Maya Grill Review
Kevin Klose - April 7, 2008
I’ve been asked if there are any “out of the way” dining spots at Disney that I would consider to be “worth the trip”. It seems people are looking for a new experience….something fresh…..something different.
You’ve all heard the ravings (whether deserved or not) about Le Cellier and Jiko….but where is the next hot spot? What restaurant is worth a ride on a Disney bus?
In an effort to find this experience, we’ve started visiting some of the restaurants that you don’t hear about as often.
Now….where to begin? Here is some background information.
It was a regular night during the week and we decided to go out to eat. Our destination…a neighborhood Mexican restaurant with great food and awesome prices. Two of us can feast for $22.00 including an appetizer, two entrees and two soft drinks.
While on our way, we started talking about our schedule for the rest of the week and realized that we had little free time to visit a Disney restaurant for this week’s review. It was obvious our plan needed to change so we headed for Disney.
As I said earlier, we had decided to go off the beaten path looking for “hidden gems” and with a taste for Mexican food….we decided to head for the Coronado Springs Resort. This is a just a little insight into the scientific way we choose which restaurant to review.
We have previously extolled the virtues of the Pepper Market Food Court, so our obvious choice was the Maya Grill.
I am sad to say that after blowing 100 bucks…and missing our favorite Mexican place…this is definitely not a “hidden gem”
We approached the podium without an ADR at approximately 6:00pm. Looking into the vast and nearly deserted restaurant, the hostess asked if we had reservations. The old joke of “yes…but we’re still going to eat here” came to mind but we said no and asked if that was an issue. We were quickly shown to a table.
The Maya Grill is a very large space. The main section is a soaring room containing what I assume is supposed to be a Mayan temple but looks more like 1960’s era modern / modular church. It has windows and natural light and is much more appealing than where we were seated.
We were shown to the low “ceilinged” Mayan Denny’s section of the restaurant.
This section has stiff backed booths and chairs that look like they were purchased at one of those discount furniture stores and described as “modern”. It also has the very worst lighting imaginable for people and food. There are recessed fixtures in the ceiling that are a dark yellow color and give everyone a jaundiced pallor.
It amazes me that a place famed for it’s imagination and creativity would allow the use of yellow lighting in a high end restaurant…and make no mistakes folks…the Maya Grill is high end…..well at least the prices.
On to our dinner…..
We decided on the Pulled Pork Empanada ($9.00) served with a Chipotle cream and the Seafood Margarita ($10.00) which is shrimp, lobster and mussels marinated in lime and tequila. We also decided to try the soup of the day, Beef Barley ($7.00).
There were 2 empanadas served. They were each about the size of a playing card and drizzled with brown gravy and lying on a bed of shredded lettuce. If this appetizer had been 3 or 4 dollars, I would tell you that they were tasty. At $9.00…it’s a rip off.
The Seafood Margarita came served in a margarita glass. It was basically a salsa with three mussels and a few bits of shrimp and supposedly lobster. There was a lime and tequila sauce over everything. I’m going to take their word for the fact that there was lobster in there…but I couldn’t find it. Again….overpriced at $10.00 but tasty.
The Beef Barley soup had a smoky, wood fired flavor…but not to keep abusing the dead horse…overpriced at $7.00 a bowl.
While getting ready to order our entrees, a server walked by with something stacked up on a plate. I asked our server what it might be and she said it’s Mmmmpphh….excuse me….it’s mmmmmppphhh…it’s a dessert. Ok….we’ll get to that later.
John decided on the Mixed Grill ($32.00) which consists of Filet Mignon, the Fresh Catch and St. Louis Style ribs. It also included a potato choice and mixed veggies.
I had the Chilean Salmon Filet ($27.00) which also included the potato and veggie.
Our server described the fresh mashed potatoes with caramelized onions and we both said yes.
John’s dish consisted of the smallest, saddest piece of beef I think I have ever seen. It was roughly ¾ of an inch thick and over done. There was also a small piece of non-descript mahi-mahi and the highlight of his dinner, the St. Louis Style ribs. I know what you’re thinking….what makes them St. Louis Style and why would you have St. Louis Style ribs in a vaguely Mexican restaurant? The answer to both is…who knows? The good news is that they were very good barbecued ribs. The mashed potatoes were a let down of basic mashed potatoes with some overdone onion bits. Blech!
I had asked the server what Chilean Salmon might be, thinking it might have a spicy rub or some exotic flavors. Nope…wrong again….it’s salmon from Chile and served in a house butter sauce.
The fish was oily and greasy and layered over the poorly described mashed potatoes and served with a few huge chunks of barely cooked zucchini and yellow squash.
I can only say that this food was sloppily prepared and even more sloppily presented. It looked rushed and messy and like something you would get at a department store buffeteria. And to top it all off….it was served under that awful yellow light which made it look un-healthy.
To finish this mess….we decided to try that un-decipherable dessert. Again…the description was lovely. The reality was that it was three hard meringue cookies with a dollop of chocolate mousse between the layers and it was $8.00.
With one soft drink and what was listed above….the total came to $99.00 for two people.
We gave our server our Disney Dining Experience card. She returned with our bill and explained that she had taken the 20% discount but had NOT added the 18% mandatory gratuity. Smart server! She got the full 20% plus on the pre-discount total and she deserved it. She had worked for it and her only fault was her descriptions. We found it interesting as this is the only place that this has ever happened.
Going back to our original idea of finding Disney’s “hidden gem”…..look elsewhere…..there are no gems in this temple.
- New Disney Vera Bradley pattern to be released September 19 - Disney Dreaming, the newest addition to the Disney Collection by Vera Bradley, will debut at Cherry Tree Lane in Downtown Disney's Marketplace Co-Op on September 19.
- Blog - Apple Pay is coming to the Walt Disney World Resort - What does it mean for the average Disney guest?
- Blog - Disney Opposes "Inflammatory" Amended Complaint in DAS Lawsuit
- Disney Cast Members - What is the one "tip" you can give us? - Don't have time to read a 89-page thread on the DISboards? We've summed up the highlights for you so you can find out cast members' best tips for guests!
- Blog - The Good and Bad of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" on Blu-ray
- L'Artisan des Glaces in France Pavilion introduces Pumpkin Spice ice cream - Pumpkin spice ice cream and pumpkin spice macaron ice cream sandwiches are now available for the fall season.
- Food & Wine Festival's Late Nights LIVE! now only available on Thursdays - The new event at Epcot's International Food & Wine Festival was originally scheduled to be held every Tuesday and Thursday during the Festival, but will now just take place on Thursdays.
- Last day for Maelstrom will be October 5 - The new Frozen attraction is expected to open in early 2016.
- Ticket discounts available for Cirque du Soleil La Nouba - Discounted tickets must be purchased by 9/22/14.
- Blog - A Walking Tour of Disney's Polynesian Village Resort at Walt Disney World - Construction Update
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Crescent Lake Bridge - Crescent Lake - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at Crescent Lake Bridge - Crescent Lake
- 5 Tips for Taking Better Photos at Walt Disney World - It’s a given fact that when you go on a Disney vacation you are going to take a ton of photos throughout your trip. Use these tips to make those photos the best they can be.
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - New Fantasyland - Seven Dwarfs Mine Train - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at New Fantasyland - Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- 4 Ways to Make Magic for Other Guests at Walt Disney World - While visiting a Disney theme park, the Cast Members on the clock are tasked with doing their best to ‘make magic’ for as many Guests as possible. But, if you’re anything like my family, seeing others enjoy their time at a Disney park is sometimes just as satisfying as enjoying the parks yourselves.
- Crane now in place behind Cinderella Castle - The crane is now in place behind Cinderella Castle to install the Castle Dream Lights for the holiday season. The anticipated date for the crane removal is September 21.
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Splash Mountain Bridge - Splash Mountain - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at Splash Mountain Bridge - Splash Mountain
- Top 5 Hidden Gems at Disney's Animal Kingdom - Disney’s Animal Kingdom is crawling with hidden details and overlooked attractions that most people would just walk right past. But there is so much more if you are willing to take a few moments to stop and really look at your surroundings.
- Ride the Comix! closes at DisneyQuest - This attraction is now closed and will allow for an expansion of the FoodQuest seating area.
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Japan Gallery - Spirited Beasts - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at Japan Gallery - Spirited Beasts
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Club Cool - Fountain of Nations - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at Club Cool - Fountain of Nations
- Disney Legend Tony Baxter added to D23 Destination D lineup - Baxter will present a panel featuring an in-depth tour of an expansion for Disneyland that never materialized.
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Epcot Entrance - Leave A Legacy - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at Epcot Entrance - Leave A Legacy
- Blog - Frustrated At Walt Disney World? "LET IT GO"
- Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Walt Disney World's Fort Wilderness Resort celebrates its 40th anniversary - The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue marks its 40th anniversary after more than 37,000 dinner show performances at Disney's Fort Wilderness campground.
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Capt. Cook's - Capt. Cook's Seating Area - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at Capt. Cook's - Capt. Cook's Seating Area
- Night of Joy completely sold out at Magic Kingdom - This hard-ticket event features contemporary Christian artists in concert for two nights. This year's event is completely sold out.
- Harmony Barber Shop will close for a month for refurb - The Magic Kingdom shop will be closed from 2/2/15 - 3/30/15.
- Frozen Sing-Along added to FastPass+ choices at Hollywood Studios - This is a Tier 2 FastPass+ choice.
- Time change for internal boat service at Downtown Disney - The red route previously closed at 11:30pm. It will now run until 2:00am.
- VIDEO: 2014 Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Overview - Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is the yearly event that brings the spookiest holiday of them all to Magic Kingdom. This hard-ticket party allows guests to dress up in costumes, trick-or-treat throughout the park, and meet some characters in their costumes.
- Neil Patrick Harris, Isabella Rossellini and Blair Underwood added as Candlelight Processional narrators - There are still a few narrators left to be announced.
- VIDEO: Cruising Around Hawaii - Explore the Hawaiian islands of Maui, Hawai'i, and Kauai while sailing onboard Norwegians Cruise Line's Pride of America.
- VIDEO: Driving Around Oahu - Explore the island of Oahu by driving around to different unique locations. Ted's Bakery, Haleiwa, Matsumoto's Shave Ice, and many others make Oahu a great place to find local treasures.
- Blog - Back to School Disney Style: Great Merchandise Finds in the Parks
- Pricing structure changed for Valet Parking at Downtown Disney - Pricing is based on length of stay - time starts when you reach the valet podium and stops when you return to the podium to pick up your car.
- Blog - Top 5 Must Do's at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
- Pangani Research Center closes for refurb - Pangani Research Center- Aviary and Hippo viewing area will be closed 9/2 - 11/14/2014.
- Blog - Villains Soiree - Wickedly Disappointing
- Blog - Dole Whips are back at the Polynesian Village Resort at the new and disappointing Pineapple Lanai
- Shortened monorail operating hours now in place - The monorail will have a different operating schedule than normal as an automation upgrade takes place.
- Blog - The Good and Bad of "Toy Story of TERROR!" on Blu-ray
- American Idol Experience is now closed at Disney's Hollywood Studios - This attraction closed August 30, 2014. No definitive plans have been announced for this space.
- VIDEO: Oogie Boogie's Freaky Funhouse Show at Villains Unleashed - Oogie Boogie's Freaky Funhouse Show at Villains Unleashed brings Vegas to Walt Disney World. Villains Unleashed took over Disney's Hollywood Studios on August 23, 2014 and part of the hard ticket event was Oogie Boogie's Freak Funhouse Show. Oogie Boogie hosts the show that features a sword-swallowing act, daredevil archery and a finale full of fire!
- Refurb closures planned for Walt Disney World water parks - Typhoon Lagoon will be closed 10/26/14-1/3/15 and Blizzard Beach will be closed 1/4/15-3/14/15.
- Top 5 Signature Dining Experiences at the Walt Disney World Resorts - 1,600 listeners and viewers of our DIS Unplugged web-cast voted on their favorite signature restaurants at the Walt Disney World resort hotels.
- Blog - The Top 5 Underutilized Spaces at Walt Disney World
- Starbucks will open at Hollywood Studios in February 2015 - The Trolley Car Cafe will be located along Hollywood Boulevard and be themed like a trolley car station. Disney baked goods and Starbucks La Boulange pastry items will be available. An exact location hasn't been announced.
- VIDEO - Frozen Fireworks Multi-Angle Full Show - “Frozen” Fireworks Spectacular – Everything wraps up at 9:45 p.m. when Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf come together at the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage for a grand finale to the day’s festivities, kicking off an awe-inspiring fireworks display set to the glorious music of “Frozen!”
- VIDEO: Star-Lord & Gamora from 'Guardians of the Galaxy' at Villains Unleashed - Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, and Gamora made their first appearance ever at the Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Tape Vol. 1 Dance Party during the Villains Unleashed event at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
- Mikala Canoe Club Marina at Polynesian to be closed for refurb - The marina will be closed 9/15 - 9/19/2014. Sail boat/motorized boats and fishing excursions will not be available.
- Entrance 4 to Downtown Disney's parking lot now closed - Entrance 4 (between Cirque du Soleil and DisneyQuest) is now closed permanently. The only entrances are Entrance 2 (across from the Hess Station) and Entrance 5 (across from Typhoon Lagoon).
- VIDEO: Villains Unleashed Opening Ceremony - Villains Unleashed kicked off at Disney's Hollywood Studios with an opening ceremony hosted by Hades, Pain, Panic and Megara from Hercules. Once the stars of the night took the stage they introduced some of the 50 Disney Villains guests could meet at the special hard ticket event.
- VIDEO: Villains Unleashed Event Overview - Over 50 Disney villains took over Disney's Hollywood Studios for the Villains Unleashed Event.
- Times updated for events at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party - The Party is a specially ticketed event at the Magic Kingdom that begins September 1.
- Villains' Sinister Soiree add-on available for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party - This special add-on will give guests preferred viewing for Mickey's Boo to You Halloween Parade (8:15pm) and the Happy HalloWishes fireworks show. Lady Tremaine will host a dessert soiree at Cinderella's Royal Table Restaurant for you and some of her friends.
- 5 Elements from the Disney Parks that You'll Find on a Disney Cruise Ship - You have been to the Disney Parks, and you love them. You keep going back for that pixie-dust rush. You can’t imagine a vacation apart from Disney Parks, yet somehow the “old and familiar” is getting a bit old and familiar. This is where the Disney Cruise Line enters. It’s a Disney vacation of a different variety. The dissimilarities are a bit obvious. You’re on a ship in the ocean, visiting foreign places. This is nothing like being landlocked in a park, surrounded by coasters and kiosks. So what can you expect from the Disney Parks to carry over to your cruise?
- Blog - "Villains Unleashed" needs leashing up - Disney's overcrowded hard ticket event leaves guests in long lines most of the night
- Mickey's PhilharMagic refurb extended - The end date has been moved from September 19 to the 28th. The attraction will go down September 8.
- Enchanted Tiki Room going down for refurb in late September - The Magic Kingdom attraction will be closed from 9/27 - 10/3/2014.
- Two Epcot New Year's Eve dining events released - More New Year's Eve events are yet to be released.
- Blog - Beyond Aulani
- Updated operating schedule for monorails - The monorail will have a different operating schedule than normal as an automation upgrade takes place.
- Charging stations for electric vehicles added to Epcot parking lot - Disney has added four Level 2 ChargePoint charging stations to the Journey parking lot at Epcot. Electric vehicles will be charged $.35 per kw/h, with a minimum charge of $1.50.
- Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party tickets sold out on 10/31/14 - Tickets are still available for all other dates.
- New Move it! Shake it! Dance and Play it! Street Party to debut at Magic Kingdom this fall - Stitch and Phineas & Ferb will join the party and Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy will ride on top of giant gift boxes. The soundtrack will feature remixed classic party songs and guests will vote for one of three current hits to be played.
- VIDEO: What's New at Aulani - Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa has many new offerings. Quick service at Ulu Cafe, kids splash zone at Keiki Cove, two new pools, and much more.
- MagicBands can now be purchased without ticket media - The bands are now available for purchase across property.
- Changes to boat schedules at Downtown Disney - Schedules have been changing recently due to construction.
- Blog - The Good and Bad of the "Muppets Most Wanted" Blu-ray
- Protesters demonstrate outside SeaWorld Orlando
- Confirmed: Maelstrom to be replaced by FROZEN attraction
- SeaWorld, Universal and Epcot honored by Amusement Today
- Apple Pay to work at Walt Disney World
- Luxury villa community to be built near Orlando theme parks
- Fifth resort to open at Universal Orlando in Summer 2016
- Magic Mountain's Colossus Catches Fire
- SeaWorld's Halloween Spooktacular returns on weekends in October
- New teen comedy coming to Disney Channel
- Allergy-friendly menus tested at Walt Disney World