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!

New DFB Video Review: Rapunzel and Ariel Bon Voyage Breakfast in Disney World

We know that y’all are pretty serious when it comes to Character Dining at Walt Disney World. So in today’s DFB Video, we’re taking a closer look at Walt Disney World’s newest character dining experience — the Bon Voyage Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno.

Rapunzel

Rapunzel

Trattoria al Forno has served breakfast since it opened on the BoardWalk in 2014. But earlier this year, the restaurant became home to Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Ariel, and Prince Eric as they send guests off on a grand adventure of their own.

The table service, prix fixe meal allows guests to choose from several menu options. And oh, by the way — you can also choose to dine on the patio, character free, if you’d prefer. [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: Disney Character Meal Pros and Cons

We are back with some of our very best kept Disney Dining Secrets. And we want to share them with you!

2017 DFB Guide to WDW Dining Cover March 6 Planning what you’re going to eat and drink at Walt Disney World is no small undertaking. To begin, there are tons of choices. But what if you could make your meal a real multitasker? Say, you could enjoy some terrific eats, and get that shiny new autograph book filled with the names of all of your Disney favorites? Yep, we’re talking Character Meals.

You may think that the character meal experience isn’t for you. But we invite you to take a closer look at these special meals and see for yourself if a Character meal could be right for you.

And if you like what you see here, be sure to check out the brand new, just released 2017 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining, Second Edition, where we talk character meals and LOTS more! And for a limited time, you can get it for 20% off with code SAVE2017 at checkout! Here we go!

Are Character Meals One-Size-Fits-All? Why Should I Book One?

You may think that if you’re an adult, single, or have older kids, there’s really no reason to engage in that Disney Rite of Passage, the Character Meal. But we think there’s a place for everyone at the character table, and here’s why.

Eating a big breakfast will fill you up -- and cost less than dining big later in the day!

Safari Mickey

It’s Cool In There, People. I’m not talking, like, rad. I mean literally, it’s cool. Like, air-conditioned. And in our opinion, waiting for characters with the a/c cranked up while noshing on delicious food WAY beats standing out in the hot sun any day. [Read more…]

New DFB Video: Best and Worst Character Meals in Walt Disney World

It’s time for another DFB Video!

Ah, Character Meals. Do you love ‘em or hate ‘em? We’re big fans of the experience, actually! They’re a great way to see lots of characters, and enjoy some pretty decent food without too much running around.

Ewok Chip and Dale

But we get that not every character meal is the best fit for everyone. So in today’s DFB Video, we’re exploring the Best — and Worst — Character Meals in Walt Disney World.

[Read more…]

Rumor: Minnie’s Holiday & Dine Dinner Coming to Hollywood & Vine?

Looks like the elves are already starting to gear up for the holidays… . Could it really be that a special holiday meal is coming to Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios?

Hollywood and Vine

Hollywood and Vine

A mysterious menu has appeared on the My Disney Experience app! At the time, it seems this menu is viewable on Android devices, but NOT on iDevices. Still, what’s remarkable about this menu is not the items themselves (standard items for the Hollywood & Vine buffet), but [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: Should I Book a Disney Character Meal?

Dining at Walt Disney World is very often an experience rather than just a meal. It’s become a rite of passage to dine with characters during a visit to Disney — and there’s stiff competition to secure Advance Dining Reservations at some of these table-service restaurants.

Mickey strikes a pose!

Meeting Cinderella, rubbing Pooh’s tummy, hugging Mickey Mouse, and posing with Chip and Dale are some of the memorable moments that can be discovered while dining at Character Meals.

Tigger Lounges and Signs an Autograph Book at the Plaza Inn

But is a character meal right for your group? On one hand, adults and kids alike enjoy meeting characters from Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood, Cinderella’s Castle, and more! Yet on the other, character meals can be costly — both in time and money!

We’ve been to countless meals in which Disney characters hobnob with guests, and now we can help you determine if a character meal fits well into your next Disney vacation!

Chef Mickey serves up fun and food at the Contemporary Resort!

In our The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013 e-Book, we have an informative section on character meals. Pick up your copy here for an extra $4 off using code 2013 for a limited time! Your vacation is an investment and we want you to have the best trip possible!

So let’s take a look at whether a character meal makes sense for YOUR family…

Should I book a character meal?

Let’s get right to some important dining considerations that we’ve included in the DFB Guide to help you plan your meals.

Meet the princesses at a character meal!

1. Do you have kids who may be afraid of characters?

Character meals can be a good place for children to get to know the Disney characters. However if one (or more) of your children are not fond of the characters then consider dining at a restaurant with a fun theme instead.

Not sure if your kiddo hates characters? Here’s how to find out without too much trauma: [Read more…]

Disney Food for Families: Choosing the Right Character Meal for Your Family

Goofy's about to hang ten at Cape May Cafe

I’m excited to announce that we have two new Disney Food Blog columnists coming on board this week, but they’re not actually new to you! You’ve seen them guest blogging for Disney Food Blog for quite some time… First up, Ms. Erin Foster will be writing the Disney Food for Families Column. She’ll be giving us a unique perspective on dining with kids on Disney vacations, starting today with some great tools that will help you choose the best character meal for your needs! Welcome, Erin!

I recently helped my neighbor Stephanie plan her restaurant selections for an upcoming trip to Walt Disney World. Among her many questions was one that I hear often, “Which character meal should we go to?”

What’s a Character Meal, and How Do I Decide On One?

Character Meals are an iconic part of the Disney experience when traveling with children, or children at heart. There are ten different character meal venues at WDW proper, plus a few others in satellite locations.

For those of you new to Disney travel, character meals are dining experiences in which Disney characters are present in the restaurant. They generally travel from table to table, stopping to interact with each party for a hug, photo, autograph, or possibly a conversation. Your group gets guaranteed quality time with characters in [Read more…]

Duck Three Ways

Disney’s Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant currently has a dish on the menu called Duck Two Ways:

Duck Two Ways
House Cured Pastrami with a Vanilla-White Balsamic Melon Pear Salad, and Braised Leg
with a Ginger Carrot Puree, and Natural Reduction 28.00

But I thought we could do them one better. Here’s the DisneyFoodBlog’s Duck THREE Ways:

Chef Donald

Chef Donald

[Read more…]

New Surf’s Up! Breakfast with Mickey & Friends at Disneyland’s PCH Grill

backlot noticeExciting news! Starting December 11th, 2009, the Aloha Breakfast with Lilo and Stitch will switch to Surf’s Up! Breakfast with Mickey and Friends!

According to @DisneylandNews on twitter:

Beginning Dec. 11, the character breakfast at Disney’s PCH Grill will change to “Surf’s Up! Breakfast with Mickey & Friends.” New breakfast buffet will include flatbreads from a wood burning oven & signature chilaquiles with shredded beef, salsa verde & queso fresco.

Sounds good to us!