Lotus Blossom Cafe Review

Lotus-Blossom-Cafe-0710


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.

Lotus-Blossom-Cafe-0705

Lotus-Blossom-Cafe-0706

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 in terms of 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.

Lotus-Blossom-Cafe-0704

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 good. It had plenty of sauce and decent 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.

Lotus-Blossom-Cafe-0707

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.

Lotus-Blossom-Cafe-0708

We also got an order of the Pot Stickers. We thought these were decent, 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.

Lotus-Blossom-Cafe-0709

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 been underwhelmed by 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 a mildly ethnic twist without being very adventurous. Basically, it’s like a Disney version of standard mall food court Japanese food. As for the quality of the cuisine, it ranges from decent to okay, 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.

Overall Score: 5.5/10

For Walt Disney World trip planning tips and comprehensive advice, make sure to read our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide and related articles.

Read our other Walt Disney World restaurant reviews and Disney Dining Plan resources

Your Thoughts…

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!

468 ad

29 Responses to “Lotus Blossom Cafe Review”

  1. I wish they had more veggie options- it’s strange to find a Chinese place with nothing vegetarian (well, I guess there’s one dish now, but nothing to write home about). My favorite part of Lotus Blossom is the pretty tilework near the order area. I can kind of see it in your second photo…

  2. Mi Mi says:

    it seems the hype of Epcot’s “Great Dining” reputation was based on years and years ago when the other parks were far worse. We agree with you that nothing stands out on the property as being fine dining or even good dining, except for the Flying Fish at the Boardwalk. Even that seems stuck in time, with little change to the menu over the years.
    After all, Disney knows we don’t go to their parks for great food. We can always hope, though.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I think you’re probably right about Epcot’s reputation being based upon the past. As for agreeing with us that “nothing stands out on the property as being fine dining or even good dining, except for the Flying Fish,” we definitely do not agree.

      Here’s just a partial list of places we’d consider fine or good dining:

      Victoria & Albert’s (one of the nicest restaurants at which we’ve dined–anywhere)
      Jiko
      Sanaa
      The Wave
      Artist Point
      Flying Fish
      Yachtsman Steakhouse
      Brown Derby
      California Grill
      Kona Cafe

      Those are just some places that immediately come to mind. The list of places we consider “good” would be far longer than that, and even some places in Epcot would make the list. We just don’t think Epcot is all it’s hyped up to be in terms of dining.

      • Mi Mi says:

        Note that many great dining spots are at hotels or places other than Epcot, which had the reputation of being a fine dining destination spot for so long. (Cast members would tell us that locals came to Epcot simply to dine, reminding us we needed long-standing reservations because of this…)
        Artist Point, Sanaa, Brown Derby, and the others you mentioned are wonderful. They are just not on Epcot property.

      • mitch says:

        Monsieur Paul =)

  3. Tommy says:

    Personally, I think that 7/10 is a bit generous. However, if there seems to be fluctuations in quality then perhaps I ate here on an “off” day.

    The food was probably Panda Express quality, and seemed about as equally authentic. Except with Panda’s bright colored plates and significantly more entrées I’d be tempted to say that Panda Express makes for a more atmospheric and fun dining option (and I do not like Panda Express). I know this sounds harsh; however, I feel I must stick my guns about the food. It’s generic Chinese fast food. I’d be tempted to call it “Chinese-inspired American food” not actually Chinese food.

    Lotus Blossom is to Chinese food what the Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris is to a working studio and Disney parks. ;)

    But I do find the order counter pretty charming and visually interesting. I agree the seating area is a bit minimalist but I didn’t have a problem with it. It is roomy and airy.

    Otherwise I’d have to say, for me personally, it currently holds the title for most disappointing place to eat in all of WDW.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Funny that you mention it. I really wavered back and forth on whether it should get a 6.5 or 7/10. Ultimately, I went with a 7/10 because I think it’s better than Liberty Inn, and that received 6.5/10. Ultimately, they’re probably both 6.5/10 restaurants (especially with Sarah’s opinion factored in), but Lotus Blossom Cafe is still the better of the two. If going by letter grades, 7/10 is a C- and 6.5/10 is a D…I don’t think a C- is too generous with Lotus Blossom Cafe.

      I think calling it Panda Express quality is a fair description, and I laughed at the WDSP analogy. As for it being most disappointing, I definitely don’t agree with that.

      • Tommy says:

        I cannot say if it is the most disappointing of all restaurants in WDW for everyone. I’m just saying that for me personally, it was the most disappointing. I have not eaten everywhere but of all the places that I have eaten it was the most disappointing. However, I fear this may have been my own fault. I had an expectation that food in World Showcase would have a greater affinity to authenticity than food elsewhere in WDW. I think the lack of authenticity is the reason I was disappointed, which is probably a personal problem. lol

        Unfortunately I have not tried Liberty Inn.

  4. Jenn says:

    Definitely agree that Epcot doesn’t have great counter service but I think when people rave about Epcot eats they’re talking about sit down restaurants. Minus a small few (Nine Dragons, Coral Reef), the sit downs are all well praised for the most part. Le Cellier is definitely overrated, but it’s still a pretty good restaurant if you want steak. It only got it’s fame when it was 1 credit on the dining plan.

  5. Rune says:

    I think I’ve only ever had the orange chicken at the Lotus Blossom and we’ve been there a fair few times over the years. I think you’re definitely right in saying the quality is a bit inconsistent, I know we’ve definitely had better rice there in the past and recently it’s been very heavy and overdone.

    I’m still in mourning for the choco-boba drink you used to get there, not authentic ‘bubble tea’by a long shot (wish they would bring that out at Joy of Tea) but still good stuff.

    Agreed too that the egg rolls can be nasty, prefer the pork buns over at Joy of Tea to those.

  6. Diane says:

    I disagree about Electric Umbrella- a couple of weeks ago we had the vegetarian flatbread and thought it was very good and somewhat unique for in-park food. Love your site and all the reviews!

  7. Tink says:

    We’re with you! We love the dumplings at Lotus Blossom, but you really can’t screw those up! While there are so many great restaurants at Epcot, a lot of it is stuff you could get (and maybe better) at an authentic restaurant outside of the World. We always want to find stuff at Disney that is either something hard to get at home or exceptionally made. So, when you’re looking at it like that, Epcot isn’t really the mecca of all restaurant locations at Disney. Not that we’re bashing Epcot! We love us some Restaurant Marrakesh!

  8. mitch says:

    We’ve eaten here more times than I care to admit.. but we love Chinese food and I find it to be a great value for a quick and satisfying lunch.

  9. Wanda says:

    BOMA at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Treat yourself to the best food anywhere. And if you fill up and do not have a dessert plate. You will really be missing out. It is a high $$$$ buffet. But worth it. The first time going here the waitress says to us. “Do you know the proper way to eat at this buffet” And we are thinking well sure we do. Wrong!!!!!!You start with a dessert plate then get your food and go to table to eat. Reason for this is you will fill up on the food and miss the best part of the buffet. This way you sample while eating meal. Ask about the ZEBRA DOME I would go there just foe that. Yummmm

  10. Matt Hocberg says:

    7 out of 10? I’m shocked really. This food is no better than mall Chinese food at about triple the mall prices.

    Even on its best day, Lotus Blossom is bland Chinese food and I think Sarah nailed it with her assessment of it.

    I guess I’m just surprised that she hated it and Tom found it just okay and it managed to have a 7 rating. I was expecting a 3 or 4 at best.

    Nonetheless, you guys do manage to make bad Chinese food look good in those always great Bricker photos.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      7/10 is still a C-. I think Restaurantosaurus is our all-time lowest scoring restaurant, and that got a 3.5/10.

  11. Terri says:

    We din’t try Chinese the last time we went. But I will have to agree with you on Le Cellier it is overrated. Don’t get me wrong my steak was fine and I enjoyed it. But my husband asked for a medium well steak and it was still mooing when he cut into it. For a supposed top notch dining experience I was a little disappointed that they couldn’t get his steak right. We do Liberty Tree for lunch every time we go to Magic Kingdom. Simply because its a fond childhood memory with my grandfather and its become somewhat of an institution for my husband and I. On that note though last time I went the salad was more than soggy and the food was so so. It seems to be hit or miss there. But thanks for the reviews and keep them coming they really help.

  12. Chronic Gin Deficiency says:

    Wow. Thirty-plus years of going to EPCOT and I’ve never eaten in either “Chinese” place. If what I had at the China Food and Wine kiosk (allegedly black pepper shrimp, which had little pepper and the pre-plated noodles were gummy) was any indication, I won’t be remedying that any time soon.

    EPCOT was a lone bright spot in the wilderness, if one goes back far enough. Orlando was a pretty harrowing food town even into the ’90s (I still put it at the bottom of Florida cities, though I imagine Jacksonville is pretty scarifying). Paul Bocouse (of the French pavilion’s restaurants) tells great stories about what it was like trying to get what are today commonplace ingredients in Orlando in the early EPCOT days. Even Florida as a whole was no great shakes then, so EPCOT was a total dining superstar, and that reputation persists maybe a little longer than it should.

    Also too, keep in mind your blog, seeing how it’s not the usual explosion of pixie dust and princess flatulence, attracts readers for whom the “ethnic” options in EPCOT are likely old hat. In the wider world, I’m continually astonished at how many people, here in AD 2013, get the absolutely howling fantods at even the most mildly exotic of EPCOT food. That probably feeds the EPCOT legend as well.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      My question for Paul Bocouse would be: “what happened?” You can read that specifically or generally…your call.

      I think this is a good point with regard to Disney guest demographics. Sorry to hear that the Orlando dining scene leaves something to be desired. Here in Indianapolis, we have fancy foreign places for foodies, like Taco Bell and P.F. Chang’s!

      • Chronic Gin Deficiency says:

        Hmmm. Just…hmmm. I’d say “the dinning plan,” or at least creeping rentier-ism in the more general sense. You seemed to really like Bistro de Paris, as did I, and I think it’s still in fine form as Monsieur Paul. Unless I’m totally misreading your subtlety?

        There are any number of food bloggers who would disagree with me about Orlando. I just think it’s getting to the party late, compared to other Florida cities, and the signal-to-noise ratio is still pretty low with all the tourist traps and chains. Winter Park has some good options, but it’s a good 20 miles up the road through traffic and back.

      • Tom Bricker says:

        It seems like the general opinion of the France pavilion’s cuisine has trended downhill for several years. We weren’t all that impressed with Chefs de France (granted, we’ve only dined there once), and although we have yet to do Monsieur Paul, I’ve heard incredibly mixed (almost polar opposite) reviews of it. I trust your opinion, so good to hear that you like it.

        The France pavilion, I think, should be the ‘flagship’ pavilion in the World Showcase in terms of dining.

  13. Kevin says:

    I haven’t eaten at either restaurant in China based mostly on the mediocre reviews. And the fact that there’s plenty of mediocre Chinese food close to my house.

    I think part of the raves about Epcot dining is simply the variety. You can have your orange chicken while I get some shawarma. Or someone else could grab some fish and chips.

  14. Tiffany B. says:

    Worst food ever (sweet and sour chicken)!! I will never forget my experience here because I had one day to spend in Epcot and eating at the Lotus Blossom ruined my day. I ate an early lunch and became deathly ill and had to leave the park. I am quite sure it was the food from Lotus Blossom, as I had not eaten anything since the night before.

    I know I should have told someone and perhaps they might have refunded my park ticket cost, but I was so sick I just wanted to get back to the hotel. I never did make it back to the park :(

  15. Amber says:

    We had lunch at Lotus Blossom in 2008 and have never gone back. We love Chinese food, especially my husband, and we were both extremely disappointed. It was honestly the worst Chinese food we have ever eaten. And I think the worst meal we have had at Walt Disney World. It has been so long ago, I cannot even remember what the food tasted like other than it was awful. My husband has been wanting to try Nine Dragons but I am very hesitant due to Lotus Blossom. Plus, we get great Chinese food back home, I would rather dine at places that serve food we do not eat often or even have back home.

  16. Kristen says:

    I would love to know what, if any, other options of Asian style food is good in Disney world? My children love Chinese and Japanese food! We have a reservation at Teppan edo during our stay. Would live your input! Thanks!

  17. Maureen says:

    I love visiting China and love photographing their gardens and detailed designs… anyway, I always pass by Lotus Blossom and and once had to bring my daughter to their restrooms.. it doesn’t call to me and I LOVE Chinese food and I am sure Americanized is more my flavor too. They seemed a little dirty and put me off from even thinking of ordering…

    • Tom Bricker says:

      What seemed dirty about it? Although I’m not jumping for joy over Lotus Blossom, I’ve never really thought of it as dirty.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>