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: Dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Time to go back in time and dine with the Founding Fathers… . Or, at the very least, settle for the next best thing: dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern in Walt Disney World.

Liberty Tree Tavern has long held a special place in my heart — and in many of yours as well, I know. If you’re one of many longtime Tavern devotees, you already know that for years this Magic Kingdom Table Service has offered an a la carte menu for Lunch, while dinner has featured an All-You-Care-to-Enjoy meal served family style.

Both of those things are still true. But some notable changes to both the lunch and dinner menus took place just a couple months ago. For instance, Lunch still offers a la carte options (with some returning favorites among them), but you can also order the All-You-Care-to-Enjoy Bill of Fare, if you wish.

And the changes to Dinner? Well, there was only one. But it was a pretty darn big one, and I had to experience it for myself.

Liberty Tree Tavern Sign

Liberty Tree Tavern Sign

So please join me, my fellow citizens… .

[Read more…]

Spotted: Holiday Turkey Poutine at Disney Springs’ The Daily Poutine

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Are you already stuffed with turkey, or are you looking for a way to get your traditional fix?

Our Dining in Disneyland expert Heather Sievers swapped coasts for a visit East — yep, she’s makin’ the rounds in Walt Disney World this week! And she couldn’t resist the opportunity to stop by Disney Springs and check out all that’s new in that neck of the woods. And of course, that meant checking out a few of the new stops, like The Daily Poutine.

The Daily Poutine

The Daily Poutine

While she was there, Heather found THIS awesomeness: [Read more…]

News: Earl of Sandwich Introduces New Turkey, Apple, and Brie Sandwich

The Earl of Sandwich has something new up their sleeve, and we can’t wait to try it! Check out the Turkey, Apple, and Brie Sandwich!

© Earl of Sandwich

© Earl of Sandwich

I’m especially psyched because a similar sammy used to be on the menu at Contempo Cafe, and I looooved it. There’s also an awesome Brie and Apple baguette sandwich over at Les Halles in Epcot’s France!  [Read more…]

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Review: The Parisian Afternoon — Sandwiches, Macarons, and Bubbles

We’re spending a leisurely afternoon at the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

While we love taking a turn around World Showcase to try all the great eats, it’s always fun to take in a few of the Festival’s Special Events each year as well. And you can always count on a terrific experience when you book events in Epcot’s France Pavilion.

Join us today as we head up the spiral staircase for a special Parisian Afternoon at Monsieur Paul.

Atmosphere

Monsieur Paul is a hidden gem in Epcot’s France Pavilion. Nope — I’m not speaking figuratively. I mean, it’s actually hidden. To find it, head back through France as though you’re going to visit Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie. It’s a little easier to find than it used to be, though, thanks to the awning that bears the restaurant’s name.

Monsieur Paul Entrance

Monsieur Paul Entrance

You’ll find the check-in desk right inside the door. For Festival Special Events, the host or hostess will ask for your name, and then cross it off the printed list. At this time, you’ll head up the Art Nouveau staircase… [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Turkey!

Can you believe that just a week from today, we’ll be digging into all of those familiar Thanksgiving favorites? A meal like that is worth celebrating with an installment of Disney Food Pics of the Week!

If you haven’t already, check out our Flickr page — Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza — where DFB readers share all of their Disney Food Photos. Want to add to the delish? Just head over and post your pics for a chance to have them featured in our Disney Food Pics of the Week Series! Let’s take a look!

Pilgrim’s Feast at Liberty Tree Tavern

Photographer: Nancy RK

One of my absolute favorite restaurants in all of Walt Disney World is Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom. And this time of year, who can pass up the chance to eat the Pilgrim’s Feast?

Enjoy Thanksgiving All Year 'Round with the Pilgrim's Feast at Liberty Tree Tavern

Enjoy Thanksgiving All Year ‘Round with the Pilgrim’s Feast at Liberty Tree Tavern

Turkey Leg

Photographer: Theresa E.

Like we could leave out what many consider THE way to enjoy turkey when you’re at Disney? We know that some of you can’t resist enjoying a

[Read more…]

Review: Liberty Tree Tavern at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

We are heading to one of my favorite Walt Disney World restaurants today — Liberty Tree Tavern at Magic Kingdom!

“This place is awesome, why?” you ask? Because it’s FOOD and LEARNING all in ONE! Shazam!!! Beat THAT, Be Our Guest!!! ;-D

OK, so I clearly have a soft spot in my heart for LTT, and it really is a bunch of comfort food with a hearty side of history blended in. Ready to take a peek? Time to board the learning train! Woo-woo!

Atmosphere

Liberty Tree Tavern is situated in Liberty Square, just a stone’s throw from Cinderella Castle. While the main focus of Liberty Square and the restaurant itself is a celebration of Colonial American History, it’s also an important spot in Disney History; Liberty Tree opened with the park on October 1, 1971. See? Staying power.

Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom

Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom

Enter the lobby and check in at the podium just to the left of the door. The lobby itself is cozy and rustic, with wood paneling and wrought iron chandeliers. A huge fireplace — the kind used for cooking and big enough to stand in — is the focal point of the room. But soaring, two-story ceilings and all of those hard surfaces can make for a lot of noise. Be prepared!

Be sure to arrange an advance dining reservation if you’d like to eat here, as it’s usually a pretty busy place. And keep in mind that lunch and dinner have different menus and service styles. More about that in a bit!

Liberty Tree Tavern Lobby

Liberty Tree Tavern Lobby

Once your table is ready, you’ll be announced by a cast member — Town Crier style! Talk about an entrance. ;-) But get your head out of the clouds, already; we have learning to do! En route to your table, have a look around; there are some interesting details here and you don’t want to overlook them.

Within Liberty Tree Tavern, you’ll find six distinct rooms or seating areas, each named for a notable historical figure. See if your favorite Colonial American hero numbers among them; the list includes Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Paul Jones, Paul Revere, Betsy Ross, and George Washington.

This spot with hats and coats hanging by the door has always been one of my favorite details. There’s John Paul Jones to the right!

Coats and Hat Hanging at the Ready

Coats and Hat Hanging at the Ready!

Walls in all of the seating areas are covered with Colonial-Era paintings and portraits, and you’ll also find super detailed decorative touches, like this model ship.

Decor

Portrait and Model Ship

You’ll know Betsy Ross’s Room by the flag, of course!

Flag in Betsy Ross Room

Flag in Betsy Ross Room

Founding Father Benjamin Franklin’s portrait hangs in the room commemorating his life and work.

Benjamin Franklin Room

Benjamin Franklin Room

You’ll also find his famous kite! I love this. You’re SO going to impress your friends by knowing about all of these details. You can see your kids’ “what I learned on my vacation” report writing itself, can’t you?

Kite in Ben Franklin Room

Kite in Ben Franklin Room

Here’s more from the John Paul Jones room.

John Paul Jones Room

John Paul Jones Room — Inside

When it comes to seating and surroundings, you may find yourself feeling like [Read more…]

News! The Disney Turkey Leg Controversy

We knew that Disney Jumbo Turkey Legs were kind of a big deal (maybe pun intended?). But apparently, they’re a front-page-of-the-NY Times big deal!

In a post entitled “Turkey Legs Conquer Land of Mouse Ears” the Times reveals just how huge the popularity of these mammoth drumstick snacks have become. But not everyone is thrilled about their iconic status. More on that later… .

A Disney Turkey Leg In All Its Glory

A Disney Turkey Leg In All Its Glory

Many guests feel it’s a rite of passage to stroll through the park of their choice, gnawing on the meaty treats. They’re a great option to share! In fact, they’ve gathered a cult following of sorts, similar to many of Disney’s iconic snacks.

Turkey Leg at Disney -- Up Close

Turkey Leg at Disney — Up Close

Like Dole Whips and Mickey Bars, you’ll find lots of fun [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…]

Review: Epcot’s Garden Grill Restaurant

Based on a previous guest review of this restaurant, I couldn’t wait to go try it out!

Now, to be fair, it’s not as though I’d never been to the Garden Grill Restaurant before… Well, that’s not entirely true. Before this visit, I hadn’t been to the current incarnation of the restaurant. In fact, back in the 80’s, I went to The Land Grille Room, which was what the restaurant was called before its renovation into the Garden Grill Restaurant. (Check out my friend Andy’s creation of a recipe from The Land Grille Room here!

Born as the Good Turn Restaurant and then morphed into The Land Grille Room, this restaurant has had many personalities (my memories include dark red booths and full-blown sculptures of Mickey Mouse made out of butter). Today, it’s a family-style character dinner featuring Chip, Dale, Mickey, and Pluto!

Garden Grill

Atmosphere

Perhaps the most impressive attribute boasted by Garden Grill is that it’s a rotating restaurant. That’s right — you go around in circles while you’re eating!

But don’t worry; this isn’t as though you’re having dinner on the Teacups. The restaurant rotates s-l-o-w-l-y during your meal, allowing views of the different scenes from the Living With the Land ride taking place below the restaurant.

There are two seating styles in the restaurant, and…listen up — it makes a BIG difference where you sit. I know I’m picky about seating, but in this case, I strongly suggest that you request a semi-circular booth on the lower level of the restaurant.

Seating

This isn’t just for comfort’s sake (though the cushioned booths ARE more comfortable than the hard chairs at the tables). The booths give you an unobstructed view of the scenes you’re passing by from the ride below, and the high backs also [Read more…]