Review: Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Harvest Feast Dinner at Garden Grill in Epcot

Today, we’re sharing with you our latest visit to Garden Grill Restaurant for Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Harvest Feast Dinner!

Garden Grill is basically one of my favorite character meals. First, it’s a character meal with really great interaction. And while Chip ‘n’ Dale are the headliners, here, you also get to hang out with Farmer Mickey and Pluto!

But beyond the characters, we enjoy the unique ambiance that Garden Grill offers. If you’ve never visited the restaurant, wait ’til you see what it does! Yes — DOES!

We’ve also had some pretty fantastic meals here. Breakfast is virtually a tradition for my family.

But today, we’re visiting in the evening. We’ve enjoyed past dinners here. Let’s see if the trend continues.

Atmosphere

Looking for Garden Grill Restaurant? Hang a right after Spaceship Earth and head toward The Land Pavilion in Future World West.

The Land Pavilion

The Land Pavilion

Walkways line the perimeter walls inside the building and lead you down to the pavilion’s three levels, which host The Circle of Life film on the right, and Living with the Land, Soarin’, and Sunshine Seasons (one of our favorite counter service spots) on the bottom. There’s also an elevator if you’d prefer it to walking.

The Land Ceiling

The Land Ceiling

You’ll find the Garden Grill directly across from the entrance.

Garden Grill Sign

Garden Grill Sign

And here’s where we talk about what Garden Grill does: it rotates. In fact, it’s the only restaurant in Orlando — and only one of a handful in the world — that spins.

Now, just in case the thought of a rotating restaurant doesn’t sound all that appetizing, we promise you that Garden Grill spins at a snail’s pace. We aren’t talking spinning teacups here.

Garden Grill Wide View

Garden Grill Wide View

Why does it spin? Well, there’s more than one way to check out the attractions within Living with the Land! As the restaurant rotates, guests are treated to scenes from the ride. This mural acts as sort of a gateway.

Garden Grill Mural

Garden Grill Mural

You’ll visit a farmhouse — or see it from above, anyway. I think this scene is particularly fun, because you get to look inside one of the windows from this vantage point!

Farmhouse Scene in Living with the Land

Farmhouse Scene in Living with the Land

You’ll also see extremes in landscapes. As you view a rainforest scene, and watch it morph into a desert scene as you travel.

Rainforest

Rainforest

Transition from Rainforest to Desert

Transition from Rainforest to Desert

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill

The Desert

Your vehicle for sightseeing is your table, of course.

Tables are arranged in a sort of stadium seating pattern on two levels around the restaurant. Top tier tables are your garden variety rectangular tables, like you see here.

Table and Seating

Table and Seating

On the lower level, semi-circular booths face out, giving you the best view of the scenes you pass.

Garden Grill booth

Garden Grill booth

Larger Booth -- Family Side

Larger Booth — Family Side

And did you notice? Mickey makes an appearance before your meal ever starts! :-D

Mickey Table Setting :)

Mickey Table Setting :)

And that brings me to Reason Number Two that you might want to visit Garden Grill: the characters. Let’s check ‘em out.

Characters

One of my top reasons for visiting Garden Grill is the character interaction. In fact, it’s one of my Top Two Favorite Character Meals in Walt Disney World! Of course, I love when I can see Mickey during a character meet and greet. And here, he’s dressed in his farmer finest.

Mickey Mouse

Mickey Mouse

Mickey is joined by his faithful pup sidekick, Pluto.

Pluto

Pluto

But this is, after all, Chip ‘n’ Dale’s gig. So you’re sure to see the playful pair as you enjoy your dinner.

Chip

Chip

Sad Dale

Sad Dale

And that’s one of the coolest things about Garden Grill — it’s not just the stellar character interaction, but the amount of interaction you get. The restaurant is fairly small in size, so that means you normally have the chance to visit with characters more than once during your meal.

Eats

So we’ve talked about the fact that Garden Grill rotates, thus making it something kinda special. And, of course, any day that you can share your meal with Chip ‘n’ Dale and Friends is gonna be a good one.

But how about the food? Well, the good news is — that’s pretty great, too.

Garden Grill serves its meals family style, meaning that shareable platters are brought to the table, and you can ask for more of anything you like. That also means that everyone dining has the choice of a non-alcoholic beverage as part of the prix fixe price of his or her meal. But if you’d like, you can also order from a list of special drinks, including cocktails, mocktails, beer, and wine.

Special Drinks Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Special Drinks Menu — Click to Enlarge

Wine Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Wine Menu — Click to Enlarge

You don’t really choose what you’re getting at Garden Grill (unless you have special dietary needs; talk to your server in that case). The offerings are pretty much standard. You’ll start with warm Dinner Rolls, served with a side of Whipped Butter.

Rolls with Whipped Butter

Rolls with Whipped Butter

Next comes the Harvest-Inspired Farmer’s Salad. During our visit, the salad included greens, hard boiled egg, radishes, and grape tomatoes. It’s lightly dressed with a creamy dressing.

Harvest-Inspired Farmer's Salad

Harvest-Inspired Farmer’s Salad

The main course is the combination platter with sliced Homestyle Pot Roast, sliced Turkey Breast, and Italian Sausage served with sautéed Peppers and Onions. Sides on the platter include Mashed Potatoes and Bacon and Leek Stuffing.

The Italian Sausage is new, having replaced the previously served Sustainable Fish of the Day.

Platter of Meats, Mashed Potatoes, Dressing, and Gravy

Platter of Meats, Mashed Potatoes, Dressing, and Gravy

But that’s not all. You get additional veggie sides, like Green Beans and Sweet Potatoes, plus Macaroni and Cheese.

Platter of Sides -- Mac & Cheese, Green Beans, and Sweet Potato Fries

Platter of Sides — Mac & Cheese, Green Beans, and Sweet Potato Fries

For dessert, it’s a shareable Short Cake topped with Fruit Compote and Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream.

Short Cake

Short Cake

Some folks may call this a cobbler. Whatever name you give it, the rich cake and super saucy berry topping is a winner with everyone at the table.

Nosh or Not?

You’ll enjoy Garden Grill if:

  • You’re looking for a great character meal that combines great food, MICKEY, and more fun aspects
  • You have a nostalgic affinity for Epcot (Living with the Land!!!)
  • You’re touring Epcot with small children. The rest of the table service restaurants in Epcot can be ho hum for little kids.

You may want to skip Garden Grill if:

  • You’ve got a busy touring day and would rather stick to counter service
  • You’re in an adults-only party and nobody much cares about characters

Overall

After lots of visits, I still love Garden Grill Restaurant.

I think I’ve laid out a pretty convincing argument. When you visit Garden Grill, you’re getting a three-way combo of unique environment, great characters, and excellent (and plentiful) food. And when it comes to characters and kids, I personally lean toward a character meal where the food comes to you, because it’s so much easier to juggle kids, characters, and food when you don’t have to worry about visiting a buffet.

But even beyond the convenience of Garden Grill, the characters, and the novelty of the place, I think this place just offers really great food. It may be kind of standard fare, but it’s thoughtfully prepared. And when you’re paying Disney prices, it’s great when you can enjoy a character meal as much for the food as for everything else.

If you haven’t tried it before, book an advance dining reservation for Garden Grill Restaurant. I think you’ll be pleased.

Read Our Review of Garden Grill’s Breakfast Options Here!

Now, I’d love to hear from you! Is Garden Grill Restaurant one of your favorites? Let us know in comments!

A Hard Hat Tour Inside The Edison, Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante, Enzo’s Hideaway, and Pizza Ponte!

In anticipation of The Edison’s Grand Opening on New Year’s Eve with a celebration on December 31st, the DFB was invited to take a hard hat tour of the new Disney Springs location, as well as its upcoming neighbors, a trio of Italian eateries bound together by story: Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante, Enzo’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar, and Pizza Ponte!

Sneak Peek Tour Lanyard

Sneak Peek Tour Lanyard

Before we share the details, a note: hard hat tours do not allow photography, so the majority of the pictures below in this post were provided by the Patina Restaurant Group, which runs all four upcoming locations.

The Edison

Step inside what was once the power plant for the town of Disney Springs: The Edison.

[Read more…]

News: Raglan Road Celebrates National Lager Day With Blagger!

We know that the holiday season can be a busy time, so the last thing you might think you need is another holiday to celebrate. But Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant in Disney Springs wants you to know about a holiday beer fans will be celebrating all month. Yup — it’s National Lager Day! Who knew?!

Raglan Road

Raglan Road

[Read more…]

DFB Video: Top 5 Disney World Resorts for FOOD!

Hey, you all! We’re back with another DFB Video today, and we’re discussing the Top 5 Disney World Resorts in terms of our favorite topic: FOOD!

Disney's Wilderness Lodge

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

When you think of food at Disney World, perhaps your mind goes to the parks first. Maybe iconic snacks like the Magic Kingdom’s Citrus Swirl come to mind, or fun and unique in-park dining experiences like Sci-Fi Dine In at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. But I’m telling you, there is a LOT of terrific eating to do outside the parks in the Disney World Resorts, and we’re talking today about our top five Resorts in regards to dining experiences. And remember, thanks to Disney Transportation, you don’t need to be staying at a Resort to check out the restaurants or snacks at any given spot. So settle in, and enjoy our latest DFB Video to learn more! [Read more…]

Review: Floridian Pancakes and Lobster Thermidor Burger at Grand Floridian Cafe

With so many dining options to try at Walt Disney World, it’s not every trip that I’m able to return to some classic Resort restaurants — particularly if I’m not staying at the Resort in question.

But on a recent visit, I had a meeting that was (thankfully!) at the Grand Floridian Cafe. Located off the lobby in the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa’s main building, the Grand Floridian Cafe offers lovely views of the rose garden and courtyard pool beyond. It’s nice and tranquil, but not at all stuffy. So if you want to check out the Grand Floridian with your entire crew (including kiddos), this is a great place to try it.

The Cafe menu serves up traditional American dishes with a few nods to seafood and Southern fare in celebration of the Sunshine State, and our most recent trip here was for dinner. But a great feature at the Grand Floridian Cafe is the brunch-style menu offering breakfast dishes (in addition to the lunch offerings) through 2:00 pm. Hence the “Pancakes and Burger” mashup we’re reviewing today!

And there’s another big boon for the Grand Floridian Cafe: since it’s on the Resort Monorail loop, it’s easily accessible from Magic Kingdom and a terrific get-away if you need a little break from the park.

Atmosphere

Like every restaurant at the Grand Floridian, the Cafe is simple and elegant. You won’t find over-the-top, Disney-fied theming in terms of characters or bright colors. But you will feel as though you’ve gone back to the Victorian Era (minus all the stiff social constructs). Check in takes place at a desk with white columns and great trim details.

Grand Floridian Cafe Entrance

Grand Floridian Cafe Entrance

Right away you’ll notice the lattice-and-flowers carpeting, which carries throughout the restaurant. The wood trim also continues into the dining room, where floral wallpaper and tasteful seating await.

[Read more…]

News: Disney on Broadway Concert Series Lineup for the Epcot Festival of the Arts

The Epcot International Festival of the Arts kicks off once again on January 12, 2018, returning to celebrate the Visual, Culinary, and Performing Arts!

Festival of the Arts

Festival of the Arts

One of the ways the Performing Arts are honored is through the Disney on Broadway Concert Series, where guests can enjoy Broadway talent performing Disney classics at the America Gardens Theatre.

Ashley Brown Performing During the 2017 Epcot Festival of the Arts

Ashley Brown Performing During the 2017 Epcot Festival of the Arts

The performances will take place at 5:30 pm, 6:45 pm, and 8:00 pm on Friday through Monday evenings throughout the Festival. 

[Read more…]

DFB Video: Food Tour of Epcot’s United Kingdom

Hello, friends! We’re back with another DFB Video today, and we’re taking you on a Food Tour of Epcot’s United Kingdom Pavilion!

Epcot's United Kingdom Pavilion

Epcot’s United Kingdom Pavilion

The United Kingdom is packed with so much more than just Fish & Chips as far as food options (although I do enjoy a stop at Yorkshire County Fish Shop, too!). Not only are there fun finds — even beyond Twinings Tea — at The Tea Caddy, but there is also some great pub grub to enjoy along with your pint… or pints ;) . And did you know you can catch the IllumiNations fireworks from a great dining spot in the UK Pavilion? Check it all out in our latest DFB Video! [Read more…]

News: Artwork Revealed for Disney World’s Caribbean Beach Resort Restaurants

As you may know, Caribbean Beach Resort  is undergoing a refurbishment that is affecting the entire Resort, from dining options to the guest check-in area and far beyond.

Caribbean Beach Resort Concept Art ©Disney

Caribbean Beach Resort Concept Art ©Disney

Disney is now releasing concept art for what the results of this renovation will yield, and we are excited to finally be learning more about the refreshed dining options — and more! — coming to Caribbean Beach Resort!

But here’s the weird part…all of this “news” seems verrrrry familiar… . Read on.

Shutters

You remember Shutters, right? The Table Service restaurant at Caribbean Beach Resort? No? Well, perhaps that’s because it hasn’t provided the most memorable of Resort dining options over the years. However, it sounds like that may change once the Caribbean-inspired Shutters reopens on the waterfront of Old Port Royale.

[Read more…]

INSIDE the Edison and MORE — Opening SOON at Disney World!

There are not one, but FOUR new dining venues opening soon in Disney Springs: The Edison, which we have been anticipating for some time now, and the more recently announced trio of Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante, Enzo’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar, and Pizza Ponte.

The Edison Sneak Peek ©Disney

The Edison Sneak Peek ©Disney

While all four spots are anticipated to open within the next month, Disney has provided a sneak peek of the upcoming destinations!

The Edison

First announced for Disney Springs in 2015, The Edison is at long last in its final stages of preparation. What is said to have once been the power plant for the town of Disney Springs, the location still contains artifacts and pieces from its original purpose — as evidenced by the Boiler Bar and surrounding boilers, and the still-functioning clock tower — all contributing to the Industrial Gothic setting.

[Read more…]

News! New Steak (With NO Mac and Cheese) Debuts at Mama Melrose in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Update: As of January 2018, mac and cheese has returned! See our note at the end of this post! 

Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been a guest go-to for years, and the Strip Steak with Mac and Cheese has — by far — the most fans (yours truly included).

Strip Steak and Mac and Cheese at Mama Melrose's

Strip Steak and Mac and Cheese at Mama Melrose’s

Which is why it pains us to report that the steak has changed. And the Mac and Cheese? It’s disappeared, and has been replaced with… a bed of potatoes. (Whaaaat?!) The new dish is a Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Fingerling Potatoes. [Read more…]