Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chef TJ Update

I spoke with Chef TJ yesterday and he confirmed that he's now at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian Resort.

This is actually fairly good news, since the character buffet itself is always a hysterical experience, and since Chef Harry has dropped the ball on the veg end of things too many times for my taste.

Chef TJ is sure to be an invaluable addition to their restaurant, and I hope everyone who knows of his reputation will follow him there.

Just in case anyone is making reservations for the near future, his current work schedule is Saturday-Wednesday. We're already booked twice.


  1. awesome blog! i ate at some of the same restaurant on my visit to disney this january. my husband and i greatly enjoyed "jiko" at the animal kingdom lodge. they came out with a whole vegan menu and everything :)

  2. Thanks so much, Peggy!
    I've heard great things about Jiko, but I still haven't gotten there. And sadly, the prospects are not good.

    Because I travel with my family, I'm bound to their whims as well. My aunt now refuses to return to the AK Lodge, only because they've made it so difficult to get back to our resort from there. Unless you get a kind bus driver who will take you direct (as we have had happen on multiple occasions), you're stuck going Downtown just to grab another bus to your resort. They really need to restructure their transportation options.

    Thanks again for reading!

  3. I second the nomination for Jiko. They have a vegan main dish all the time, plus desserts, sides, and a wonderful watermelon-rocket salad with a vanilla dressing. Depending where you stay, you can often finagle a trip pretty close--for example, if you're there when there are special events at Magic Kingdom (e.g., MNSSHP), and IF you're staying on the monorail loop, you can catch a late bus back to Magic Kingdom and take the monorail from there to the other loop hotels. AKL, while a bit out of the way, is actually a truly lovely place to stay as a vegan. It's a comfortable, new hotel with lots of good eco-messages. Maybe your family will re-think...Good luck! -TofuForBrains

  4. P.S. I can't get into any of TJ's dinners during my upcoming you know if he is the chef for the breakfasts, too? -TFB

  5. Hey TFB,
    Thanks for the info on the AKL. I really miss visiting it, but it just doesn't look like it's in the cards.

    I just replied to you on Kitty's blog, but in case you didn't get to see it, I doubt that he's doing anything but dinner. His schedule at the Polynesian was ridiculously long, due to prepping and stuff, and though I don't know for sure if that will change at the GF, I'd be very surprised if he started doing any breakfasts.

    That said, you can always call the podium at 1900 PF just to verify. I hope it works out for you! Thanks again!

  6. Ah, thanks, VS! Not that I could get into a breakfast, either! Maybe there will be a cancellation between now and then...if your trip is before mine, I will very much look forward to reading about your culinary adventures with TJ and elsewhere!

  7. I've really enjoyed reading your blog and it has helped a lot in planning my family's trip to WDW in December this year. We will be spending 5 days at WDW and two days at Universal Studios. I was curious if you ever go there and what tips you might have for eating vegan there.

  8. Hey Shannon,
    Thanks a bunch! I'm really glad I could help.

    I wish I could tell you something about Universal, but I've never been there. Believe it or not, even though I've been to WDW over 20+ times, I've never been to any other Florida theme park.

    Good luck there, and if you find anything, please let me know because I'd be happy to add it to the blog!

    Have a great time and please let me know if you have any other questions I may be able to help with.

  9. we lucky out and got a super nice bus driver that drove us straight to the ak lodge from fort wilderness yay!

  10. I love your blog - all the information is so incredibly helpful. My family is going to Disneyworld in March of 2011, and I'm hoping to try to make dinner reservations at 1900 Park Fare so that we can experience a chef TJ dinner! I'm nervous not being able to get in, and also afraid he might move again before our trip. I guess I just have to hope for the best!

  11. Hey Kim!
    Thank you so much. Really appreciate the positive feedback.

    Have you started to make your dinner reservations yet? You can start making them 180 days before your trip, and I'd HUGELY recommend it.

    I'm guessing that Chef TJ will be there for a while, because they typically switch the chefs over, let them make their changes, revitalize the restaurant, get them all settled in, and THEN move them. :)

    I'll be sure to continue to post news on his whereabouts when and if I hear any changes.

    Sadly, we were supposed to be going down this coming week, but due to health problems in the family, we had to cancel the trip. We're aiming for next spring now too.

    Have a great time and please let me know if you have any questions!

  12. Thanks for your reply! So sorry to hear you had to cancel your trip. That's such a bummer. Maybe we'll be going at the same time and we can say hi!

    We made reservations over the weekend. For breakfast we're doing the character breakfasts at Ohana, Tusker House and the Crystal Palace (we'll be with my nephews, although I'd probably go either way!) For dinner/lunches we're going to the Kona Cafe, the Crystal Palace, Boma, Kouzzina, 1900 Park Fare and the California Grill. We might try to schedule one more dinner or lunch, and I was thinking of doing Chefs de France in Epcot or something else there. Is there anything else you'd recommend? I feel like that's a lot, but we'd rather have them scheduled and be able to cancel than to not have them at all.

    I'll be sure to check back to see if you have any more updates!

  13. Any news on how Chef TJ is doing @ 1900 Park Fare?
    We will be there mid December and I haven't read anything about how things are going over there.

  14. Hey Anonymous.

    Well, I emailed Chef TJ to let him know that we wouldn't be down this year after all. He sent me a really nice message back, in which he said that he's liking it there. He said he's still doing his sort of thing, but with more Floridian flavors. I don't know if that means less Asian-inspiration or exactly how it will impact his options, but I'm eager to find out.

    He also said that he's had a ton of vegetarians and vegans who have found him there already. Knew it wouldn't take long.

    I'm hoping that if anyone who reads this blog goes there, they'll post an update. Sorry I don't have any more specifics, but I hope you have an excellent trip, and please fill me in when you get back!

  15. I am going with my family in two weeks! And we managed to get a reservation at 1900 Park Fare! So I'm excited and hopeful that it will be on a day that Chef TJ will be there. I will report back after our trip. :)

  16. That awesome, Shannon! I'm just a little bit jealous about that. Please keep us posted and Tell Chef TJ I said hi. ;-)

    Have a great trip!

  17. Hi! I've just come across your blog and I love it! We are visiting next week and have 1900 PF reservations on Tues. I'm really anxious to know if Chef TJ is still there? I tried calling but I couldn't find out that information, do you know? :)

  18. Hey Icandoittoo,
    Thanks so much!
    He is still there. And hopefully he'll be working that day. I'm not aware of a schedule change, but things change quickly down in WDW. Fingers crossed! Sorry I didn't see that you'd commented sooner. Make sure you ask for him when you get there. Did you do the whole 'food allergy' thing when you made the reservations?

    Have a great trip and please let me know if you have any questions.

  19. Hi, my husband found your post about your meal with Chef TJ while looking for vegetarian food options for me and my daughters at Disney. I've been a vegetarian since I was five and my kids since birth. I love wonderful meals and my 8 year old is a real taste adventurer and loves to try new things (she's less brave on rides though). I am so eager to have one of his delicious meals. We're going to be in WDW from March 8-13th and couldn't get a reservation, but I kept trying and just got one for Thursday, March 10th for dinner and another for breakfast on Sunday, the 13th. Do you know if Chef TJ will be working either of those shifts? I called Disney to find out, but they won't give out any information about staff work schedules. I would love your help.

  20. We went on a Sunday night in January and he was not there. We had a terrible experience. The chef came out and said he would make my daughter something she could eat (she is a vegan), this is after filling out all of the forms weeks ahead of time. The chef never returned with any prepared foods, but rather told her some of the things she could eat on the buffet. Don't go unless Chef TJ is there.

  21. Hey Anonymous,
    Yeah, I totally agree. Was it Chef Harry by chance? As you can see from one of my blogs, all he "made" me was a plate of cold salad stuff that was available from the quick service Gasparilla Grill next door. The characters are always fun, but it's definitely not worth going for the food unless Chef TJ is there.

    On that note, I'm waiting to hear from him about his schedule. I'll post as soon as I get confirmation.

    Thanks for commenting!