The Coral Reef Restaurant, located in The Seas with Nemo and Friends® Pavilion at Epcot®, was always one of my kid’s favorite dinner spots when they were young. They loved to watch the fish and the occasional diver while they ate – there was something about the atmosphere that had them asking if we could have dinner there on every Disney trip. To be honest, I didn’t usually mind since the food was always decent, they had a great steak on the menu that was far less expensive than many of the other dining locations on property. So when preparing for this recent trip for Princess Half Marathon Weekend my daughter asked if we could eat at the Coral Reef for old times sake – sure! It was a mother/daughter weekend so we thought it would be fun to do some of the things we did when she was young. We had eaten at the Coral Reef last about two and half or three years ago.
We arrived for our reservation and were escorted to our table with five minutes. While walking to our table, I noticed several things. The atmosphere seemed much darker than it used to be, making it difficult to navigate especially when it comes to the steps to go down to our table right at the aquarium. Because I was so concerned about missing a step, I got a really, really good look at the carpet! Boy does it need some heavy cleaning and refurbishment. I was slightly surprised by this since, after all, it is Disney – but without a doubt the carpet needs some attention. Also, while being escorted to our table, I noticed the aisle that used to be empty between the tables at the aquarium and the first row of booths is now full of tables for two, causing a difficult maneuvering between tables (and I’m sure not a pleasant experience for those sitting at those tables for 2). When we arrived at our table, we were literally only an arm’s length from the table that is now in that center aisle so when our server was at our table, her rear end was right at that next table, and we were able to hear the neighboring table’s conversation in detail. Very uncomfortable to say the least. While sitting waiting for our food I began looking around the restaurant carefully and noticed quite a few areas that could use a good touch-up.
Once our food arrived both of us decided that although it looked good, it was not as tasty as it could have been. I actually only ate half of my meal, the New York Strip Steak ($32.99) – mediocre at best. I rarely have dessert but since I didn’t really enjoy my full meal, I decided to order dessert. Within minutes of ordering our server returned with our bill and said, “thank you, have a nice evening – you can pay when you are ready.” I asked her to wait one second, looked at the bill that INCLUDED the desserts we had just ordered minutes before but did not receive. I told her we would like our desserts please to which she said “oh! are you sure you didn’t get them?” Our total for dinner that we really didn’t enjoy was over $100.
- Food was mediocre at best.
- Service was mediocre at best
- Atmosphere was uncomfortable; tables crowded together
- Needs some TLC
The Coral Reef was one that I have often recommended to others. I was really disappointed this visit. There are much nicer locations with better food that I will try in the future.