May 29, 2011
I booked Chef Mickey for our arrival night dinner as we were planning on arriving at Walt Disney World about 1:00 pm and were hoping our room would be ready for us to relax in a bit before we headed out to the parks. Magic Kingdom was open on this night until 3:00 am with Extra Magic Hours. With the high temperatures in Florida and the high humidity we knew we needed to be touring at night. With Chef Mickey’s just a monorail ride away at the Contemporary, we decided this was the best night to have dinner here.
We arrived for our 5:00 pm advanced dining reservation (ADR) at 4:50 pm. By the time we arrived the line to check-in was from the check-in stand out the under the Chef Mickey sign (about 50-75 people) and about 5-10 people out into the Contemporary Atrium. Luckily there was a bench nearby where I could wait with the children while my partner checked us in.
Our buzzer went off at 5:20 pm and we headed into the restaurant. This was our first trip to Chef Mickey’s. I booked this ADR because I had heard so many horrendous things about the restaurant I had to see for myself. I am that type of person that has to see for myself what they are talking about.
We did not get a family picture around the Mickey Statue when we went into the restaurant as there was a LONG line ahead of us and our son cannot wait in lines easily. He is autistic and we use a wheelchair at Walt Disney World to give him his personal space when we are waiting in lines and do Fast Passes as much as possible to avoid long waits. Crowds make him anxious and he tends to start throwing his body around for extra sensory input. So, no Chef Mickey picture.
We were seated in the dining room behind the dessert bar. I noticed as we walked in what looked like two similar rooms off each side of the buffet area. Our server was promptly at our table to take our drink orders and we requested to speak to the Chef as our son follows a Gluten Free and food coloring free diet. Within 10 minutes the Chef was walking us through the buffet pointing out the many things my son could eat.
We headed off to the buffet. I was looking at the floors, the area around where the plates and bowls were stacked and spaces in between the buffet serving dishes for dropped food, mixed serving utensils (someone taking a serving spoon from one dish and using it for another) or any other thing that would show they are not properly overseeing the buffet. I noticed almost nothing. Most notable was a crushed piece of cheese on the floor in front of the salad buffet line that made the floor a bit slippery but everything really looked very clean.
We picked up our bowls for chicken and rice soup and then our plates for the salad bar. The salad bar was a typical buffet with lettuces, cheeses (both cubed and shredded), cubed fruit, cottage cheese, prepared mayonnaise based salads and a few dressed salads such as three bean salad and a broccoli salad.
Chicken and Rice Soup
All of us had at least one bowl of the chicken and rice soup. What made it wonderful for my son was that because it was homemade at the restaurant they made it without flour as a thickener so he could actually eat it. The only soups he usually eats are ones I make at home so this was an extra special treat for him.
We returned to our seats just in time to greet Chef Goofy at our table. All the characters were excellent with our children especially Donald Duck and Goofy. These two seemed especially understanding of our son and his sensory issues.
My daughter loves peel and eat shrimp and these were no exception. Working around her plate from the shrimp are corn, raw broccoli, green beans with aioli, cubed fresh fruit and cheese. She entirely cleaned this entire plate and then went back for seconds.
This was my partner’s first plate of food. She went directly for the hot dishes. Her favorite was the salmon with dill sauce. She felt it tasted fresh and was tender and flaky not dry at all. Working around her plate, clockwise from the salmon, cheese stuffed Mickey Mouse pasta, rare beef (there was a choice of rare or more well done), pasta salad and vegetable medley. Other than the salmon the only other thing that she enjoyed, more for the kitsch factor than taste factor, was the Mickey Mouse ravioli. It was cute but tasted like everyday ordinary ravioli.
Suddenly the music began to play and everyone was encouraged to swing their napkins around. It was cute but I far prefer the little parade at Crystal Palace with the characters marching around with the children. All I could think about as I saw the napkins flying was what about all the crumbs and food that were in the napkins as the people started to swing them around?
The shrimp and the three bean salad warranted a second plate.
The scalloped potatoes were a big hit for me. I love comfort food and this was it for me. The beef was rare, as I like it. The beans were good. The mashed potatoes were fine. But, the scalloped potatoes were the hit of the night for me. The bread was huge chunks and tough to eat as all the flavorings were on top so when you split it open all the flavor was on half the bread. It was almost like a cake rather than a bread.
The make your own sundaes were the hit for both children. There was ice cream, chocolate syrup, caramel syrup and Reese’s pieces along with bananas and crushed cookies for toppings. They had Rice Krispy treats and fresh fruit also for desserts.
Mickey Mouse dark chocolate dome
Cheese cake with black berry on top and carrot cake
We stuck mostly to the pastries. My favorite of the four pictured was the Mickey Mouse dome. It was cute and surprisingly not cloyingly sweet. The dark chocolate mousse definitely set off the chocolate cookies that the dome rested on. My least favorite of the four was the carrot cake. This was only because it is the same carrot cake that is served throughout the park with every counter service meal. I thought that this could have been either dressed up more with maybe a better frosting or something to set it apart from the other carrot cakes.
Overall, our meal was good. I am glad we went. It was something new for our family to try. If we were not on the meal plan I don’t think we would go back again. It was decent food with good service and character interaction but as we were there during peak time it was expensive – $147 for 3 adults (my daughter is 11) and one child, plus tip.
There were people constantly cleaning up the floors and buffets areas as people moved through. Two people were behind the counters stocking the hot and cold areas of the buffets plus one person in front cleaning up after people as they went through, wiping around dishes and picking up dropped food. When a table left the bus people came in quickly and cleaned up the area including running a hand vacuum over the rug to pick up as much food as possible.
The only real downside other than the cost was there are birds flying over you as you are eating. My partner is terrified of birds and did not appreciate the one or two times they swooped down over her. The birds sat under the table next to us as they had small children who dropped quite a bit of food. There is the open space for the monorail to come through the hotel so they really cannot limit the birds but this was really jarring at times.