Our first morning at Disney and we were headed off to EPCOT! We’d been to Disney World before, but never to EPCOT. So this was something new and exciting for us. I knew we couldn’t see everything in one day, so I planned 2 days at EPCOT. Originally I had split it up as one day in Future World and one day in World Showcase, but didn’t like the way that was turning out, so we switched to doing a right side/left side thing.
Now, let me just interject here that our family LOVES doing breakfasts in the park before the park opens. I usually try for an 8:00am breakfast at wherever we want to go. We find that breakfasts typically take us about an hour (considering most of these are character meals), which gets us out right about rope drop time. It fits our touring style perfectly.
Until last November, the only place in EPCOT to do a pre-opening breakfast was Akershus. Then they started serving breakfast at The Garden Grill. As soon as I saw this, I snagged an 8:00am for our bunch. I am so glad I did!!
The Garden Grill is located in the Land Pavilion in Future World. So, you enter through the gates, pass “the big golf ball” and head to the right.
Inside the Land, you head either to the right or the left to circumnavigate the upper level to reach the restaurant, which you can see as soon as you enter the pavilion.
We were, once again, the first customers of the day! Which at Garden Grill meant we got to open the restaurant. We were escorted to our table by some pretty cute little farmers…
Chip, Dale, Pluto, and Farmer Mickey walked us to our table and hung out for some pictures before we sat down.
FOOD: I wasn’t sure how this would be since they were still pretty new at breakfast at this point and there were relatively few reviews out there in internet land. Plus, it’s a character meal and typically you don’t go to those for the culinary experience. Garden Grill is served All You Care to Enjoy/Family Style. You don’t order anything but drinks – everything is served to you on big platters. Speaking of drinks…they have POG juice! If you’ve been to ‘Ohana, it’s the same thing. Jungle Juice at Tusker’s is very similar – not sure if it’s exactly the same or not. It’s passion fruit, orange, guava juice and is fantastic! In case you are missing my point – order the POG juice!
The food is delivered in two “courses”. Up first is a bowl of fresh fruit and a skillet of sticky buns. The fruit was good – nice and fresh. The sticky buns, though…I could have eaten just sticky buns for the whole day and been happy. They were hot and gooey, sweet but not cloyingly so, and just hit the spot on a fairly cool, foggy morning. About the time we finished our (first) skillet of sticky buns, the other food arrived. Hash browns (more like tater tots), bacon, scrambled eggs, and Mickey waffles. The kids devoured the hash browns and scrambled eggs – I didn’t try either, but they must have been good. The bacon was…Disney bacon. You either love it or hate it. I’m in the love camp, M not so much. It’s super thin and usually a little on the floppy side. And Mickey waffles – little golden Mickey-shaped cakes of perfection. Mmmm… (you can view the actual menu here)
ATMOSPHERE: The Garden Grill is really unique. You sit at either a table on the upper level or a horseshoe-shaped booth on the lower level. The restaurant then rotates you through the different scenes of Living with the Land. Our waitress told us it takes approximately one hour for the restaurant to make a full rotation, which is probably about right since we made just over one full rotation and were there right at an hour. I like the booths on the bottom – no one has their back to the scenery the way they are built, which is nice.
The characters make their way around the restaurant in a circular pattern. I would say this was the best character interaction we had all trip. You can’t go wrong with Chip & Dale, ever, in my opinion. I guess I didn’t take many pictures when Chip came around by himself. (Probably too busy eating sticky buns…) Each character made it to our table at least twice, not including our escort when we arrived.
SERVICE: The cast members at Garden Grill were great. Our food arrived fast, but we didn’t feel rushed. Our waitress interacted really well with the characters, and even took my camera up to the upper level to take a family photo for us with all of the characters.
TIPS: We really enjoyed our breakfast at Garden Grill! The food was great. The characters were a lot of fun. Most character meals for us are one-and-done, but this one we would consider doing again. If you go, definitely try for that 8:00am reservation, it gets you out of the restaurant right at rope drop. If you are headed to Soarin’ (which was done for refurb while we were there), it would be a great advantage. And definitely get the POG juice!
Up next, we’ll head out for a day at EPCOT!