Garden Grill Review
Garden Grill is home to Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Harvest Feast, a family style character meal in Epcot’s Land pavilion. This Walt Disney World dining review features food photos plus our opinion of this all-you-can-eat, rotating restaurant that offers views into the Living with the Land attraction.
Just to make sure you caught all of that, we have: 1) all you can eat, 2) characters, 3) restaurant rotation, and 4) views into a Disney attraction. Does Garden Grill have ALF and dinosaurs? Because if so, with those 6 things, it would be the greatest restaurant ever!
Since Garden Grill is a family style all you can eat meal, the menu options are more limited than a standard Disney buffet. It’s still fairly pricey, making it one of our top values for character meals on the Disney Dining Plan. If you’re not on the Disney Dining Plan, Garden Grill accepts the Tables in Wonderland card for a 20% discount.
While this review covers breakfast at Garden Grill, it’s worth noting that Garden Grill also serves Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Harvest Feast for both breakfast and lunch, as well. Breakfast is particularly intriguing to us as a way to access Soarin’ Around the World first-thing in the morning with a pre-park opening Advance Dining Reservation. It doesn’t hurt that Garden Grill is a really good meal!
This restaurant has existed since The Land pavilion opened, but not always as Garden Grill. It used to be The Good Turn Restaurant, and before that it was The Land Grille Room. The restaurant has always rotated (hence its first name), but it was previously a higher caliber of restaurant before characters came onto the scene.
Back in the day when Kraft sponsored the Land pavilion, they served classy stuff…like Easy Mac! That’s not to say the character version is worse (I don’t recall our meals at The Land Grille Room, so I’m not qualified to make that judgment), it’s just different.
As far as ambiance goes, the main selling points here are the rotation and views into Living with the Land. Otherwise, Garden Grill has fairly bland ambiance, without much in the way of decor. However, rotation and the views into the attraction are two huge selling points from the perspective of ambiance.
Discounting them would be like saying “if you take away the stunning views and open air kitchen, California Grill’s ambiance isn’t so special.” The fact that it rotates and has views into an attraction is what defines the ambiance of Garden Grill. Even though it’s a character meal, this is primarily why we eat at Garden Grill. It would be difficult for it to offer much more in the way of ambiance.
My favorite part of the views into Living with the Land has to be the upstairs bedroom in the farmhouse, which looks like a “lived in” room. This room is not visible from the attraction, meaning that all of the details in there are solely for the sake of restaurant guests.
Perhaps I’m easily impressed, but I think that’s pretty awesome. I wish I had captured some decent photos of it, but I guess it’s something you’ll just have to check out when you dine there. Every time I look in that room I smile–to me, this is a prime example of Disney going that extra mile with details.
There are two tiers of seating at Garden Grill: a lower level closer to the attraction and an elevated upper level closer to the inner column. In the past we’ve eaten on the lower level, but on our most recent visit, we were seated in the upper level.
It’s difficult to see into the attraction from the upper level without standing up (I found myself standing up a lot!). Like Coral Reef, this is an ADR to which you want to arrive a little early to request a seat on the lower level.
The official name of the character dinner at Garden Grill is “Chip ‘N’ Dale’s Harvest Feast,” so it should be no surprise that two of the characters present are Chip and Dale. Farmer Mickey Mouse is also present, as is Pluto with a country-ish handkerchief tied around his neck.
Mickey’s outfit is unique here and stands out from what he’d normally wear, so he’s definitely the main draw. Note that it can take characters a long time to get to your table at Garden Grill, but this is because they seem to spend a decent amount of time at each table.
On each of our visits to Garden Grill, we’ve had ample time for interactions with the characters, including some spontaneous mischief with Chip and Dale. Granted, we usually eat early or late, so this type of experience should not be expected if you’re there during the dinner rush. It’s definitely a much better option for interactions than a large and popular restaurant like Chef Mickey’s.
As far as food goes, well…it’s an all you can eat restaurant. It’s also a family style restaurant, so the options are limited as compared to a buffet. It’s also somewhat on the pricey side.
This is not to say that the food is bad–we enjoyed the bread, the salad, the filet of beef, the fish, and the dessert–but there is only 1 starter (salad), 3 entrees (filet of beef, turkey, and sustainable fish), 3 sides (veggies, potatoes, rice), and 1 dessert (cobbler).
This means if you don’t like one or two things, you’ve potentially eliminated a lot of what you can eat. By contrast, most buffets have so many options that not liking a couple of things really makes no difference. Some of this food is supposedly sourced from The Land pavilion, although I’ve never been told which items.
I think the only change in the meal from the last time we were at Garden Grill a couple years ago was the fish, which was breaded last time (I preferred the breaded variety, Sarah preferred this meal’s Mahi Mahi).
Despite the limited menu, we felt the food was solid for an all you can eat meal. Not the best, but not the worst, either.
We enjoyed most of the options, so the menu being limited wasn’t a huge drawback for us. The bread and salad were both surprisingly good.
The filet of beef was the highlight for me, and it was surprisingly tender and flavorful. Sarah preferred the sustainable fish, which was very good for all you can eat fare, but not as good as an average plate you’d order from a standard table service restaurant.
The sides were all okay, but definitely could have been better. They were nothing that really knocked your socks off. The cobbler was the surprise hit of the meal, and it was very good.
In the past, when we’ve dined at Garden Grill, I was really impressed by the restaurant. From the views into one of my favorite attractions (yes, I’m a geek), to the rotation, to the food, to the fun character costumes, it’s always been one of my favorite restaurants at Epcot. This time, when reflecting on it after the trip, I wasn’t quite so “high” on it, and I think this is in part due to other experiences on the trip.
Unfortunately, Garden Grill doesn’t quite compete with newer character meals like Storybook Dining at Artist Point or Breakfast a la Art with Mickey and Friends at Topolino’s Terrace. Nor is it quite as ambitious (or delicious) as Tusker House or Boma.
I still really like Garden Grill, but relative to these other experiences, the standout part of the meal was the ambiance and the superb character interactions. This, obviously, is just a personal anecdote based on our other dining experiences, but everything at Walt Disney World is relative–after all, you can easily forgo a meal at one restaurant in favor of another.
Overall, Garden Grill still gets reasonably high marks, especially if you want an all-you-can-eat character meal with approachable and crowd-pleasing cuisine. From that perspective, Garden Grill beats its direct competitors. While we prefer other character meals with more ambitious cuisine, that won’t be the case for everyone.
Regardless, Garden Grill is a winner thanks to its great ambiance in a rotating dining room with views into Living with the Land and solid character interactions. The food is pretty good to above-average for character dining, but we think it could stand a menu with a few more options. If high quality cuisine is your primary concern, there are a number of better options at Epcot. However, if you’re a fan of Living with the Land/classic EPCOT Center, character dining, or family style dining, Garden Grill is a strong option that we recommend.
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How do you think Garden Grill rates as compared to other character meals? What about its food and ambiance, in general? Planning on dining here? Do you agree or disagree with our advice? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
I just read in an Instagram comment that the lit room in the farmhouse is a replica of Walt’s college dorm room. I’m looking to see if I can verify that, but, if so…what a fun hidden detail!
While I loved the food at this restaurant it was very small especially for family style. Our family of 5 (4 were adults) were in a small horseshoe booth on the lower level and there was barely enough room for the servers to put the meal down with the plates being on the table. It was prob the best food we ate that week but so uncomfortable I wouldn’t want to go back
I think the lunch/dinner menu changed after this review was written. When I was there on Christmas Eve in 2019, there was salad, turkey, beef, mashed potatoes, vegetables, stuffing, fries, and mac and cheese. For dessert it was berry cake, which was basically strawberry shortcake. My family was 4 adults and we all were pleasantly surprised by the food. The fries not so much and the mac and cheese was just ok. But the meat and other sides were better than we expected. We got seconds on some items. The berry cake was really good. And the characters came around many times. It was a fun experience. No complaints. We were on the dining plan so weren’t thinking about the cost as much.
Thanks for the update, and thanks for the honesty about not feeling comfortable eating indoors in Florida.
We’ve gone there every trip we’ve made and have always enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. It’s rotated every time we’ve gone. I’m still bummed I’m not able to give a review based on having gotten back just a couple of weeks ago; We took our kid there for his first WDW trip after he “graduated” from kindergarten, and were going to take him this year after his high school graduation.
We’ve always enjoyed the food here, but it’s certainly not our favorite restaurant. Tom is right, the one major weakness is that the menu is limited. For kids, being able to see the attraction when rotating is usually enough to keep them entertained, plus the characters come through a good bit.
However, it’s probably not going to be the favorite spot for the young ones. There’s not the freedom and variety they have at the buffets like Chef Mickey’s, Crystal Palace, 1900 Parkfare, etc.
But this is a good character meet and greet: Mickey as a farmer, Chip n’ Dale, who are always fun, and Pluto. Just be aware of the limited menu and make sure that what’s on it will suit you, or check ahead if you have special dietary needs. We found that the chefs at every restaurant we went to in 2018 were very accommodating for allergies.
I was hoping they would do breakfast from say 9 am to 11 am, since EPCOT opens at 11 am, but no such luck. I do not like lunch or dinner at this restaurant but the breakfast is usually awesome! Won’t be going this trip though.
Garden Grill was one of the worst WDW meals during our early December 2019 trip. I am on a restricted diet and although I confirmed via Disney dining phone and at the check in desk that changes / substitutions could be made, our server insisted I could only select from the existing menu. When I asked to speak with a chef the server told me no one was available. No fish on the menu. I ended up eating little more than salad and when I asked for a third helping the server gave me a look like he’d never heard of such a thing. The characters passed by from two to three times but only waved in passing – our group were all adults so maybe the characters thought stopping wasn’t worth their time. The restaurant did revolve reliably so no issues there. Upon leaving I did ask to speak with a manager who told me she was sorry and my input will help make a better experience for others. No concern or interest in my experience. We do not plan on returning to Garden Grill and due to WDW re-opening restrictions do not recommend to anyone.
The Garden Grill does not serve rice any more. THey Bring you fries and Mac and cheese. And the last time I was there in February there was no fish I think ham instead.
Do you have any guesses on how characters will be incorporated? Will they walk through and wave?
This would be a good opportunity for Disney to bring back Mickey’s Backyard BBQ at Fort Wilderness. I feel like people would feel more comfortable dining outside right now!
There’s a video in the Topolino’s Terrace review of what the character experience looks like. Expect the same at Garden Grill–wave and walk.
Definitely too bad about Mickey’s Backyard BBQ–you’re right, that’d be perfect now!
We loved our Garden Grill breakfast a couple
of years ago. Our family was chosen to get a picture taken with Chip, Dale, Mickey and Pluto together and each character came around at least twice. We were on the lower level and had a great view. Pluto had my kids up and dancing. The food was delicious and my son with a food allergy received his own special platter. He was young and not that interested in eating and Dale kept coming over and trying to get my son to take more bites, which was hilarious. I would absolutely go back for breakfast or dinner 🙂