Friday, November 13, 2009

A Mouse in My Food

Ever since my surgery, food has been a great challenge. It's rare that I can eat any sort of meats at all without experiencing some pain. It's unusual for me to be able to complete a full serving of anything. Some of my favorite foods have been taken completely out of the equation... Pizza, Steak... Only recently have I been able to start eating any kinds of sandwiches again.

As you can imagine, Disney World is difficult. The portions are huge, the food is pricey, and it's almost always fairly rich too (tough for me to digest). I did, however, have a great experience with the Disney Dining Plan (a first try at it for me) and there were some really excellent without further ado my 3 Tips to Successful Disney Dining and my 3 Favorite Meals/Dishes from this trip.

3 Tips for Successful Disney Dining

1) Eat Up at Lunch Time.
I think the normal progression of meals for people is to eat small for breakfast and lunch and then have a big dinner. That's all well and good, but there are a couple of reasons I'm recommending having your "Table Service" meal (whether you're on the dining plan or no) at Lunch time. First, the morning is the most hectic time at the parks, usually, because people are rushing to get to rides before it gets crowded and people are trying to fit in all kinds of stuff early on. All that runing around has a way of working up quite the appetite. Second, it's far easier to get lunch reservations at all of the sit-down restaurants than it is for dinner (and if you're not on the dining plan, the prices are usually lower). Third, my absolute least favorite thing about the otherwise amazing, Free Disney Transportation is the logjams at the beginning and end of the day. When you're scheduling your sit-down meals late, you're locking yourself in to having to deal with post-parade/fireworks crowds. Unless you're amazingly clever, the crowds are unavoidable and unbearable. My advice is to grab the quicker meal late so that you can better negotiate your smooth exit from the park.

2) Disney Dining Plan
I have always been a skeptic. I was wrong. This is a seriously great feature of staying on property. It's easy to use, provides more food than you can ever possibly eat, and really saves an incredible amount of money (especially now that Disney's basically handing the thing away), oh...and the Tofu Muchacha wanted me to point out that every meal comes with dessert (I'll get to the dessert again later). Also take the opportunity to order those things you normally would't, because of how expensive they are. Never ordered the 35.00 Filet Mignon? Well go for it... Always wanted to try Lobster? That's allowed. It's totally awesome. I figure that our free dining plan (minus the gratuities) saved us 500 dollars. Easily.

3) Eat at Epcot.
This seems like such a broad sort of tip, but hear me out... Epcot is home to the Food and Wine Festival, which is amazing for international snacking. Epcot has more sit-down restaurants than any other park at Disney. Epcot has the widest variety of food choices anywhere outside of New York City. On this recent trip we ate at Epcot four separate days. That doesn't include the snacks we enjoyed at the Food and Wine Festival (also covered in the dining plan). Check it out... in the World Showcase, all of the following are a 15 minute walk away: Steak (Canada), Pub food (England), French Bistro (France) , Middle Eastern (Morocco), hibachi steak or sushi (Japan), Italian (duh), Biergarten buffet (Germany), Chinese (duh again), Norwegian (like you'd want it..), and Mexican. That doesn't include the Coral Reef (which I'll discuss later). There are options for everyone, and if you go at lunch time, you can usually get reservations most anywhere.

And now...

My 3 Favorite Meals/Dishes of my October Trip

1) Coral Reef, Day 2
This was an excellent meal in almost every respect. The food was good. The dessert was delicious (Creme brule....mmmmm.) And the atmosphere was easily the coolest of any meal we had the whole trip. The atmosphere really is the draw here, and I honestly can say it was one of the more interesting places I've ever eaten in terms of visuals. The whole restaurant is set up a little like a dinner theater in that all of the seating faces a huge floor to ceiling aquarium and every seat is good. It doesn't hurt that our seat was somehow the most amazing in the house. Right up against the glass. It was so neat. I ate dinner right next to a giant sea turtle.
2) Cheesecake at Tony's Town Square Ristorante, Day 1
I'm a fan of desserts. Lately I've come to really enjoy pumpkin desserts specifically, and when I see a pumpkin cheesecake on a menu, I'm always curious to see how it stacks up with my own (hugely successful) attempt from a couple of months back. This one was really, really delicious, and it was presented in so pleasing a manner that I needed to take a picture. Yes... that's Lady and the Tramp dusted onto the plate in chocolate. It was super, super smooth and creamy and really light. I liked it so much I requested the recipe...which I received in my e-mail just recently. I may attempt it for my Thanksgiving dessert. 3) ABC Commissary. Day 5
I know it's a little weird, because this is basically a fast food restaurant, but I can honestly say that my fish and chips were among the best I've ever eaten anywhere. The fish was perfectly fried. The fries were crisp. It was awesome. AND because I was on the dining plan, I also got this crazy good chocolate mousse. I'm listing this, because out of all of the meals I had, this one was the most surprising. I expect Tony's and Le Cellier to be good (I was disappointed in Le Cellier, to be honest), but the ABC Commissary came through.

NOTE: I know that I promised a Leg to Leg comparison between the Disney turkey legs and the Renaissance Faire turkey legs, but to be honest... I just couldn't do it. The turkey leg I got at the Renn Faire made me feel so sick afterward, I just wasn't willing to risk fucking up a whole day of my trip at Disney in case the Disney bird made me feel the same way.


djphob said...

Yeah, it looks like you're really enjoying that there sea turtle. I've never seen you look so excited in all your life! Hee.

Tom Auel Jr. said...

My only thing with the dining plan is that you are paying regular price for your meals and if you miss one meal, for some odd reason, it's not worth it. I personally feel that looking for discounts and setting aside money for dining is a better option. If you have an annual pass you can get the Tables in Wonderland card and save 20% at most of the restaurants on property and that does include alcohol. :)

Beefy Muchacho said...


I think that you're totally right, generally. I wouldn't necessarily do the dining plan if they weren't throwing it in for free with a certain amount of nights stay at the hotels. I'd never done it at all prior to my last visit, and never suffered for lacking it. I also was an Annual Passholder for a season and used the hell out of that Tables in Wonderland card... If you're not staying on property, or if the dining plan isn't being tossed into a package, I think that's a great way to go.