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Saturday, August 27 2016 @ 01:21 AM CDT

Episode 705 - Food Vs. Atmosphere

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Show Notes

Hosts: Matt Hochberg, Len Testa, Mike Scopa, Mike Newell, & AJ


Episode 705 - Food Vs. Atmosphere | 14 comments | Create New Account
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Episode 705 - Food Vs. Atmosphere
Authored by: AmyC on Friday, April 09 2010 @ 10:59 AM CDT
Good show! Regarding Cinderella's Royal Table *shudder*, why are people even telling their kids that there is a restaurant in there? How would they find out otherwise? Just don't tell them you can eat in the castle, keep it a secret for as long as possible! Keep them innocent. Don't scar them before it's necessary. Then when they do find out, figure out some way to talk them out of it. Something, anything. Just find some way to get out of it. From experience, it is most definitely not worth the money or hassle or wasted time to eat at Cinderella's Royal Table. Now Matt, about Rainforest Cafe, I wanna know what you ate and why your experience was so bad that you hate it so much. Is your opinion based on multiple visits to Rainforest or one visit? Now with the T-Rex Cafe, we got the review on that from the two Mikes, so I can see why that's not in everybody's good graces... but we haven't gotten an actual review of Rainforest on the show; it's just been a lot of criticism with no specific examples or review. I personally love Rainforest, we don't have one anywhere around here, and everything I have ordered there has been excellent and I always want to go back on every trip down to WDW. I think the panel (all or some) should eat there and then report back like you did with T-Rex. Like it was stated during this show, restaurant experiences change, menus change, staff rotates, managers, servers, etc... and like AJ said about Ohana, maybe it's time for her to go back. Maybe it's time to give Rainforest another chance! :-) --Amy From Kentucky
Episode 705 - Food Vs. Atmosphere
Authored by: Doc21g on Friday, April 09 2010 @ 11:52 AM CDT
I don't know about the royal table. I haven't been there since it was character dining. I feel like some of the more negative reviews are on places that are just OK. Sci-Fi has a good Reuben by the way. I think Sci-Fi is about a TGI Fridays level place and the prices are about the same. Sci-Fi is much cheaper than some of the other sit downs. But maybe I think that because I only get the Reuben. I do criticize the menu though. I don't think that a Sci-Fi drive in theater would have tofu on the menu. I think that the restaurant would be better if the Menu were themed to the atmosphere. I like good theming in a restaurant. I don't have to be blown away every time I sit down though. Most of these places the food is good but not amazing and I'm happy with good food. Le Cellier is great no matter what I've had there though. I've had some bad experiences at the UK though.
Episode 705 - Food Vs. Atmosphere
Authored by: BFIrrera on Friday, April 09 2010 @ 12:00 PM CDT
re: restaurants such as T-Rex and Rainforest Cafe: they are just over-priced (for the food quality you are receiving) theme chain restaurants (they are just better decorated Applebee's/T.G.I.Friday's/Chili's in my opinion). Since they are not owned by Disney, I almost don't want to include them in this discussion (as I also wouldn't include the Planet Hollywood at Downtown Disney (or the Hard Rock Cafe at Universal). These restaurants are for a different class of tourist...the type who go to any of the aforementioned chains when dining out in major metropolitan areas (when you are in the heart of NYC for the first time, why in God's name would you dine at a Chili's in Times Square when you can find that same dining experience in your own podunk small town?).

You mentioned many of the "usual suspects" in the atmosphere v. food quality list (the above mentioned restaurants, plus Cinderella's Royal Table, Sci-Fi Dine In and Coral Reef (none of which I still have ever stepped into simply because of the descriptions/reviews from the Unofficial Guide have warned me away)), but I think you failed to mention one that isn't aimed at families/kids necessarily. The San Angel Inn. Granted, because of our infrequent trips to WDW (we can only afford to go about once every two to three years), we've had to be more picky about the places we go to and which we make return visits to (and thus we've not returned to SAI since our first trip WAY back in 1998), so food quality may have improved in the past decade plus since. While we found the atmosphere delightful and charming, we were less than impressed with the food quality/food variety found here (again, we may be spoiled since there is a thriving Mexican community in our area here in southern New Jersey (Cumberland and Salem counties).

Are there other restaurants (that aren't necessarily aimed at the kiddies) that you think also should be mentioned here?
Episode 705 - Food Vs. Atmosphere
Authored by: MarkInIL on Saturday, April 10 2010 @ 12:07 AM CDT
So much of a dining experience is subjective. I have NEVER EVER been served bad food at any Rainforest. In fact the food has been so consistently good that whenever we are in a city that has a Rainforest, we seek it out. I think their tuscan chicken and rasta pasta are great (as is their appetizer sampler). Portion sizes are huge. I think it's what you want. My brother always wants to eat at fancy restaurants and when we visited him in San Francisco he took us to a place called Empress of China that I guess nearly every recent President has eaten at. Although the view was great, to me, the food fell far short of Panda Express despite the fact that Clinton, Bush and Reagan all had their photos on the wall. I am also (because of my work) frequently taken out to expensive/fancy restaurants by vendors. They never seem to understand that I actually prefer Chili's, Chevys or Panera to their latest best dining experience. So to my tastes, Rainforest, T-Rex, Sci-Fi and 50s Primetime serve me well. I also like seeing my wife have go to the corner for putting her elbows on the table TWICE!!! To me poor or slow service is the one thing that can ruin any dining experience. Although there have been times when my overtired children have spoiled a dining experience at WDW, generally my experience at any Disney restaurant have been great. There are great dining experiences throughout WDW and even though and even though I love the Rasta Pasta at Rainforest, nothing compares to Le Cellular's pretzel bread sticks and Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup.

PS After the Empress of China, I took my brother to the Rainforest Cafe at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco and needless to say, 9 of 10 people preferred the Rainforest. to the empress.
Episode 705 - Food Vs. Atmosphere
Authored by: pdrph on Saturday, April 10 2010 @ 07:20 AM CDT
My wife and I had a fantastic meal at The Coral Reef this past October.
Episode 705 - Food Vs. Atmosphere
Authored by: Atomicmickey on Sunday, April 11 2010 @ 11:09 AM CDT
San Angel Inn gets a bad rap on this podcast and in other places as well, for being
"theme over food".

We think it's the best restaurant atmosphere, EVAH. And have always had tasty
food there--never a complaint. Yes, there is better Mexican food out there.
But it doesn't come with a Hidden Mickey Exploding Volcano, or passing boats.

So, just giving a plug for Mexico--when we go down, it's always our first night's ADR.
Episode 705 - Food Vs. Atmosphere
Authored by: wandlessxxmagic on Sunday, April 11 2010 @ 12:49 PM CDT
I completely agree with what (I think) Len said about ordering special meals. While it wasn't in Disney, my sister and I got the vegetarian meal at Medieval Times in Myrtle Beach. According to my dad, who tried them both, our meal was much better (couscous and marinated vegetables on a portabella, humus and chips, grilled vegetables for the veggie meal, roasted chicken and ribs for the regular). It was a longer wait but completely worth it since it was such better quality.
Episode 705 - Food Vs. Atmosphere
Authored by: richard on Sunday, April 11 2010 @ 08:22 PM CDT
An "Axis of Evil" always comes in threes. So you need to put three of the worst together!
Agree with Len -- food at Coral Reef exceeded my expectations. I have read so many bad reviews I only ate there because it was the only TS at Epcot I hadn't visited, but the food was actually pretty decent.
Not only is there inconsistency in performance at a given restaurant, there is also huge inconsistency among reviewers. The exact same meal can get completely different reactions from different people. As you know there are people who live to complain and take joy in running down restaurants, resorts, etc., and there are others who seem to find joy just about anywhere.
Episode 705 - Food Vs. Atmosphere
Authored by: bkgrim on Tuesday, April 13 2010 @ 10:06 AM CDT
Great show - as always!!!
My family and I are in the process of eating "around the world" and have finished eating at 95% of all counter, table services and food "carts" in the hotels and parks. Each time we travel to the "world" two times a years from Ohio, we eat at different spots.
The food at the world is great - ok - just fair. I liked the castle for the castle but I would like to see Canada's food in the castle.
Each trip I go to Boma's because of the chef TJ. He is one of the best on site. Now that he is at the poly - we go there. Way to go TJ.
I have seen the change over to the "dumbing" down of the foods at Disney. In the past 10 years most places have changed their foods to simple items that you can get anywhere. A burger is a burger if I am sitting in ABC, P Bills, or the hotel.
Episode 705 - Food Vs. Atmosphere
Authored by: kellyb30 on Thursday, April 15 2010 @ 02:55 PM CDT
I STILL disagree with you guys on Sci-Fi. I stayed away from it every visit because of your comments and during our trip over Christmas, my mom made ADRs for us there. I grumbled and even threatened to skip it and get something at a counter service. But, I decided to try it and I'm so glad we did! My parents both got the Beef and Blue Salad and said it was one of the best meals they had while we were in the parks that visit. I had the BLT soup and my husband had the Chili, both of which our server plused for us by making them more dinner portions (but for the same $6.99 appetizer price!) The soups were perfect for a chilly evening in December and were very good. My son enjoyed both his food and the drive thru sci-fi films. I just don't think you guys should be SO hard on everything because it might dissuade your listeners from a good experience!