Dining Disney Vol. 1: Chef Mickey's

by 9/20/2014 08:03:00 AM 0 comments
Well, since my household is no longer under the nausea inducing grips of a stomach virus I feel it is safe to write my first post about food, which let's face it, is half the reason to go to Disney World. Or maybe 3/4. Either way, here is my take on Chef Mickey's.

The Preshow

When my wife and I were planning out our trip, you know seriously planning it and not just kicking tires, we weighed heavily about the food. Not so much the actual food, but meals in general. We are a family of 5 which includes 3 ever growing boys. When we go to a restaurant at home it costs us a perceived fortune. So for that reason it was decided (with no input needed by me) to go with the Disney dining plan. The plan we chose gave us, per person and per day, a snack, a counter service meal (including dessert) and a sit down table service meal. Now to be truthful I didn't look at the cost to add the dining plan to the vacation. I know what the final price was and I felt that was fair. My hope was that using the dining plan we would be able to find places that would fill our boys and hopefully eliminate a potential midday hunger meltdown.

When the day finally came for us to book our restaurant reservations we decided it would be good if all of our table service credits were used at a character buffet, so we could all get our fill and the kids would be able to meet characters and snag some autographs. The plan was simple, we would start with a dinner buffet one night, then alternate to a breakfast buffet the next day then back to a dinner buffet for the following evening and so on. Finally we arrived at Disney World on a Sunday afternoon and after having spent a few hours milling about the hotel and playing mini golf, we left out for the Contemporary Resort and Chef Mickey's.

We ended up getting there pretty early since we decided to drive our own vehicle rather than use the Disney bus system. This being our first trip ever we weren't sure how long the bus might take to get us from our hotel, and miss our table reservation at the Contemporary. We started using our GPS but then just gave up altogether and followed the signs. Disney does a great job with their signage and it gets you where you want to go typically without much trouble, so +1 to Walt and Co. on that one.

Since we drove, we got there literally in 13 minutes. It was absurd. Thankfully this gave us plenty of time to just stand in amazement and stare up at the resort and appreciate its beauty-oh wait is someone honking at me?-as we crossed the lot. We elevatored up to the 4th floor to the restaurants and stepped out facing a pair of gift shops. Since we were still over an hour early for our reservation we strolled through the larger of the two shops, our first experience being surrounded by Disney wares. It was total sensory overload. The kids wanted everything, my wife wanted what they didn't have and I wanted to eat.

A witch and two monsters. Also Mike and Sully.

They shopped, I wandered, they shopped some more, I turned on every blinking light on the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party rack, they wandered, I disappeared, they found me. I checked my watch and it had only been 10 minutes. Folks, I'm not a curmudgeon (<== lies) I'm just hungry. I tell my wife I'm heading on up to the podium in front of the restaurant to just check in a little early and see what they could do, hoping for a miracle. What I got was a light up, vibrating paddle and a return ticket to my family. And the gift shop.

This Ain't No Golden Corral

Image blatantly stolen from disneyworld.com

Like I said, Chef Mickey's is inside the Contemporary Resort, which is located virtually next door to the Magic Kingdom. This was the only part I disliked about the restaurant. It kinda killed the whole "OHMAGOSHCINDERELLASCASTLEIMGUNNADIE" moment when we actually made it into the Kingdom the following night. So keep this in mind when planning a trip, you can see the castle from the resort and you get a REALLY great view of Space Mountain. Oh yea, and the resort is equipped with a monorail that runs right through it. While you eat. So cool. Sorry, I got off track there (HA!). I found the Contemporary to be a very unique looking resort, considering its age. It is definitely "fashion forward" as far as architecture goes, which is evident as it spilled over onto the decor of Chef Mickey's, giving it a retro-modern vibe that worked really well.

I do hope the Chef washes his hands after handling.

The reason to book a meal at Chef Mickey's, and in my opinion any meal that offers it, is for the character interactions. Location aside, I'm actually really glad we went with Chef Mickey's first because it features the "Fab 5" characters: Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald and Goofy. This may be subject to change but that's what we got when we were there. This means my kids got autographs from 5 different Disney icons with virtually no wait. Because we were eating. And boy did we eat.

Goofy got us first, note the missing plates of food.

Disney's website lists the menu at Chef Mickey's as "traditional American cuisine". For the most part I would say that's accurate, yet there were some surprises that are missing from most of the buffets my family frequents. This ain't your normal Golden Corral. Sure it's equipped with a carving board, a bakery and a selection of desserts, but there were a few items on the line that were surprising. Speaking of the line, Chef Mickey's buffet line is actually two different lines that mirror each other and converge in the middle where you get your slice of beef from a guy with a knife that would make Mick Dundee blush with inadequacy.

Minnie and the boys..

Coming back to the surprising items on the buffet line, we found a little dish called "lobster mac and cheese". I almost skipped this because we have it all the time at home. Except we use hot dogs in place of lobster meat. Pretty much the same thing though. Disney may use better noodles, the jury's still out on that one. Another shocker, and this one kept my wife's fitbit counting her footsteps, was sushi. Not the normal buffet line gas station sushi, but really good sushi. Like with names. not just the word "sushi" scrawled on a note card taped to the sneeze window. They had the California Roll and a Spicy Tuna. Like I said, they were good. Like we were getting funny looks from other customers good. Then there were the desserts. Here's where most buffet's win out over Disney based solely on variety and presentation. Right up until you take a bite out of a Disney dessert and you could care less about everything around you because this is something you would eat off the floor of Walter White's Winnebago. I tried almost all the desserts there and while I remember that everything was good, I don't remember what everything was called. The only one that sticks out is called a "Mickey Dome".

Mickey Dome

It's basically an Oreo wearing a Mickey hat. The domed hat is made from some kind of chocolate ice cream cheese mousse pudding unicorn poop scoop and adorned with hard chocolate ears. Truly this was why man crawled from the caves and invented the wheel. To travel to Disney World and have the Mickey Domes. Also they had good cookies and tarts but whatever.

Probably my favorite character at Chef Mickey's.
After dinner we hopped on the Monorail and took a tour around the Polynesian Village resort, but that's a whole 'nother story.

Mikey Whisenhunt

Pseudo-blogger, Dad, Husband, Disnerd

I'm Mike. I'm a married father of 3 boys. When not at work I spend my spare time talking my wife into Disney trips.


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