Review: Lunch at Nine Dragons in Epcot’s China

Welcome back to Nine Dragons Restaurant in Epcot’s lovely China Pavilion! We’re visiting this Table Service restaurant for lunch.

It’s been a while since we’ve visited Nine Dragons. While we truly enjoy the beauty of this spot (and will provide a few more glimpses for you today), the food has never really elevated it to a “Must Go” spot. In fact, for some it has been a “Must Skip!” So, it’s time for another visit to see how things are faring, and what — if anything — has changed.

You’ll spot Nine Dragons immediately upon approaching the China Pavilion from Norway. I find nearly everything to be eye-catching in the China Pavilion. The outdoor colors of Nine Dragons echo those in the Pavilion’s entrance gate and the replica of the Temple of Heaven.

Nine Dragons Restaurant

Nine Dragons Restaurant

Nine Dragons Sign

Nine Dragons Sign

But we’re more interested by what’s inside, so let’s have a look.

Atmosphere

There is a definite change in the color palette upon entering the space. Dark and ornately carved woods are dominant in the décor, but the restaurant is peppered with fun and colorful lanterns that keep things from feeling too heavy or overwhelming.

Nine Dragons Seating

Nine Dragons Seating

Lanterns

Lanterns

Lanterns

Lanterns

The large windows also provide natural light along with some great views of World Showcase.

Seating near windows

Seating near windows

Even if you aren’t seated near a window, some of the glass in the walls serve to let in some of that light, while also separating dining areas.

Table for Two

Table for Two

While we’re on the subject of seating, I know many people have found this restaurant doesn’t offer much in the way of elbow room in regards to space between tables. We arrived at a rather off-time for lunch (2:00 pm), when much of the noon-time crowds had dispersed. So, feeling overcrowded was not my experience, but the potential for it is something you’ll want to consider when choosing a time.

So, what about the dragons? They’re incorporated into several spots around the restaurant! You’ll find artistic dragons throughout the restaurant, from the beautiful green-glass wall at the check-in

Glass etching in entrance

Glass etching in entrance

… to the ceiling in the same area.

Look up!

Look up!

And they can be spotted in the dark wood entrance and exit of the dining area.

Check-in area

Check-in area

Woodwork

Beautiful woodwork

You’ll also want to check out the wall nearest to the kitchen in the central dining area. Because seating in Nine Dragons is divided up into separate sections, you may miss it, so be sure to take a stroll at some point during your visit.

This wall is where you’ll find… what else? Nine Dragons :) .

Display of Nine Glass Dragons

Display of Nine Glass Dragons

All nine of these glass sculpture dragons are truly beautiful; but out of respect for your time, I’ll just give you a glimpse of my top three dragons!

Glass Dragon

Glass Dragon

Glass Dragon

Glass Dragon

Glass Dragon

Glass Dragon

Okay, top four… because they are pretty cool!

Dragon Number Four!

Dragon Number Four!

All right, enough with the dragon-spotting… It’s time to eat, so grab a cool place mat and join us!

Nine Dragons Placemat

Nine Dragons Place mat

Eats

My friend and I went with the Appetizer Trio for starters (meant to serve two).

Appetizer portion of menu -- click to enlarge

Appetizer and sides portion of menu — click to enlarge

This allowed us to try [Read more…]

Review: Lucky Fortune Cookery in Disney California Adventure (+ Disneyland Lunar New Year Menu Details!)

This spot might elicit a “wha?!? where’s that?!?” reaction for some since it really doesn’t get its share of the spotlight. But I really enjoy heading to the Lucky Fortune Cookery once in a while when I’m in Disney California Adventure!

The counter service location is a great thematic fit for the Pacific Wharf area of the park and offers some pretty tasty, customizable goodies for those who stumble upon it.

Lucky Fortune Cookery in Disney California Adventure

After the review, we’ll also have some awesome info for you about what Lucky Fortune Cookery and other dining spots are serving for this year’s Lunar New Year celebration in Disneyland — so scroll down for that! OK — Let’s dig in!!

Atmosphere and Themeing

Lucky Fortune Cookery is teensy. The outdoor location is nearly an afterthought — or so it seems. There are three main ordering windows and just a few tables scattered around.

Lucky Fortune Cookery Ordering Area

You’re clearly in an industrial section of town here at the Wharf, and the fun lanterns hanging from the rafters give this a sweet “downtown” vibe I think! It’s such a great way to soften an otherwise harsh space.

Lucky Fortune Cookery Ordering Area and themeing

Tables are scarce, but don’t forget that you’re surrounded by about three other huge restaurants here at the Wharf.

There’s a ginormous seating area just across the way, so if there are no seats available at [Read more…]

Review: Nine Dragons in Epcot’s China

Today, we’re heading to the Far East — or rather, just past Norway and Mexico — for lunch at Epcot’s Nine Dragons!

Are you afraid to venture inside this eatery because you’ve heard less-than-stellar reviews? So were we.

Though we did a review way back when (not bad, not great), this blog is all about second chances; so back to Nine Dragons we went! :-) Is it better, worse, or holding steady, you ask? Read on and we’ll explore together.

Atmosphere

When you walk into Nine Dragons, it actually feels kind of swanky since the (now long past) refurb. (Remember when it used to be all red shag carpet? No? Yeah, it probably wasn’t, but that’s what it felt like.)

The views through the front picture windows will remind you that you haven’t left Epcot behind. I love the view of the World Showcase Lagoon, and I wonder if this spot wouldn’t be bad for Illuminations viewing… anyone have experience?

View of World Showcase from Inside Nine Dragons

Seating and View of Outside

This is a beautiful restaurant, and we really enjoy the surroundings here. As I mentioned, there have been some renovations, as well as some changes to the menu, which suggest that you might want to give this spot another look if you haven’t eaten here lately.

Inside, there are three main dining areas separated by decorative wooden screens. The lovely, airy sunroom is [Read more…]

Guest Review: Nine Dragons Restaurant in Epcot

Our Guest Reviewer today, Derek Newton, shares a critical review of Nine Dragons in Disney World’s Epcot. Let us know your own personal experiences at this restaurant in the comments below!

As a restaurant in one of Epcot’s original countries, Nine Dragons at the China pavilion is often overlooked. It should be. I wanted to write that Nine Dragons deserves a second look, but one look was enough.

Atmosphere
We chose Nine Dragons because it was one of perhaps two or three restaurants in Epcot we had not tried. Our reservation was for 7:30 pm on a Friday and we arrived early (by a good 20 minutes) to find the undersized reception area literally overflowing with guests.

After finally making my way to the check-in desk and having my name located on the reservation list, I was given a light-up, vibrating coaster similar to those guests receive at suburban chain restaurants like Chili’s or Friday’s. The comparison was truer than I knew.

To the staff’s credit, we were seated in fewer than five minutes – still 15 minutes before our reservation time. And in general, the staff from reservation desk to wait staff did their best to accommodate a cramped, uninspired décor and predictable, bland menu.

Before being seated it was clear Nine Dragons was no place for [Read more…]