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Old 10-22-2006, 09:16 AM   #1
TyRy
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Dining Extravaganza 9/23-10/3/06, Free & otherwise-Pics. Updated 10/16/07 Last Meal

In the coming days, I'll try and get the rest up - we ate everywhere from Pioneer Hall to Narcoosee's to the California Grill.

9/23 - Our first meal on the FREE dining plan. We had actually planned on paying for the DDP before it became free, so that was just a bonus. I had all the usual reservations about using the plan – would service be worse since they had a guaranteed tip? Would free dining bring the throngs of people and again, service would be bad? Would we have hour-long waits for our ADR’s? Thankfully, none of these came to fruition. I think the longest wait we had was about 20 minutes for Jiko, but I’ll get to that later.

The Contemporary Steakhouse was where we were going to have dinner that first night. Now I know some hate it, some love it, we fall somewhere in between. As DH says – we go for the atmosphere of the restaurant not the food. We love seeing the Monorail and that just adds to the experience.

*This is a pic from our 2004 visit – I just looked and all we took was video of the monorail this trip, but it looked the same

Since it looks like the CS will be moving next year, we may visit one more time and see if the food can hold up without the “atmosphere.”

When we walked up for our 7:00 ADR there were a bunch of people sitting around waiting for tables, and I thought we might be for one of those long waits I’d heard about. NOPE – 5 minutes later we are sitting down and others are still waiting…I’m guessing bigger parties or walk-ups? Our server was Xia and she was pretty good. I knew how the DDP worked but DH did not so I let her explain it to us. She took our drink orders (alcoholic) and brought us warm dinner rolls. Ooops – this is not starting well with my promise to take picture – forgot to take a picture of the rolls.

OK – we move on to the appetizers. I must warn that I am a baked onion soup nut, so even though it was a 100 outside (ok – not quite that warm but it was hot!) I was going to try the onion soup whenever I had a chance. The soup was good, but not as good as I’ve had back home. DH had the lobster bisque, which he liked.


Entrees were brought out after we finished our soups. DH had the prime rib with mashed potatoes, which he said was ok –


and I had the NY strip with mashed potatoes, broccoli, red wine sauce & red wine butter which was pretty good.


Another tip I picked up from the disboards was if you like things medium-rare, make sure to ask for medium. We did that and throughout the trip some things were closer to rare than med-rare, so I’d hate to see what happens if someone asked for it rare!

We both had the vanilla bean crème brulee for dessert and that seemed pretty popular throughout the restaurant that night as we had a view of the pastry chef constantly using the torch on crème brulees.


Overall a good dinner and our first experience with the dining plan. Xia even threw in free glow cubes in our drinks for our anniversary. The food did come quickly, but we never felt rushed. The only bad thing I noticed was, our server asked if we wanted another drink (alcohol.) We might have and that would have upped her tip. The drink tap did have an 18% gratuity already added to it, so we added just a little more. DH is big on leaving at least 20% for good service, more if service is great so we still left extra.

Total Free DDP – 85.21

Next: Chefs de France and Roaring Fork
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Me DH Our angel pup
May 1995 - 1st Trip! Offsite --- May 2000 - Ramada Offsite & POFQ --- Oct/Nov 2004 - POFQ, 1st MNSSHP on HALLOWEEN!
06 Trip Report - Mickey's Hand is in My Pocket! Sept/Oct 06 11 days!!! WL, AKL, 2nd MNSSHP & Dining Extravaganza Reviews & Pics 9/23-10/3/06
Mickey's Hand is Back in my Pocket - A Trippie for Sept/Oct 08 and 1st Trip Home to AKV
Trip of New Phases, Friends & 40 - Sept 09 - CR/AKV
*A Giraffe Meets the Beach - Oct '10 BCV/AKV* *Oct '11 AKV/Poly *1st Birthday Trip and Disney Dream Cruise - Dec '11 AKV* *Oct '12 - 18 days! AKVJ, BWV, AKVK*
*Nov 2013 AKVJ* *Extra May 2014 Trip SSR*

Last edited by TyRy; 10-16-2007 at 10:43 AM.
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Old 10-22-2006, 09:22 AM   #2
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Enjoyed reading your review ~ Can't wait for more.
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Old 10-22-2006, 02:19 PM   #3
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Great review and pictures! I can't wait for more!
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Old 10-23-2006, 12:16 PM   #4
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Thanks so much for the feedback -I'm glad you are enjoying the report!

9/24: Today we had ADR's at Chefs de France and Rose N Crown. Unfortunately due to time constraints we only made our lunch one at Chefs and no RNC this time.

Our ADR was for 12:15pm at CDF and we walked in just about on time. The restaurant was EMPTY - uh-oh is this a good or bad sign that during free dining it is soooooo empty. Doesn't matter I decide. I am in search of French Onion Soup. Yes I am drenches from the heat and humidity outside, but I need my soup. I’ll just drink a lot of pop and water with ice to combat being a crazy person eating soup on a hot day.

We were paying for this meal OOP. Our server was Elodie, and she was great. I had prompt refills on my Sprite without even asking. After ordering she brought out hot rolls.

MMMMM – they were yummy with good butter!

We both ordered the French Onion Soup and it was the best we had on property.


I then had just the house salad with the balsamic vinaigrette and DH had the Crepe Basquaise. He really enjoyed them, as I did my salad. In fact we enjoyed it so much we forgot to take pictures! As I said, this was OOP and when we received the bill we looked and NO gratuity had been added.

Due to a whole bunch of things that happened during the day (all in my trip report) we ended up skipping R&C. That left us hungry at the end of the day, so it was off to Roaring Fork back at the WL. I had the chicken strips, Mickey rice krispie and a water.


DH had a bacon cheese burger, brownie and water.


Total of 2 CS or $23.88 on the DDP. Food was what you expect at a CS restaurant – ok, but not great.

Up next: Fort Wilderness and Cosmic Ray’s.
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Me DH Our angel pup
May 1995 - 1st Trip! Offsite --- May 2000 - Ramada Offsite & POFQ --- Oct/Nov 2004 - POFQ, 1st MNSSHP on HALLOWEEN!
06 Trip Report - Mickey's Hand is in My Pocket! Sept/Oct 06 11 days!!! WL, AKL, 2nd MNSSHP & Dining Extravaganza Reviews & Pics 9/23-10/3/06
Mickey's Hand is Back in my Pocket - A Trippie for Sept/Oct 08 and 1st Trip Home to AKV
Trip of New Phases, Friends & 40 - Sept 09 - CR/AKV
*A Giraffe Meets the Beach - Oct '10 BCV/AKV* *Oct '11 AKV/Poly *1st Birthday Trip and Disney Dream Cruise - Dec '11 AKV* *Oct '12 - 18 days! AKVJ, BWV, AKVK*
*Nov 2013 AKVJ* *Extra May 2014 Trip SSR*
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Old 10-25-2006, 05:26 AM   #5
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Great report and great pictures, can't wait to see more
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Old 11-01-2006, 11:57 AM   #6
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Crystal Palace and Yachtsman Steakhouse

Crystal Palace. We had an early ADR – 8:10am – for the CP, figured eat and still get out in time to beat the crowds. Not us – we were running LATE, and did not arrive until about 8:30am. We had about a ten minute wait and then were seated…but what is this:

A little pixie dust to start our day. I think I noted our anniversary on every ADR and this was the second time it was recognized.

The breakfast buffet here is your standard buffet – sorry forgot to get pics – with made to order omelets. I went right for the kids section, hey – I had to get my Winnie the Pooh and Tigger waffles

We both thought the food was very good and I tried my hardest not to think of all the gross stories I’ve read on the Disboards about buffets.

After we were finished, our server An Yuh brought us out another surprise, a cupcake and a certificate for our anniversary.


I must add I LOVE frosting, way better than cake. And this had awesome frosting. It was only after this that the characters made their way over and I don’t think we ever saw Tigger as it was getting late and I wanted to get out to the parks. Overall – very good, although the characters getting around were a little slower than I remembered. We did pay OOP for this meal.

Our snack today consisted of a chocolate milkshake and a Mickey ice cream sandwich…I think we paid for the ice cream, but used a snack credit for the milkshake.


We skipped lunch today since we were having dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse. I’ve wanted to try this the past couple trips, but never had the chance. Free dining or not we were going – although it was nice just having a bar bill

We arrived on time for our 8pm ADR. We were seated within a couple of minutes and met our server who took our drink order. We then met our second server, we were confused momentarily, but I guess that is the way YS works – so we had two servers for the night.

The rolls with butter and garlic came out first. I’m talking whole cloves of garlic – whoo hoo – score for me – I LOVE garlic. It was really yummy spread on the rolls.


Then came our appetizers. I had the Caesar salad which was a Caesar salad. This is pretty had to screw up and it was good. It came out as full romaine leaves though, so next time I may ask them to cut it up in the back just to make it easier.


DH had the lobster bisque which he proclaimed very good.


Then came the entrees – I had been looking forward to this all day and it did not disappoint. I had and fingerling potatoes, the porterhouse done medium and again I was glad I ordered it this was as it was a perfect med rare. Very good and tender.


DH had the boneless rack of lamb with some type of polenta and also really enjoyed it. I think he also ordered it medium, but I’m sure he’ll correct me if I’m wrong.


For dessert I had the sorbet trio and DH had the key lime pie. Both were good



Overall a great experience and we left extra tip. Our meal was timed perfectly and we did not feel either rushed or too slow. We will be returning again.

Up next - LeCellier - you'll either love it or hate it......
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Me DH Our angel pup
May 1995 - 1st Trip! Offsite --- May 2000 - Ramada Offsite & POFQ --- Oct/Nov 2004 - POFQ, 1st MNSSHP on HALLOWEEN!
06 Trip Report - Mickey's Hand is in My Pocket! Sept/Oct 06 11 days!!! WL, AKL, 2nd MNSSHP & Dining Extravaganza Reviews & Pics 9/23-10/3/06
Mickey's Hand is Back in my Pocket - A Trippie for Sept/Oct 08 and 1st Trip Home to AKV
Trip of New Phases, Friends & 40 - Sept 09 - CR/AKV
*A Giraffe Meets the Beach - Oct '10 BCV/AKV* *Oct '11 AKV/Poly *1st Birthday Trip and Disney Dream Cruise - Dec '11 AKV* *Oct '12 - 18 days! AKVJ, BWV, AKVK*
*Nov 2013 AKVJ* *Extra May 2014 Trip SSR*

Last edited by TyRy; 11-02-2006 at 06:41 AM.
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Old 11-10-2006, 05:04 PM   #7
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Great reviews so far, looking forward to the next installment.
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Old 11-10-2006, 05:14 PM   #8
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Thank you for your pictures and reviews! I really enjoyed reading them.
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Old 11-12-2006, 11:39 AM   #9
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I just wanted to asy thank you to all of you who have stopped by and are enjoying the reviews and pictures. HOPEFULLY I'll have at least one more installment up on Monday or Tuesday.

Ty
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May 1995 - 1st Trip! Offsite --- May 2000 - Ramada Offsite & POFQ --- Oct/Nov 2004 - POFQ, 1st MNSSHP on HALLOWEEN!
06 Trip Report - Mickey's Hand is in My Pocket! Sept/Oct 06 11 days!!! WL, AKL, 2nd MNSSHP & Dining Extravaganza Reviews & Pics 9/23-10/3/06
Mickey's Hand is Back in my Pocket - A Trippie for Sept/Oct 08 and 1st Trip Home to AKV
Trip of New Phases, Friends & 40 - Sept 09 - CR/AKV
*A Giraffe Meets the Beach - Oct '10 BCV/AKV* *Oct '11 AKV/Poly *1st Birthday Trip and Disney Dream Cruise - Dec '11 AKV* *Oct '12 - 18 days! AKVJ, BWV, AKVK*
*Nov 2013 AKVJ* *Extra May 2014 Trip SSR*

Last edited by TyRy; 01-10-2007 at 07:05 AM.
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Old 11-13-2006, 12:22 PM   #10
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Great reviews and I love the pictures.
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Old 11-14-2006, 05:45 PM   #11
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Enjoying your reviews, we have several of the same places on our list for May!
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Old 11-15-2006, 10:02 AM   #12
TyRy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D&R love Disney
Great reviews and I love the pictures.
Thank you very much! If life would stop being so crazy I could get more up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbabyblues
Enjoying your reviews, we have several of the same places on our list for May!
YEAH - someone with similar tastes! Hope your visits are as good as our were.
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Me DH Our angel pup
May 1995 - 1st Trip! Offsite --- May 2000 - Ramada Offsite & POFQ --- Oct/Nov 2004 - POFQ, 1st MNSSHP on HALLOWEEN!
06 Trip Report - Mickey's Hand is in My Pocket! Sept/Oct 06 11 days!!! WL, AKL, 2nd MNSSHP & Dining Extravaganza Reviews & Pics 9/23-10/3/06
Mickey's Hand is Back in my Pocket - A Trippie for Sept/Oct 08 and 1st Trip Home to AKV
Trip of New Phases, Friends & 40 - Sept 09 - CR/AKV
*A Giraffe Meets the Beach - Oct '10 BCV/AKV* *Oct '11 AKV/Poly *1st Birthday Trip and Disney Dream Cruise - Dec '11 AKV* *Oct '12 - 18 days! AKVJ, BWV, AKVK*
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Old 03-10-2007, 12:29 AM   #13
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Arrow DINING EXTRAVAGANZA 9/23-10/3 | DH opines!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TyRy View Post
9/23 - Our first meal on the FREE dining plan.
The Contemporary Steakhouse was where we were going to have dinner that first night. Now I know some hate it, some love it, we fall somewhere in between.

DH had the lobster bisque, which he liked.
httx://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m172/tracycip/Food/P9230161.jpg

DH had the prime rib with mashed potatoes, which he said was ok –
httx://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m172/tracycip/Food/P9230167.jpg

Total Free DDP – 85.21
I now understand the opinions of those who "hate" (OK, strong word, let's say any form of "dislike?") the Contemporary Steakhouse. If on a normal evening I paid $85.21 for that level of quality, I would certainly feel gipped . I've had better meals at Outback Steakhouse for $50. We've eaten at the CS before, and I was probably taken more by the atmosphere than anything we ate. This time, the Prime Rib was about as bland as they come, and I liked the "lobster bisque" only because it was edible, and I needed something in my tummy fast! I liken it to tomato soup, with a drop of yellow dye and a bit of crab juice for flavoring.

With that memory in tow, would I eat there again? HELL YES!!!!!!!!!!

They could serve coffee & biscuits for dinner and it'd be well worth it!
Did I say something about ATMOSPHERE?? I can't put into words how neat-o it is to be eating, and having the MONORAIL silently pass overhead! The lighting, the structure, Chef Mickey's off in the distance, and that fantastic bar just outside the CS? Fuggedaboutit!!!
There's no shortage of at the CS, and a Disney trip is likely not complete (for us) without a stop there...

...MORE TO COME! -DH
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Old 03-10-2007, 10:34 AM   #14
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Arrow DINING EXTRAVAGANZA 9/23-10/3 | DH opines! ,pt.2

Quote:
Originally Posted by TyRy View Post
Today we had ADR's at Chefs de France.....
I am in search of French Onion Soup.

I then had just the house salad with the balsamic vinaigrette and DH had the Crepe Basquaise.
Well...the wife and I are Baked French Onion Soup (BFOS) nuts, and we grade BFOS using what we consider to be THE baseline for BFOS quality - a place near and dear to us called The Golden Steer. Few to none match The Golden Steer's BFOS in terms of flavor, consistency, cheese flavor & consistency, baked cheese drippage down the side of the bowl, crouton style & thickness, onion (both quality and quantity). Size doesn't necessarily matter...too large can spoil your appetite, but I'll never complain!

Now where was I?
Oh yes, the BFOS at Chefs de France was top notch, one of the few good quality Baked French Onion Soups available at Disney. There are some "passable" BFOS' we've found, but few that are really good. (the one other that was know of to this point is at Boatwright's @ Riverside, the other resort connected with Port Orleans FQ. They have a 3 or 4-cheese Baked French Onion Soup that's pretty damn good!

-- Roaring Forks at The Wilderness Lodge? lame
Others have mentioned that the "deluxe" resorts have lower quality counter service, and in this case, they were right!
I can see why, as they expect more to use the nicer retaurants in these, but that's not the reality here. Tons of mom's like to get the kiddie (finger) foods here...and the WL is a HUGE family drawing resort. Plus they don't have Mickey Waffles, and that's a travesty! Looking at what we had, I can't believe a cheeseburger and chicken strips were $23.88 !!! LOL...

...MORE TO COME! -DH
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Old 05-08-2007, 12:37 PM   #15
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Great dining report - my mouth is watering! I also like the DH opinions. It is rare to see two different insights in a dining report. Hope there is more to come!
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