I’ve been hard at work on restaurant reviews from our recent Walt Disney World trip, with several on the way from places like Geyser Point Bar & Grill, Olivia’s Cafe, Bluezoo, and more. However, some of our meals and snacks won’t make the cut for their own reviews for various reasons.
So, rather than trying to add enough fluff to justify full posts about every dining experience (you’ll have to wait for our highly anticipated Boardwalk Pizza Window Review for that!), we thought we’d consolidate some of those into a single post, here.
Think of this as our newest Walt Disney World trip report, but without anything we did except for the eating…and none of the eating that we’re already covering in other post. In other words, this post is basically just table scraps…
We’ll do these in sequential order, starting with the first day of our WDW trip. We had flown in on the red-eye, and rather than doing the wise thing and taking a nap before going to the parks (as Sarah did), I opted to rope drop Epcot.
Due to the three hour time difference, it’s now very rare for us to do rope drop at Walt Disney World, so I wanted to take full advantage of the opportunity. Unfortunately, I got to Epcot about an hour before rope drop, and fatigue quickly set in.
Once Epcot finally did open, I joined about 33% of the crowd that was racing to the Land pavilion, but instead of doing Soarin’ Around the World with a 0 minute wait, I headed to Sunshine Seasons for breakfast and my caffeine fix. If you’ve never seen Sunshine Seasons empty, this is how it looks. Apparently, this is not a popular rope drop destination for other early-risers. I cannot imagine why not…
I had been wanting to try the Cinnamon French Toast Bread Pudding for a while, as it sounds amazing–and we’re huge fans of Sunshine Seasons. Delicious, it was not. My serving was a medium-sized, very firm square. I guess the consistency was about what you should expect if you mixed bread pudding with French toast, but it was not too appetizing.
Flavor-wise…there was not much flavor. Part of me is hopeful that I got unlucky with a chunk of this that had been sitting around for a while, and you’d have better luck if you went around 10 a.m. when Sunshine Seasons gets busier. I’m not willing to find out, though, as this was pretty bad. On the plus(?) side, I was given a huge helping of bacon. On the down side, this is normal Walt Disney World bacon, which is a thinly-sliced shoe leather.
Sarah did Jiko for Magical Dining Month with a few friends. She said the highlight of the meal was being seated right behind Joey Fatone.
She proceeded to tell me all about Joey Fatone, despite me repeatedly saying, “I don’t know who that is, please stop gushing about some other dude and tell me about the meal.” (For those unfamiliar with Mr. Fatone, his claim to fame is the cinematic masterpiece, Dead 7.)
Sarah indicated that they had a great meal, but I’m really not sure how much of this is attributable to the cuisine, and how much is being behind Joey Fatone.
She also said the Magical Dining Month menu was an exceptional value. We wouldn’t be surprised to see strong discounts offered at Jiko again in 2018, and if you have the chance to dine there with 20% or more off, you should absolutely jump at the opportunity. Everything at Jiko is excellent, but the appetizers and desserts also offer strong value for money.
Meanwhile, I did “Fourth Meal” at Paddlefish with Josh and Tom after doing lunch at B.B. Wolf’s Sausage Co. and dinner at STK. At Paddlefish, we split this New England Seafood Boil ($67), adding Jumbo Shrimp to the mix for another $15.
This was a bit of a mixed bag. Elements of it–like the lobster–were really good, but the dish was overall a bit meh. The “jumbo” shrimp addition was a huge mistake; in retrospect, I wouldn’t have paid $1 each for these, let alone $5 each.
On our last trip, Sarah and I dined at Paddlefish, but it was a special event for the grand opening of Pandora. I didn’t think our experience was sufficient for a review. I still don’t think this experience was sufficient, since we literally split one (albeit large and pricey) dish.
Both times, I’ve left underwhelmed with Paddlefish. I think the ambiance is a bit ‘generic upscale blah’ (although I do love the outdoor seating at dusk), and my impression of the food I’ve sampled has not been all that positive. It’s not bad, but for a seafood restaurant with price points this high, it has left a ton to be desired. I’m not sure if/when Sarah and I will go back for a full review. At this point, it’s incredibly difficult for us to justify spending that much money given the wealth of exceptional (and cheaper) options at Disney Springs.
On a positive note, our meal at STK was unexpectedly wonderful…
I didn’t think so. Let’s just say we ate there a couple of times…give or take a couple of times. (Seriously, it’s not our fault that the counter service food is so bad in the Crescent Lake area, “forcing” us to have several meals of ice cream.)
We also took a “break” from Ample Hills to stop at Beaches & Cream for the Chocolate Lovers’ Kitchen Sink, but I think I can milk an entire blog post out of that one.
I really enjoyed this. The cheese was high-quality and balanced nicely with arugula, tomato, and onion jam. I’m not normally a huge fan of multi-grain bread, but it provided a nice texture to offset the other ingredients. I’d highly recommend this, and would definitely get it again myself. (It’s a bit like the old ‘Grown-up Grilled Cheese’ at Captain Cook’s.)
I also picked up the Campfire Cupcake at Roaring Fork. The marshmallow filling was a bit much for me, and overly dominant.
This is probably a YMMV dessert, but the filling just didn’t work for me. I wouldn’t necessarily discourage others from ordering it, but I wouldn’t get it again.
While at Wilderness Lodge, we also returned to Whispering Canyon Cafe (see our updated review for thoughts on that) and dined at Geyser Point Bar & Grill for the first time (review coming soon). Suffice to say, Wilderness Lodge’s dining game is really strong now. It’s arguably one of the top 5 resorts at Walt Disney World for dining now. (I think it is!)
Nutella (literally) hurts my stupid sensitive teeth, but I love it so much that I cannot resist it. We split this while sitting on the ground watching The Muppets Present…Great Moments in American History, and that was about the perfect Magic Kingdom experience. Some might call it The Distinctly Patriotic Magic Kingdom Experience.™
We try to do as few counter service meals at Disney’s Hollywood Studios as humanly possible, but Backlot Express has become our go-to spot in the last couple of years. I probably should do a full review of it at some point, but I’ve yet to muster up the enthusiasm to do that.
Our goal on this particular day was to split this Caprese Sandwich before bouncing to the Boardwalk for…uhh…something other than more ice cream at Ample Hills? Anyway, I enjoyed this; Sarah was not as much of a fan due to the sogginess and quality of the mozzarella. (She’s right on both counts, but counter service dining at DHS is a ‘lesser of evils’ kind of thing, and I maintain this is one of the best options in the park.)
We both agreed about this Fried Green Tomato Sandwich: not only was it shockingly good, but it’s probably the best counter service item available in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This would be a good pick even at Epcot or Animal Kingdom, so we’re not just grading on a curve because it’s at DHS.
That’s it for our ‘random meals’ during our recent visit to Walt Disney World. Aside from the items featured here, we either focused on Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival (hard to believe there’s still another month to go!) or places that are new-to-us. As noted above, we’ll have those reviews in the coming weeks. In the meantime, hope you enjoyed these random food photos and thoughts!
Do you agree or disagree with our ‘reviews’ of any of the foods we tried on this trip to Walt Disney World? Thoughts on any of these restaurants? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!