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.
- 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.
- Meet and greet locations updated for Villains Unleashed! event - Over 50 Disney villains will be taking over the park until the 13th hour!
- 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.
- Awesome Mix Tape Dance Party scheduled for Villains Unleashed! event - Over 50 Disney villains will be taking over the park until the 13th hour!
- 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.
- Constantine the Frog to attend Villains Unleashed! event - The "Muppets Most Wanted" villain will be at the Stage One Company Store location near Muppet*Vision 3D.
- 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.
- Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It Street Party reduces number of performances this month - Performance times will be 5:40 and 7:00pm on August 12, 13, 19, 20 and 29, 2014. Concrete work taking place on Main Street will limit the number of performances on those days.
- 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.
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Adventureland - Swiss Family Treehouse Exit - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at the Magic Kingdom.
- Big Hero 6 characters coming to Walt Disney World - A specific date and location for the meet and greet has not yet been announced.
- Frozen Summer Fun extended at Disney's Hollywood Studios - This celebration has been extended through September 28.
- Top 5 Experiences at Walt Disney World That Don't Cost a Thing! - Walt Disney World can be a very expensive place — between park tickets, hotels, parking costs, meals and snacks, it all adds up very quickly. That’s why it’s important to remember that there are several fantastic experiences at Walt Disney World Resort that don’t cost a thing!
- Club Villain dance party planned for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party - This will take place at the Diamond Horseshoe Saloon in Frontierland.
- Blog - New Disney Parks Inspired Coffees from Joffrey's
- Updated list of restaurants that accept Tables in Wonderland - Tables in Wonderland members save 20% off of all food and beverage purchases at the participating Disney restaurants.
- Video: Disney Park Bench - Polynesian Resort Dock - Polynesian Resort - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at Polynesian Resort Dock - Polynesian Resort
- Epcot After Hours Wind Down extended through November 9 - Stick around after IllumiNations for an evening at one of 4 exclusive lounges featuring food and beverages from award-winning Epcot chefs and sommeliers.
- Blog - Review: "Guardians of the Galaxy" combines humor, action, and a stellar cast to become the perfect summer blockbuster
- All-Star Music food court closes for refurbishment - The Intermission Food Court will be closed 8/1/14-12/20/14 for refurb.
- New events added to Epcot International Food & Wine Festival - Late Nights LIVE! and new Premium Package events added.
- Astro Orbiter rehab extended by one week - Originally scheduled to end September 19, the ride will now reopen September 28.
- Food & Wine Festival Premium events now available for booking - This includes seminars, signature dining experiences and other special events.
- Changes coming to Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It Street Party? - An update is rumored for this parade later this year, possibly around October. Possible changes are new music; Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Donald moving to the top of the floats; and Stitch joining the fun. Sebastian, Lumiere, and The Mad Hatter will leave the parade.
- During pool rehab, Polynesian guests will have free admission to Blizzard Beach - Originally, the resort guests were just going to be given one-day tickets to the water park, but that has been changed. They will now have complimentary unlimited admission to Blizzard Beach during their stay at the Polynesian.
- List of restaurants participating in the 2015 Disney Dining Plan - This list will be updated as more restaurants are added. Epcot and Downtown Disney restaurants don't normally finalize their participation until later in the year.
- 2015 Magic Your Way Disney World packages released! - A Walt Disney World package is a resort room and theme park admission. The Disney Dining Plan may also be added.
- Happy 15th Birthday to Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith! - The attraction originally opened its doors at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 29, 1999.
- Victoria & Albert's will no longer accept Tables in Wonderland - This begins August 1, 2014.
- Summertime Pals Ink & Paint Cel release - This limited release will be available at the event, or pre-order by September 25 at 5:00pm EST.
- Haunted Mansion merchandise shop coming to Magic Kingdom - The former Yankee Trader shop will become a Haunted Mansion merchandise location in the near future. The decor will be inspired by Madame Leota and will carry items from the Haunted Mansion Authentic program, such as apparel, home goods, souvenirs and more.
- Merchandise Events and Artist Appearances/Signings for August - List of authors and artists coming to the theme parks for signings and merchandise releases.
- List of characters updated for Villains Unleashed! event - Over 50 Disney villains will be taking over the park until the 13th hour!
- Beginning today, PhotoPass print packages are no longer offered table-side at character meals - This includes Chef Mickey's, 1900 Park Fare, 'Ohana, Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, Disney's Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show and Tusker House Restaurant.
- Disney Visa cardholders can book Food & Wine Festival events early - Disney Visa cardholders can book special events two days earlier than the general public - on July 29 and July 30 from 7:00am-11:00pm EST.
- Tables in Wonderland adds blackout dates for several restaurants - The Tables in Wonderland program offers Florida Residents, DVC members and Annual Passholders 20% off of all food and beverage purchases at the participating Disney restaurants.
- Information on Holiday sleigh rides at Fort Wilderness - This horse-drawn "sleigh" ride is a fun way to celebrate the season.
- Marketplace menus for Epot International Food & Wine Festival - List of menu items for the marketplaces set up around World Showcase.
- Rehab planned in November for Magic Carpets of Aladdin - The Magic Kingdom attraction will be closed 11/10 - 11/21/2014.
- Food & Wine Festival Special Dining Experiences released - Bookings for these experiences begin July 31.
- 10 Places to Wait Out a Thunderstorm at Walt Disney World
- Disney Castaway Cay Challenge added to Princess Half Marathon Weekend - Runners who are registered for any of the Disney races (5K or longer) during the Weekend have the option to complete the Disney Castaway Cay Challenge when sailing on the Disney Dream February 23-27.
- Fantasia Miniature Golf Course rehab planned off and on for the next two weeks - Gardens Course closed 7/22-7/25/2014, 7/28-8/1/2014, 8/4-8/8/2014. The Fairways will still be open.
- Blog - I Can Go The Distance: Deciding is one thing, registering is another
- Save up to 30% on a Room Only reservation at Walt Disney World! - Valid for stays most nights 10/4/14 - 11/25/14 and 11/29/14 - 12/23/14.
- 2015 WDW hotel discount released for U.S. Military - Valid for stays most nights 9/28/14 - 10/3/15.
- All 3 remaining weekends sold out for Harambe Nights - July 26, August 2 and August 9 are sold out.
- Annual passholder discount for Spice Road Table - Through 9/17/14, Annual Passholders can get a 30% discount on their bill.
- 2015 Military Ticket Discount info released - Members of the military can purchase 4-day Magic Your Way tickets with Park Hopper option for $177 each.
- Changes to reservation times for Wishes Dessert Party - Reservations are all being set for 6:00pm, no matter when Wishes is taking place. The dessert party will actually take place one hour before Wishes.
- Frozen Summer Fun Premium package is sold out for all remaining dates - This package gives guests at Frozen Summer Fun Live reserved viewing for several events.
- Wild by Design tour to be discontinued after 9/26/14 - This tour takes place at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
- Fantasy Football Convention coming to ESPN Wide World of Sports - The convention will give attendees access to ESPN talent, a live fantasy football draft and more.
- Radio Disney to shut down stations and lay off employees
- Disney proposes new contract for part-time employees
- SeaWorld announces new habitats for killer whales
- "Frozen" behind-the-scenes special coming to ABC
- PANDORA Jewelry coming to Disney Parks
- Universal Orlando to build fifth hotel?
- Comedian and actor Robin Williams found dead at age 63
- Universal's Hogwarts Express sees one million riders
- Disney janitor arrested for sexually assaulting coworker
- Disney's Be Our Guest Restaurant tests new standby line policy