Character Breakfasts, as they are commonly called, have sat very low on the culinary ladder in my mind. The food has always been standard fare: an omelet station flanked by chafing dishes filled with overdone pancakes and breakfast meats. It is something you do, “for the kids”, forgoing any hopes of gourmet food or short order value, by holding on to some semblance of your childhood remembrances of coming face-to-face with the mouse-in-the-red-suit.
When I was a child in the 1970′s, my family and I went frequently to these meals on our trips to the Magic Kingdom. I don’t remember the flavor of the food itself -usually a plate piled with clockface settings of powdered eggs and underdone sausages, overlapped by the ticking hands of dry bacon. Food was never the centerpiece of the experience. I shyly but excitedly greeted the likes to Mickey, Donald and Tigger, feeling the soft fuzziness of their costumes as they pulled me in for a light, congenial hug. I did not care about the food: I wanted to be near my animal friends and touch the characters that I had read and dreamed about.
I entered this trip to Disney with a level of resignation about the food, sure that I would be paying for the face-time alone. I wanted my own girls to share in a “bit of the magic” at a character breakfast, this time with Alice, the Mad Hatter, Tigger and Pooh.
1900 Park Fare proved me wrong.
Located on the ground floor at WDW’s Grand Floridian, the restaurant is open to transients and hotels guests alike.
I have to premise the description of the buffet, owing to the copious amount that I consumed. It was of course, the day after running 13.1 miles in the Disney half-marathon. I (and thousands of other runners) chowed down on every calorie-laden buffet the park had to offer.
Confession: I say this knowing that marathon or no marathon, I WOULD have eaten as much as I could.
1900 Park Fare was worth it.
I stared with a homemade bagel (there were three varieties available) toasted and topped with house made chive schmear, lox, thinly sliced red onion and ruby red tomatoes. I moved on to the fluffy biscuits and sausage gravy that was seasoned ever so carefully with a black and white pepper to contrast the heavy creaminess of the dish. I piled a bowl high with fresh pineapple, strawberries and cantalope, and went back for a bowl of the restaurant’s signature dish: Strawberry Soup.
The refreshing smoothie-like consistency of the soup tempered my fat-laden, ill-conscience.
Piles of quickbreads and muffins, all made at the hotel, anchored the buffet. I skipped over them and opted for the hot sticky buns. They were so short and flaky, that the rest of my family party jumped up quickly to grab one before they were gone. There was the requisite omelet station, piled with every filling imgainable. The omelets I noticed were cooked properly, with a slight runny center. A carved baked ham joined the mix and was juicy and sweet.
The Children’s Buffet was complete with all of the adult fixings, punctuated by the crispy light Mickey Mouse-shaped waffles and mouse-head shaped plates. The crown jewel of the morning was the Rice Krispie Treat bar, packed with treats and candy toppings. I loved the whimsy – my husband and girls loved being able to eat their favorite desset for breakfast.
The chararcters made rounds to each table, so we did not miss a thing. Everyone from Alice and the Mad Hatter to Mary Poppins asked after us, with Mary making sure we were using, “our best manners.” I can account that even with a plate full of food and after licking my lips, I did have my napkin in my lap and was chewing with my mouth closed.
Reservations are required. (I made ours 3 months in advance and got a 9:20 am seating for a party of six.) I recommend calling as soon as you book your vacation. Call 1-800-WDW-INFO to book.
Kristin Fuhrmann Simmons 1/23/2013