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: Fish & Chips at the Yorkshire County Fish Shop in Disney World’s Epcot

Are there any Disney experiences that are such important vacation traditions for you that, had they not taken place, you’d almost feel as though you hadn’t really been to Disney?

Allow me to give you an example: “I haven’t really been to Magic Kingdom until I’ve been on the Haunted Mansion.” Or, of course, any of these great first day at Disney traditions!

Well, mine ways always: “I haven’t been to Epcot until I’ve had Fish & Chips from the United Kingdom Pavilion.”

Is anyone with me here?

Let’s head back to the Yorkshire County Fish Shop for its signature dish!

Atmosphere

The Yorkshire County Fish Shop blends in fairly seamlessly with the rest of the Pavilion. The shop itself stands independent of the seating areas, and can be identified by its forest green signage, which identifies (just about) everything on the menu: Fish & Chips!

Yorkshire County Fish Shop

Yorkshire County Fish Shop

Yorkshire County Fish Shop

Yorkshire County Fish Shop

It’s not at all unusual to find a line here at any time of day, but the midday lunch rush and the half hour before Illuminations are particularly busy.

Upon receiving your order, the next part of your adventure is finding a place to sit. There isn’t a ton of seating in the area, and the tables to the right (facing the Fish Shop) are rather large, not leaving a lot of options for smaller parties or more tables.

Tables to the right of the shop

Tables to the right of the shop

If you can score a table, you’re rewarded with some of the best views World Showcase can offer. However, be warned — you may also be visited by some birds… they are not even remotely shy here.

Even with more ample seating, it would likely be a struggle to find a place, because it’s nearly always hoppin’. There is a bit of additional seating with smaller tables towards the back of Rose & Crown Pub and Dining Room.

Walkway to the back

Walkway to the back

This group of tables is separated from the Rose & Crown seating by a small wall, and it offers a bonus of being right by the water.

Back of Rose & Crown and Yorkshire County Fish Shop

Back of Rose & Crown and Yorkshire County Fish Shop

While these benches aren’t only for guests of the Fish Shop, they do offer enviable seating when you’re enjoying your fish & chips while waiting for Illuminations to begin.

View of World Showcase from the UK Pavilion

View of World Showcase from the UK Pavilion

For my part,  when I spent some (admittedly far too brief) time in London, I picked up fish & chips at a few stands that never had any sort of seating, and I just found a random place to sit wherever I could. So that’s exactly what I do at the UK Pavilion. I pass the gardens across the street and head towards the back.

Back of the UK Pavilion

Back of the UK Pavilion

Bench in UK Pavilion

Bench in UK Pavilion

We found a seat… now it’s time to tuck in!

Eats

Like I said, the signs on the Fish Shop tell you just about everything you need to know about the menu, specializing in only one entree…

Yorkshire County Fish Shop Menu

Yorkshire County Fish Shop Menu

Fish & Chips!

Fish & Chips

Fish & Chips

Prior to grabbing your spot, you’ll want to stop by [Read more…]

NEWS! Epcot IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party Reservations NOW Available!

Looking to find Epcot’s tastiest desserts all in one place? Disney has announced the debut of the IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party!

Guests will enjoy the “best desserts and sparkling wines from all around World Showcase” while viewing IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth from an exclusive area in the Showcase Plaza.

Illuminations Sparkling Dessert Party WDW
Which desserts are included? An array of treats from around World Showcase, including (but not limited to): Prosecco and tiramisu from the Italy Pavilion, baklava from Morocco, and Vanilla Pot de Crème from France.

Illuminations, Reflections of Earth

Illuminations, Reflections of Earth

The details: this event will take place on [Read more…]

Review: Restaurant Marrakesh in Epcot’s Morocco Pavilion

Speaking of Morocco…which we’ve been doing a LOT this past week…let’s check out an old favorite today —  Restaurant Marrakesh.

With its interesting food, the beautiful surroundings, and lively entertainment, I have always enjoyed my trips to this hidden treasure. Time to see if it lived up to the test of time and my fond memories.

Let’s meander to the back of the Morocco Pavilion, shall we?

Atmosphere

And meander is exactly right. Wind your way through the shops, alleys, museum, and other delightful nooks and crannies of the Morocco Pavilion to make your way to Restaurant Marrakesh.

Restaurant Marrakesh — Outside View

Trust me — you will enjoy the journey. I personally have long considered this pavilion to be one of World Showcase’s most beautiful spots.

Marrakesh Sign

As you enter, you’ll notice a couple of things straightaway. First, you’re surrounded by palace-like opulence. Secondly, much like another popular Epcot table service spot, Le Cellier, there’s no discernible natural light.

The interior of Marrakesh is decorated with the same hand-laid, zellige tile work that you see throughout the Morocco Pavilion. Tables are covered with white tablecloths, contributing to the formal feel to the restaurant.

Dining Room of Restaurant Marrakesh

The tile work even covers the ceilings! And the ornate chandeliers, characterized by filigree, lend a beautiful soft light to the enclosed restaurant.

Beautiful Lighting

Here’s a picture that shows you the detail of that [Read more…]