That definitely sounds like a fluke experience…an exception and not the general rule when it comes to eating at the Coral Reef.
On our last trip, 1/24/09 - 1/31/09, we ended up eating at the Coral Reef twice in that week because we had such a great experience there. We too had made ADRs and arrived in sufficient time for them. We ended up being seated within 5-10 minutes each time, and had a great time there. My wife is allergic to seafood so she had a steak and it was the best she’s ever eaten. I tried the chicken and it took was extremely flavorful and probably one of the best meals I’d ever had (I also had the Jack Daniels mousse for desert) in WDW. Another member of the party had the Mahi-Mahi and was raving about it. Our table was basically in the middle of the floor and everyone in the restaurant was treated to some funny antics by divers that were in the aquarium tank and we had some great views of the rays, fish, and sharks. We had such a great time at this restaurant that we cancelled another ADR a few days later and booked another lunch at the Coral Reef, where we all proceeded to order just what we had the first time and it was every bit as good. The service was great, the food was great…the Coral Reef is now on our list of “must eat at” for future trips.
Sorry you had a bad time, but from what I’ve experienced, the place is definitely worth another look.
To everyone else reading the initial posting, I would strongly advise you NOT to take the Coral Reef off your list of places to try. The one individual’s bad experience is definitely not how the place is in general. Great food, great views, and great service was the norm for us. We’d never eaten there before this last trip, but we’ll definitely be back on our future trips.