A June 2007 trip
to Orlando by C.Kowalczik
Quote: Today more and more business travelers are having the opportunity to visit Disney while on business; with this trip my business was Disney!
With sales seminars beginning just after 7am, a buffet breakfast was usually provided in the Yacht Club Convention Center. However, we were fortunate enough to have VIP reservations for breakfast with Minnie at the Cape May Café in Disney’s Beach Club Resort. The highlight of all of our dining experiences would have to be the welcome dinner at the Wonders Retreat and the VIP dessert party viewing of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. If your company ever has the opportunity to hold a meeting or a convention at Disney World, make sure that the Disney planners include this special viewing; it was a wonderful way to experience the closing show at EPCOT and network with colleagues.
Whether your trip is for business or pleasure, it’s all about the planning. So Plan, plan, plan! If you have read any of my other Walt Disney World Journals , you already know that the best suggestion I can make while planning your Disney trip is to plan.
Even if you are attending a business function at Disney, I am sure that you will have some leisure time during your stay. With approximately 47 square mile to cover, even the most veteran park guest will only be able to accomplish about 85% of the things they planned to do while on their vacation. So it is important to make the most of your spare time, may it be in the theme parks or choosing the right where restaurant to dine.
Although the IgoUgo community is a great place to read first hand journals of vacation and dining destinations, it is not the only option you have when planning a great trip; there are also some great books available to assist you while planning your Walt Disney World visit. My top three book suggestions are:
When planning your trip and selecting a resort, keep in mind that EPCOT (or the EPCOT resorts area) is a great location to utilize as a transportation hub. Guests staying with the EPCOT resort area (with the park hopper ticket option) have direct and immediate access to Disney’s MGM Studios, EPCOT, and the Magic Kingdom. From the EPCOT area you can cross through the "International Gateway" and cut through Future World in order to catch the monorail which offers a connection to the Magic Kingdom. Or if you are heading to Disney’s MGM Studios for the day you can hop on a water taxi at either Disney’s Boardwalk Inn or at the lighthouse in front of Disney Yacht and Beach Clubs. The water taxi is a nice and relaxing way to travel to MGM, however, with the time it takes to make the additional stop along the way; you could almost walk the distance along the paved walkway in the same time.
Disney has found yet another way to turn back the clock and take you back to the turn of the century (the 20th century) to a modest coastal setting along the Atlantic seaboard. A time where carefree days meet up with a simple, yet charming atmosphere that is accompanied by great food. Disney’s Cape May Café is located at Disney’s Beach Club Resort in the EPCOT area. Although this Disney Dining Plan location is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner my colleges and I opted to begin our day at Disney by having a buffet breakfast with Minnie Mouse and some of her friends.
The entrance to the restaurant is an easy find from the lobby of the Beach Club Resort. Just look for the sign letting you about tonight’s clam bake that is by an empty lobster pot. Just follow that sign to one of the thirteen character dining experiences Disney has to offer. The inside of the restaurant is comfortably decorated with light woods and pastel colors, plain and yet simple; reminding you that you are at a relaxing beach resort. The dining area itself is quiet large and does fill up more often than you would think as this is one of the few places you are assured to have a dining experience with Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and Chip and Dale.
In the morning the restaurant offers guests a character dining experience from 7:30am to 11am with a buffet breakfast menu ($18.99 for adults and $10.99 for children) which differs from the nightly clam bake. Being a big fan of breakfast and a sucker for a good buffet, I was happy to see that all the staples were there: an omelet station, scrambled eggs, potatoes, fresh fruit, sausage, bacon, assorted hot and cold cereals, and plenty of fresh baked goods. For those readers who know me or who have read my buffet journals in the past, you know that I tried just about everything the buffet had to offer. Good thing I wasn’t going to be doing a lot of walking for a few hours.
The Cape May Café is very convenient for any quests looking for a character dining experience while staying in the EPCOT resorts area. The characters took their time as they signed autographs and took photos at every occupied table. With good food, a charming atmosphere, and Minnie Mouse I would say that the Cape May Café is a must-do while on a Walt Disney World vacation.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 13, 2007
Cape May Cafe
Disney's Beach Club Resort
My family and I tried dining here last year but was told that there was nearly a two hour wait, so I was completely surprised when the attendant outside said that she had a table available for me. This was my first time at Beaches and Cream Soda Shop so I had no idea of how small this Disney Dining Plan location really was. There were only three booths, seven tables and twelve counter seats to accommodate the hundreds of patrons that are served daily. The decor took you back to a turn of the century soda fountain found along the coast of New England. The pink and white striped walls were completed by a boarder of flying hotdogs, onion rings, and banana splits. The entire ensemble complimented the colorful mosaic tiled flooring found throughout the restaurant.
I was seated at a little table for two along the far wall next to the take out line. My wait person was Maria and she was dressed in a classic soda jerk style that enhanced the "days gone by" experience. After a quick review of the menu I chose to have a cheeseburger $7.89 and a vanilla coke $2.48 (my total tab came to $11.05 with tax). The service was a little slow and Maria wasn’t the friendliest or most outgoing person I would encounter on this trip, but the food was delicious; everything you would expect from a soda fountain burger. Maria also ensured that my vanilla coke would never run out, I drank three of them before I would leave.
Overall my lunch at Beaches and Cream Soda Shop was delightful. I had a hearty, tasty burger and three perfect vanilla cokes. The only negative thing I could say about this restaurant is that it is built alongside the Lafferty Place Arcade and with the small dining area of the restaurant, it gets a little noisy. Would I return to Beaches and Cream Soda Shop? I sure would! It is the one place I can think of where dreams are available with whip cream and a cherry on top.
Beaches and Cream Soda Shop
1800 Epcot Resorts Blvd.
Walt Disney World, Florida
The fish shop has a very limited menu and is open only for lunch and dinner, so after a long day of sales seminars and site inspections, my colleagues and I decided to visit it for dinner. Our original plan was to taste the world: getting and sharing small items from the different countries in the World Showcase. Ideally, we were to have fish and chips in England, sushi in Japan, bratwurst in Germany, and margaritas in Mexico. (Sounds great, right? Who else but Disney can offer such an opportunity?)
I was surprised to see the line for the fish shop was as long as it was; there had to be fifteen or twenty people waiting. I figured with a line this long, either the service was terrible or this was going to be the best fish and chips I ever ate. The line moved quickly and as we got closer to the window, the girls realized there were not enough tables to accommodate everyone. I, however, knew that there were a few benches we could use in the garden area behind the pavilion.
When I got to the window, Sarah took my order. Sarah was all business, dressed in 19th Century peasant garb and a name badge that said she was from Manchester. She took my order (1 fish & chips, 1 Sprite), gave me my total and took my money ($10.51). It wasn’t until after Sarah handed me my order and I turned around that I understood that she wasn’t being rude by not talking, but rather she was trying to move the line, which had doubled in size.
As for the food, what can I say…It was the best fish and chips I have ever had! The fish was served traditionally, two pieces in a basket (although I got 3) with a handful of chips beneath it. The breading was firm and crunchy while the cod inside remained moist and flaky. The chips were perfect: moist, thick cuts of potato with a golden coating. Although I think malt vinegar completes the dish, tartar sauce is also available.
In conclusion Ramsden’s fish and chips was so delicious and filling we skipped over Japan and Germany and went right for the margaritas.
Yorkshire County Fish Shop
UK Pavilion, Epcot
Walt Disney World, Florida
To be honest with you I was a little apprehensive about dining at Spoodes because of all the negative reviews that I have read. I didn’t share that information with my colleagues because I am a firm believer that most people are more apt to writing about something when they are displeased rather than when they are happy. I suggested Spoodles because I have never dined there before and I was looking forward to forming my own opinion.
Since we were staying at Disney’s Beach Club Resort we didn’t mind the short walk in the rain to the BoardWalk. From the outside, Spoodles looks just like any of the other shops along the Boardwalk with lots of windows topped by striped awnings surrounded by the white walls of the building. Once inside you are transported to a world different from that of the BoardWalk. The restaurant has more of a European flair with earthy natural woods and darker profound colors. Don’t get me wrong this isn’t a dark and gloomy place at all; the ambiance is well balanced by designs of yellow and orange. One of the most eye catching pieces in the restaurant is the oak barrel of sangria atop the bar on the far side of the restaurant.
After we stewed over the diverse menu of tastes from countries like Italy, Spain, and Greece we decided that we would make our visit as authentic as possible and just order a few tapas. (for those of you who don’t know, tapas are a wide variety of appetizers.) Our waiters name was Mark and his name tag told us he was from Long Island, New York. Although I though he was a great server, his style was less "Disney" than you would expect to find in a Disney restaurant but with two of us living just minutes outside Long Island, we all got along fabulously.
We ordered a four-cheese flatbread, fried calamari, margherita flatbread with beef slices, hummus, and Mediterranean dips. Each of us also ordered a drink; Kathy ordered the Blue Spoodle, Theresa had a beer while Allison and I recommend a glass of the Tempranillo wine.
I found that the food at Spoodles was both unique and delicious, not to mention as authentically Mediterranean as food can be in central Florida. I would say that if you are planning on dining at Spoodles don’t go there expecting to taste the usual flavors from America, but rather to keep an open mind (and pallet) and experience how wonderful the rest of the world can taste.
Please review our other Disney World journals:
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 14, 2007
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830
+1 407 939 3463
As we walked around the Magic Kingdom we realized that we had not yet chosen a restaurant for dinner, so we collectively decided to try the Plaza. I knew where to find the restaurant (Take a right at the end of Main Street and you will find it between Walt’s Window and the Noodle Station). However, I had never eaten there. I didn’t even know what type of menu they offered.
The restaurant was so small that if you weren’t paying attention, you would walk right by it. I would love to say that once you got inside everything changed, but sadly it remained a small restaurant. The size of the Plaza Restaurant, however, did not affect its stature. The dining room was well decorated and almost every table had a window view of Cinderella Castle. The overall ambiance of the restaurant was early 20th century art nouveau, with softly lit chandeliers, wrought iron chairs, and plenty of mirrors. The servers wore pastel yellow costumes that not only complimented the blue and green dragonfly wallpaper but were date-specific to the setting of the restaurant.
Our waiter, Gerome, was very entertaining, but like our waiter from Spoodles, was not as "Disney-mannered" as one would expect to find at a Disney restaurant. The laughter started just after he introduced himself and Theresa’s cell phone rang. Gerome was more than happy to answer the call, mentioning that he and Theresa were out on a date. We all thought it was extremely funny and had a great time with Gerome during our dinner.
The fare at the Plaza Restaurant can only be described as old fashion deli-style burgers and sandwiches, completed by delicious selections from the ice cream fountain. I couldn’t make up my mind between the Angus Chuck Cheeseburger ($11.49) and the Grilled Ruben ($10.79), so I asked Gerome for a suggestion. He told me I wouldn’t find his favorite on the menu, but if I trusted him I wouldn’t be disappointed.
Needless to say I did trust his judgment and I wasn’t disappointed. Gerome brought me an Angus burger on a multigrain roll, covered in grilled onions, mushrooms, and melted mozzarella cheese with a side of sweet potato chips. This burger was delicious and well-worth the hazing I got from Gerome for not being able to chose something off the menu like a "big boy should".
We left not only with full stomachs but with smiles on our faces and that, in my opinion, makes the Plaza Restaurant a dining location that I plan on returning to in future visits.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 21, 2007
Walt Disney World, Florida
East Haven, Connecticut