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Allison and Terri

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What I didn't want to Share about Disney

What I didn’t want to tell about Disney

We have been home from our Disney vacation for over a month now, and I have thought about what I want to share with you almost every day since our return. It was something that I really, truly hesitated to put into words. I don’t like to anger the Disney die-hards. However, keep in mind everyone’s opinion is very different, so you might leave with a very different opinion from me.

So, here goes nothing.

The food is terrible and terribly expensive.

Before I elaborate on my experience may I share a little of my background? A million years ago I decided that I wanted to be a chef, so I packed my knives and headed for culinary school. I graduated with a degree in culinary arts and worked in the industry until I decided that I wanted to have a life that didn’t include working when everyone was off having fun.
While we visited the park we dined at both quick and full-service restaurants, my opinion didn’t change with the different type of restaurant. They both were grossly overpriced serving sub-par food.

My husband and I have been known to spend way more than more people find acceptable for a fantastic meal, especially at our favorite steakhouse. I say this to tell you that we don’t mind to spend money on great food.

The first restaurant we tried was the Plaza Restaurant right on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom. I ordered the club sandwich, I would swear to you the cold cuts they used were the kind that come in the package that are packed with water. I call it the ‘slimy’ lunch meat. My sons both ordered the chicken fingers and fries. My youngest had his heart set on mac and cheese a typical staple of a kids menu so it took some convincing to do the chicken.

I am not going to rip apart each meal that we ate while visiting Disney, that isn’t necessary and truly there were some parts that were good.

The biggest disappointment to my family was that there wasn’t much variety in the menu options from the various quick service locations. My kiddos ate their weight in chicken tenders and fries during our visit and often didn’t even finish half of each meal. It could have been the excitement of being in the park or it could have been that they were burnt out on the same old thing. My husband and I ate burgers and fries often, as that is what was the most appealing to us from the limited menu choices at the quick service places.

Had I known going into the trip that the meals would be this way I would have planned ahead (and will for our next visit) packing hearty snacks that will keep little ones happy and my pocketbook happier. Then we would have splurged on a better dinner.

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We did find the good food…

We did find one spot inside of the Magic Kingdom that was recommended to us by a very friendly cast member to venture over to Frontier Land. Just over the bridge was a quick service restaurant that had freshly made waffles with Nutella, fruit, and more powdered sugar than you know what to do with. Again, this wasn’t an inexpensive breakfast clocking in at close to $50 for 4 waffles. The difference is that it was pretty darn good and it kept us full until well past lunch time.

The Snacks were pretty yummy

The one vice that everyone had was the sweets, for me it was the Dole Whips, my husband the Mickey bars and my boys were a toss up between the Mickey pretzels and the Mickey bars.

I have thought a lot about our food disappointment after we returned from Disney and I think it boils down to this: Disney does so many things right. To an outstanding level even, it seems to me that the food could stand to come up a few notches to meet the same level of outstanding seen elsewhere in the parks.

Tell me what you think? Did I miss the mark or do you agree?

4 Comments

  • Carissa Houston

    June 2, 2016 at 6:35 am

    I’m sure you’re right! I feel that way at the table service restaurants in Disneyland. The snacks/quick service, like Mickey pretzels and carnitas nachos and Bengal Barbecue skewers are much better…but maybe because my expectations are lower. We have never had a meal in Downtown Disney that was good, despite meals there being more expensive than the same type of food that is in the Parks. I am picky about food and service though, since I was a waitress/bartender for 15 years.

    Reply
    • Jessica

      June 3, 2016 at 9:42 am

      I had an amazing chicken quesadilla at Tortilla Joe’s. The corn tortillas were so fresh, I’ve never had anything like it. If you don’t mind corn tortillas over flour you should try it.

      Reply
  • Jack Riddle

    June 2, 2016 at 11:54 am

    On our previous trips, we have only ate in the park a few times. Once was a disappointing quick service, but the other two were in Epcot World Showcase and both were excellent. This year, we will be having more diverse dinning experiences and I hope we can find more gems than rocks.

    Reply
  • Jessica

    June 3, 2016 at 9:40 am

    I used to hate the food at Disneyland. I thought the same as you, they do so much right, how could they be so off with food? Now that I’m a full-time Disneyland blogger, food is a bigger deal to me. I study menus beforehand and pick items that sound appealing, look yummy on insta, and get rave reviews from other bloggers. I haven’t had a bad meal since. I realized before my research I was eating mostly burgers, the one thing I suggest to avoid at the parks. Then of course I write about my eats so others can have an easier time choosing.

    Now, should it take so much effort to find a good meal at Disneyland? No. They could certainly do better, but there are tasty options. Browsing menus online before your trip is a great place to start. I find when I just walk in to a new place and need to order quickly, I rarely make the best choice.

    Thanks so much for your well thought out article; looking forward to reading more in the future.

    Reply

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