I have my plans alllll set and ready to go. BUT I’m wondering about the food at Garden Grill. I know the appeal is the character and the spinning. But what’s on the menu? Very little info on Disney’s website. What are my other options with a 2 yr old and 2 adults for a Table Service? I’m not opposed to heading to one of the walkable resorts either if the food and atmosphere will work with a 2 yr old. We’re not super picky. 2 yr old will eat a decent diet. He loves broccoli, cheese, bananas, peas, chicken and pork, some seafood and some pastas. He doesn’t like red meat or mashed potatoes. We are already doing Coral Reef one night. And I have to figure out a QS at Epcot for another night (opinions welcome). Is the service at the TS in the Mexico pavilion slow? I worry about that with a 2 yr old.
I loved Garden Grill and my picky eater (albeit older) niece was happy too. Characters and rotation provide novelty that kept her attention, and the food is very basic, but tasty. The potatoes are mashed but if your two year old will eat chicken and mac and cheese you’ll be fine.
I can’t get a handle on what is actually served there. Online it looks like different vegi dishes and then roasted chicken and beef. Is that about it?
ETA: I’m more worried about DH thinking the food is good.
It’s family style.
Not individual plates.
You’ll get a platter of perhaps 3 proteins. What’s on the menus now will likely change. You can ask for more if y’all like one of the protein more than the other.
Some sides, like mac and cheese. Seems like salad. Maybe green beans or broccoli. Refillable.
I can’t recall what they do for dessert.
Characters seem come around more often. Which would be good with a 2 yo.
That’s good to know. Some say you have to be there 90 minutes to see all the characters. That’s definitely not doable with a 2 yrs old.
That’s standard so people don’t complain.
I’ve never been 90 minutes at a character meal unless we were 19 people.
I suppose snafus happen. Our usual is 45 min approx. Including paying.
Our trips with 2 and 3 yos they usually sleep thru the meal. Maybe you’ll get lucky.
I think I’m planning during times DGS will be wide awake. Glad to hear 45-50 mins is the norm. I’ve been worried about it taking to long.
A 2 year old is “free” and will eat off of your plate. For that reason, I would also not be shy about bringing in my own snacks/food (think goldfish crackers, applesauce pouch) to placate her during the meal if nothing of substance interests her. Sometimes the stimulation of character meets is too different from normal mealtime, or timing of naps/the rest of the day is different that toddlers aren’t hungry when they “should” be and you need to pivot. I have never stressed about that and just have snacks on hand and ask forgiveness rather than permission.
All that to say, don’t do it for the menu for her, do it for the characters for her, and if adults will probably like the food then all the better
I found the food at GG to be bland and mediocre. There was Mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, green beans and corn. Sliced turkey (maybe chicken, too.) But you know what - I would eat there again in a heartbeat.
The character interaction is wonderful and it was quick. Chip and Dale are some of the best characters- whether it’s one on one, or in a parade. They are playful and just plain old delightful. I also happen to love LWTL, so to see it from the restaurant view is awesome.
I knew you would feel this way! But I agree. That’s why I booked it. I have a back up at T.I. in Italy just in case we change our mind.
One of my top 3 rides! Thanks for reminding me. I forgot this.
I’m thinking snacks are a good idea. I’m not super worried about overall nutrition as normally DGS eats well (when with my husband and I). Vegis is very low on DH’s list of priorities. I think he will just have to grab a slice of pizza if he’s still hungry, lol. DGS is very adventurous and I think will love the characters. He naps 2-4 and I’m hoping to keep that schedule. So I think a 6:45 dinner is fine.
That’s what worries me. But we already set expectations that food at Disney is ok-good. We have such a rich culinary environment at home that we never expect to be WOWed while traveling. I’m thinking it will be ok. And if not, we will be in Epcot. I can make it up with the food booths near France and Moracco!
I really think DGS will LOVE Chip and Dale. He loves animals and loves watching the squirrels in the back yard. (I know, they are chipmunks, lol). What will be hilarious is if he makes kissy noises like he does to every other animal that he wants to come closer (squirrels, cats, dogs, birds, turtles, fish, things on TV, sharks… sometimes me)
We went in March of 2020 (the week before everything shut down) and I still think about the food we had at Garden Grill. The beef with chimichurri was amazing and we also ordered a veggie loaf which was also fantastic.
I took my kids at almost 2 and almost 5 (but tech 1 and 4) and they loved it. The food has changed but I’ve always found it good though I have not eaten there post pandemic. But what’s amazing is the amount of character interaction you get. It’s insane. Two things make it great. One is the way the restaurant is designed you feel like you are in your own little world. It’s nice and private especially in those upper floor booths. Very secluded and good for keeping your littles close and not disturbing others. But because it’s such as small restaurant you’ll see each character about 3 times or so and they spend significant time at the table. They’ll even sit down at the table if there’s space and play with the kids for a bit. Best character meal for character interaction hands down we ever did, and we did all of the WDW ones except Chef Mickey’s. So, if you go that route, I’ll think you’ll be happy. (I’ll see if I can find and add photos of how happy my kids were). As far as a quick service for kids in Epcot I’d probably pick something with good food like Les Halles or Spice Road Table with its gorgeous outdoor views/table if you don’t go when it’s hot. I love it for sunset (but is it only a fireworks reservation for dinner?). The Mexican one, Cantina de San Angel is decent too with nice outdoor view tables.
I like San Angel Inn Restaurante and do not understand it’s meh reviews. I think the food is great and the ambience is magical and kid friendly. However, they pack those tables close together and it feels so tight in there and if you have a more active toddler like I did that you have to take on walks in rotations (we used to have one adult take him for 5-10 minutes, then he’d eat a couple of bites and then another adult would take him a walk…guess what he was later diagnosed with ha!) then it’s a bad choice cuz of that tightness. You will be bumping people’s chairs!
Her face as she see’s one coming!
This is good advice as we generally do have to let him up and walk. That’s what I like about the buffets. Even though we aren’t big eaters, getting up to get food in small amounts is a distraction in itself. We are also doing Crystal Palace and Tusker House breakfast/ lunch and H&V dinner. But I think I’ll keep Garden Grill because like you said, the character interaction is significant. And that is the important part here. We aren’t doing any meet and greets outside of Olaf.
Yes that’s how I did M&G with mine when they were little. On that same trip we did Akershus. They weren’t quite as excited about face characters:
She never liked the face characters but all the others she was like “Ooooo a giant stuffed animal. I must chase and play with it!”
We also did Crystal Palace (and they have the thing where you do like a conga line which is good fun for antsies):
And we did Cindy’s which at the time was mice and fairy godmother at dinner and Cindy on the way in. This face though:
And we did Tusker House:
And this will show how long ago this was cuz here’s Hollywood & Vine:
Garden Grill was my favorite and one of the ones we repeated on later trips. We also repeated Crystal Palace simply because Pooh ended up being one of her favorite characters (and Stitch). We’ve also done both 1900 Park Fares (the dinner is amazing with older boys cuz the stepsisters are hilarious in their pursuits of a prince but you have to a boy who’s okay with that attention), Ohana, Storybook Dining at Artist’s Point (better for older kids/adults), Trattoria al Forno breakfast (again better for bigger kids/adults), Cape May Cafe and we met Remy back when he came out at Chefs de France.
And still hands down for the character interaction Garden Grill was my fave see still doing it a decade later almost:
To give you an idea of how the tables are setup and why it’s private feeling:
even Grandma had room to dance with Dale:
(except for 1900 Park Fare when my son was like 11 or 12 cuz seriously this is funny):
So when he is bigger and this comes back add it to the list!
They are so adorable! I’m sticking to non-face characters for the same reason. DGS will be about 2. I think he would react the same as your daughter when a “stranger” comes to interact with him. I think it’s easier to accepts the “animal” characters at that age.
Yes, definitely for mine that was the case. The others were like stranger danger. But the guidebook says some kids are scared of the giant rodent! LOL After this Disney trip when she was almost 2 we went to Six Flags and I had to chase her because she saw Tweetie and took off after him. She was hooked!
I have a feeling this is what I’m in for!