I’ve been to Art of Animation a few times since its opening for its interesting menu. I haven’t ordered the same item twice, and I’m still finding dishes that catch my attention for one reason or another. My latest visit was with my friend Shalon, when she texted to see what I was up to. I mentioned I was heading to Art of Animation for lunch, and she was more than happy to jump on board to that plan. I was happy for the company, and to hear about her latest Disney Cruise. 🙂
I recently mentioned on a post about Earl of Sandwich’s Cannonballs! Sandwich that I’ve been craving meatball subs as of late. This day wasn’t going to be any different. I went for the Meatball Sandwich on Ciabatta, served with a side salad.
Let’s face it: serving meatballs on two slices of bread is probably not the best execution, as there is no hinge to keep the meatballs from rolling around and off the sandwich. Ciabatta, while it typically has a hearty crust, has a very soft interior and is a bit more porous in its crumb. By the time I received my sandwich and paid, the sauce had soaked through the bottom slice of bread, and I needed to eat the meatballs alone with a fork and knife.
Now I will say the bread on its own had a decent flavor and tasted fresh. The marinara had a slightly chunky texture and was pleasant. The meatballs were tender and well-seasoned, though there was something in the dish that was a tad saltier than I anticipated, but not overly so. There was also good amount of melted mozzarella over everything.
The Caesar Side Salad was a bit disappointing. The Romaine lettuce was primarily the yellow section at the center of a stalk, and the bowl it’s served from sits near heating trays for orders that come up. It also seemed to have been sitting out for a while, with the moisture from the dressing softening up the lettuce even more. A few bites was more than enough.
The Cheesy Pesto Bread was a much better use of the ciabatta. Drizzled with olive oil (or possibly butter, there was a salty element that could have been from the pesto), slathered in pesto, topped with mozzarella and toasted, there was both a lot of flavor and texture going on with these humble pieces of bread.
The edges of the bread remained crusty, and the bread’s soft texture absorbed the flavor of its toppings without getting mushy like the meatball sandwich.
The side of marinara neither improved nor detracted from the bread itself when dipped, but I preferred the bread on its own. It was definitely able to stand on its own.
Shalon ordered her favorite, the Surf and Surf Burger, a Crab Cake topped with fried Popcorn Shrimp, Tomato, Lettuce, and Cajun Remoulade on a Brioche Bun served with Cole Slaw or House-Seasoned Fries. She noted that this time, the shrimp on her sandwich was lacking, and while there were still several pieces of shrimp on it, it’s usually overflowing. She also asked if she could get the house-made chips from the Sandwich Station (as she usually does), and was told no problem. However, when her burger arrived, it had the fries on it. The cast member told her to go ahead and ask the Sandwich Station for the side of chips, but she decided not to as I was waiting for my food. She still enjoyed her meal, though!
Overall, the flavor of the food was good, even if my sandwich didn’t have an ideal bread. The Burger Station moved swiftly for Shalon, but the Pasta Station was incredibly slow for those not ordering the “Create Your Own Pasta” or a pre-made pizza sitting under a heat lamp. We each waited around 5 minutes in our respective lines to order with around three guests ahead of each of us. When Shalon received her food, she patiently waited another 15 or so minutes until I received mine. In fact, a guest that ordered a meatball sandwich after me had her order come up first… The restaurant has been open for a while now, so I would expect more efficient service. Hopefully this won’t happen to guests when the busy season begins, because I imagine they would get pretty upset.
I look forward to my next visit to Landscape of Flavors, as despite some minor flaws I’ve seen over my past several visits, I’m still fairly happy with my experience (I’m sure that’s easier for me to say being a local though, right? ;)). The restaurant is worth a visit if you’re planning on exploring the resort, and if time permits on your vacation, I recommend doing so, especially if you or your family is a fan of Finding Nemo, Cars, Lion King or The Little Mermaid. And if you’re staying at Pop Century, take the stroll over the Generation Gap Bridge for a visit.
If you’ve had a chance to check out Art of Animation, did you stop by Landscape of Flavors? Did you visit for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and what did you order?