Kid centric week of dining - 6/23 - 6/30

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Reviews' started by Big J, Jul 13, 2007.

  1. Big J

    Big J Mouseketeer

    May 24, 2005
    Please also note that these were our experience on this particular visit. I would not change your plans based solely on this, or any other specific review.

    I know that picture reviews are where it is at on the DIS, but we didn’t take any. I still wanted to write down our dinning experiences, especially for those traveling with younger children. Here are some reviews for a very kid centric week of dining at WDW.
    Our family consists of me, DW, DD4 (turned four in the middle of our trip) and DD13months. We stayed at 3 resorts over our 8 day, 7 night trip (June 23rd – June 30th) ; 1 night Polynesian, 4 nights at Saratoga Springs, 2 nights at Beach Club. We were on the dinning plan and had 7 TS meals, 6 of which were character meals and the 7th was at O’hana. These TS choices did not lend themselves to maximizing the meal plan by ordering higher priced entrees or an appetizer that we would not normally have ordered, but we still came out ahead by approximately $170 by using the DP. I believe that our trip was the best apples to apples cost comparison that you could have between the DP and out of pocket as we order pretty much the exact same items, DP or not.

    I should also add two things. One is that we consider ourselves WDW vets, as this was our 12th visit and I feel we have very realistic expectations of a WDW vacation. Two, our DD13m came down with a cold just as we arrived. She normally eats like a horse, much better than her older sister, but she was out of sorts (to put it nicely) for the first two days. This fact definitely affected our eating experience a few times.

    Day 1: Arrival Day – Captain Cook’s @ Poloneisan; CS
    We arrived at the Poly early evening and wanted a light dinner. Our DD13m was not in a great mood, so my DD4 and I decided to go grab something while my DW and DD13m got settled. Nothing spectacular, we shared the traditional flat bread, which is really a pepperoni pizza and the Polynesia chips. Both were very satisfying. This was my first trip to the Poly since Captain Cooks was refurbed. I loved the self-serve ordering process. I thought that this was so efficient, and made the wait for our food very relaxing. After eating, I switched places with my DW and she had the Grown Up grilled cheese. She commented to me that she enjoyed it, although I did not see the sandwich.

    Day 1 High – Self-serve ordering at Poly
    Low – My DD13m, but that was not WDW’s fault

    Day 2 : Late Breakfast – Chef Mickey’s @ CR, TS
    We had dinner at CM in the past, but never breakfast. We thought that this would be a fun start to the trip, and we one of the reasons we made the Poly our resort choice the first day. We had a later ADR, so when we arrived things were pretty slow. We were promptly seated and given our drinks right away. The service and food were both very good. I found the buffet to have a large variety and the whole family ate their fill. We had terrific character interaction. The place was pretty empty by the time we finished, so there was not much atmosphere, but we got a lot of time with each character. Both of my girls loved the characters so I would rate this meal a success. The strategy that we used in having one of the last seatings for breakfast worked out well, we really got to enjoy the morning at Poly (since it was our only night) and then have a meal that would last us till dinner.

    Dinner – Wolfgang Puck’s Express @ Downtown Disney; CS
    We checked in at SS after a fun filled afternoon at MK, and then headed over to DD for some dinner. It was around 7ish and the line was pretty good sized. The line moved relatively quickly except for the fact fountain drink station is placed in a horrible spot. For some reason, this is placed immediately after you order, creating a huge log jam of people. WPE had a large cooler of bottled beverage that would seem like a good area to place this. I ordered the Rosemary Chicken with mashed potatoes, my DW had the Pesto Chicken sandwich and DD4 and the pepperoni pizza. My 2 DDs and I shared the chicken and pizza. The pizza was very good, it was hot and cheesy, and my DW loved her sandwich. The chicken and potatoes were OK, but a little salt would have made a huge difference. I am not sure if Mr. Puck would be offended if one of his dishes needed additional seasoning, but I could not track down and salt. I am sure I could have found some, but my DD13m was ready to leave. For desert we had cookies and a brownie. We all shared the cookie and took the remaining desserts home. They were both very good. I found this meal OK, but DW loved here sandwich. DDs were indifferent.

    Snack – We stopped at Goofey’s Candy shop for some snacks at the end of the evening. We utilized the make your own treat station. I had 3 pretzels dipped in milk chocolate covered in caramel. My DW made the Rice Krispi treat and she basically covered it in everything that they had. Not only were these a lot of fun to order and watch be made, but the also tasted great and lasted us much of the trip (eating a little at a time). My DD4 had to have a hand painted Nemo cookie. We tried to talk her out of it as, although very cute, did not look very tasty, but she had to have it. We relented and bought it for her. Lets just say that it was a pretty cookie and leave it at that. This was also my DD4 opinion. All three of these items were snacks on the DP.

    Day 2 High – Characters at CM, DW Pesto Sandwich ant WPE, Goofey creations.
    Low – Unnecessary people jam at WPE drink station, no ready available salt.

    Day 3 Lunch – Leaning Palms @ Typhoon Lagoon.; CS
    We went to EMH TL this day. Let me say that the EMH at the water parks are the best. It is so cool to be one of 5 people in the giant wave pool. By lunch my DD13m and DW were long gone. For lunch. my DD4 had the hotdog in the sandpail with fries while I had the chicken wrap. My DD4 seemed happy with her choice. It was fun for her to get the pail and shovel as she does enjoy digging in the sand and did utilized it. My wrap was pretty blah. It was fine and could be a good alternative to anyone getting tired of too many fried foods. My DD4 was given a cookie with her meal and we were informed she could have ice cream for a desert. I thought the cookie counted as the dessert, by the CM insisted so I didn’t argue. You may be aware that they allow you to not take your ice cream immediately, and come back later to retrieve it. This was nice, however it was a little confusing when we went to pick up the ice cream later. When we went back it was very busy. I waited in line and told the cashier that I was picking up our ice cream. He said to just go up to the counter and show them my receipt. The problem was the there were some people who had ordered and were waiting for their food in front of us. The cashier again said to just go up to the front and get the ice cream. We waited kind of at the side and when a CM came to the counter I gave the receipt. I know that it did not cost anyone in line one second in getting their food, but if people did not know what we were doing they probably though I was some jerk cutting in line.

    Dinner – Columbia Harbor House @ MK; CS
    We knew going in that the menu for our DD4 was not great, and we were right. She did not enjoy the cold chicken but she got her fill on fries ( can you imagine being at home and thinking the your four year old’s dinner of just fries is no big deal ? only on vacation). I had been planning on getting the fish and chips at Yorkshire in EPCOT, but my craving made me order the fish basket here. This was very good and satisfied my fried fish craving. My DW had the soup and sandwich combo. She had a bowl of vegi chili and half of the Lighthouse sandwich, which is humus and tomatoes. She loved this meal. This is another example that you do not have to eat chicken strips and fries with every meal. The Columbia Harbor House is very nice. There was ample seating, it had AC, and it did not have a cafeteria feel.

    High – DW meal at Columbia Harbor House, getting my fish fix
    Low - Feeling like the person who, when there is a long line of people waiting to check in at a resort or restaurant , cuts to the front and ambushes a CM so they can ask a quick question ( which usually takes 15 mintues ), when getting our ice cream at TL.

    Day 4 Lunch – Crystal Palace @ MK; TS
    This was DD4 birthday so we had two of her favorites planned for this day ( no, our DD is not too spoiled in that she as already be to WDW enough times to have favorite things by age 4 ). Crystal Palace houses Pooh and friends. The one complaint that I always have is the check in here. Every time we have gone there is a huge, disorganized line. And every time someone tries to cut to the front of the line because they have reservations, even though everyone who is in line also has reservations. Once we checked in we were seated right away. CP is very pretty with really neat topiaries of the Pooh gang right as you enter. We had a nice table right next to the windows so we could see what was going on outside. My DD4 got the standard birthday cup cake and confetti. Eeyore came over with the cake and the whole restaurant sand happy birthday. Again, the characters were great. We got multiple visits with lots of hugs and playing. The food selection was terrific. I enjoyed the flank steak a great deal, while the girls really enjoyed the desert selection. We had a great meal, with good service, food and character interaction. At the end of the meal my DD4 got a signed card from the Pooh characters.

    Dinner – 1900 Park Fare @ Grand Floridian; TS
    My biggest complaint about our trip, and probably my biggest complaint about any of our numerous trips centered around this meal, although not 1900 Park Fare’s fault. My DW had been reviewing the cake thread here on the DIS and thought it would be great (mainly for the pictures) to get a special birthday cake for DD and have it brought to our dinner. Starting 2 weeks prior to our trip both my DW and I started making phone calls for arrangements. We first called the restaurant, that told us for special order cakes we need to contact the bakery at GF, no problem. We then called the bakery and was told that a specific person does these special request and was given here name and number. We called and got an answering machine. We left our name, number and what we were calling about ( we wanted one of those chocolate castles ). We assumed we would hear right back. After a few days we called again and left another message. Again, no return call. Are thought was maybe we were confused or were told the wrong info by a CM, so we called the GF bakery again. We were assured that the steps we had taken were correct, that this specific person handles these matters, and does this all of the time. During this call we were told that this person was there and had just stepped away for a minute. We were transferred to her voice mail, told to leave a message and she would call back within the hour. Again, no return call. So we leave for the trip thinking there are still four days and that she would get back with us. The night before the big birthday dinner, still no contact so we give the GF Bakery anther call. We are told by a CM ( who I am sure had nothing to do with this ) that they could not imagine how this could have happened. We are thinking that they will at least now help us out, but instead we are told that it is too late to special order anything. She suggested that we buy one of the generic 6” cakes, by some toys from the gift shop, and stick them on there when our DD4 is not looking. She was generally trying to be helpful, but the suggestion did not sit well with us. We said forget it and decided that this was not to be. I’m sure that we could have pursed it further, but we did not feel that this was a valuable use of our time. It was a bigger disappointment about the way things were handled as opposed to not getting the thing that we wanted, the only time we had ever experienced anything like this at WDW.
    …So, when we check in at 1900, we informed the CM that is was our DD4 birthday and asked about a cake. We though that they would just bring out a generic cake, but it had her name on it and was very pretty. It was no where near what my DW had wanted ( mainly for the picture ) but my DD4 didn’t know the difference and was happy ( and to be honest so was I as this cake saved my $30 ).
    To the meal. This is my favorite buffet at WDW. There is a station that prepares pasta dished along with some good carved meats. I also love the Key lime tarts that they have there. My DW favorite is the strawberry soup. They had the standard kids fare, and large dessert section. We had terrific character interaction. Cinderella came out with the cake and made my daughter feel like a true princess. We also saw prince charming and Perla. We also received a birthday card from Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland ( who is there for breakfast). The Fairygod mother was in the lobby and spent a lot of time with the girls. We also enjoy the little courtyard out side of the restaurant entranced that has the Mary Poppins topiary. The girls blow of some steam while I get to sit in a nice setting to digest. This was a terrific meal and a great spot for our DD4 birthday dinner. We were disappointed with the cake situation (which was handled well be Park Fare, not so great by the GF Bakery), but soon forgot all about it after a wonderful dinner; at least I did.

    Highs – Two great meals which great character interaction. Strawberry Soup and Key Lime tart at 1900 PF
    Lows – Cake fiasco, check in at Crystal Palace

    Day 5 Lunch - Lottawatta Lodge @ Blizzard Beach; CS
    Again, by DW and DD13m did not make it to lunch. My DD had the pizza and I had the Fish and Chips. Standard CS food, I enjoyed the fish. We both had ice cream cooking sandwiches for dessert, which were top notch.

    Dinner – O’hana @ Polynesian; TS
    This is a standard for our family. We have been here many times, and it was nice to have one noncharacter meal. Even though there were no characters, my girls had a great time with all of the activities. This type of get up and dance is right up my DD4’s alley. I should also add that my DW had just returned from her Moms only afternoon, where she enjoyed a trip to the GF spa for a massage, plus relaxed at GF and the Poly. So she had a big grin on her face when we met her for dinner.
    As I stated, we have been to O’hana many times in the past. This was without a doubt the best visit we have ever had. If you are unaware, O’hana serves their food family style, bringing out large dishes of the appetizers and the main course meats (4 types ) on big skewers. Although every other meal that we have had was very good, there it always seemed that one or two items were not top notch. This was not the case this trip. Everything was fantastic, maybe too good. I ate so much that I did not feel great for the rest of the evening, so I volunteered to take DD13m home a little early so DW and DD4 could stay and enjoy the MK. Both my DW and I love the peanut sauce they give you and went through multiple bowls of it. I have heard the complaint that people often feel too rushed here, and I can understand that. I does seem that they just keep brining you food, but we kindly said we weren’t ready and the servers caught us on the next pass.

    Highs – The food at O’hana was great
    Lows – I ate way too much

    Day 6 Lunch – McDonals @ Downtown Disney
    What can I say about this. I will note that I did not find the prices that out of line as compared with our McDonalds at home.

    Dinner – Akershus @ EPCOT; TS
    This is the princess dinner at EPCOT. We saw Belle, this was as we entered and had the special picture ($30) taken, plus Cinderella, Alice, and Snow White. They were all great and chatted my girls up before moving on. Both of my girls were wearing their dresses ( DD4 as Belle, DD13m in older sisters Cinderalla hand me down; both from home not BBB ), and they were so cute. Before dinner my youngest was walking through the courtyard and was probably the cutest thing that I had ever seen.
    The restaurant is very lovely. The food consists of a cold bar, which had meats, cheeses, salads, and fish along with a dinner entrée of your choice. Some people are worried if they will find things that they like to eat here, but the food is really not that exotic, it just has funny names. They also have traditional fare for the kids. My DW and I both enjoyed the cold bar; there were some good fish items that I really liked. I had the traditional Kjottkaker, which I would say is similar to meatloaf or Salisbury steak. This was very good. My DW had the Pasta Akershus which she liked. I though it was a little too pestoy. DD4 had pizza, no complaints. We did have to wait a very long time for our entrees, which was a little bit of an issue as we view our DD13m as a time bomb, but she was fine. Dessert is a sampler tray that had a chocolate cake, a cheese cake and a rice pudding type desert, all very good. We had great interaction with the princesses, terrific food, and some very cute pictures. We ended the meal by walking out and seeing the fireworks. Good times

    High – Whole Akershus was great, especially the cute photo opps. I really like my Kjottkaker.
    Lows - None

    Day 7 Lunch – Hollywood and Vine @ MGM; TS
    This was our first trip to H & V. The characters there were from playhouse Disney which was in our family’s wheel house. We had the first lunch seating and were seated right on time. Again, great character interaction here. As a matter of fact, a couple of the characters stayed so long at our table that we ran out of things to say to them. Still my girls loved it. The funnest part was that periodically some of the CMs along with the characters would call the kids up to sing and dance along with some of the playhouse Disney songs. Again, my DD4 loves this kind of thing. I did feel a bit like sheep, that on command we all sang Playhouse Disney theme songs ( which to me are only a step away from commercial jingles ), but it was fun. The food was not that great. I did not find the selection to be very good, and what the had was rather blah. It was fine, and I found enough to eat, but definitely nothing special. My DW thought it was OK, and they did have warm cobbler that you could put ice cream on for dessert. Food was disappointing but this was our best character interaction/fun.

    Dinner – Beach Club Market Place @ Beach Club; CS
    This was a huge debacle. We had stayed at the Beach Club in the past and knew that they don’t have a real CS restaurant. The Market Place just has food counter with sandwiches and such in one of their stores. This is better than nothing, but it does seem odd to me that there is no better option in BC. I know that they have Hurricane Hanhas and this must be their substitute, but I wish they had a better set up.
    Anyway, we were going to AK for the evening and I had my heart set on Flametree for dinner. I enjoy the very manly food along with the nice spot to eat by the river. We got a late start that evening, and tried to have as much fun as possible in a short amount of time. It was getting close, but not too close, to closing so we thought it was time to eat and head over to the Dig Site before we left. Of course, as we approached Flametree I noticed that it was closed. I was disappointed. We decided to go to the Dig Site and figure out dinner later.
    We ended up stopping at the huge McDonalds to get the girls something as it was getting pretty late. When we returned to BC, we stopped by the Marketplace and got sandwiches. I know that these sandwiches are made fresh, and it saves a lot of time, but I am not a big fan of having all of the sandwiches preprepared and prewrapped. I got the Turkey and my wife got the Ham, along with some chips and a chocolate dipped ricce krispie treat. We took our food down to the beach to watch a movie on a big screen. We ended up having a wonderful time, and it was fun to have a picnic while watching cars on the outdoor screen, but it would have been better if I was eating some ribs. Girls love the chips by the way, sandwiches we OK

    Highs – Picnic on the beach, character fun at H & V
    Lows - No Flametree for me

    Day 8 – Last Day – Breakfeat – Cape May @ Beach Club; TS
    We went to this meal 2 years ago on our getaway day and we loved it so we decided to return. I found the food to be just OK. I seemed to remember a much larger variety the last time. Much like H & V, the food was fine, but nothing special. The breakfast at CM was far superior. They do have a neat section where you can make your own yogurt parfait and my girls love the Mickey Waffles. We waited a long time for the characters at this meal, but once they came they were very fun and gave us a lot of attention. Our baby was really into all of the characters, and seemed to especially like Goofy, so this made the wait worth it. Although the food was just so so, this was a nice relaxing meal to end our trip.

    Ice Cream – Beaches & Cream @ Beach Club
    We had some time to kill, so we visited MGM for a while and then headed back to BC to leave. I was hoping that we would have enough time to stop at Beaches and Cream but we were running too late. There was a 30 minute wait, which we couldn’t do, so we got some take out ice cream. I thought I remembered that the take out menu was limited, and unfortunately I was right. I had my heart set on a Milky Way Sundae, but it wasn’t to be. Much like Flametree, time got in the way of my desires. We got some shakes which were very good, and headed home.

    High – Mickey Waffles for the girls
    Low – Missing out on Sundae, having to leave.

    To recap, we had a great time at all of the restaurants, with no complaints about service. The food was generally terrific, with a few exceptions, and even then nothing was bad. Our character interactions were the best. We did not have one instance where we felt like the character had to rush off, even though we expect that this will happen every now and then.
    Also, I noticed no decline in service while being on the dinning plan. It was very convenient and straight forward at all of the restaurants. Any questions that came up were answered by the CM. The DP also saved on a couple of bucks.
  2. kirbsam

    kirbsam <marquee><font color=green>Everyone at the nude be

    Nov 23, 2004
    great reviews, thanks for sharing.
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  4. wideeyes

    wideeyes <font color=purple>Won't use fake tan, wants to st

    Dec 22, 2005
    Great reviews, nice to see another positive ohana review.:)
  5. Schucraig

    Schucraig Disney World is my World!

    Jan 30, 2004
    Thanks for the great reviews!:thumbsup2
  6. Busymom85

    Busymom85 Mouseketeer

    Mar 25, 2007
    Thanks for the great reviews.
  7. FunFamily

    FunFamily Mouseketeer

    Jun 23, 2001
    Wonderful reviews Thank you.
  8. Minniespal

    Minniespal <img src="

    Jan 14, 2003
    Great reviews ~ Thanx for sharing.
  9. KristenHoneymooner

    KristenHoneymooner Mouseketeer

    Dec 9, 2006
    Great reviews! I'm so happy to read another good review of 'Ohana!

    And I loved the disclaimer you inserted before your review. Are you by any chance an attorney? ;)
  10. Maleficent13

    Maleficent13 <font color=blue>Heh Heh, you're all gonna die<br>

    Oct 28, 2003
    What a fabulous review! I really enjoyed it. I haven't been to 'Ohana's in almost 10 years; next trip it's a must do.
  11. natalielongstaff

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

    Apr 7, 2004
    thanks for your very detailed reviews :thumbsup2
  12. Mdlex

    Mdlex Mouseketeer

    Apr 10, 2006
    Thank you for your review. I just wanted to know how did you feel about changing resorts during your trip? Since I was thinking about a split stay for our upcoming trip, but I don't know if it is worth the trouble.
  13. Big J

    Big J Mouseketeer

    May 24, 2005
    Thanks for taking the time to read my reviews. Three resorts in 8 days was defiantly too many for me. We have stayed at two resorts over a 9 day period in the past, and found that enjoyable. The original plan was to try SSR for the first time, and then switch to BC to use their pool and have the great access to EPCOT and MGM. We decided to add a day to the beginning of our trip, and chose the Poly. Part of the problem was that we did not find SSR to be that great. We thought the pool was terrific, we liked to short walk to DTD and the rooms were nice, but the resort was missing the indefinable feel that all of the other resorts have. Anyway, I personally would only switch again if it were in the middle of an extended stay.
  14. disneynewbeemom

    disneynewbeemom DIS Veteran

    Jul 17, 2006
    From reading your trip report, is it true that at both waterparks the children are also allowed to get ice cream for dessert?
  15. Big J

    Big J Mouseketeer

    May 24, 2005
    At TL, we ordered the specific kids meal that comes in the pail. This meal has a specific desert with it, we chose a cookie. Like I said in my review, the CM told us we could also get an ice cream. I am not sure if this is right, and I did quetion it, but that is what we experienced. At BB, I ordered pizza for my DD and we got ice cream with that as well.
  16. mamasha

    mamasha Mouseketeer

    Mar 14, 2006
    Great review!!!
    At Ohana, did they offer your little girl the other menu? Is so how was it?
  17. SherPSU

    SherPSU Earning My Ears

    Jul 31, 2006
    Thanks for this very detailed, entertaining and informing review. How did you like the campfire at the Beach Club? I understand this is new. Do they have any characters, like at Ft Wilderness campfire? I am trying to schedule Hoop De Doo and then campfire in late August, but if there is one at BC, that may work out better. Thanks!
  18. Big J

    Big J Mouseketeer

    May 24, 2005
    We knew going in that we could get an alternate menu for the kids, so we just asked when we sat down. Our server rattled off the standard kids food. We ordered the chicken strips which I thought were very good ( much better than any of the CS places ), although I am not sure if my DD4 ate any of them.

    No campfire at BC, just a movie on the beach. No characters. This is a pretty low key event, nothing that I would really plan for, but it was fun.

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