Grand Floridian Room, Narcoossee’s, Victoria & Albert’s Review

by josh on February 3, 2014

We’ll take a moment to visit the Grand Floridian Resort at night, have dinner at Narcoosse’s, have dinner at Victoria & Albert’s, have dinner at Citricos, have afternoon tea, have breakfast at Grand Floridian Cafe, check out a standard room, and check out a 2-bedroom villa HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Part 1 here will cover about a third of that. I feel like I should charge admission for this post.

Narcoossee’s is the signature restaurant located outside the Grand Floridian’s main building. You’ll find it down the path to the left of the recently refurbished courtyard pool.

47 degree nights are an excellent opportunity to take pool pix without the fear of being awarded a third strike.

The joys of not carrying a tripod.

According to Disney, we are about to “slip away to this elegant waterfront retreat for exquisite seafood specialties and spectacular views of Seven Seas Lagoon.”

I just thought it felt crowded.

Upon entering, the kitchen greets prospective diners.

In addition to the small wait area. Our reservation was for 9:15pm, a solid hour after Wishes finished, and the restaurant was perhaps 20% full. The smart money is on booking a reservation about an hour before Wishes starts and requesting a window table at check-in. Everyone else tends to have the same idea, so you may not be able to score one.

The website does not generally recommend booking a dining reservation in order to see the nighttime entertainment, inside the Park or not. While a few restaurants do theoretically offer great views, not all tables enjoy one. Consider a terrific view of IllumiNations from La Hacienda de San Angel a bonus, but you may be disappointed if it’s your one shot at seeing IllumiNations and your party is seated in the back. This is our view of the Electric Water Pageant from the table.

My side of the table has a restricted view of Cinderella Castle through the windows in the distance, while Lisa’s parents have virtually no view of anything other than blogging royalty. And me.

The balcony that circles the restaurant outside affords a decent view of the Castle across the water, but a reservation isn’t required and your view is similar to the boat dock next door as well as the marina closer to Gasparilla Grill.

I don’t think we’re too far away from, “Come on guys. At least not jorts.”‘

Major props to whoever is writing this crap for the Daz. “Capable of bold flavors, subtle nuances, and layer upon layer of flavor, the possibility to find harmonious pairings are limitless.” And that’s just the Bud Light!

It’s either my addiction to botox or one too many $75 Diet Cokes, but very few Disney prices cause one of my eyebrows to raise. $70 steak/lobster tail combos will do it though, not to mention the $45 scallop plate or $38 pasta. Even if the chef’s name is “Den-nis,” I hope he makes people call him “Deh-nee.” Tres French.

Kids.


The cocktail list is pretty ho hum, perhaps with the exception of the Woodford Manhattan and I don’t recall seeing Conundrum Sangrias elsewhere. Disney continues to elevate its beer game with several outstanding, albeit overpriced options. The Rogue Dirtoir actually stands out as a good value – it’s a 22-ounce bottle that costs $8 at Total Wine. I otherwise have my eye on that St. Bernardus, which runs around $18 for a 4-pack in stores.



Wine flights continue their expansion as well.

Should you not have a reservation or prefer to sneak in for a cocktail and some appetizers, Narcoosse’s does have a bar in the center of the restaurant. Unfortunately, it affords no real view.

You could look up I guess.

Spoiler: We thought the restaurant was reminiscent of a Red Lobster, the service was far too casual for the money, and the food was overpriced, even by your favorite theme park’s usual standards.

Dinner is avec Lisa and her parents. Randy ordered the very bloggable Woodford Manhattan – an excellent choice.

Is a Sidecar a girly drink? This one was definitely on the sweeter side with a heavy pour of the lazy lemonade and a very sugary rim.

We started with the Artisanal Cheese – Five tasting portions from around the world with accompaniments – $18.

Smart enough to let the ladies have at it, I sat most of this one out.

It’s certainly a nice way to begin a meal – this one was fairly straightforward.

Surprisingly tasteless bread arrives shortly after orders are taken. This “sourdough” was almost completely devoid of flavor and the accompanying butter sprinkled with “Hawaiian salt” didn’t do much to jazz it up.

The Crispy Rhode Island Calamari Pepperoncini-Olive Relish and Tomato Coulis – $14.

Lightly battered and fried, these were well above average, though the chintzy amount of sauce underneath left something to be desired.

Maine Lobster Bisque – Butter-poached Lobster, Coral, Vanilla-infused Lobster Oil, and Chervil – $13. Rough pricing on this creamy soup with three or four small lobster chunks.

Heirloom Apple Salad – Matsu Apples, Jones Farm Baby Lettuce, Medjool Dates, Spiced Candied Almonds, Point Reyes Bay Blue, and Cranberry-Moscato Vinaigrette – $13.

Grilled Wild Caught Corvina – Marble Potatoes, Florida Sweet Corn, Nueske’s Cherrywood-smoked Bacon, Celery, “Chowda sauce” and Roasted Red Pepper Rouille $39.

Butter-poached Maine Lobster Tail with Grilled Black Angus 12-oz New York Strip – Applewood-smoked Bacon Potato Gratin, Organic Summer Vegetables, and Salsa Verde – $72. This is the most expensive single entree at any Disney World restaurant as far as I can remember. At such a lofty price point, the quality of the meat didn’t meet expectations and the butter-poached lobster tail didn’t taste any different than your standard steamed variety. Good, but not great.

Lisa loved her House-made Roasted Buttercup and Kabocha Pumpkin Ravioli – Heirloom Apple, Lacinato Kale, Aged Gruyère, Toasted Pistachios, and Ace Joker Hard Cider Beurre Noisette – $33.

My $38 plate of House-made Local Shrimp Fettuccine – Wild Florida Jumbo Shrimp with Savory Spinach, Baby Heirloom Tomatoes, and Lemon-Chardonnay-Garlic Cream Sauce. Lighter than I was expecting from a cream-based sauce, the pasta probably would have been helped with some freshly grated cheese, which wasn’t offered.

The eight-or-so shrimp were perfectly prepared, but the dish overall was a bit muted. For the money, I think you would expect something a little more.

While our entrees were all serviceable, I don’t think they were worthy of being served in Disney’s most expensive signature restaurant.

Sippin’ on a Nutty Irishman nbd.

Tea.

The sort of unfortunate looking Narcoossee’s “Candy Bar” – Dark Chocolate-Mocha Bar with House-made Guanaja Chocolate Gelato – $10 was so rich and so dense that one small bite was plenty.

The Almond-crusted Cheesecake finished with Lambert Cherry Sauce – $10 was nearly as decadent and an excellent way to end a very expensive meal. The cheesecake is just sweet enough and the almonds add some crunch and a bit of spice. Very good. Ending a day here at the bar with a glass of wine and the cheesecake would be pretty posh.

Narcoossee’s is an approachable restaurant, which may be a good thing for families. There is no pretentiousness or stuffiness to speak of. I thought it “felt” a little too casual for a signature restaurant charging these prices. But service was as cordial as your neighborhood Chili’s and you should feel right at home with what I would characterize as an unremarkable restaurant.

Switching gears, this is a Standard Grand Floridian room.

2k14 rack rate pricing starts at $549 and goes all the way up to a staggering $856 per night and this is the least expensive room at the resort. A theme park view room in this configuration would run you somewhere between $669 and a whopping $1,066 per night.

For the money, you’d think the drawers would be cleared out. Instead, we found the last guests’ crumpled up receipts.

It’s funny because right above it sits a card that reads, “Welcome, I have prepared your room today and hope that you are pleased and comfortable.” I called the desk and demanded a Grand Floridian upgrade.

Rooms are otherwise undergoing a major renovation.

This is an older room with furnishings that probably needed to be replaced a few years ago.

It’s hard to rationalize the immense cost of the room, no matter your tax bracket.

Couch.

Chair.

Bathroom:




You do actually get a fridge, which might make the $400 difference between this and Riverside worthwhile.

There is a bit of a fireworks view from this particular room.

Finishing up with the lobby of this particular guest building. For me, there is nowhere near enough value to justify the price. We just got off a 4-night cruise on the Disney Magic that cost $560. For two people. With taxes, fees, and tips included. That’s less than the cheapest room at the Grand Floridian on the cheapest night of the year. For one night. And you’d still need to buy Park tickets and food. The difference between a Standard room here and at Riverside is $367 on the cheapest night of the year. That would cover a dinner for two at Victoria & Albert’s with money left over. Every night.

Moving along to Victoria & Albert’s, located just off the lobby on the second floor.

When discussing WDW dining, V&A is going to top just about every conceivable “best of” list. And the runner up isn’t even close. If V&A is Splash Mountain, #2 is Stitch’s Great Escape. At least that’s the hype.

Staff is dressed like they’re working a funeral at the Haunted Mansion. Service was refined to the point where it “felt” wooden. They know your name when you arrive, can recite everything you order at any point if after three hours you’ve forgotten what the fifth course is, and describe every dish in tortuous detail. Yes, all seven butter courses have a #story, not to mention the breads, wines, and everything in between. He had me thinking we were drinking some pretty good stuff until we got to the final course, which was served alongside Rosa Regale. He was going on about the foothills of Italy this and the Brachetto d’Acqui Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita that. Bro, I have had Regale before. It is Franzia with 4,917 sugar cubes mixed in.

The windowless restaurant is otherwise either elegant or stuffy.

Canon shooters are offered a cushion for their cameras. Nikon shooters place their cameras on the floor where they belong.


Your seven course meal.

The food:

The menu changes often enough that I don’t think there’s much use in describing each item. Several, including the Maine Diver Scallop, Mangalista Pork, Roasted White Chocolate Gelato, and Chocolate Souffle, were the single best representations of that item I’ve ever eaten. This is not a website that will tell you how amazing!!!!! whatever cupcake Hollywood Studios is currently offering for six bucks is, but the food here truly is amazing. Definitely finish your meal with coffee. Superb.

Dinner is a minimum of $135 per person and it’s a bargain at that price. While the pretentiousness of this place is off-putting and I could have gone with six or seven fewer lectures about butter, this is a special experience and one that can’t be replicated anywhere else on property.

The wine pairings run $65 and are also a bargain. Lisa’s parents were celebrating their anniversary (awwwwwwww) and started us off with a bottle of champagne. Since the first course is paired with champagne, we elected to add wine with dessert. And out came the Regale.

In part 2 we’ll check out the rest of Grand Floridian’s fine dining options.

{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

Oliver February 20, 2014 at 9:22 am

I have a res for last week in April and they confirmed August 1st this year they stop accepting TiW. Thanks for this and all your reviews, great site!!!!!

Sean February 26, 2014 at 6:57 pm

So we have reservations for V&A in late April and I’m trying to decide between the 7 course “regular” meal or the Queen Vic 10 course. Any thoughts? What’s the amount of food? And most importantly, what beers do they have at V&A?

Megan March 2, 2014 at 11:10 am

We are booked at the GF in December because we received 35% off the room rate and the difference btw it at the CR was less than $200. All of the rooms should be totally refurbished by then. We wanted to stay at the Poly, but all the construction….. I keep debating about switching to the CR. I would for sure if they weren’t redoing the rooms……

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