Just before Disney’s Riviera Resort reopened, we learned its character breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace would be the ONLY returning character meal at Walt Disney World and would include a few modifications.
Other traditional character meals such as Trattoria al Forno‘s Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast would resume, but not have any characters for the time being. Even though Disney World had told us all character dining would resume at a later time, we were SHOCKED when we learned that EPCOT’s Garden Grill would be reopening — with characters!
Normally, this rotating table service restaurant located inside EPCOT’s The Land pavilion is home to Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Harvest Feast and includes a visit from Farmer Mickey himself! We booked a dinner table to see what this restaurant’s menu and modified character experience was like upon EPCOT’s grand reopening!
Mobile Dine Check-In
Garden Grill Restaurant is utilizing the new Mobile Dine Check-In feature on the My Disney Experience app. By simply scanning a QR code, you can notify the restaurant you’ve arrived. Additionally, plexiglass barriers have been installed at the host stand.
You’ll receive a text message when its time to dine!
And we can’t forget to mention there were several hand sanitizer stations located just outside the restaurant so you can wash your mitts before and after your meal.
But what is the dining experience like?
Garden Grill Restaraunt is bi-leveled and normally guests can sit on both the top and lower levels while the entire restaurant itself spins around.
We noticed for now, guests are only being seated on the lower level because the characters are using the upper level to greet with guests from a distance. It’s rather genius!
Plexiglass barriers have also been installed between each booth on the lower level.
Cast Members were allowing guests to stand and capture photos of the characters from a distance without wearing masks, but there could always be changes made later on. For now, it appears you are able to snap some family pics or selfies with the characters sans mask as long as you’re not too close to Farmer Mickey and his friends.
We’re happy to report Farmer Mickey was back in all his denim overalls glory today along with his best pal, Pluto!
You can’t hug the characters or have your autograph book signed by them, but they were very playful and spent a good amount of time near table. The restaurant’s resident pranksters Chip and Dale also came by to say hello!
The menu was viewable via QR code, even though the food at Garden Grill Restaurant is served family-style.
Other than that, our experience was pretty much the same! The restaurant still spun around and we got to see portions of Living with the Land…
We’ll be back with our full review of what we ate in just a little bit, but we wanted to show you all the changes Garden Grill Restaurant has made first!
All in all, we totally get how and why Garden Grill Restaurant is still able to offer a character meal! The space’s unique set-up is works well for social distancing, and you can get closer to the characters here than at Topolino’s Terrace! For now, we’ve got some more A Taste of EPCOT International Food and Wine marketplaces to explore, so it’s back to work we go!
What do you think about the modifications Garden Grill Restaurant has made? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!