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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dining Review: Biergarten

Biergarten is the restaurant located in the Germany Pavilion in Epcot.  For years I avoided this location.  I thought it was going to be a bunch of sausages and mediocre food.

To be honest my opinion may have never changed if not for Disney podcasts.  I listen to about seven different Disney podcasts.  Time and time again I heard how good Biergarten was.  In particular WDW Today really had a positive opinion of this location.

When I made our ADR my wife thought I was nuts but I assured her it had positive reviews.  After saying this I couldn't help but hold my breath and hope it didn't end up being a total mess. 

When we first entered Biergarten our waiter explained that it was tradition to sit with people you didn't know.  This seems like an ok idea when it works.  In our case it didn't really work.  We were seated with a another party that didn't speak or understand English.  They didn't know Spanish either so we didn't really have any way beyond gestures to communicate with them.
As we were brought to our table something hit us.  

Biergarten is one of the best, if not the best, themed restaurant in Walt Disney World.  Like the Mexico Pavilion you in the blink of an eye you are transported to night time.   In this case an outdoor banquet hall in Germany in the fall.  The detail level is amazing.  Click on the picture on the right and check out the details.  There are going to be a number of additional photos to expand on some of the cool details.  I'll be honest I was blown away because after all of the times I have been to Disney World I didn't think there could be such a detailed corner that I had not seen.  It just goes to show that no matter how many times you go to Disney World there will always be something new to experience.  Experiences like this make me excited to go back again and find another hidden gem.  They are out there.  Just being open to new experiences can lead you to a some amazing memories.

Here is a close up of a fall tree and a water wheel that could be overlooked.   It's just another example of how the imagineers go above and beyond when they design something.

In the corner you can find a full moon.  It's a really nice touch and I'm not 100% sure how they pull it off.  I don't know if it's an illuminated painting or a projection.

Now for the food.  I low expectations for the food.  After all I'd never really heard good things about German cuisine.  I honestly thought Germany mastered the art of beer making because bad food taste better after enough beer.  I now know that I was not only an idiot for believing that but I was completely pig headed.  The food at Biergarten is not just good it's great. 

Sure there are some sausages but there is a ton of other options too.  Oh and I should mention, the sausages are awesome.  To explain how good the food is I have to make some comparisons.  I have been to a bunch of buffets in Disney World.  I have been to Chef Mickey's, Crystal Palace, Tusker House, and Akershus.  Biergarten beats all of them hands down.  Yes the food is that good.

Now when you go to Germany you have to do what the Germans do.  You need to drink beer! Now Biergarten has some of the best beers you will find in Disney World bet there is something else that  makes the beers special.  You can get them in liters.  Yes a one liter sized beer as seen in this picture.  When the beers came all I could think of was the scene in the Lord of the Rings when one of the hobits comes back to the table with a pint sized beer causing one of the others to say "It comes in pints!?!"  That is how I felt as I lifted my beer.  Best of all you burn calories with a beer like this.  Just picking it up is like doing a bicep curl.  If take small sips you'll need to change arms before you are done.  So now you have an excuse to order a beer bigger than your head.  You need the exercise!

Next the service.  The service was top notch.  In fact it was the best service I'd ever received at a buffet.  Our waiter was very friendly and attentive.  I also tested him right off the bat.  I tested him on the beers on the menu.  I wanted to order the most bitter beer they had.  I like a good IPA so I wanted something close.  He hit the nail on the head.  We also asked him about the lightest beer because one of the members of our party didn't really like beer but we threatened to disown her if she didn't order one.  He did a good job with that too.  Overall he did an amazing job.

Unlike most restaurant reviews I have to add another section to this review, the entertainment. Yes Biergarten offers some entertainment.

The entertainment consists of a ompa band.  It's fun music and fits right into the theming but they really go beyond just playing some music.  They really do entertain.  There is one part where the tuba player goes out and scares people who are not paying attention, another part where they play an Alps Horn, and a fun part when one of the members plays the bells at an insanely fast pace. Click here to see the tuba guy scare people and click here to see the fastest bell player in the "World."  Overall the entertainment is really fun and almost everyone will enjoy it.

The end result is Biergarten is one of the best restaurants in Disney World and I don't say that lightly.  For what you pay it's hard to find a better dining deal in all of Disney World.  The food is great, the service is great, the theming is amazing, and the entertainment is fun.  Biergarten is truly a hidden gem.

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