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Universal Designed a Perfect Restaurant 20 Years Ago. Here's Why Disney Should Have Taken Notes

4. Service that matches the reputation and atmosphere

Mythos carved interior over kitchen

Image: Jett Farrell-Vega

Once again, this isn’t a knock at Disney’s world class service. We love Disney cast members and have so many stories of out-of-this-world service at their parks and restaurants. In the past, our experience has been that Disney’s cast members tend to go the extra mile more often than those at Universal, and we’ve run into surly cast members more often at Universal than Disney.

Once again, Mythos stands out as a unique exception. The hosting and wait-staff service felt like what you would expect at a Disney signature restaurant. We never felt rushed, and our servers were extremely attentive and helpful. We mentioned that visiting Mythos feels a bit like a spa experience for adults—the wait staff really reinforces this. While Disney dining cast members are usually awesome, there have been plenty of times we felt rushed to get through a meal quickly at Disney table service restaurants. At Mythos, the servers flowed at a speed that felt perfectly congruent with the atmosphere. Food was brought quickly but not at a pace that felt rushed. Drinks were refilled regularly, and our server was genuinely friendly. Nothing felt forced, it was just an entirely pleasant experience—once again, without the signature price tag.

5. It’s all in the details

Mythos Sign

Image: Jett Farrell-Vega

One of the biggest things that stood out to us during our visit to Mythos was the incredible attention to detail in every portion of our experience. Other than dessert (we’ll get to that shortly), every element of our meal felt like it was crafted with care. Even the bread brought to our table was excellent and tasted like it fit with the theme. I feel like I remember music playing, but I can’t say for sure because all of the theming fit together so smoothly that the atmosphere just sweeps you away. The plating of our food was beautiful, echoing a fine-dining feel without creeping into ostentatious. You could probably visit Mythos a dozen times and find something new on each visit.

Now, there is no doubt that Disney shines at getting the details of theming right. Entire Instagram accounts exist highlighting brilliant but tiny details in Disney theming (especially in ultra-immersive restaurants like Satul’i Canteen). However, with Disney lately, it has felt like either the food or theming get priority. The most brilliantly designed restaurants have suffered quality decreases, while many of the most exquisite culinary experiences at Disney may have beautiful décor but don’t really feel like they’re telling any particular story.

The details at Mythos, from nuances in the food to hidden details in the atmosphere all come together to produce a dining experience entirely unique to the Orlando theme park scene. It feels like stepping into a story that hasn’t been fully told yet, a story you get to hear, touch, see, smell, and of course, taste.

Oh, and they had air conditioning-- glorious air conditioning. Take notes, Three Broomsticks…

What could Mythos learn from Disney?

Mythos Chocolate Dessert Shot

Image: Jett Farrell-Vega

While we loved our visit to Mythos, we would be remiss if we didn’t point out one or two areas where they could learn some things from Disney. While some dishes, like the Mezze Platter and Flounder stood out as excellent, others could still use some improvement (the Pad Thai, for example, was a bit too sweet). The presentation kitchen was a very nice addition to the restaurant, one that Disney has delved into before in locations like California Grill. However, we did notice some instances where the cooks at Mythos seemed to run into audible disagreements and flow problems, even within the sight of guests. We have never noticed this issue in presentation kitchens at Disney. It was a small problem that didn’t last long, and the food still came out fast and at great quality.

Finally, in the area of desserts, Disney absolutely has Mythos beat. While we didn’t get an opportunity to try everything, of what we tried, the hazelnut crème brulee was tasty but lost all sense of the exotic theming—indeed, it felt like an Oreo cookie dusted crème brulee, an odd mismatch with the rest of the restaurant’s Mediterranean fare. Also, the chocolate zabayon dessert shot was not a zabayon, which is supposed to be a light and tasty wine custard from Italy. It was the least impressive item on the menu and tasted just like a chocolate mousse and cake shot that had been sitting in the fridge too long. With a few exceptions, even some of Disney’s weaker restaurants tend to shine in the area of desserts and matching them to theme. It surprised us that Mythos fell short in this area, but it would be easy for them to improve this.

Despite these small negative points, we would absolutely go back to Mythos. Lines can be long to get into this popular restaurant, but you can avoid all this by just calling Universal’s reservation line. Especially if you have only experienced Disney theme park dining, you will be in for a treat visiting this surprising gem within Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

Have you ever been to Mythos? What was your experience there? Did it meet the hype or fall short in any areas?

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