I guess I’ve always been a little finicky about Italian food. I love it, but I want it to be well prepared. One of my family’s favorite “Teri” stories occurred when I was about two years old. We were at a restaurant, and the waitress came to ask how our food was. Never a shy child, I replied “Mith,” (I was trying to say “Miss”, but I had a lisp). “Mith, your thpaghetti’s terrible.”
“Honey,” she replied, “I don’t make it, I just serve it.” She then went to have a nice chuckle with the rest of the wait staff, as apparently they were less than impressed with the chef’s spaghetti (or the chef himself), as well.
That said, on our first trip as a family to Walt Disney World in 1998, my husband, daughter and I had a “magical moment” at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. I had made ADRs, and had timed them so that we should be done eating in plenty of time for the nighttime parade. I had underestimated the snail-like pace of Disney transportation, however, and we got there extremely late. I was in a complete panic, but the Disney cast members came to the rescue. Not only did they seat us right away, but they got us a table on their patio, so that we could watch the parade while we ate. The food was wonderful, and the entire experience was stellar.
We enjoyed it to much that we went back on our next trip three years later. This time it was okay, but nowhere near as fabulous as the last time. We decided that maybe we had romanticized the experience, and that nothing was going to live up to the first trip, so we tried again in 2007. That was not a magical experience. We didn’t get seated until a good half hour after our scheduled ADR time, and the menu options were significantly fewer than on previous visits. I was less than impressed.
Operating under the assumption that anyone can have a bad night, we went again on our most recent visit, fall of 2009. Again, we waited as the time for our ADR came and went. And then we waited some more. I can only guess that they were hoping that by the time we did eat, we’d be too hungry to care what our food tasted like. They must not know me very well.
I had something that was akin to Pasta Pomodoro (it’s no longer on the menu, so I don’t recall the exact name). It’s supposed to be Roma tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil and extra-virgin olive oil tossed with angel-hair pasta. If there was actually any garlic or basil within ten yards of that dish, I’d be amazed. It was the blandest meal I’ve ever tasted. I tried everything to give it some flavor – salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese - but nothing worked. My family didn’t fare much better. The spaghetti noodles . I tried everything to give it some flavor – salt, pepper, parmesan cheese - but nothing worked. My family didn’t fare much better. The spaghetti noodles with my daughter’s Chicken Parmesan were cooked to the point that they were just a big wet mess on her plate, and my husband wasn’t even able to tell me a few hours later what he had eaten.
Why has Tony’s gone downhill? Some people claim that the Disney Dining Plan is to blame. They think that because of the DDP, Disney has limited the number of menu options, and has let the food quality slip as well. Others say that Disney is counting on first-time or novice guests, who won’t be back again anytime soon anyway, so it doesn’t matter if the food isn’t that great. After all, there will just be another rookie guest to fill their slot. I myself don’t know. What I do know is that table service dining in the
is seriously lacking, in my opinion. With Tony’s slipping so badly, I’d say your best bet is Crystal Palace, and that’s a buffet, not a true sit-down experience. The Plaza Restaurant is okay, but if I were on the dining plan, I’d never use a table-service credit for sandwiches. The Liberty Tree Tavern is serviceable, but falls under the “not really worth the money or calories” category for me, and I have zero interest in ever eating at Cinderella’s Royal Table again. Magic Kingdom
I’d love to see Tony’s regain its former glory. It is in such a prime location, and could be a jewel in Disney’s crown if managed properly. But maybe the problem’s with me. Maybe I’m just too finicky. “Maybe I’m just too demanding. Maybe I’m just like my father” -- okay; I’ll quit singing now. But let me know what you think. Chime in over at http://www.facebook.com/disneygene. I’d love to hear your opinion!