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Old 09-21-2012, 07:38 PM   #241
mrsw94
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My daughter asked to go to Ariel's with my MIL when we are there next month. My FIL called today and the only reservation he could get was on the patio. Do the princesses still come out there, or should I have him try for another day? Thanks!
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Old 09-21-2012, 07:54 PM   #242
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My daughter asked to go to Ariel's with my MIL when we are there next month. My FIL called today and the only reservation he could get was on the patio. Do the princesses still come out there, or should I have him try for another day? Thanks!
Yes, the princesses will start on the inside of the restaurant and then will make there way out to the outdoor seating before returning to the inside to finish up. Every table whether inside or out, will see the princesses!!
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Old 09-22-2012, 02:47 AM   #243
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Originally Posted by mrsw94 View Post
My daughter asked to go to Ariel's with my MIL when we are there next month. My FIL called today and the only reservation he could get was on the patio. Do the princesses still come out there, or should I have him try for another day? Thanks!
The interior of the restaurant is nicely decorated but I actually prefer the patio. Its quieter and more relaxing out there plus the tables are further apart and with the water in the background you have a decent chance of a nicer backdrop for your photos. Its covered fairly well and they will try to seat everyone to ensure you're not in the sun.
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Old 09-22-2012, 11:15 AM   #244
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We just finished four days at DLR and did three character meals so I thought I'd share a brief report on them since this thread was so helpful to me.

The Plaza Inn with Minnie and Friends

As is becoming our tradition, we went the Plaza Inn our first morning. It was Sunday, so we benefited from MM and entered early.

As always, the character interaction was wonderful. We met: Minnie, Pluto, Chip, Dale, Fairy Godmother, and Max. They each came around several times in the 90 minutes we were there and spent quite a bit of time each visit. My youngest DD is only 7 months and this was her first visit. She wasn't sure she liked the characters, and they were so good at seeing that and staying back a bit while still interacting with her. (She warmed up towards the end and was great with characters the rest if the visit.)

The food was average, as usual. We don't go for the food, so it doesn't bother us. I did have to pay for DD3 this visit, which is a bit painful since she eats so little when distracted. Basically, a small bowl of cereal and a small bit of fruit.

My DH and I have learned what we like the best and go for that now. The omelette station is pretty good. Much better than the scrambled eggs and all the items they serve with that. Fruit, Mickey waffles, cereal. Some of the pastries are ok and some are dry.

Overall, this is a favorite for us. We love starting our trip off with meeting Minnie since our DD3 absolutely loves her. It is nice to be in the park for it, too. I definitely recommend this breakfast as long as you aren't looking for a foodie experience.
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Old 09-22-2012, 01:11 PM   #245
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Ariel's Grotto - Lunch

We were at DLR when it was very hot, and DD3 wanted to meet the princesses (she has never liked them before this trip.) the idea of standing in line for 45-60 minutes in 102 degree heat didn't enthuse me. I had hesitated to book at Ariel's Grotto based on the cost and mixed reviews. But I had a gift card that would cover most of the cost, so I decided we'd give it a try and skip standing in the heat.

We booked for lunch and the only open spots were on the patio. I didn't remember reading anything about the patio, so I was a bit nervous, but they told me there was no difference. I would say there is a bit of a difference- it was much calmer on the patio and a nice view. If we went back, I would lean towards booking the patio.

We received the appetizer tower right away- three plates on a wire tower rack. My DH in particular really liked this. It had a large variety of items: cheese, prosciutto, olives, veggies, fruit jello, fruit and salad. There was also a bread basket with sourdough rolls and softened butter. It was a promising start, and I was pleasantly surprised because I had read some negatives on the appetizer tower.

They brought out our entrees a little too quickly for my taste but it's probably because people at the park want to hurry.

I had the Tri Tip. I first asked for medium well then thought better of it and asked for medium. My DH was puzzled until it arrived and it was definitely more medium well than medium. Which was exactly what I wanted just not what I ordered. the potatoes were pretty good and the veggies were ok, just a bit overcooked. Overall, though, it was a nice plate of food. And there was more than enough; they are not stingy with the portion sizes.

My DH had the redfish. It was pretty good; cooked nicely. It came with rice pilaf a d the same veggies I had. He liked it well enough. We both thought the food was better than we got at any other character breakfast.

DD3 got Mac and cheese. It was pretty ok, according to DH (I don't like Mac and cheese). DD didn't think it was as good as the mac and cheese she got one night at La Brea in DTD. DD ate about half. It came with the standard DLR fruit side- grapes.

The dessert tray was quite nice. I liked the chocolate cake, which was definitely not a molten lava cake as advertised, but still very good. The chocolate shell with fresh berries was all eaten up by my DD. The cupcakes were cute. The cookies were just ok.

I did notice a family of six and their appetizer tower and dessert plate were the same sizes as ours. I wondered at what point you get more considering you are still essentially paying per person for the shared items. But then, we didn't finish our shared items anyway.

The characters were ok. We met Ariel on the way in and she was very nice. We met four other princesses: Aurora, Snow White, Cinderella, and Belle. They were announced one at a time but in quick succession. They stayed for about a minute, maybe a bit more. They all said essentially the same thing: thank you for coming to my party, princess. Can we get a picture for mom and dad? Enjoy your day. Cinderella said a bit more to DD about being a good sister and how she (Cinderella) didn't have nice sisters.

The interaction was pretty lame, especially compared to other character meals. They only come around once, which is also different than other meals. I knew that going in (which was why I hadn't planned on this one) but it was still a bit disappointing considering you are paying extra to meet the princesses and the interaction was the same as in the meet and greet line, which is free. Still, the food was better than I had expected and it was much nicer than standing in the heat for 45 min.

Would we do this one again? Maybe at some point in the future, but not anytime soon.
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Last edited by tiffjoy; 09-23-2012 at 02:39 AM.
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Old 09-22-2012, 03:58 PM   #246
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Paradise Pier Hotel PCH Grill Surf's Up with Mickey and Friends

I had read good things about this character experience, so I scheduled it for our last day (non-park day). I figured it would be a nice good bye meal.

The dining room is quite small, which is great for seeing the characters. We did Goofy's Kitchen last year, and we didn't like it, in part because it was so big.

We met Mickey on the way in and got the picture. Unlike at Ariel's, he is right there jn the restaurant and interacts with people when there aren't new guests to greet.

The food was quite good with some unique offerings. My DD tried Mickey pancakes. My DH and I loved the banana Carmel French toast. I really enjoyed the chilequiles. They had an omelet station as well and different fresh fruit options.

The character interaction (which is really the whole reason we go to these) was absolutely fantastic. By far, our best experience at either DLR or WDW.

We met: Mickey, Stitch, Pluto, and Minnie. They came around to the tables too many times to count. Every so often, there was a chance for all the kids to go dance on stage with Mickey, Pluto, and Stitch. It was really cute and interactive.

There weren't many people when we were there and we came in towards the end, so maybe that was part of it, but the characters just hung out and played with our DD3 and a few other kids. We got pics of DD dancing with each of them and several pics of them all together. She spent about half an hour hanging out with them. Whenever a new group came in, Mickey would greet them then come back. They also made sure to still interact with the other guests, but most of the kids were up front playing with all the characters and there really wasn't that many people by then. They were also really cute with our little DD, who is only 7 months.

We weren't rushed at all. A couple times, I told DD3 we should leave, but the characters kept playing with her. It was an amazing experience for her. They even did our photo with Mickey over again since DD3 had been a bit grumpy and didn't want to be in it at the start.

We are definitely going back to this one again. I would highly recommend it.
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Last edited by tiffjoy; 09-23-2012 at 02:44 AM.
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Old 09-22-2012, 11:18 PM   #247
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Tiffjoy, thank you so much for the detailed reviews. I'm planning on going to possibly up to four (all but Storytellers) character meals for our Oct-Nov trip, and your review points have been helpful in thinking about what to expect.
I will say that you confirmed my suspicions of what AG would be like for me (a way to get a decent meal while saying we met the princesses without standing in line outdoors) but I have great sympathy for the face actors and how much harder it might be for them compared to people in a giant costume that carries a fixed happy expression no matter what you might be thinking about the visitors.
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Old 09-23-2012, 02:34 AM   #248
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Originally Posted by TigerlilyAJ
I will say that you confirmed my suspicions of what AG would be like for me (a way to get a decent meal while saying we met the princesses without standing in line outdoors) but I have great sympathy for the face actors and how much harder it might be for them compared to people in a giant costume that carries a fixed happy expression no matter what you might be thinking about the visitors.
I agree it is difficult, but on the other hand, we had really great experiences with other face actors just in meet and greet lines. Later that day, we met Mary Poppins and Bert and they were fantastic with everyone they were meeting. They spent several minutes with my DD3, chatting with her and really interacting. The Fairy Godmother at Minnie's breakfast was super sweet to my DD3, who was completely shy and tongue-tied because this was the first character of the trip. She re-tied her dress bow and chatted with her about how she did this for Cinderella all the time. Then she chatted some more, carrying on a charming one-sided conversation with my awestruck little girl. I was very impressed.

I do understand it is challenging, but it's still a bit aggravating to pay so much and have them interact so little. We even tried to talk with Snow White about how she's my DD's favorite, and she showed her her little lamb dressed as Snow White and there was pretty much no interaction. She just said, "oh, thank you." In comparison, Mary Poppins had a lot to say about the stuffed lamb dressed as Snow White and even showed her off to people in line behind us. Maybe the princesses are relatively new CMs?
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Old 09-23-2012, 02:44 AM   #249
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiffjoy
Paradise Pier Hotel PCH Grill Surf's Up with Mickey and Friends

I had read good things about this character experience, so I scheduled it for our last day (non-park day). I figured it would be a nice good bye meal.

The dining room is quite small, which is great for seeing the characters. We did Goofy's Kitchen last year, and we didn't like it, in part because it was so big.

We met Mickey on the way in and got the picture. Unlike at Ariel's, he is right there jn the restaurant and interacts with people when there aren't new guests to greet.

The food was quite good with some unique offerings. My DD tried Mickey pancakes. My DH and I loved the banana Carmel French toast. I really enjoyed the chilequiles. They had an omelet station as well and different fresh fruit options.

The character interaction (which is really the whole reason we go to these) was absolutely fantastic. By far, our best experience at either DLR or WDW.

We met: Mickey, Stitch, Pluto, and Minnie. They came around to the tables too many times to count. Every so often, there was a chance for all the kids to go dance on stage with Mickey, Pluto, and Stitch. It was really cute and interactive.

There wasn't many people when we were there and we cane in towards the end, so maybe that was part of it, but the characters just hung out and played with our DD3 and a few other kids. We got pics of DD dancing with each of them and several pics of them all together. She spent about half an hour hanging out with them. Whenever a new group came in, Mickey would greet them then come back. They also made sure to still interact with the other guests, but most of the kids were up front playing with all the characters and there really wasn't that many people by then. They were also really cute with our little DD, who is only 7 months.

We weren't rushed at all. A couple times, I told DD3 we should leave, but the characters kept playing with her. It was an amazing experience for her. They even did our photo with Mickey over again since DD3 had been a bit grumpy and didn't want to be in it at the start.

We are definitely going back to this one again. I would highly recommend it.
I've been very confused as to which character meals to do. Will definitely schedule this one! When I make our reservation can I just pay for it then?
Thanks!
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Old 09-23-2012, 02:46 AM   #250
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Originally Posted by lurpee

I've been very confused as to which character meals to do. Will definitely schedule this one! When I make our reservation can I just pay for it then?
Thanks!
Kerri
I'm not sure. We paid for ours at the restaurant with vouchers we received when we booked our trip. So ours was prepaid, but not through Disney.
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Old 09-23-2012, 02:58 PM   #251
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Originally Posted by tiffjoy View Post
Ariel's Grotto - Lunch

I did notice a family of six and their appetizer tower and dessert plate were the same sizes as ours. I wondered at what point you get more considering you are still essentially paying per person for the shared items. But then, we didn't finish our shared items anyway.

The characters were ok. We met Ariel on the way in and she was very nice. We met four other princesses: Aurora, Snow White, Cinderella, and Belle. They were announced one at a time but in quick succession. They stayed for about a minute, maybe a bit more. They all said essentially the same thing: thank you for coming to my party, princess. Can we get a picture for mom and dad? Enjoy your day. Cinderella said a bit more to DD about being a good sister and how she (Cinderella) didn't have nice sisters.

The interaction was pretty lame, especially compared to other character meals. They only come around once, which is also different than other meals. I knew that going in (which was why I hadn't planned on this one) but it was still a bit disappointing considering you are paying extra to meet the princesses and the interaction was the same as in the meet and greet line, which is free. Still, the food was better than I had expected and it was much nicer than standing in the heat for 45 min.

Would we do this one again? Maybe at some point in the future, but not anytime soon.
I agree, we went for our daughters birthday with a group of 12. We were given 3 appetizers trays and only 2 dessert trays between us (luckily we had ordered a cake).
They also had given colouring packs to some kids but I had to request them from one of the waiters for mine, later in the day I saw someone wearing a Ariels grotto badge they had been given at the meal (we got one at minnies the next day) but we werent, I felt a bit miffed given our large group size (and therefore cost) that they didnt bother for us
Also on the food note I think given the target audience I don't understand the choices on the appetizer tray in particular.
I thought the character interaction was ok, cinderella was the best. My daughter had a hard time understanding why all the princess walked out next to her and then went the other way as we were the 2nd to last table on the rotation and I think it would be nice if they worked out a way for the 4 to follow a slightly different path from each other.
I knew ahead of time but I still don't understand why Ariel is not set up as a mermaid
We ended up lining up for the princess fair anyway to try to find Tiana, for the cost it would be great to have all the princesses.
Glad to have done it once but I preferred Minnies breakfast
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Old 09-25-2012, 04:20 PM   #252
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Just FYI, when we were there last week, we were told that brunch for Goofy's Kitchen ended at 12:00. Don't know if the CM told us wrong (cuz we all know how accurate they can be,) or if it is an off season thing.
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Old 09-25-2012, 04:22 PM   #253
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Just FYI, when we were there last week, we were told that brunch for Goofy's Kitchen ended at 12:00. Don't know if the CM told us wrong (cuz we all know how accurate they can be,) or if it is an off season thing.
Was that a weekday? If so, I believe that is typical. I think Goofy's stays open for brunch until 2 PM on weekends and maybe some holidays.
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Old 09-25-2012, 04:38 PM   #254
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Was that a weekday? If so, I believe that is typical. I think Goofy's stays open for brunch until 2 PM on weekends and maybe some holidays.
That's correct - a noon closure is not at all unusual, depending on the day of the week and time of the year/season.

The 2 p.m. closures are definitely weekends and/or peak time periods.

Also, unless things have changed, I think there are even certain days during the year where 1 p.m. is the closing time. Maybe the 1 p.m. closures are weekends during off-peak seasons or something? I'm not entirely sure, but I know there have been some 1 p.m. closures mixed in too.
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Old 09-25-2012, 05:45 PM   #255
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Was that a weekday? If so, I believe that is typical. I think Goofy's stays open for brunch until 2 PM on weekends and maybe some holidays.
It was on a Friday. We had decided on 11:00 since this thread said they did lunch until 1:00, so we had to re-decide what to do and call back later.
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