Be Our Guest Dinner Review

 photo IMG_1153_zpss2rrxxpa.jpg

One of the newest and most hard to come by reservations at Disney World is having dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom. My family was lucky enough to snag one of these reservations on our last trip. We arrived right around 6:00 and were seated within five minutes of checking in.

Of course the overall theming of this restaurant is one of the best at Disney World due to all of the great elements the Imagineers included such as these “soldiers” in the entry way. Guests are able to dine in one of three dining rooms including the Main Ballroom, the West Wing, and the Rose Gallery. Also, this restaurant is only a table service option at dinner as it serves a quick service breakfast and lunch. With that said both breakfast and lunch are still done by reservation even though they are a quick service option.

 photo IMG_1353_zpsdj1pashy.jpg

We have dined in the main dining room before, but were very excited this time when we were led to the West Wing and we got our first glimpse of the rose.

 photo IMG_1155_zpsyv1loprp.jpg

Dining in the West Wing itself was fantastic. Of all of the great elements in this restaurant we feel this room really hits the theme in an unbelievable way. The only consideration is it is quite dark, which of course adds to the mood, but it makes taking pictures quite difficult. Or quite distracting to others due to your flash, however you want to look at it.

 photo IMG_1342_zpsjiym7dbp.jpg

We sat down and were greeted with the creative rose napkins on our table and soon had the bread service in front of us.

 photo IMG_1159_zps79zyqup5.jpg

 photo IMG_1345_zpsj7ptnfby.jpg

For my meal I ended up selecting the Grilled Strip Steak with Garlic-herb butter and pommes frites for $35.

 photo IMG_1346_zps2k5xjc9x.jpg

I have ordered this entree before and have enjoyed it each time. It has always been cooked well, seasoned well, and the garlic-herb butter gives it an extra nice flavor. It is not a steak on the level of Yachtasman’s Steakhouse at the Yacht Club, but it is still a really good meal. The french fries have also been good each time I’ve had then and I even enjoy the mayonnaise based dipping sauce.

My wife also has a favorite menu item hear that she enjoys, the Pork Chop served with mac ‘n cheese au gratin for $27.

 photo IMG_1347_zpstvwamcl1.jpg

She absolutely loves this dish. The pork is perfectly tender and the mac ‘n cheese au gratin is excellent. In addition to tasting good the pork chop is a large cut of meat and it is also a good size serving of mac ‘n cheese.

After enjoying our dinner we decided to try a couple of dessert options since they are relatively inexpensive at just $5 each. First we tried the Chocolate Cream Puff filled with chocolate mousse topped with whipped cream.

 photo IMG_1349_zpshyryzl9w.jpg

This dish was good, although it was fairly plain. Also, the catch to them only costing $5 is that they are pretty small. In addition to the cream puff we also tried The “Grey Stuff” served over chocolate spongecake.

 photo IMG_1350_zpsqk48udm8.jpg

This was maybe the one part of our meal that we didn’t enjoy very much. Their was just not a lot of flavor to the “Grey Stuff” and the cake was pretty dry. I had heard the “Gray Stuff” had a cream cheese flavor, but what we had tasted basically like whipped cream. All in all though if that was the only negative to our meal we ended up with a good experience.

Overall, we had a great meal and experience at Be Our Guest and the meal is finished off as you get to visit with the Beast before you leave the castle. You can’t beat this experience due to the tasty meal, the fantastic theme and decor, the location inside the Magic Kingdom, and meeting with a Disney hero.

Let us know your thoughts on Be Our Guest by posting below or visiting us on Facebook.

Lysa’s Holiday Trip to Disney World Part 1 – Episode 21

In this week’s episode, for February 12, 2017, Jon and Lysa will be discussing Lysa’s recent trip to Disney World during the holiday season as well as taking your listener questions on Disney travel.

Please send any questions about the show to and visit our website, for more information. Also, like our Facebook page at and follow us on Twitter @MouseDreamsBlog.

Finally, thanks to our sponsors and friends at Big Dreams Travel, an Authorized Disney Travel Planner. Visit them at to help with your next vacation.

You can submit Disney trip planning questions for us to answer on the show by e-mailing us at, by tweeting your question to @MouseDreamsBlog on Twitter, or by visiting the listener questions page on our website at We would love to answer your questions on travel including Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or Disney Cruise Line. Have a great week everyone and thanks for listening!

Subscribe to the Podcast:     Podbean      iTunes      Stitcher Radio      RSS Feed

Crystal Palace Breakfast Review

 photo IMG_1508_zpsf0e46984.jpg
The Crystal Palace

Today we will be looking at one of our favorite breakfast spots in all of Disney World, The Crystal Palace inside the Magic Kingdom. This breakfast is always a family favorite for us due to the food, the location, and the great character interactions. We arrived at 10:30 for our dining reservation and were seated just about five minutes after checking in. This is a beautiful building located just off of Main Street USA and within view of Cinderella Castle.

Breakfast is by far our favorite meal at the Crystal Palace and today was no different. We sampled a lot of the traditional breakfast fare at the Crystal Palace and everything was very appetizing. We enjoyed many of the typical breakfast options such as the biscuits and gravy, sausage, bacon, and potato casserole.

Of course one of my favorite dishes here is the breakfast lasagna that includes pancakes, waffles, pound cake, custard, and fruit in one delicious mixture. I will say that the lasagna was a little too soggy on this visit. Typically is sets up very well and is a great dish, but today it was just slightly off.

 photo IMG_1311_zpsjrhd5vty.jpg
Breakfast Lasagna (Top Left of Plate)

Another of our favorites is the puffed french toast, a specialty of the Crystal Palace.

 photo IMG_1314_zpslo1gpgfz.jpg
Puffed French Toast (Right Side of Plate)

It is a great mixture between a fritter and french toast that is dusted with sugar. It is delicious with syrup or honey over the top or just by itself. Unlike the lasagna the puffed french toast was spot on in its preparation on this visit. It was crispy on the outside, had the perfect amount of sugar, and was perfectly cooked on the inside.

I also tried an omelette with ham and cheese, yes I’m boring, and it was good. Not the best omelette I’ve ever had, but certainly much better than just getting the eggs off of the buffet.

 photo IMG_1320_zpssxwbe15k.jpg
Ham & Cheese Omelette

In addition to the delicious food this meal includes characters. Winnie the Pooh and his friends, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet all make a visit to your table during your meal. We have always had great interactions with the characters when dining here, but I had heard going in they had slowed the characters down some. We did not experience that, but we were eating between 10:45 and 11:15 and the restaurant was only about half full since we were at the tail end of the breakfast period. This is most likely why the characters arrived quickly for us and spent a good deal of time at our table. I can certainly see how if you arrive in the middle of the busy dining time you may wait over an hour to see all of the characters at your table.

Overall, The Crystal Palace is one of our go to breakfast spots at Disney World and this visit did not disappoint. Let us know your thoughts on Crystal Palace by commenting below or visiting us on Facebook.

5 Theme Park Table Service Restaurants that “Shouldn’t Be Missed”

Dining is an experience that many people overlook when thinking of a Disney trip, but it is truly one of the best parts of a Disney World vacation. Some of the most unique dining experiences are those table service restaurants that are located inside the theme parks of the Disney World Resort. The main method that we have used to pick this list of five is first on food experience and then on atmosphere. Above all to make our list the food at the restaurants had to be very high in quality and the atmosphere immersive and unique. It is also important to note that we did not include signature dining restaurants in this list, which means all of these restaurants that we recommend below will only use one table service dining credit when on the Disney Dining Plan. We have also not included any character dining restaurants, as those will be included on their own top five list. Here are five of our favorites theme park table services restaurants and these are ones that we would say “Shouldn’t Be Missed!”

  1. Be Our Guest – From the moment you walk across the bridge to this beautiful castle inside of the Magic Kingdom you are transported into one of the most classic Disney movies of all time, Beauty and the Beast. The Beast’s castle is great to look at from the outside, but is downright stunning once you step inside the restaurant. One unique aspect of this restaurant is the three different dining spaces that you may be seated in. The main ballroom is the largest dining space and is complete with fantastic chandeliers and snow falling outside the window. Guests also may be seated in the West Wing, complete with the rose which loses its petals throughout dinner. The final room is the Rose Gallery, which is complete with the Beauty and the Beast music box in the center of the room. The decor and setting is not the only star of this restaurant the food is equally as impressive. The traditional French Onion Soup is a fantastic appetizer and it is hard to ignore the well cooked New York Strip Steak entree. The Sauteed Shrimp and Scallops entree is another star as it is served inside of a puff pastry with a creamy lobster sauce over the top. To top it all off are the signature desserts of the castle, which includes several cupcake options as well as cream puffs, and be sure to try “The Gray Stuff”. Finally, after dessert you will most likely have the opportunity to meet the host himself, The Beast, in his study before you leave. All in all you will not be disappointed at this fantastic dining opportunity in the Magic Kingdom.
  2. Teppan Edo – As we think at Epcot there are many great table service dining options, but when also factoring in trying to find a unique experience one must mention this fantastic Hibachi style dining experience in the Japan Pavilion of the World Showcase. Teppan Edo is truly a meal that is entertaining and will be enjoyed by every member of the family. The teppanyaki style restaurant is a very unique experience and your personal chefs will always be sure to put on a great show for your family that will include some cool tricks and even some comedy. The ordering experience is slightly different as you are mainly going to choose a meat or vegetable for the chef to prepare for you on the grill right before your eyes. There are some appetizers available and we love the Wafu Ribs, which are cooked on the flat top by the chef as soon as they arrive. When it comes to choosing your main meal they have many options available including filet mignon, chicken, shrimp, or even vegetable options. By this point in your meal the chef is cooking everyone’s entree as well as the noodles and other sides that come with it and before long you are enjoying a fantastic meal in a great location. The desserts are not the star of this restaurant but some of the choices are not to be missed. We enjoy both the Chocolate Ginger Cake and the Green Tea Cheesecake as both are very good despite their unique combinations of flavors.
  3. Biergarten – When it comes to unique experiences they are all around Epcot’s World Showcase, but one of the best is Biergarten in the Germany Pavilion. From the moment you walk in you feel as though you have walked right into a small German village and no detail is missed, including the moon rising into the sky over the housetops. In addition to the fantastic theming Disney takes it a step further and a live band will entertain at various times during dinner and guests are even invited to partake in the entertainment on the dance floor by the stage. Another favorite experience in this restaurant is the great assortment of traditional, German beers that are available from your server. The food is served from a buffet and you will certainly not leave this place hungry when the meal is over. There are a multitude of appetizer type options including salads , soups, various pickles, macaroni salad, and other traditional German dishes such as one of our favorites the Warm German Potato Salad. Then the hot buffet has many other great German dishes including multiple flavors of German sausages and bratwursts, Pork Shank Gratin and Braised Pork Schnitzel. In addition to all of these options there are many dessert options with the Bavarian Cheesecake being the traditional German headliner. When considering the great food, drink, atmosphere, and entertainment Biergarten is a restaurant not to be missed at Disney World.
  4. Sci Fi Diner – One of the most unique dining experiences in all of Disney World is the Sci-Fi Diner at Hollywood Studios. When you walk in you realize you are going to dine somewhere you probably never thought you would, in a car at a drive in movie from years past. The “cars” in the dining room will serve as your table for the evening and you will be entertained by movie flicks on the large “drive-in movie screen” at the front of the room. The food here is certainly not on the level of a fine dining establishment, but it is very good in it’s own right, and is relatively low priced when compared to other table service restaurants. The Chicken Wings appetizer with a Honey-Chipotle BBQ Sauce is particularly good and a great way to start the meal off. We have found the best entrees on this menu are relatively simple, but are done well. The Sci-Fi Specialty Burger, with swiss cheese, pulled pork, and sriracha BBQ sauce is a guest favorite. Other favorites are the BBQ Ribs or the Reuben sandwich. When it comes down to it the food is good and the atmosphere is very unique and entertaining, making this a table service meal that we think you should not miss when going to Disney World.
  5. Via Napoli – When people talk about pizza at Disney World the discussion usually doesn’t have many options for good pizza, but then the discussion probably turns to the one place that has fantastic, authentic, Italian pizza and that is at Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion. From the moment you walk in the door at Via Napoli you feel as though you are in an Italian Pizzeria complete with the large ovens and open kitchen where you can smell the fantastic pizza’s already being made. We have also found the servers at this restaurant to be among the best and most friendly on Disney property and they will go out of the way to make sure you enjoy your meal. Even though the pizza is the star here there are some noteworthy appetizers that will get your meal off to a great start. Our favorite appetizer is the Arancini, which is fried risotto balls filled with mozzarella and topped with marinara sauce. It is cooked perfectly and a great starter. After this you will be ready for a fantastic pizza from the ovens. Many people are partial to the Quattro Formaggi, which includes four different cheeses. Of course we love many of the other signature “pies” such as the spicy Piccante, but you really cannot go wrong with any of the pizza’s on the menu. If you love pizza, and most people do, this is a place you should not miss when traveling to Disney World.

Please comment below and let us know any questions or thoughts you may have and we will do our best to help you.

Cape May Cafe Dinner Review

One of our family’s favorite meals when at Walt Disney World is having dinner at Cape May Cafe. It seems as if the vibe of the restaurant fits in so perfectly with what we want in a dinner. The staff is easy going and friendly, and the buffet has always been of high quality when we have dined here. Hopefully this experience would not be any different.

We always like to get an early dinner reservation here, right around 5:00 and this time was no different. The one negative to this restaurant, in our opinion, is that the buffet area can get quite crowded as you get further into the dinner service. There is nothing worse than a buffet of tasty, all-you-can-eat crab legs sitting there, but you cannot get to it because there are so many people. We feel that getting an early reservation helps avoid this as much as possible.

We checked in about five minutes before our 5:00 reservation and were seated promptly at 5:00 PM. One of my favorite parts of this restaurant are the decorative sand castles located throughout the dining area.

 photo IMG_1232_zpsk55apbtk.jpg

 photo IMG_1233_zpsbfzzjnuw.jpg

The decor in the restaurant is exactly what you would expect of a restaurant in the Beach Club Resort. The colors are inviting and the sand castles do a great job of putting you in a seafood mood! Soon after sitting down our waitress, Marie, arrived and she was fantastic! She was so helpful with our three year old throughout the meal and spent a lot of time just talking and conversing with us about where we were from and things like that.

Once we got settled I headed up and wasted no time in finding the main event, the crab legs!

 photo IMG_1235_zpsgcchnl0m.jpg

After perusing the first part of the buffet I ended up with a plate of crab, shrimp, and two different types of potatoes.

 photo IMG_1237_zpsvrfotc83.jpg

One thing that always impresses us about Cape May Cafe is how well done the crab legs are despite being done in a buffet setting. It would be easy to put out sub-par crab legs in this large scale setting, but every time we’ve been here they have been very tasty and well done. In addition to the crab legs I particularly loved a dish on the buffet that was labeled the “Seafood Penne Pasta”. It was fantastic with large chunks of seafood and a nice, cheesy sauce. They also had calamari on the evening that we were there, which is also not a dish you would think of as being very good on a buffet, but it was very tasty. Neither my wife or I just love calamari in general, but we did eat quite a bit of it and definitely enjoyed it.

After we were finished with the buffet we set out to see what desserts were going to catch our eye. The dessert buffet here is made up of many different types of small, bite sized desserts. I ended up with a few different selections.

 photo IMG_1239_zpseqcmuuqt.jpg

None of the dessert selections were particularly memorable, but they were good and since they were included on the buffet we certainly had our share.

As we finished our meal, around 6:00 PM the restaurant was really starting to fill up and this is where we discussed this is definitely a meal you want to get an early dinner reservation. By the time we were leaving their were some pretty long lines just to get down the side of the buffet with the crab legs. All things considered though that is the really the only major complaint of this restaurant. It is a restaurant we highly recommend in terms of the atmosphere and quality of the food. The price tag for this restaurant is a bit high, but considering you get pretty good crab legs it is a restaurant we still tend to frequent when we are at Disney World. The price for adults will range from $47.99 to $51.99 depending on the time of year and the child price will range from $26.10 to $29.99.

Have you been to Cape May Cafe for dinner? If so, give us your thoughts below.

Minnie’s Silver Screen Dine Returning to Hollywood Studios

Disney World has announced that they will once again be doing a special dining experience at Hollywood and Vine Restaurant in Hollywood Studios. The event, Minnie’s Silver Screen Dine, will return on January 7 and run through March 19. This event, which debuted last year, allows guests to be a part of a special dinner party with Minnie that celebrates Disney movie magic. Guests will get to walk on the red carpet with Minnie, Mickey, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy. The normal Hollywood and Vine buffet menu will be present along with some special dishes such as creamy popcorn soup, bacon-wrapped pork loin, honey-bourbon glazed turkey, and lobster & shrimp macaroni.

It is not yet apparent if Disney will bring back the other special dining events at Hollywood and Vine this year. Last year they offered Minnie’s Springtime Dine from March through May, Minnie’s Summertime Dine from June through September, Minnie’s Halloween Dine in September & October, and Minnies Holiday Dine in November and December. We’ll update this post if and when those experiences are announced.

Be Our Guest Lunch Review

Sit down dining at the Magic Kingdom can be hit and miss at times, but since Be Our Guest has opened guests have a reliable food location with a great atmosphere. It is also a unique restaurant being quick service at breakfast and lunch and table service at dinner. For this weeks trip review article we are going to be looking at a recent lunch dining experience I had with my family.

We had a reservation set for 11:15 and we showed up about five minutes early. We had decided to take the opportunity to select our food prior to arriving and this helped us avoid a long line of people waiting to order. We were led right up to a register by the main ballroom where we quickly paid and were given out rose and told we could head in and find our own table.

 photo IMG_1200_zpshz494ysv.jpg

The decor in the restaurant was fantastic as it had been on our previous dining experiences. We had eaten in the main ballroom before so today we chose to sit in the rose gallery and it was a great experience. We got a seat right at the base of the music box that is the room’s centerpiece.

 photo IMG_1199_zpspfwma5gt.jpg

The rest of the decor around the room was great as well and we especially enjoyed the Disney artwork.

 photo IMG_1133_zpspgkagljj.jpg

By the time we were seated we only waited about five minutes for our food to arrive. My wife ordered the Carved Turkey Sandwich served on a warm baguette with Dijon Mayonnaise and Pommes Frites for $15.99.

 photo IMG_1203_zps3eitqy1i.jpg

As you can see in the picture she substituted the pommes frites for green beans which was an option when we set our order up online the day before. She loved this sandwich and the main reason was that the turkey was not just typical lunch meat turkey. It was actually nice, thick slices of carved turkey. She did mention the green beans were pretty bland, but it was nice that they allowed this healthier option if you didn’t want the french fries.

I ordered what is probably the most popular menu item, the Croque Monsieur, a grilled sandwich of carved ham, Gruyere cheese, and bechamel with Pommes Frites for $13.99.

 photo IMG_1204_zpsgbcuur3h.jpg

My meal, like my wife’s, we really good. The sandwich was grilled to perfection, crispy, but not burned. The ham was again nice big thick slices of ham, not just a small piece of lunch meat, but real ham. We agreed this was great to see from a Disney restaurant, the fact that they were using quality ingredients instead of just mass producing the cheap stuff.

Overall the meal was a great experience. The only negative is the prices are a little high for just a sandwich for lunch at $13.99 & $15.99, but you are getting a much more themed atmosphere than most quick service restaurants. All things considered Be Our Guest is a great lunch option and we especially enjoyed the pre-order option as it allowed us to bypass the long check in line.

Have you dined at Be Our Guest for lunch? Let us know your thoughts or questions by commenting below.

New Quick Service Breakfast Opens at Sanaa

Disney has just opened a new quick service breakfast option at Sanaa, which is a much needed addition to Kidani Village at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. The one negative with Kidani Village is the 10-15 minute walk you must make to get to Jambo House to have a quick service meal. Disney has at least fixed the problem at breakfast by offering this new option at Kidani Village.

Once guests arrive at Sanaa they will order at a register before proceeding to a table inside the restaurant. They will also give you a decorative “animal” which will guide the cast member delivering your food to your table. The headliner menu item is the “Boere Breakfast”, which comes with two eggs any style, tomato chutney, Tanzanian hash browns, bacon, Boerewors sausage, and a Johnny Cake. Their is also the “Safari Waffle” which has berries and whipped cream on top. They also have a vegan option on the menu, the “Fruit Sosatie”, which comes with a quinoa and dried fruit salad. There are a few other items on the menu as well as some kids options.

In addition to the menu items there is also a grab and go section for items such as Yogurt Parfait, fruit plate, Boerewors sausage and egg bobotie pie, banana bread with house made African chocolate-hazelnut spread, African breakfast cereal, assorted pastries, and fruit.

Garden Grill Dinner Review

From the moment you walk into the Land Pavilion at Epcot one is hit with the smell of the fresh food being prepared both at Sunshine Seasons and Garden Grill and it is one of my favorite smells on property. The entire sustainability theme in this pavilion where they use food that is grown and prepared right there at Epcot make the experience just that much better.

For our dinner at Garden Grill we were really looking forward to the characters with a three year old boy in tow. There is no shortage of experiences and meals geared towards girls and princesses at Disney World, but this is actually one of those meals that I think are great for boys. And after this experience I would continue to hold that viewpoint, although this restaurant is just a really great experience for all ages of boys and girls…and adults alike!

Garden Grill started off on the right foot as we had a 5:15 reservation and were seated at 5:20, which was excellent compared to some other experiences on this trip. The service was fantastic during this meal as our server, Janelle was a real treat! They even had our table set up in neat fashion when we arrived.

 photo IMG_1058_zpseahfb98r.jpg

Like I mentioned earlier we had our three year old son with us and were trying to take care of character interaction so we missed a few food pictures. They started us off with their salad which was good and we appreciated that it had hard boiled egg and real bacon on it, although the dressing was pretty bland in our opinion, but along with the salad they served some dinner rolls with this tasty honey butter with sea salt on the top. Those really hit the spot.

 photo IMG_1063_zpsy0sqvrn3.jpg
 photo IMG_1064_zpsfpibjcho.jpg

As we were eating we were able to have great character interactions with Mickey, Pluto, Chip, & Dale. We even got to see Mickey and Pluto twice during our meal and I don’t think we were there for much over an hour. All of the characters spent plenty of time with us and took some great pictures with our son. The fact that we saw Mickey & Pluto twice and we weren’t there that long tells me the number of tables in this restaurant actually allows them to move around in a decent amount of time without sacrificing the amount of time they spend at each table.

Next up came our entree plate which looked like this.

 photo IMG_1067_zpsfwhdqveb.jpg

We enjoyed all of the meats overall. The beef was my favorite as it was cooked very well, was nice and tender, and had the perfect seasoning. The turkey was good, I’m just not a big fan of turkey in general, but my wife enjoyed it a lot. Finally, the fish was cooked well and was tasty, but I felt the sauce on the top was slightly overpowering to the fish. That may have just been personal taste or just the person preparing the food got a little generous, but anyway I could have done with a little less of the sauce.

For the sides the big winner was the mashed potatoes, they were fantastic. They were creamy and seasoned well and all three of us loved them so much we had to have them bring some more. The other plate of sides they brought also had some very tasty options on it.

 photo IMG_1068_zpsirfd8uai.jpg

I’m not sure if everyone gets the macaroni and cheese or if we did just because we had a child with us. Anyway the macaroni and cheese was a big winner with all of us as it was actually really good and not just made for the kids. The broccoli was also good, although not seasoned very much if at all. Finally, we enjoyed the addition of the sweet potato fries, again we may have only gotten these because we had a kid with us.

Now, after all of that food we were ready for dessert and the Garden Grill knows how to do dessert.

 photo IMG_1074_zpsergutp0w.jpg

The cobbler that they served us was awesome! It had many different types of berries inside and the crumb and nut topping was done perfectly and the proportions were right on. This was the fantastic ending to a great meal with great characters. One of the biggest wins of this meal is the fact that it is served family style. So many Disney character meals are buffets so when you have kids you have the constant juggling of taking care of your kids, getting your food, getting your kids food, making sure you kids eat, trying to eat yourself, and in the midst of all that you have to handle meeting the characters. With this meal at Garden Grill you never have to leave your table so the character meets are much less stressful and the food is brought to you hot an ready and if you need more all you have to do is ask.

Overall this was a fantastic meal with good food, great character interactions and great service. This meal is expensive, but that is the norm for character meals at Disney World. The adult price ranges from $37.97 to $44.72 depending on the time of year and the child price ranges from $$19.10 to $24.99. Tax is included in those prices, but gratuity is not. This meal is also one credit on the dining plan and they do accept Tables in Wonderland for a 20% discount.

Have you been to Garden Grill? Let us know your thoughts below!

Pepper Market Lunch Review & Other Coronado Springs Tidbits

Today we are going to be reviewing some of the services experienced during a recent stay at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, including a quick service lunch at Pepper Market. As always if you have any questions on this review or any other questions relating to Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort feel free to post below and we’ll be happy to respond or visit us on Facebook.

Pepper Market Lunch Review

 photo IMG_0911_zpsntvtayqc.jpg

We arrived at Pepper Market for lunch at around 12:45 and it was nice to see there was not much of a crowd.

 photo IMG_0912_zpsux7x6fe8.jpg

In fact, we rarely if ever encountered much of a crowd here throughout our stay, except for the one day we stopped in to grab a quick bite for breakfast. The atmosphere inside Pepper Market, the food court at Coronado Springs, is one that is fun and festive. The tall ceilings and murals make for a very open and inviting space that make your meal very enjoyable.

 photo IMG_0941_zps1nioa7re.jpg

The available selections at Pepper Market are pretty standard when compared to most Disney food courts, although there are a few standout exceptions. The restaurant does have a Mexican food station that we found especially good each time we chose something from there and the food at this station was always prepared fresh. The other station that appeared to be a cut above most food courts was the sandwich area. The sandwiches were being made in front of your eyes and were just loaded with fresh and tasty ingredients. It was far and above the typical sandwich you’d get at many quick service locations on property.

We did eat several meals here, but this review is specifically about one lunch we had after a morning of park touring. We usually eat in the park around 11 am, but for some reason on this day we just decided to finish touring and head back and eat in the Pepper Market and with the low crowds and inviting atmosphere my wife and I agreed this was the best choice.

My wife headed straight for the Mexican food area and opted for the Market Nachos – Corn Tortilla chips layered with Cheese Sauce, Salsa, Chicken or Beef, refried beans & crema for $10.59. The sheer size of this dish alone makes it a good value. It is a meal that two people can easily share. My wife very much enjoyed the meal and said the beef was extremely tasty and she liked that it wasn’t just typical cheese sauce. They had actually put some effort into making a queso that had other ingredients and was more tasty than just melted cheese that you’d find on nachos at the ballpark. Overall this dish was a big winner for us and certainly one that we’d order again.

For my entree I ordered something from the menu that I had eyeballed on someone else’s plate. I’m not one to order very many burgers while at Disney World as there are so many better options, but this one appeared to be a cut above.

 photo IMG_0979_zpskniwtru7.jpg

It was the Texas Bacon Burger – 1/2-lb burger, candied bacon, chipotle bacon, bacon aioli, BBQ sauce, and cheddar cheese served with garlic parmesan fries for $13.99. Not only was this burger, which is bigger than most at 1/2 lb., a large sandwich, but it was extremely tasty. The strips of chipotle bacon were big and thick, not the little thin microwaveable bacon you get on bacon cheeseburgers elsewhere on property. On top of that the candied bacon on the top was the perfect compliment to the spicy chipotle bacon strips. And, as if there is not enough bacon, the bacon aioli was a delicious sauce on this burger and was balanced nicely by the BBQ sauce. Overall this burger was by far the best one I’ve ever had on Disney property and like the nachos it was so huge it would be an easily shareable meal when combined with the delicious garlic parmesan fries.

So, to wrap things up, these are both menu items we would love to have again at the Pepper Market, although during our one week stay at Coronado Springs they were not the only great things we ate. This menu is full of great options and we think all of these options made Pepper Market our favorite resort food court on Disney property…for now at least!

The Check In Debacle
Another important part of our stay at Coronado Springs was the complete debacle the resort made of check in. Now, I say complete debacle, we’re talking getting into our room a couple of hours late. It seemed like a much bigger deal at the time, especially since we planned on not arriving at the resort until 3:00 PM knowing that was check in time. We had spent the morning and early afternoon at Disney Springs after checking out of our first resort for the trip before heading to Coronado at 3:00 PM, check in time, or so we thought.

The Disney Springs bus was surprisingly fast and we arrived at about 2:45. I hadn’t received a room ready text alert yet from My Disney Experience so I went ahead to the online check in desk. This is where I encountered what the first possible problem was as the cast member was checking my reservation and their entire computer system crashed. He was super nice, but said that had been happening all day. He went through their processes to check me in by hand, which was strange since I had done online check in, but he finally was able to check elsewhere and see our room was indeed not ready yet and he wasn’t sure how long it would be.

We proceeded to wait…and wait…and wait.

 photo IMG_0907_zpsmsv3o2h8.jpg

We had plenty of time check out El Centro which was nice, but we wanted to get settled in the room and let the three year old take a nap. Finally, at about 4:00 PM I went to check again and another cast member, again very nice and helpful, said the room was not ready yet and that it would probably be about 5:00 PM. We were trying to take it in stride at this point and decided to wait a little while longer and then we would just go ahead and grab some dinner if it still wasn’t ready. Fortunately, at about 4:30 my phone buzzed and I had a room number so we headed that way, well after check in time.

Now, I will admit this debacle may have been caused in part by me because I had requested a room in building 4, which is in the Casitas section. It was close to a quiet pool and about as close to the main building as you can get without paying for a preferred or business class room. I do understand that when requesting a specific location you may risk your room not being ready early, but I have never experienced it being this late. I would also say there appeared to be a rather large convention ending and another one beginning on this day so it was probably also a factor that they were turning a large number of rooms because of that.

So, all of that to say if you are staying at Coronado keep in mind it is a convention resort which I think may affect check in times slightly, especially if you want a specific location. This is by no means a reason not to stay here, but just something minor to be aware of.

Cafe Rix
Cafe Rix is another nice little venue/restaurant that we enjoyed on property and it is located in the main building, El Centro. The reason I used it the most was to refill our mugs from the beverage machines as it was a little easier to get into and use than the stations in the food court. In addition to drinks this location serves specialty coffees in the morning as well as assorted pastries, sweet treats, and smoothies. They also serve various small dishes for lunch and dinner including salads, sandwiches, and even a few kids meals. One of my favorite reasons to stop by in the evenings was for a sweet treat as the display case if full of cookies, cupcakes, and other great little dishes. This area is just a nice easy place to swing through grab a snack or drink if you don’t want the hassle of the food court.

The Size of the Resort (Bring Your Fitbit!)
The final tidbit I’ll throw into this post about Coronado Springs Resort is bring your Fitbit! You can certainly get your steps in if you are looking to do that. We were in about as good of a location in a standard room as you can get and were still a good 6-8 minute walk from El Centro and probably an 8-10 minute walk from the main pool. The size is very similar to resorts such as Caribbean Beach and Port Orleans-Riverside. Like the check in debacle from earlier, the size of the resort is no reason not to stay here, but just make sure your expectations are in check and you might want to really consider requesting a specific room location. I can easily see how some of the far out buildings in the Ranchos section could be a 12-15 minute walk from El Centro, although they are close to the main pool.

 photo IMG_0985_zpsmsepjypf.jpg

The resort does use the buses to allow you to ride those to El Centro. For instance, if wanting to go to El Centro you can board any theme park bus and it stops at El Centro last so you can just hop off before it leaves the resort. If going from El Centro back to your room hop on a Disney Springs bus as it goes to El Centro first, before other areas of the resort. One word of caution though, if riding the bus from your room to El Centro you might mention it to your driver. One morning of our trip we were heading to Epcot on a completely full bus. The bus driver thought the bus was so full of people heading to Epcot he skipped El Centro. He did call in another bus to the resort because his was full, but he failed to recognize that about 15 people on the bus were only riding to get to El Centro. Needless to say they weren’t very happy when they had to ride to Epcot before having their morning coffee. So, moral of the story, if using buses at any Disney resort to get somewhere else you should always touch base with the driver to make sure you can get where you want to go.

Overall, Coronado Springs was a great resort and I’ll be along later with a more in depth review of the entire resort. In the meantime I hope you’ve enjoyed these few tidbits!