Chef Mickey’s Breakfast Review

Recommended:  No.

To cut to the chase, I didn’t think very highly of Chef Mickey’s at all.  A lot of people recommended it to me, so I worked it into our schedule, but I was not at all impressed with the venue, the service, or the food.  In fact, this is one of those times where I’d say McDonald’s is a better option for breakfast.  But, getting to go inside the Contemporary Resort (one of the monorail resorts) was nice, so at least there’s that benefit!

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Chef Mickey’s is a character meal and a buffet.  Please try to be mindful of where the characters are at all times, because if you get up at the wrong time, you will miss one of them and have to wait an hour for them to come back around to your section.

To go over the characters first, there were five total that you could meet:

Pluto
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Donald
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Goofy
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Minnie
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and Chef Mickey himself.
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The costumes are really cute, but it’s not really a huge selling point to me.  If they signed the autograph books as Chef Mickey, Matradee Donald, etc, I would be more impressed, because then my kids would be collecting exclusive signatures, but, alas, they are identical to the signatures anywhere else in the park.  I also think they could have done a lot more with Minnie’s costume.  Give her at least a cutesy diner outfit if she’s going to play a waitress.

Not only are these characters very easy to find in basically any part of the Disney Parks, but when they come to your table, they made me feel very rushed.  Each character spent two minutes or less with us.  It was basically a wave, a huge for whoever wanted one, a photo, and a wave goodbye.  Then they hurried off to check the next table off their list.

I also would have liked to see at least one or two exclusive characters in there – something to give you an incentive to meet these characters as a meal.  As it stands now, they are all over Disney World, and usually the wait time is not that bad.  Would a Pete, Clarabelle, or Dr. Von Drake been too much to ask for? They aren’t so popular or recognized, I know, but one of the five could have been a unique character.

To the plus column, the characters were back-to-back, so we only had to stay at the table for about 10 minutes to check them all off our list.

On to the food, it was pretty terrible.  Other than the pancakes, which were being made in front of you at the buffet, all of the food was stone cold, whether it was supposed to be or not.  The bacon tasted like it had been wrapped in ice – and I saw people constantly changing out the trays, so I don’t believe it was sitting out for a long time.  Either the warmers were broken, or the cooks were really bad at getting their food out in a timely manner.  Either way, I believe that hot meals should be hot, not frozen.

Disney also has this belief that everyone wants to eat nasty, runny eggs that aren’t fully cooked.  I know some people love their eggs like that, but myself and many other people do not want to eat liquid chickens.  But it saves precious minutes of cooking time per batch of eggs, so that’s what we get…

There was a decent variety of items on the buffet, but breakfast food is all very, very cheap stuff in general, so, for the prices they charge, I expect it to at least be good.  I mean, have the cooks use some flavors and spices instead of serving bland, cold food.  The fruit was even tasteless, so there were no real redeeming qualities about this buffet.  Judging by the menu, lunch and dinner may be a much better meal, but I was not happy with breakfast by any stretch of the imagination.

San Angel Inn Restaurante Review

Recommended:  Toss up.

I came very, very close to cancelling our reservation at San Angel after hearing a number of bad reviews.  By a number, I mean that I posted a question about the restaurant and over a hundred people responded with their bad experiences, and only a few listed positive ones.  With that in mind, I had very low expectations when entering the restaurant.

Just to be clear, there are several restaurants named San Angel in the Mexico section of the World Showcase in EPCOT.  The one I am reviewing is the place inside the Mayan temple, the other two are La Hacienda de San Angel and La Cantina de San Angel.

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Like most other guests, I highly recommend sitting next to the water.  It’s very cool to watch the boats go by for the ride in Mexico.  Now, the place can be packed, so the only way to guarantee that you can sit by the water will be to book a reservation for as soon as the restaurant opens, and check in about 15 minutes early (as recommended).  We did that, we were the first ones to check in, and even though we didn’t get seated first, we did get an awesome table with a beautiful view of the water.

Now, there are three major complaints that I heard about San Angel Inn – it’s too dark, the tables are too small/tight, and the portion sizes are way too small for the price.  I tend to agree with all three of these points.  Most of my photos are blurry from a severe lack of light, and the small lanterns at the table just aren’t enough.

As is the case with most Mexican restaurants, you get complimentary chips at the table.  They come with an interesting green dip and a very, very watered down tomato based salsa.  I like my salsa chunky and fresh, and, in this area, I wasn’t too impressed.

I had the Pollo a las Rajas, which was grilled chicken breast served with red peppers & onion cream sauce, poblano rice, and queso fresco.  I didnt really stop and think that poblano rice was not the usual, brown/red rice that comes with most Mexican dishes, and it seemed like some of my rice was not fully cooked.  But, the meal got better with every bite, so I was not disappointed.  Although, considering how cheap foods like rice are, it would have been nice if they at least were overly-generous with that part.  There really wasn’t much side at all considering that it was $19.50 and a $9 plate at a local Mexican restaurant outside of the park would have been double the food.
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My husband asked the waiter for a recommendation, and ended up getting the Tacos de Carne – which he is still obsessively raving about to this day.  To quote the menu, it is grilled New York strip on flour tortillas, topped with chipotle pepper sauce, scallions and avocado.  He couldn’t get over how amazing the avocado made it.  Although, he was very sad that the three tacos are very, very small for the $21 price.  The photo below is not of a very large plate, and the tortillas were the smallest size I’ve ever seen (roughly half the size of Chipotle tortillas, if that helps as a sizing reference).  Just like with Be Our Guest, he left the meal still hungry.
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My daughter was very happy to find Cheese Quesadillas on the menu.  Those are her safety Mexican food that won’t “spice my tongue,” as she puts it.  Again, though, there wasn’t a lot on the plate for $8.50.

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Finally, my son had the kids Grilled Chicken with Rice.  Oddly enough, he got more rice than my husband and I combined.  His was probably the best value in terms of quality, price, and size of the meal at $9.50.
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So, I will say that it’s a toss up as to whether I would recommend San Angel Inn.  The food was definitely good, but there just wasn’t a lot of it offered, the prices are very high considering the amount of food you get, and it is dark with cramped tables.  Apologies again for the blurry images, that’s a side effect of the advance darkness.  But, overall, I’m glad to have went, but I don’t think that I’d book it a second time.

Doing Disney with a Special Diet

I recently got involved with a discussion about food allergies and other dietary issues when traveling to Disney World.  Essentially, this person had a child who was autistic, and, as a result, the child would only eat three different things.  The problem was that the parents booked reservations all over the park without looking at any menus, and then were livid when the Disney employees didn’t provide the two items her child would eat. Before I get too deep into this topic, let me say that I believe this is a real issue and that all dietary needs deserve to be met.  My daughter has a number of allergies herself, so I know it can be a challenge.

However, in my opinion, this issue was all the parents’ fault.  100% of this problem could have been avoided if the parents had put in the proper amount of research beforehand.  After all, they weren’t saying “my child is allergic to tomatoes, so please substitute his tomatoes for something else,” she wanted the restaurants to snap their fingers and make mac and cheese appear out of thin air. 

First of all, even if the place next door sells bowls of mac, the servers can’t just run over there and get it – this would be a plethora of food safety violations, I guarantee it.  If you get sick on the food, Disney is responsible, so they take food preparation and handling very seriously.  Second of all, if the restaurant could get food from another venue, they would have to lose an employee to go fetch the item.  It takes a long time to get anywhere is Disney World, let alone to get ahold of another manager and explain your situation, THEN get the items you would need.  While this happens it might mean that food is not be getting cooked, orders might not be getting taken or brought to tables, or dirty tables might pile up without someone to bus them.  Third, you can’t just get mac and cheese and make it in a kitchen that doesn’t prepare it normally.  And you can’t cook it at restaurant A and have a server run over and rush it to Restaurant B, because it would get cold and be subjected to tons of unknown contaminants on the way.  Disney World isn’t designed to move food around like that.  So, the restaurant you are eating at would have to clean out a station before and after making the mac and cheese IF they even had the proper equipment and trained cooks to make it (remember a lot of the cooks are hourly employees, not highly rated chefs).  It’s a completely impractical demand to make.  For me, if my child would only eat Mexican food, I wouldn’t make reservations at the Nine Dragons in EPCOT’s China and tell the waitress to make us a burrito.  I would go to the Mexican restaurants to begin with and avoid all the insanity I would otherwise be causing.

 

Here are some of my tips for traveling to Disney with any kind of special dietary need or allergy:

1)  Read up!  Menu’s are no secret and MyDisneyExperience.com lets you see almost every item that every restaurant sells.  There’s no excuse to not be aware of which places sell turkey legs and which do not (as an example, lol).

2)  Call in!  If you are very worried about a menu item or have a severe allergy, call the restaurant and talk to the staff in advance.  Things like nut allergies that do not allow you to eat food that is even prepared around nuts can be very difficult to work around, so it’s important to know ahead of time.  Also, other allergies or dietary concerns can be better prepared for if you call in advance.  For example, if your children are allergic to dairy and they will want ice cream, you can find out what soy alternatives are available in the restaurants.  Sometimes, with advanced notice and a reservation, they can get items like soy milk/ice cream in stock just for your visit, since it doesn’t take a lot to work around this kind of dietary issue.

3)  Make smart reservations!  It doesn’t matter if you get a reservation to Be Our Guest or T-Rex if there is nothing in there that you or your child can eat.  Be practical, and avoid places that could be major problems for you or your child – like taking a child with dairy allergies to an ice cream parlor that doesn’t serve non-dairy alternatives.

4)  The staff are your allies, not your enemies!  They want you to be happy and to leave the meal with a smile, but remember that they are human and even the powers of Disney Magic are limited.  The employees can’t change certain things, they can’t break the rules they are given, and they can’t make things appear out of thin air.  These restaurants are set up to have quick turn overs, they can’t stock everything in the world, and they have no control if an item on the menu runs out.  Yelling at Cast Members does not change any of this.  Politely ask to speak with a manager if there is a major problem with your experience instead, they are the only ones who MAY be able to resolve your issue.

5)  Have back-up plans ready!  Lets say you got the best reservations ever, at a place you’ve been dying to go to, but you think your child will have a dietary problem with the menu and find nothing to eat.  If this happens, and you really want to keep your reservation, feed the child first!  Go to a quick service restaurant and purchase something the child can eat, so that way you can still enjoy your awesome reservation and your son isn’t staring at you complaining that they’re hungry.  My understanding is that as long as the party shows up for the reservation you do not get monetarily penalized if one person in your party doesn’t order (you could also order just a soft drink to be safe). 

6)  Pack for yourself!  If you have allergies or needs severe enough, or you just want to save some money on dining, bring food with you.  Most hotels have mini-fridges and/or microwaves, you can put a cooler in the trunk of your car to revisit later in the day, and you are even allowed to bring a reasonable amount of food and drink into Disney World with you.  Yes, you are allowed to bring a small bag or cooler (it must be under 24″ in my understanding) with non-alcoholic drinks and/or food that does not need to be heated into the parks!  https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/faq/parks/outside-food-and-drink/  But, you may not take drinks with straws or lids into Animal Kingdom due to wildlife safety issues.

7)  You may have to use the word “allergy” to get what you need.  Sad, but true.  I’ve heard from multiple people who are on a gluten free diet that Disney Parks would not accommodate them if it wasn’t an allergy (likely because it can be difficult to accommodate for allergies, so they do not want to open the door to cater to every dietary choice out there).  Still plan and call restaurants in advance, because some venues will not be able to help you at all, whether it’s an allergy or not.  For example, I’ve been told that people with nut allergies cannot go to Be Our Guest because the staff has told them that there is no way they can guarantee things are prepared in a nut free environment. 

 

Just plan ahead, read up, call up, pack up and do everything you can for yourself to make your dining experience perfect!