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Old 30 Oct 18, 02:33 PM  
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DisneyDreamer81
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So pleased you made it to IHOP! It's one of my favourite offsite restaurants. I totally agree with what you said about the tips being so much smaller for hard working servers in the offsite restaurants. It made me feel so guilty giving them so little (even it was 20%) when the servers at Disney get so much!
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Old 30 Oct 18, 03:19 PM  
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18=20%is ridiculous for the tips. In 1984 when we first went, 12 = 15% was the norm.
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Old 30 Oct 18, 03:25 PM  
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Great start, I'm loving looking at all the photos.

I have been questioning my decision to stay (and eat) offsite next year but I think we are doing the right thing. I can no longer justify the cost, I need the extra space for the boys and I don't think I can have another regimented holiday like that. Like you, I cant wait to try IHOP!
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Old 30 Oct 18, 08:05 PM  
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The meals at The Plaza look great. That Mac and cheese is looking so good! You’ve really helped me decide where to eat at MK for MVMCP as I was struggling to justify two credits at Be Our Guest, definitely going for The Plaza now
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Old 31 Oct 18, 11:17 AM  
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Ahhh I can't believe I have missed your new report! Just binge read it all and now I can't remember everything I wanted to comment on lol. It's great timing seeing as my ADR day is Monday.

You are being very honest about the trials and tribulations of going on holiday with family which I appreciate. We are doing a week away with my parents, sister, her husband and their 3yr old next year so I need to gear myself up for how different it will be than just pleasing myself and DH! It's hard when you are so invested in all your planning and other people don't want to play along. Especially when you've put so much thought into what you thought your mum would enjoy rather than just yourself.
I have to say Chicken Guy never seemed massivley appealing to me, so I'm happy you tried it for me! I have Polite Pig in my sights I think for our first night QS.

You always make breakfast at Boma look soooo good- and I'm so tempted but I just don't eat much at breakfast so I can't see it being worthwhile for me. I usually pick at a couple of crumpets or something so I would make a really poor showing!

Glad you made it to IHOP- we've only been once but I'm dying to go back! We are in the US in December and I have told DH we ARE going to Ihop for breakfast before we board our cruise. Next time try the red velvet pancakes, they were to die for. DH had the blueberry ones and he loved those too.
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Old 31 Oct 18, 04:20 PM  
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Originally Posted by DollyDimples View Post
Definitely getting a sense of where your trip report title came from!

Interested to hear at the end if your off-site visit to i-hop will influence dining plans on future trips.

We (or at least I) have the gardens desert party on our list of maybe list of things to do. How annoying that everyone stood up. :-(
I'd definitely still recommend the Dessert Party, even with everyone standing the view was good and we arrived just before the fireworks began, if you got there earlier you'd have an even better spot. I think it's probably luck of the draw whether or not people stand too

Thank you for reading!


Originally Posted by GezzasGem View Post
Really interesting to read your thoughts on eating offsite. Most of our Florida holidays when I went with my parents were mainly offsite eating with the odd 'special' restaurant thrown in at theme parks, but currently with our DD we do book for free DDP staying onsite. Next trip is our first adding in a couple of nights at Universal and no doubt as she gets older the mix will change. Whilst this means that for now we are pretty much always eating in the Disney bubble, it will be great fun to get that balance again on future trips - glad you enjoyed it! 👌
It's funny isn't it that we see free dining as an enormous perk but, in many ways, it's Disney's way of imprisoning us in the Disney bubble. I'm one of the people who believe there's a strong possibility that it won't be offered after next year, if this does happen, it will be interesting to see how everyone's eating plans shift.

Thank you for reading!


Originally Posted by joanna23 View Post
Completely agreed with your offsite views. We’ve done DDP for last 7 years and really noticed this year that the tip would buy us a good meal elsewhere. When we were offsite we ended up eating in Denny’s a couple of times. The menu had so much choice that we all ended up happy. We ate in a lot of signatures in the Summer and their menus are so limited. Halfway through our 21 nights I had a health disaster and completely went off steak. Made the mistake of having chicken in the Yachtsman - oh dear me - KFC would be more flavoursome!
Glad you enjoyed the Plaza and loving your report.
Yes, how 'free' is free dining when the tip costs more than a meal elsewhere!?

I agree the Signature menus are very limited, especially for a 'cautious' eater like Nik, he enjoys steak, but it's not ideal to eat it every night!

Really recommend the Plaza and we really were sad we only ate there once.

Thank you for reading!


Originally Posted by gjdjud View Post
We do a mixture now of onsite and offsite which was a first for us last time. Best of both worlds and very much doing the same next May.

Was pleased to see your views on the Dessert Party. I had planned on this but changed my mind after reading the reviews of the experience after they had added the post Fireworks party. It sounds nice but don't think we will try to get a spot elsewhere.
I'm really looking forward to see where you eat in May, hopefully you'll give me some ideas.

I think you're probably right to write off the Dessert Party, it's very expensive for a family and if you don't mind staking out a decent viewing spot beforehand it's not worth the money, as I don't feel the desserts really add much.

Thank you for reading!


Originally Posted by Goldia View Post
The IHOP breakfast looks so tasty. I'm glad you fulfilled one of your dreams in eating there.

A shame the Chefs De France ADR was kicked to the curb.

Those ice creams at the Plaza look yummy! Seeing the dessert party offerings always makes me think that I should add a dessert party but then I see the price and both the kids count as adults and I just can't justify the cost especially as I'm the only one who really likes the fireworks the others just watch them for me.
iHOP was really fab, probably better than any breakfast onsite

It was a shame about Chefs De France, as it was somewhere Nik had specifically requested and I knew my mum would like it

In all honesty, the Dessert Party offerings tend to look nicer than they taste, I don't feel as though desserts are a strong point in the States. Save your money for a treat elsewhere

Thank you for reading!


Originally Posted by sha9 View Post
I agree about iHop. The breakfast there was a standout for us last year. We’d have gone again this year if we hadn’t done so many morning EMH.
We'll definitely be back, I didn't realise it was 24 hours so I'll be dragging Nik up at 4.30 am next year so we can still make rope drop

Thank you for reading!


Originally Posted by wilma-bride View Post
I'm glad you got a taste of how enjoyable (and reasonably priced) offsite dining can be. I get the feeling you are going to be opened up to a whole new world of wonder, and a completely different take on dining in Disney/Orlando. We much prefer offsite restaurants and really only go to our favourite Disney restaurants once in a while.

I am still struggling to get over the fact that you have been going for 7 years and have never eaten at iHop
You're right, iHOP was a bit of a gamechanger for us regarding future plans.

I wanted to try iHOP on our first visit in 2010 (we were on I-Drive, so plenty opportunity) but Nik doesn't like pancakes so he wouldn't have it. He wouldn't listen to me that they had other things, and he was still dragging his heels when we were walking through the door this year

Thank you for reading!


Originally Posted by dixonsontour View Post
Glad you finally made it to Ihop.

I know what you mean about tip thing. Several years ago we had been to Le Cellier on ddp but the tip was more than a very nice meal we had offsite the next day.

The sundae your mum had at the Plaza is right up my street.
I really recommend The Plaza, very reasonably priced when paying OOP, comparable to QS prices.

Thank you for reading!


Originally Posted by DisneyDreamer81 View Post
So pleased you made it to IHOP! It's one of my favourite offsite restaurants. I totally agree with what you said about the tips being so much smaller for hard working servers in the offsite restaurants. It made me feel so guilty giving them so little (even it was 20%) when the servers at Disney get so much!
I feel like I have to tip extra off-site to make up for it, then I start panicking that that's patronising!

Thank you for reading!


Originally Posted by Mrs Valentine View Post
18=20%is ridiculous for the tips. In 1984 when we first went, 12 = 15% was the norm.
Thank you for reading!


Originally Posted by 2littleboys View Post
Great start, I'm loving looking at all the photos.

I have been questioning my decision to stay (and eat) offsite next year but I think we are doing the right thing. I can no longer justify the cost, I need the extra space for the boys and I don't think I can have another regimented holiday like that. Like you, I cant wait to try IHOP!
I'm sure once you experience all the space you'll have offsite you'll know you've made the right choice.

I'm excited to see where you eat this year and how you feel it compares to onsite, and see what you choose at iHOP!

Thank you for reading!


Originally Posted by scouse_minx View Post
The meals at The Plaza look great. That Mac and cheese is looking so good! You’ve really helped me decide where to eat at MK for MVMCP as I was struggling to justify two credits at Be Our Guest, definitely going for The Plaza now
The Plaza is a solid choice I think, just simple, good food. I think I'm guilty of getting caught up in wanting a 'dining experience' with our dining credits, and in the past I've overlooked somewhere like The Plaza that actually sells the food we love! We did eat at Be Our Guest too so you'll be able to see how that compares later on

Thank you for reading!


Originally Posted by SquishTheWhale View Post
Ahhh I can't believe I have missed your new report! Just binge read it all and now I can't remember everything I wanted to comment on lol. It's great timing seeing as my ADR day is Monday.

You are being very honest about the trials and tribulations of going on holiday with family which I appreciate. We are doing a week away with my parents, sister, her husband and their 3yr old next year so I need to gear myself up for how different it will be than just pleasing myself and DH! It's hard when you are so invested in all your planning and other people don't want to play along. Especially when you've put so much thought into what you thought your mum would enjoy rather than just yourself.
I have to say Chicken Guy never seemed massivley appealing to me, so I'm happy you tried it for me! I have Polite Pig in my sights I think for our first night QS.

You always make breakfast at Boma look soooo good- and I'm so tempted but I just don't eat much at breakfast so I can't see it being worthwhile for me. I usually pick at a couple of crumpets or something so I would make a really poor showing!

Glad you made it to IHOP- we've only been once but I'm dying to go back! We are in the US in December and I have told DH we ARE going to Ihop for breakfast before we board our cruise. Next time try the red velvet pancakes, they were to die for. DH had the blueberry ones and he loved those too.
Are you all ready for ADR day? I'm very jealous, ours seems very far away.

I think your family holiday will very probably go better than mine did as your parents can go off alone, as can your sister and have family, as it was just my mum we were constantly together and it was hard work as we obviously wanted different things from the trip.

I'm looking forward to what you make of Polite Pig, they were doing some building work on it whilst we were there to create a covered patio area with additional seating so it looks like it's growing in popularity all the time,

Maybe you could try Boma as an early lunch? They serve quite late into the morning if I remember correctly.

I thought my brain was going to explode trying to pick my pancakes at iHop, red velvet sound good so perhaps I'll go for those next time. I really don't know why I went with the chocolate ones as they are not something I'd ever order at home.

Thank you for reading and taking the time to leave such a lovely long comment!
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Old 31 Oct 18, 04:50 PM  
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Thank you everyone for sticking with me when I ventured to the dark side (off-site ). Silly as it is, I was actually nervous about posting about as I promised a DxDP report and it turned out very different to expected.

And Happy Halloween! We're having a little buffet for tea tonight as we're (hoping!) we'll be too busy with trick-or-treaters to cook.

***

DAY 6

The plan was Crystal Palace breakfast, then it was an early lunch at Electric Umbrella, but after much debate we ended up somewhere else…

Denny’s


You can see their menu here.

Mum had All-American Slam - Three scrambled eggs with Cheddar cheese, two bacon strips and two sausage links, plus hash browns and two slices of white toast



She enjoyed this, but thought iHop was better.

Nik had The Grand Slamwich - Two scrambled eggs, crumbled sausage, bacon, shaved ham and American cheese on potato bread grilled with a maple spice spread. Served with hash browns



This was delicious, I could eat it right now, and wish we could recreate it at home! It was even better than the much loved iHop sandwich. Nik was worried the maple spice spread might make the sandwich too sweet but it was very subtle. The hash browns were also better than iHops, they were crispier here.

I would have been quite happy never to have seen an egg again so I had the Build Your Own Sampler with Mozzarella Cheese Sticks, Chicken Strips and Bacon Cheddar Tots.



Unfortunately, this was as beige as it looks! It is listed on the menu as saying it comes with your choice of dipping sauces, but I wasn’t offered any and had to asked for some barbecue and ranch. The cheese sticks were no better than you’d get in McDonalds here, the chicken strips were nothing special, and the bacon cheddar tots were horrible, the bacon flavouring just made them taste greasy, Mum liked them though.

I don’t seem to have snapped a picture of the receipt here, but IIRC it was even cheaper than iHop. Great value again, and a reminder that there is yummy food outside of Disney.

***


Tiffins

We had a Rivers of Lights Dining Package reservation at Tiffins, due to the ADR slots for the package we had to eat relatively early at 4.45 so we skipped lunch, the unused dining credits were racking up but I was determined not to start panicking about this and instead concentrate on enjoying our trip.



Tiffins was one of a few restaurants that had some variety in the -Non-Alcoholic Specialities’ section most Signatures offered a virgin pina colada, virgin strawberry daiquiri, or a no-jito.

I had the Lilly Gorill-Ie - which was sprite flavoured with strawberry. I didn’t like (when will I learn I just like coke!), it wasn’t sweet enough for me.



Mum had Hibiscus Henna which was watermelon, hibiscus, soda water and lime juice. I didn’t try this as I think watermelon tastes like soap, but she liked it!



Nik had Kiama Mamma which was watermelon and sprite, he also enjoyed his drink.



This was the worst bread of the tip. It was very doughy and when dipped in the molasses it wasn’t pleasant at all.





To start, I had the Chef’s Houe-Made Charcuterie Board - Selection of Cured and Smoked Meats.



This was excellent, just as it was last year. My only criticism is that the naan bread served with it had a glaze on it that made it much too sweet.

Nik and Mum both had Asparagus-Leek Soup - Jumbo Lump Crab, Meyer Lemon Oil.



There were no complaints about this.




When I saw this dish in Niki T’s latest report I knew I had to have it - Tiffins wasn't originally going to work in our plans but I scrapped Boma dinner for it. Fort McCoy Beef Tenderloin - Char-crusted Beef Tenderloin, Loaded Crushed Potatoes, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Bacon-cherry Vinaigrette, Crispy Shallots Nik ordered the same, although I had tried to swap him towards the Surf and Turf!



Sounds incredible, right?! Oh my, this was almost inedible, it was ridiculously salty, I think the char crust must have been made purely from salt. I love salt but this was way too much for me. I didn’t like the crispy shallots, I thought they were like cheap crisps (Nik liked them), and the bacon-cherry vinaigrette spoiled the potatoes for me, as the bacon flavouring was almost as overpowering at the salt. I thought the sprouts were the nicest thing on the plate!

My meat was served the suggested medium-rare, here's Nik's medium.



Mum had Shrimp and Grit - Anson Mills Grits, Applewood-smoked Bacon, Heirloom Tomatoes, Smoked Pepper Jam



This was a huge portion, she cleared the plate but said it was very spicy!

Of course, we had to try the Lobster Mac and Cheese - Black Diamond Cheddar Cheese, Shery, Orecchiette Pasta



I thought this was the best of all the mac and cheese we sampled, probably because it just tasted like standard mac and cheese. I didn’t think they were particularly generous with the lobster.



Mum had the Tiffins Trio - South American Chocolate Ganache, Whipped Cheesecake, Passion Fruit Tapioca Crème



This was nicely presented with all three little dishes stacked on top of each other. The portions were quite large so it would be perfect for sharing. She said she didn’t have a clue what she was eating but it was all nice

I asked if I could have the Neopolitan Macaroon - Strawberry and Vanilla Macaroon with White Chocolate Mousse, Pate de Fruits, and Macareted Strawberries



This was really nice, much too nice to be languishing on the kids’ menu!

Nik had Whipped Cheesecake - Amarula Panna Cotta, Sesame Crumbs, Espresso Sponge



The was much hilarity between Nik and Mum over the presentation of this. It is a very popular dessert and lived up to the hype for Nik, personally, I didn’t think it was anything special.

Dinner came to $234.84 not including the macaroni and the two extra Cokes Nik and I ordered. Interestingly, some restaurants allowed you a soda alongside a speciality drink with no extra charge, but others didn’t.



We were given our tickets for Rivers of Light. But, just as last year after our Tiffins ADR, thunder and lightning started whilst we were on the safari and we decided to make a run for it to the car before it started raining. I don’t think it did rain, just our luck.



We were also given this chocolate as a gift as a returning guest alongside the little artwork all guests are given, a nice touch. I didn’t get around to trying the chocolate.



After we’d eaten Nik said that we’d tried Tiffins twice now, and he hadn’t enjoyed it either time, so I’m not sure if we’ll be back. It's a shame as it gets rave reviews and there's lots of the menu that appeals to me personally.

The Rivers of Light dining package is $68 per adult, you get three courses, can have an alcoholic drink if you wish, and get reserved seating, it's actually a really good deal out of pocket.

CREDITS USED 51
TOTAL IN $$ 1,493.98
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Old 31 Oct 18, 06:59 PM  
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wilma-bride
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Oh, I love the fact that you went offsite AGAIN (although am very disappointed you didn't properly push the boat out and get yourself to Keke's or Peach Valley Cafe). Denny's is not a favourite of mine. We ate there loads on our first visits to the US in 2004, 2005 and 2006 but since then every time we've been, I've left disappointed. And I got really bad upset stomach after eating at one in Vegas the night before my 40th, which completely ruined my Birthday. We haven't set foot in one since then.

I can't believe you felt bad about posting off site reviews - I LOVE reading about off site dining, probably more so than onsite. I always like to get ideas of what I might have, or where we might go, on future visits. As it is, I'm taking SquishtheWhale's advice and trying those red velvet pancakes next time we go to IHop.

Sorry that Tiffin's was disappointing. That beef looked so good, it's a shame it didn't live up to expectations. And the Dining Package does sound like a good deal, given the price of many of those entrees.

Looking forward to more...
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Old 31 Oct 18, 09:02 PM  
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I have to agree with Nik and your mum I manage chuckled more than a little at the cheesecake swirl dessert!

Dennys looked yummy for breakfast. I'm wondering where else you sneaked off to! I bet you felt really naughty going outside the compound...I mean bubble!
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Old 1 Nov 18, 01:21 PM  
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I’d just been looking at the beef picture thinking it looked lovely, what a shame it was such a disappointment! And that you didn’t make it to Rivers of Light either (though not a huge loss as I wasn’t much of a fan of it).

Denny’s looks good too, we have had a couple of breakfasts there though last time I didn’t think the server was great. I might have to go back to IHOP on our next visit too after seeing your food!
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