie with a bottle of water.

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    She ate it. It was good. She ordered the kid's pizza because she said it looked to be the right size. She was confused at first about the sides and the guy serving her wasn't very helpful. I told her she could pick any two sides but don't get the jello or the applesauce cause she won't like them. The cookie she saved for later and it was pretty moist. The kid's waters are the small Dasani bottles. She was happy since she doesn't drink pop.

    I ordered two entrees and my mom and I shared them.

    The first was the kid's macaroni and cheese (with grapes and carrots which I saved for the next day).
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    This was a pretty big serving. I've seen it before in the little micky plates but this was on the same size plate as the adult dinners were served on. I don't know if it's the standard size serving, but if you're craving mac n cheese and are at Pop, even as an adult, you'll be full. It was rich and creamy - no boxed junk here! It was very cheesy and good when it was warm but congealed hard when it cooled (I had saved a couple of bites for my Dad but it was cold when he returned with the laundry.

    The second entree to share was the Vegetable Lasagna.

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    It came with salad and a breadstick. The lasagna was good - medium sized chunks of vegetables, enough cheese to stick it together, noodles were soft but not mushy and the sauce had a nice garlic undertone. My only real criticism is that they put the hot lasagna on top of the cold salad so half the salad was warm and wilted. :confused3

    While I may not have been impressed with the hotel, the food was good. Not gourmet by any standards but good, tasty, warm food. And dinner for 4..... was less than $40.
     
  5. GoofySon'sMom

    GoofySon'sMom DIS Veteran

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    Great start! Can't wait for the rest!
     
  6. Christine9125

    Christine9125 DIS Veteran

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  7. OurDogCisco

    OurDogCisco DIS Veteran

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    Excited to read more!
     
  8. natalielongstaff

    natalielongstaff <font color=deeppink>I need a cup of tea and a big

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    count me in :thumbsup2
     
  9. pinkxray

    pinkxray DIS Veteran

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    great reviews so far, keep them coming!
     
  10. KatMark

    KatMark DIS Veteran

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    I'm here for more Disney food porn.
     
  11. PrincessTrisha

    PrincessTrisha DIS Veteran

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    Next installment coming up!

    Glad to have ya!

    Thanks for the encouragement.

    You're counted! Welcome aboard!

    I'll happily ablige.

    Food porn coming up!
     
  12. PrincessTrisha

    PrincessTrisha DIS Veteran

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    After checking out of Pop Century, we were headed to the ocean so we decided on a little Bob Evans (no pics cause I only take pictures of food at WDW). I have to say, if you're looking for some good, cheap eats - try them. They have a pretty extensive menu and over 30 items priced at $5.99 or less. And if you've never tried an Arnold Palmer (made with sweet tea of course), you don't know what you're missing!

    Anyways, our next Disney meal was at the Wilderness Lodge. I know that the Whispering Canyon Cafe gets mixed reviews but I was looking for some place that serves ribs and would show my mom's caregiver Josee "a little slice of Disney style".

    So we arrived for our 6:40pm ADR and were seated promptly. Our table wasn't the best since we were seated by the kitchen entrance but our server more than made up for it - We were graced by Heada Lettuce who was the right mix of fun, frolic and great service.

    To start with my mom, dad and I ordered diet cokes and Josee ordered water.

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    Josee almost had a fit when Heada threw the straws at us but my mom quickly explained that it was normal and this was meant to be a "fun" place.

    My mom, dad and I all ordered the skillet All You Care To Enjoy $26.99 per person [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Smoked Pork Ribs, Pulled Pork, Oven-roasted Chicken, Beef Brisket, Mashed Potatoes, Cowboy Beans, and Corn on the Cob Mixed Greens Salad with Apple Vinaigrette, Coleslaw, and Fresh-baked Cornbread[/FONT]. Josee gave way to sticker shock and stated she wasn't really hungry and ordered the Barbecue Pork Spring Rolls - Barbecue Pulled Pork, Cheddar, Herbs, and Barbecue-Mayonnaise Dipping Sauce $9.99

    Salad
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    Cornbread
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    Heada brought out 4 plates for the salad (including Josee) which I thought was very nice of her. The salad itself was good - fresh and crisp. The dressing really tasty - a little tangy but kind of sweet. My Dad (who is a ranch, ranch, ranch kind of guy) ate some of it as well which surprised me. Of course, everyone stopped after one plate not wanting to be too full when the good stuff came. :rotfl:

    Josee's spring rolls came:
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    I have to admit I thought, "that's all for $10! They are two small, skinny rolls." The plate they are served on is a side plate - the same size they gave us for our salad. Josee said they tasted good but all I could think is, "for another $8 or $9 you could have gotten a full meal", especially since I was paying. :hippie:

    Anyways.....

    They put down our skillet
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    There was good and not so good in the skillet.

    Good (actually kind of great):

    Mashed Potatoes
    Pulled Pork
    Brisket
    Corn on the Cob (rolling around in buttery goodness)
    Pitcher of BBQ Sauce (I would like to pretend that I am a rib and roll around in a vat of this stuff).

    Okay:

    Ribs (I only had two ribs) They were kind of dry - really needed the extra sauce. The second batch were better and meatier. Of course, the rest of the ribs got eaten so maybe it was only the 1 rack that wasn't so great?

    Not so good:
    Beans
    Chicken (it was cooked and everything - the seasoning is just "off" and not well flavoured).

    We got more pulled pork, brisket and mashed potatoes (didn't need more corn since my mom is missing a couple of teeth and my dad has dentures so all three pieces were mine, mine, mine).

    The aftermath:
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    Josee had picked off the skillet after she ate her two spring rolls and though Heada pointed it out that "we'd let her knaw on a few bones" there were no other comments made (nor any extra charges).

    There was loads of fun throughout the meal - most of which we made Josee partake it - asking for ketchup (and then delivering it to another table), pony ride, singing Happy Birthday to another table. We also saw the jail being passed around and a few other tricks. It was boisterous and enjoyable.

    We didn't order dessert since we would be able to enjoy some of the club offerings and I knew the cake would be delivered as well.

    The bill came to just over $100 for the 3 meals, 1 appetizer and 3 sodas.

    We left full and it was a great restaurant to start off the trip with to get us into the mood for silly fun.
     
  13. lizzyb

    lizzyb DIS Veteran

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    Great reviews soo far!
     
  14. natalielongstaff

    natalielongstaff <font color=deeppink>I need a cup of tea and a big

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    ooh i do love that Skillet :)
     
  15. PrincessTrisha

    PrincessTrisha DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for joining in.

    I really enjoyed the skillet this time.
     
  16. PrincessTrisha

    PrincessTrisha DIS Veteran

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    So after dinner we did stop by the club lounge to check out the desserts. They had a good selection for both adults and kids.

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    There were little cakes and tarts, assorted cookies and uncrustables.

    Breakfast was good - bagels, fruit, pastries

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    They had little containers of plain cream cheese, little jars of jam and the little cups of peanut butter. It was kind of like breakfast at home except someone else did most of the work (slicing the bagels, cutting up the fruit, opening the packages). It provided us a good start to the day but I did miss what I call "vacation breakfast" - either a big hearty, hot breakfast or leftover dinner from the night before (mmmm, morning steak).

    The lounge was occassionally quite crowded but there always seemed to be plenty of food out.

    Desserts on a different night:

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    the little chocolate mousse cups with the cookie crumbs and the gummy worm were really good - it certainly wasn't "kiddie pudding" but real chocolate mousse - rich, thick and chocolate-y.

    The cupcakes were cute but pretty tasteless. The other cakes were good and just the right size - a bit or two so you could enjoy a number of treats.
     
  17. mickey916

    mickey916 Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for this report! We're going sans DDP for our next trip and I'm a little unsure if we'll regret that...but like you, I've got my reasons I don't think it works this time (I'm interested in hearing your ultimate conclusion however). Love the pictures of the skillet as well as the current pricing, very helpful as we're definitely doing WCC and planning on getting the skillet!
     
  18. PrincessTrisha

    PrincessTrisha DIS Veteran

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    For me it was a tough call and really - it ended up coming down to the tickets. My Dad and I still have 2 days left on our tickets and my mom's got 3 and I've still got 1 more 1 day ticket. For my December trip I get another 1 day ticket and I only plan on hitting the parks for 1 or 2 days (cause of the TSM party at night and then I'm probably going to do the Xmas party so those are all special ticket events).

    If I didn't need to buy tickets, the DDP would be a no brainer every trip (except where I was considering the DXDP).
     
  19. PrincessTrisha

    PrincessTrisha DIS Veteran

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    After breakfast at the lounge we headed to Epcot and got there just after rope drop (about 9:15am). We were able to get everything done in Future World pretty quickly and at 11am were on our way to the World Showcase to start sampling at the Food and Wine Festival.

    It was great to have a group of 4 adults because it meant we could sample more items.

    First up was the Perogie and Kielbosa - it was tasty and a decent portion. My step grandfather was Polish so this stuff isn't exotic to us but we don't have it very often anymore so it was a nice treat.

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    From the same booth was the Braised Pork Shank with Cabbage. It wasn't very good - there was lots of cabbage and some potato but also a lot of water and grease. The pork was little tiny bits. It was disappointing.

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    From Spain we tried all 3 food samples - the snapper, the creme Catalana and the taste of Spain. All 3 were worthy of tasting. The snapper was very tender, and the meats, cheese and olives from Spain were quality pieces. The creme was like a brulee without the crusty topping and had a pleasant taste. They were out of the Tomato bread that come with the "Tasting" and I just got it without it - they were telling people 5 minutes before there was more bread but 15 minutes later I heard them tell someone that they were still waiting on the Tomato bread.

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    From Australia we tried both the Seared Barramundi and[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif] Grilled Lamb Chop. The lamb was okay but the fish was out of this world good. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]It was a this point that we met this nice local Floridian couple sitting on a bench. This turned out to be very fortunate because we later had an issue with my mom in the bathroom trying to get her back into her wheelchair and these two wonderful people jumped in and helped us. They were truly our guardian angels that day.[/FONT]

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    My Dad is fussier than the rest of us so when I realized that Italy was coming up, I knew we needed a couple of samples from there so there was something he would really enjoy. We got an order of the meatballs and the canneloni. The little breadsticks in the meatballs were hard but everything else was good.

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    Next up was France - Escargot, chocolate creme brulee and the short ribs with mashed potatoes (which my Dad keeps referring to as the "meat pie"). All three were exceptional with the short ribs being my Dad's number 1 pick for the best of the festival.

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    To be continued.....
     
  20. Havana

    Havana DIS Veteran

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    Love your reviews so far! You made me decide to go to WC in December! We have been hearing such mixed reviews, it looks like you had a nice experience there. Your pictures are GREAT!
     
  21. PrincessTrisha

    PrincessTrisha DIS Veteran

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    Next up was New Zealand. We tried both the Seared Sea Scallop and the [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]lamb Slider. The sea scallop was good - nicely cooked, firm yet soft. I enjoyed the lamb slider but the rest of the group found it too spicy to enjoy.[/FONT]

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    My favourite booth of the whole festival was Ireland. Everything here was a real winner. The Fisherman's pie was loaded with seafood covered with creamy mashed and lots of cheese. The cheese plate was quite large for the price and had 3 outstanding cheeses with some dark rye bread and chutney. It was a great snack plate. And last but not least - the Bailey's Lava Cake - OMG! They really need to start serving this somewhere. It was the most outstanding Lava cake I've ever had - rich, chocolately, gooey and the sauce - if I died in a vat of it, I'd have died happy.

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    We were so stuffed from our munching around the world that we didn't eat dinner - just snacked at the lounge. While I love the F&W Festival, I'm kind of glad it's not like that all the time. We spent just over $100 just tasting stuff (we did get 4 drinks - two non alcoholic and two alcoholic) but I wouldn't want to do that all the time. I was surprised at the end of the day when all I had left in my pocket from $120 was a few ones.
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