Restaurant Reviews

Darrell's Week Takeover: Garden Grill Review

This week on Wandering in Disney, Darrell (of the Wandering in Disney Podcast and guest posting fame) is taking over. Well, mostly taking over. Along with some of our usual content, Darrell is going to have a post each day about one Disney Parks thing or another. I may be your fearless leader but I am scared about what’s to come. Fate comes for us all though so without further ado, here’s Darrell.

There are a vast array of different table service restaurants at Walt Disney World. Most of them will have something to offer, whether it be food, a view or, if you are inclined, meeting a character. Garden Grill, located on the second floor of The Land building in Epcot, checks off all the items on that list. You will be given food to eat for that meal, you will have a view and you will meet characters. These are all facts, but you guys aren’t here for facts, are you? You are here for opinions. Well, I am stalling my thoughts on the joint because out of the dozen or so places I have eaten at Disney World, Garden Grill might just be the worst. I have been pretty lucky with my choices so far, with advice I have gotten from this blog or asking the blog in person where to eat. 

Before we get into it, let’s go over some more facts. Garden Grill is an all-you-can-enjoy restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. For the purpose of this review I will only be sticking to the breakfast, because that’s the meal I had there. During your time here you will meet and greet with Farmer Mickey, Farmer Pluto and (honestly I don’t remember if they were farmers but) Chip and Dale. The third and most important gimmick this place has is that the whole restaurant is spinning. The eatery is located above the Living With the Land ride, so that is what you get as your view, things you can see on a ride whose wait time will get as high as 25 minutes, but most likely be a 10 minute range. 

The layout of the restaurant looks so terrible. If Gordon Ramsey or the guy from Restaurant: Impossible walked in they would yell at the owner for it looking so bad and then redo the whole place. I mean, I’m totally into that because the colors are incredibly boring, the seat backs are plastered with the plainest looking wood. The booths look exactly like what you’d see in the mediocre diner you went to before your trip, dreaming of better food. Gordon might compliment the view of trees and life size models of Buffalo and such, but I find it crazy that the only views you get from going to this place are from a ride right downstairs. They should charge over $40 to ride Living With the Land, because I could have snuck in my breakfast from Pop Century and had almost the same experience. 

Plants LWTL

That brings me to the food. IT’S THE SAME AS YOUR HOTEL CAFETERIA. This applies with the platter they bring out consisting of eggs, bacon and Mickey shaped waffles. I literally saw this breakfast the next morning which I believe was a $15 meal. Still too much but not quite $41. It gets the job done in keeping you alive if you choose to eat it, but not much else. We didn’t ask for salt and pepper for the eggs (probably as a self-punishment for booking the reservation here), but that is an odd thing to not have on the table at all times. The eggs are clearly mass produced. The bacon is some of the saddest I have ever seen and the sausage links are the ones you bought on sale because you had to save money to afford this meal. The Mickey waffles are better than I am giving them credit for, I would eat a ton of these. The fifth thing on that platter are Hash Brown-style Potato Barrels according to the website’s menu. Sounds cool. THEY’RE TATER TOTS! They gave us what just might be the worst food ever created with a potato on our all you can eat breakfast platter. (Editor’s note: Darrell’s views on tater tots are his alone and do not reflect Wandering in Disney’s views on the food that is generally good and sometimes excellent.) And this is how they get you. You will eat the substance you need for the day and not much else. Many people will be tricked by the all-you-can-eat. I mean, it got me. Now to be fair before they bring you this bland breakfast platter they also serve you a couple other items including a bowl of fruit. The fruit was good. Many joke that Disney World has a nutrition problem, and they are right. Say goodbye to fruits and veggies on your vacation here. So, it was nice to snack on a chunk of pineapple without a steak or three scoops of ice cream being under it. The other item they bring out is the star of the show and that is Chip’s Sticky Bun Bake. This is a really good cinnamon roll. I am not a huge fan of cinnamon rolls but this was the perfect temp and gooeyness, so I ended up really enjoying it.  

Honestly, the meet and greet is nice here. If I was giving my honest opinion then I would say it was a complete waste of time, but I get it, it’s not for me. So I did not mind. I really don’t know what to say to these characters who are not allowed to talk. That’s on me. It was cool meeting Mickey and Pluto in new costumes. I will criticize the love of Chip and Dale though. You should’ve heard the disappointment in the hostess’ voice when my wife already knew the difference between the two chipmunks. Like, calm down honey, that’s the one interesting thing she gets to do. Now if you guys feel like commenting or emailing why you like Chip and Dale I would love to know because these are characters I could care less about. I remember all the fab four (or five or six, Pluto and Daisy are confusing in that mess) being good friends and then these guys were just annoying. I’m not into it. 

Now for those of you still on the fence, I assume your curiosity lies in the fact that I said this place is in constant motion. It is true that the restaurant spins, but before you let this sell you, imagine a place spinning as fast as you were thinking. It can’t do that, it would make the workers sick constantly. It would make you sick, assuming that you are stuffing your face with food. Nope, this goes so slow that on more than one occasion my wife and I looked at each other and asked if the place was still spinning. It was. It is not that exciting at all really. After the hostess was denied telling us the difference of the chipmunks, she asked if we noticed the place was spinning. It was moving that slow that part of this nice ladies job was to inform us that the place was in fact moving and we weren’t having a mild dizzy spell. It seems they want you to stay until the whole place has rotated once. I am not saying that we tried to stay longer, but forty minutes into the hour it takes to fully spin, we were done eating and patiently waited another twenty or so for our check.

Well, you’re welcome for taking one for the team. Really if your kid wants to meet character and you need to fill out your food pyramid for the day then this is the place to be. If you want anything that whispers quality then look elsewhere

What are your thoughts on Garden Grill? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below. For more dining reviews, click here. Thank you for reading Wandering in Disney! If you enjoy what you’re reading then please subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email and like our social media pages. You can find all of those things on the right side of this page. Have a great day!

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