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Trails End Restaurant, Fort Wilderness, at Disney World, Florida.

Trails End Restaurant, Fort Wilderness, at Disney World, Florida.

Trails End Restaurant, Fort Wilderness, located in Disney World.

Our tour guide, Janice Edwards, took us for breakfast by bus and then boat to a resort for camping to have breakfast at a restaurant, which in her opinion was the best at Disney World for this meal. The restaurant is called Trails End and is one of many that offer buffet type of dining. This buffet was expected to be best for breakfast. Our tour guide said this place, was breakfast only recommended. (That is not to mean that one should avoid this place for the other meals, just that she thinks this place excels for this meal type).

Trails End Restaurant, Fort Wilderness, at Disney World, Florida.

As you approach this resort by boat it is quite obvious that it probably is a campground. The resort was in a forested area. I was struck by how many and how varied the water sport boats lined the docks. The outdoors type people do extend their activities to all forms of outdoor activity and Disney picked up on that for sure. Once off the boat it was a short hike up to a really large lodge type of building located in a forest. We got into and seated at a table quite close to the buffet right away, no wait. A waitress came over quite quickly and took our orders for drinks. The selection of drinks was quite extensive for juices. We ordered coffee, orange juice and tomato juice. The coffee came in a self-serving pot, which I appreciated, and a small cream pitcher. The coffee had a great flavor. I love good coffee and I was thinking of how I could find an excuse to return again later in the week for this brew. The orange juice had pulp and tasted fresh. Here is our review of the food:

Breakfast pizza, you have got to be kidding me. I did not know what to make of this item, a bit shocked, but I decided I had to try one. It was quite good. Funny thing, our two children would not eat the pizza. We had three adults at our table and all three had the pizza but not the children. Well that blew my preconceived idea that the pizza was targeted toward children. The pizza was ok, a bit of a shock to be eating one of these for breakfast.

Corn beef hash had an excellent flavor.
Bacon looked oily. What restaurant dries their bacon? It tasted ok.
Sticky buns, not sure that was the correct name, looked decadent by half and I am one for always going for self indigence items, so I tried one. Quite good, but as is often the case it looked more dangerous than it actually was.
Potatoes were ok. Janice Edwards told us that they are usually better than this.
Banana muffins were very good.
Fruit was offered and I was delighted that prunes were included. For vehicular travel fruit and especially prunes are welcome. All truck drivers should eat prunes.
Grits were on the buffet table but I tried them in the Navy and found no attraction. Grits are sort of like tofu for me; it is what you add that makes it palatable.
Oatmeal was also offered but not sampled. I eat oatmeal at home and when a wonderful buffet is before me I be darn if I will fill up on bland (but healthy) offerings.

The tables were arranged so there was enough space. The interior was log cabin motif. The place was neither crowded nor noisy. The sum of the dining experience was comfort. When I was told that I would have to go outside to find the restrooms, I envisioned an outhouse but was quickly reassured that this was not the case. The restrooms were, clean, and spacious. You could dance in the stalls. In the men’s room is a neat tile picture on the wall showing ten cowboys getting dressed which was mildly amusing.

Conclusion: Once again our tour guide did a very good job of scoping out just the right places to eat at. I totally support Janice Edward’s recommendation, in this case, and we all felt that Trails End Buffet is currently our recommendation for the best breakfast at Disney World, Florida.

Crystal Palace Restaurant

Crystal Palace Restaurant

This is a review of the Crystal Palace Restaurant located in the Magic Kingdom, Disney World, Florida.

Crystal Palace Restaurant

By the third day Crystal Palace became my favorite spot to eat. It is located in the Magic Kingdom and not too far from the front entrance. The reasons I give this place high marks is the following:

We were seated right away – no wait. We did have reservations but here they seem to know what a reservation is (unlike most other resort restaurants).
The tables were spaced so no one brushed the back of my seat even though my back faced the aisle. This was probably required as Disney characters work the tables and there is some silly parade of characters and gullible children following.
Our server, matronly women, the age of my grandmother, gave us wonderful service. She must have hosted untold number of guests but she had the delivery of a favored aunt and gave excellent service.
The ambiance was more in tune to adult appreciation, in our opinion, a plantation look.
Lastly but very importantly, the food was a hit. This is a buffet, all you can eat restaurant and boy did I lay it on. I actually had a bellyache when I left and had to walk it off. Here is a list of some of the items we tasted and rankings:

– Broccoli soup’s very good.
– Muscles had an interesting spiced sauce. Start of with two if you are not sure and go back for more later. I love different dishes.
– Mahi Mahi flavor was a bit weird but palatable.
– Salmon was very good.
– Garlic mashed potatoes were a big hit, very tasty almost rich flavor. This dish must be a park recipe as we have found the exact same dish at Chef Mickey. At Chef Mickey, they tasted a tad bit better.
– Pork was tender but slightly off flavor.
– Pasta dish with ham, bacon, mushrooms and Asiago cheese sauce (from memory, could be in error) had a terrific flavor but one could imagine it was a coronary event in the making, quite rich.
– The cheese selection was a shock. What restaurant offers slices of good or wonderful cheese? Well this place does, quite unusual especially for a theme park located in red neck territory.
– Key lime pie was another shocking experience. It was tart to the point of my declaring the chef brave. If I could talk directly to the chef, I would say thank you.
– The tiramisu was shockingly good.
– Strawberry cheesecake looked quite odd. Red cheesecake? Well it tasted just as advertised. Flavor was good.

The down side:
Restrooms were inadequate. More stalls are needed for mens and womens room. There is a sitting room just outside but that is no excuse.
The Disney characters ears are quite hard. If one hugs you and they do a lot of hugging and a character turns their head, pow, you get to know personally how hard the ears are.

I was told by Tinkerbelle Tours (I hope this was a razz by her.) that the Disney characters tend to give special attention to fathers that looked curmudgeonly which might explain why I got a lot of attention.
When the Disney character parade started the children in the room are encouraged to dance behind in a large circle. I looked over at our children’s table of 6 children ranging in age from 6 to 17 and none of the children got sucked in. The hens at our table are telling the children by vocal and hand gestures to get involved. I am sitting at the hen table, I am the token male and I made the mistake of saying well the children are smart. They didn’t get sucked into the corporate contrived event. Boy, dirty looks speared me by the hens. It occurred to me that we put expectations on our children as to what being a child is expected to be. I think one should allow a child be themselves and only encourage when we are convinced that the outcome would be beneficial to the CHILD.

Revised April 7, 2018 (found that the ‘ punctuation was changed).

Earl of Sandwich, Downtown Disney, Marketplace, Disney World

Earl of Sandwich, Downtown Disney, Marketplace, Disney World

Earl of Sandwich, located in Disney World, Florida, Downtown Disney, Marketplace section.
Date: Saturday, April 7, 2007.

Some times it is just nice to go out and get some fast food, bring it home, open a bottle of wine and just kick back and enjoy the evening. Our tour guide, Janice Edwards, took us to the Earl of Sandwich, a fast food establishment, offering just what the name suggests. The prices are extremely reasonable and the food is fairly good. We took out selections back to our apartment and reheated the items that needed to be warmed up. Here is our review of the food selections we tasted:

Tomato soup, we highly recommend, real smooth and wonderful, slightly rich tomato flavor.
Tuna melt was perfect with Swiss cheese. I can’t believe I am reviewing a tuna melt sandwich, but it was really good!
The Original had in it roast beef, creamy horseradish sauce, and cheddar cheese. It was pretty good but everyone agreed it needed more horseradish.
The Cannonballs consisted of meatballs, marinara, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese was good but the cheese could barely be tasted. Most of these sandwiches are hot and we only sampled just a few of a very large selection.

We went back to this restaurant two more times, once for breakfast and again for sandwiches. For breakfast we found the sandwiches not as good as at McDonald. The coffee was really disappointing here. The Trails End coffee was worth the trip. We have heard reports that a review magazine stated that McDonald’s coffee is very good.

This establishment gets our recommendation for taking selected food back to your resort apartment.
This establishment gets our recommendation for pretty good fast food value because the prices are reasonable.
For breakfast, average ranking. Below average if you are a coffee lover.

Note: We found the coffee at this resort disappointing. Janice Edwards made better coffee back at our apartment. This place needs a Starbucks.

Original restaurant review is not updated from 4/7/07: Post was checked and updated for viewing: April 7, 2018.
Dinner at Rainforest, Disney World.

Dinner at Rainforest, Disney World.

Dinner at Rainforest Cafe, Disney World in Florida, Marketplace (4-6-07).

I try not to write a review for a restaurant if it is pretty clearly a near or complete disaster. I do not want to be any part of a process of putting a restaurant out of business. But, I also have a responsibility to reveal what I think the truth is. This restaurant, Rainforest, appears to be a huge success.

Just weeks ago we joined another family at the Rainforest in Anaheim California. It was a disaster. We had reservations for eight. We had to wait well past a half hour past our appointed reservation time. Our party had to wait on two wait lines one after the other. We received a table for six. The parent that made the reservations took this affront personally. I felt for her. The food was average. The service was below par. I rate that restaurant unacceptable. I never want to go back. We did not conduct a food review for this restaurant.

At the Rainforest at Disney World in Florida, we had reservations for five.

Outside view of the Rainforest Cafe.

Another view of the outside of the Rainforest Cafe.

Once again the place was crowded with people, we had to wait a rather long time, it was noisy, food average, service was a tad better. I sat way out in an isle for people to walk too and from their tables by about five feet. Sitting at the end of a four-person table, to help make it work, I had insufficient room for my meal. I was uncomfortable.

Dining room of Rainforest Cafe, empty of customers.

Both times, the parents complained to one another about the experience being bad for the adults. It would appear that parents bring their families to this restaurant because of the contrived ambience of a jungle theme with robotic animals, huge fish tanks, phony thunder, and sound effects. A lot of life offers situations where you have to suffer a pain to get a gain. You get a unique phony restaurant experience for your children but your children might be the only ones enjoying. I recommend that you go to this restaurant when you might expect fewer people will be there. This place draws in a lot of people and the Rainforest work force does their best. The kitchen puts out a lot of meals rather quickly under a lot of pressure and seems to do this well. Do not expect to find any outstanding dishes.

Here now is the food review for the Rainforest at Disney World

Presentation of each dish placed on our table was very good.
Planet earth pasta was fair to good.
Calamari was deep fat fried, a method I do not appreciate but was a slight favorite.

For me, I rate this restaurant unacceptable. If you want to give your child a memorable experience at this theme park, there are a lot of other offerings where both child and adults will enjoy.