The main food court at Saratoga Springs Resort is called Artist Palette. My mom and I along with Corey Fiasconaro and his wife Haley were at Saratoga as Fiasco was set to sign his first DVC contract. We arrived early and decided to grab lunch at Artist Palate. Before I get to our impressions of the food, a little history…
Before there was Artist Palate, there was once Seasons Restaurant. Seasons was a table service restaurant that specialized in fresh, seasonal menus during a time when it wasn’t all the rage. It was one of the best restaurants on property at the time, but sadly it closed when the resort made the transition to Saratoga Springs in 2003. In it’s place, we have Artist Palate – a quick service area that offers the typical array of items you would expect at a Disney resort quick service location. Here’s a look at what we ate, and what we thought:
Thin Crust Cheese Pizza – $9.49
The impressive brick oven behind the counter almost beckons you to order a pizza – DON’T! Even by Disney’s generic standards, this was among the worst pizza’s I’ve ever tasted. For starters, there was virtually no sauce on the pie – which I think you would agree is kind of important for pizza. While it was a ‘thin crust’, the crust was soggy and literally had an aftertaste. It was like the Sweet-n-low of pizza crusts.
Turkey and Brie – $10.99
The turkey and brie sandwich wasn’t nearly as bad as the pizza, but that’s not to say it was necessarily ‘good’. It had lots of greens (and most of that was arugula), in addition to the turkey there was a small amount of brie as well as cranberry mayo . We wondered why there was so much arugula – then we tasted the sandwich without it. In spite of the fact that the turkey was fresh, the sandwich had almost no flavor – the arugula was there to make sure it didn’t seem like you were biting into a half-pound of pressboard.
Buffalo Chicken Panini – $11.49
The Buffalo Chicken Panini got much better reviews. Pulled chicken with a mild buffalo sauce, some finely chopped carrots and celery on a toasted multigrain bread. This was delicious, the chicken was tender and the buffalo sauce was just right.
Turkey Club Wrap – $10.99
Much like the Turkey and Brie sandwich, this wrap did not have a lot of flavor. The wrap had fresh turkey (not processed), tomatoes, cheese, lettuce and an aioli sauce. While it wasn’t overly flavorful, it was fresh, simple and satisfying. If you’re a turkey person, this is a better option than the turkey and brie sandwich.
Meatball Sub (special) – $9.99
I’m a sucker for a good meatball sub. This item was listed as a ‘daily special’ so I decided to give it a go. As meatball subs go, this one wasn’t bad. The meatballs were good and it had sauce on it (which was a step up from the pizza).
Overall I found this place to be on the lower end of the scale for food courts. It baffles me, as Disney has made great strides in the last 5 years improving the taste and quality of quick service offerings (Sunshine Seasons anyone)? This just feels like a ‘we have to have a food court, so here it is’ location. I don’t think the person selecting the menu is actually tasting the food.
But here’s the rub – I can’t imagine we’re the first people to eat lunch at this location prior to signing a $15k timeshare contract. I realize a food court is not a barometer for a resort by any means, but the thought occurred to me that if I was a brand new member who had never stayed DVC before and this was the food at Saratoga, I’d be wondering how ‘high quality’ this product is. There is no excuse any more for any quick service location at WDW to be sub-par, but I have think this is especially true at Saratoga Springs – the epicenter of the DVC sales universe and currently one of only two stand-alone DVC resorts at Walt Disney World.
Time to give this menu an overhaul – but next time, taste the food first before you put it on the menu.