REVIEW: Chef Mickey’s Struggles to Live Up to Expectations

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Chef Mickey’s is one of the most popular restaurants at Walt Disney World.  Reservations can be very difficult to get if you aren’t able to plan 6 months in advance.  Occasionally, times will become available, but usually only for very early morning or late at night.  One day, we lucked out and managed to get a reservation time right at dinner time, so we decided to see if Chef Mickey’s is really worth all the hype and its reputation.

If you’ve never been, Chef Mickey’s is located on the 4th floor of the Contemporary Resort.  Right after checking in, you are invited to have your photo taken behind their Chef Mickey statue.  There is a PhotoPass photographer there, so this is excellent if you have Memory Maker.

The restaurant itself is much larger than I ever thought.  What you can’t see is that the seating area is hidden in the back and around the corner behind the buffet itself. And as with every Disney buffet, the buffet selections are mirrored with its selections meeting in the center at the carving station.

I’ve eaten at a number of Disney buffets and I’ve noticed they can range from both extremes of either lacking in variety or having so much variety, you have to make at least two trips of full plates just to sample everything they offer.  Chef Mickey’s is certainly the latter.  Here is the menu below.

Cold Selections

Seasonal Mixed Fruit, Freshly-tossed Caesar Salad, Peel-n-Eat Shrimp, Endive and Apple Salad, Sushi Selection with Accompaniments, Roasted Vegetables with Pasta in a Tomato Vinaigrette, Antipasto Salad, Citrus Seafood Salad

Chef Mickey’s Specialties

Chef’s Daily Soup, Mango Barbecue Pork Ribs, Smoked Kielbasa Sausage and Cheese Potato Pierogi, Oven-roasted Lemon Pepper Chicken, Baked Salmon Filet, Lobster Macaroni & Cheese, Freshly Breaded Eggplant Parmesan, Cheesy Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli with Cheese Sauce

Carved-to-Order

Herb-marinated Sirloin of Beef, Oven-roasted Turkey Breast

Children’s Buffet

Mickey’s Macaroni & Cheese, Goofy’s Mini Corn Dogs, Chicken Nuggets, Minnie’s Vegetables

It might not sound like a lot, but trust me, there is quite the variety. I am not exaggerating when I say I had to completely fill my plate twice just to sample everything I was interested in and I didn’t even try everything they had to offer.   Everyone in the party is sure to find something they’ll enjoy.

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The salad bar had a large variety to choose from.  There were the basic house and Caesar options, however they also featured a caprese salad, a seafood salad, shrimp cocktail, and more.  I was most surprised they even offered sushi. Even though, I’m not a sushi aficionado, this sushi was pretty basic and mediocre.  Being that this isn’t a sushi restaurant, I’d say it’s good enough to sample, but you can easily skip it.

The children’s buffet station was the standard offerings you find at pretty much every buffet.  However, the mac and cheese was made with Mickey noodles.  So of course, you just have to get that.  The next station didn’t have much that interested me, however I did sample the lemon pepper chicken and found it to be pretty basic. The Pierogi, broccoli, and cheese sauce was good enough.  The broccoli was steamed fresh.

I would say what stood apart from everything else were three items: lobster mac & cheese, the baked salmon, and the mango barbecue pork ribs.  I’m a sucker for mac & cheese; even more so when there is added ingredients in it.  I’m also not typically a fish guy, and even though my first helping of the salmon was dry, I decided to try the new batch for a second taste and it was much, much better!  Plus the ribs had a delicious sauce.  These were all items I had seconds on.  And finally, the carving station is exactly what you’d expect.  Pretty standard offerings.

We were sat next to the window which had the blinds down for most of our meal until the sun was set.  Once they were put up, we had a very nice view.  It’s just a shame the restaurant isn’t located on the other end of the Contemporary so we would be able to see the Magic Kingdom.

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After multiple helpings of the main buffet, it was time for dessert.  Here is their official dessert menu below.

Dessert Buffet

Soft-serve Ice Cream with Assorted Toppings, Mini Cupcakes, Tarts and Pastries, Seasonal Desserts

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Just like the main buffet, I had to return to the dessert buffet multiple times to sample every little thing they had (that interested me).  I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a wide selection of desserts at a Disney buffet before.  It really was impressive.  Usually, I’m satisfied with just bread pudding and ice cream, but of course I needed to try more.  The bread pudding was good, but there are better options for it at other areas on Disney property.  If you like chocolate, the smores and Mickey Domes are for you, though I found them lacking.  The apple and fruit tarts were rather nice. But what I enjoyed most was the eclair and macaroon varieties.  Everything else is just as you’d expect.

And of course, as with most of the Disney buffets, you get to meet characters.  Donald and Goofy were by far the most entertaining to meet at this restaurant experience.  We missed Minnie at our table, so we had to meet her on our way out.

Overall, we enjoyed ourselves at Chef Mickeys. It’s a fun, classic Disney restaurant that’ll surely put you in the Disney mood.  The atmosphere is fun and great for families.  They even do this odd napkin song where you are invited to swirl your napkin over your head along with all of the characters and staff.  The food was good enough overall. I’ve had worse experiences at Disney buffets.  I wasn’t disappointed by any means and I definitely ate more than enough to get my money’s worth.  However, there just isn’t any one main food offering which stands out to make me feel that I’d need to come back just to have it again.  (To put it into perspective, I dine at ‘Ohana multiple times a year and their menu is a quarter the size of Chef Mickeys. But the food is just so good, it never gets old.)

At the price of $56 per adult, I’d say you’re really paying more for the name and character meets more than anything.  The quantity and variety is there; just not the quality, which is really just a shame.  When I go to a Disney restaurant, and especially when I’m paying big money, I really am looking for at least one big wow factor and Chef Mickey’s didn’t follow through.

Chef Mickey’s isn’t bad.  It’s just not great. The restaurant is a great theme, however, it is a bit dated and could use a nice refurbishment. If you’ve never been, by all means go just to mark it off your list. After all, this is sort of a staple for Walt Disney World now.  As for us, I’m not sure if we’ll return for dinner service.  Maybe we will when we have children of our own. In the meantime, I’ll return to ‘Ohana for my 20th time and come try Chef Mickey’s breakfast.

Do you agree with our assessment?  Have you dined at Chef Mickey’s before? Let us know in the comments!  Thanks for reading.  Keep up with all of our adventures by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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About Chris DiPaula

Creator of DiPaula on Disney: entertainment website dedicated to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, other Florida parks and activities, and other adventures. Co-creator and producer of Parks, Brews, and Geek News: an entertainment website dedicated to the Florida theme parks including Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, movie & geek news, and food and brews. Chris DiPaula has been an avid theme park and amusement park goer since childhood and a die hard Disney fan for as long as he can remember. He is currently an active concierge Cast Member at Walt Disney World Resort and has worked for The Walt Disney Company since 2011. Previously, he worked for Busch Gardens Tampa and SeaWorld Orlando in the entertainment technician field as well.

Posted on July 14, 2016, in Dining, Walt Disney World and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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