“I have not yet begun to eat!”
– John Paul Jones (Almost)
As some of you know from an earlier post, I committed to some New Year’s resolutions that are lot more fun to keep than the more common ones to lose weight, exercise and engage in other forms of self-improvement. (Honestly, “committed” makes it sound more noble than it really was—probably more like, “came up with a respectable-sounding excuse to …”)
One of the resolutions was to eat at the Liberty Tree Tavern in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Located in Liberty Square not far from the stocks and Liberty Bell, the Tavern is one of the Kingdom’s original restaurants. It’s been a family favorite for years, but we had never tried it–until now. We decided to eat there for lunch, primarily because despite what you might find online, the lunch menu is no different than the dinner version and we’re not fans of eating heavy meals late in the day. As you’ll see below, this one definitely belongs in the “heavy meal” category.
The first distinguishing characteristic of the Tavern is that the cast member who checks you in asks where you’re from. This is so when your table is ready, the host or hostess can loudly welcome “the _____ family from the colony of _____.” They refer to some present-day states as colonies, others as territories, and at least one (Texas) as a republic. I asked about this, but the cast member at the desk just said, “That’s how they show up on the list.” There’s bound to be a simple reason, but I haven’t found it yet. I got the impression that this is not an FAQ at the Tavern, which I found shocking.
We were seated in the John Paul Jones room, which our host Daron pointed out and encouraged us to check out the appropriately themed décor. This is one of the Tavern’s several dining rooms, all named after famous Revolutionary War-era Americans. Our table was near a window, and it was fun to watch the bustling activity of Liberty Square from a quiet and comfortable spot. The Tavern gets high marks for its immersive atmosphere.
Although you have the option of ordering entrees from the menu (the cheeseburger looked great), we all selected the Patriot’s Platter: an all-you-can-eat Thanksgiving meal served family-style with turkey, prime rib, and pork roast. Sides include mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, macaroni and cheese, and green beans, “Declaration Salad” and rolls with honey butter. Dessert is “Johnny Appleseed Bread Pudding,” served warm and a la mode with “an apple compote and vanilla crème anglaise.”
For me, the fun really began when I found out from our server Jay that unlike many other Walt Disney World table service restaurants, the Tavern serves Joffrey’s coffee and refills are, of course, included. When I asked which flavor it was, Jay went to the back and brought out a giant bag of Joffrey’s French Roast! I don’t know if this was the regular variety or the “In-Room” version that’s part of the Disney Parks and Resorts collection, but either way I was sold!
Although the rolls looked delicious and appeared to be fresh out of the oven, they were a little dry and didn’t have much flavor.
The mixed-green “Declaration Salad” was simple and a good starter.
The entrees and warm sides are brought to your table all at once as a combined comfort-food extravaganza. We all agreed that the turkey was our favorite of the three meats (the sliced pork roast was also tasty; the prime rib just so-so). Although the stuffing was outstanding, the mac and cheese stood out as our favorite among the sides. The only item we asked for seconds on was the turkey since there was more than enough of everything else to fill us up. I couldn’t talk anyone else into trying the cranberry sauce, but it was much better than the run-of-the-mill canned varieties I’ve had in the past. The “Johnny Appleseed” bread pudding and vanilla ice cream made for a great finish, especially with a hot, freshly refilled cup of Joffrey’s.
Based on the location, atmosphere, friendly service, and fare, we would definitely return to Liberty Tree Tavern. It is certainly worth a table service credit if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan (and the cash price of $35 per person isn’t bad, especially with the current 10% Annual Passholder discount). If you’ve eaten at the Liberty Tree Tavern, how did your experience compare to those at other table-service restaurants? Let us know your thoughts at TheDesk@ConciEARS.com!
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