REVIEW: Gasparilla Island Grill Returns with Exquisite Entrees & Desserts, Quick Service Goes Upscale

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Following a short refurbishment, the Gasparilla Island Grill at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa reopened recently featuring a number of interior changes and a drastically new menu.

The restaurant is tucked in the back of the main building, towards the marina area, so many guests are not even aware that it exists. This often makes it a quiet getaway from the rest of Walt Disney World, but it can get busy from time to time.

A completely new station was built featuring desserts, pastries and sweets from the Grand Floridian Bakery, as well as a selection of coffee and specialty beverages.

The self serve dessert case is well stocked with amazing looking treats.

There are also assorted pastries available.

A look at the overall menu.

Next up is the sandwich and pizza station.

And of course, there is the much improved sandwich bar. No more hot dog served in a baked potato here…

Gasparilla Island Grill is the latest counter service establishment to receive Coke Freestyle machines and they have tow of them which work using the Rapid Fill technology in Disney cups.

Coffee, hot cocoa, iced teas, and more are also available.

Not much has changed over at the condiment station.

Some quick grab and go options by the registers.

You can sit indoors and outdoors here and they will bring your food to when it is ready either way.

I prefer outdoors if the weather is nice as the atmosphere in the marina area is always really enjoyable.

OK, enough of that, let’s talk about the food!

Sausage and Mozzarella Pizza ($11.29)

One of the big selling points of the new Gasparilla Island Grill is the new pizza-making process…

Each pizza—which cooks in 90 seconds at 840 degrees—is served on pizza dough made in-house daily by Chef Erich’s team at the Grand Floridian Bakery.

You could really taste the difference here and this was a big step u in quality for counter service pizza at Walt Disney World. The sauce was really sweet, so don’t expect New York-stlye here, but the overall flavors of the personal pie were really good. The distribution of the toppings could have been a little better, but really I’m just nitpicking here. If you want a quick pizza, I would highly recommend getting one here.

Chicken and Brie ($12.99)

Described as “Grilled Chicken and Ham on a Brioche Bun served with French Fries”, there is actually a whole lot more going on in this sandwich. There is also some sort of strawberry jam in here and a good amount of arugula. Jam of any sort isn’t my favorite thing to eat, but overall I thought this sandwich was really good. The bread was nice and fresh and the ingredients in the sandwich all blended together really nicely. Grilled chicken sandwiches at Walt Disney World’s counter service restaurants aren’t often very good, but this is one that I would order again.

Coconut Pot de Creme ($4.29)

Now, for what you have all been waiting for… dessert! This coconut pot de creme might be my favorite dessert I have ever had from a quick service establishment. I love coconut, so if you don’t, obviously don’t order this, but I can’t imagine a scenario where anyone wouldn’t think this is amazing. The crust holds together a rich coconut creme, which is accented nicely by the whipped cream and coconut shavings on top. I will be back for this over and over again. Grand Floridian Executive Chef, Scott Hunnel personally recommended this to us as his favorite when we were picking out desserts, and I can see why.

German Chocolate Cupcake ($5.49)

As good as this cupcake looked, it did not have a taste that matched. Overall, I found it to have little chocolate flavor and the coconut material in the middle did little to enhance it. Next time, I think I’ll have to go for the Minnie Mouse Cupcake, because this just did not deliver the promises made by its beautiful exterior. It wasn’t dry or poorly made, it just didn’t have any flavor.

Overall

I have always loved Gasparilla Island Grill, but this new menu is a giant leap forward in quality, putting this restaurant towards the top of the list for the absolute best counter service eateries in all of Walt Disney World.It is also one of the few that offers some sort of late night menu and remains open 24 hours a day. I am anxious to try more of the new menu soon, so expect another review (if I can keep up, there are literally dozens of reviews I have in process waiting to be posted) in the not-too-distant future.

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.
Contact Tom at [email protected]

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  • I never tried their old menu but I was staying there during the week they reopened, and I can agree that the chicken & brie sandwich is indeed delicious. I had a breakfast there on our last morning, too, but I can’t remember what I ordered. It all looked good.

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