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…]

News! 2012 Candlelight Processional Lunch and Dinner Packages On Sale Now

It’s time!! The Candlelight Processional Dinner Packages are finally on sale!

This coveted ticket provides guests with a lunch or dinner meal at select Epcot restaurants and guaranteed seating to the popular Candlelight Processional holiday spectacular.

At the event, the Christmas story is told by a celebrity narrator while a 50-piece orchestra and choir accompany the re-telling. The event is held on select nights from November 23 – December 30, 2012, in the American Gardens Theatre at Disney World’s Epcot.

Package Details

The package includes your choice of an appetizer, entree, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverage or 1 full buffet from the restaurant’s menu. Guests also have access to an special Illuminations Fireworks viewing area.

Prices [Read more…]

Candlelight Processional Dinner Packages On Sale Now!

The Candlelight Processional Dinner Package provides guests with a lunch or dinner meal at select Epcot restaurants and guaranteed seating to the popular Candlelight Processional holiday spectacular. Recently Disney’s added in a VIP viewing of IllumiNations, Reflections of Earth, to make this a really great deal!

At the event, the Christmas story is told by a celebrity narrator while a 50-piece orchestra and choir accompany the re-telling. The event is held on select nights from November 25 – December 30, 2011 in the American Gardens Theatre in Disney World’s Epcot.

Package Details

Does not include park admission. Includes your choice of an appetizer, entree, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage or 1 full buffet from the restaurant’s menu. Prices exclude tax and gratuity.

Disney Dining Plan
Standard and Deluxe Dining – 2 table service credits per person for any meal/restaurant
Premium and Platinum Dining – 1 table service credit per person for any meal/restaurant

Out-of-Pocket Costs
Biergarten
Lunch – Adult $32.99 Child $17.99
Dinner – Adult $50.99 Child $25.99

Nine Dragons
Lunch – Adult $38.99 Child $12.99
Dinner – Adult $49.99 Child $15.99

Restaurant Marrakesh
Lunch – Adult $38.99 Child $12.99
Dinner – Adult $49.99 Child $15.99

Rose and Crown
Lunch – Adult $38.99 Child $12.99
Dinner – Adult $49.99 Child $15.99

Via Napoli
Lunch – Adult $38.99 Child $12.99
Dinner – Adult $49.99 Child $15.99

San Angel Inn
Lunch – Adult $38.99 Child $12.99
Dinner – Adult $49.99 Child $15.99

Coral Reef
Lunch – Adult $51.99 Child $13.99
Dinner – Adult $64.99 Child $17.99

Teppan Edo
Lunch – Adult $51.99 Child $13.99
Dinner – Adult $64.99 Child $17.99

Tokyo Dining
Lunch – Adult $51.99 Child $13.99
Dinner – Adult $64.99 Child $17.99

Tutto Italia
Lunch – Adult $51.99 Child $13.99
Dinner – Adult $64.99 Child $17.99

Chefs de France
Lunch – Adult $51.99 Child $13.99
Dinner – Adult $64.99 Child $17.99

Garden Grill
Dinner – Adult $52.99 Child $26.99

Le Cellier
Lunch – Adult $53.99 Child $14.99

La Hacienda de San Angel
Lunch – Adult $64.99 Child $17.99

Narrators:

11/25 – 11/27: Mira Sorvino
11/28 – 12/01: Michael W. Smith
12/02 – 12/03: Whoopi Goldberg
12/04 – 12/06: TBA
12/07 – 12/09: Isabela Rossellini
12/10 – 12/12: Neil Patrick Harris
12/13- 12/14: TBA
12/16 – 12/18: TBA
12/19 – 12/21: Trace Adkins
12/22 – 12/24: Susan Lucci
12/25 – 12/27: Blair Underwood
12/28 – 12/30: Marlee Matlin with interpreter: Jack Jason

Instead of waiting in a loooonnng line (to get a leftover seat) for this memorable holiday tradition, book a package now. Call (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463!

Thanks to Heidi M. at White Glove Destinations for the heads up

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…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: August 1, 2010

Via Napoli

Greetings, Disney food lovers! As always, let’s start with the Disney Food News of the week:

In DFB news, I just finished a Food and Wine Festival project I was working on: To see information, menus, and photos of the individual Epcot Food and Wine Festival World Showcase booths (and even some photos of food items that will be on the menu for 2010!), click on any individual country name on our 2010 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booth Menus and Photos page. For example, check out pics of what you can order this year in the Brazil booth!

We’re looking forward to reports from Via Napoli this week as well, so stay tuned. And a huge thanks to Amanda Tinney of Disney Every Day for getting the word out about the 2010 WDW Foodie Fest!

And now, on to the round-up!

Main Street Gazette has a fantastic review of Disney World’s Nine Dragons!

DisZine has a great review of Disney World’s ‘Ohana with some gorgeous photos.

TouringPlans writer, Caroline Baggerly, has some great tips for how to navigate the Disney World dining reservations system, even when you don’t already have an ADR!

The Caribbean Beach Resort Fan Site surveyed their readers to find out about the favorite food choices at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort!

Rosie's Victory Garden

StudiosCentral has a great post about the “history” of the Victory Garden in DHS.

The Daily Disney reports that the Egg Rolls have vanished from the Anadapur Local Cafe counter service menu (i.e. the “Yak and Yeti counter service menu”). Can anyone confirm? So sad.

Everything Walt Disney World reports on a question for the ages: can you use kids’ quick service dining credits to purchase adult quick service meals?

Disney Wedding Blog gives us ten food and beverage Disney Wedding facts! Who knew?

Chip and Co reports on a an August 12th wine tasting event in Disneyland’s Downtown Disney.

Disney Parks Blog and Chef Kevin Dundon teach us how to make Irish Soda Bread!

DisUnplugged reviews Disneyland’s Celebration Round-Up.

To round out the week, here’s a great video from the Disney Parks Blog about everyone’s favorite Club Cool choice, Beverly!

And another great vid from Jeff Lange DVD of the outside of Via Napoli!

Disney Food Post Round-Up: February 21, 2010

Eat hereIt’s been a busy week, everyone! Just in case you missed them, here are a couple of headlines from the Disney Food Blog in the past few days: highlights from the Dinner:Impossible visit to Walt Disney World last week, and the options for foodies at the upcoming Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.

Also, check out Touring Plans for an analysis I did on whether Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ restaurants are a good value.

Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide reports that the preliminary list for the James Beard Award in the Best Chef Category includes Victoria and Albert’s Chef Scott Hunnel.

Orlando United shares some photos of WDW’s Crystal Palace with the refurb walls down.

DLRP Today reports that Disneyland Resort Paris’ Pizza Planet will become a Buzz Lightyear Buffet.

The Disney Chick takes you through the creation of one of my favorite Disney World desserts, Liberty Tree Tavern’s Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake.

DisneyShawn gives a peek into the imagineering of Mrs. Potts’ Cupboard and the Friar’s Nook in WDW’s Magic Kingdom.

Disney Parks Blog shares a dessert recipe from the Saratoga Springs’ Turf Club Restaurant.

AllEarsNet has a gorgeous photo-blog from Nine Dragons Restaurant in Epcot’s China.

Main Street Gazette writes about the Yakitori House in Epcot’s Japan.

DisUnplugged brings us to the Troubadour Tavern in Disneyland.

The Daily Disney from Orlando Sentinel shares a Coconut Curried Chicken Stew recipe from Boma at WDW’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Have a great week!

2009 Candlelight Processional Dinner Packages

Candlelight Processional (copyright Disney)

Candlelight Processional (copyright Disney)

Please Note: According to MousePlanet, Disneyland’s Candlelight Spectacular will be a hard ticket event for D23 Charter Members only, with an additional price tag of $275. The following information is rumored for Disney World ONLY.

Stitch Kingdom is reporting that this year’s Candlelight Processional Dinner Package at Disney World includes access to a reserved area to watch Illuminations: Reflections of Earth! This added benefit might just make it that much more worth it to book a Dinner Package!

The site also lists all of the specifics regarding the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package, including costs and times for the different tiers of restaurants:
Tier I: Biergarten and Garden Grill
Tier II: Nine Dragons, Restaurant Marrakesh, Rose and Crown, and San Angel Inn
Tier III: Chefs De France, Coral Reef, Le Cellier, Teppen Edo, Tokyo Dining, Tutto Italia

Word on the street (e.g. the message boards) is that booking this year will be on the regular 90-day schedule, and that Processional Dinner Packages will not be available via the online booking system.

As of right now, the Candlelight Processional will be offered November 27 – December 30, 2009, at 5:00, 6:45, and 8:15 pm.

Epcot’s Nine Dragons

View from Nine Dragons

View from Nine Dragons

According to most accounts, Nine Dragons in Epcot doesn’t really require an advanced reservation. It’s also considered a very disappointing restaurant for many. This characterization might be somewhat accurate — it’s not a “Wow!” restaurant — but I’ve had a few good experiences there and wanted to share that perspective as well.

Nine Dragons was recently overhauled, and, I think, offers a decent dining experience. While most people are forced into this restaurant by sudden rainstorms and bad planning (i.e. all the other restaurants are full and they couldn’t find Marrakesh), the food is more than edible (sometimes even good!) and the atmosphere is rich. Yes, it’s a bit too expensive for what you actually get, but the service hasn’t been bad in our experience, and we do enjoy the food.

Decorative Glass Wall

Decorative Glass Wall

Renovated Light Fixtures

Renovated Light Fixtures

The restaurant renovation was immediately apparent on our last visit. Gone was the garish, too-opulent decor of the old Nine Dragons. The warm dark woods and interesting colors worked well with the stark, clean table settings. I find atmosphere to be almost as important as food, so being seated in a room that was pleasing to the eye already had the restaurant ranking higher in my mind than previously. Plus, the fun “history of writing” on the place mats was interesting, and any Epcot restaurant gets extra points if I learn something while I’m there.

Dark Wood Decorative Screens

Dark Wood Decorative Screens

History of Writing Place Mats

History of Writing Place Mats

We ordered the Chicken Consomme with Pork Dumplings, the Spit Roasted Beijing Chicken with Mashed Taro, and the Canton Pepper Beef with rice. Although the food wasn’t “signature restaurant” quality, it was as good as most neighborhood Chinese restaurants and a bit better than some.

Chicken Consomme with Pork Dumplings

Chicken Consomme with Pork Dumplings

Beijing Chicken with Mashed Taro

Beijing Chicken with Mashed Taro

Canton Pepper Beef with Rice

Canton Pepper Beef with Rice

Overall, we enjoyed a relaxing dinner, had decent service, and were pleased with the atmosphere (even if the tables were a bit too close together for our liking). There’s nothing wrong with this place, but if you don’t believe me, Marrakesh is at the back of the Morocco pavilion… . ;-)