May 28, 2011
I recently had my last day
ice cream cake store I've been working at
for the past several months, and I got into a
discussion with my boss, Jan, about places to
Disney World. She and
her husband, who are huge
Disney theme park fans and
Disney Vacation Club members, go to
Disney every year (sometimes more than once in
one year!) and one of their favorite things to
do is dining in Epcot.
They've been to all the amazing
table service restaurants with the
Disney Dining Plan like Coral Reef,
Akerhus, San Angel Inn, Le Cellier, to name a
few. She was asking where I
have eaten and all I could name was'-Electric
Umbrella' and 'the Yakitori House' and all the
little quick service places, until I remembered,
we actually did get to eat at one of the fancy
table service restaurants a few years ago!
For our trip to the World
in 2009, my siblings and I wanted to take our
parents to one of the fancier dining places of
Epcot. Our first day of park
hopping, our parents did not accompany us, so
after spending the day in the Studious, we hopped
over to Epcot via the Friendship boats to the
International Gateway and started hunting around
the different restaurants such as the Garden
Grill, Le Cellier and others to try and make a
reservation. It was the
middle of summer, and we weren't expecting to
get a seat last minute, but lucky for us, there
was room at the place we most wanted to go:
Japan! Upstairs from the
Mitsukoshi Department store are two
adjoining restaurants. While
all seats were full in the popular Teppan Edo
dining room show kitchens, we were able to score
last minute reservations for the next day
at the adjoining Tokyo Dining restaurant.
The d'cor was an interesting blend of
modern Japanese design and traditional
architecture. There were two
main areas of the dining room, with one looking
out at the spectacular view of the Japanese
pavilion and the World showcase lagoon, and an
inner area in front of a large counter and a
large video screen. We were
seated sort of in the middle, but closer to the
video screen (more on that later).
Dining's waiting area
When people think of
Japanese cuisine, most think of sushi and
the teppanyaki experience (your party sits
around a large flat top grill and a Teppan chef
cooks, flamb's, saut's, and flips shrimp into
your mouth). While that
experience is definitely a lot of fun and quite
the show, it is also quite popular and difficult
to get into. The Tokyo
Dining, which is right next door, is still a
great Japanese dining experience offering dozens
of sushi rolls, as well as traditional and
modern Japanese cuisine, with enough variety for
those with daring tastebuds and others not quite
as brave. I remember being
surprised to see NY Strip Steak on the menu,
though even with that strange addition, we were
still treated to an authentic Japanese
Dining place setting, with drinks menu and main
After the hostess brought
us to our table, the meal started with our
waitress bringing us each a hot, moist towel
called an oshibon. It
is traditional to wash your hands with the towel
before the meal, but it is bad form to use it
for anything else like your face.
We go out for sushi often at home, but
this was the first time we were offered an
oshibon to wash our hands before eating!
Our health conscious mother was quite
pleased with this tradition.
After ordering our food,
our side of the dining room was treated to a
little presentation. At the
aforementioned counter, one of the young ladies
dressed in a kimino and cap called our attention
to the video screen. The
screen, which was displaying pictures of the
natural beauty of
Japan, lit up and we realized it was a
video feed of the counter she was working at.
It turns out she was a sushi roller and
she was going to show us how they make sushi!
I had just been part of a sushi workshop
at my university a month previous to this
evening, so it was quite a treat to see it done
by real Japanese sushi rollers.
Her station was equipped with a bowl of
sushi rice (sticky
rice vinegar), nori (seaweed), a bamboo
roller mat, and various other ingredients for
making specific rolls.
Rollers at the Sushi counter
finished sushi rolls!
Bento box ' an assortment of traditional
Tempura, but I remember he liked it a lot
wanted sushi and an entr'e, so she ordered the
children's entr'e, which was actually a larger
portion than we all expected!
an orange frozen drink, salmon and yam tempura
know, a little boring for sushi, haha)
Tokyo Dining was a
terrific, and unexpected experience.
We were a little disappointed that we
could not get into the Teppan Edo show kitchen
dining room, but pleasantly surprised at what
the Tokyo Dining side had to offer.
Not only did we dine on some
delicious Japanese cuisine, we also
experienced some traditional meal customs and
were treated to a sushi rolling demonstration.
Our family loves eating and after years
counter service dining plan at Disney, we
are looking forward to our next meal at Disney
now that we have gotten a taste of what
Epcot's fine dining has to offer.
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