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.
- Rumor: Walt Disney World ticket prices to increase in February - Rumors are that ticket prices will go up in mid-February. The no-expiration option may be discontinued and a Water Park-Hopper add-on may be introduced.
- Blog - INTERVIEW – Billy Magnussen: The 'Other Prince' in Into The Wood
- Running the Parks Part 3 - Disney Running Resources - In this post I discuss some of the resources I have found to be most useful when doing research for a Disney running vacation.
- Take a baby to a Disney theme park? Are you nuts?
- Typhoon Lagoon closed 1/24-1/25 for cold temps - The highs are projected to be in the 60s.
- List of restaurants and retailers coming to The Landing at Disney Springs - The first phase of Disney Springs will open in Spring 2015.
- Annual Passholder mini golf discount drops to 15% - Previously the discount had been 50% off of miniature golf.
- Liberty Square Riverboat closes for 4 day refurb - This attraction will reopen 1/27/2015 and then be closed again 8/4/ - 8/10/2015.
- Blog - Disney's Hollywood Studios Construction Update
- Splitsville to feature live bands on Saturday nights - Every Saturday, 9:00pm-12:30am, a live band will take the stage in the Bullet Bar for a free concert.
- Kali River Rapids begins 2-week rehab - The Animal Kingdom attraction will be closed through February 2.
- Blog - Disney & Starbucks Bring New Mug Collection to Stores
- Polynesian DVC Resort can soon be booked by general public - Beginning February 11, these can be booked by the general public when they are not in use by DVC members. The bungalows will have limited availability.
- Downtown Disney internal boats will not stop at Pleasure Island - They will only run between the Marketplace and West Side.
- Blog - Disney asks Court to Dismiss "Absurd" Frozen Copyright Lawsuit
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Backlot Express - Star Tours - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at Backlot Express - Star Tours
- Dates announced for 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival - The Festival will be held September 25-November 16, 2015.
- Epcot Flower Power Concerts renamed "Garden Rocks Concert Series" - The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival will be held March 4-May 17.
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Stormalong Bay - Crescent Lake - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at Stormalong Bay - Crescent Lake January 5, 2014 - Afternoon
- Happy 40th birthday to Space Mountain! - Along with Carousel of Progress, this Magic Kingdom attraction opened on January 15, 1975.
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Hollywood Boulevard - Sorcerer Mickey Hat - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at Hollywood Boulevard - Sorcerer Mickey Hat
- Happy 40th birthday to the Carousel of Progress! - The Carousel of Progress opened on January 15, 1975 at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.
- Blog - 1/14/15: Magic Kingdom Hub Construction Update
- 2015 Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic to be held October 30-31 - This is the 6th annual event for the resort.
- New FastPass+ parade and fireworks viewing areas for the Magic Kingdom - The parade can now be viewed from Town Square and the fireworks will soon be viewed from the new Main Street Plaza Gardens.
- Food Truck Takeover at Downtown Disney - The Superstar Catering Food Truck will be taken over by the Trattoria al Forno chefs to feature three of their most popular dishes.
- DVC Point Charts for Polynesian Villas & Bungalows - The first phase of the property will open April 1.
- Crane now in place behind Cinderella Castle through 2/21/15 - The crane will be taking down the lights used to decorate the castle for the holidays.
- Flame Tree Barbecue favorites moving to other locations during rehab - Flame Tree Barbecue will be closed for rehab through 3/31/15.
- Preview of Cinderella film and her coach coming to Hollywood Studios - Guests can experience an exclusive sneak peek of the new film Cinderella, plus see her golden coach parked outside the theater.
- Downtown Disney Cool Down Party for marathon racers - Runners can attend the Downtown Disney Cool Down Party from 2-8pm on January 11, 2015 and enjoy DJ dance parties, entertainment, special merchandise and discounts throughout Downtown Disney (show your finishers medal for discounts).
- 8:15pm Spirit of Aloha dinner show cancelled on 1/7 and 1/8 - The later show will be cancelled due to projected low temperatures.
- Typhoon Lagoon closed 1/7-1/9 for cold temps - The water park will be closed due to projected low temperatures.
- Blog - Sunglass Hut Opening in Magic Kingdom's Adventureland
- Modified monorail schedule for the upcoming week - The schedule has been modified due to the Walt Disney World Marathon.
- Magic Kingdom hours extended 1/6 and 1/7 - The park will remain open until 9:00pm instead of the originally scheduled 8:00pm.
- The Enchanted Tiki Room - The Magic Behind Walt Disney's Tropical Hideaway
- Wandering Oaken's Trading Post and Frozen Funland now closed - This was part of the Frozen Summer Fun event at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
- Ticket specials available for Cirque du Soleil - Discounted tickets are available for performances Tuesday through Saturday nights from 1/20/15 - 3/28/15.
- Florida residents can save up to 35% on a room only reservation - Discount is valid for stays most nights 1/3/15 - 3/28/15.
- Eating Around the World in Epcot - A brief tour of snacking in the World Showcase.
- Running the Parks Part 2: Touring the Parks While Running the Parks
- Frozen Holiday Wish to return from 1/3-1/12 - The show will take place at 6:30pm.
- New Animal Kingdom tour to replace Backstage Safari - The new tour, Backstage Tales, will go more in depth than the previous tour.
- Blog - 2015: Epcot Rings It In Right
- Top 5 DIS Unplugged Podcasts for 2014 - 2014 was a great year for the DIS Unplugged podcast - we celebrated our 8th anniversary, we produced more than 100 episodes of the show, as well as more than 200 supporting videos - but there were certain shows that really seemed to strike a chord with our audience.
- List of restaurants participating in the 2015 Disney Dining Plan updated - The Epcot and Downtown Disney restaurants have been finalized.
- Several rehabs planned for Magic Kingdom this spring - it's a small world, Jungle Cruise and Big Thunder Mountain will all be down for refurbishment.
- "Kid-sized" package offer available for Walt Disney World - Families of 3 will save when booking a package for stays select nights 4/12/15 - 5/28/15.
- Save up to 30% with a Room Only offer at select Walt Disney World resorts - Save up to 30% when you book by 2/16/15 for stays most nights 3/2-6/15/15. Save up to 25% when you book from 2/17-3/18/15 for stays most nights 3/2-6/15/15.
- January and February reservations now open for IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party - Enjoy a special fireworks viewing area and desserts from around World Showcase paired with sparkling wines.
- Blog - The Top 10 Ornaments for 2014 at Walt Disney World
- Test the Limits Lab at Innoventions closing 1/6/15 - The attraction's sponsorship has ended.
- Island Supply Sunglass Hut to open in Magic Kingdom on January 8 - Island Supply will be reopening on January 8 as the Island Supply Sunglass Hut, selling high-end sunglasses.
- Walt Disney World New Year's Eve information - The parks will have extended hours, plus holiday entertainment.
- Blog - Disney's Best Christmas Movies, TV Specials and Shorts - Part 3
- Atlanta Braves spring training schedule at ESPN Wide World of Sports - The Atlanta Braves return to ESPN Wide World of Sports for their annual spring training.
- January merchandise events and signings at Walt Disney World - List of artist appearances around Walt Disney World.
- Blog - Disney's Best Christmas Movies, TV Specials and Shorts - Part 2
- Free transportation deal offered at Aulani - Book a 4-night or longer stay at Aulani and receive free round-trip transportation from the airport, as well as a free 1-day mid-size Alamo car rental!
- Traveling With Kids Part 3 - Baggage - Packing to travel with kids can be a monumental task. This article will focus on Baggage - tips and hints for the packing process.
- A fond look back at Epcot's Lights of Winter - The Lights of Winter started for the Christmas season back in 1994 and the last display was in 2008.
- Blog - Polynesian Village Resort at Walt Disney World debuts new lobby
- 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.
- 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