Review: Lunch at Epcot’s Coral Reef Restaurant

We’re dining “Under the Sea” today at Epcot’s Coral Reef Restaurant!

And if you’re wondering if it was all part of my plan to insert that song in your head for the rest of the day, the answer is “Yes.”

(Insert evil laugh here. ;) )

Coral Reef is one of only two Table Service Restaurants in Epcot’s Future World (the other being Garden Grill), and the only one open for lunch, which is the meal we’re having today. But first things first: in order to eat at Coral Reef, you’ve got to find it. Just head to “The Living Seas…” whoops! I mean, “The Seas with Nemo and Friends” Pavilion.

And once you get your fill of the birds chanting “Mine, Mine, Mine,” just hang a right…

The Seas Pavilion

The Seas Pavilion

… and head as far as you can towards the back. (The outdoor sign will help, too.)

Heading to Coral Reef

Heading to Coral Reef

Coral Reef sign

Coral Reef sign

So, now we’ve found it! Let’s head in…

Atmosphere

As per usual with Disney dining, there are some fun details to take in here, starting right at the entrance.

Entrance

Entrance

Seahorse door handle

Seahorse door handle

The dining room is well-concealed for the “big reveal” to come, but touches in the check-in area (which expands into a fairly large hallway) give several indications as to what awaits you once you dine.

Octopus at Check in

Octopus at Check in

Octopus at check-in counter

Octopus at check-in counter

What are those lights, anyway? Jellyfish?

Check-in area hallway

Check-in area hallway

Glass fish behind check-in counter

Glass fish behind check-in counter

But as fun as it always is to check out the little things, the truth of the matter is that everyone is here to see one, single, MAJOR “detail.” The aquarium!

Coral Reef Dining Room

Coral Reef Dining Room

Yep — the dining room has giant picture windows that look right into the massive Living Seas aquarium. It’s like you’re dining in a submarine.

Coral Reef Dining Room

Coral Reef Dining Room

And here’s an interesting thing about Coral Reef: in most restaurants, several of the tables for two are often tucked on the outer perimeters, and sometimes that can lend to a feeling of being a little removed from the atmosphere. At Coral Reef, many of the tables for two receive “front rows seats” for the big show. Our table for two was right next to this table for four.

Coral Reef Seating in front of aquarium

Coral Reef Seating in front of aquarium

Our server presented Fish Guides to us, so we could identify some of the marine life swimming by.

Fish Guide

Fish Guide

Fish Guide

Fish Guide

Being that close contributed just a little extra to an already unique experience. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…

Aquarium views

Aquarium views

Aquarium views

Aquarium views

Aquarium views

Aquarium views

Though I gotta say, this felt [Read more…]

News and Video! Fish Tank Bursts Open at T-Rex Cafe in Disney World’s Downtown Disney

Wow! Have you heard the latest news from Downtown Disney in Disney World?

On Monday, a fish tank at T-Rex Cafe burst open while patrons were eating dinner nearby.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Landry’s, the Houston company that owns T-Rex Cafe, issued this statement Tuesday: “A seal failed on the tank causing water to leak. Employees took action and did a great job rescuing all of the marine life, caring for our guests and managing the situation. The marine life has been moved to holding tanks and the restaurant is open for business as usual.”

All of the fish have been rescued, and no animals or humans were harmed during the event.

T-Rex Cafe is [Read more…]

Guest Review: Coral Reef Restaurant

We’re welcoming back guest author Melissa Sue Sorrells Galley with a review of the Coral Reef Restaurant — and she gives it high marks! Take it away, Melissa!

My husband, Rob, and I headed to Coral Reef in early December during our first night in Disney World. After a long day of traveling and touring Hollywood Studios, a dark, undersea meal seemed like just what the doctor would have ordered (if the doctor was a fellow Disney fanatic).

We’d made our Advanced Dining Reservation six months in advance like good Disney diners; and we were there celebrating our “honeymooniversary,” which is a completely made up word we’ve been using to justify going to Disney World each December.

Coral Reef’s exterior signage may be hard to find, but it’s worth looking

Atmosphere

Coral Reef may be a bit hard to find, but once you know where to look, it’s as clear as day. As you walk toward the entrance to ride The Seas with Nemo and Friends (one of my favorites), hang a right on the walkway that seems to lead to nowhere. After a few moments, you’ll see the Coral Reef sign and, if you keep walking, the entrance to this undersea adventure in Disney dining.

The entrance is a gateway to the worlds of Ariel and Nemo

Once you enter through the wave-inspired door, using the seahorse pull handle, you’re in a fully-themed underwater atmosphere, complete with [Read more…]

Review: Coral Reef Restaurant

At long last, Coral Reef is finally getting its due on the Disney Food Blog! The last time I visited this restaurant was when I was much, much younger, so I knew it was time to give it a try again. It’s been through a lot of changes, but, from what I can tell, the basics are still the same…

Atmosphere

Coral Reef is one of only a couple of table-service restaurants located in Epcot’s Future World. You’ll find it hidden in the Seas With Nemo and Friends (The Living Seas for those who used to visit in the 80s), tucked back in the right-hand corner. You really need to want to find it; you won’t just stumble over this restaurant by mistake! But after all these years, the sign is still very similar to what it was way back when, so those who have a tinge of Epcot nostalgia like me will be very pleased…

Upon entering the restaurant (using the seahorse door handle of course), you’ll find that the place is themed — as it should be — but in a very stylized manner. Walls and flooring are undulating as if you’re under water. Light fixtures resemble coral and shells. Glass fish sculptures sit inside lit alcoves behind the [Read more…]