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!

Guest Review: Table Service Dinner at The Diamond Horseshoe in Magic Kingdom

Join us at the The Diamond Horseshoe. Recently guest author, Lori Fries, enjoyed dinner at this iconic spot in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. An all-you-care-to-eat feast will be offered through September 10, 2016.

The Diamond Horseshoe recently re-opened for table-service lunch and dinner in Frontierland.

We made an advance dining reservation (ADR) for The Diamond Horseshoe the first day we could. We ate dinner at 3:30PM, so I guess it was more of a late lunch/early dinner. We read one bad review from opening night, but as a local experienced Disney foodie I was excited to try something new.

Atmosphere

The horseshoe-shaped restaurant looks the same as it has for years.

The Diamond Horseshoe

The Diamond Horseshoe

Diamond Horseshoe Seating and Stage

Diamond Horseshoe Seating and Stage

On the stage sat a beautiful old-time player piano. [Read more…]

Review: Chef Mickey’s Dinner at Disney World’s Contemporary Resort

It has been too long since I’ve taken a trip to Chef Mickey’s in Disney World’s Contemporary Resort!

We’ve shared with you our review of their breakfast buffet. But today, we’re heading there to see what’s new for dinner!

When many people think about a Disney character dining experience”, they immediately think of Chef Mickey’s. This one has it all — the Fab Five, a sprawling buffet of family-friendly foods, regular raucous celebrations, and monorails whizzing by.

But in the past, the food has had a reputation for being a little lackluster. Time to see how things are looking these days… . We have a lot to cover, so let’s get started!

Atmosphere

One of the coolest things about Chef Mickey’s is its location. You’ll find this well-known character meal at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Chef Mickey's Sign

This place is a stone’s throw from the Magic Kingdom in Disney World, which makes it a great place to stop and eat before heading into the park, or after a long day of rides and attractions.

Once you enter the hotel’s main floor lobby, take the elevator to the fourth floor. Chef Mickey’s is located on the south end of the concourse, right below where the Disney World monorail enters the building. (You can also arrive at the Contemporary via said monorail, of course — in which case you’d take an escalator down to the 4th floor).

The Grand Canyon Concourse at the Contemporary

Head to the central desk to let the hostess know that your party has arrived. You can’t miss it — Mickey is smiling down with his fork and spoon, ready to greet you!

Central Desk Check-In

If your table isn’t quite ready, you can wait until your party is paged in this comfortable seating area. This spot features a view of Bay Lake and the resort’s pool patio — and offers plenty of room for running off excess energy.

Waiting Area

Before you’re seated, your party will [Read more…]

Guest Review: Breakfast and Lunch at Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure

Welcome back guest author Carrie Hayward with a review of breakfast and lunch at Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Cars Land, Disney California Adventure!

This Spring we got to attend an Annual Passholder preview of Cars Land. Everything was open, including new counter-service restaurant Flo’s V-8 Cafe.

We are usually pretty disappointed by the counter-service options at Disney California Adventure and Disneyland (Jolly Holiday Bakery excepted!), but we waited in the 20-minute line with our hopes high. Who wouldn’t want to eat in a life-size replica of the stylish drive-in from Cars?

Flo's Really Shines at Night!

Atmosphere

Flo’s is HUGE inside, with four dining rooms.

The restaurant actually extends halfway down the block, but one wing is themed to an auto clinic [Read more…]

First Look: Flo’s V8 Cafe Revs Up for Business in Disney California Adventure!

A few weeks ago, I was able to get a media sneak peek and food preview of Cars Land.

While we were there, every single attendee was in awe of its landscape, then we were blown away even more when we were led into Flo’s V8 Cafe for a tasting!

Flo's V8 Cafe Signage

At that time, no photos were allowed. But, guess what? After 5 years, the time has come, the walls are down, and Flo’s is open for business!

Flo's Entrance

Flo’s V8 Cafe was modeled after a Route 66 stop called Midpoint Cafe in Midpoint, Texas.

And the backstory in Cars Land is that Flo’s caters to the growing number of Route 66 visitors and race fans coming to Radiator Springs, with a “showroom” dining area that overlooks the Radiator Springs Racers attraction. This is one of the amazing views…

Watch the Radiator Springs Racers and enjoy the view while you dine at Flo's!

Atmosphere

The minute you walk into Flo’s, you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. To me, it felt like the scene in Back to the Future when Marty enters the soda fountain to find his dad, George McFly sitting there.

You’re in complete awe of the music, the colors, the decor; everything. Flo’s is, in fact, so gorgeous that they have a Photo Pass photographer set up with a tripod out front to take pictures of people in front of the restaurant!

Here’s some of the fun outside “decor” that makes Flo’s so much fun to [Read more…]

First Look! Food Photos From Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe in Disney California Adventure

Update: Check out the discreet integration of Starbucks into Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe.

We’ve had a great time sharing sneak peeks of many of the new dining locations opening soon in Disney California Adventure! Be sure to check out the great menu options at Flo’s V-8 Cafe, Sally’s Cozy Cone Motel, Carthay Circle Restaurant, Trolley Treats, and Clarabelle’s Ice Cream!

And one more of the places on Buena Vista Street I am really looking forward to is the Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe. Why? Because Disney California Adventure NEEDS a good counter service spot where one can grab a great sandwich and a STARBUCKS beverage

Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe

At a recent media preview I was able to check out some of the items that will be served at the Cafe, and it looks like there will be some pretty tasty options…

Menu

I got some great photos of the dishes that will be served here at the Fiddler. The first thing I noticed about the menu, though, was that the items appeared to be very similar to what is being served over in Disneyland at the Jolly Holiday Bakery

This is not a bad thing by any means; Jolly Holiday is fantastic! Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Fiddler, Fifer & Practical will be serving a wide variety eats:

  • Breakfast: Freshly baked pastries & cinnamon rolls, breakfast sandwiches and wraps
  • Lunch and Dinner: Hot and cold sandwiches, salads, and two daily soups

A Sampler of Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe Offerings

I don’t have the “official” names of the sandwiches pictured below, but some appear to be identical to [Read more…]

Review: Gasparilla Grill at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Tucked into one of Disney World’s most iconic resort hotels — The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa — Gasparilla Grill is one of the only restaurants open 24 hours in Walt Disney World!

Atmosphere

Gasparilla Grill is the the counter service location at the Grand Floridian and is sandwiched between the Grand Floridian Cafe and the Grand Floridian Kids’ Club.

It offers both hot and cold (grab-and-go) items as well as bakery items and soft-serve ice cream.

Gasparilla Entrance

Gasparilla Food Area

You’ll find plenty of seating inside and outside. Outdoor seating has a fantastic view of [Read more…]