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True to form, in the Artist Point restaurant, Disney does it up big – from the size of the room, to the size of your plate, to the size of your food portion, to the size of your bill, which, in this instance, is justified.

And they do it beautifully.

And they do it beautifully.

Located in the jaw-dropping magnitude of the Wilderness Lodge, in the Magic Kingdom resort area, the restaurant follows the Northwest theme both in decor and menu. Half-a-dozen starters from the woods, rivers and fields offer exotics such as the sautéed elk sausage that's served with braised potatoes, onions and mushrooms ($5), or shrimp and chicken saté marinated and grilled on a rosemary skewer and served with sea grass and dipping sauce ($8.25).

Located in the jaw-dropping magnitude of the Wilderness Lodge, in the Magic Kingdom resort area, the restaurant follows the Northwest theme both in decor and menu. Half-a-dozen starters from the woods, rivers and fields offer exotics such as the sautéed elk sausage that's served with braised potatoes, onions and mushrooms ($5), or shrimp and chicken saté marinated and grilled on a rosemary skewer and served with sea grass and dipping sauce ($8.25).

The Northwest salmon sampler ($9) featured smoked pepperlachs and cured gravlachs (both are cuts of salmon) and pan-seared salmon presented with a relish side of onion, sweet peppers and capers – a generous and successful combination. However, smoky pepperlachs and pork nearly overpowered the pot-au-feu, a hearty soup combining lentils, potatoes, pork and elk sausage in a saffron broth ($4). The Oregon sampler of marinated wild berries, pickled asparagus, bleu cheese and duck confit ($7.25) delivered enough vinegar to lock even my vinegar-loving jaw, and the fowl was typically greasy. But the creamed onion soup ($3.50) was light, perfectly seasoned and garnished with chive strips and freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

The Northwest salmon sampler ($9) featured smoked pepperlachs and cured gravlachs (both are cuts of salmon) and pan-seared salmon presented with a relish side of onion, sweet peppers and capers – a generous and successful combination. However, smoky pepperlachs and pork nearly overpowered the pot-au-feu, a hearty soup combining lentils, potatoes, pork and elk sausage in a saffron broth ($4). The Oregon sampler of marinated wild berries, pickled asparagus, bleu cheese and duck confit ($7.25) delivered enough vinegar to lock even my vinegar-loving jaw, and the fowl was typically greasy. But the creamed onion soup ($3.50) was light, perfectly seasoned and garnished with chive strips and freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

Five seafood entrees ranged from a rainbow trout pan roasted with pancetta with a lentil and red pepper side ($15) to a line-caught wild king salmon from Alaska ($19.50). The latter was marinated in whiskey and oven-roasted with julienned winter squash and couscous enhanced with plump raisins and pine nuts. The huge salmon steak was perfect – flaky but moist with delicate seasoning.

Five seafood entrees ranged from a rainbow trout pan roasted with pancetta with a lentil and red pepper side ($15) to a line-caught wild king salmon from Alaska ($19.50). The latter was marinated in whiskey and oven-roasted with julienned winter squash and couscous enhanced with plump raisins and pine nuts. The huge salmon steak was perfect – flaky but moist with delicate seasoning.

From a meat list that included espresso bean barbecued chicken ($15.25); a 16-ounce porterhouse ($21) and a lamb-pheasant dish ($19.50), my companion chose a smoked prime rib ($17.50) that was generously marbled and served with red potatoes he deemed delicious. All entrees are served with a delicious tri-lettuce salad, nicely chilled and tossed with just a whisper of raspberry vinaigrette. There's also a freshly baked hazelnut bread loaf and sunflower seed rolls.

From a meat list that included espresso bean barbecued chicken ($15.25); a 16-ounce porterhouse ($21) and a lamb-pheasant dish ($19.50), my companion chose a smoked prime rib ($17.50) that was generously marbled and served with red potatoes he deemed delicious. All entrees are served with a delicious tri-lettuce salad, nicely chilled and tossed with just a whisper of raspberry vinaigrette. There's also a freshly baked hazelnut bread loaf and sunflower seed rolls.

This is a thoughtful menu, innovative and prepared with care – an amazing feat when you consider that this place can accommodate 206 people (and often does). And our service was as spectacular as the setting – although next time, we plan to take our coffee outside, by the magnificent lobby fireplace.

If you love buffets, there's nothing better than table after table laden with massive and sometimes bizarre combinations of food. But if you dislike or distrust the concept of groaning boards, you'd probably be inclined to avoid Boma - Flavors of Africa, the buffet-style African restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. You do so at the risk of missing some unusual and very tasty dishes.

"Boma" is a fenced space in the Maasai bushland, surrounded by thatch huts and usually home to a chief and his family. The Boma at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge is designed as wonderfully as the rest of the building (the massive thatch cathedral ceiling in the lobby still makes me teary-eyed), with pillars like stacks of huge ceramic pots, a massive copper hood over the hot tables, and hanging lights made of orange, yellow, and green glass gourds. The 270-seat restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner, with a half-dozen "cooking stations" offering serve-yourself salads, soups, meats, seafood, veggies and desserts.

The servers, all from various African countries, seat more than 1,000 people a day, and dinner will set you back $21.99 (breakfast $14.99). But that price opens the gate to a world of very different (and sometimes unrecognizable) foods, from salmon baked in banana leaves to "zebra mousse."

Some dishes change by availability, but you'll usually find a thick and creamy carrot soup spiced with ginger, along with curried coconut soup and mulligatawny that show the Indian influence on South African food. The puzzling flavors in the different dishes come from unusual combinations of tamarind, cumin and cinnamon, along with hot chilis, cilantro and papaya. For a mouthful, try the cucumber chutney with the grilled spiced chicken.

Prime rib and ham (and mac 'n' cheese for the kids) are by far the most unimaginative of the offerings and not really African at all. Better to check out the seafood stews or a wonderful mix of white potatoes and sweet potatoes spiked with cinnamon and pepper. "Pap," a white corn mash almost identical to grits, is served as porridge for breakfast, but made thicker – and sometimes grilled – at dinner. Wines are strictly South African and equal to vintages anywhere; the coffee is Kenyan.

Boma is an unusual take on the buffet. But it's best to call ahead for priority seating – it could save 45 minutes of agonizing wait time.

When I walked into the giant pineapple housing Bongos Cuban Café, I wasn't sure what to expect. As we are all aware, the 470-seat restaurant at Downtown Disney is the brainchild of singer Gloria Estefan (there's another one in Miami), and the combination of the Mouse and the Diva made me wary.

I went early to avoid the inevitable theme park rush, and was seated at the only table actually under the winding concrete staircase that leads up to the second-floor lounge and live music area in the light, pineapple-themed – and at this point, nearly empty – room. I changed tables immediately, and waited for the expected disappointing meal. I waited in vain.

I went early to avoid the inevitable theme park rush, and was seated at the only table actually under the winding concrete staircase that leads up to the second-floor lounge and live music area in the light, pineapple-themed – and at this point, nearly empty – room. I changed tables immediately, and waited for the expected disappointing meal. I waited in vain.

To put it succinctly, dinner at Bongos is superb. Chef Quintin Larios is, if anything, conservative when it comes to his takes on Cuban cuisine. For instance, the appetizer Tostones Rellenos con Camarones ($9.50), tiny shrimp or beef in a thick and tomatoey creole sauce, presented in deep-fried cups made from green plantain. The plantain, more like potato than banana, gives a pleasant earthy taste to the mild dish. Ask for extra creole on the plate and Bongos own hot sauce to add some needed kick. For more authentic starters, order the Tamal en Hoja ($6.75), polenta with seasoned pork and wrapped in a corn husk, or ham croquettes (Croquetas de Jamon; $5.25)

To put it succinctly, dinner at Bongos is superb. Chef Quintin Larios is, if anything, conservative when it comes to his takes on Cuban cuisine. For instance, the appetizer Tostones Rellenos con Camarones ($9.50), tiny shrimp or beef in a thick and tomatoey creole sauce, presented in deep-fried cups made from green plantain. The plantain, more like potato than banana, gives a pleasant earthy taste to the mild dish. Ask for extra creole on the plate and Bongos own hot sauce to add some needed kick. For more authentic starters, order the Tamal en Hoja ($6.75), polenta with seasoned pork and wrapped in a corn husk, or ham croquettes (Croquetas de Jamon; $5.25)

Main courses affirm the talent in the kitchen. Mariscos Salteados ($26.95) is a simple combination of seafood in a garlic, butter and wine sauce. It had me eating with eyes closed to savor the perfectly prepared baby scallops, green mussels, mild white fish, tender calamari, grilled shrimp and a toothsome lobster tail that easily lifted out of its half-shell and was eagerly devoured. Pollo Asado ($14.95) was a tender marinated half-chicken, served with a slightly different version of the creole sauce from the appetizer – here it was more piquant and nicely set off the very juicy grilled chicken, virtually falling off the bone. Entrees come with green or sweet plantains, and the choice of rice and black beans is a good one, tasty without inauthentic seasonings and not the least bit dry, as Frijoles Negros can be at times.

Main courses affirm the talent in the kitchen. Mariscos Salteados ($26.95) is a simple combination of seafood in a garlic, butter and wine sauce. It had me eating with eyes closed to savor the perfectly prepared baby scallops, green mussels, mild white fish, tender calamari, grilled shrimp and a toothsome lobster tail that easily lifted out of its half-shell and was eagerly devoured. Pollo Asado ($14.95) was a tender marinated half-chicken, served with a slightly different version of the creole sauce from the appetizer – here it was more piquant and nicely set off the very juicy grilled chicken, virtually falling off the bone. Entrees come with green or sweet plantains, and the choice of rice and black beans is a good one, tasty without inauthentic seasonings and not the least bit dry, as Frijoles Negros can be at times.

There's live music on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings from 7 to 10:30, featuring Latin bands that will make it hard to sit still. Even Desi Arnaz Jr. has played there.

There's live music on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings from 7 to 10:30, featuring Latin bands that will make it hard to sit still. Even Desi Arnaz Jr. has played there.

My waiter was an attentive and helpful chap who knew the menu, checked on me at all the proper intervals, and made good suggestions, like dessert of a cortadito – a small Cuban version of espresso – and Flan de Leche. Pumpkin-pie colored and covered in sweet caramel sauce, the creamy texture of this simple custard is a delight to the mouth and one of life's simple pleasures.

My waiter was an attentive and helpful chap who knew the menu, checked on me at all the proper intervals, and made good suggestions, like dessert of a cortadito – a small Cuban version of espresso – and Flan de Leche. Pumpkin-pie colored and covered in sweet caramel sauce, the creamy texture of this simple custard is a delight to the mouth and one of life's simple pleasures.

Oh, and one more thing: Babaloo!

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