Two the of most popular restaurants in Disney World are Cinderella’s Royal Table and Be Our Guest Restaurant. What makes them especially appealing, and even magical, is that they’re located inside of the Magic Kingdom. Zach and I read a lot of reviews about both of these restaurants, and it was pretty unanimous that the food is mediocre but the ambiance is incredible — that’s ultimately what you’re paying for. Since I just posted about all the rides and attractions we experienced at the Magic Kingdom, I thought reviewing these two restaurants would be a perfect Part 3 to the series.
Cinderella’s Royal Table
Cinderella’s Royal Table is located inside of Cinderella’s castle. First of all, how cool is it that you can actually spend time and have a meal IN THE CASTLE?! It’s a fixed-price character meal that includes an appetizer, entree, dessert, and nonalcoholic drinks (they serve wine and champagne here). You can book breakfast, lunch, or dinner. And, like I said, it’s a character meal, so some of the princesses walk around greeting guests and taking photos. We booked a dinner reservation so we could enjoy Disney’s Happily Ever After fireworks display while inside the castle. For a dinner reservation during December, it cost $70 per person.
When you check in at the base of the castle, a cast member walks you into the waiting area inside and into a line to meet Cinderella. Cinderella, perfectly in character, tells each guest how happy she is that they came. When we told her we were there for our honeymoon, she asked if we met at a royal ball. After getting your photo with Cinderella, you wait for your table to be called. Eventually, a cast member announces your arrival. For us, they said, “Cinderella would like to announce the Royal Edwin Family.” A host then walks you to your table.
The inside of the dining room inside the castle was beautiful and really made you feel as if you were stepping into a fairy tale. It had high ceilings with beautiful exposed beams, tall pillars, beautiful arches, and huge windows with stained-glass designs. It was really beautiful and felt like a royal dining hall.
I haven’t met a Disney princess since I was five years old and always feel a little weird being a 20-something old woman and knowing they are also just 20-somethings in character. I expected the encounters to be a little awkward but was pleasantly surprised with how fun it actually was! At our dinner, Snow White, Jasmine, Ariel, and Aurora were walking around and greeting guests at each table. I enjoyed Snow White the most. She genuinely looked like Snow White and was perfectly in character. Since it was our honeymoon, we were wearing “Happily Ever After” buttons, and Snow White was just so thrilled we found our true loves and were married. All the princesses did an excellent job making you feel comfortable, asking cute questions and initiating photos with you rather than you having to ask them. It was also really sweet to watch kids at other tables light up while meeting them. We also definitely weren’t the only couple or group there without kids, too, if you’re thinking this sounds a little too childish. They really do make it fun for everyone.
Now, the food. As I said, the dining package includes an appetizer, entree, dessert, and drinks that could be selected from Cinderella’s Royal Table dinner menu, so we settled in for a big meal. For appetizers, Zach got the potato soup, and I selected the Charcuterie Platter. Both were fine, nothing too noteworthy — just a basic salad and a simple assortment of a few meats, cheeses, and crackers. If I could only pick one, I would probably get the soup again.
For our entrees, Zach got the Chef's Fish of the Day (salmon on top of seafood risotto), and I selected the Beef and Shrimp (grilled beef tenderloin, sautéed shrimp in a shallot-butter sauce, and potatoes au gratin with braised rapini). We both enjoyed our entrees more than we expected based on the mediocre reviews of the food. It wasn’t the most incredible thing I ever ate, but it was enjoyable, flavorful, and cooked well. I would definitely recommend the Beef and Shrimp to anyone planning to dine there, and Zach also liked the seafood dish a lot.
Last, for dessert, I ordered the Jaq & Gus (cute name, right?), which was a raspberry swirl cheesecake with a warm apple compote, salted caramel, and a vanilla bean panna cotta. Zach ordered The Clock Strikes Twelve, which was a dark chocolate mousse with a dark chocolate ganache served with raspberry coulis. Both were really pretty, tasty, and a perfect end to the meal.
One of the — maybe even THE — most magical experiences during the entire honeymoon was being in the castle during the fireworks. When it’s time for the show, the restaurant dims the lights and plays the audio that accompanies the fireworks show outside. Since we were lucky enough to get a window seat, we also had an incredible view. Watching the fireworks while inside the castle was such a lovely experience. The show, Happily Ever After, shoots off fireworks to several Disney songs that I love, which made the experience even more impactful. It’s hard to explain, but being inside the castle (which is such an icon of Disney), hearing all these songs, and seeing the dining room light up with the sparkle of fireworks was truly an experience I will never forget.
Cinderella’s Royal Table comes with a hefty price tag, especially for dinner, but the experience and ambiance made it truly worth it. The food was also good — not incredible, but good enough to not take away from the experience in any way. I would say the food alone wasn’t worth the price, but when it's combined with the entire experience, it was. I would without hesitation do it again on future trips to Walt Disney World.
Be Our Guest Restaurant
Be Our Guest is a newer(ish) restaurant in the Magic Kingdom, having just opened in 2012. The restaurant is in the Beast’s castle, which you can see from multiple vantage points throughout Fantasyland. They constructed it in such a way that it gives the illusion it’s high in the mountains, just like in the movie. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are available at Be Our Guest, all of which require advanced dining reservations. We decided to book a dinner reservation, as all the reviews we read online said the ambiance of the castle is best at night.
The entrance to the restaurant and castle is also quite grand, with stone pillars, a stone bridge, and huge doors leading into the castle. We checked in and were guided to the waiting area just in front of the castle. Once they called our name, we were greeted by a cast member who was also carrying a Lumiere figurine (whose candles lit up!). She asked if one of us wanted to carry Lumiere, which I assume they do more for children. But we were like YES, and Zach carried him to our table. Unfortunately, she took him back when she dropped us off…
Be Our Guest is HUGE. It has three dining rooms, including the Grand Ballroom, the West Wing, and the Rose Gallery. Each of them are themed and decorated to look like the movie. The Ballroom looks almost exactly like the one that Beast and Belle danced in during their iconic “Tale as Old as Time” scene. The space is huge and beautiful, and the windows are made to look like it's snowing outside! The West Wing is also decorated to look like the West Wing from the film. It’s very dark, with pictures and drapery all ripped up, as if the Beast had done it with his claws. There’s also fake lightning, thunder, and rain going on at all times, which is really cool and adds a lot to the ambiance and immerses you into the movie. It’s also home to the famous red rose! The Rose Gallery is not from the movies, but it’s supposed to be where Belle keeps some of her treasured possessions. It includes a large statue of Belle and Beast in the center of the room. You can’t choose which room you want to dine in while making your dinner reservations; however, you can request it when you check in. We requested to sit in the West Wing, which only required an extra 15 minutes of waiting for a table to open up. Before the cast member took us to our table, she gave us a tour of each dining room, which was great because so much of this experience was spending time inside Beast’s castle, much more so than the food.
The experience wasn’t as “fancy” as Cinderella’s Royal Table. It wasn’t a prix-fixe dinner but rather a regular menu where you could order entrées or à la carte options. Although, according to the Disney website, beginning Friday, July 27, 2018, Be Our Guest will introduce an enhanced dinner experience—with a prix-fixe, three-course menu. Another difference was it wasn’t a character meal where princesses or characters walk around the room. The only character present is the Beast himself, which is pretty cool, and it’s the only chance you’ll have to meet and take photos with him in the Magic Kingdom. While you’re dining, they formally announce the Beast, and he walks through each dining room welcoming you to the castle for dinner. He then proceeds to a different room, where you are invited to take photos with him after your meal.
Since Be Our Guest is so big, there were a lot of people at the restaurant, which made it quite noisy. The service was also much more casual and made the dining experience a little more “normal” versus the royal treatment we got at Cinderella’s. The Be Our Guest menu included several different appetizers, entrées, and desserts to choose from as well as an extensive wine list (yes, it’s the only other Magic Kingdom restaurant to serve alcohol!). I ordered a glass of the Enchanted Rose ($16) ㅡ which, let me say, after a long day of walking in WDW, it was wonderful to relax with a glass of wine. Since it was a little pricey, we decided to just get one entrée as well as an order of French onion soup (which the server highly recommended; $10) and a garden salad ($11). The entrée we ordered was the Pan-Seared Chicken Breast ($27), which was served with farro risotto, rainbow carrots, wild mushrooms, black garlic purée, and supreme sauce. Overall, the food was pretty disappointing. The chicken was dry, and the farro risotto and salad were quite boring. The French onion soup was probably the best part, but it was still just your run-of-the-mill restaurant French onion soup ㅡ nothing all that incredible.
After the main course, the waiters roll large carts to your table with all the dessert options so you can decide if you want one (and how could you not when they’re just sitting there right in front of you?). Since it felt so special to be in the castle and because they literally rolled us a cart of desserts, we decided to get one. To be extra Beauty and the Beasty, we got The Grey Stuff ($5) à la Lumiere’s famous song where he tells you to “Try the grey stuff; it’s delicious!” So, okay, okay, calm down Lumy, we tried it. The Grey Stuff is a chocolate shell filled with cookie crème and topped with lumiere’s special “Grey Stuff” (which was essentially buttercream frosting). It was...alright. It was nothing special and tasted fine, but it was a nice way to end the night. It was very pretty though, as were all the desserts they had to offer!
After our meal, we went to a seperate little room set up in the castle to meet the Beast. The Beast was a lot of fun and made sure to “kiss” my hand as he greeted me, jokingly trying to make Zach jealous. He even made sure I got a photo with him solo!
Overall, we spent $69 dining at Be Our Guest, and it’s hard to say if it was worth it. The experience of being in the castle is amazing, and you can only go inside if you’re dining there. However, the food is so boring, and the service is pretty average. I think with the castle being so incredible and it feeling like such an experience, the food and service should be more in line with that, as well. Maybe things will change for the better when they switch over to the prix-fixe menu; however, it may price people out of dinner, which is unfortunate. Even with spending $70, it was still half the cost of two people eating at Cinderella’s Royal Table, making it a much more accessible restaurant for families or those not wanting to spend as much but still wanting a “grand” dining experience. I feel like, for this reason alone, we’d likely dine at Be Our Guest again rather than Cinderella’s.
However, I have read ㅡ and Disney Food Blog recommends this, as well ㅡ that it’s best to go to Be Our Guest for lunch when it's set up as a counter-service restaurant. The food is more affordable, but you still get the experience of being in and eating at the castle as well as meeting Beast.
But Shannon, if you had to pick only ONE of these restaurants, which one would it be?
If I could only do one of these experiences again, I would choose Cinderella’s Royal Table. It's a lot more expensive, that’s for sure, but I found the food to be much tastier (again, not like INCREDIBLE, but pretty good), the service significantly better, and the overall experience to be more enjoyable. It’s also a lot smaller and feels more intimate, as if you really are a guest there versus being in a huge crowded restaurant like Be Our Guest. It’s also much better if meeting princesses and interacting with them is something important to you or your kids. Beast makes an appearance in the dining rooms at Be Our Guest, but he does not greet tables. I’ve found in general, from reading around online, that people seem to prefer Be Our Guest, so I might have gone to Cinderella’s on a particularly good night. But needless to say, I thought it was a better experience overall. However, in terms of decor, I definitely prefer Be Our Guest. It feels really special to be in the Beast’s castle, and it’s as if you truly stepped into the movie itself.
Regardless, if you are planning to visit WDW, I definitely recommend adding one of these restaurants on your list as a must-do!
With beauty but mostly beast,