Walt Disney World Restaurant Review – Grand Floridian Cafe
BY MIKE WARING – MAY 2011
I can’t remember if I ever wrote a review on the Grand Floridian Cafe before. Probably not, since as far as I can remember we’ve only had lunch there once, a long time ago, and never sampled breakfast or dinner. So we notched breakfast on this trip. I wish we hadn’t.
To be honest, we don’t often eat breakfasts in the resort restaurants. We’re not usually big breakfast-type people on most days, and a piece of fruit and some toast pretty much holds me until lunch. Yes, I know a good breakfast is the foundation of a good day, or something like that. You stick to your primitive morning rituals and I’ll stick to mine, and mine usually have a couple of gallons of extra strong, almost corrosive coffee at the center of them.
But anyway, one morning we had an early start and we decided that we needed a little more sustenance than a granola bar can deliver, so we sashayed over to the Grand Floridian Cafe for breakfast. (We like to sashay when we can, and at Disney World it’s not out of place at all, unlike say, Columbus, where sashaying is frowned upon.) Our breakfast, I’m sad to say, was start to finish, top to bottom and left to right, a disaster. Well, not totally. The coffee was hot. And that sums up my compliments.
The menu has all the old standbys, such as pancakes, waffles, steak and eggs, Eggs Benedict, bagels and lox, omelets and so on. There are a couple of noteworthy things on the menu such as an egg white frittata and the citrus pancakes. Noteworthy, because one of these items sounds like it’s a nice healthy breakfast item, and the other item I include because it’s a little unusual, and that’s not something you see much on any of the breakfast menus at Disney. Those two items are also noteworthy (which makes three times I’ve used this word, so I think you should take note) because they were really, really terrible. I mean like pretty much the worst things we’ve ever eaten at Walt Disney World. Well, not the worst – that would be the meal at the Rainforest Café – but that’s ostensibly run by an outside firm, so I don’t count it.
Mary’s “citrus” pancakes were undercooked and still almost liquid in the center. Despite the menu description, the “citrus” flavor was minimal (taking the form of some orange zest in the butter on top) and overwhelmed by the huge quantity of dried cranberries and nuts sprinkled over everything. She ate two bites and pushed the plate away.
My egg white frittata had the consistency of a hockey puck. It lost additional points because it didn’t taste as good as a hockey puck. Or at least what I think a hockey puck might taste like, since I don’t spend a lot of time going around nibbling on sporting equipment. Though if I were looking for a hobby…
If I had to make an excuse, I might point out that we did dine at what for us was an ungodly hour (6:30 am). Apparently it was an early hour for most others also, because we were two of only six people in this rather cavernous restaurant. Perhaps it was an ungodly hour also for the line cooks. But in light of the small crowd, one might expect the food we ordered to be of somewhat higher quality, since there was little apparent pressure on the kitchen staff. Maybe I’m being unreasonable to expect pancakes to be properly cooked and frittatas not to be turned into a plastic-like consistency.
Suffice it to say we will not be breaking our fast at the Grand Floridian Café anytime in the near or medium term future. Possibly if it burns down, and is razed, and a new restaurant is built on the spot. Which is harsh – but you know what? Just down the Monorail line is the Polynesian, home of the Kona Cafe, where the breakfasts are really quite good.
Breakfast items at the Grand Floridian Café can be had for as little as $9 for a fruit plate, while the big ticket item is a steak and egg plate for $17. I would recommend just sticking with the fruit plate, but the fruit that accompanied our breakfasts was pretty underripe, so you’re probably going to be happier with a sticky bun from the counter service restaurant, Gasparilla’s. At least it’ll be cheaper.