Ours began with checking in for our lunch reservation. Our daughter had just received her princess makeover at the adjacent Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique as part of her third birthday celebration. Shortly after checking in, she and her royal entourage (a.k.a. her family) were escorted inside the castle. The entrance and waiting area is adorned with majestic decorations. We were greeted by her royal highness, Cinderella, and posed for pictures. As we thanked her for her kindness, the hostess rang the chimes and announced our name.
We made our way up to the restaurant via the staircase, as the elevator was broken, and were shown to our table. We had a table by the window with a lovely view of Fantasyland. The theming continued upstairs in the form of flags, crests, and other noble decorations. Our hostess presented our daughter with her magic wand and wishing star and introduced us to our server. Our beverage choices included soft drinks, coffee, hot and iced tea, hot cocoa, Minute Maid light lemonade punch, apple juice, and white or chocolate milk. The menu resembled a royal proclamation and offered a tasting plate comprised of hummus, chips, cheddar cheese, and a pear salad. We had a choice of six entrees and three desserts.
Our server’s departure was followed by the introduction of Snow White, followed by Aurora, Ariel, and Jasmine. Each princess arrived several minutes apart and visited each table. Greeting guests in this manner allowed them to spend more time with each family than at other meet and greet locations. Our daughter happily posed with each princess as they signed her birthday picture frame.
Our meals arrived shortly after we had placed our order. I selected the gnocchi with roasted vegetables. The gnocchi had a hint of pumpkin which blended nicely with the eggplant, mushrooms, onions, and squash. The dish was complimented by arugula, brown butter sauce, and finished with sage, shaved drunken goat cheese, and leeks. I found there to be plenty of gnocchi in the bowl.
My wife enjoyed the slow-braised beef short rib, parsnip mashed potatoes, and wilted spinach. The meat was very tender with just the right amount of seasoning. My in-laws both ordered the pan-seared chicken served with Black Diamond Cheddar Mac & Cheese, wilted Swiss chard, and sherry reduction. The chicken was moist and the mac & cheese, which is our daughter’s favorite meal, was delicious. It wasn’t listed on the children’s menu; however, our server presented it to her as she tends to pass on more traditional child friendly offerings (in this case, chicken nuggets and roasted chicken leg).
Dessert was delectable; I relished every bite of their signature offering of “The Clock Strikes Twelve,” which resembled a clock striking midnight presented in white and dark chocolate. They also offer a seasonal cheesecake and lemon sorbet. The meal culminated with a wishing ceremony that incorporated the wishing star delivered earlier.
Prices include tax and gratuity and range from $58.04-$63.88 for adults and $35.89-$39.45 for children. I wish that they offered more options to choose from, as well as larger portions. Sadly, the restaurant forgot to deliver our daughter’s specialty birthday cake. We were pleased with the overall experience and our daughter’s smile and excitement from “dining with ‘rella” outweighed the few negative aspects we experienced.
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My daughter went to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Downtown Disney in the morning. She was princess for the whole day. The lunch at the restaurant capped off a beautiful day.
They gave away a free wand and you can take the placemats (if you can find them by the restrooms - hint). Sadly, they could not customize the food. Everything you ordered must be "as is". Nonetheless, the food was plentiful and quite delicious.
Of course, kids don't care because they're getting to meet the princesses, so this is one where the parents have to take one for the team.
Final note: At Ariel's Grotto in DCA, where you also meet all the princesses, they serve adult drinks. So while I knew there is no booze in the Magic Kingdom, I nearly flew out of my seat when the server offered "beer" as an option.
"BEER!?" I shouted, in ecstatic dad glee.
"Yessir, we have ginger beer."
*cue Price is Right "you lose" horn*
I've considered eating at Cinderella's Royal Table, but it's always so expensive! I guess I should really take a look at that dining plan.
But, as many other have noted, if you have a little princess (or prince) that absolutely must dine in the castle, there is no substitute. However, if they don't know there's a restaurant in there, you can easily substitute one of the other princess dining experiences.
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