I may have been avoiding writing about Disney food because I knew it would make me hungry.
Maybe I just have a seven month old who has decided these past four days that he will freak. the. heck. out. if I cross some invisible line he has set for me.
Maybe it is C: Both of the above.
Prepare for a massive read.
A few months ago, I stumbled across the DisneyFoodBlog.
I’m not sure how I did that, or why I ended up reading a whole lot of posts . . . because at the time there was no plan in my head that we would go to Disney anytime soon.
I had never thought to give credit to Disney for having food that people might WANT to eat, much less blog about. My limited experience has always been the disappointing sort of food one has come to expect from an amusement park. Uninspiring lukewarm burgers and chicken nuggets, etc.
When Knobby surprised me that we were leaving for Disney THE VERY NEXT DAY, all the packing up and guide-book buying and planning and all of that was a bit overwhelming, in my Pixy way. As I tend to do, I shut down the extraneous details in order to
survive focus on the most important tasks, which were . . . deciding how many days we needed to buy in which parks, getting the best “deal” for our ticket money, making an attack plan for what we thought would be the most challenging . . . which was actually the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
(Oh, we planned waaaaaaaay too much for that, let me tell you. But we will get to that in another entry.)
Point here being, I had so much whirling around my head that I KNEW, thanks to the blog, that there was good food to be found . . . but I ignored it.
Knobby and I tend to be crowd-competitive. We had four (and extended it to five) days in WDW, and that was because we told ourselves that we wanted to be all relaxed and make the most of the time there, and not be stressed about lines or accomplishing everything there was to accomplish.
When we arrived, all of that seemed to be thrown out of the window and it was time to power walk and conquer conquer conquer. And in the race to conquer, we gave no consideration to meal planning. We’d wait way too late (even though the preachings of avoiding main meal hours were ringing in my head) for the sake of marking this attraction off of our list, or seeing a line wait time drop to five minutes and racing across the WORLD to take advantage of it.
By the time we conceded to our empty stomachs, we would be so fatigued that we’d go for whatever was closest. And by then, the good places were not taking walk-ins, so we were left to counter service. Meaning . . . Burgers. And chicken nuggets.
There was a pulled pork BBQ sandwich in there, but the bun was clammy and thick, and the fries that went with it were soggy and limp . . . and then the next meal I remember was a hot dog and more soggy fries. And perhaps learning about Robin William’s death as we waited for that hot dog tempered that meal . . . but this was also the point where I gave myself a little pep talk, staring at people’s feet on the walkway beside our heads . . . and told myself that I MUST start planning out our meals, because five whole days of this kind of food was going to be so terribly unsatisfying.
I think that the next day was our Attack on HarryPotter, and we finished with that much sooner than we anticipated, and that gave me time to recharge and get my meal planning in gear.
And from then on, I know it is difficult to believe, but our Disney experience was SO much improved . . . just because of our meal experiences.
Knobby might not agree . . . he might snark that our meal experiences just got more expensive . . . but believe me, the quality tripled. Quadrupled. Happy taste buds = happy Pixy.
The way I looked at it . . . for two adults, we were already paying $35 for a one “$” restaurant Meal of Blah . . . so paying $55 or $60 for a better-quality meal was not as much a leap as it looks on paper.
Yes. It was expensive. It’s a theme park . . . you expect that. We spent a lot of money on food. So plan on allocating a bunch of your vacation money to meals.
BoardwalkVillas is an Epcot-based resort. Both DisneyHollywoodStudios and Epcot are easy easy walking distance, but you don’t enter Epcot through the main entry . . . you enter at the back of the park between Paris and the UK. I really liked this. It was a completely different feel, to enter back there, and also, it felt really convenient since most of the restaurants I was interested in trying were amongst the different worlds of the showcase.
(I suppose this is a sign that I’m getting old, but as a kid I found Epcot boring . . . but now, I loved it so much more than the Magic Kingdom.)
This was our first “good” meal. Sunshine Seasons is the food court in The Land pavilion. There’s a big emphasis on Asian entrees, but there were sandwiches/soups/salads as well.
You walk into the pavilion on the top floor and are greeted by these beautiful balloons as you descend to everything there.
I did not think that Knobby was going to be happy here at all, but he found a slow-cooked pork chop. There were only plastic utensils here, and he was super-cynical that there was no way he’d be able to cut that thick pork chop with a plastic knife, but voila, the meat was tender enough and tasty, too. I LOVED the turkey sandwich — turkey and monterey jack on ciabatta with a chipotle mayonnaise. It was just too hot and humid to even think about trying the Asian entrees, so I am a little sad I didn’t get to try those.
This was convenient and fast, and we ate here twice. I was surprised afterwards that it had just a one “$” rating because it was so good, and most of the one “$” restaurants were the burger/nugget places that were so disappointing. Spent $35-40. Win.
2. Teppan Edo
You might scoff at this, because I’m sure you have one of these Benihana-types of restaurants where you live. Ours . . . we don’t ever go, but when I saw Teppan Edo on the list, I suddenly really wanted to go.
We found it earlier in the day as we walked through the World Showcase.
It did not disappoint. I made the reservation the night before via the MyDisneyExperience app, the service was great, and the food so delicious. This was a two-$$ meal. I had a martini and the Asakusa (steak and shrimp), and Knobby had the Nihonbashi (steak and chicken) . . . and I estimate we got out of there around $80 before tip.
(Oh, I am so, so hungry now. I knew it. Just look at that glorious steak.)
We missed the IllumiNations fireworks, but these lanterns at night were festive enough.
Just look at this delicious pastry case. (And the marble is yummy, too.)
I also really wanted to go to Chefs de France, which was just down from the Boulangerie-Patisserie. As we walked through the first day I could see people enjoying the French Onion soup and it looked so delicious. But we ran out of meals. Next time.
This is one of the first places you see when entering the park from BoardwalkVillas. (You can tell my phone hadn’t yet adjusted to being outside from our frigidly cold room.)
There is a fish-and-chips walk-up window on the side, but I ran out of time to try that as well.
Right down to the old-fashioned pub windows.
The Cottage Pie was delicious. Of course, I have never HAD Cottage Pie before this, so I have no basis for comparison, but I really enjoyed this one. So there you go.
This would be such great fare for a colder day. I have said it a few million times, but when everything is so hot and humid, and you walk walk walk in the heat and you are covered in quite more than just a ladylike “sheen” all day long, it’s a little hard to convince yourself to eat anything, much less something hefty like the pub menu. I was feeling a bit icky about the heavy food here, and I wanted to try the fish-and-chips, but the people at the table next to us had ordered it . . . and it smelled way too fishy for me at that point.
(I know. Fish-and-chips smell “fishy” Pixy. You don’t say. But the smell, in the heat, was TOO strong. Go when it’s cooled down a bit.)
So delicious. Must try to make this myself.
Can’t remember how much this was, but it is a two-$ restaurant, so let’s say $50 or $55.
A family who were seated across from us in the middle of the room, about halfway through our meal, gradually noticed Knobby’s work-product shirt and were nodding, turning, smiling. This happened a lot. A whole lot of employees in Magic Kingdom knew his product. Some kids — you are WAY too young to be familiar with that product, twelve year old boys. One of the table waiters at The Leaky Cauldron came up to our table, said “I’m sorry to break character, but I LOVE THAT (product)”. Knobby would reply “I MADE that (product)!!” and these people would be absolutely starstruck. The most excited people, though, were a group of three college kids (two guys and a girl) in Disney’s Hollywood Studios who commented in passing outside of the Toy Story pizza place about his shirt depicting the much lesser-known product. Knobby was so shocked . . . people usually assume that logo is for something else MUCH more popular (I’m having to be all sorts of vague for a reason), so he replied incredulously “You KNOW (lesser-known product)???” . . . and guess what, they DID know it. And loved it. And when he said that he had made it, they were so giddy I thought that they were going to ask him to autograph something. They were the first, but not the last, to shake his hand solemnly and THANK him for having made it.
That was so cool. Gigantic grin. I wish I had thought to photograph that moment. I wanted to get their address and send them some of that product’s paraphernalia or something. They were so enthusiastic.
The theme here is that you are in the cellar of a Canadian chateau. It is quite dim in there, and the menus actually illuminate as you open them — a necessity in the darkness.
The approach is nice. You curve down from the main walkway, through a garden with a charming little cottage.
This was our ninth anniversary dinner. We were seated at the center of these three tables.
We both got the Boneless Rib-Eye. I was not impressed at all with the fingerling potatoes — I have read rave reviews of them since we got back, but . . . mine had been sitting out for too long, and they were soggy and blah. We enjoyed the bread, with an appropriately-Canadian maple sugar added to the butter. I was eager to try the Canadian Cheddar soup after raves on the food blog, but . . . between that and the fingerling potatoes, maybe we had an off night or something, because it didn’t seem all that incredible. The Rib-Eye, though . . . it was fantastic. I read afterwards that it was 28oz, and . . . I’d believe that. A truly massive steak. I could not finish mine, but I certainly made the effort.
I think this bill was likely $150 before tip. Le Cellier is a three-$ restaurant.
Something about all of these Disney restaurants — there ARE WDW restaurants that will require you to dress nicely, but all of our dining was not at those places. For Teppan Edo and Le Cellier, I did make us go back to the room and freshen up into some new clothes. But. We are very casual people. It was nice to know that even this steakhouse experience, which was as satisfying (and expensive) as a Ruth’s Chris . . . was full of people in theme park clothing even more casual than our own. “Tshirts and sneakers? Come on in, we will gladly take your $150.” Not having to dress up in “fancywear” let us relax and enjoy it so much more than if I’d had to wear a clingy dress and heels.
Our last night, I made a somewhat last-minute reservation via the app for
Tony’s is to the right as you enter the park and make your way down Main Street. This is supposed to be the restaurant from Lady and the Tramp (spaghetti, meatballs, etc.) . . . I’m not so familiar with Lady and the Tramp.
There was a lot of crowd crunch here inside, so we escaped to the porch outside.
I had been thinking I timed things perfectly, that we could sit and watch the parade from our dinner table, but alas, I did not plan on them seating us in an inner room away from the front windows. Blast!
The parade was out those windows . . . I gave up any thought of watching for it and enjoyed my meal.
I had the Grilled Pork Tenderloin, with polenta and seasonal veggies. I took this picture halfway through. (Me and my overheated brain.)
It was incredibly satisfying. Tender perfectly seasoned pork, buttery polenta, crisp springy vegetables.
I don’t know what sort of hicks our waitress took us to be . . . or if the majority of tourists here were the “hicks” . . . BUT . . . our waitress felt the need to define for us what both gelato AND sorbet were, as she listed the desserts to tempt us after the meal.
I had such a good laugh after she left. I mean, seriously . . . who doesn’t know what sorbet is? Or gelato? I think those are pretty much as common as ice cream at this point, don’t you think?
Oh well. No definitions were necessary . . . Knobby got the gelato, and I opted for the key lime cheesecake with this jaunty little chocolate straw and incomplete chocolate tracing.
We were so full afterward, facing the onslaught of crowds racing for the gates after the fireworks, that we completely forgot about our last FastPass in our exodus from the Magic Kingdom. The monorail from ticketing to Epcot was closed, so we had to take a bus that dropped us off at the front of Epcot, and we enjoyed the last of the Magic Hours for WDW resort guests. Zoomed through Spaceship Earth and the Chevy TestTrack, then collapsed for one last long hot tub at the BoardwalkVillas.
Great vacation, great food.