Are you ready to start your day with Chip & Dale (along with a few more Disney pals) at Epcot’s Garden Grill?!
Garden Grill Restaurant
That’s right! Garden Grill, Disney World’s only rotating restaurant, has been serving dinner only for a while now. But on November 8th, TWO new meals joined the lineup: Garden Grill now serves up breakfast AND lunch, in addition to dinner! (This, by the way, brings the total of Character Breakfasts in Epcot to two, with the Norway Pavilion’s Akershus Royal Banquet Hall offering the other option with Princess Storybook Dining. Characters are now at both restaurants for every meal.)
The menu for the new lunch addition nearly duplicates that of Chip ’N’ Dale’s Harvest Feast for dinner. But breakfast is all-new, operating each day from 8:00 to 10:30 am.
We can’t wait to dig in! And we’ve got a few friends who would like to say “Good Morning” to you, too…
But let’s take a look around first. And, as always with the Garden Grill, I do mean AROUND…
Atmosphere and Characters
The fact that Garden Grill offers character dining is clearly a major draw for guests. But while they’re a huge highlight, characters aren’t the only thing remarkable about the setting at Garden Grill.
First, it’s a rotating restaurant. Better yet, the views as you spin (slowly — a full rotation takes about an hour) are of an actual Disney World attraction: Living with the Land in The Land Pavilion in Future World.
Settings depicted within the scenes include everything from a farmhouse and prairie land, to a thunderstorm and rainforest.
A little note about the Rainforest scene — though lovely, it does present some additional ambient sounds that actually can make it fairly difficult to hear your server, especially with all the action going on at the tables around you. Hang in there, because you’ll keep moving. But for those that start their meal there, you may need to ask your server to repeat a word or two as they explain how things work.
Even before you see any of the characters, you may notice a familiar “face” in the place settings on your table.
Seating is on two levels. Booths facing out towards the changing scenery are on the bottom tier of the restaurant, while the top tier has regular tables.
We always, always recommend you request a booth if possible — the “view” is much better.
Once you’re seated, that’s when it’s time to get ready to meet a few Disney pals… . Hail! Hail! The Gang’s All Here for breakfast!
And by “gang,” I mean the usual crew that also spends dinner with guests at the Garden Grill. Chip & Dale are your friendly, charming (and slightly mischievous) hosts for breakfast.
Farmer Mickey dons his overalls and plaid shirt (fresh from cultivating veggies in the hydroponic gardens in The Land, no doubt 😉 !).
And, of course, here’s Mickey’s best pal, Pluto!
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I know that character interaction can vary with every visit, but time and time again I have consistently had great experience with character interaction at Garden Grill. Once more on this most recent visit, each character came by about 3-4 times, and Chip even sat right at the table for a little while (a bit of a flirt, that one!). Granted, my Advance Dining Reservation was quite early, and the tables weren’t yet full. Still, the characters here — as usual, from my experience — were terrific.
But heed this cautionary tale: chipmunks can get pretty hungry, and they may try to charm you out of a bite or two of your food ;). And with some all-new eats, it’s time to peek at what they’re hoping to steal!
Breakfast at Garden Grill — like dinner and the new lunch offering — is served Family Style, meaning it’s an all-you-care-to-eat option and the items are brought to your table (as opposed to a standard buffet where you get up and help yourself).
Hoping for more of any of the items? Just ask your server! Of course, you’ll want to know what those items are first, so here’s a look at the menu.
Traditional breakfast favorites including Mickey Waffles, Biscuits and Gravy, Eggs and Bacon all factor into the menu, but Chip’s Sticky Bun Bake is the new breakfast signature item at Garden Grill.
As always, beverages are included, and among the regular coffee, tea, and juice selections, Pomegranate Lemonade also makes the list.
But I went with what’s listed on the menu as the Orange, Passion Fruit, and Guava Juice Blend. That said, I can’t seem to call it anything other than its more familiar name (in Disney speak, that is) : POG Juice!
It’s also known, of course, as Jungle Juice in the Animal Kingdom area. No matter what you call it, it’s the same refreshing, tropical fruity version here at the Garden Grill.
The only item I ordered that wasn’t included with the full meal was the Orange Mimosa. (Raspberry is available as well.)
My advice? If you’re craving a Mimosa, I’d say to hold off until it’s time to make your way around World Showcase and grab one at Les Halles Boulangerie Pattiserie in the France Pavilion. The uber-sweet prosecco didn’t cut it for me — in fact, I didn’t finish it, and just continued on with the POG.
But on to the main event… the FOOD! I was glad that the first course includes Chip’s Sticky Bun Bake (along with a large bowl of seasonal fruit), because it was definitely the item I was most curious about.
First things first — this thing is HUGE. The skillet it’s served in is placed on top of a plate, and it is full-to-overflowing with STICKY CINNAMON BUNS!
Seriously, it’s probably the equivalent of 4-5 cinnamon buns in one… all piping hot and delicious! The icing was wonderfully melty and the pastry was soft and fresh. And, yes, I took a LOT of pics of this one. I couldn’t help it. It just looks great, and I’m glad to say it has a taste to match!
Here’s a peek at the some of the cinnamon inside the soft, gooey pastry layers. Note that this doesn’t hold a candle to the warm pecan cinnamon buns you’ll find at Trail’s End, but it’s still very good.
Here’s the thing: it is very good. It is also very heavy, especially for a starter… and there is SO much of it to share around the table. I’d suggest pacing yourself, because you’ll want to leave some room for everything yet to come. You can always come back to it later — that’s part of the beauty of family-style.
So, there you have it. Chip: charming Chipmunk AND Master Chef of the Sticky Bun. Really, who knew?
Oh, and hey… I mentioned fruit, too, didn’t I 😉 ? I have to say, this Seasonal Fruit Bowl was actually a great assortment. Mostly berries, grapes and pineapple with a little melon thrown in.
A reminder: what you’re seeing below is a serving for 2-3 people (that’s a serving spoon — not a soup spoon 🙂 ).
There’s still plenty more to come. And here it is: the main course! This time, I simply needed to take several photos just to fit it all in!
First, we have a large plate of Scrambled Eggs, thick cut Ham Steaks, crispy Bacon, Potato Barrels (tater tots) and two mini Mickey Waffles with the real kicker here: warm Chocolate-Hazelnut Sauce.
The bacon was actually impressive. Each bite was crispy, but also a little chewy (I often encounter limp bacon at Disney World, so this gets high marks). The Potato Barrels were spot on. But, then, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with tater tots 😉 . No offense, Potato Barrels! The ham was basically just that… plain and simple ham. Perfectly fine, nothing special.
But these EGGS… okay, when I first saw them, after our recent experience at the new Sci-Fi Dine-In Restaurant Breakfast last week, I thought “Heeeere we go again with the wet, kinda bland eggs!” But, no! Moist, yes, but not wet, and also really well-seasoned.
Best of all — and even after a 4-person serving of cinnamon buns, mind you — they give us THIS! Mickey Waffles served with a warm chocolate-hazelnut sauce (think melted Nutella, essentially). Brilliant!
Surprisingly, neither item was too sweet — the sauce was rich, and the waffle was light and fluffy. The sauce offers a richer, more decadent flavor than a normal milk chocolate syrup/sauce, and goes along really well with the waffle. If I had to pick one item that would make me say, “More, please,” (and, remember, you can do that at Garden Grill) this would be it.
Lastly, we have the Buttermilk Biscuits with Country Sausage Gravy. Let’s start with the good news: the biscuits were warm, dense and buttery (so, pretty much awesome), and I thought it was a valiant effort on the country gravy. A little heavy on the salt, but fairly good overall.
Now, that may sound like it’s leading to bad news… which is only this: by this point in the meal, I really couldn’t eat more than a bite or two of it. The majority of the dishes are so rich, and the gravy was probably the richest of them all.
Granted, when you consider a full family sharing all these items, a few dishes will appeal to some while others won’t, and much of it will balance out. But at this point, for me, it was just A LOT.
Basically, I’m saying this: have at it and enjoy yourself, for sure. But maaaaaybe it would be a good idea to hold off on making that FastPass+ for Test Track until a few hours after you finish 😉 .
Wow… new meals at old haunts are popping up all over the place lately, aren’t they? From the brand new Minnie’s Seasonal Dine at Hollywood and Vine, to the also-new breakfast at Sci-Fi Dine-In, and now breakfast (and lunch!) at the Garden Grill. And I have to hand it to them: I think they did a pretty great job on breakfast here. There wasn’t anything to really find fault with in the eats department (especially the new signature Sticky Bun Bake and Mickey Waffles) — and certainly there was no lack of it. In fact, I tried to observe a bit of what was going on with the families around me. From what I could tell, I just saw a few tables order maybe one more plate of food, if that. There is plenty coming at you from the get-go, and it’s apparent that the chefs do a good job of keeping the quality of the food up during what must be a lot of movement back there!
The price is $29.99 for adults ($17.99 for children), and when you consider the amount of food, the quality of it, and top-notch character interaction, I’d have to say it’s a nice thing to have a chance to start your Epcot morning at Garden Grill!
Will you be joining Chip & Dale for breakfast at Garden Grill? Please let us know with a comment!
Contributing to this article: Caitlin P., Wendy, AJ