Rustle Up Some Grub: Disney Dining 2/3 (Disney Part 7)

Posted November 24, 2018 by Amber in Real World / 2 Comments

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Hello my loves!

Welcome to part two in my Disney Dining extravaganza!  Last week I spoke a little about restaurants at Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Disney Springs.  Today’s restaurants are all over the place!  From resorts to the parks, to one more stop in Disney Springs, I’ve got five more restaurants we visited and my thoughts on them.  Both of my husband’s favorites are on today’s list, so I hope you find some yummy stuff, too!

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Bon Voyage Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno

Location:  Disney’s BoardWalk Inn.
Style: Table-service, Character experience.

If you read last week’s post, you’re probably starting to wonder why Matt and I – two adults without any children along for the trip – kept booking character meals.  There are a couple reasons for this.  One – character meals are more expensive and we wanted to make the most of our dining plan.  Two – they were recommended to us for the food.

Going into the Bon Voyage Breakfast, my husband was massively unimpressed.  Y’all, this is breakfast with Rapunzel and Flynn Rider, and Ariel and Eric.  Definitely every adult man’s dream breakfast.  As an adult at a character meal, this was the most awkward for me, because the face characters are… weird.  The actresses are awesome, don’t get me wrong, but I couldn’t quite get out of my own skin and have fun with them.

On the other hand, as soon as Matt saw other guys his age taking pictures with Ariel, he was game.

Other than the fact that the lighting was really wretched for pictures, I loved the aesthetics of this restaurant.  Trattoria al Forno is an open concept restaurant, which I love.  I love watching the chefs do their thing.  Matt and I were seated near the wood-fire stove, so we were watching them bake rolls and bread for later meals.  It was just on the side of fancy that I didn’t feel uncomfortable, but it was classy.

The food, though!  The food was so. damn. good.  I forgot to take a picture before I started eating because I was dying of happiness.

I really need you to understand how good this food was.  The day we went to the Trattoria, I was starting to get sick.  The immense temperature change from chilly to REALLY hot was messing with my system, and I felt a bit like Death.  This is the best omelette I have had in my entire life.  I ordered a caprese omelette, which for me is chancy.  I’m picky about the way my eggs are cooked, and while I conceptually LOVE the idea of caprese, everything I order ends up doused in balsamic which I hate.

This was so amazing.  So, so good.  Mountains would move and walls fall for this omelette.

If you think I liked my breakfast, you should talk to Matt.  He ordered what was basically steak and eggs.  My hubby is a Steak Person.  He’s not picky about it, but he loves a good steak.  According to him, the steak he had at breakfast at the Trattoria al Forno is one of the best steaks he’s ever eaten.  Now, he hasn’t indulged in those Ungodly Expensive Steaks Made From Cows Fed With Golden Grass… but he knows what he’s talking about.

The food at Trattoria al Forno is absolutely unparalleled.  Matt and I will be back for other meals there, no question, and I recommend that breakfast to EVERYONE.

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50s Prime Time Cafe

Location:  Hollywood Studios (Echo Lake)
Style: Table service.

After eating the World’s Best Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno, Matt and I were spoiled for the day and there was no way lunch or dinner would hold up.  Right?

WRONG.

The 50s Prime Time Cafe in Hollywood Studios was the most crowded table service restaurant we saw at the park.  The bar and waiting area were completely packed, and we ended up waiting about half an hour even with a reservation.

This restaurant is nostalgic and aesthetic to the max.  The waiting area reminded me of my grandparents’s living room, but with a bit of a more angular vibe.  There were little figurines on the coffee tables and photos on the walls.

Once we were seated, we ended up in a corner booth, which I was really thrilled about.  Despite how crowded the restaurant really was, the arrangement was perfect because guests were seated in a variety of different rooms, and there was only about five tables per room, so it felt really intimate.  We watched clips from the Dick Van Dyke show and the Mickey Mouse Club on the tele and ate perfectly made homestyle food.

We also hit the jackpot with our waiter.  He was perfectly in character and spoke a mile a minute and told me to get my elbows off the table.  Even though this is one of those restaurants where the wait staff can be “rude” it wasn’t… rude?  He was funny and got us all our drinks quickly and sat down at the table with us and everyone else and brought anything our hearts desired.

I also FINALLY had a milkshake here.  So dumb, but I was really looking forward to splurging on milkshakes at Disney?  I only managed to get them twice, and I ordered them everywhere they were available.  *sigh*  Matt actually got a PB&J shake here that was DELICIOUS.

My only complaint at the 50s Prime Time Cafe was the apple crisp, and this is no fault of the restaurant.  A valiant effort, but nobody makes apple crisp like homemade New England apple crisp. <3

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Planet Hollywood

Location:  Disney Springs
Style:  Table Service

Matt and I actually went to Planet Hollywood when we were in Orlando in 2013 and we loved it.  We’re huge pop culture geeks, and we loved the chaotic display of props and costumes from a bunch of our favorite movies.  Plus, the food was good enough.  It was the one restaurant Matt requested we revisit on this trip.

Personally, I really wish we hadn’t.

Planet Hollywood has been completely made over since we last visited, so it feels a bit more like a Hard Rock Cafe for movies.  There are a couple displays in the entrance, things like Dorothy’s dress from The Wizard of Oz and both Katniss and Clove’s dresses from The Hunger Games.  The displays were pretty cool, and we loved how they gave you a great view while also displaying information?  Yes, we’re nerds.

The thing about the remodel of Planet Hollywood was that it completely took away everything we loved about it the first time.  It’s less chaotic, but no less loud.  We also had to wait about 45 minutes past our reservation time for a table, which aggravated me because there was no seated waiting area and my feet hurt.  My problem for being out of shape, but that’s a long wait post reservation, right?  Especially when you’re standing in another line waiting to be seated.

It wouldn’t be so bad if we could wander around and look at stuff, but even after we were seated, that wasn’t an option.  There were five displays downstairs, tucked behind booths so you couldn’t get a close look unless you were seated there.  From across the way, I spotted a display from Hook and Forrest Gump.  Most the displays were upstairs, but upstairs was closed for seating, and no… you couldn’t go up there to look around.  Sorry.  I found myself staring longingly at a Beetlejuice display that I could sort of see, but was out of reach. 🙁

The biggest focus in Planet Hollywood now is their GIGANTIC screen.  They flashed names of movies and TV shows, and played sing-along music videos.  I’d like this more if they were playing old movie trailers, because that would run more with the original theme of the restaurant.  Instead, it just felt like Hardrock Cafe.  With less stuff on the walls.

I think I would have appreciated this more if I were coming in for a light bite, or maybe to the bar, but I wanted the immersive experience that we had the last time we visited, so for me, the whole aesthetic was a let down.

As for the food?  The food was just okay.  Some of the plating was fun – Matt had ribs served on a mini picnic table.  But the food itself was nothing to write home about, and I can get the same quality and flavors at Chili’s at home.  This was one of those restaurants where you really got the impression you were paying for the name and not the food, because Planet Hollywood was the second most expensive restaurant we went to, coming behind Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming by only a couple dollars.  And we didn’t get dessert here either….

Without the Disney Dining plan, which completely covered the cost of the meal here, you’d be looking at a $50 dish.  That is insane.  I’ve had better steaks at Longhorn, for half the price.

I think that personally, I will… never go back to Planet Hollywood?  Between the cost and the loss of aesthetic appeal for me personally, I’m just glad that the Dining Plan covered the meal because I did not enjoy myself.  Total bummer.

That said, my reasons for not liking Planet Hollywood were very personal.  The waitress was great – attentive and with a good personality.  She tried to make us happy.  Other people may love this restaurant, but I just didn’t dig it.

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Chef Mickey

Location: Contemporary Resort
Style:  Buffet, Character Dining (Table Service credit)

To get to Chef Mickey, we rode the monorail from the TTC to the Contemporary resort. The monorail stop within the resort is right above the restaurant, making it one of the easiest resort-based restaurants we visited.

To be honest, I didn’t have high expectations for Chef Mickey.  The reviews we had seen of it online waved around phrases like “don’t bother” and “just okay”.

Alrighty, so, here’s my take.  On the one hand, the food isn’t extraordinary.  It’s a Disney breakfast buffet, and they’re all pretty similar.  Each one will have a couple of unique options, but otherwise… breakfast buffet.  For myself, love breakfast buffets!  I can never decide what I was from breakfast – I kinda want everything – so these are my jam.

I really enjoyed the options at Chef Mickey, and everything you see on my plate is more or less unique to that location.  Except the watermelon, because… its watermelon.  You can get Mickey Waffles everywhere, but not doused in chocolate syrup, marshmallows, and butterscotch chips. There were also M&M pancakes so if you’re like me and chocolate for breakfast is the best idea ever, you’ll like Chef Mickey’s.  Additionally, they had a southwest egg casserole that was super tasty, and cheesy potatoes that were amazing.  This was also the only place we saw kielbasa for breakfast?  I’m not normally a kielbasa-for-breakfast person, but this was delish.

I’m not sure why others didn’t like Chef Mickey, except that it isn’t fancy?  I thought it was great.

Please note that many healthier options were available, but I make notoriously bad choices when given an entire buffet of tasty food.

Chef Mickey is also a character location, and it had the best energy of all the character dining locations we went to.  Like… far and away the best.  It was a very sunshiny, uplifting restaurant, and really a great start to the day.

This was the only place where we saw Minnie Mouse!  She was my grail character when I was a little girl, and for some reason she, like Daisy, is not easy to find.  I’m really glad we saw her here, because it was so nostalgic for me to see Minnie and remember tracking her down with my grandfather when I was a kid.  That may have added a few biased points in Chef Mickey’s favor.

Like the Trattoria al Forno, the lighting in Chef Mickey can be a little difficult, depending on where you’re sitting.  The characters were great in spending an appropriate amount of time with everything.  Goofy actually liked my husband’s shirt so much that he went and grabbed his handler to show it to her, which made us all laugh.

All in all, I would definitely revisit Chef Mickey!  The atmosphere may be tailored more for kids, but it just made me smile all over and was a great start to the day.  I liked the food a lot, even though it was a buffet, and feel comfortable recommending this restaurant to anyone.

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Crystal Palace

Location: Magic Kingdom (Main Street USA).
Style:  Buffet, Character Dining (table service credit)

Whelp, where Chef Mickey’s was an amazing start to my Tuesday with good food and good energy and good characters, Crystal Palace only hit one of those marks.  This restaurant is perpetually celebrating Friendship Day and is the happy haunt of Winnie-the-Pooh characters.  I want to start off by saying that these guys were great.  Pooh was super lovable and Tigger was bouncy and fun.  This was also the only time we saw Eeyore, who I love and was excited to see.

The layout inside the restaurant was nice enough, and I had high hopes going in.  I really did.  Like Chef Mickey, we hadn’t read any really exciting reviews of this restaurant, but since Chef Mickey was so much better than we expected, we thought maybe this one would be too.

It was not.

The food at Crystal Palace really was just okay.  It was a buffet, so I’d say it was pretty much what you would expect at a buffet for lunch.  A few salads, chicken fingers, and dry roast beef.  There was also mac and cheese – definitely a kid’s buffet and I think Crystal Palace is perfect if you have little ones who loved Winnie-the-Pooh.  I’m usually pretty easy to impress (see the above chocolate-drizzled Mickey Waffles) but Crystal Palace didn’t really do it for me.

The characters were fun, though.  I wouldn’t visit Crystal Palace again, and if you are thinking about going, please go in knowing that it will be sustenance, but nothing extraordinary.  Enjoy your time with the characters and have some soft serve ice cream with Mickey sprinkles.

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Thus ends week two of Disney Dining!  I’m cutting y’all off right at the Halloween Party!  We didn’t have dinner that night, as there was so much to do and so little time.  There are a handful of restaurants open during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party, including the Crystal Palace, but if you are planning on going I’d advise filling up at a late lunch and snacking at the party instead.

This week’s roundup:

Trattoria al Forno: ★★★★★ (or if you ask my husband, ★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★)
50s Prime Time Cafe: ★★★★★
Planet Hollywood: ★★
Chef Mickey: ★★★★
Crystal Palace: ★★

Trattoria al Forno and 50s Prime Time Cafe were my husband’s favorite breakfast and lunch places accordingly, so I very much recommend both of those.  50s Prime Time Cafe was also my favorite, but I’d also recommend the Sci-Fi Drive-In theatre at Hollywood Studios, both have such cool aesthetics that the food didn’t really matter to me. 🙂  We went to the Drive-In theatre last time, and skipped it so we could try the Cafe.  Both are great, and I’d go to both next time I’m at HS.

Next week, I’ll tell you about my favorite breakfast place for the food!

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Which of these restaurants seems the tastiest to you?

Which atmosphere do you like best?

Do you enjoy buffets?
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2 responses to “Rustle Up Some Grub: Disney Dining 2/3 (Disney Part 7)

    • Amber

      😱 Apple crisp is AMAZING. It’s very much a New England dessert. 😊 You slice tart apples and coat them with brown sugar and butter and cinnamon, then crumble an oat and butter mix, and bake the whole thing in a casserole dish. The end result is this really lovely sweet and tart apple dish with a crunchy top and caramelised sauce that tastes lovely with vanilla ice cream. 💜 It is one of my favourite things. 😊