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The Jaleo Experience is a Great Value, and Delicious Food

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I recently tried the Jaleo Experience at Jaleo at Disney Springs and found it to be both delicious and a fantastic value for the amount and quality of food presented.

My husband, Jeff, and I arrived at the restaurant overwhelmed and dehydrated after a flight from New York and a slog through the Orlando heat. (Narrator voice: They were cranky.) I immediately ordered an attitude adjustment cocktail: the “Cropping Rope,” created with Crop cucumber vodka, Lillet Blanc, green chartreuse, and lime ($14). Jeff stuck with Diet Coke and then water.

Cropping Rope cocktail

Slightly refreshed, but still a bit addled from travel, we scanned the dozens of menu items which all looked fantastic, but daunting to weed through, until I saw the “Chefs Tasting Menu.” To me, tasting menu means “someone else decides so you don’t have to,” which is always a good thing when you’re exhausted.

We weren’t sure we were in a $110 per person mood (that takes stamina), so we skipped past the Jose’s Way, but asked our server about the $70 per person Jaleo Experience. She described it as, “Twelve of the most popular items on the menu – the ones that guests always rave about – with a balance of light and more substantial dishes.” Sold!

Here’s what we got …

Serrano ham and Manchego cheese.
“Pan de Cristal con Tomate” – crispy bread brushed with fresh tomato.
“Gazpacho Estilo Algeciras” – chilled Spanish soup with tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers
“Manzanas con Hinojo y Queso Manchego” – Sliced apple and fennel salad with Manchego cheese, walnuts, and sherry dressing
“Endivias con Queso de Cabra y Naranjas” – Endives, goat cheese, oranges, and almonds.
“Pulpo a la Gallega” – boiled octopus with peewee potatoes, pimenton, and extra virgin olive oil
“Espinacas a la Catalana” – Sauteed spinach, pine nuts, raisins, and apples
“Croquetas de Pollo” – traditional chicken fritters
“Butifarra Casera con Mongetes” – Grilled pork sausage with sauteed white beans and aioli
“Gambas al Ajillo” – shrimp sauteed with garlic
“Patatas Bravas” – fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce and aioli
Crusty bread to accompany the shrimp
“Pan con Chocolate” – chocolate custard with caramelized bread, olive oil, and brioche ice cream
“Flan al Estilo Tradicional de Mama Marisa con Espuma de Crema Catalana” – Flan with Catalan cream and oranges

So, we received 13 dishes instead of the promised twelve, plus the bread. If I’m doing the math right, these dishes would have cost over $160 if ordered on the menu individually, while ordered as the tasting menu it cost $140.

But more importantly, the food was outstanding. Overall one of the tastiest meals I’ve had a Disney world in years. And even with the substantial quantity of food, I didn’t leave feeling bloated or sluggish from the meal, as has happened to me with the also incredible, but much heavier multi-course menu at Victoria & Albert’s. Since much of the meal was light, but flavorful veggies and seafood, we were not weighed down at the end.

Highlights for me were the tomato bread which had a delightful crunch, concentrated fresh tomato flavor, and just the right amount of salty bite, and the endive salad, which tasted like summer in Spain. The only dish that didn’t sing to me was the octopus, but I don’t love octopus in general, so that’s not surprising.

Jeff’s favorites were the lovely shrimp, the ham and cheese, and the octopus. (See, what do I know.)

I wasn’t expecting to be wowed by dessert, but both of the end-of-meal sweets were truly spectacular. And the flan – oh that flan – is now in my top five WDW desserts of all time. So simple, but the cream and citrus work together perfectly. It’s like the Beyonce of Creamsicles. Sigh.

Our meal, two Jaleo Experiences, a cocktail, and a diet Coke cost $168.27, plus tip. This is gourmet food in a casual atmosphere – well worth the price.

Have you dined at Jaleo? What did you think? Would you order this tasting menu? Let us know in the comments.

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Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel (now PlanDisney), a regular contributor to TouringPlans.com, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater.

4 thoughts on “The Jaleo Experience is a Great Value, and Delicious Food

  • Any idea how this tapas style place works with the Dining Plan? For 2 credits… it seems like you should get more than 3 plates.

    • You are correct that Jaleo is a 2-credit meal on the Disney Dining Plan. Those two credits allow you get one alcoholic (for guests ages 21 and over) or non-alcoholic beverage and one dessert, plus a meal. Here’s how they define meal: two regular tapas OR one plated dish OR one tapa “intended to serve two” OR one plated paella. Personally, I would find this a tough place to eat on the Dining Plan. Many of the tapas cost $10-12 (though some are much more), dessert is probably $10, and a cocktail is probably $12 (assuming you want one). The out of pocket cost for the meal would likely be in the range of $45-50 for the amount of food allowed on the Dining Plan. To me, that’s an OK out of pocket price, but not worth two DDP meal credits.

  • Do they allow sharing of this? I never have the appetite for one of these multi-course meals in the Florida heat.

    • I’m generally with you on that count, overeating in the heat does not agree with me at all. However, something about the pacing and lightness of these dishes didn’t leave me immobile, as many other large meals do. That said, we didn’t ask about sharing the meal. If you ordered for one, you’d get half the quantity shown in the photo for many of these dishes (two endive instead of four and one bowl of soup instead of two, for example). My guess is that if you ordered one or two regular tapas plates, in addition to the Jaleo Experience, you’d be fine sharing everything between two people.


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