I've now been to Disney World four (4) separate times. The last time I went, I HONESTLY spent one month and a small fortune. Twenty thousand dollars and counting. Yes, you read that right. $20,000.00. Let's just say that for the life of me, "money burns a hole in my pocket". I am *that* ridiculous of a spender. This is NOT the blog where I tell you how I paid off $52,000 in three months or the frugal ways in which I save a buck. No sireebob. I am a spender and I am STILL paying for it. Not to mention that I have *added* to my Disney trips with my next upcoming adventure happening in March 2016. This post is a recount of Disney Trip #2, Spring Break 2015 with my kiddos in tow. We judged and ranked e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section and I'll be happy to write you back.
From twelve (12) to one (1), I give you the Worst to Best experiences as journaled and photographed by me and my kiddos during our Spring Break Trip 2015.
This post will review two restaurants. Pinocchio Village Haus Restaurant is located in Magic Kingdom and so is Be Our Guest Restaurant. The key difference is that Pinocchio Village Haus is quick-service (much like fast food) and Be Our Guest Restaurant is a table service (or a sit-down and stay a while restaurant).
Both restaurants scored an average overall score of 76%.
My daughter ranked Pinocchio Haus 86%, my son ranked it 58% and I gave it a score of 85%.
Be Our Guest Restaurant was given a score of 62% from the daughter, 69% from the son and a 98% by yours, truly.
But why these aforementioned scores, you may ask? Well, at the end of the day, it boils down to the fact that Pinocchio Haus is in-fact a "fast-food style" place. It is, in fact, the only "quick service restaurant" that we ever went to on the Disney deluxe dining plan. Under no circumstances would the dollar values of the meals equate to even approximately what the cost per meal is on the Disney dining plan. Every meal an "adult" (which is 10 years and older for Disney - we call it a "Disney adult") buys needs to be valued at AT LEAST $37.00 to even break even for what you plaid in advance for the plan. Thing is, when do you even think to spend $37 per person on a trip to McDonald's or Burger King? You don't. You also shouldn't waste your dining credit on quick service restaurants at Disney, like I did.
Here are three facts about our dining experience at Pinocchio Haus:
- You will very likely have to wait in a very long, crowded and noisy line since no advance reservations are required nor possible. In our case, we spent twenty minutes in line waiting to order and be served. Essentially you first wait to be asked what you'd like. Then, you are corralled like hungry animals to wait in a second line for your food. Eventually you are served your food and then you will likely have to wait to find a place to sit down like we did. We finally found a table by the employee's only entrance/exit.
- The food is standard style fast-food, albeit slightly larger portion sizes. One thing Disney does is give you enough food. Often, they'll give you too much! I can promise that on a table service dining plan, you will eat - eat - and eat some more! You will be JUST FINE and not hungry. Pinocchio Haus gave me a bit of problems with my tummy and GI tract, since I have a dairy allergy as well as gluten, egg and soy intolerances. There is absolutely nothing, to my knowledge, on the Pinocchio Haus menu that caters to the food allergy-prone. If you have food allergies or intolerances, like I do, you will want to avoid this restaurant.
- You want fries? You'll get fries. At Pinocchio Haus, as well as with German food in general, you'll get potatoes! Meat and potatoes. My son had a meatball sub sandwich. He thought it was exceptionally average. Hence, his above score of 58%. He treats mediocrity as he should with average value scores. My daughter had chicken strips. Ahhhhhhhhhhh....chicken strips. The classic kids' meal standard fare. Dare I say, at what place CAN'T you get chicken strips on a kids' menu with fries? Well, that's what she got. She must have been hungry at the time, because she gave Pinocchio Haus a 62%. I think it's hard to invent quick-service chicken strip delicacies. On the bright side, the chicken strips *did* have discernible chicken within. This is a plus. I had chicken nuggets. I liked them, but they have gluten and probably some dairy. Needless to say, I was in the toilet and unable to move properly for about two hours after the meal, which is just about right considering my problems with food intolerances. I liked the way it tasted though! It was 85% on taste for me!
Be Our Guest Restaurant is such a talked-about place, that I felt I had to get a reservation there! If it's any indication to you that it tied with Pinocchio Haus - it ought to inform you that at the very least, there were some haters in the bunch and I will say - it wasn't me! I actually adore Be Our Guest Restaurant because at the time of my reservation, I was allowed to select my special needs when setting up my dining reservation.
My daughter gave Be Our Guest Restaurant a score of 62%, my son gave it a 69% and I gave it a 98%. Needless to say, I love it! There were outstanding and novel options for me as a Disney guest with a food allergy and other intolerances. My kids, however, were very unimpressed. Before I explain the reason for these scores, some pictures!
Here are the top five reasons we rated Be Our Guest Restaurant the way we did:
- My son had a croque monsieur. He hated it. Truth be told, he probably ate about 1/10 of the entire breakfast sandwich. It was honestly way too sophisticated for his taste. I thought I had trained him up properly with a discerning palette. Unfortunately, my eating Indian food while pregnant and introducing him to as many new foods as possible while he was still a baby did not amount to him eating a deconstructed open-faced "Croque " at Be Our Guest Restaurant. Should I ever get him to return, we will certainly try something else.
- The daughter had some French toast sticks with fruit. She liked them fine, but they were not anything star-studded or overwhelmingly awesome for her. At best, she explained that they were slightly above average. That is to say, she could have gotten some pre-packaged Eggo french toast sticks and popped them in the toaster oven, added some powdered sugar and put some maple syrup on top. She feels she would have achieved the same result. By contrast to the adult menu, the kids' menu often seemed like pre-packaged foods any mom or dad could buy at the grocery store and pop in their microwave at home. What a shame.
- For me, I rated Be Our Guest Breakfast a 98%. It was the first and *only* time my whole trip that a waiter brought out a tray (a TRAY!) of pastries, all of which had just been baked that morning in a dedicated gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, vegan bakery. They said they were from Babycakes Bakery in Downtown Disney (since I went there, both names have changed to Erin McKenna's from Babycakes in now named Disney Springs, which used to be called Downtown Disney). These pastries were OUT OF THIS WORLD AWESOME. I don't think I've ever had better pastries in my whole life and in a word, they were "phenomenal". I also had a charcuterie plate, and I left full and complete as if I'd experienced a slice of heaven. Too bad my kidlings didn't feel the same.
- The atmosphere was very nice, à la château renaissance, if you like that look! The only thing I would change is to be seated by a hostess rather than finding a table ourselves. It just felt a little "quick-service style" and I think the classy atmosphere required a little more classy seating style. But hey, it's a little complaint.
- The prices were OK. The great news is that Be Our Guest Restaurant is a one credit restaurant. For anyone that cares, this is a biggie. Although, it is hard to spend over $37 dollars on breakfast and therefore does slightly under hit the mark. The Croque Madame cost $24, so a loss of $13 on the meal; the assorted meats plate, or charcuterie board cost $24 dollars as well, which is also a $13 dollar loss and the kids french toast cost $14, which earned us back approximately $4.00, since the value of each kids' meal is $10.85 on the Disney deluxe dining plan for kiddos under 10 years of age. Here is a link to the MENU online at Be Our Guest Restaurant.
In the end, both Pinocchio Village Haus and Be Our Guest Restaurant hit middle-of-the-road averages for my family. Over time and by eating at other restaurants, I will try to make back my money by eating decadent and top-of-the-haute-cuisine-pyramid lunches and dinners.