Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Goofy Good Time

I've never professed to know a whole lot about too many things.  I think I have good intelligence, I think I have a good education, I believe I make wise choices for the most part, and I find myself always wanting to know more - at least on subjects I'm interested in.  I'm curious by nature and do like to discover new experiences. 

One of the things I do pride myself on is the vast amount of Disney knowledge I have accumulated over the years....especially for one who is not employed by Disney.  I can thank my brother Justin for this.  He worked for Disney for many years and answered all of my curiosity questions and gave me opportunities to visit Disney World (for free) more than any person could ever dream.  People come to me for help in planning their Disney trips, and I love to make suggestions about all things Disney.  I love Disney World. Matter of fact, I am at Disney as I type this.

One of the things I have done for the past five or six trips in order to keep things new and magical is to make sure I do something I've never done before during each stay.  This trip I've even beefed that up a little and I am trying something new every single day.  It's still so easy to find new things to do!  For the particular experience that I'm writing about, I decided to eat at the steakhouse at the Contemporary Resort that has been mentioned to me several times.  It fit with the theme of my blog, it was a steakhouse & I love steak and it was something sounded like a perfect combination to me!

I had spent the early part of the day with my lazy butt on the lazy river (and a couple of water slides) at Typhoon Lagoon and then the mid afternoon and early evening at Magic Kingdom.  This steakhouse was at the Contemporary and I had plans to go to EPCOT for IllumiNations that evening.  So a quick Monorail ride over to the Contemporary had me walking up to the podium to ask for a table. 

As a side note, I'd like to say this is typically not a wise thing to just show up without reservations.  The Disney restaurants book up early and my suggestion is to always book your reservations well in advance.  But I've found with a party of one and a "pretty please" and kind smile the cast members will typically try to accommodate.  ...but there I was at the podium and was told it would be about an hour and a half wait.  I pondered the wait for a second and thought "Let's do it!"  So I grabbed my buzzer and went and visited the gift shop and then the lounge. 

Time actually went by pretty fast, but it was every bit of an hour and a half.  I caught up on some phone calls, watched the Monorail zip through the concourse, got to watch the sunset and the full moon rise over Bay Lake all the while thinking about the exceptional steak I was about to sink my teeth into.  Always observant of my surroundings, I noticed that there were a lot of kids at this steakhouse...but it is Disney World.  This place didn't have the same class and dignity as Le Cellier over at EPCOT in Canada or as the Yachtsman's Steakhouse at the Yacht and Beach Club.  But it is Disney and they theme things well, and it certainly looked like something one would find at the Contemporary Resort.  I was just getting hungrier by the minute.  I had steak on my mind.

My Buzzer finally lights up!!  So I go to the podium, turn it in and they take me for the grand tour.  I opted out of the "family picture" they were giving most families and the hostess showed me the buffet and then the dessert buffet.  Hmmmmm....something just doesn't seem right.  A buffet at a steakhouse?  So I asked the hostess if this was the steakhouse.  She chuckled and said "we have some roast beef on the buffet, but the steakhouse is on the 15th floor."  Instead of the Concourse Steakhouse....I got Chef Mickey's (which is actually located on the concourse right next to the monorail track.) 

What is "Chef Mickey's" I asked.  It's a Character Dining experience.  I had waited an hour and a half for a Character Dining Experience???  Not a steakhouse???  It was a new I just went with it! 

I met MICKEY MOUSE!!!  And Donald!  And Minnie!  And Goofy!!  They all stopped by my table for a visit!  I totally loved it!  I felt like an idiot, and a bit Goofy sitting in a Character Dinner...but I just went with it and enjoyed the moment.  If you pay for it, you may as well enjoy it!  It was sheer joy to see the kids around me look at the Characters with such Joy and excitement.  It was truly sweet.   I even got to see some teens totally loose it when they saw Minnie.  Teen Boys...not faking it...they were loving seeing the Characters.  Disney truly gives people the freedom to be a kid again.

The food was good.  Very good.  The Carved Roast Beef was seasoned to perfection and the ham was Christmas Day worthy ham.  They had some stir fry veggies and some green beans....and a salad bar.....and some Turkey Pot Pie.  If it's going to have Mickey's name attached to it at Disney World, you know it's going to be better than just good!  It may have actually been the healthiest meal I had eaten while here.... until the dessert. 

They have a buffet full of all of these miniature cheesecakes and key lime pies and Chocolate Mousse Mickey's and brownies that all tasted heavenly.  Disney knows how to do food, and especially sweets!  Oh yeah, did I mention a build your own Sundae bar??  Genius!!  This wasn't a Golden Corral buffet - this was incredibly good food with an incredibly fun atmosphere.  Did I mention I met Mickey Mouse??

If you are going to Disney and you have kids (or don't have kids) make it to one of the Character Dining Experiences.  And if you want fine dining and a great steak, get the name of the restaurant correct....


  1. Hysterical! I love that you didn't notice the chaos that surrounds Chef Mickey's until they were leading you to a seat! We did Chef Mickey's on our last visit and TOTALLY loved it, but it sure was a busy place. Did the characters break out in dance while you were there? We have gotten a little addicted to the Disney meal plan on account of how fun the character meals are (and how pricey when bought separately....) Glad you enjoyed your time there :)

  2. As I was walking up to the podium, I noticed how many kids were there...but that was the first sign of not having the right place. I was hidden away in the corner of the lounge, and couldn't see the restaurant from where I was waiting... I was just hanging out, on the phone and killing time. I laughed at myself for that one :)