Lotus Blossom Cafe is a quick service restaurant in Epcot’s World Showcase at Walt Disney World. It’s located in the China pavilion with a menu featuring…you guessed it…Chinese food. Better put, Americanized Chinese food. Lotus Blossom Cafe participates in the Disney Dining Plan as a counter service credit. It does not accept the Tables in Wonderland card. In comparison to other Walt Disney World restaurants, Lotus Blossom Cafe is not a good use of credits on the Disney Dining Plan if you’re trying to maximize the “value” of those credits.
In terms of ambiance, Lotus Blossom Cafe is a lot like a cross between a fully realized quick service restaurant and a grab and go window (a la Flame Tree BBQ or Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe). It has enclosed seating areas adjacent to the ordering area, but they’re all open air and have minimalist designs. In fairness, we both sort of like the design of the Lotus Blossom Cafe seating areas. They have sort of a 1970s futurist look, and while this might make them seem dated, they actually feel fairly modern, and reminiscent of an actual Chinese storefront restaurant. That said, if you are looking for a place to eat with more immersive theming, Lotus Blossom Cafe is not it.
Sarah and I are a bit divided on Lotus Blossom Cafe. Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of authentic Chinese food. I’m “that guy” who goes to the local Chinese restaurant and orders orange chicken. Normally I prefer authentic cuisine, and I’ve come around a bit recently on Chinese food (and Mexican food), but I still skew towards the Americanized stuff. Because of that, I find Lotus Blossom Cafe okay to fairly enjoyable with food that tastes good, but isn’t necessarily good food. Sarah likes authentic Chinese food, and she is not at all a fan of Lotus Blossom Cafe. She finds it to taste bland and generic. It seems like online reviews for Lotus Blossom Cafe are all over the place: some people really like it, others call it one of the worst restaurants at Walt Disney World. Both of us are somewhere in the middle on it–I like it a bit more than Sarah.
Speaking of orange chicken, last time we dined at Lotus Blossom Cafe, that’s what I had. (Actually, I think I’ve had this every time we’ve dined there.) The chicken itself was fairly good. It had plenty of sauce and good flavor. The rice didn’t add anything to the meal–it tasted like Disney had ripped open a box of Minute Instant Rice and served that. At under $10, it’s still not a half bad value relative to other options at Epcot. In fact, it seems like everything we’ve tried at Lotus Blossom Cafe has been served in a relatively large portion size for the cost.
Sarah ordered the Shrimp Fried Rice with Eggroll. We both agreed that the eggroll was awful. It tasted far worse that microwavable eggrolls I sometimes get from Trader Joe’s, and those are by no means great. It was chewy and lacking in flavor. Sarah also didn’t like the shrimp fried rice, but I thought it was actually fairly good. The rice had good flavor thanks to the egg and shrimp, and even the rice was much better than what came with my Orange Chicken. I doubt we’ll make a point of going to Lotus Blossom Cafe again, but if we do, this is what I’ll order.
We also got an order of the Pot Stickers. We both enjoyed these, but it’s still not as if they were anything to write home about. I think about the only way to screw up pot stickers is for them to be too rubbery, and these weren’t, so they were winners. Perfectly oily and with good flavor to them, these would actually make a nice snack if you were looking for something savory in World Showcase, but didn’t want a full meal.
One thing worth mentioning about Lotus Blossom Cafe is it seems the food quality of the same dishes is a bit inconsistent. For example, I know the rice I’ve had with the Orange Chicken has been better in the past, and it seems like the Eggroll has been better, too. Our thinking is that Lotus Blossom Cafe has spikes in how busy it is throughout the day, and this could impact how “fresh” what you order is. Just a theory, but it seems plausible…
As a quick aside–and this is probably something worthy of its own blog post–but we find it amusing when people rave about Epcot’s dining. Epcot has good dining options, no doubt, but it has a lot of mediocre options, too. We recently reviewed Liberty Inn, which wasn’t exactly a glowing review. This review is fairly tepid. We don’t have photos necessary for a review of it, but we’ve yet to have a good meal at Katsura Grill. La Cantina de San Angel is nothing special. Electric Umbrella might just be the worst restaurant at Walt Disney World. Le Cellier is overrated. So is Yorkshire County Fish Shop (sorry–it’s just ordinary fish and chips). Epcot also has good restaurants, but it has so many restaurants that it seems like more of them would be good based upon the park’s reputation. (If we had to pick the top place for restaurants, our pick would be the “Magic Kingdom-Area Resorts.”) But we digress…
Overall, Lotus Blossom Cafe is an okay place to grab some food that is different from the Disney norm, and offers an ethnic twist without being very adventurous. Basically, it’s like a slightly nicer version of standard food court Japanese food. As for the quality of the cuisine, it ranges from okay to good, depending upon what you order and pure chance. There are better options in the World Showcase for counter service meals, but there are worse options, too. For us, it’s a “meh+” restaurant.
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How do you feel about Lotus Blossom Cafe? Where would you rank it in terms of counter service restaurants in Epcot? What menu items here do you like? What do you plan on trying? Hearing from you is half the fun, so please share your thoughts in the comments!