A Review of Shutters at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

| June 22, 2010

Review and photos by Kevin Klose

We recently decided mid-week to go to Shutters in Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort for dinner. We had not made an advanced dining reservation and were willing to take a chance on getting a table.

Shutters is located in the Old Port Royale building, at the back of the food court. We approached the three Cast Members at the podium and I asked if it was possible to get a table for dinner. We were told that there would be a 15 to 20 minute wait.

A 15 to 20 minute wait is not uncommon at any Disney restaurant so we didn’t think twice when that information was shared. As we stood there waiting, it became obvious that we were the only people in the vicinity and from where we were standing, we could see that the restaurant was nearly empty.  Keep reading to find out if we got seated…

Port Royale at Caribbean Beach

I understand that restaurants have staffing issues and took that into consideration until I saw a group of servers standing and chatting.

I went back to the podium and asked Flora, Fauna and Merriweather why we were waiting 15 to 20 minutes?  I was told that “We have to wait for a paper to come out of the box.” At this point, one of the women picked up a black box and banged it on the counter. I had no idea what this meant and just stepped back. While waiting, I decided to wash my hands before eating. As you have to pass the dining rooms on the way to the restroom, I noticed that there were six tables with people at them in the entire restaurant. With at least 6 servers standing about, I went back and again asked why we were waiting. Again, the Cast Member picked up the black box and banged it on the counter. At this point, I’m perplexed.

About 5 minutes passed before the black box made a grinding noise and produced what looked like a register receipt. While standing not four feet from the podium….our pager went off. Trying not to laugh, we handed the pager back and were told, “Now you can be seated.”

We were shown our table in a near empty restaurant and on our way noticed that several tables had not been cleared. We were seated next to one of the dirty tables and watched as the servers cleared used dishes and silver wear from occupied tables and put them on the table next to ours.

Watching all this happen…..we began the long wait for our server to arrive.

We waited 18 minutes before our server approached our table…wiping his forehead with a cloth and stating, “I don’t know why she double seated me…do you know what you want?”

After such a glorious greeting…..we ordered three of the six appetizers / salads  offered.

We started with the Shrimp Fritters ($7.99), the Chorizo-Black Bean soup ($5.49) and the Lettuce Sampler Platter ($11.99).

I’ll start with the Good Stuff. The Chorizo Black Bean Soup was okay. I didn’t find a lot of chorizo, but the flavor was good. The soup is very spicy, but a decent cup of soup.

Chorizo Black Bean Soup

Now the Bad….the Shrimp Fritters were fried dough with corn. While they were on the table, John dared me to find any trace of shrimp. I couldn’t. These were basically fried corn donuts. They were a bit greasy and flavorless unless dipped in one of the sauces. I’d tell you what the sauces were, but our server mumbled when he did stop by our table so I’m not sure what they were.

Shrimp Fritters

The Lettuce Wrap Sampler Platter was a small scoop of dry, flavorless pulled pork, “Chayote Slaw”, cilantro sour cream, plantains, jerk potato chips and lettuce cups. This failed on almost every level.  The sour cream supposedly contained cilantro and the pulled pork supposed had “Mojo”. We found neither and the jerk potato chips had no trace of jerk seasoning. At $11.99 this is grossly overpriced, not to mention being just plain bad.

Lettuce Wraps for Two

After a disappointing first round, we were hoping for something better with our entrees.

We ordered the Caribbean Pork Ribs served with a mild Chipotle-Vanilla Glaze ($20.99) and the Land and Sea Platter, which is grilled Skirt steak with Chimichurri sauce and Shrimp in cilantro lime butter ($19.99).

Caribbean Pork Ribs

The Caribbean Pork Ribs were placed on the table and we were immediately struck by the odor of a Yankee Candle. The fake vanilla odor was intense. The ribs were fatty and tough and more than one bite was impossible because of the perfume taste and odor. The vegetables served were summer squash and zucchini.  I have no idea how the kitchen made vegetables tougher by cooking them, but they did. We could not bite through either vegetable. They had the consistency of inner tubes. Plantains were served to us, but we had ordered the mashed sweet potatoes. Mumbles, the non-existent server did correct this and brought us a huge serving of what turned out to be the highlight of the meal. The sweet potatoes were cooked perfectly and were delicious. Of this entrée…. the sweet potatoes were the only thing eaten.

The Land and Sea platter was an all around inedible disaster. I was asked how I wanted my skirt steak done and I asked for it to be cooked medium.  I was served what looked like an autopsy. I have no idea how you can get a 1/3 inch steak charred on the outside and not have the center cooked at all.

The four “cooked beyond recognition” shrimp were under this greasy, bloody mess and were covered by a thin layer of greasy, green slime.  Due to over cooking the shrimp were little rubber erasers and the chipotle-lime butter sauce had a rancid taste. I put a shrimp in my mouth and pulled it back whole. Everything sat in a platter-sized BP Oil slick. The black beans and rice were almost as bad. The rice had the consistency of old leather and I don’t believe it was freshly cooked on the day it was served. It sat on a ring of roughly 25 black beans. One gallon of black beans would not have been enough to revitalize the dried out rice. The plantains were adequately cooked….boring…but adequate. This entrée also went back uneaten.

Land and Sea Platter

After another long wait, our server removed two full plates of food from our table…never questioning why nothing was consumed or if there was a problem.

In order to offer a full review, we asked for a dessert menu. We were told we didn’t need a menu and then our served mumbled something unintelligible. As we had no idea what he said and we couldn’t have a menu…we skipped dessert.

This was far and away the very worst meal I have ever had on Disney property.

I would suggest that you dine ANYWHERE other than Shutters at the Caribbean Beach Resort.

It’s my opinion that you would be better off lighting fire to $80.00. You’d get a better value than you would ordering this food.

Beware!


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Category: Dining, Disney World

About the Author ()

Leah grew up in a little farming town in Illinois, right on the Mississippi River. Her Chicago-born husband, David, left the city for her, and they're now raising their three children (Jacob, Jonah and Lydia) just 12 miles from her hometown. As the Senior Editor of the DIS (wdwinfo.com), Leah spends a lot of time writing about, reading about, and discussing Disney. So, it should come as no surprise that one of her family's favorite ways to spend time is going to Walt Disney World and traveling on Disney Cruise Line. She also enjoys shopping, watching movies with her husband and doing crafts with and for her kids.
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  • irishdadx4

    Kevin,

    I hate it when you mince words….just tell us how you really feel. :-)

    Thanks for the great revue. I actually was considering this restaurant for both our trip in Aug and Dec. But I had decided against it long before this revue. But good to know we aren’t missing anything.

    Mike

  • 8lovesmickey

    Kevin- I have to say that I always find you fun to listen to, but this review made me laugh out loud. Among other things, your description of Yankee Candle ribs put the complete picture in my head instantly… Needless to say we won’t be stopping by Shutter’s any time soon!! Thanks!

  • daneenm

    Oh my Kevin! I just finally listened to the review. That has got to be the worst dining experience I have ever heard of!

  • dizkneedoll

    Even the pictures turned my stomach … in all our 30+ visits to WDW we have never had the opportunity to eat at Shutters … guess we didn’t miss anything. I’m not sure I would have paid for that meal … time to definitely speak with the manager maybe?

  • sengle1967

    I know when we were there in Oct 2008 Shutters service was not bad-the service was nice-oddly enough so was the food. But that was then-seems like Disney goes through these phases one moment they are excellent another they can really drop the ball, ( and that is one heavy ball too) Funny back in 2006 we stayed at the Coronado (LOVED it) them you read these bad reviews, kind of scares you and makes you wonder where were some of these poeple staying at. ;-) Either way we make the most of it and have have as much fun as we can.

  • eams32

    I am saddened to hear that you had such a horrific experience at Shutters. I am a server there and have been for quite some time now. While I was not there the evening you dined with us, I can tell you that your experience was not what we would call typical. I will freely admit that you did not have some of the better items on our menu (I’m not a fan of almost anything you ordered either) and had you been my guest I would have immediately talked you out of most of what you ordered and into the best signature items we have. I invite you to return and have our signature dish, the Char Crusted NY Strip for sure, it is absolutely amazing, and the Caribbean Pasta. Or if you like seafood, go for the Jerk Crusted Ahi Tuna… simply delightful. And if you only come back for dessert, which I am HIGHLY upset that you missed out on, get the Tres Leches. It is divine incarnate.

    For those of you who might think about passing on Shutters simply because of this review, I remind you that every restaurant has their off nights. And for every person who didn’t like the food or server, or experience, we have 10 more that loved it. We all take pride in our little place that often gets forgotten by our guests. Please try us out for yourselves before you make any harsh judgements. You might be pleasantly surprised.

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  • sengle1967

    to add to what ‘eams32′ said–I have to agree, the Ahi Tuna was excellent–I had the cheescake for desert-that sucker, the slice I got was huge. The waiter we had very helpful-she even helped us to get a photo of our group which was a plus for us, we still had a 5 minute wait even with the recommended reservation, but we had a nice table with no one around us. The experience we had I would say a definite 4.5 out of 5. That was just our experience.

  • cgattis

    I don’t think my comment will come as a surprise here. We ate at Shutters the evening before the Princess Half Marathon. We had traveled that day, picked up our packets, and wanted to have an early dinner and turn in VERY early for race day. Knowing that if we ventured to a park or another resort, we might be tempted to stay out too late, we opted for Shutters. We had an ADR and were seated promptly; there were probably three other tables full when we were seated. The three of us ladies decided to all have the Caribbean Pasta, two with chicken and one with shrimp. We felt the need to have a little salad with our bowls-o-carbs :) , so we split a Mixed Greens Salad. The salad was fairly small, considering it was $5.49 and mostly greens, but it was tasty and enough for what we wanted. Our server did seem to completely disapper for periods, but I think that has something to do with the odd layout of the restaurant itself and less to do with his attentiveness. When we did make requests, he took care of what was needed. The pasta was a very large portion, and arrived very hot. There were more green bell peppers than I would have preferred, but that is just a personal taste. Overall, we all thought it was very tasty. We saved dessert for the night AFTER the race, for the mmmmmm chocolate torte at Brown Derby! It’s nice that there is a sit-down option at the resort for those kind of nights where you dont’ want to (or feel like!) taking the time to venture out on Disney transportation. BUT (and here it comes…) I think Shutters is typical of Disney food in general–VERY hit or miss. We had the same experience at Rose and Crown–it gets terrible reviews in general, but our food was fine (with the exception of that Yorkshire pudding–that can NOT be what that is supposed to taste and feel like! haha). And my friend and I just had a terrible meal at Les Chefs de France during Flower and Garden this year, and it even gets raves from Pete! We even had the same issue with the Cruise food–some items were delicious, some were downright disgusting (I think they served me Dishwater and Lobster Bisque). The only restaurant on Disney property where we have eaten multiple times and never had one bad item was Brown Derby. That is just my experience–read the reviews, but if a menu (or a location, or availability, or whatever) still draws you to a restaurant, give it a shot. Just take that shot with a rim of salt :)

  • wdwtjc

    Excellent review as always Kevin … to those who say they have had a better experience, I am glad to hear that ~ however, as they say, a picture is definitely worth a thousand words and those pictures spoke volumes. Pretty tough to explain away I’m afraid. If you do take up the invitation to go back and re-review your meal(s), they should all be on the house.

  • wdwtjc

    Just one additional rant related to the previous response posted. To say that “I think Shutters is typical of Disney food in general–VERY hit or miss” is a sad commentary indeed. As many others do, we spend a great deal of time, effort and sacrifice planning and saving for our trips to WDW which inevitably cost a good deal of money after all is said and done. With that in mind I believe that all guests deserve to expect and receive so much better from Disney than a hit or miss experience. To me that scenario is simply unacceptable.

  • larrylin

    Caribbean Beach is one of our favorite resorts at WDW. Dollar for dollar it is a great value, particularly with a passholder discount. We have probably stayed there a dozen times. We have eaten at Shutters a number of times and never had an experience even remotely like yours. While I don’t consider this to be one of Disney’s best restaurants, I feel that it’s average or slightly above. Our service has always been up to Disney standards and the food while not exceptional has always been good. I would certainly not exclude Shutters based only on this review.

  • http://community.livejournal.com/anythingdisney ashleyvirus

    Wow, I had a completely different experience when I went last year!

    My family didn’t make ADR’s either, but we didn’t wait long. The restaurant was pretty busy that evening. I’m vegan, and our waiter and the chef bent over backwards basically to accommodate me (as did most of the restaurants in Disney–seriously, the chefs rock.) Everyone’s food came quickly, and the waiter was awesome and kept quizzing us on Disney trivia.

    I do remember my mom and sister not liking the meat they got, it had too much fat on it. I can’t remember what they got though, maybe steak? It’s been a year lol.

    While not my favorite restaurant, I did have a good experience so maybe it was just an off night for you? :( I love CBR. Beautiful resort.

  • trivial

    Shame on you, Disney. What a disgrace. That this kind of terrible service and disgusting food can be found anywhere on Disney property is outrageous, and certainly does nothing to encourage me to return any time soon.

  • malloridiane

    After reading all these reviews I figured I had a 50/50 chance. Here’s the experience I had last night… My man and me get there 1/2hr early for our reservations. We were given a buzzer and proceded to wait, and wait, and wait for 45min. After a huge party got their beep before us I went up to the counter to find they had “lost me” in their system. We finally got in. Like others had said, not very busy. I got the chicken, he got the land and sea. Everything on my dish was dry and bland tasting. I was almost done when next thing I know there is a short black hair in my dish. The manager came over and apologized and comped my meal. Then we got dessert, I got the tres leches which wasn’t as amazing as people have said. He got the key lime which I much preferred. He liked his land and sea. He gave the overall experience a 7 out of 10, I gave it a 5. The waitress was nice but it wasn’t enough to compensate for what went down. There are many other superior places to eat at WDW. I think next time I’ll go back to O’hanas.

  • finch6789

    As with reviewers #6, 7, 9, 13, 14…I also had a wonderful experience at Shutters just this past November 2012, on our last night of our wonderful Disney vacation. With the exception of Ohana, which was stupendous, we had been eating all our meals inside the parks and not at the resorts. Well, our last night there we were just too exhausted, and we headed back to our hotel at a reasonable time, and decided to go to Shutter’s right there at our hotel. Well, I have to say, everyone in our party agreed that we all wished we had gone earlier and more than once. I had the Aruba chicken, hubby had the strip steak, and mom had (forgot the name) pasta with shrimp. Well the mashed plantains were phenomenal, and so were all our meals. Just plain fabulous. Oh, and my daughter had the kid’s meal which was broiled salmon with rice. We will def visit again when next we go to WDW. I understand that sometimes the service is off, or that not everyone will like the food, but I wouldn’t let this one review put you off if you’re in the area and are hungry. It was delightful.

  • finch6789

    …continued review. I also forgot to mention, that it was my daughter’s 6th birthday, and the staff went out of their way to put together a birthday card for her, they all signed it and drew pictures in it, and they got the WHOLE CROWDEd restaurant to sing her Happy Birthday. we were overcome with emotion and the bday card remains a treasured memento of our visit. Not exactly the signs of bad service at a bad restaurant.

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