Pros: variety of selections, attentive service, omlet station
Cons: priced a little higher, restaurant has crowded feel
One thing when visiting Disney World is the abundance of buffet-style restaurants on Route 192 just to the east and west of the Walt Disney World entrance. Over the years weve visited them quite a bit. This past summer, I deliberately set out to evaluate three of the more popular breakfast buffets. We usually will have a large breakfast, a late lunch (about 3 PM) and then just snacks later on in the night to stretch our vacation dollar.
Golden Corral has consistently been my familys favorite for breakfast. The one we visit is at 7702 W. Irlo Bronson Highway in Kissimmee, about a mile and a half from the entrance to the Disney World resort. The cost for the buffet is $5.99 per person, but this includes access to the juice and milk station. The only extra charge is for two refillable cups of coffee for my husband and myself. For our family, the cost came to $29.
The restaurant is huge with quite a bit of seating. Weve been lucky enough to visit during low season, so weve never encountered long lines or been unable to find a seat. I think because the cost is a bit more than the Ponderosa breakfast nearby, people gravitate toward that restaurant instead of here. In my opinion, the extra money is worth it, especially considering that you can have drinks included in that cost if you choose not to drink coffee.
The selection here is tremendous, and not just normal breakfast foods. Sure, there are different varieties of pancakes, such as blueberry or chocolate chip. There are egg-based casseroles available, as well as selections of bacon, sausage, ham, hash, steak, gravy, grits, eggs benedict, french toast, and more. What I love best though is the omlet station where I can have an omlet made fresh with the ingredients that I want in it. There are also home fried potatoes available, as well as the flat potato cakes similar to what is served in McDonalds.
The food suffers from the same problems many buffets do in that its kept hot on steam tables. However, with the omlet station being present I can be sure my eggs will be hot and not soggy. The turnover here is usually pretty good, so the food generally stays warm. One reason not to pile your plate too high is that it will probably be cold by the time you get through it.
There are also plenty of cold selections such as fruit, jello, pastries, donuts, biscuits, toast , bagels, and bread. Hot and cold cereals are also available. Everything here seems to be really fresh. The biscuits are decent; I like them almost as much as Cracker Barrels, although I have found that once in a while they arent cooked fully and end up somewhat spongy.
Just like the other Orlando-area buffets, the soft-serve ice cream is operating in the morning as well. However, what is different here is that some of the other stations for afternoon and evening dining are filled as well, and people are allowed to take from it! This is how one morning, my 8 year-old daughter had bacon, watermelon, and pickles for breakfast (yes, that will end up being a legend talked about for years in our family). There are other desserts out as well, such as dirt and banana pudding along with toppings. Cakes were out as well. I dont know if its warmer in the restaurant in the morning, but many of the cakes had icing sliding off of them as if it were melting off.
Golden Corral seemed to have the best service too. Our waitress immediately brought us quite a few extra plates for the buffet. They were also cleaned from the table quite promptly. Our coffee cups were refilled and we never felt like the service was inattentive. If theres one complaint I do have its the general crowded nature of the restaurant as the tables seem to be very close together and somewhat smaller than other tables so my family felt crowded in as we ate and moved around. An improvement we noted this year is that the only way out of the restaurant (except for emergency exits) used to be through the gift shop next door. That has been remedied and I like that improvement quite a bit.
We definitely will return here again, and Id like to try dinner here sometime. Im impressed with the quality and service, and the selection makes it worth paying a little bit more.
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© 2003 Patti Aliventi