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.
- Perfectly Prepared Princess Package available at Ivy Trellis Salon - From January 8, 2015 through March, young princesses can get a princess hairdo, glitter and tiara for $50 and add princess makeup for $25. For $90, choose hair, makeup and manicure.
- Take a Break From the Wait: Minimal Wait Times In The Magic Kingdom
- (Really) Running around in Walt Disney World
- Haunted Mansion reopens after refurb - The attraction has been closed since the beginning of the month.
- 3 Must-See Character Spots That You Might Have Missed - Today, we will look specifically at 3 Character Meet & Greets that we were completely unaware of and that absolutely made our trip.
- STK Orlando to open at Disney Springs, plus other retailers apply - STK will open in 2015.
- Blog - Christmas by the Numbers at Walt Disney World
- Trattoria al Forno now open at Disney's BoardWalk - This Italian restaurant has opened in the space vacated by Kouzzina by Cat Cora.
- Disney World for College Students: The Spring Break Alternative - When one thinks of Walt Disney World they often think of a place fit for families and little kids and while that is true the allure is for many more. It is certainly not a Spring Breakers-esque destination for college kids but, it can be a great time for all who want to go.
- 4 Reasons Why Tomorrowland Needs Change
- Traveling with kids Part 2 - Bites - Anyone who has traveled with kids knows how important it is to keep them well-fed and hydrated. Actually, that's just a good rule in general...
- Registration now open for the 2015 Expedition Everest Challenge - This event will be held 5/1-5/2/15.
- How Magically Sluggish WiFi Made My Disney Experience Perfect
- Woman dead after car collides with Disney bus - A Windermere, FL, woman is dead after her car collided with a Disney bus.
- Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party sold out on December 16 - The only available date remaining is December 18.
- Do You Remember the First Time? - I still have very clear memories about my first visit all those years ago. It was 1980, and even though I only spent two days in the Magic Kingdom, as that was the only park to visit, something about the experience clearly resonated deeply with me.
- Information and artist renderings of new Polynesian DVC property - There will be 20 Bungalows and 360 Deluxe Studios.
- Beginning 3/8/15, characters will be at Tusker House dinners - Reservations are now available.
- Aulani plans Christmas festivities - There will be seasonal crafts, movie nights, Christmas dinner and a Holiday Starlit Hui.
- Traveling With Kids Part 1 - Boredom - In this article, Iíll specifically talk about Boredom and some ways to keep the kids entertained while you travel.
- Itinerary change for 12/19/15 Disney Fantasy sailing - This sailing will visit Tortola instead of St. Maarten.
- One Band's Dream | Why Walt would have loved the idea of Magic Bands and FastPass+ - I tend to give Disney the benefit of the doubt in most cases. I want to think that Walt's grand idea of a magical place for families to come and enjoy is still the driving force behind the company. When listening to responses to Fast Pass+ and Magic Bands however, that doesn't seem to be a popular viewpoint. So I am going to come to the defense of these programs and try and offer a slightly more optimistic point of view.
- Purchase tickets directly through My Disney Experience app - Guests can now purchase tickets directly through My Disney Experience. Tickets can be 1-10 days, either one-park or park hoppers. Tickets can be assigned to existing Family and Friends and then Fastpass+ reservations can be made.
- What to Expect When You're Expecting... at Disney - There are many reasons a woman might find herself on a Disney parks vacation while pregnant. Maybe an older child is celebrating a big birthday. Maybe itís a family reunion. Maybe this trip was planned well in advance and now youíre facing it with a happy bundle of joy on the way.
- Blog - Frozen Welcomes the Hour of Code
- "The Taste of Hollywood Winter Holiday Grab n Go" boxed meals offered at Hollywood Studios - These are available from 12/24-12/31 and include reserved seating for Fantasmic.
- Update on check-in times for Tomorrowland Terrace Fireworks Dessert Party - If your reservation is between 6:00 and 6:20pm, you should check in one hour before the fireworks.
- Exposition Park, home to the Disney food trucks, opens at Downtown Disney - This area is located between Bongo's Cuban Cafe and Starbucks.
- Memory Maker pre-purchase price raised to $169 - The price was previously $149.
- Character meals planned for Star Wars Weekends - The Jedi Mickey's Star Wars Dine and the Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast are back for the second year.
- The Paul McKenna Band joins entertainment at United Kingdom Pavilion - The 4-piece acoustic folk band will perform several times daily.
- Dates announced for 2015 Star Wars Weekends - The event will be held Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, May 15 - June 14, 2015
- December merchandise events at Walt Disney World - Meet Disney artists for signings and appearances around Walt Disney World.
- runDisney reveals medals for Princess Half Marathon Weekend - This event will be held 2/19/15 - 2/22/15.
- Blog - Peter Pan's Flight's new queue opens at Magic Kingdom
- Tangled Tributes - Kingdom Crossing at the Magic Kingdom - I've been through here many times, but after watching the movie so many times recently, I was really struck by all the details here in the theming. There are so many little nods to the film that most guests probably just walk right by.
- Candlelight Processional begins tonight with narrator Jodi Benson - The Candlelight Processional takes place November 28 - December 30, 2014.
- Blog - Vintage Christmas Merchandise at Walt Disney World
- VIDEO: 2014 Walt Disney World Holiday Showcase - Join JeniLynn Knopp of the DIS Unplugged as she speaks with Steven Miller about holiday merchandise and shopping, Robert Hargrove and Santa Stitch about holiday entertainment, and Flash, Garland and The Boss about decorating Walt Disney World!
- 3 Surprising Things About Working at Mission: SPACE - Hereís a few of the things I learned about the attraction and about being a cast member at Mission: SPACE.
- Blog - A Weekend at Give Kids the World Village
- Christmas Eve dinner available for Disney Vacation Club members - The dinner will include a buffet, Christmas carolers and photo ops with Mickey and Minnie.
- Walt Disney World New Year's Eve dining information - Many of the restaurants will offer special meals or dining events to celebrate the holiday.
- Discounts and payment plans available at Walt Disney World Speedway - Several of the driving experiences are available with a discount through the holidays.
- Epcot's Canadian Lumberjack show on hiatus - The show will resume 1/4/15.
- Play nine holes of golf at Disney for just $29 - Play 9 holes at the Disney golf courses starting anytime between 7:00 and 8:30am for just $29.
- Details for 2015 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival - Anna and Elsa topiaries will be on display at World Showcase Plaza.
- Epcot's Spice Road Table now accepts reservations - Reservations are available beginning December 2.
- The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special to return to Hollywood Studios - This improvisational comedy show will return to the Premier Theater at Hollywood Studios from December 21, 2014 - January 4, 2015.
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Magic Kingdom Hub - Cinderella Castle - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at Magic Kingdom Hub - Cinderella Castle
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - The Diamond Horseshoe Balcony - The Diamond Horseshoe - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at The Diamond Horseshoe Balcony - The Diamond Horseshoe
- Save up to 30% on a stay at Aulani - Discount is available most nights 4/6 - 6/15/15.
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Bay Lake Tower 15th Floor - Magic Kingdom - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at Bay Lake Tower 15th Floor - Magic Kingdom
- Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party sold out on November 20 - There are still many MVMCP dates available.
- Plan B Character Dining at Walt Disney World - If youíre looking to make a reservation for a character meal and canít get one, weíve got a couple of suggestions for places you may not have thought of.
- Blizzard Beach to be closed November 17 due to cold temperatures - Typhoon Lagoon is already closed for its annual refurbishment.
- Top 5(+) things that are better at Walt Disney World than at Disneyland - Bigger may not always be better, but isn't always worse either. I can't resist countering with an article that lists, in my view, the things that are better at Walt Disney World.
- Guests meeting Santa at Downtown Disney have new notification option - Guests will get pagers if the wait exceeds 30 minutes (or they can choose to receive a text message instead). When their pager goes off and they return to Santa's Chalet, they will have about a 20 minute wait.
- Disney Visa cardholders get a special gift when taking advantage of Aulani discount - When booking the 4th night free offer, Disney Visa cardholders will also receive a special Welcome Gift at check-in with specialty items and signature Aulani merchandise ($98 value).
- SeaWorld lays off Clyde & Seamore mimes, among others
- Man sentenced to 5 years for Disney ticket scam
- Club 33 members upset about more changes to benefits
- Iger says future Star Wars attractions to be based on new films
- SeaWorld's CEO steps down
- Man sues SeaWorld for automatically renewing his annual pass
- Retirement date set for Disney's Meg Crofton
- Woman sues Disney, claiming disability after falling from carousel horse
- Hotel leadership changes at Walt Disney World
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer released