Disney atmosphere-disappointing eateries.
My wife wanted to stay at this hotel for nearly 20 years. After putting aside some… a lot of money, we went for our 20th anniversary along with our seven-year-old daughter.
Before leaving, my wife called the main number and asked if we would need reservations for dinning or kid’s activities. We were told that as guests of the hotel, we wouldn’t need them and it wouldn’t be a problem. Wrong! Dinning without a reservation was a problem and the kid’s camp was “fully booked” when we called to sign up our daughter.
Although the accommodations are nice, the hotel was crowded with so many kids, that it had exactly the same overwhelming feel as Disney World.
For the evening of our 20th anniversary we went to the “signature” restaurant 1500 Ocean. My daughter had taken a late nap, so we arrived shortly after 8:00 pm. Although, most of the tables were empty, we were told it would be a few minutes before we could be seated, because we didn’t have a reservation. After we were seated, it took a long, long time to get something to drink, some bread and to place our order. In fact my wife, who has the patient of a saint, began debating as to whether we should just leave and go to the “casual” restaurant, Shearwater instead.
In all, the meal took nearly two hours and we were forced to make at least three comments to staff about the inattentive service including asking twice for a waiter to come by the table. The food was good, but I am not exaggerating when I say that the service at our local Cracker Barrel is exponentially more attentive than what we endured at 1500 Ocean. Given the cost and ballyhoo associated with this “signature” establishment, the level of service was so far beyond unacceptable that I can’t begin to put it into words. The fact that the restaurant was nearly empty leads us to wonder how much worse service must be when it’s busy. Bottom line: Unless you want to spend an enormous amount of time and money for poor service, eat somewhere else. Shearwater was a much better experience, though only the dress is casual, NOT the prices. The best dinning experience we found was a place across the street called the Brigantine Seafood House. It was everything 1500 Ocean wasn’t and even though it was crowded, service was excellent as was the food.
Perhaps the most amazing part of our stay was when a fire alarm was triggered one afternoon. After my wife fled the premises with our daughter, she was actually admonished by concierge who told her that she should have waited in the room for instructions and that it would be a really “bad thing” if all of the guests headed for the exits upon hearing the fire alarm. Are you kidding me?!
I usually stay in average hotels when I travel (2-3 diamonds) and once a year, we try to go somewhere really nice like the Greenbrier or Grand. Overall, I’m not demanding and generally easygoing, but based on the five nights we spent at the Del, we have no desire to return.