List of Disney Dining Experiences at Disney World Spring Break 2015, Number Four (4): Rainforest Café

Disney Dining is the thing in my family. Of the great debate: Dining First or Park First? We choose Dining first and structure our vacations around dining. We ate at numerous restaurants during our week-long tenure at Disney World in 2015 and ate out on the Deluxe Dining Plan. It has informed our dining decision making at Disney enormously on every trip since, of which there are soon-to-be three new Disney vacations (Summer 2015 for a month, Spring 2016 over Easter and upcoming Mid Summer 2016).

In 2015, I was unaware of how much things cost and whether I was getting a good deal or not. I have since become aware of my first-time Disney naivete and acquired much more Disney acumen since last Spring. Therefore, I've been sharing our list of the TOP 12 Disney Restaurants but in reverse order. This is our Worst-to-Best List, counting down to number one.

4th place: Rainforest Café

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The Rainforest Café comes in at #4 for our family due to the outstanding theming and the even better FOOD! Good lord, we left this place stuffed! I think we had trouble walking for about two hours while the food had time to properly digest. Also, there's a *hidden* entrance to Animal Kingdom after eating at this restaurant. At the time, I did not know this. I was initially flabbergasted when I had to use my magic band to enter the park! I thought..., "Wait. Didn't I already do that? This doesn't look anything like the entrance!" And so I then proceeded to ask my question out loud and was met with answer: "It's the secret, hidden, awesome, magical entrance to Animal Kingdom through the exit from the Rainforest Café!" Aha! Obviously. 😉

Both my children and I agree that the food here was really outstanding. Since this first experience, I've had a chance to dine at Rainforest Café again, and once again, it did not disappoint. We feel very firm in our conviction that Rainforest Café hold a solid #4 spot on our list of worst-to-best dining experiences. Pros and cons are as follows:

Pros: Theming, quality of entrees, fun hidden entrance to park.

Cons: If you miss a breakfast reservation, even if you are only ten minutes late, you will not be served breakfast - even if you are not in the mood for lunch. Also, limited dessert options for those with food allergies. The sorbet was the *only* thing I could have, whether I wanted it or not.

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If there is one thing that Disney has a LOT of it's DINING and GIFT SHOPS. This is the dual-sided entrance to Rainforest Café. One side = Restaurant, other side = Gift Shop.

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I love elephants. Owls and elephants, actually. In any case, Rainforest Café is a delight to your sense of majesty in nature's creations. All throughout the restaurant you will find creatures of the Amazon and African Savannah. It's beautiful.

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Waiting without shades in the shade of the "Amazon Rainforest".

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Waiting with shades in the shade of the "Amazon Rainforest". Much cooler, bruh. Much cooler.

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You don't even need central incisors to eat at the Rainforest Café!

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Amazing "coral reef" pillar aquariums serve as a gateway between restaurant and gift shop.

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The menu does not change just because you are at Disney. If you've been to one Rainforest Café, you will have had a similar experience. Disney just happens to have two Rainforest Cafés. The other is in Disney Springs.

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A bird's-eye view of the Rainforest Café main dining section.

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Numerous aquariums abound in the Rainforest Café.

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This monument encourages us to "Save the Rainforest". It would be nice if they offered up ideas as to "how" next to the monument! Just a thought.

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Aquariums all over the place!

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There are many ledges to go around and have your picture taken throughout the restaurant. Only problem is the lighting isn't so great, so you'll want to use one of the fancy, expensive cameras -- not just your smartphone, like I did!

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The "animals" come alive through some type of animatronics. Every ten minutes or so, you'll hear the sounds of the Rainforest and this "gorilla" will start to roar. Also, misting fans will go off to give the illusion of a Rainforest "lightly wet" experience.

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Even the stools are something to see! Here each stool appears to be the hind end of some African animal, right next to another aquarium bar this time!

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I love the cups at Rainforest Café! They are souvenir cups so they do cost extra but they light up! Ooooooh, aaaaaaaah! We've since brought them home and I have to say: HAND WASH ONLY. My previous cups bit the dust and have brown stains where the battery box is. Somebody put them in the dishwasher!

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Fancy light-up rainbow cup, costs extra, but it's a lot of fun and a great souvenir. You'll need a tall cabinet space for all the collectible cups and mugs you can get at Disney!

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Of course, daughter had to get a frog cup. It's cool, right? There were different "heads" to choose from as I recall. Only caveat? They really don't fit anywhere in my cabinets at home. The "head-lid" is so awkwardly sized.

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Carb craving? Hungry at all? You will leave stuffed. Look at the MOUND of food piled on this kid's plate!

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This meal was STUNNING. I believe it was inspired by the flavors of Persia (as if I knew something about the flavors of a land that no longer exists as named). Nevertheless, you need WORDS! Succulent, mouth-watering, oozing with goodness and flavor. It turns out that absolutely NOTHING was wrong with the main entrée. It was perfection on a plate. Well presented and incredibly tasty.

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Just look at these perfect kebabs! Really. They were perfect. Perfect seasoning, lovely vegetables and the rice was cooked just right.

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I took so many pictures of this meal. Why? Because it was downright AMAZING. My kids food was good too but my entrée was off the charts.

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Look at this so-called "slice" of cake. I think it is bigger than my son's head. With the Deluxe Dining Plan you are entitled to an appetizer, entrée and dessert: all included in your one credit meal. Quite a deal, really.

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Alas, I can usually and often only have fruit-based desserts at Disney due to my gluten, egg, dairy and soy free dietary restrictions. Nevertheless, the presentation of these sorbets makes my mouth water now just looking at them a year later!

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Unbeknownst to us, we would travel down a path away from this fountain and find ourselves at *the magical, secret, hidden entrance* to Animal Kingdom!

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The final bill came to $106.09 for the food alone. I was charged $24.48 for the collectible cups. In terms of the Deluxe dining plan? I came out AHEAD $1.99. Not too bad. This was closer to hitting the mark.

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Worst to Best: List of Disney Dining Experiences at Disney World Spring Break 2015, Number Ten (10): Monsieur Paul

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.

10th place: Monsieur Paul

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Waiting for our entrées at Monsieur Paul's

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Be like the French! Drink sparkling fancy water like Perrier! It's better from a glass bottle. Très sophistiqué!

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Selfie Time at Monsieur Paul's

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Lovely water in a turquoise-tinted glass at Monsieur Paul's. Very classy!

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Frothy soup appetizer at Monsieur Paul's, Disney World, EPCOT, French Pavilion

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Appetizer of Tartare at Monsieur Paul's

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Biscuit and Greens at Monsieur Paul's

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Un peu de beurre avec le pain, s'il vous plaît! Chez Monsieur Paul

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Le plat principal chez Monsieur Paul

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Le plat principal avec la soupe de l'oignon chez Monsieur Paul

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Plat principal de steak avec des asperges chez Monsieur Paul

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Un peu de "Ratatouille" chez Monsieur Paul

 

Outside the Entrance to Monsieur Paul's Restaurant. Moi, j'ai pensé que c'était assez bon comme restaurant!

Outside the Entrance to Monsieur Paul's Restaurant. Moi, j'ai pensé que c'était assez bon comme restaurant!

Monsieur Paul's comes in at 60% average total overall. Son gave it a 60%, Daughter gave it a 40% and I generously gave it an 80%. Monsieur Paul's is located in the France Pavilion at EPCOT.Here are some key reasons why we scored Monsieur Paul's Restaurant at an average total of 60% between the 12 year-old son, 9 year-old daughter and 39 year-old momma.

  1. By fault of my own, I booked Monsieur Paul's as a late night reservation that unfortunately ended up overlapping with EPCOT'S Illuminations of Earth Nighttime Spectacular. I had set to begin our reservation at 7:45pm. We were seated at the back of the restaurant nowhere near a window. As a result, my kids and I missed the entire show which we were genuinely bummed about. We subsequently ended up lamenting our decision to eat late night at Monsieur Paul's.
  2. On the bright side, I had the occasion to speak nothing but French to the wait staff and chef, that was positively delightful and formidable! It is one reason that I scored Monsieur Paul's higher than my children.
  3. My children were annoyed with the length of time the whole meal experience took. By night's end, we had spent over two hours at Monsieur Paul's. Possibly three hours. I think we were the *only* people in the park after we left the restaurant. On the bright side, we took many photos sans seas of people and that was very cool. My daughter had the opportunity to do cartwheels, flip flops and back handsprings throughout the open spaces of the park.
  4. The food was by and large, OK. In retrospect, as I look at the pictures and think back to the experience, I am not salivating at the thought of a return trip because Monsieur Paul's is a two credit restaurant.  
  5. I believe that to compensate for the pull of two credits from the Disney Deluxe Dining Program, they lengthen the time for all guests so as to make you think you are "getting what you paid for". In the end, it was a "lightly cool" experience predominantly owing to the fact that it was fun to speak only French. Ça c'était une experience très positive!
  6. The Dining Plan types accepted at Monsieur Paul's include: (see below large Monsieur Paul awning photo below):
    Dining Plan Type
    2016 Entitlements Required
    Dinner
    Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan N/A
    Disney Dining Plan 2
    Disney Deluxe Dining Plan 2
    Disney Premium Plan 1
    Disney Platinum Plan 1

    Frankly, I never even had the occasion to purchase a Disney Premium Plan. I honestly don't even know how much that would cost. Regardless, I find it odd that so many restaurants seem to be going the way of two credits. Almost as a regularity, our scores for our dining experiences rate two credit restaurants at the bottom of our lists. There will be ONE exception! (Wait for future posts to unfurl!) Unfortunately, Monsieur Paul is NOT that one.