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Review: 1900 Park Fare

OK. We all know that one of my major qualms with many Disney restaurants is inconsistency of experience. Some days, it’s great. Some days, it’s awful. You just don’t know what you’re going to get.

My visit to 1900 Park Fare was on one of those not-so-great days.

Now let me fully admit — here up front — that I know many folks who love 1900 Park Fare, swear by the food quality, and find the atmosphere charming. They have a great time at this restaurant, so understand that my review is just one of many.

Hopefully some readers (HINT HINT ;-)) will add their two cents to the comments section below so you can base your decision to go on a number of experiences.

Atmosphere

1900 Park Fare is located in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort (read: swanky), but it’s not a hoity toity spot. As a character meal and buffet, feel free to wear your shorts and t-shirt.

You can get to the Grand Floridian by car (park valet — the walk from self-parking can be long), monorail (take the resort line), or boat from the Magic Kingdom or the Polynesian Resort. The restaurant is located near the front entrance of the lobby, right under the monorail line and opposite the check-in desks. I highly recommend an Advance Dining Reservation for this one, as it does book up quickly.

When you arrive, check in at the small podium. There will be a line in the small hallway past the podium — guests are offered the chance to have their photo taken before their meal (and paid for later) against the pretty fairytale backdrop. On our visit there were no characters in the photos.

Here’s a tip — if you’d rather not have your photo taken, ask to please be led directly to your table if/when it’s ready. You don’t have to wait in that line if you’d rather go photo-less.

Photo Background

Photo Package

When you’re called for your table, you’ll be lead through a set of double doors into the dining room to your table. Unfortunately, on our visit we were called over 40 minutes late for our Advance Dining Reservation. 40 minutes late! I know that, in Disney World, an ADR only means that you’ll be seated at the next available table for your party size and isn’t a real reservation, but come on! A 40-minute wait with an ADR means that the restaurant planned poorly. End of story. We were not pleased; especially because we had and upcoming appointment that was rapidly approaching.

Eventually we were seated and we proceeded to wait for 15 minutes for a server to approach. This would have been frustrating at any restaurant, but when you’re at a buffet and you know you’ll be serving yourself anyway, it’s especially so.

While we were sitting there, we were able to assess the dining room. It’s very loud. And large. Cavernous in fact. And for some reason the lighting gives everything a sickly beige tone. The lack of windows and natural light adds to the weird atmosphere of the room. Very cafeteria-like, but not in a good way.

Dining room

Main Dining Room

Maybe if you get seated in the strange little “additional room” at the back, which has a doorway, but does not serve as an entrance for the restaurant, things are different since you have a little natural light. But it still looks pretty nondescript in here to me.

Second dining area

Table Setting

The Victorian carousel theme of the restaurant is played out on the walls and in the decor of the room. I absolutely loved the massive pipe organ on the wall and the odd carousel animals scattered throughout the restaurant. They’re quite beautiful!

Organ

Detail on Organ

Whimsical Decor

Carousel decor

carousel horse

Characters

Another plus for this restaurant are the characters. While other Disney World character restaurants have sets of characters grouped together that make sense — 100 Acre Wood characters, the Fab Five, etc — 1900 Park Fare is a hodge-podge. It reminds me of Disneyland in that way, which is a good thing! Both boys and girls will enjoy the group of Disney friends here!

You can run into just about anyone at 1900 Park Fare, though Mary Poppins, Pooh Bear, Tigger, Alice and the Mad Hatter, and various members of Cinderella’s extended family are the most likely to join you (Note that Cinderella, Lady Tremaine, Prince Charming, and the wicked Stepsisters show up only for dinner most of the time).

On the day we were there, we saw Pooh Bear, Alice and the Mad Hatter, Tigger, and Mary Poppins. But, actually, the only one we really interacted with was Pooh Bear. In fact, even though it took us 15 minutes to see a server — service that stayed true to form for the rest of the breakfast — and were at the restaurant for at least 45 minutes, Pooh Bear was the only character that actually came to our table. As such, I had to take pictures of the other characters in a fly-by-night fashion and with other people’s kids.

If you’re the owner of these kids and want me to take the pictures down, just let me know.

Mary Poppins

Alice in Wonderland

Mad Hatter

Winnie the Pooh

Tigger

Eats

When our order for drinks was finally taken and we were given the go-ahead to tackle the buffet, we headed over to the low-ceilinged, less-than-attractive buffet area. You see the Grand Floridian is pushing 40 30 (whoops!), and I would believe this buffet area was around from the beginning. ;-)

Buffet Area

That said, I do kind of dig the “quilted” wall tiles, and the Alice themeing on the dish identification placards is very cool.

Themeing detail

Decor on Buffet

The buffet is comparable to other Disney breakfast buffets. Fruit, breads, muffins, pastries, breakfast meats and eggs, Mickey waffles, cereals, french toast, breakfast pizza, veggies, yogurt and granola, biscuits and gravy, and hand-carved meats.

watermelon

Fruit and Pastries

Cream Cheese Danish, Croissants, Blueberry Muffin, Raisin Bran Muffin and Grapes

Bagels

Plain Bagels, Onion Bagels, Plain Cream Cheese, Boursin Herb, Salmon Spread

baked goods

White Bread, Raisin Bread, Multi-Grain Bread, Grape Jelly, Strawberry Jam, Orange Marmalade

Yogurt and Mix-Ins

Veggies and Lox

Cereal

Breakfast Pizza, Oven Roasted Potatoes, Bacon, Sausage, Mickey Waffles

Scrambled Eggs, Sausage, Bacon

Biscuits and Gravy

Grits, Oatmeal, Raisins, Brown Sugar

Maple French Toast and Pancakes

Mickey Waffles and French Toast

Baked Ham Carving Station

There are a few interesting additions to the 1900 Park Fare buffet line, however. Some of which are exclusive to this restaurant only!

We liked the option to have bananas foster syrup on our Mickey waffles…

Maple Syrup, Bananas Foster Syrup

banana syrup

…and the Lobster Benedict was certainly decadent for a Disney character breakfast!

Bacon, Lobster Benedict, Oven Roasted Potatoes

I’m always pleased to see a made-to-order omelet station, but the endless line and extremely attentive chef meant that by the time I got my omelet, my husband had already let one plate of food get cold while waiting for me and had gone up to get another one. Once again — poor planning on the restaurant’s part.

Omelet Chef

omelet making

Omelet

1900 Park Fare’s Strawberry Soup is a thing of legends, but our meal had already gone so far south by the time I tried it, I was not in a mood to enjoy it. The taste is extremely creamy, but I couldn’t help thinking I was eating something that held melted before its time. Perhaps if our overall experience had been better, if the atmosphere of the restaurant was pleasant versus feeling like a low-grade cafeteria, I would have indulged and enjoyed.

Strawberry Soup and Strawberries

Strawberry Soup in Bowl

And, of course, who could resist soft-serve ice cream for breakfast, complete with plenty of toppings?

Ice Cream Dispenser

Ice Cream Toppings

Now, just to compound our dining woes on this ill-fated morning, there was no butter to be found on the buffet — at least not that I could find. Even by the breads, where there was jelly, boursin, salmon spread, cream cheese… no butter. I finally asked a buffet cast member, who said I would have to ask my server for butter.

Sigh. I hadn’t seen my server in…what?…decades?

We finally got some butter — after our meal was already cold for the second time — and used a couple of cursory swipes on a now-chilly Mickey waffle just to show we’d used it.

Food plate

We paid the bill and we bolted for freedom. And for my next appointment; for which I was now very late. Luckily, it involved drinking margaritas. Exactly what I needed after breakfast at 1900 Park Fare.

Overall

I think my opinion of this place is pretty clear, but let it suffice to say that we did not have a good time. Our food was mediocre, when it wasn’t cold due to the length of time we had to wait for butter, drinks, and my omelet to be made. I can’t really comment on character interaction because only one character came to our table in the 45 minutes we were there.

And the atmosphere of the restaurant is exceedingly loud (I know character meals are loud, but I have a feeling that this type of explosive noise had a lot to do with the cavernous room and the acoustics therein) and has that weird dim lighting that makes food look just plain unappetizing. (Thus the flash pictures above — the non-flash pics, no matter how much I edited them, still looked gross.)

It just wasn’t our day, I guess. As I said, I know that many of you love this restaurant. I hope you’ll mention your good experiences in the comments section below.

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78 Comments

  1. J says:

    I definitely think this is the worst of the Walt Disney World buffets (except for maybe the relative blandness and unoriginality of the buffet spread during breakfast at Cape May Cafe). I’ll never understand why they have this huge, cavernous restaurant, with a little tiny buffet room. It’s almost like it was originally supposed to be a kitchen, which they converted into an on-stage area. On top of the serving area feeling cramped, the food really feels like it’s cafeteria food. I’d imagine those who “rave” about this place, are also the type of people to frequent the local Hometown Buffet, and rave about the quality at that establishment. Also, props on your complains about the strawberry soup. It tastes like melted ice cream.

    Sidenote – I’ve also had the most unprofessional experiences with the characters here. Either they were highly unpleasant or broke character to hit on me or my friend. Just uncomfortable.

  2. Bex says:

    We went here for dinner on our last trip and it was not great – we asked about vegetarian food and were told that most of the stuff that looked veggie in fact wasn’t (pasta and noodles) but that the chef was too busy to make anything. He did later come and find us when the veggie in the party had loaded up on desserts and we were soon to be leaving.

    It is very busy and there isn’t very much room to move about and unlike other character buffets where you can avoid having other families in your pictures – no chance here. Although that might be because we were a table for 2 crammed in between much larger tables.

    We are planning on going back for breakfast just to give it another chance. Like you said some people seem to have a great time – I’ve got my fingers crossed.

  3. ERic says:

    We’ve had breakfast and dinner here. During breakfast in January, while not the best breakfast on property we certainly didn’t experience anything like this article. We had very good character interaction, the food was tasty, and the service was solid. We had dinner her 2 years ago and the character interaction of Cinderella’s family was stellar. Again, not the best meal on property but it was proper. We have ADR’s for breakfast and dinner for our October trip.

  4. John says:

    I thought this place was terrible. We took our grandchildren to dinner and after waiting 45 minutes I finally went to the desk to see when we would be called and found out there was a problem with our pager. We were seated in the second dining room and it was very crowded with little room to move around. I would rate this experience as one of the worst we had at Disney World. The food and service were both lacking in quality.

  5. Alan says:

    The feeling I am getting from the reviews over the past couple of months makes me think that we have the food and beverage quality going in two directions. The more up scale places are trying new ideas ( the dessert and drink flights for example ) but the more pedestrian restaurants, as AJ reviewed above, are not really paying attention to the quality that we should expect from Disney restaurants. The Grand Floridian Hotel is arguably the most up scale company owned hotel on the property. Whether you are staying there or just eating there you expect real quality. When an Disney enthusiast like AJ finds both the food and especially the service poor they have a problem that needs to be addressed.

    Just when things really seemed to be improving …

  6. Tricia says:

    I personally love 1900 and we try and get there once a trip. Now, I’m not a huge breakfast fan, so I’ll admit we usually do the dinner buffet. We’ve always had positive experiences and I’ll now be watching to see if your experience is becoming the norm…

  7. Kerry says:

    I talked my family into going here last year. We were excited about but that soon changed when we arrived. I was disappointed as soon as we checked in. The hostess was not friendly and it seemed they were trying to push everyone through the pictures to fast. I heard other families complaining also. The service was horrible and the food was nothing to write home about. We were there for dinner and was surprised that the food wasn’t better than it was. Had to wait on most of the food to be refilled, just not on top of things. Cinderella and the stepsisters were there. Most of them stayed long enough to sign autographs and get pictures but not all of them. For being at the Floridian I was very very disappointed to say the least. Not on our list of ever going back. Thank goodness we have so many other choices.

  8. Dale says:

    Ate here a few years ago for breakfast. Service and food were not good to put it mildly. Will never go back. Although we did have great character interaction with Alice and the Mad Hatter.

    I’ve always found it interesting that for the flagship resort, the Poly and the Contemporary have the better dining options in each category (Kona, O’hana, CA Grill). The only restaraunt at the Grand that I recommend is V&A’s.

  9. TaraLee says:

    We had a very similar experience at dinner in October. We were called over an hour later than our ADR time, even though we showed up 20 minutes early! The food was ok, but the service was poor…. it took over 20 minutes for us to flag down our waitress for our bill at the end. To the dismay of our 4 year old daughter, Cinderella and Prince Charming never made it to our table. And to make matters even worse, because of all of the extra time we spent waiting, we missed the Main Street Electrical Parade that night…. Definitely not high on our list of restaurants to return to….

  10. Amanda says:

    We had breakfast here on our first trip to WDW back in 2008. We didn’t like it either. We had to wait a long time to be seated. Mary Poppins spent so much time talking to the boy at the table next to us and then she skipped us. We had to hunt her down just to get a picture. We’ve eaten at several character meals since then, and this is one of the only ones we will not go back too or recommend to others. One of the pp mentioned Cape May Cafe. The food there may be unexciting (but decent,) but the characters came around to see us twice while we ate there and there were no long lines for the food.

  11. lynn says:

    Our experience was similar to Dale’s. The interaction with the Mad Hatter was awesome, he had a fantastic sit down with us. But the food was mediocre. The cast member “server” (not sure what it would be called since a a buffet really doesn’t need a server at tables) was sweet, but she seemed to have a large area of tables to cover for a busy time of day. It probably doesn’t help my perception of the meal that I’m not a breakfast person to begin with, but am not in a hurry to go back there to try other meals.

  12. C&MC&M says:

    I am extremely disappointed that this restaurant has not improved in all these years and with I am sure is hundreds of complaints. When I was here as a kid, my sister had to write a business letter as a lesson for missing school days (it was that long ago that the art of actually writing a letter was a lesson :-) Since we had such a horrible meal here, she choose to write to Disney explaining the extreme noise from the calliope and the long buffet lines. She received a letter back stating that they valued her opinions and would look into her complaints. Guess they are still looking …..

  13. Tony says:

    I have eaten here at night and we had cinderella, prince charming and the step sisters as characters. The food for the price was terrible, go any where else and spend your money. This buffet for dinner was nothing special. I feel the price for this buffet is WAY OVER PRICED !!!!

    There are much better choices on property.

  14. Narda says:

    I too did not enjoy 1900 Park Fare. The characters were wonderful. We had dinner there so it was Cinderella and family. The dinner buffet was just blah. We did have to wait for our seats but not more than 20 minutes. I agree completely about the feeling of a cafeteria and the loudness in the room. We were seated right next to the kitchen door which was just wonderful. HA HA! I have no intentions of going back for dinner but may consider breakfast in the future.

  15. Carol says:

    We had a breakfast ADR here in 2008 to celebrate our sons 11th birthday. We had never been before, but figured it was at Disney’s flagship resort so it had to be good. Long wait to get seated and our waitress was not exactly what one expects from Disney. She looked miserable and we felt guilty if we needed to ask for anything! I completely agree about the ‘beige’ factor in the restaurant as well, and the noise, but you have to expect any character meal to be noisy. To be fair the food was pretty much what one would expect from a Disney breakfast buffet and was acceptable as far as quality went. We did have excellent interaction with the characters though. Our table was close to a door which led into another room, and the Mad Hatter came over and after chatting to our birthday boy for a couple of minutes, just opened this door and pulled our sons chair, with him still on it, through this side door and then left him there and came back in to chat with the rest of us. It was really amusing, especially to the kids. We got lots of photos with Mary and Alice and overall I would say it was a decent experience. Nothing as bad as the reviewers.

  16. Steven says:

    My family did this breakfast once….It was pretty good….We will try them all eventually, but our biggest entertainment while we were there was at the end of our meal. A waiter cleaned a table of at least 10 people in seconds! He was unbelievable….I recorded this & we watch from time to time for a good laugh…..It really was incredible…..

  17. April R says:

    We had dinner there last week and it was by far the worst meal we had all week. The service was okay but the food was just yuck. Bad cafeteria food would be a good description. DH and DS ate almost nothing. We did have good character interaction but it didn’t make up for the bad food. Thank goodness we had free dining because I would have been sick if I had to pay that expensive tab OOP. We will never go there again and I would actually discourage anyone who asks me about.

  18. Mike says:

    We ate there in January for dinner, and will not be going back. The quality of the food was deplorable, especially for the price. We were seated in the little side room that used to be a hallway — felt removed from the main area. The server, like in the experience described above, took a long time to come to our table after we were seated, which was an issue for us as my wife is diabetic and needed to eat. The service in general was worse than we have experienced in other Disney restaurants. The only plus were the characters, though we could have had better experiences in the park. Some items on the buffet were pretty gross looking — especially after being picked over by other guests and not replinished quickly enough. In sum, I’ve had better fast food meals than this.

  19. Michelle B. says:

    We dined here for our first time in Jan 2011 since we were staying at GF. We had to wait about 5 minutes from the time we checked in for our ADR. We were the only ones waiting. Turns out the Photopass was broken and they were trying to fix it and just gave up. We had the cast member take a picture of my husband, myself, and my stuffed Yellow Angry Bird. Our server was relatively prompt with the drinks and we thought the food was fine. Not great, but fine. I personally liked the Strawberry soup. You liked frozen ice cream for breakfast, and apparently I like melted ice cream!

    Because it was January, the restaurant was only about 3/4 full, so the fur characters made 2 rounds to us. I have a great video of Tigger picking up the Angry Bird and tossing it across the room. Tigger knows how to play Angry Birds!

    So all was good until we had finished our meal and wanted the check. Could not find our server. My husband gave up and left to use the restroom and ask something at the front desk. While he was gone the face characters (Mary Poppins, Mad Hatter, Alice) finally made it to my table. Then our server finally shows up and was disappointed my husband had left since she was going to bring out a surprise birthday cupcake for me and sing. I told her that was nice but just to wrap it to go. About 10 minutes later my husband comes back and was surprised I still hadn’t gotten the bill. We were finally paid and out of there 10 minutes after that.

    So if you want a long, leisurely meal, I guess it’s a fine place. But most people don’t associate long and leisurely with Buffet. I doubt we will be back. I’d much rather do The Wave.

  20. Charlie says:

    I made my first visit to 1900 Park Fare for Mother’s Day this year, and I found it to be phenomenal, and it far outstripped the Crystal Palace Character Breakfast I went to last Monday. We waited a bit for our table, about 20 minutes, but on Mother’s Day I’m not surprised. We were taken to our table, and promptly served some of the wonderful house juice, which I believe is the mango-guava-orange blend. We got our coffee, and headed to the buffet. Everything was nice and hot, and fresh. The omelet station was busy, busy, busy, but I don’t like those and headed for the scrambled eggs, which were some of the best I’ve ever had. The pecan buns were very, very good. The fresh fruit was flavorful, cold, and looked good, and the bacon was of a nice thickness (two of the major problems I had with the Crystal Palace). The characters all came by our place at least 1x, and a couple of them twice. When the Mad Hatter asked where the other diners were, and we said the omelet line, he said he’d make sure to come back later, and he did. They all interacted nicely, especially for a table of 5 adults. Overall, it’s the best breakfast experience I’ve had on property. Did they put some extra effort in because it was Mother’s Day (a holiday according to Tables in Wonderland)? I dunno. Either way, I enjoyed it, and it’s my first choice now for breakfast on property.

  21. Jan says:

    My family had an overall lousy time there this past May- we had made an advanced dessert reservation over the phone for my daughter’s birthday, only to be told when we arrived that this restaurant doesn’t do that and the Disney dining reservations line just didn’t know yet- They tried, badly, to make it up to her by giving her a placemat and a cupcake as well as a huge ice cream sundae. And while we didn’t think the food was bad, we hated the service- the waiter TOLD us to give him a tip then proceeded to stand at the table and stare at us while we ate waiting for us to put his cash tip (we use the dining plan and leave cash tips when we’re done with dinner at all WDW restaurants) in the folder. We hadn’t quite finished eating and don’t let people rush us at buffets so we continued eating and trying to ignore him. He then proceeded to tell us two more times to leave him his tip and essentially stalked me through the restaurant while I was getting pictures, acting as though my family was going to “dine and dash” even though our meal was prepaid on the dining plan– needless to say, he got NO tip after all that and my husband reported him to management. Because of this waiter, we will likely never return even though my kids loved Lady Tremaine and the stepsisters.

  22. kristen says:

    I have a few comments and reviews on this restaurant. We used to love going there for dinner back in the early 2000s. It was really good and we felt it was very good quality back then. We had dinner there in 2005 and it was great! We didn’t go back again until thanksgiving 2007 and it was VERY crowded. We all had a spectacular dinner! My daughter was dressed as Minnie mouse that day and the step sisters and step mother were telling her was prettier than Cinderella even though she was a rodent and were asking her if she was one of Cinderella’s rodent friends. Cinderella played on that same topic and asked her if she had seen Jaq and Gus anywhere. It was a very enjoyable experience all around for being such a crowded time of year! In January of 2008 we had gone to breakfast for the first time and we had an amazing time there and a great breakfast! My daughter had dressed as Alice this day and the character interaction was amazing! The restaurant was not crowded at all so that probably enhanced the experience. The mad hatter took my daughter around the restaurant trying to find the other Alice and see which one was the real Alice. It was a lot of fun and the food was amazing! We also went to dinner on this same trip and it was great too! My daughter was dressed as Cinderella and received a lot of attention from Cinderella and the price. the step sisters and mother also stayed in character with her, asking if she finished her chores, etc. My husband and brother were also at this dinner and the step sisters wanted to pose for pictures with them and were asking them if they were prices and at one point we had both sisters and the step mother at our table talking to the guys and the mother was seeing if they would be proper suitors for her daughters! It was very fun! Again it was not crowded which is probably why it was great and we received so much attention. It wasn’t just us, all the other tables were receiving a lot of attention as well. The food was great too and was always fresh on the buffet. But when we went back in 2009, we didn’t have a great experience at all! We waited for over an hour to be seated for dinner! We have a 6:30 ADR and we weren’t seated until almost 8pm. It was terribly busy in the restaurant for September and none of us enjoyed the food or the experience! We also could tell that these were not the same characters we have previously encountered. There was no character to them! I think we had met the same sisters and mother more than once (at least from what i could tell from my pictures) and this group was just not what i was expecting. The buffet was also different this time around. There was no more freshly sliced prime rib on the buffet, it was just a roast beef which wasn’t very good. The food was either cold or was empty! we were there for almost 2 hours just waiting for characters and food. The service was also terrible! That was the last time we had gone back. Our daughter is now too old for princess meals, as she says, so we haven’t been back. I would give it one more chance but i don’t think we will any time soon since our meal preferences have changed.

  23. Tina says:

    JUST AN FYI The Grand Floridian was opened in 1988 so it’s barely 20 years old, not pushing 40. Maybe you should do better research next time. Since your main goal seems to be slamming this restaraunt because you were ticked you had to wait 40 minutes past you reservation time.

  24. Theresa says:

    I agree with your review. I would not go back there either. I thought it was overpriced for what you get. But, I also have to say that in general I dislike buffets and character breakfasts because you don’t get a high quality of food or atmosphere.

  25. Great article – Thank you – just a note, the Grand Floridian is nowhere near pushing 40 – It opened in 1988 :)

  26. Erin says:

    The last time we ate here in 2009 was just that, our last. We ate here for dinner because I’m a huge Cinderella fan and the first time we ate here in 2008, our dinner was ruined by our travelling companions but our second and last visit really wasn’t much better. Despite being seated practically in the centre of the restaurant, we were practically ignored by servers and characters alike. Just because we were two adults at a character meal, that doesn’t mean we don’t want to see the characters. We hardly got any time with the characters at all. We were well past being done with our meals by the time any of the characters came to our table and when they did, they only spent about 2 seconds with either of us. We waited at least 30 minutes after our meal before the first character came around and then each character came by in rapid succession. The only reason we waited was because I wanted to see Cinderella and she hadn’t come by yet.

    From now on, we’ll either go to Cinderella’s Royal Table or find Cinderella in the Magic Kingdom.

  27. Rhonda says:

    We ate here last Dec. We arrived late because of a monorail delay. We were seated within 15 minutes. Our server was great, as was the food. The characters were great. We loved the stepsisters.

    Our only complaint was that we were near the door, and Florida was in the middle of a terrible cold snap. I felt really sorry for those who were nearer to the door than we were.

    Other than that, it was a lovely evening. It also gives us an excuse to visit the Grand Floridian. We took our daughters birthday gifts with us, and she opened them in the lobby after dinner.

  28. Amanda says:

    i don’t like breakfast here but i did enjoy dinner. Its one of the only places you can see prince charming too.

  29. vanessa says:

    Tina, wouldn’t you be mad if you had to wait 40 plus minutes for an adr? I know I would!! And she prob didn’t get a sorry or anything too. It was prob a mistake that she said “pushing 40 yrs” so no need to be a little crude. At least in my opinion it sounded like that. Chef Big Panda reminded her much better. With that said I’m so glad she made this review. I also dislike chef mickeys and might be great for the kids but the food wasn’t any cafeteria food. I can honestly say the food served in backstage locations for the mouse is way better then some of these places. Horrible service, crazy wait times and very loud. I do love the strawberry soup. If anyone else can back me up the better deals and less crowded in my opinion are the wave buffet, trails end, cape may cafe and the ak place I forgot it’s name all have characters with the exception of the wave and are so yummy!! Go give em a try and well like all places, you can have your good or bad days at these places.

  30. Kevin says:

    I agree with your comments on the room itself – cramped, noisy, and horrible lighting. But we enjoyed our meal overall. We had great interaction with all the characters both times we have visited (at dinner). Prince Charming, in particular, was delightful to my daughter.

    The food was decent for a buffet. Similar in quality to our meal at the Crystal Palace and a clear mark below Boma by our bufet standards.

  31. Stephanie says:

    We sadly experienced a long wait after our ADR time and limited service as well in October 2010. The server did get our juice order in promptly, but we didn’t see her again until the end of the meal. The server chastised us for using the cream on the table for the cereal saying we should have asked for it with the juice. We have done character meals, but never breakfast and had no idea. It ended up being a little funny because my daughter really loved the cream on the cereal and asked why we didn’t do that at home. The positives were we had great character interaction because it was a late breakfast reservation and the restaurant was emptying out. I will also say they kept the buffet well stocked to the end of breakfast and the food was decent. The bottom line though is I think Disney needs to step up the number of servers at buffet/family style meals though because we have noticed the trend of only seeing a server two or three times per meal at Crystal Palace and Liberty Tree dinner as well.

  32. Pat says:

    I think the bigger picture here is one I have talked about with friends and family that have visited the world a number of times and was also mentioned in this article – the inconsistency of Disney food/dining experiences. For example, we’ve had bad experiences at the Big River Grille on the Boardwalk and The Plaze restaurant at the Magic Kingdom, yet people on this site and other sites love those places and stop there each time. The same can be said for a lot of establishments on Disney property. It can be really hit or miss and for the price you pay, especially for the buffets, there should be a certain standard that is met.

  33. canada68 says:

    I had breakfast at 1900 Park Fare with my boyfriend in February 2010 and we both enjoyed it. We did wait a bit to be seated (perhaps about 20 minutes)… I agree that the room lacks something but it is pleasant overall. I found the noise level on par with any other character meal I’ve had (O’hana’s, Tusker House and Chef Mickey’s (I actually find Chef Mickey’s much louder but still fun :) ).
    All of the characters (great selection!) came to our table in a timely fashion…I had all of them sign Valentine’s cards for my nieces and they happily obliged. The Mad Hatter was especially entertaining.
    I would rate the food overall as fair-good but a couple of things stood out as being ‘great’- the Lobster Eggs Benedict (much better and lobster-y and perfectly cooked than you would think sitting on a buffet) and the bananas foster sauce for the waffles- delicious!
    Our server was friendly- we were seated promptly and she checked to make sure we had seen all of the characters.
    We have reservations for dinner here in September- we really love seeing Lady Tremaine and her daughters in the parks so we thought a character dinner with them would be really fun.

  34. AJ says:

    J — Good point that the buffet area seems a bit like it was originally a kitchen. Very low ceilings in there, too.

    Bex — I’m sorry to hear the Chef wasn’t able to attend to your needs until the end of your meal. That’s a bummer, and not very common. :-( Hope breakfast works out well for you!

    Eric — Thanks for your feedback!! It’s great to hear about the positive experiences!

    John — Sorry to hear you were the recipient of another bad experience :-(

    Alan — I really do think it’s catch as catch can. There are just so many moving parts at the larger Disney restaurants that I think at least a percentage of the guests are going to leave unhappy at the end of the evening for various different reasons — whether they’re the fault of the restaurant or the disposition of the guest at the time. That’s why I’m always looking for folks to share their positive experiences here if I’ve had a negative one. Very few Disney restaurants are consistently bad or consistently stellar — at least IMHO, of course!

    Tricia — Thanks for your comment! I should try dinner over there sometime soon.

    Kerry — I’m sorry to hear about the negative experience. Would love to hear about the other buffets you recommend! :-)

    Dale — I wish I’d been able to interact with Alice and the Mad Hatter. I think that would have been really fun! I agree that Poly and Contemporary have some fabulous restaurants!

    TaraLee — Ugh. I’m so sorry your little one missed out on Cinderella and Prince Charming!

    Amanda — Ha ha! I can just imagine you hunting down Mary Poppins! ;-) Agreed that Cape May offers a more relaxing and reliable breakfast.

    Lynn — I think the “too many tables per server” might be a big problem here!

    C&MC&M — Ha ha! I guess so!! :-)

    Tony — Thanks for your feedback. Yep; I haven’t tried dinner here yet. I think we’ll wait a while.

    Narda — Thanks for your review. I wonder if there’s a table that folks should request here. I couldn’t really find a “good” one.

    Carol — Thanks for the comments and sharing your experience! Sounds like the Hatter was a blast for your family!

    Steven — They’re so talented!! :-)

    April R — Thanks for your review. I’m so sorry you had such a bad time :-( Ugh.

    Mike — What a bummer. There’s nothing I hate more than a wasted meal at Disney!

    Michelle B. — Sounds like you encountered both good and bad! How hilarious to see Tigger throw the angry bird ;-) Agreed — I’m not a fan of being forced to eat quickly so they can turn over the tables, but when I WANT to get out of there, just gimme the check :-)

    Charlie — That’s awesome!! Thank you so much for sharing your experience! It sounds like you had a truly excellent time — what we all want to be able to expect from a Disney restaurant!

    Jan — Yeeks! What a weird experience! Isn’t it strange that one person having a bad day (your waiter, presumably) can ruin the whole morning?

    Kristen — Thanks for the reviews! That’s an awesome comment! You fall into my camp, then — keep going back to the same places and finding them to be very different depending on the day. It’s why I have a hard time recommending restaurants at Disney — you never know what you’re going to get from one visit to the next!

    Tina — Oh, dear — my apologies. I’ve changed the post accordingly. And my goal isn’t to slam the restaurant at all; it’s simply to give an honest representation of my experience. That’s what I do on all of my reviews, and, luckily, most of them are very good! :-) If you have a positive review of this restaurant to share, please do!

    Theresa — I’m wondering if I’m not starting to head that direction, too. We had a not-so-great Crystal Palace experience recently, but our other experiences were good, so I’ll keep trying!

    Chef — Noted! :-)

    Erin — Go to Akershus!! Cindy’s there from time to time, too! :-) Bummer to hear about your experience. I think that’s exactly what happened to us, but we didn’t have the time to wait for the characters.

    Rhonda — Sounds like a great evening! Thank you so much for sharing your experience!

    Amanda — Great point on Prince Charming!

    Vanessa — Thanks for the props!! Agreed — I like the restaurants you mentioned quite a bit! And, yes, you can definitely have your good days and your bad days. That’s why I like to go to places multiple times to be 100% sure I have a good handle on whether or not I can recommend them. Still — inconsistency can strike at any time ;-)

    Kevin — Thank you for this review. I agree; it’s under the Boma mark, but the food is on a par with other typical Disney breakfast buffets. Sounds like you guys had a great time! :-)

    Stephanie — Excellent summary!! More servers needed. :-) Love the anecdote of the cream on the table. Is that right — would you have to order milk to have on the cereal? It’s not available on the buffet? I didn’t even check.

    Pat — Yes indeedy. That’s my one constant on this blog — Disney restaurants are inconsistent. You really don’t know what you’re going to get. That’s one main reason why I started this blog — to show people what type of food is available, and to created a good forum for others to share their experiences. Overall, there are lots of moving parts — and moving Chefs — in these restaurants. It’s tough to keep one restaurant consistent, not to mention over 100. That said, there are a few superstars in the bunch, and we’ll keep returning to those time and time again.

    canada68 — Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing your positive review! What time did you go? I wonder if that has something to do with it…

  35. Erin says:

    We have eaten at 1900 Park Fare ~3 times for breakfast with the most recent being this past December. I guess we have been lucky, but we have never received poor service. Our server in December was particularly attentive. Unfortunately, we don’t expect exceptional food for most of our disney dining. We enjoy this restaurant for the fresh fruit and made to order omelet station –the latter which is not available at most of the breakfast buffets. For my child who doesn’t like ice cream, they also have Rice Krispie treats here which he loves! For a non-character breakfast buffet, Boma at Animal Kingdom is probably one of the best. I’m sorry you had such a bad experience here, AJ. For what is charged and for how long most of us book an ADR in advance, we all should have a decent meal and service. Thanks for your review ºOº

  36. Shayne says:

    We had breakfast here two years ago (June 2009) and actually had a very good experience. As you mentioned, the food was typical Disney breakfast fare. But we really enjoyed the character interaction, especially with the Mad Hatter and Alice. We also saw Pooh, Tigger and Mary Poppins. I don’t have a specific recollection that the service was terrible, so it must have been fine.

    One of the reasons we enjoyed 1900 Park Fare was that we found it quieter and less hectic than Chef Mickey’s.

    As I’ve read the comments about how many folks have had bad experiences here, I’ve tried to figure out why our experience was so markedly different. I believe it’s because we had the earliest possible ADR for breakfast, so the restaurant was not full. We were eating early that day so that my kids could go on the pirate cruise from the Grand Floridian, and the timing worked out perfectly. That’s something I’ll definitely keep in mind the next time we choose to eat here!

  37. Man, this was one of the only places my parents would take me as a kid. Either here or Chef Mickey’s. I have fond memories, but that’s because I was a kid.

    My tastes have greatly evolved over the years, and If I returned here, I’m sure I would be disappointed. Besides, I always liked Chef Mickey’s better. ;)

    If you told my 3 year old self that I’d be getting excited for my first ever trip to Le Celier instead of 1900, first he’d be confused, and then he’s cry. Oh well. Evolution baby!

  38. Elizabeth says:

    My family went to 1900 Park Fare for dinner. It was unimpressive. As stated above the lighting in the room did not do it any favor, it was EXTREMELY LOUD, and I felt dirty after I left. The food was fine, but I felt like I was in a cafeteria line. The characters were wonderful for our meal and my boys were able to get pictures with all, but that was the only highlight of our experience. They definitely need to consider renovating! I would not go back to 1900 again- definitely a bad experience.

  39. Kelly says:

    If I showed this to my friend, I guarantee she’d agree 100% with your assessment. Her & her now husband went for dinner…they waited quite a while before being seated in a hidden corner table next to the kitchen. Only 1 character came over and the food was bland (she’s not THAT hard to please…I can’t imagine what I would say about it!) The service was non-existent. They met on the college program, so as former cast members, they believe in speaking up when something isn’t how they know it *should* be. So before paying the bill, they asked to speak to a manager who then argued (argued!) with them. My friend was so upset that she almost skipped out on heading over to the Poly to watch Wishes…where her now husband/then boyfriend proposed!

    Obviously not the evening he envisioned! Since they had such a bad experience and it nearly ruined the engagement (just think if they hadn’t gone to watch Wishes!) Her husband wrote a letter to upper management and by the end of the trip they were granted a romantic meal at Citricos (or Narcoosees, but I persuaded them to go with Citricos!) to make up for the experience. (Side note: they weren’t *looking* for anything when they got the dinner, just to let people know what a bad experience it was. That was September of ’09. Shame that it’s been that long and it appears nothing has changed!!!)

  40. Victoria says:

    I ate at 1900 Park Fare during my first trip to WDW in 2006. My sister took me as a graduation gift (best sister ever!) and my favorite character has always been Cinderella. My sister, being a former college cast member, knew that it wasn’t always super easy to find Cinderella in the parks, so she booked us a dinner there for that reason.

    I remember thinking the food was mediocre – just ok, nothing really stood out to me. As for characters, we met all of them except one (and we chose to leave before that character came by our table). I don’t even remember our server.

    Honestly, I think the only reason why I’d go again would be to meet the Mad Hatter or Alice. But other than that, I can’t see myself going again.

    I think there are plenty of other buffet-style that are much better. My husband and I went to Chef Mickey’s on our honeymoon for breakfast and loved it. I’d eat there every trip if I could.

    As for the bananas foster topping – when I went to Disneyland last year, we got room service one morning and I got the giant Mickey waffle with the bananas foster topping (there was a choice of that or a berry compote). It was so good!!!

  41. Tina says:

    Actually VANESSA no I would’nt have been mad because we are talking about an extremely busy dining establishment in a very busy resort property. You are going to experience long wait times sometimes.I’ve waited longer than that for a table at Le Cellier and California Grill ! The staff at these restaurant’s do their best to accommodate ADR’s as quickly as possible,but sometimes they get busy and run behind especially in character buffets where people will linger for longer periods of time. Then you have to excercise something called PATIENCE. I apologize if my bluntness in my previous post offended your tender sensibilities. If I wanted to be crude you’d know it.If you want to give out etiquette lessons maybe you should do it on the aforementioned patience.

  42. cherie says:

    Sigh
    So much potential wasted no?

    I agree that it’s unbelievably cafeteria-like, in the early bird special sort of way yet.

    It’s also loud.

    However my kids always enjoy it – we consider it strictly a character driven experience – and it’s never planned as a ‘highlight’ – just as a meal.

    I’m bothered most, therefore, by the fact that the characters ever even visited with you – sheesh!

  43. Patty says:

    I have never been seated on time at 1900 Park Fare. Even with little kids who needed a 5:15PM ADR, we have always been seated at least 30 min late. The good news is the lobby of the Grand Floridian is beautiful, and in the evenings, there is a pianist.

    We usually go to 1900, because we travel with a large group (8-10). Sometimes, we even meet some family who lives locally, and need a place without park admission to meet for dinner. It is impossible to go to dinner at the castle with a group of 10, besides 1900 is only 1 dining credit.

    The characters at night seem to change. Our first trip we had Cinderella, the fairy godmother, and two “girl” mice, no Jacques or Gus. Our next trip, the Stepmother and Stepsisters were hysterical, but the prince was bored. Our last trip, we actually went to Norway for our “princess” fix. Norway is still 1 dining credit and the photo is included.

    I still missed getting “dressed” to go to the Grand Floridian – even if it was only the buffet.

  44. Kristina says:

    On our last trip to Disney we had ADR’s for both dinner (on our first night) and breakfast (more like brunch a couple of days later). We had a fabulous dinner experience. The food was amazing, the characters were also fun and social (Cinderella and her extended family) and look on my daughters’ faces when Prince Charming came to out table was priceless! My 5 y/o remarked “he’s so charming”. Yes it was a bit loud but we really didn’t mind. Our server was a little slow to bring us out bill at the end of or meal, but it was because he was waiting for us to finish our dinner before he brought out an enormous place of soft-serve ice cream with toppings and cake (had I know that was on it’s way I wouldn’t have eaten so many chocolate chip cookies ;) )
    Our breakfast (at 11:00 am) was so/so. I think being so late in the morning worked to our benefit because it wasn’t crowded, noisy, our server was very attentive and the characters again were very pleasant (thin time it was Alice, Mad Hatter, Mary Poppins, Pooh and Tigger) the only thing that made it Not fabulous was the food. I felt there were little choices and the food tasted “just OK”. I guess I could of had high expectations having just enjoyed breakfast at the Crystal Palace the day before.

    I would definitely have dinner there again, but with so many other wonderful choices at Disney I won’t be going back for breakfast.

  45. Chris says:

    We’ve been to 1900 PF for breakfast, our only meal there. This was 2 yrs ago. My opinion on the food is that as far as the breakfast buffets I have been to, this is a close 2nd to CP. Cape May had uninspired food and I didn’t really like much at Chef Mickey’s. I loved the orange cream cheese at 1900 and the baked ham was about the best I have had at breakfast. I enjoyed the meal.

    It was a very long wait past our ADR time before it was our turn…..not quite as bad as ‘Ohana at dinner but way too long.

    The character interaction is just ok. I really think a big part of the problem of keeping hungry guests waiting long past their ADR time is character related. Because there is no rhyme or reason to how any given character visits the tables, people ( like me!) are left waiting there, past the time of finishing their meal, for a particular character. Honestly, at this point, I don’t remember which particular one it was I was waiting on, but I asked a CM 3 times when this one was coming my way because we had finished our meal and were ready to go. We were always next, but not really :).

    All in all, I would give 1900 PF another shot for breakfast since I really did enjoy the food and these aren’t my favorite set of characters so I wouldn’t mind if they passed me by this time lol

  46. Joe says:

    I blame the lack of consistency on the dining plan, especially the “free” version. What incentive does Disney have to improve guest experience when the meal is already “paid for”? That is, has Disney determined that it can fill it’s restaurants with DDP guests, and therefore the “vote with your wallet” factor is out out the equation?

  47. J says:

    I’ve said this before, but the Disney Dining Plan was the worst thing to happen to Walt Disney World restaurants. They get your money up front, so there is no longer a need to be creative with food. It has to be edible and that’s about it. This is also evident in the homogenizing in the foods (the same cocktail lists everywhere, same dinner rolls at most places, same french fries, etc). There are certain exceptions to this, but this is largely in the higher-end restaurants where they still attract a significant portion of cash-paying customers who spare no expense.

  48. canada68 says:

    Hi AJ…. just found my old dining reservation (yes, I keep that stuff…memories!)- we had breakfast at 11:10 AM on a Sunday – early February is low season though so maybe fewer people in general made a difference. Thanks for your great blogs :)

  49. Duy says:

    Hmm. this is so different from my experience.
    I went there with 2 other friends, behind schedule by 5 minutes, and they say us right away within 3 minutes. OUr waitress was on the top of her game, and I’ve seen a lot of good waitresses, this one was the best – even though the place was full.
    The food was hot and ready.
    The characters all take their time and interacted very well with us. Except Alice cause we took too much time with the Hatter, so she can’t keep others waiting. But yeah, VERY well with us even though all of us are 18 year olds.
    The strawberry soup was nice and thick and smooth like yogurt.
    The place was full, but not loud.

  50. Laura says:

    My family and I had breakfast there just this past week and had a very good experience. We were seated almost immediately from the time we checked in, had a great photo taken and our server was wonderful. The buffet line was very good. We all enjoyed the food that we chose. The only problem I had with the food is that the lobster benedict was on a biscuit half instead of an English muffin. Being a true lover of Eggs benedict, that bugged me a bit. But it was still tasty. The characters were wonderful. We saw the same that you did – Pooh, Tigger, the Mad Hatter and Alice, and Mary Poppins. We were all great. They all had their characters nailed. And they all spent a nice amount of time at the table with everyone. It was alot of fun! In fact, when we go back next year, we are planning on doing the dinner. Sorry you had such a lousy experience, because I know it could be much better.

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