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!

Review: Warm Apple Crisp from Sunshine Seasons in Epcot’s Land Pavilion

Disney World’s fancy desserts are impressive with their layered fruits and house-made gelato and gaufrettes for texture.

And we love a creme brulee as much as the next guy with crisped, caramelized sugar on his upper lip. But, really, there is nothing like a good, soul-warming apple crisp.

We recently fell in love with the apple crisp they’re serving up at The BOATHOUSE in Disney Springs. And this typically-seasonal dessert finds a home on table service menus and in quick service dessert cases alike.

Today, we want to talk about the latter. And, not all that surprisingly, we found our most recent Warm Apple Crisp food hug at Sunshine Seasons in the Land Pavilion at Epcot.

Sunshine Seasons at The Land pavilion in Epcot

Sunshine Seasons at The Land pavilion in Epcot

Of course, we could have gone with an old favorite and ordered the Strawberry Shortcake (yum!) or a new favorite with the Mickey Oreo Cheesecake. But Warm Apple Crisp is the current seasonal dessert here, so we couldn’t pass it up. [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…]

Better-For-You Snack Options in Epcot

Looking for a quick stop at Epcot with better-for-you options? That’s what you’ll find at this brightly-colored kiosk just outside The Land Pavilion in Future World (home of Soarin’, Living with the Land, and – of course – Garden Grill and Sunshine Seasons).

Better-for-you Snack Kiosk outside The Land

Better-for-you Snack Kiosk outside The Land

Better-for-you treats (healthy stuff!) can be located at a few spots throughout [Read more…]

Review: Croissant Berry Bread Pudding at Sunshine Seasons in Epcot’s Land Pavilion

When it comes to Disney World, sometimes I think there are morning park people and there are night park people.

I’ve always considered myself a night park person… I’m always up for a viewing of any of the nighttime spectaculars, and I’ve never been able to pick a favorite out of Illuminations, Wishes, or Fantasmic!

And the lights on the buildings on Main Street or the torches surrounding World Showcase only add to atmosphere. Plus, the blazing Florida sun has set, so you know… bonus!

But even I have to admit that sometimes the early bird really does catch the worm. Check out this unbelievably peaceful atmosphere for an early morning breakfast of Croissant Berry Pudding at Epcot’s Sunshine Seasons!

Early morning at Sunshine Seasons

Early morning at Sunshine Seasons

Sunshine Seasons Sign

Sunshine Seasons Sign

Can’t you just hear the music from Soarin’ somewhere in the back of your mind :) ?

Anyway, while the crowds are lining up for their morning java over at Fountain View (Starbucks) Cafe, Sunshine Seasons has a few great A.M. treasures (available until 11:00AM) that shouldn’t be overlooked.

You can find plenty of bakery pastries alongside hot breakfast dishes, including an Egg and Bacon Breakfast Panini; a full Breakfast Platter featuring eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, and a biscuit; and – the reason for today’s visit – a Croissant Berry Bread [Read more…]

Review: Dinner at Garden Grill Restaurant in Disney World’s Epcot

We’re heading back to Epcot’s Future World for dinner at Garden Grill Restaurant!

This is a DFB favorite, and it comes together as Chip ‘n Dale’s Harvest Feast. The dinner features an all-you-care-to-eat meal served Family Style.

If you’ve ever shied away from eating in Future World in favor of the more varied cuisine available in World Showcase, it may be time to give Disney World’s only rotating restaurant a chance.

Please join me, Chip ‘n Dale, Pluto, and the main Mouse himself (MICKEY!) at the Harvest Feast for some food and fun!

Garden Grill Sign

Garden Grill Sign

The Atmosphere

The atmosphere? Well, that depends… You see, the Garden Grill rotates over the various scenes of the Living with the Land attraction, so what you see depends on where in the rotation you are in the moment.

It takes about one hour to make the full rotation, so it’s slow enough that you don’t really notice the feel of it while you are dining — at least, I didn’t. I was too busy enjoying the views!  Take a look…

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill -- The Farmhouse

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill — The Farmhouse

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill -- The Farmhouse

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill — The Farmhouse Dog!

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill -- Rainforest

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill — Rainforest

Transition from Rainforest to Desert

Transition from Rainforest to Desert

Garden Grill Mural

Garden Grill Mural

We enjoyed all of this from our table on the lower level of this two-level restaurant. It’s definitely a score if you are seated on the lower level, which is fashioned with booths as opposed to the chairs and tables on the upper level.

Garden Grill booth

Garden Grill booth

The booths provide more of a “front row seat” experience for the attraction, so it’s worth asking at check-in to see if you can get one. I wasn’t expecting a booth since it was just my husband and me, but several of the booths are divided with drop-leaf tables, allowing for a larger family on one side, and a pair on the other. The drop-leaf, of course, can be raised to accommodate a larger group, if needed.

Larger Booth -- Family Side

Larger Booth — Family Side

Larger Booth -- Side for a pair

Larger Booth — Side for a pair

Of course, the special touches are in full effect here — check out this table setting! Remind you of a certain character?

Mickey Table Setting :)

Mickey Table Setting :)

Speaking of… The one thing with the ability to distract you from the attraction views is… well, it’s actually FOUR things: the Characters!

Here’s Chip striking a pose in front of the Prairie Desert.

Chip strikes a pose

Chip strikes a pose

Pluto stopped by to say “Hello!”

Pluto!

Pluto!

Dale plotted how he might sneak some of our food…

Dale Plotting...

Dale Plotting…

… but I informed him it was people food, and not well-suited for chipmunks. (That makes for a sad chipmunk!)

Sad Dale

Sad Dale

Okay, this next shot is not a shining example of terrific photography ;) . But I hope it conveys that moment of excitement when you first spot THE EARS over a nearby booth (c’mon, you can admit it!), and realize who will be at your table shortly…

EARS!

EARS!

Farmer Mickey Mouse — in OVERALLS, no less!!!

Farmer Mickey

Farmer Mickey

At the start of the meal, I was a bit [Read more…]

Disney Food for Families Review: Behind the Seeds Tour in Epcot

Disney Food for Families Columnist Erin Foster takes us backstage on on the Behind the Seeds Tour in Epcot’s The Land pavilion.

Back in the day, we pulled our girls out of school a few times to go to Disney World (shhh, don’t tell). To assuage my guilt, I tried to work some educational content into these trips. One of my attempts at intellectual betterment resulted in signing the family up for the Behind the Seeds tour at the Land pavilion at Epcot. Learning! About food!

As it turns out, we really did have such a great time learning about, and trying, the foods in the Land, we’ve been back on the tour twice more.

Behind the Seeds is an hour-long walk through much of the growing areas seen during the Living with the Land boat ride. If you’ve ever been on the boat and wondered who those rock star folks were walking around in the gardens, well, those are the Behind the Seeds people. Don’t forget to wave.

On the tour, you're actually in the attraction

Tours are lead by members of the botanical team at the Land. These are often graduate students in the agricultural sciences. Personally, I’m not a gardener, but if you did have a technical question, the guides would [Read more…]