by Pixie Dusted Diva
One of the advantages to taking to your parents with you on vacation is the rare opportunity for a date night. Not to mention the other reasons Fancy Free Diva told us why we should bring grandparents to Disney here. I wanted this date night to be extra special as it was my husband and my 10th wedding anniversary. When planning where we should go for this rare date night opportunity, let alone in Disney with no kids, I thought about places we have never eaten or would never eat with the kids. I also thought about what we would want to do afterwards. It happened to be the last weekend of Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, so I thought that might be somewhere we could head with no kiddos! We had plans to head to Epcot during the day, but I thought we would then wine and dine around the world alone at night as well!
I narrowed down my restaurant choices to California Grill at the top of the Contemporary or Le Cellier in Canada at Epcot. I had a really tough decision deciding between the two so I made a reservation for both. I wouldn’t recommend double booking yourself normally as Disney does have a cancellation fee so should you forget to cancel you would be charged and you are preventing someone else from booking a reservation, but this was a one-time rare opportunity for myself and I wanted to make sure I made the right choice. Some of the things I considered in our decision was the menu, location of the restaurant, dress code and what we would be doing after.
When you dine at California Grill you have the opportunity to view Wishes fireworks if your reservation is during that time and they pipe in the music, or you are able to come back and view the fireworks in their viewing area. In the end, I decided against California Grill as their dress code is stricter, and after all, we are on vacation in Florida. We did not want to have to dress up and then head to a park. We chose Le Cellier as we heard the food is great and we wanted to check out the Food and Wine Festival as well. Had we chosen California Grill we would have had to take a bus to the Magic Kingdom, then walk (or take the monorail) to the Contemporary and then take the monorail to the Transportation and Ticket Center and switch monorails to get to Epcot. While we had all the time in the world, taking the bus straight to Epcot also sounded more appealing. Visiting the Magic Kingdom after dinner was not an option either, as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party was taking place and we would of needed a special admission ticket in order to enter the park after 7 p.m.
After spending the day at Epcot with our family, we knew Epcot had been really crowded. The last weekend of the Food and Wine Festival and the wonderful weather had drawn large crowds to Epcot. The bus ride alone and traffic had taken at least double the time it normally would to get to the park. We knew we had to leave extra early to get to our dinner reservation. We were staying at Saratoga Springs Resort which is actually not that far from Epcot, but we were at the bus stop at 4:30 p.m, two hours before our reservation time. However, we did not get to Epcot until 6:30 pm! We booked it to Le Cellier! Luckily its location in World Showcase is near the beginning and we knew exactly where we were going. When we got to the restaurant I heard them say they were running 10-15 minutes behind, which was perfect as so were we. However, after waiting five minutes to check in I was told because we were 20 minutes late they could not seat us. I was crushed, we had the rare opportunity for a date night (which we don’t even get at home with four kids) and now because of circumstances out of our control it was possibly ruined. I asked to speak to a manager, and we explained our situation, she stated if we waited a little bit they would possibly be able to help us. I fully understood we were late and if everyone was late the whole dining reservation system would be a disaster.
We had a wonderful meal at Le Cellier. You meal starts off with warm bread (the pretzel bread is delicious)! I had the Le Cellier Filet Mignon and my husband had the Black Angus Rib Eye. We did not try any appetizers or desserts as we wanted to head out to Food and Wine Festival. Our plan was to watch the fireworks, however I did not realize they started at 10 p.m. and was expecting a 9 p.m.start! Le Cellier is two dining credits on the dining plan. We were on the dining plan for this trip, however chose to pay out of pockets for this meal since we were dining alone from the rest of our party and it is two credits. We were able to use our Annual Passholder discount for the meal. Overall, our dinner got off to a rough start with a long bus and late to dinner, but we had a wonderful date night. Food and Wine was very very crowded and I would not recommend heading there on the weekend (or the last weekend) if you could avoid it! Take full advantage of any help you have on vacation and if you can squeeze dinner for two or any time of alone time in on vacation.. do it!!
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