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Old 09-13-2011, 08:02 PM   #1
klacey1
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Not the Hardest to Please: An Aug 2011 Dining Report!-- Uptd Artist Point!

Welcome to my second dining report! I unfortunately started one that I never got around finishing, but this one will get completed. We stayed at WDW from August 24-31st with free dining (regular plan)! I know there's a lot of debate on the value (or lack thereof) of the dining plan, but we love it. We've only ever had it free, but if we had to pay for it, we definitely would. I'm a planner and the ability to order whatever you want and just plunk down a card and know that your meal is already taken care of. I'm not sure if it would be different if we paid for the plan, but we did not try and order the most expensive thing on the menu. We ordered what we liked and even skipped dessert multiple times.
I kept all of our receipts, so I'll be sharing the total costs. I haven't yet totaled up what food would have cost us had we paid, so I'll just share the cost of each meal and then total at the end. I think I'll be happily surprised! At the end, I'll also figure out what the dining plan would have cost if we had paid for it and see what we would have saved in that situation, as well.
Our traveling party consisted of me and my boyfriend, Zach. He is strictly a meat-and-potatoes guy, doesn't do cheese (unless it's on a pizza) or any cream based sauces, seafood, and much, much more. I am a lot more adventurous and love seafood and will try most things at least once. The title of my report stems from the fact that we're really quite easy to please at WDW. Something has to be really, really awful for us to complain (and only to each other-- we'd never send anything back or complain to a waiter). We appreciate great service as much as great food and are way more apt to get upset with poor service than poor food.

I'm also doing a TR-- please feel free to check in there, too (link in signature)! We ate at the following places:
Wolfgang Puck Express
Rose and Crown
Cosmic Rays
Coral Reef
Writer's Stop
Pizza Planet
Whispering Canyon Cafe
Contempo Cafe
Les Chefs de France
Riverside Mill
Sunshine Seasons
Artist Point
Wishes Dessert Party
Lotus Blossom Cafe
La Cantina de San Angel
Main St. Bakery
Liberty Tree Tavern

Last edited by klacey1; 12-26-2011 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 09-13-2011, 08:03 PM   #2
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Our first meal of the trip was Wolfgang Puck Express! We had loved this place in 2009 and were excited to return! It's such a fabulous value on the dining plan, the portions are huge, and the meals were great the last time. Since we start all of our trips in Downtown Disney (and neither of us like sandwiches-- oh, the horror!), WPE was the obvious choice for lunch.
We arrived around 2:00 and found the place fairly full. Fortunately, we were able to secure an inside table pretty quickly. It was way too hot to be eating outside! I really do enjoy the atmosphere of WPE-- it's great to be served and have your food brought to you, instead of waiting in yet another line at WDW.
We sat for a loooooong time after taking our seats. I'm pretty sure they forgot about my pizza, because we saw plenty of people who ordered after us getting their food (including pizza) before we did. We had each drank a whole glass of soda before our food finally came out-- at least twenty minutes. Unfortunately, this was not worth waiting for.
Zach ordered the adult chicken tenders and herbed fries, same as last trip. In 2009, this is what this dish looked like:

See how fresh and yummy that looks? Also, maybe just because I know it was, it looks hotter and fresher than what Zach had this year. Here's the 2011 version:

This was pretty gross-- the chicken was way too thickly breaded. As a result, the chicken was incredibly dry. The fries were soggy and had the taste of sitting under a heat lamp for awhile. This is why I think they forgot my pizza-- my food was piping hot. They had clearly prepped his much earlier than mine and had it sitting there.
I ordered the margarita pizza:

This was decent. It was hot, the crust was crunchy/charred (as I like it), and the tomatoes provided a nice, juicy bite against cheese (no sauce). However, it was pretty basic-- just didn't wow me. I'd certainly order it again, but not be excited about it.

We both had the chocolate-chip cookie for dessert. We usually don't eat dessert with CS meals, so we saved them for eating in the room a couple of nights later. This was yummy-- the chocolate chunks were large and the cookie wasn't too greasy or too dry, which I find packaged cookies tend to be.

Zach rates this meal a 2 out of 5, and I'd give it a 3. Average of a 2.5-- we probably won't be back for awhile. The adult chicken tenders was pretty much the only thing that appealed to Zach on the menu and they were a fail. I'd like to try some of the pastas, but it's tough to eat such heavy food in the middle of the day (and we usually have a dinner ADR). It wasn't terrible, but like I said, it'll be a couple trips before I can convince Zach to go back.

Meal total: $34.83. We left two bucks on the table as a tip for bringing the food/drinks.

Last edited by klacey1; 10-08-2011 at 07:42 AM.
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Old 09-13-2011, 08:15 PM   #3
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You sound a lot like me! I think I'm pretty easy to please. I was worried that I was rating a lot of things pretty highly in my dining review but I'm just pretty easygoing and I like food!

That's too bad about your first meal. I hope everything else turns out to be great. Looking forward to more of your reviews!
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Old 09-13-2011, 11:05 PM   #4
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Can't wait for more of your review! So far so good! I never had WPE, thanks for the review! Really not sure I'd go out of my way now.
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Old 09-13-2011, 11:51 PM   #5
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Looking forward to reading more!! Big difference in the quality a couple years ago compared to your recent visit!
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:10 AM   #6
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I know WPE is QS. The diifference in the pictures to me look like TS quality in 2009 versus QS quality in 2011. Hopefully, the food got better. Cannot wait to read more.
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Old 09-14-2011, 03:16 AM   #7
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Wow, you can really see the difference in the WPE photos over the years !

It's one of my fave places so I hope they try and keep up the quality we've always enjoyed
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Old 09-14-2011, 07:24 AM   #8
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I too have noticed that some meals of Yesteryear, and this years versions.....big difference...but some were for the better and then others ..eh..maybe pretty good..
I loved the looks of that pizza though..
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:11 PM   #10
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We were there at the same time! I agree on the DP ... love having everything prepaid. We also had free dining but paid to upgrade to the DxDDP. We really love our appetizers and aren't super fond of QS meals so that is what works best for us.

Looking forward to the rest of our reviews.
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:30 PM   #11
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Joining in the party!
Sorry that you had dissappointing meal at WPE. It's our fav CS! However, I have to agree that chicken tender looks bad! In fact, it looks the same as one DS got for kids meal last year. He did not touch it after one bite.
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Old 09-14-2011, 02:08 PM   #12
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subscribing but that is definitely not the best WPE food I have ever seen. Looking forward to more :
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Old 09-14-2011, 07:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracerr00 View Post
You sound a lot like me! I think I'm pretty easy to please. I was worried that I was rating a lot of things pretty highly in my dining review but I'm just pretty easygoing and I like food!

That's too bad about your first meal. I hope everything else turns out to be great. Looking forward to more of your reviews!
I think that's it! I just like food-- it has to be pretty terrible for me to note something about it. Meals definitely look up from here!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinkerbellah View Post
Can't wait for more of your review! So far so good! I never had WPE, thanks for the review! Really not sure I'd go out of my way now.
WPE gets great reviews in general AND we loved it last time, so this was so disappointing. I'd eat there again if we were in DTD (since we don't like any of the other CS place there), but I wouldn't plan to go there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lobsterkmd View Post
Looking forward to reading more!! Big difference in the quality a couple years ago compared to your recent visit!
Definitely-- and unfortunately, not a positive difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kmedina View Post
I know WPE is QS. The diifference in the pictures to me look like TS quality in 2009 versus QS quality in 2011. Hopefully, the food got better. Cannot wait to read more.
Right? We loved WPE last time because it felt so much like a CS. This trip-- not so much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda67 View Post
Wow, you can really see the difference in the WPE photos over the years !

It's one of my fave places so I hope they try and keep up the quality we've always enjoyed
It was my favorite CS in 2009, so I hope they kick things up, too. I was so disappointed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pumba View Post
I too have noticed that some meals of Yesteryear, and this years versions.....big difference...but some were for the better and then others ..eh..maybe pretty good..
I loved the looks of that pizza though..
The pizza was good. Fine. Standard. Just not AMAZING-- certainly nothing like the pesto pizza I had in 2009.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MickeyNicki View Post
Sorry but Zach's chicken looks like the kind my nieces love from Dairy Queen...all breading and hardly any chicken

DH is not a sandwich fan either so it makes lunchtime a challenge!
Tell me about it! I didn't try any of it, but Zach's chicken this trip screamed "kid's meal."

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoofySon'sMom View Post
We were there at the same time! I agree on the DP ... love having everything prepaid. We also had free dining but paid to upgrade to the DxDDP. We really love our appetizers and aren't super fond of QS meals so that is what works best for us.

Looking forward to the rest of our reviews.
I think we'll probably splurge and upgrade to the DxDDP if we get the DDP next trip. We're definitely more appetizer people, as well. I love your reviews so far!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mousegear View Post
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Sorry that you had dissappointing meal at WPE. It's our fav CS! However, I have to agree that chicken tender looks bad! In fact, it looks the same as one DS got for kids meal last year. He did not touch it after one bite.
I think it's fine if the kids tenders are the same as the adults-- as long as they're both high-quality!! Sad that WPE isn't like that!

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subscribing but that is definitely not the best WPE food I have ever seen. Looking forward to more :
Thanks!
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Old 09-14-2011, 07:29 PM   #14
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Count me in! Too bad about the chicken tenders! I do love their BBQ chicken pizza and frozen yogurt for dessert.
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Old 09-14-2011, 08:14 PM   #15
klacey1
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Our first TS was Rose & Crown, a new place for us. We checked in around 6:50, about ten minutes before our 7:00 ADR. Unfortunately, we ended up waiting awhile for this one-- maybe until like 7:10. They had told us when we checked in that they were actually waiting about a half hour behind, so when they asked us if we wanted inside, outside, or first available, I said first available despite Zach and my dislike for dining al fresco. I didn't want to get stuck in the WS when Illuminations started. If I had known that they actually weren't so far behind, we would have stuck it out for another five or so minutes to get a table inside so we could enjoy the pub atmosphere.
Our waiter, Joe was very nice, but unfortunately stretched too thin. We could see just how many tables he had, so we were sympathetic and didn't mind that service could be a little slow.
We started off with a Diet Coke (me) and Coke (Zach) and these rolls:

They were pretty standard Pilsbury-grade frozen rolls with regular butter, but that was fine by us. They were warm and I've hardly ever met a carb I didn't love!
This meal will be pretty boring variety-wise, as we ordered the same exact thing for our entree and dessert. We both went for the Sunday roast:

Oh my goodness. This was just fantastic. The meat was very tender and the shallot gravy had a quite interesting, almost bitter bite to it. It was AMAZING with the mashed potatoes and the Yorkshire pudding, which I had never had. The pudding was crunchy on the outside and doughy on the inside-- so good! We actually made them about a week after we returned and realized how simple they are-- a few drops of vegetable oil in a hot muffin pan, then pour in a mixture of eggs/flour/milk to cook at 450F for about 20 minutes. Ours were good, but R&C's were even better!
The beans were garlicky and crunchy, just the way I like my veggies. The mashed potatoes weren't too flavored, but great with the gravy, like I said. Zach and I both ate as much as we could fit in our stomachs!

We did manage to eat a decent amount of our sticky toffee pudding, though! I wasn't too crazy about the white pudding surrounding the cake, but the soaked cake was delicious! It was soft and had the texture of an Indian dessert that I just loved. Zach had asked for a cup of coffee to go with his dessert, which Joe forgot. This was really his only misstep, and like I said, we were understanding since he clearly had way too many tables.

Zach and I both gave this meal a 5/5! Our waiter was very nice, the food was delicious, and the atmosphere felt authentic and fun. We will definitely be back

Meal total: I still have to find those receipts, but I believe the meal was around $65 and we tipped about $20. I'll add the correct amount when I find the receipt!
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