Rainforest Cafe

72 ratings (71 Epinions reviews)
Epinions Product Rating: Very Good
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13
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21
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12
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Winner (again) of Orlando's City's Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant

Apr 16, 2006 (Updated Apr 16, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Fun atmosphere for all ages.

Cons:Average food at best.

The Bottom Line: The exciting atmosphere makes up for the lack of flavor in the overpriced food.


There are hundreds of wonderful restaurants to choose from in the Orlando area but for some reason this restaurant always takes the lead in popularity. I just read where Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney’s Marketplace was voted City’s Best in 2006 again. This location was also voted number one by consumers in 2004 and 2005 so apparently it’s consistently a good choice.

Rainforest Cafe is owned by Landry’s Restaurants, Inc. and there are Rainforest Cafe's in 15 states. I have had my eye on the Rainforest Cafe for some time and just recently had the opportunity to visit. The location that I went to was in Disney World Marketplace (Orlando, FL) which is accessible to anyone. This location is free to enter and is it’s not connected to the Disney parks. There is also a Rainforest Cafe inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom which does require admission to the park in order to get to it.

Finding the perfect restaurant to visit while the grandparents were in town wasn’t easy. In general, my parents don’t like to eat out at restaurants. My kids often get restless and bored in a restaurant and my husband and I are very picky about the quality of the food.

We had planned on going to Rainforest Cafe for dinner in the evening but an unexpected rain in the morning enticed us to change plans and go for an early lunch instead which really worked out the best.

The Wait
Hours may vary by location but the cafe in Downtown Disney opens at 11:30 a.m. I think we got there about 11:40 and were tickled to be seated immediately. We’ve heard numerous stories of 2 hour wait times. The line was out the door by the time we left. They sell a promotional card that gives you a shorter wait time and offers a 10% discount on food and merchandise which may be beneficial for frequent visitors.

How Expensive is this Place?
I was prepared to spend a lot more money than we did. This could be an expensive place to eat but at least the serving sizes are large. All of the restaurants that I saw in the Downtown Disney area start in the $15 range too, so although probably expensive for food it is competitive with other restaurants.

Since we went at lunch and planned on walking all day we didn’t eat too much. I ordered a pizza for $12 and added a cup of clam chowder soup for $4 more. My husband got a large hamburger for $10. It came with potato chips or you could upgrade to a pile of fries for $1.50 more. You could add mushrooms for $1 or .50 for cheese to be added. My parents split the awesome appetizer adventure for $16 which had a selection of loaded chimi-cha-chas, chicken fingers, crab delights, calamari, and a side of colorful tortilla chips.

If you’re going for dessert you may be interested in the $13 Volcano which serves at least two. When someone orders a volcano all the waiters and waitresses start saying “Volcano”. It is a pile of ice cream in the center and brownie cake on the outside garnished with whip cream and topped with a big foil that represents a sparkler. We didn’t have this but the kids talked about it a lot. How could chocolate and ice cream not be good! It would be a fun choice for those celebrating something special.

The kids (12 and under) have lots of cute things to choose from on their menu starting at $7, then add $3 for a tiny drink in a plastic cup.

I regret not getting a salad. $14 seems a little expensive for a salad but they are huge!

The servings are pretty generous. I saw a lot of left over salad and French fries on the neighboring plates.

You can see their menu on their website but it doesn’t include the prices.

Pizza
There were 5 pizza options to choose from in the $12-$14 range.

Seafood
There were 8 items under seafood starting at $19 with the majority $22.

Beef, Pork, & Chicken
There are 8 choices in this area such as Tuscan chicken $16, Steak $26, Combo $23.

Pasta
$18-$19 for pasta tossed with something such as chicken or shrimp.

Dessert
There are 6 items on the dessert menu, too tantalizing to mention around $6-$7 or $13 for the Volcano which is designed for splitting.

Drinks
They serve coke products and have a full bar.

The Atmosphere
Why is this restaurant so popular? Because it’s soooo cool! Everyone in our party was very pleased with the atmosphere. It’s very unique and professionally decorated. I expected some plastic animals and flashing decorating but it’s much more than that. The inside looks like a real rainforest packed with trees, rain, elephants, realistic gorillas, gorgeous butterflies, an aquarium complemented with bold print tables and chairs. The gorillas grunt, elephants, roar, and thunder booms. It should prove impressive to both children and adults.

Although this atmosphere is kid-friendly, it’s not childlike at all. It would be a fun place for adults to have their birthday party at too. It would be a fun place to take a date or to go with a group of friends. There’s a full bar that opens for lunch and you can get a cool glass that lights up if you really want to celebrate.

The Service
We were pleased with the service. We had a young waitress who was helpful in taking our order and answering our questions. She didn’t pour on the service and hover over us all the time which I appreciate.

Gift Shop
The restaurant spills out into a pretty big gift shop full of Rainforest Café paraphernalia. The prices are pretty reasonable and they have items priced to fit anyone’s budget.

Birthday Parties
This would be really wild place to have a birthday party for young ones. They have a birthday package with a special menu, dessert, party favors, souvenirs, photos, etc. It would sure beat that one place that everyone goes to, if you know what I mean.

My Opinion
We had a nice experience at the Rainforest Cafe. The grandparents got a kick out of seeing the kid’s reactions to the atmosphere. My 6-year-old was fascinated with the ape; she didn’t understand why he kept looking at her.

The appearance and atmosphere of the restaurant was definitely a 5 star which was agreed upon unanimously by everyone at our table.

The food however was average at best giving it a weak 3 stars. Granted, we just had basic items like hamburger and pizza, but it was far from the best flavor wise. The portions were good.

The Rainforest Cafe was worth the visit for the novelty but I don’t think we’ll be going back for the food.


Recommend this product? Yes

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