It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times


#1

Here we are back from our trip! It was, to say the least, one of the oddest vacations we’ve had at WDW. After 30+ trips I thought I could pretty well gauge how the World would function - but not this time. At times I felt like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. Because all the photos are on my dd’s camera and it’ll be a few days before I can download them, I thought I would start with restaurant reviews. I’ve like the way some MBr’s have given in depth reviews recently.

To set the stage this trip included

DH (Neil) (I prefer to use real names)
Me (Janice)
DD2 (Emily)
DD2BF (Roy)

To start: Neil is not a fan of the Dining Plan - neither am I - but Emily was very keen to have it because this was Roy’s first visit and she wanted him to experience many different restaurants. So - since it was all or nothing - we got the standard DDP. Neil and I have agreed, after this trip, that the plan is not for us. With the standard you miss out on appetizers, unless you want to purchase them separately. We often make a meal of appetizers, sharing one entree and one dessert. We couldn’t do that this time. We also enjoy a few really terrific meals instead of a whole bunch of so-so ones. Neil is not a fan of the food at WDW. After this trip I’m inclined to agree with him. Honestly, our counter-service meals in many instances were more enjoyable than the table service.

Before starting I’m totally convinced that WDW got a really good deal on Red Bliss potatoes and pomegranates. Everywhere we turned - pomegranate lemonade and Red Bliss potatoes - mashed, smashed, roasted and toasted (ok maybe not toasted) - but enough with the Red Bliss already!

Oct. 23 - The Turf Club

We arrived at SSR at about 4:00 p.m. after travelling most of the day. Neil was not to join us until the 25th - so it was just myself, Emily & Roy. We had to be at the airport at 4 a.m. so we were exhausted by this time. Emily had the foresight to book a 5 p.m. reservation at the Turf Club. Honestly, all we wanted was to eat and sleep by this point. We dropped our bags, freshened up a bit and headed to the Turf Club. It was a beautiful evening, so we opted for the patio. Sitting watching the ferries go by was a lovely way to start our vacation. Shirley was our server - she was great - chatty and friendly - Roy got his first taste of Disney “magic”. He couldn’t get over how nice and accomodating she was.

For our meals, Emily and I chose the Prime Rib and Roy the New York Strip.

The prime rib came with - you guessed it - red bliss mashed potatoes and broccolini. My meat was a perfect medium-rare, well-seasoned, tender. I enjoyed every bite. And the broccolini was bright green and crisp. Delicious. I happen to be a sucker for mashed potatoes and I don’t have them often, so these red bliss were appreciated. I was too tired to have wine that evening - I would have fallen asleep at the table - so I ordered - you guess it - pomegranate lemonade. It was very refreshing. I guess raspberries are now passe. Pomegranate is THE fruit of the day! Emily and Roy both enjoyed their meals - although I shudder at my child ordering her meat well-done.

We were too full for dessert (this was a reoccuring theme) so we all had the cheesecake “to go”. This cheesecake was my “rave” dessert of the week. I am not a fan of fancy-schmancy made-up cheesecake concoctions. I like classic cheesecake - no swirlies, no exotic toppings - just a good, honest cheesecake. And this was it. I really can’t describe it. The outside was a good, firm cream cheese cake but the inside was like a cream cheese cloud - I’ve never tasted such a creamy, light cake. It was perfect. It was accompanied by a few blackberries and raspberries (apparently they still do exist). I was surprised that they didn’t sneak a few pomegranate seeds in there; but it was quite simply - heavenly. We all agreed.

Next morning we were up early for AK magic hour - because we had to use up the previous day’s counterservice we opted for breakfast at Pizzafari. I love this restaurant. There is so much to look at. We all ordered the Adult Breakfast Plate and it was quite tasty. Scrambled eggs, sausage, biscuit and french toast fingers. It was hot and fresh. We had no complaints except that there was no jam! (Preserves to my 'Merican friends). Nor was there jelly - although I rarely have jelly. Because jelly to me is “jell-o”. And we’re just not that big on jelly up here - but I digress. I needed jam for my biscuit. It was quite dry without it. The french toast fingers were tasty - a bit of cinnamon - and I gobbled them up. It was great having Roy along - he finished up all my meals for me. It wasn’t particularly outstanding, but good, honest food. The sausage was a bit spicy (I’ve noticed that about American sausage) which I like very much. We washed it all down with oj.


#2

Ohhh, this thread is going to make me hungry! I can’t wait to read more, great start.


#3

On your comments about crowds… there is a thread on another site where there is a great discussion about why it has been so crowded, and unpredictably so. No real theories, but they noticed it too.

Thanks for the reviews… I need to catch up on the dining, since I now have a countdown!

Thanks for doing this!


#4

Only 2 days to go for you!:happy:


#5

[QUOTE=hanwill;1094058]On your comments about crowds… there is a thread on another site where there is a great discussion about why it has been so crowded, and unpredictably so. No real theories, but they noticed it too.

Thanks for the reviews… I need to catch up on the dining, since I now have a countdown!

Thanks for doing this![/QUOTE]

It was, honestly, the most bizarre trip we’ve ever had. Absolutely no predicting what a day would bring.


#6

We noticed the crowds getting larger as the morning wore on. I thought it was because it was the Early Magic crowd, plus people coming in at 9. By 12:30 it was getting worse, so we decided to eat lunch and head out of the park. Emily’s choice (what a good mother I am - I let her make all the choices for the first few days.:closedeye) was Flame Tree BBQ. She had been dreaming of those ribs for a long time. Personally, I was still full from breakfast. That’s what I don’t like about the DDP. You feel pressured to eat when you’re not hungry, just so that your meals won’t go to waste. Emily and Roy ordered the ribs which came with beans and coleslaw. I couldn’t face ribs so I got the pullled pork sandwich with coleslaw. It was really good - I was surprised. I did have to put quite a lot of bbq sauce on it - but I can understand that they have to make it sort of bland to please everyone. But the bun was soft and warm and the pork - with the bbq sauce addition - was delicious. I enjoyed the crunch of the coleslaw too. Emily suffers from that common ailment of her eyes being bigger than her stomach - so she barely ate two ribs before giving up. As we were leaving the park, we wrapped them up well and took them along. Roy enjoyed a lot of midnight snacks on this trip!

Talking about snacks, we had decided to use all our snacks at the Food & Wine Festival. Good idea, right? Little did we know…


#7

Loving it Janice! More please


#8

Thus the reason I need a TR, to keep it from dragging by.


#9

Loving your trip report!


#10

What a great start to this TR!! I can’t wait to hear more.

You talk about the pressure to eat on the DDP. You can use credits on other days, right? For example, you can several TS credits on one day?


#11

Enjoying every tasty word! More please;)


#12

Our dinner that evening was at San Angel Inn. I have never been overwhelmed by it, but it was another choice of Emily’s. We had a nice table right next to the water - you can’t beat the atmosphere but it was so dark you could hardly read the menus. Em and I felt we should start with a Margarita - so we both ordered the passion fruit one. They were yummy. Roy had a Dos Equis beer. I honestly can’t tell you exactly what we had, because the menu on AllEars must be out of date. Roy ordered a shrimp dish. Emily had the “Chef’s Suggestion” 3 course meal and I had a tenderloin. Only after I ordered it did I realise that I ordered beef again - didn’t matter. This “tenderloin” in no way resembled a good steak. It was like a tasteless piece of flank steak, so tough I could hardly eat it. It came with beans, “mexican rice” which tasted like one of those Uncle Ben’s envelope rice dishes, a bit of guacamole. It was awful. I picked around at it, but left most, as did Emily with her 3 course dinner. We never really did figure out what it was - sort of a taco/enchilada thing with the same terrible rice and beans. Roy’s shrimp was ‘ok’. Being very hungry we look forward to dessert. Roy & Emily ordered the flan. Not good. I ordered something that started with a “Isla…something or other”… It sounded like Floating Island. My grandmother used to make the most wonderful Floating Island with a creamy custard and little clouds of meringue. This sounded similar so I thought I’d give it a try. Mistake. It was a huge lump of meringue, sort of limey, over a watery sauce. No flavour. No nothing. We were all very disappointed. Then, to our surprise, our waiter, who was pleasant, brought us three bottles of water - “how nice” we thought - until we went over the bill (it was so dark in there it was hard to make anything out) and saw that we had been charged $5.00 for water we didn’t order! Evidently the same thing happened to some people at the next table. We overheard their conversation. I will never go back to this restaurant. It was simply terrible. We aren’t food snobs or picky people. We enjoy trying new things - but if this was an example of “real” Mexican food, all I can say is that I’m sorry for the Mexican people. Thank goodness for the Margaritas!

Simply by default - we couldn’t take the crowds any longer - the next day’s lunch was at the counterservice in the China pavillion. Roy had a beef and noodle bowl that was truly horrible. Absolutely tasteless no matter how much soy sauce he added. I had the orange chicken - it was a huge amount, so I gave Roy half. It wasn’t terrible, just not the kind of stuff I’m used to eating at lunch. Emily had the child’s plate of sweet 'n sour chicken. Also just “ok”. One thing that was good was the carmel-ginger ice cream. Both Roy and I loved it. Emily who hates ginger didn’t.

Our dinner that night was to be at Teppan Edo but we could not face going back into Epcot. The crowds were so huge we literally came to a standstill at least half a dozen times. As we could walk down to the Marketplace, I looked over our options. There were only three on the meal plan: Raglan Road - full. Wolfgang Puck Cafe - full. Capt’n Jack’s - reservation for 8 p.m. I have never considered Capt’n Jack’s. All the reviews I had read were terrible, but we were hungry and there seemed to be no choice. So I took the reservation. We weren’t expecting much. The restaurant was uninspiring and the smell of fish was strong, but our server was a very nice woman. I felt bad for her; she was just rushed off her feet. Not feeling very optimistic we looked over the menus. Emily and I ordered the salmon served with - you guessed it - red bliss mashed potatoes and beans. Roy tried the linguine with crab. And do you know what? It wasn’t bad at all. Our salmon was fresh and perfectly cooked. Very moist and tasty. The mashed potatoes were mashed potatoes and the green beans were at least a vegetable. There was a butter sauce flavoured with dill over the salmon and it was simple, but good. Both Emily and I liked it. Roy’s only complaint was that his linguine portion wasn’t very big - but he finished off Emily’s salmon and my potatoes, so he was satisfied. For dessert we ordered the fruit salad to go. It was just the regular - mostly melon - fruit salad - but it meant we’d have some fruit for breakfast. Would I go back to Capt’n Jacks? Probably not. It’s about as inspiring as a neighbourhood Appleby’s, but it certainly was better than the Mexican fiasco.


#13

Waiting to hear about the Food & Wine stuff. :happy:


#14

Yum! This TR is making me hungry! More please! :slight_smile:


#15

Mmmmm, I love a food report!!! Baloo and I found San Angel to be equally uninspiring. We have no desire to go back. I just realized I’ve never eaten at Flame Tree BBQ, I’ll definitely be trying that next time! Great report - more please! :slight_smile:


#16

Although AK is old hat to you… it’s really pleasant to walk to the back of the seating… and keep walking… and keep walking… until you end up right by the river at the end. :happy: (Yes, the ducks will harass you for food. :laugh: But you knew that!)


#17

The harassing ducks are the reason I keep walking to the river at the end:heart:


#18

I’ve realized that I have to shorten this up or I’ll never get through: So here is a quick synoposis of our dining experiences.

Narcoosee’s - the best table-service meal we had. I was surprised that it wasn’t as upscale as I thought it would be - but the setting is beautiful, the staff and servers friendly. We both had the surf & turf. Our filets were a perfect medium-rare. The lobster fresh and juicy. I had a glass of pinot noir - wish I could remember the name - and it was a pleasant wine. I had the brulee duo - coconut and lime - for dessert. Two of my favourite flavours. The portions were just right - not a huge amount - just enough to satisfy. I don’t remember what Neil had - I think it was a chocolate cake. We’ll definitely be back to Narcoosee’s

Via Napoli - what a disappointment! The noise level was unbearable! AND we had a wonky table, almost in the middle of the restaurant, so people were rushing back and forth constantly. Very unrelaxing. And Neil had to hold his foot on the table leg to keep it steady. Our server was polite, but not friendly or attentive. Neil’s pizza was just weird. He had the spicy sausage, but there was barely any sausage at all - just some sprinkled in the middle. Fortunately I had spaghetti and meatballs - as the meatballs were veal and I don’t eat veal - Neil added those to his pizza. The pasta was so salty I could hardly eat it and the sauce…well Ragu makes a better sauce. I had the tiramisu which wasn’t horrible, just really ordinary - Neil had some sort of ice cream sundae. I had a glass of the house white wine. We had such a good time at this restaurant the first time we were there - the pizza was fresh and delicious - the server so nice. We just ate up and got out.

Chefs de France - this was definitely the WORST of Times. Once again the noise was terrible. Our server was a very nice girl and she gave us very good service. I ordered the prixe fixe meal of onion soup, salmon and creme brulee. Neil had the duck. The soup arrived looking delicious. I dipped my spoon in, took my first mouthful and…there was something in that soup that shouldn’t be there. I pulled out a piece of plastic! (like a plastic bag - in fact, you could see it was the corner that had been snipped off a bag- probably containing the broth). It didn’t really upset me, but I did let our server know. She was very apologetic and took it immediately away. A few minutes later the maitre 'd came to our table - what an arrogant man - and proceeds to try to tell me that "ze chef says theese ees a piece of ze onion skin - not plastique (and I could see him thinking - “you stupide Americaine - simply because he didn’t know I was a stupide Canadienne”:dry:) Well - I was angry and insulted both at the same time for BOTH countries - I’ve peeled and cooked enough onions in my life to know the difference between an onion skin and a piece of plastic. “No” I said politely “this is plastic”. “non, madame it ees ze skin” “no, it’s not - it’s plastic!” Honestly, it was so unbelievable. Finally he just whisked it away without another word. I do not like confrontation. It really upset me. To make matters worse, my salmon was absolutely dried out and tasteless served with a over-cooked mess of spinach with a grape tomato stuck on top for “garnish”. And - I kid you not - one-half of a plain, peeled boiled potato. Neil’s duck, which was to come with orange sauce had none. Perhaps they were punishing the “stupide people” who dared to complain about plastic in the soup. The creme brulee was good - but who could enjoy it? We had one more visit from Mr. Snippy where he rudely informed us that the cost of my glass of wine had been taken off the bill for “your inconvenience”. No apology. Just dropped the bill and left. We will never go back. On the upside before all the plastic drama we did have a visit from Remy. Only Disney can make a rat in a restaurant look adorable.


#19

I have truly enjoyed your reviews! I may do something similar upon my return but I’m goign to “TRY” to take pics this time of the food. TRY being the opeartive word here.


#20

I cannot believe that he came out and tried to deny that there was plastic in your soup. Even if he truly thought this was the case, the LEAST he should have done was apologize! I’m afraid I’d have had to complain to a higher authority AND write a letter upon returning home. BLAH! So sorry you had a terrible experience, except for seeing Remy of course:)