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Pepper Market Food Court Review

by Kevin Klose - June 2004

We recently spent some time at the Coronado Springs Resort attending a Disney Pin Event. The event, which was great fun, was held from 11:00am - 6:00pm in one of the ballrooms at the Resort. Half way through the day, we became very hungry, as pin trading is hard work. One member of our party was dispatched to the food court to find something to eat.
Being focused on the event and the folks we were talking and trading with, food was a necessary afterthought. With these factors, we were not expecting much from lunch, just something to hold us until our dinner at the Animal Kingdom. Also, being Disney regulars, we were not expecting much from a resort food court.

I can say, with enthusiasm, that the food that was brought back to the ballroom was a total departure from what I expected. Upon opening the styrofoam take out containers (and expecting the typical mediocre burger and cold hard fries) I was surprised to find hot, fresh and tasty food. Our selection consisted of Roast Pork with Peanut Ginger Sauce, Spicy Kung Bao Chicken, an egg roll and Fire Roasted Mixed Veggies. The Pork was tender and accompanied by a delicious Ginger Peanut gravy (ask
for some's that good). The Kung Bao Chicken earned it's description. It was very, very spicy and we were happy to have the white rice to temper it's intense flavor. The egg roll is among the best I have ever had. It was warm, tender and flavorful. The biggest surprise came from the flame grilled veggies. These were not something I expected to find in a food court. There was grilled eggplant, yellow squash, zucchini, onions and red and yellow peppers. The flavor was incredible.
The aroma was so good that people sitting at neighboring tables came to ask what we were eating and where they could get some. While the food was delicious, the people and activities happening at the event took our attention and we didn't think about the great lunch again that day.

We now jump ahead a few weeks. As central Florida residents, we should have expected the late afternoon thunderstorms. Our plans to use our new grill to make dinner were cut short by one of the brief, but intense summer storms. We were trying to decide where to go for dinner and not having much luck. We had the problem of everyone wanting something different, compounded by the fact that none of the "regular" places
sounded appealing. It was decided that we would head for Disney and decide as we got closer. We love Wolfgang Puck's and the Earl of Sandwich, but not tonight. After mentally working our way around the area, we remembered the great food we had at the Coronado Springs Resort and decided to go there. It was a an inspired decision.

Having only had "take-out", dining in the food court was a new
experience for me. Being a veteran Disney diner, I believed that I have had everything Disney offered. Again, I was pleasantly surprised to find a new experience. Upon arrival at the Pepper Market, we were greeted by a hostess. The Pepper Market works differently than the other places I have been. You are greeted and shown to your table. You are given a menu
that lists all of the many things available. You are also given a card filled with empty squares. You are invited to walk through the "Marketplace" stations to see what is available and what looks appealing. As you make your decisions and place your orders, your card is stamped with what you have ordered. This system allows you to order everything at once or to order at your own pace. Each person gets his/her own card.

There is a wide variety of choices available. I was there at dinner, but saw signs listing breakfast choices as well. Some of the dinner stations were Mexican, stir fry, Asian, pizza and pasta, a grill offering burgers, steaks and chicken, a sandwich area, a soup area and place just for kids. This is a large, open area and a great choice when everyone in your party has a taste for something different.

I'd like to tell you I was adventurous and tried something completely different, but remembering the great lunch from before, I went back for the exact same thing. I went right for the Asian station and ordered the Combo dinner. For $15.95, you have your choice of any two of the following, roasted pork w/peanut sauce, bourbon chicken, Kung Bao chicken or stir fry beef. This comes with white rice or noodles and an egg roll. I also went back to the grill area and got another order of
the grilled veggies. A very large order (big enough for 2 or 3) was $2.50. The other member of the party decided that Mexican was the way to go. He ordered a HUGE taco salad. This portion was more than ample and consisted of beef, tomatoes, cheese, guacamole and onions on a bed of shredded lettuce. It was all served in a tortilla bowl. All ingredients were fresh and flavorful. The Mexican station had a condiment bar with excellent salsa and a wonderful relish consisting of corn, onions and black beans. This was self serve and unlimited. We also order two soft
drinks at the drink station. When we arrived back at our table, one of the great cast members came and took our cups and got our drinks for us. Soft drinks, tea and coffee are self serve, but the cast members seemed to be helping everyone get, at the very least, their first drinks.

After eating until we thought we would burst, it was time to go. Again, paying is a different experience. Upon departure, a cashier asks for all the stamped card(s). The items are tallied and you are given a total. This makes the issue of separate checks non-existent when dining with a larger party. Dinner for two of us was about $30.00. While we could have gone somewhere else for less, the opportunity to pick and choose what we each wanted and experience that good old Disney magic made this a great value in our eyes. We got to be tourists for a night and still only be 20 minutes from home. That's fun in my opinion.

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