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Ariel's Grotto - Ariel's Disney Princess Celebration
 
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Description:
Ariel's Grotto is home to Ariel and the other Disney Princesses. Join Ariel, Cinderella, Snow White, Belle and Sleeping Beauty for lunch or dinner.
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Average Reviewer Rating: 3.4 out of 53.4 out of 53.4 out of 53.4 out of 53.4 out of 5
Number of Reviews: 45 ( Displaying Reviews: 31 - 40 )
3.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.0   7/2/03
Reviewer: whiles Oakland, CA     January 08, 2004
For this trip we took our 6 year old niece down to celebrate finishing Kindergarten.

Since we had done the other big character dining on other trips we decided to try Ariels grotto this trip.

I have to say I was pleased with the Resturant - especially the location (Best in the Entire Resort). The only dectracting factor to this experience was the annoying "X-Games Experience" show and the monstrosity of the Skate ramp blocking our view of the "Bay Area, Golden Gate and Sun Plaza.

Never the less we met many characters got our pictures taken with Ariel and patronized both the outdoor seating right on the water (Great location!) and the second story view of Paradise Bay from the Bar.

Did I mention it really is a bar too! Serves adult beverages which even though I did not partake, it was nice to have that option available.

This is a Menu Service resturant so it is very different from the other Character Dining options which are mainly Buffet style. Goofys and Minnie & Friends being exclusively Buffet style and Story Teller's having both options.

The food was adequete, not quite up to par for the price.

But the Character experience is exceptional, Goofy , Minnie , Chip and Dale, Pluto and especially Ariel are all available which rates this resturant a close second to Goofy's kitchen as far number of Characters to meet.

I enjoyed this meal, the character experince was fun even if it was a bit pricey.

However, I whole heartily recommend the "Dining Package" the Walt Disney Travel Company offers as a viable option to shelling out green backs for every meal.
You get a fair exchange rate on your coupon's based on Dollar for Dollar spending but the Character dining add ons are great for pre-planning your meals before your trip.
Disney's gets a equal dollar for dollar value on the food vouchers so they are not giving anything away - but the great feature is not worrying about paying for each meal since you already have that covered in advance - takes some stress off in come time for the check to arrive - Especially the "Sticker Shock" on some Character dining meals.

Thanks,
whiles
 
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful
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4.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.0   November 2003, December 2003
Reviewer: Maus Yorba Linda, Calif.     January 07, 2004
I truly enjoy this restaurant. After reading the previous review I was compelled to respond. The servers we had in our last two visits (of many) were outstanding! Very attentive, professional and efficient. I would consider them the best of any I have encountered resort wide. Character interaction is excellent even though I have never been to Ariel's with children. The food is the only reason I haven't given a 5 planet score. It's good, and portions are very large, but not what I would consider extraordinary.
 
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful
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3.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.0   07/03/03
Reviewer: hazlnut San Pedro, Ca     July 05, 2003
Ariel's Grotto is an okay place to eat in DCA if you don't mind paying extra to have characters (Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Chip & Dale) come to your table. Also Ariel is available for meet & greets. Basically, the menu has two prices: $20 for adults and $13 for children for a 'three-course' meal which includes soup or salad, your entre, and desert. You choose from a limited number of items in each catagory to make up your three courses--in other words, it's a buffet where they serve you. The choices were not all that interesting and the plates from the previous course were left on the table unless you asked that they be removed.

Bottom line: In the world of amusement/theme park dining, Ariel's Grotta is okay, a nice sit down place for families--parents enjoying kids enjoying the characters. But, in the real world, its third rate--mediocre food and unprofessional servers (college and high school students) geared toward fast table tunover and low overhead.

My daughter enjoyed Minnie and I enjoyed that, but our server went on her break and our 'temp' server was nowhere to be found when we were ready to leave. Also, the pile up of plates on the table was annoying.

 
1 out of 2 people found this review helpful
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4.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.0   June 17, 2003
Reviewer: teddybuds Hayward, CA     July 03, 2003
We (our party of 9) ate at Ariel's Grotto for lunch. I made reservations about 6 weeks in advance for 12:45pm - the reservation isn't a true reservation - you just get priority in seating. But they never said that until we showed up at our reserved time. I even showed up that morning to add the 9th person and asked what if we were a few minutes late...nothing was said. We finally got seated about 12:55pm.

The restaurant seating was downstairs from the front desk. When we got there, Ariel was there on her "throne chair" and greeting the guests. To our surprise, the restaurant was only 1/2 occupied. I feel sorry for those who were waiting w/o reservations because some had been waiting for at least 1/2 hr and the line wasn't even moving.

I have to say that the actual restaurant staff was great! We were treated royally. They accomodated us as best as they could. We requested fast service because we had tickets for the Aladdin show and had to be there by a certain time. The drinks came quickly and so did the food.

The food was very very good. Our party just about ordered everything. The big hit was the fish & chips and the Salmon BLT. Our kids really liked the macaroni & cheese and the chicken nuggets. For $14.99, you got your choice of soup/salad and entree which was enough to eat. Drinks are extra.

The best part of this experience is definitely the character interaction with everyone at the table. The cast members deserve a lot of praise for paying attention to everyone. In our 1 hour lunch, we had Minnie, Pluto, Goofy and Max come by to see everyone. For Ariel, you could see her in the lobby area whenever. The kids, mom & dad, and our friends all enjoyed this experience. I would do it again!...just make a "priority" reservation and show up before your time. The atmosphere and decoration is very relaxing - could have spent 2 hours there if we didn't have to rush off for the show.

The food gets about a 3.5 planet. The atmosphere a 4.0. The character/cast members a 5.0!
 
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful
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3.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.0   06/23/03
Reviewer: sleepyjeff Parkrose Oregon     June 25, 2003
We ate at Ariel's Grotto for Lunch. Had to wait in a standby line for 25 minutes(even though we were told it would be about 10). Once inside saw that over half the seats were available--I know it is not the number of seats but the number of servers but still--I had the fish and chips which were quite good. My kids had chicken fingers which they did not seem to care for. My wife had a Chicken Pot Pie which she did not like--I tasted it and thought it was a bit off but not terrible. The wait staff was friendly but seemed to disappear for long stretches. After we were finished it took them over 30 minutes to give us our bill. The charchters here were more attentive than at other charchter meals we had. We would visit again only if they shade the Standby line or if we remember to make Priority seating arrangements.
 
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful
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1.0/5.01.0/5.01.0/5.01.0/5.01.0/5.0   Feb 18 2003
Reviewer: Bears_777 Denver     May 21, 2003
Ok I hate to say this. But we all got sick. We were seated nicely out side. WONDERFUL VIEW! I had the meatloaf, my daughter had the child Spagetti.
The waitress was rude and a spider landed on out table and we asked the waitress if we could get a rag to wipe the table and she threw a fit and picked up my plate wiped and threw my plate down. So we will not go back.
 
2 out of 5 people found this review helpful
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4.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.0   April 7, 2003
Reviewer: Bill Catherall CA     April 10, 2003
One of my daughter's favorite characters is Ariel, so after we found out that you could have a meal with the characters there (including Ariel of course) we decided to give it a try for lunch. Plus, they had fish & chips on the menu, which was attractive to us parents. We didn't make any reservations so we had about a 30 minute wait in the stand-by line with 4 parties in front of us.

The food was okay. The kids had the macaroni & cheese. It comes with a hot dog in the shape of an octopus (that was a bit rubbery) and little fishy crackers mixed in with the macaroni. The kids weren't really impressed with the food and basically didn't touch the meal. I tried it and didn't think it was all that bad. I guess it just didn't satisfy my kids' pallets. The fish & chips were good. If I were to review on food alone it would get 3 planets, but the characters bumped it up a notch.

We specifically requested indoor seating (which added about 10 minutes to our wait time), but I feel like we got a little more character interaction because of that. I saw the characters go outside, but they seemed to spend more time indoors. Ariel doesn't make her rounds at the tables, she can't walk. But she is there to greet you when you make your way downstairs and you can always go back to see her whenever you want to. We had Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Chip, and Dale come around our table and spend some time with us. But they don't just say hi and move on. They interact with you doing little gags and entertaining everyone, even the adults. It's a very fun experience.

The service was really strange. We had so many people coming by to check how things were going that I wasn't really sure who was our waiter (I wasn't there for ordering so I didn't get the introduction). But even with all those visits they were still slow with refilling drinks. Then when we were ready to leave they didn't bring the bill until I handed someone my credit card. I definitely got more attention from Pluto than I did from our waiter.
 
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful
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5.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.0   January 15, 2003
Reviewer: kitnbrad Danville, CA     January 25, 2003
My four year insisted, so she and I had lunch at Ariels Restaurant, as she put it. We had a short wait for a first available table, and were seated outside, which was wonderful on a nearly 80 degree day. My daughter wanted pasta with no sauce, only butter & cheese, which was not a problem for the restaurant. She delighted in slurping the very long noodles. I choose the salad; good but an overabundance of dressing, and the chicken pot pie, which was unique, and very good, albeit rather a large serving. I was also pleasantly surprised with the nice selection of wines by the glass. My child was also delighted with the huge plate of cotton candy free dessert - and the server was very nice in wrapping it "to-go" for us.

Our server was very good and attentive, particularly to my child. He spent a lot of time with her and asked her a lot of questions about how much she was enjoying Disney.

Obviously, we were there primarily for the character interaction - and it did not disappoint. Minnie and Goofy spent time at every table, and the parade with instruments for the kids was fun. There was also a charade game with Ariel and Pluto with interaction from many of the kids.
 
7 out of 7 people found this review helpful
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5.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.0   August 25th (approx.) 2002
Reviewer: lloannna Long Beach, CA     January 08, 2003
I'm not sure why everyone seems to take issue with the food at this place, because I loved it, especially considering the price (remember, a hamburger, fries, and a drink at Club Buzz will cost around $9 without any kind of discount -- my total cost before the discount was I believe $14.50, I spent $15 and that included a $3 tip). I chose the chicken ceasar salad, and consider it to be better than the Blue Bayou kind, and almost as good as the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney. The characters were perfect -- they really interacted with the little kids who wanted to play, but respected the space of shy kids and people like me (I'm 22, and I'm a major fan of going to the parks alone, as I was on this day). My server was extremely attentive, the atmosphere was great, and I loved the things they gave the kids who had birthdays (though I think that's standard across the parks, I'm not sure as I tend to avoid eating Disney food due to the prices). I just hired in to DL Stores at the start of this year (2003), and the nicest and most professional of all of my trainers was a server at Ariel's Grotto. One other nice thing: I've never seen that place especially crowded. The only complaint I have, is that it's closed so much of the time (I think it closes around 3pm during the week, off-season, but I don't have my cast member guide handy so I can't be sure). In any case, Ariel's Grotto is, alongside the Rainforest Cafe, the place I'm most excited about my CM discount. ^_^

Service: excellent, price: good (especially for DLR), food: good, atmosphere: good. Take note that the meals (at least at lunch, in August ^_^) are all the same price. That is, it doesn't matter if you order the cheeseburger or the salad, it's still $12.99. I think the only extra is the drinks. And Premium APs get 15% off, just like at the Blue Bayou.
 
2 out of 3 people found this review helpful
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3.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.0   10/19-10/25/02
Reviewer: kisroo Oregon     December 15, 2002
Food: Lunch buffet for around $12 per person, I think. I had dinner salad and the fish and chips. Hubby had salad and the Salmon BLT. Mine was just ok~the fish was pretty medium as far as quality and the fries were steak-type standard. Hubby's was delish!!! We loved the Salmon BLT and I wished I had ordered it, as well, but at least we had split our meals between the two of us, so I got 1/2 of it! :)

Service: Very friendly and efficient. We sat "outside" on an overcast/sprinkly day without problem. Our waiter was very friendly and efficient and the bus persons were as well. The character experience was quite a bit more laid back than we had experienced at Goofy's and the Practically Perfect Tea, but fun. We did like Goofy and Minnie here, although Ariel never came outside (we did see her being toted along the restaurant several times)even though there were a couple families with children sitting outside by us. Goofy and Minnie did seem to make up for this, however, and interacted with all the tables in the area we were in regardless of the ages of the guests. It was a fun, although with seemingly average quality food, restaurant.
 
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful
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