Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Disney Day 2: Or the one where I rave about the food

It's no secret that I love food - just ask my scale.  I am always appreciative of a well cooked meal.  It doesn't have to be fancy as I can appreciate a well cooked hot dog with flavor - except, apparently, Portillos. 

I mentioned in my previous post that Disney does the little things well.  Add food to the list of things Disney also does well.  If you want to save money, then certainly, bringing your own food into the park is the best way to do it.  What's that?  Did I just say "bringing your own food"??  Yes I did.  Disney has a surprisingly high tolerance for bringing food into the park.  We see people wheel cube coolers all around the park.  At first, I thought this was to accommodate some of the kosher folks, but it turns out, many people do it.  I would say that the amount of people who buy their food at the park vs the people who bring their food is about a 10 to 1 ratio.  I would assume it's due to the sheer number of folks who come from out of town.  Even traveling, as we do, I have found it's easy, economical and efficient to pack snacks for our consumption throughout the day.  While I will never quibble about a $2.50 bottle of water, I am not interested in paying $7 for an ice cream bar.  If KIC mentions she's hungry, I have learned that by making a snack readily available from my backpack diverts her attention and addresses her hunger in a much more effective way (trail mix, goldfish crackers, etc).

Disney meals are expensive, no doubt about it.  A lunch for two adults and one child ran us a cool $30 yesterday.  This was not at a fancy sit down restaurant, it was at a "grab and go" place.  For a mere $15, Brent was able to get a kicked up burger, fries and a drink.  My meal was a hot dog, fries and a drink and KIC had some kids meal thing.  Each of the meals was inclusive, meaning, you got the hot dog, fries and drink.  There was nothing a la carte listed on the menu.  This is key.  I found out yesterday, that I could have actually purchased a hot dog without the French fries and drink.  It is a trick I will use for upcoming meals.

What is surprising is that even at a "grab and go" stand, as exorbitant as you may feel the prices are, the food is of reasonable quality.  My hot dog was darn good and I didn't feel the need to add any condiments.  This has been true of most of the meals my family and I have eaten throughout the park.  They could use some improvement in the area of vegetarian meals, but I'm not entirely sure us meat eaters appreciate vegetarian flavors.  At least, I don't as much as I would like to.

Where Disney excels, however, is in the character meal offerings.  What I find fascinating about this is the fact that, at it's core, you are there because you have a small minion child who would, presumably, be entertained by the character offering.  Some examples are the princess dinner and a supercalifragilisticexpialidotious brunch with Mary Poppins.  What we have found is we go for the magic and the experience for KIC and we wind up raving about the food.

As with yesterday's post, I won't go into all of our fabulous character, or non-character, dining experiences, but I will take tonight to rave about our latest dining experience.  In the recently added (repurposed) Fantasyland, Disney added a dining experience with the Beast from "Beauty and the Beast."  They began taking reservations in August of 2012, but the dining didn't actually open until December 2012.  The fact that the week reservations opened, I was only able to get a 4:50 pm seating speaks to the level of anticipation surrounding this event (for the record, it's best to book the Princess dinner at least 6 months out.  Other character experiences may be available closer to the date, but the popular events book up super quick.). 

I will cut to the chase and say this, by far, has been my best character meal ever, and in the top ten dining experiences of my life.  Seriously.  The castle, down to the last detail, was straight out of the movie.  There was even simulated snow falling outside the dining room window.  Guests had the option to pose with the Beast after dinner since he was the gracious host for the evening.  The cuisine is down home French provencale, if you can use those terms together, and quite honestly, if that's down home cooking in France, I am moving, and most of my family is moving with me.

Shrimp and Scallops in puff pastry with my glowing goblet in the background
"The Grey Stuff" in honor of KIC's birthday

I am not proud to admit, I almost took my kid out for her "grey stuff".  It' s line in a song in "Beauty and the Beast" if you're not familiar.  It tasted like chocolate mousse mixed with clouds sprinkle with heaven.  Good thing I'm not a food critic, because I think that last line would have cost me my job.  Seriously, it was phenomenal and just the right amount of dessert for KIC (though that didn't stop her from scamming the chocolate confections from everybody else's desserts).  If you are visiting the Magic Kingdom in the upcoming months, I highly recommend dining here.  The food is phenomenal, but you may have to budget for it (cuz not many of my friends are connected to the Rockefellers) as entrees start at $19. 

In case you are interested, other noteworthy eating stops are:  Sci-Fi Dine In Theatre, Princess Dinner at Epcot and the Sci Fi Dine In Theatre.  I just can't wax poetic about all of them for fear I may start getting hungry.  Again. 

Another magical end to a magical day...this time, Mommy style!

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