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!

Disney World “Just the New Stuff” Snack Crawl — Epcot Edition!

What? You’ve recovered from the DFB Grilled Cheese Crawl, and you’re ready for another one? We are right there with ya!

2017-2nd Edition DFB Guide + Snacks Covers

So today, we’re heading to the Mecca of Diverse Disney food options, Epcot!

There are literally hundreds of delicious dishes and tempting snacks to be savored throughout the park. And that makes sense, since World Showcase immerses you into the cultures of eleven different countries.

In one day, you can enjoy pastries from France, sushi from Japan, a jumbo pretzel from Germany, schoolbread from Norway — and so much more!

But then, there’s Future World, too. Home to great little kiosks featuring flavored popcorns as well as one of our favorite counter service spots, Sunshine Seasons, there’s plenty to enjoy there as well.

We all have our favorites, but it’s also fun to check out the NEW stuff! And so today, that’s what we’re doing. Let’s head into Epcot and arrange the day around trying brand new (or in some cases, returning items) in our DFB “Just the New Stuff” Crawl, Epcot Edition!

And if you love this crawl, be sure to check out our DFB Guide + Snacks Bundle, which you can enjoy for an unbelievable 30% off the already discounted price with code BUNDLE17 at DFBStore.com!

I hope you came hungry. Let’s go!

Cinnamon French Toast Bread Pudding, Sunshine Seasons

To kick our day off right, we should start with a good breakfast. Sure, you could grab a bowl of cereal at the resort or head to Starbucks for a muffin, but I say let’s check out Sunshine Seasons in The Land Pavilion for their Cinnamon French Toast Bread Pudding.

Cinnamon French Toast Bread Pudding at Sunshine Seasons

Cinnamon French Toast Bread Pudding at Sunshine Seasons

Is it breakfast, or is it dessert? Who cares? Because this is vacation, and you NEED to have this rich, delicious dish to jump start your day. (Oh, and to answer the question, clearly, this is breakfast. I mean, who eats bacon with dessert? ;-)  ) [Read more…]

Review: Chip N’ Dale’s Harvest Feast Breakfast at Garden Grill Restaurant in Epcot

We are headed into The Land Pavilion in Walt Disney World’s Epcot today for one of our favorite character meals at Garden Grill Restaurant!

This spot may feel a little dated in a way…but we prefer to think of it as retro. ;-) Disney’s (Orlando’s!!) only rotating restaurant is still tops for the coolness factor of the, you know, rotation. I can remember going to this restaurant when I was a little kid — it was fancy-pants back then (with sculpted Mickey butter!), but the nostalgia factor is high here for Epcot babies. Add in some pretty delicious food, and you’re doing even better. AND then — characters! Even Mickey! So it’s probably sort of easy to see why we like it.

Recently, our Dining in Disneyland expert and friend of DFB Heather Sievers travelled to Walt Disney World for a visit. Among their many culinary adventures, her family opted to visit Garden Grill Restaurant for breakfast one morning.

Let’s tag along and see how it went!

Atmosphere

Garden Grill Restaurant is located within The Land Pavilion in Epcot’s Future World West.

The Land Pavilion

The Land Pavilion

This building is a serious multitasker. You’ll find three different attractions housed here: Soarin, Living with the Land, and The Circle of Life. All have different entrances, which are accessible as you travel down ramps circling either side of the round building’s perimeter. [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: Big Thunder Ranch BBQ Halloween Round Up Featuring Seasonal Cookie Bake

Disneyland’s Big Thunder Ranch BBQ has always been one of my favorites.  When I heard that it would be closing for good on January 11th, 2016, (in order to make room for Star Wars Land) I knew that I needed to plan a few visits.

Big Thunder Ranch BBQ

Big Thunder Ranch BBQ


[Read more…]

#OnTheList: ‘Ohana Character Breakfast at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

DisneyFoodBucketList 8-018
This post is part of the DFB #OnTheList series, where we feature eats you’ve GOT to have while you’re at Disney! Let us know what’s on YOUR Disney Food Bucket List @DisneyFoodBlog #OnTheList!

Writing about Disney Food — all of it — well, it’s kinda the point of this blog. But I am never happier than when I can share one of my truly favorite meals with you.

And ‘Ohana’s Best Friends Character Breakfast definitely qualifies! Let’s take a closer look at this experience as we head into the Great Ceremonial House and see why ‘Ohana Breakfast is definitely #OnTheList!

Atmosphere

Recently, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort underwent a lengthy refurbishment. If you haven’t visited the resort in a while, you’ll definitely notice some changes to the lobby and other public areas.

Tiki Statue in Lobby

Tiki Statue in Lobby

With the Resort’s name change (the Polynesian resumed its original, opening day name), we also welcomed a couple of exciting new additions — the Pineapple Lanai and Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. [Read more…]

Review: Breakfast at Captain’s Grille in Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Today, we’re getting a hearty start to our day with breakfast at Captain’s Grille!

I’ve long considered Captain’s Grille to be a hidden gem at Walt Disney World. Located at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, this place isn’t much to look at (pretty boring, in fact), but they really do have some great food and there always seems to be a table available.

I love heading here for a quiet, delicious lunch, or for a full breakfast spread. Similar to The Wave…of American Flavors at the Contemporary, at breakfast you can choose from the buffet or order from the a la carte menu.

Atmosphere

The decor of Captain’s Grille is consistent with the rest of the Yacht Club Resort. You won’t find anything outlandish in this corner of Disney, just lots of blond wood and boaty details — stripes, stars, compass-type stuff, anchors…you know the deal.

Captain's Grille Seating

Captain’s Grille Seating

The space is open with lots of light from overhead chandeliers and recessed light above as well as windows onto the lobby and grounds. The whole effect gives the room an airy feel. Seating is comprised of large padded chairs and booths. It’s fairly typical to find a sparsely populated dining room, so I’ve always considered the space to be roomy and comfortable.

Seating

The Main Seating Area

In the main seating area around the ceiling you’ll spy these porthole-type windows, which give you the feeling that you’re enjoying your meal below deck.

Porthole Window Detail

Porthole Window Detail

Shadow boxes feature interesting items, like this grouping of vintage keys.

Decor

Decor

While there aren’t tons of decorative details here, what you will find is pretty interesting. The three-dimensional sailing scenes are some of my favorite touches, and are a whimsical way to bring the theme into focus.

My Favorite One!

A Ship Sailing the Ocean Blue

Dioramas

Ocean Scenes

Now that we’ve had a look around, let’s explore the breakfast options.

Eats

Starting your day off with a [Read more…]

Guest Review: Dinner at Epcot’s Biergarten at the Germany Pavilion

A favorite place to dine at Walt Disney World is Epcot’s World Showcase.

With unique restaurants featuring tastes from around the globe, Epcot offers a smorgasbord of dining locations. Today, guest author Rebecca Elliott shares her dinner experience at the Biergarten located in the Germany pavilion. Prost!

Epcot is designed to replicate a permanent World’s Fair with pavilions dedicated to innovation and international culture.

Future World highlights technology while the World Showcase, on the other side of World Showcase Lagoon, celebrates international culture.

The Charming Biergarten Entry Way

The Charming Biergarten Entry Way

There are 11 pavilions in the World Showcase, each themed and dedicated to a specific country. The décor can be old fashioned and kitschy, but the cast members, many of whom travel from their home countries to work in the World Showcase, give it an air of authenticity.

The restaurants are by far the main attraction. Many pavilions have two or more restaurants that serve food inspired by their representative countries. I say “inspired” because the food is not necessarily authentic, but it has elements of authentic dishes and is served in a fun atmosphere with incredible theming.

Instead of dining at our usual spot (Chefs de France in the France pavilion), my family and I decided to try something completely new on our most recent visit. This is how we found ourselves at Biergarten in the Germany pavilion.

When You Step Into the Dining Room, You Are Transported to a Lively Oktoberfest Party

When You Step Into the Dining Room, You Are Transported to a Lively Oktoberfest Party

Atmosphere

Biergarten is located in the back of the Germany pavilion, which is the fourth pavilion in if you enter the World Showcase from Future World and start from the left. Disney’s original plan was to feature a boat ride here, similar to the one at the Norway pavilion, but these plans fell through. The main entrance of the boat ride is now the dining area for Biergarten.

The setting for Biergarten is a quaint Bavarian village celebrating Oktoberfest. You are seated in the town square at communal tables, ready to enjoy traditional German music and food. It is dusk (no matter what time of day you eat), and the atmosphere is celebratory.

Stage Area and Seating

Stage Area and Seating

We checked in with a cast member at the hostess desk [Read more…]

Review: Breakfast at Kouzzina in Disney’s BoardWalk Inn

Let’s head to one of my highly recommended breakfast spots — Kouzzina, at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn!

This casual, but classy restaurant is carries the name of celebrity chef Cat Cora, and features a menu with a Mediterranean influence that celebrates Cora’s Greek heritage.

Kouzzina has won critical acclaim, and has long been one of our favorite stops for breakfast in all of Walt Disney World. So on a recent trip there, we decided to drop by and see what was new…and there was one thing that I’m STILL dreaming about today! I can’t wait to tell you about it!

Read on!

Atmosphere

Entering Kouzzina from the almost carnival-like atmosphere of Disney’s BoardWalk, you immediately sense a shift in mood. Kouzzina has a decidedly refined atmosphere, but with many rustic touches. It’s almost like urban-meets-farmhouse.

Menu Cover

In the entryway, there are shelves with mementos and cooking vessels. We spied this Hidden Mickey, which is a nice reminder that although Cat Cora is the chef, you’re still at Disney.

Entryway Decor Featuring a Hidden Mickey

Since a renovation last year, you can find lots of Cora-rific goodies for sale in the lobby of the restaurant.

A List of Available Merchandise

Some of the Cat Cora Merchandise for Sale

Once your name is called and you head into the restaurant, you’ll see another result of the recent renovation. Olive Oil — Greek Olive Oil, to be precise — is used as a hip decor element. Personally, I think this is a little too contemporary for the more “farmhouse-y” feel of the restaurant, but that’s why I’m not an interior designer I guess.

Olive Oil Bottles

While the art wall of olive oil bottles provides the urban touch, lots of dark wood in the dining room brings the rustic feel to the party. Walls with dark wood wainscoting match booths, tables, and beamed ceilings. Lighter wood planks cover the floor. All in all, the hard surfaces and high ceilings can make for a loud space, but the overall feeling is comfortable.

Seating

Bright light is filtered at the windows through white curtains. It really is a very relaxing spot for breakfast in WDW! A good contrast to what you’re about to experience in the parks! ;-)

Windows

Be sure to look up, too. The light fixtures are really beautiful, with an almost Middle Eastern look.

Beautiful Light Fixture

And the painted tin ceiling carries the feeling of antiquity through the space.

Light Fixture From Another Angle

The open kitchen draws the eye, however. It’s always entertaining to watch [Read more…]

Review: Trail’s End Restaurant at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

It’s been a while since I’ve slept in a camper, cabin, or tent, but that doesn’t stop me from loving Trail’s End Restaurant!

Located at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, the down-home spot is one of my favorites for many reasons — but delicious food and reasonable prices top the list.

While I love lunch and dinner at Trail’s End, I hadn’t visited for breakfast before, so I decided it was time to do just that on a recent trip.

Atmosphere

Getting to Trail’s End is half the adventure. It’s located waaaay at the back of the resort, in the area known as the Settlement.

Now, wait. To be fair, adventure is kind of a generous word. It’s actually kind of a pain to get here. Maybe that’s why I like it so much — it’s rarely too packed!

If you’re coming here via bus from a theme park, or via your own car, you’ll park way up at the front of Fort Wilderness and have to take some internal buses to get back to the Settlement. That’s why I prefer to get to Trail’s End and the other Fort Wilderness restaurants via boat from Magic Kingdom, Wilderness Lodge, or the Contemporary — much less intensive on the travel end, and more enjoyable as well.

On this morning we took the bus, so we had some sight-seeing to do on our way from the bus stop back to Trail’s End… .

Welcome to the Settlement!

It’s not uncommon to see horses at Fort Wilderness, where there are carriage and wagon rides available.

Ft. Wilderness Activities

Pioneer Hall shares space with our destination. I love this place! It looks like a giant log cabin. The surrounding by tall pines and live oaks dripping in Spanish moss really give it the feeling of a pioneer settlement.

Pioneer Hall

Pioneer Hall is home to several popular destinations at Fort Wilderness. You’ll find Mickey’s Backyard BBQ close by. But it’s also where you’ll head for an evening of down home fun at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue!

Pioneer Hall -- Up Close

Just past the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue venue, you’ll find our destination for the morning — Trail’s End table-service restaurant. This location shares [Read more…]

Review: Breakfast at Boma in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Mention that you’re looking for a breakfast restaurant during a stay at Walt Disney World, and you are bound to be met with this piece of advice: “You MUST go to Boma.”

It’s true! This buffet restaurant is among the most favorite options for lovers of Disney food, myself included. We’ve even named it as one of our most favorite Disney brunch destinations!

But even though dinner offers an amazing spread, your Disney friends will tell you that breakfast is the “can’t miss” meal here.

It was a shock to me when I realized that I had never actually reviewed this all-important meal on the blog! Time to remedy that right now!

Atmosphere

Boma is located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. You’ll find it below the lobby on the ground floor, adjacent to other AKL restaurants The Mara and Jiko.

There’s one pretty important distinction that sets Boma apart from other very popular buffets at Disney. Many of the others are primarily character dining experiences. But you won’t find any characters at Boma. That’s an important detail to keep in mind when planning your advance dining reservations.

Boma Background Information

“Boma” is actually an African term for a fence made of sticks that forms a safe enclosure for gathering. Throughout the entrance of the restaurant, you see the stick fence motif captured in different materials.

Here, Imagineers used wrought iron to line the bridged walkway leading into the space.

Entrance to Boma

Beautiful statuary decorates the low wall that separates the buffet from the seating area.

Statuary and Decor

Ceilings are lined with large pieces of [Read more…]