Le Cellier Review
by Kevin Klose - 1/04/08
As part of our yearly tradition, we book a Candlelight Processional package for Christmas Eve. This has been the case for several years.
We have a plan of attack for the day that Candlelight Packages are to begin booking. We get up at the crack of dawn and begin dialing the phone. We communicate via computer and the first one that gets through makes the reservation.
Our restaurant of choice for Christmas Eve dinner has always been Le Cellier. I’m not really sure why this is so…but it is…or I should say it has been.
Disney has mucked around with the Candlelight Processional packages (from here on out to be referred to as CPP….purely for my convenience as Candlelight Processional Package is a pain to type) in that they have changed the way these can be booked.
In the past, you were allowed to book your CPP with the show first with dinner to follow. This allowed you to line up early, see the fantastic show and then enjoy a leisurely dinner with a beautiful stroll out of Epcot, past the tree and lighted arch and home to wait for Santa.
Well all of that changed last year when Disney decided that you must eat first and then see the show.
This makes for a rather rushed evening as you must have dinner and then rush to the Americas Theater in order to get in a line with the same population as one of our smaller states. For those of you familiar with the Epcot terrain…we got in line near Morocco. That’s TWO countries away. So much for leisurely….
I can see Disney’s reasoning for doing this. It allows them to turn over their tables more frequently by rushing you through dinner in order to go see your show. It also allows them to fill the less desirable dining times with folks doing the CPP and still have openings for guests not partaking in the package.
Just because I understand it…doesn’t mean I have to like it. And I don’t.
It just may be time for a new tradition.
On to the restaurant review…
It is my understanding that the chef from Le Cellier has recently left to fill an opening at Jiko in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Jiko found itself with an opening when
its chef left to go….oh I don’t know where…but it doesn’t matter as this about Le Cellier.
I have always been fond of Le Cellier (in it’s current form…it used to be horrendous many years ago). It is a cozy little restaurant that lends itself to intimate meals in a charming setting.
We arrived for our advanced dining reservation a bit early on one of the busiest nights of the year armed with reservation numbers and thoughts of good things ahead.
As we have done this before, we made two reservations, each for a party of four, knowing fully well that we might be sat at opposite ends of the restaurant. But we also know that trying to make a reservation for eight on a holiday makes the Disney agent’s head explode. We have found this method to be far easier.
Upon approaching the podium, we were met by what seemed to be a pre-programmed animatronic hostess. She had a spiel to share and she was not deviating from it. I was trying to explain that we had two reservations and would like to sit together but completely understood if that was not possible. During my explanation, she asked if we had reservations as that evening was completely booked. I can understand that she was preparing for the onslaught, but it hadn’t started as of yet.
After explaining the situation again, she let me know that she would try to accommodate our wishes. We explained again that we understood if it was not possible.. we were asked to wait a few extra moments and finally we were seated at a table for eight.
I need to give credit to Disney when they do something right. This was well handled.
Upon receiving our menus, we noticed that there were some minor changes but the majority of the menu remains in tact. There have been no drastic changes in what is being offered.
As part of the CPP, you are allowed an appetizer, an entrée, a dessert and a non-alcoholic beverage so we got busy making decisions.
We ordered our appetizers and upon their arrival quickly began noticing some changes after all. The portion sizes have gotten smaller on several items. The bowl of Beef Barley Soup ($5.99) is now a cup. Two of our party ordered it and deemed it so salty that it was inedible. The two bowls were sent back and replaced with different appetizers.
The famous Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup ($5.49) was also served in a smaller cup. It was good but could have been hotter.
Someone also order what might be the oddest choice on the menu. It was the Spicy Chicken and Chipotle Sausage ($8.99). It was an extremely spicy sausage serves on a bed of polenta with “sweet onion jam”. Does that scream Canada or what?
The biggest disappointment during the appetizers was mine. I ordered the Beefsteak Tomato Stack ($7.99). This is something I order every year. I know I’m getting it when I make the reservations. It’s not a fancy dish, but I love it. It’s usually thick slices of ripe tomato layered with slices of mozzarella cheese with greens and vinaigrette. It’s always big enough to share and Le Cellier has these salt grinders (similar to a pepper mill) that leave great chunks of salt on my tomatoes. Can you tell I like this dish?
It has been reduced to a slice of tomato, with a teaspoon of tomato puree on top and two marble sized balls of mozzarella with a few specks of balsamic vinegar. It was dreadful and not worth the price. I was sorely disappointed and I know it’s not a big deal. I can make this at home….but it’s disappointing all the same.
After we received our appetizers, I asked our waiter about the changes and he firmly stated that there had been NO changes made. He also let us know that he’d been there since March. Oh well…..dinner is coming.
The entrees faired much better. We ordered the Seared Free-Range Chicken ($19.99), two orderes of the 14 oz New York Strip Steak (29.99) and the Le Cellier Mushroom Filet Mignon ($28.99).
All of our meals were fair to good. There was really nothing bad to note. I believe the worst thing I could say about the entrees were that they were acceptable. There were no wow factors but also no major disappointments.
My Mushroom Filet was good but not great, but for $29.00 it should be great
Desserts at our table were crème Brule, chocolate cake and sorbet. Again…there was nothing to note and most of dessert was left on the table as we had to rush off to get in line for the Candlelight Processional.
It is my opinion that Le Cellier has reached it’s iconic status as the “must do” restaurant in Epcot based not on the quality of the food but more on the fact that reservations can be hard to get. It’s one of the smaller restaurants in Epcot and the law of supply and demand has given this restaurant a reputation it does not deserve.
Also….if you are in Disney when the Candlelight Processional is playing…go see it!!!. Whatever your religious beliefs…..it’s rousing to hear that many voices. It’s a good show.
As for the Candlelight Processional Package…..I think Disney has mucked it up enough to make it far less enjoyable. No one should feel rushed through dinner.
I think next year, we will make an ADR for earlier in the season and then go see the show like we used to and spend Christmas Eve doing something else.
- 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
- Ultimate Day VIP Tour available at Epcot Food & Wine Festival - This daylong tour begins at the Festival Center's VIP Lounge and includes champagne, a beverage tasting, six-course tapas-style lunch, wine, private backstage tours, time on Epcot attractions, food and beverage pairings with Disney chefs, VIP seating at the Eat to the Beat Concert Series, and reserved seating for IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks spectacular.
- Blog - New Golden Oak Outpost Menu is Waffle Fry Heaven
- Sunrise Safari at Animal Kingdom ending 12/28/14 - This tour is exclusive to Animal Kingdom Lodge Kilimanjaro Club Level guests.
- American Idol Experience to close August 30 - No plans have been announced for the space.
- Florida residents save $40 on Cirque du Soleil tickets - Through September and October, Florida residents will save $40 on adult Cirque du Soleil tickets purchased at the box office.
- VIDEO: The Refurbished Capt. Cook's at Polynesian Resort - After a long refurbishment, Capt. Cook's has reopened at the Polynesian Village Resort. Major changes include artwork in the seating area, a new menu, no more ordering off of touch screens and the tragic loss of the Dole Whip self-serve machine.
- American Film Institute at the end of Backlot Tour to close - As of August 17, the American Film Institute Showcase exhibit at the end of the ride will be closed. This exhibit features props and costumes from various films. The gift shop will also close.
- D23 Expo 2015 tickets are now on sale - Tickets for next year's D23 Expo are now on sale. The D23 Expo will be held August 14-16, 2015 at the Anaheim Convention Center.
- Blog - Polynesian Resort's Capt. Cook's quick service restaurant reopens after refurbishment
- Golden Oak Outpost now serving specialty waffle fries - This walk-up stand is located on the backside of Frontierland on the walkway to Adventureland.
- Tower of Terror On-ride videos available with Memory Maker - After riding The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, a video of the guest's ride will be added to their My Disney Experience account. This video is only available to guests who have purchased Memory Maker.
- Win a 2 Night / 3 Day stay at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin! - Answer 3 questions about the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin on our contest page for a chance to WIN!
- Great Irish Hooley Festival to be held at Downtown Disney - "Hooley" is Irish slang for party or celebration. Celebrate with food, drink and dancing.
- Update coming to My Disney Experience - make dining reservations 20 minutes in advance - A new update will allow guests to make same day dining reservations only 20 minutes in advance.
- Performance times updated for Night of Joy - Disney’s Night of Joy is a hard-ticket event at the Magic Kingdom that features contemporary Christian performers.
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Polynesian Resort Lobby - Lobby Waterfall - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at the Polynesian Resort.
- Blog - Haunted Mansion Merchandise Continues to Materialize
- Refurb scheduled this winter for the Haunted Mansion - The attraction will be closed from 12/1 - 12/19/14.
- It's Tough to be a Bug refurb extended until 9/27 - This attraction was originally scheduled to reopen August 11, but will instead stay closed through September 27.
- Yankee Trader shop refurb extended through December - The shop is becoming a Haunted Mansion gift shop.
- Disney and unions argue about extra shift distribution policy
- Polynesian Resort opens new Dole Whip location
- Popular EPCOT acts to depart this Fall
- Wet 'n Wild employee trapped in pool; now in critical condition
- Star Wars mobile game app released by Disney
- Disney contract approved by part-time employees
- Citation banning whale trainers from water will not be appealed by SeaWorld
- Disney cancels 2014 Festival of the Masters art show
- Radio Disney to shut down stations and lay off employees
- Disney proposes new contract for part-time employees