Garden Grill is the table service restaurant in Epcot’s Land pavilion, where you’ll find the attractions Soarin’ and Living with the Land. Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Harvest Feast takes place here – a family style all-you-can-eat character meal with Mickey, Pluto, Chip, and Dale. We’ve eaten here for dinner twice before, but for my birthday this year, we decided to try breakfast.
I will freely admit that what made me want to do this (besides the fact that Fiona has been asking to go back since we moved to Florida) was the first item on the menu – Chip’s Sticky Bun Bake. Basically a giant cinnamon bun baked in a skillet and drenched with warm vanilla frosting, it was the highlight of the meal.
I mean, look at that thing! How could you not want some alone time with it? Now, we’re all big fans of Cinnabon, but this cinnamon bun blew Cinnabon out of the water. It was amazing. Unfortunately, you have to split one with everyone in your party, but you can ask for more – and the waitstaff will cheerfully bring you another.
They bring the cinnamon buns out first along with bowls of fruit salad, and after you’ve had your way with the cinnamon buns, out comes a platter of scrambled eggs, ham, bacon, tater tots, and Mickey waffles with chocolate-hazelnut (read: Nutella) drizzle. My only complaint with that platter is that the pitcher of Nutella drizzle was pitifully small. I’m sure I could have asked for more, but as it was only me and Niall using it (the others preferred regular syrup, I don’t know why), we made do. We eventually requested more eggs, tater tots, and bacon (our waitress asked which specific items we wanted, so don’t feel bad that you’ll get a whole platter again and waste what you don’t want) and a second cinnamon bun. They also have some great juice options – pomegranate lemonade, which is only served at certain locations, and a juice blend similar to what they serve at Tusker House and ‘Ohana (orange, passionfruit, and guava).
Of course, one of the big draws of Garden Grill is the characters! Mickey, Pluto, Chip, and Dale walk around and stop at your table for autographs, hugs, photos, and usually some fun antics. Every time we’ve dined here, we’ve always had them come by a few times, unlike other character meals.
The character interaction here is always great. They never seem like they’re in a rush and they try hard to engage with everyone, even if the kids seem on the shy side. One of my best tips for meeting characters if you have shy kids is to let the kids bring a toy or prop of some sort. It gives the kid a reason to go up to what can otherwise be a big, scary animal, and it gives the character something to cue off of. My kids are typically very quiet and would never say more than “Hi” and “Thank you” to characters, yet we’ve had lengthy conversations about their toys, including one memorable one where Alice was convinced Niall’s monorail was really a caterpillar. The kids found that hilarious and talked up a storm.
You will score bonus points if you can tell Chip and Dale apart, though if you want to purposely call them the wrong name, that will get a reaction at least. You can also call them squirrels, they’ll make a fuss over that! There are several ways to tell them apart, but the easiest is to remember that Chip has a chocolate chip nose (the small brown one), whereas Dale’s nose is big and red (maybe like a drunk, which is how he acts sometimes?).
At the end of our meal, our waitress surprised me with a piece of cake and a card signed by all the characters! This is typical of birthday meals, but I’d forgotten all about it so it was a pleasant surprise. Even more pleasant was that the cake was actually quite good, better than the cake-in-a-cup desserts you get at the quick service restaurants, which I was assuming it would taste like.
A bit of practical info before we wrap this up: the price of breakfast is $30 for adults and $18 for kids. Normally all-you-can-eat meals are a bit iffy with children, but my kids can really pack away breakfast foods, so I felt like we got our money’s worth. You also get the benefit of the character meet and greets, which can save you anywhere from 30-60 minutes, usually in the hot sun. Garden Grill is one credit on the Disney Dining Plan, and they do accept Tables In Wonderland and do an annual pass discount.
If you’d like to see more about our trip to Garden Grill (including a glimpse of what the platters of food look like, the kids dove into ours before I could snap a pic), check out our YouTube video!