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-   -   A Disney Family's Dining Review - we magically even got some pictures! (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2675336)

MommytoaSweetie 03-09-2011 11:31 PM

A Disney Family's Dining Review - we magically even got some pictures!
 
I’ve found these boards so helpful, and I thought it would be so nice to “return the favor” with a review of our recent trip. I’ve noticed that many dining reviews don’t include families of young children… I’m not saying there aren’t any out there, but they’re harder to find. Well, hello, that totally makes sense to me – just eating with young children is work. :) I know it... we have a now 2 and 4 year old! But, it’s also very helpful (to me) to have an idea ahead of time of what we’d like to get, where to find favorites and healthy options, etc… so I decided to try my best at a dining review. There aren’t pictures for everything – it is darn HARD to remember to take a photo of food with so much else going on, but I was able to some… I found that keeping my iphone in my pocket was the easiest way for me to snap food photos. So I did my best.

To start, I’ll provide a little history on our food preferences… since food reviews are so personalized by each person’s own likes and dislikes, reviews can vary so drastically! So here’s us…

Me, the Mommy… I’m almost 30 and stay at home with my kids. I currently try to feed our family as healthy as possible – with moderation. We still have sweets and such, but we try to balance things out and include lots of veggie and fruit options. Honestly, until we had children, our diets were NOT very healthy – we got married young, were pretty broke, and my husband is pretty picky so he was happy eating hamburger helper any night. :) Produce is more expensive, so we didn’t spend too much money on it... DH only ate TWO vegetables when we got married, so cooking for myself was just boring and I tried to add in good stuff, but I just didn’t. We went to WDW twice before kids and were happy to eat junk most of the time – burgers or sandwiches and fries, just going for the cheapest options. Needless to say, we changed those bad habits and are MUCH different eaters than we were 5 years ago. :woohoo: But oh, sweets… well I just have a huge sweet tooth. Huge. LOVE THEM. Especially chocolate. I also LOVE seafood, but the rest of the family isn’t usually into it so I don’t cook it often – so I get a lot of fish at Disney.

DH, the Daddy… he’s 30 now and a little more conscientious about what he eats. He now eats a lot more vegetables, and most fruits… woah!! He doesn’t necessarily LIKE them all, but he’ll down them with water. :thumbsup2 He actually chooses salads now sometimes, and doesn’t always get fries as a side. It’s a huge improvement, although I hope that in another 5 years we’ll be even better. He’s my vanilla man – he loves fruity desserts, which I never choose, and thinks vanilla ice cream is delicious by itself. Crazy. ;)

DD1, the just-turned 4-year-old… she’s a pretty good eater and not too picky. Won’t touch lettuce (although she loves cilantro) or ground beef, but is willing to try most other things – especially if trying something new might mean she’ll get a dessert or treat. ;) Her favorite foods are peanut butter and jelly, strawberries, and desserts.

DD2, the just-turned 2-year-old (she turned 2 right after our trip)… she’s a little more picky about her veggies, although she LOVES fruit. She doesn’t have anything major that she WON’T eat (and loves to share salads with me). She’ll try some new things but is more willing to just be done with her meal and not try something if she doesn’t want to rather than eating a bite so she can get a treat if we’re having one. Other than fruit, her favorite foods are cheesy… mac & cheese, grilled cheese, and pizza.

We booked our package for a week in February with the Free Dining promotion. It was actually our third time using the Disney Dining Plan - we had an idea of what we were doing, but this was our first time with a child’s plan so that was new for this trip. We find it very valuable – our gut reaction anywhere is to order the cheapest options… we rarely splurge. On the Dining Plan, we feel that we can order things we don’t normally eat – seafood for me, steak for DH, desserts, etc. It really makes vacation fun for us! We stayed at Pop Century for this trip so we got the Quick Service plan free, but upgraded to the regular dining plan because it was cost effective to add in a few character meals, which is our favorite way to meet characters. It was totally worth it!!

For this trip, our dining itinerary included…

Whispering Canyon Café dinner
Crystal Palace breakfast
Pinocchio’s Village Haus
Contempo Cafe
Donald’s Safari Breakfast at Tusker House
Rainforest Café – Downtown Disney dinner
Sunshine Seasons lunch
Akershus Princess Storybook Dinner
Akershus Princess Storybook Lunch (yep, you read that right!)
Everything Pop dinner
Cosmic Rays lunch
Cosmic Rays dinner (yep, we did it again!)
Toy Story Pizza Planet lunch
Chef Mickey’s dinner
1900 Park Fare Breakfast
Mara lunch

sahm2two 03-10-2011 06:33 AM

Looking forward to reading your reviews! We're going in June with our almost 3 y/o DD and almost 2 y/o DD and have a lot of ADRs for places you're reviewing :) I just upgraded to deluxe, so I need to make a couple more ADRs...

PrincessPaczki 03-10-2011 07:14 AM

Hi. :goodvibes I can't wait to read about your reviews. Your lineup of restaurants look delicious! :thumbsup2

DLo 03-10-2011 08:06 AM

looking forward to your reviews and few pics ;)

phabric 03-10-2011 08:11 AM

Looking forward to your reviews.

pinkxray 03-10-2011 08:12 AM

I can't wait for your reviews. You ate at many of the places we will be trying in May.

MickeyNicki 03-10-2011 10:19 AM

Count me in! I had the hardest time when I brought our 2 nieces to WDW...I learned that they filled up on a big buffet breakfast as they both love all breakfast foods but lunch and dinner were a nightmare!

And BTW, I love vanilla ice cream too :lmao:

kymmyk13 03-10-2011 10:57 AM

I'm in and very excited:dance3:

bluejasmine 03-10-2011 12:05 PM

Im here Im ready!

lblume91 03-10-2011 01:15 PM

Count me in too!! :)

Amstar 03-10-2011 01:19 PM

im in. curious as well. going down in August with a 2yr old.

kayleesmomxo 03-10-2011 02:00 PM

I'm in too! I can't wait to read some of your reviews. :goodvibes

MommytoaSweetie 03-10-2011 02:00 PM

Day 1 - Whispering Canyon Cafe review
 
You guys are very encouraging! Although adding readers to the post is also a little daunting... I really do need to finish it. ;)

Day 1
After an early flight, we got our rental car (we got a GREAT rate for a Fullsize on Priceline and were able to get a minivan at Alamo, for no extra cost! VERY beneficial to us!!), and then headed to Costco to pick up some goods for quick breakfasts – shelf-stable organic milks (they only had chocolate available, so our kids got a treat for the week!), a bag of clementines, and a box of Kashi granola bars. We also got a case of bottled water to take with us throughout the parks. Since we were already hungry for lunch, we just ate there – gotta love cheap meals at Costco! We split amongst us a carne asada bake, hotdog, and slice of pizza… although I think our girls mostly gobbled down the clementines and we didn’t finish everything. :)

We ran a few other errands and went to Pop Century to checkin… our room was ready, so we took a nap and then headed over to the Wilderness Lodge for dinner at…

Whispering Canyon Café (no pics of this one, sorry!)

WL a very cool resort! This trip was our first time really checking out some of the other resorts (since we stay value), and it’s very fun to see them! This was our only non-character meal TS restaurant (for the dining plan – we also later went to Rainforest Café)… we chose it because 1. DH thought it looked awesome, 2. It was new and we hadn’t been there before, and 3. We wanted a fun, family-friendly environment because we knew we’d be tired by dinner time. We checked in and then let our girls play with the Lincoln Logs, although they weren’t too thrilled with them. I think they’re too young to really “get” them, and they were also pretty tired from waking up early and less naps, so they watched DH build a house.

Our server was Bob (I think that was his name), but he said everyone called him Geppetto – I looked straight at him, and yep, he looked just like Pinocchio’s dad! We found that he was a perfect fit for our family – explained what was going to happen, let us know we could participate in the loud craziness (that we didn’t really find all that loud), and we were going to have fun. Sounded good to us. We ordered milkshakes – chocolate for me, vanilla for DH, and strawberry for DD1... mostly because they're included in the dining plan, and how often do you get milkshakes with dinner? It's very rare for us, at least. Geppetto brought out an empty regular cup for DD2 so we could put some of the milkshakes in there (he was very encouraging of us sharing with her so we didn't have to pay any extra - I appreciated his frugality ;)), but she did NOT think that was a great deal – after a mini meltdown and me explaining that we could just share cups, she relaxed a little. Yep, that’s what happens to a 2 year old who’s tired! The milkshakes were okay, but nothing special… I was a little disappointed, I think they were all vanilla ice cream with flavored syrups, and they tasted artificial to me. Oh well.

For dinner, we all ordered the barbeque skillet – I was looking forward to the salad, DH really wanted the meat, and DD1 wanted the cornbread and corn on the cob. It was PLENTY of food for all of us – the brisket and the pulled pork were our favorite meats (the ribs were too messy for me to eat with cranky kids, and I’m not a huge fan). The cornbread was very yummy, the salad was great (I should have asked for more if you’re allowed!), the mashed potatoes were good (not amazing), and the corn on the cob wasn’t fresh (it was February), but it was okay. We weren’t big fans of the beans or the chicken (they weren't BAD, just not our favorite). DD1’s skillet meal came on her own Mickey plate, and had fresh fruit instead of the salad so it was PERFECT for our girls. Hers also came with two chocolate chip cookies, which we put to the side and our kids waited patiently to eat them when our desserts came out. They impressed me! Our desserts were chocolate cake (me – although looking at the menus now it look like they had pecan pie… did I not see that option?? Bummer, it’s one of my favorite desserts!!), and apple pie (DH). They were both very good, but there was no way we could finish them… a few bites of each was plenty after that meal. It’s a little strange for me to not eat more dessert (I know that’s bad!) but it was true.

Our kids thought about participating in the pony race, but changed their minds when they went up, and we got laughs out of the other gags around the room. Our server also jokingly helped our family with a crayon sharing problem by having others bring extras to our table. Our kids were pretty shocked, and we just laughed! Very fun.

Overall, we enjoyed our meal at Whispering Canyon Café! It would have been a little better if we had been more hungry (we had a LOT of leftovers... if we hadn't been on the dining plan I would have felt like it cost too much for how much we ate) and didn’t have tired little ones, but that was bound to happen anywhere. :thumbsup2

We’d give it a 9/10 score… I was an 8, DH was a 10. We'll definitely want to try it again.

(Oh and Day 2's reviews will have pictures :))

lilandvisma 03-10-2011 02:34 PM

Reading along :) We leave in 2 weeks and are staying at POP as well!

MommytoaSweetie 03-10-2011 02:53 PM

Day 2 - Crystal Palace, Pinocchio's Village Haus, and Contemp Cafe
 
Day 2

We had a pre-MK-opening reservation for breakfast at…

Crystal Palace

I was super excited because DD2 is a HUGE Pooh & Friends fan. I also love character meals because it’s such a great opportunity to meet the characters without standing in lines, and they’re so family-friendly - a buffet with a good variety of options. BUT, I should have learned from previous trips’ lessons and not scheduled a masked-character meal for our FIRST character meal. Our kids are NOT fans of masked characters… we are often asked to check and make sure the Chick-fil-a Cow isn’t out when we go in there and Chuck E Cheese can just about bring a child-size heart attack in our household. So I should have thought of that before, but I didn’t… I saw a reservation for CP before the park opened and I took it. Last year, CP had been closed and we ate at Liberty Tree Tavern for breakfast our last morning at MK – by that point, DD1 actually loosened up a bit and gave Minnie a hug! But that was the last night, and this time Crystal Palace was first… bad idea. Lesson learned – next trip will be princesses first. :rotfl:

So we got in and Eeyore was RIGHT by our table… there was no hope. Our girls were completely freaked out. Our server came by and took our drink orders and explained how things worked. She didn’t seem to notice the look of complete terror on our kid’s faces, so her explanation of the characters coming by freaked out our girls a little more, but we got some good cuddle time. Ha! ;) We went up and got food – they had some really great options! I was thrilled with the fruit choices… my plate is below, and as you can see, I took advantage of the variety. The berries were delicious, but I didn’t get to try the grapes – DD2 ate them all. The scrambled eggs were pretty tasty – salted to my liking, most of my bacon was nice and crispy, and the puff thing was French toast – I was thinking it was just regular French toast, but it was actually fried – kind of like a donut. Not what I was expecting, but very tasty! The hardboiled egg was for DD1.

http://i1208.photobucket.com/albums/...e/1465216a.jpg

Our daughters both had a mickey waffle and fruit with milk. Although they were still pretty timid (despite our waving each character away), they did eat their food. DH’s plate is below – a little different than mine. ;) He got a chocolate mickey waffle that he REALLY liked. He also liked the bacon, and he says the rest of the food was good – he’s a big fan of breakfast food, so a breakfast buffet is pretty much his favorite. I’d probably only know if something was NOT good.

http://i1208.photobucket.com/albums/...e/27eb57a5.jpg

After we finished, our girls were READY to go – I think the fear factor of CP actually wore them out a little emotionally, and they just wanted out of the situation. Once they were out, the rest of our day went much better.

For Crystal Palace breakfast, we’d both give it 10/10… very yummy food and a cute atmosphere. Next time we’ll do it maybe on our last day. ;)

We ate lunch at…

Pinocchio’s Village Haus

DD1 remembered eating there previously and waving at guests on Small World, so both DD’s were REALLY hoping to do that again. We ordered our food, and then DH went to wait and pick it up while we were going to go get seats… but they were doing the can’t-sit-until-you-have-your-food thing. I understand the reasoning, and there was a bench for us (and others) to wait on, so it wasn’t that bad. Besides that when we did get to go past the CM’s, there were plenty of tables available to choose from… none actually RIGHT at the windows, but some close… so we were setting our food down and noticed a family by the windows cleaning up. We checked, and yep, they were done, so we went over. Our girls were so excited! They loved waving at everyone on Small World! And it’s so fun to see guests on the ride waving at our kids – it’s a little extra magic to us because our kids love it so much.

Anyway, back to the food… DH and I both ended up getting the chicken parmesan. Is that a new dish there? I’m not sure – I always remember getting pizza there before. But the pasta was good – the sauce was chunky (more veggies than just tomatoes) and flavorful, and the chicken was crispy with a good amount of yummy cheese. The portions were also big, which was good because we hadn’t filled up much at breakfast and we were pretty hungry. Sorry for the blurry picture!

http://i1208.photobucket.com/albums/...e/71713292.jpg

Our kids split a PB&J with grapes and applesauce, and apple juice. We brought extra applesauces so each could have their own and split the rest –it’s a perfect amount for them. I didn’t take a picture because I 1. forgot and 2. it’s just an uncrustables sandwich (regular white bread with peanut butter and way more jelly than I use at home ;)) with a container of mickey applesauce (LOVE that they’re “good” applesauce just apples and no junk) and a bag of grapes. Hopefully everyone knows what those look like. :thumbsup2

DH and I got dessert since we were on the dining plan, and we both chose the chocolate cake. I loved that they had cute heart sprinkles – this was the week of Valentine’s day, and it was a cute extra touch! It was pretty yummy, too, and a nice sweet ending to share at the end of our meal.

http://i1208.photobucket.com/albums/...e/1d2d1e74.jpg

Overall, we’d give Pinocchio’s Village Haus a 10/10, maybe with bonus points for getting to sit where we wanted. :) Yummy food, especially for quick service.

By the end of our day, we wanted to avoid the crowds to get out, and decided to go over to the Contemporary to check out the resort and watch Wishes from there. So we got dinner at the

Contempo Café

We didn’t have a lot of time, so we quickly ordered our food and then I waited to get it while DH took the girls outside on the big balcony area to wait. Unfortunately, the area with benches that have a great view of MK had a lot of smokers – maybe that’s a smoking area at the Contemporary? That’s a shame. :sick: So we sat further away and our view was blocked some by the monorail, but we didn’t get a bunch of junk in our lungs. Totally worth it.

We weren’t super hungry for dinner, so we paid out of pocket… I got a chicken Caesar salad – nothing special, but it was nice to have some fresh light lettuce. DH got a cheese flatbread pizza – he enjoyed that. Our girls split a kid’s chicken nuggets meal with grapes and a cookie… the nuggets were super processed (SO wish they were whole chicken!), and the cookie was some packaged thing, not fresh looking – they ate it just fine, but I was disappointed with it. Oh well, lesson learned. I don’t have any pictures of that meal because it was dark out and my iphone is the older version without flash… besides that I was watching Wishes. :)

The music was playing from Wishes, and it was really nice to watch them more relaxed – especially since the loud noise of the fireworks can bother our kids a bit, so it was much quieter. Plus, as soon as they were over, we headed over to TTC to get to our car and the monorail wasn’t crowded yet. NICE.

The Contempo Café was good – nothing spectactular, but it served our needs. The service was a little slow, especially since it wasn’t busy then – I guess the flatbread pizza took a little while. We’d give it a 9/10 for what it is. (I’d downgrade for the quality of the kid’s meal, but I know that’s just the quick service kids meal options – since all the kid’s meal chicken nuggets are like that and all the kid’s meal cookies are like that, it’s not an issue with the Contempo Café)


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