We set our sights on Be Our Guest Restaurant at Magic Kingdom, which debuted a new, 3-course fixed price dinner on July 27, 2018.
Housed inside of Beast’s Castle as part of the New Fantasyland expansion, Be Our Guest offers three very different experiences depending on the time of day you visit.
Breakfast has been a fixed price affair since its debut in early 2013 with the below menu:
I think the $25/adult and $14/child ask is expensive considering the quality and the amount of food served. With the way Park opening currently works with all guests able to head into the Park by 7:45am on a regular day, there isn’t as much benefit to a pre-opening breakfast reservation, either. A few years ago, those with early breakfast reservations would have been able to head into the Park as much as an hour before other guests to take pictures on Main Street and in parts of Fantasyland with some exclusivity. Those with pre-opening reservations can still take pictures with Prince Regal Carrousel without anyone else around, but that’s about it.
Here’s a $25 meal, which looks a little more promising with the pastries in the back. You can read much more about breakfast, and see what kind of touring advantage it offers to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, in this post. I would mention that you’re only charged for the number of meals you purchase. A pair could share a meal at a cost of $12.50/person and leave mostly satisfied after splitting the above spread, particularly considering how many tasty snacks are around.
Lunch, with a menu that’s strictly a la carte, has gotten progressively more expensive over the years:
Entrees are about $4 more than you’d pay for a similar meal at another theme park quick service, though the quality is typically a little higher.
Here’s $16 worth, in the form of the Carved Turkey sandwich, for example.
This is a terrible picture, as most taken inside Be Our Guest are, but the Braised Pork is your best bet. It approaches table service quality for about the same money as a sandwich.
Since it’s a la carte, your party can order whatever they like and enjoy the restaurant’s atmosphere for as long as you like.
Speaking of the restaurant’s atmosphere, you’re probably familiar with it either from, “experiencing it in real life” or via one of the thousands of reviews available all around the internet.
The Grand Ballroom is where most guests will dine with its domed ceiling, crystal chandeliers, and Gothic arches.
Cynics might describe the dining room as a “glorified cafeteria,” which probably isn’t giving enough credit to the intimate atmosphere that the space successfully creates. You feel special eating here, perhaps in part because reservations are still difficult to come by.
Even with the introduction of the prix fixe dinner menu, there’s “literally” no availability whatsoever for two people over the next week. Of course, people are constantly cancelling, which makes it relatively easy to snag a reservation as a given date approaches.
What’s now referred to as “The Castle Gallery” works as overflow seating for dinner. If they try to sit your party in here, you might ask for a table elsewhere unless you’d prefer to be away from the energy of the main dining room.
Erin and I were seated in here a couple of nights before the menu changed and it felt like we were cast away into a far off corner. This room is also used by servers refilling beverages and you’ll see some pretty unprofessional, makeshift serving stations towards the front of the room.
On the plus side, it’s much quieter than the other rooms and the lighting is better for your vlog review. This is also my preferred dining room during lunch since there’s quite a bit less commotion than the Ballroom.
The West Wing is the moodiest of the three dining areas with its dark lighting and mysterious details.
A lot of that is reduced by the constant influx of guests taking their precious flash photos, but the West Wing is a neat spot.
Not very good lighting for your vlog, though.
I prefer the energy and excitement of the Grand Ballroom, but the other two immersive dining rooms offer some benefits that may be better suited to your individual needs.
We’ll key in on each course later in the review, but here’s an overarching idea about what you can expect from the current three-course, prix fixe menu offering:
The cost is $55 for adults and $35 for kids or two table service credits on the Disney Dining Plan.
Here’s a look at Be Our Guest’s dinner menu from the week before:
Appetizers ran $10-$15 and from this menu, the $10 French Onion Soup, $11 Lobster Bisque, $11 Garden Salad, and a version of the $12 Cheese Plate appear on the current prix fixe version.
You’d pay $22-$36 for an entree at Old Be Our Guest along with $5 for dessert. Most of the entrees that were previously available return to the prix fixe menu in some fashion, though each is typically a little more “upscale” in some way.
So the cheapest 3-course meal you could have put together as of early July was a $10 French Onion Soup, $22 Ratatouille, and $5 Cupcake, plus the $4 fountain beverage, for a total cost of $41 for a vegetarian meal. The most expensive meal would have been the $15 Mussels, $36 Steak, $5 Cupcake, and $4 fountain beverage, for a total cost of $60. And while we’re at it, the average cost of a 3-course meal was $11.67 for the appetizer, $29.88 for the entree, $5 for the dessert, and $4 for the Diet Coke, for a total of $50.55.
So the $55/adult prix fixe menu is only a modest price increase compared to what you would have paid for three courses from the previous menu. Of course, those that weren’t planning on ordering three courses will probably find more problems with the current offering, along with those that wanted to use one credit on the Disney Dining Plan for the entree/dessert. There’s obviously a lot less flexibility with a set, 3-course menu.
The price is a much bigger jump for kids between the ages of three and nine, where the $35 price eclipses what you’d pay for a meal virtually anywhere else on property. Chef Mickey’s dinner is “only” $30/child ($51 for adults). Before the switch to the prix fixe menu, a 3-course kids’ meal would have set you back between $13 and $17 or less than half of the current ask. That’s a significant jump. With tax and 18% a tip, a family consisting of two adults, a 12-year old, and a 7-year old will pay $249 for dinner. That’s a lot of Golden Corral.
Here’s a look at the price breakdown for Magic Kingdom table service restaurants:
The “Avg Meal” column shows the average price of an appetizer, entree, dessert, and soft drink at each applicable restaurant for adults and then kids. At fixed price meals, the cost of that meal is listed. The “Max Meal” column adds up the most expensive entree, appetizer, and dessert and then adds $4 for a soda.
I’m not sure what purpose this serves other than to illustrate the fact that the current fixed price menu at Be Our Guest is “only” five or six dollars more than the average cost of a three-course meal at Skipper Canteen or Tony’s Town Square. Be Our Guest is also about $8 more per person than lunch or dinner at Crystal Palace and considerably less expensive than Cinderella’s Royal Table, which also costs two credits on the Disney Dining Plan.
Obviously, Be Our Guest is a pretty lousy value proposition on the Dining Plan, where each credit is only worth $27.50. At Skipper Canteen, each credit could be worth as much $43 before the beverage is considered.
So what do you get for your 55 bucks? I thought you’d never ask…Here’s a reminder about what the appetizer menu looks like:
You’ll begin the meal by selecting one.
First up is the “Escargot – Herb-Garlic Butter and Toasted Gremolata.” The act of eating cooked land snails is typically an excuse to consume an unholy amount of butter and garlic. Unfortunately, there’s less of that here than you’d probably hope and I think most people would prefer a more traditional presentation. Instead, the toasted gremolata, loaded with far too much lemon and an overwhelming amount of breadcrumbs, overwhelms the flavor profile giving the escargot an almost sour disposition on top of their overcooked, rubbery texture.
Somebody should have asked the France Pavilion for a recipe. Any recipe.
People would freak out if a pair of Food and Wine’s Croissant aux Escargots were served here.
Anyway, it’s probably not the planet’s worst foray into the world of escargot, but I’m not sure the kitchen at Be Our Guest is going to reliably execute a dish quite this finicky.
Good news for fans of Be Our Guest’s vegetarian(?) “French Onion Soup – Toasted Crouton, Gruyère, and Provolone” as it returns now with provolone cheese advertised. The soup remains incredibly flavorful with a rich, cheesy, onion-y flavor that’s served almost too hot to eat at first. The incredible amount of gooey cheese on top does a nice job of insulating the broth underneath for the short time that it will probably last in the bowl. The soup is almost always perfectly-executed and one of the safest bets on the menu, though it’s also available at lunch for about $6.
The “Maine Lobster Bisque – Crème Fraîche and Poached Lobster” is as rich, creamy, and smooth as you’d hope with a pronounced lobster flavor throughout each spoonful. There’s a couple bites of lobster meat in the center as well. The portion appears comically small in the gigantic serving bowl, but considering how heavy the soup is, the portion is plenty. It’s a good choice if you’re in the mood for soup, but aren’t in the mood to put in the work that the French Onion requires or prefer the silky texture of a cream-based soup like this. It’s not the best bisque on property, but it’s quite serviceable.
The “Charred Octopus – Citrus-laced Fingerling Potatoes, Pickled Hearts of Palm, and Red Pepper Coulis served Cold” was a surprising standout, prepared perfectly with a firm texture that quickly gave way to the tenderness of the meat throughout the bite. The Red Pepper Coulis added a delicious, mildly spicy pepper quality and the potatoes served to soak up the flavors from everything else that was going on eloquently.
It wasn’t quite as good as what’s currently being served at Tiffins alongside the Romesco Sauce, but the fact that it’s even in the same conversation is a testament to the quality. This is an excellent dish and a good opportunity to pass around octopus if you’ve never tried it.
The “Mixed Field Greens – Sunflower Seed Brittle, Heirloom Tomatoes, House Farm Cheese with a Citrus Vinaigrette” was another standout dish and one of the freshest, most vibrant salads that I’ve tasted on property, rivaling those served in several of Disney’s signature restaurants in the $12-$18 range. It expertly contrasted the creamy tang of the cheese with the crunchy sweetness of the sunflower seed brittle mixed with the juicy tomatoes and greens that tasted like they had just been picked. The Citrus Vinaigrette, deftly balancing sweet and tart, brightened each bite, particularly when it had an opportunity to interact with the piquant onion. Looking over a prix fixe menu, I rarely key in on the salad over some of the items that appear like they would be more expensive a la carte, but that may be a mistake here. This is really good, particularly during the hotter months when you might not want to come in from the heat only to start the meal with hot onion soup. Speaking of which, it would be neat to see a Vichyssoise on the menu.
Rounding out the choices is the Assorted Meats and Artisanal Cheese Selection.
This is a nice little plate of meats and cheeses if you’re feeling a little European, served in tandem with a couple of intelligent accompaniments.
Overall, there’s a lot of variety from the appetizers with a couple of returning favorites and the introduction of some new, slightly upscale dishes that impressed more than I was expecting. There should be something for everybody.
Somehow, Disney World is still standing after the introduction of beer and wine at Magic Kingdom table service restaurants. You might remember that it all started with Be Our Guest when the restaurant opened back in December 2k12.
Here’s the current beer lineup:
Be Our Guest debuted with four beers, each of which is still on the menu, and now accompanied by Cigar City Jai Alai, Stella Artois, and as French as Ohioan cider gets in the Angry Orchard.
This is an excellent opportunity to try the Saison Dupont, a stellar farmhouse ale and a good value at $9.50 considering the store price is around $5. The restaurant charges the same money for a Stella and you can pick up a 12-pack at the gas station for $14.
Be Our Guest offers three private label champagne and wines, which are served by the glass or bottle, in addition to the sampler.
I tried the $21 sampler on my last visit to verify that each does indeed taste like wine. The pour is about half of a regular glass and offers a nice opportunity to sample three very different, very decent wines.
The bottle of Goldie Chardonnay is your best value with a retail price of $50, compared to the $79 ask here.
The Belle Glos Pinot Noir is your best bet with a retail price of $50 versus the $65 restaurant price. Ask if they have the 2014 – the cedar oak is a little more pronounced than the 2016. Your server will also think you’re a total snob.
Before we move on to entrees, here’s the allergy-friendly menu:
It outlines things pretty well.
Here’s a reminder about what’s offered for the main course:
This covers the bases pretty well, offering steak, pork, lamb, seafood, chicken, and that one vegetarian pasta dish.
The “Center-cut Filet Mignon – Robuchon Yukon Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetables, and Cipollini Marmalade with a Red Wine Glaze,” poorly pictured here, will likely be the most popular entree moving forward. It’s probably a much more sizable hunk of beef than the picture implies, easily eight ounces of thick, tender steak cooked to a nice medium and seasoned well. I’m usually a bit put-off by Disney’s use of sauces with their high-end steaks, but the meat was placed delicately on top of the mashed potatoes and vegetables with the Red Wine Glaze pooling underneath, so you can decide whether or not you want to get your sauce on. Overall, the cut is more like Disney’s standard New York Steak than a proper filet, but I think most people choosing to dine here will appreciate the large portion size and bold flavors of what’s being served. Don’t expect Yachtsman quality and you should leave satisfied.
Here’s the Grilled Strip Steak from the week before the menu change. The new accompaniments are a little ritzier than the fries, which were a bit of a guilty pleasure. The quality of the beef is pretty similar – the new version is a little more tender and a little less flavorful, but I think the optics of the “Center Cut Filet” are improved.
It’s kind of hard to see what’s going on with the “Smoked Ricotta and Corn Tortellini – Roasted Corn and Peppadew Relish, Rainbow Cauliflower, and Asparagus with a Corn-infused Nage,” but there’s six delicate, house-made tortellini stuffed with corn and cheese sitting in a thin, light wine-based sauce. The soft tortellini are accompanied by denser, chewier asparagus and cauliflower that offer a nice textural contrast to the pasta. The flavor is sort of corn on corn on corn, but I think it works with the sweet corn inside the tortellini playing against the smoky quality of the cheese and the wine and butter in the sauce. Hopefully vegetarians aren’t pasta’d out by the time they get over here as this is one of the better entries property-wide. Note that the portion is on the small side.
Next up, the “Spice-dusted Lamb Chops – Roasted Salsify, Baby Zucchini, Charred Tomatoes, and Royal Trumpet Mushrooms with a Lamb Demi,” which arrive as a trio on top of the vegetables and sauce. The incredibly tender Lamb was cooked to a nice bright red medium rare with the juices shining underneath the sprinkle of seasoning. The sauce is a rich and flavorful combination of wine, butter, and meat essence that pairs beautifully with the lamb. The vegetables were fine – perhaps a tad overcooked in this instance, but that’s a small bother. Lamb is typically not an overwhelming portion and that is true here as well, but following a significant first course and considering the opportunity to snack elsewhere, I think it’s a good opportunity to order the Lamb Chops. Very good.
The “Poulet Rouge Chicken – Faro Wheat Risotto, Seasonal Vegetables, Crisp Pancetta, and Garlic Butter Sauce” is another worthy addition with two sizable, juicy pieces of bone-in brand name chicken. What elevates the dish is the thin, crispy skin that makes for a really satisfying bite when paired with the decadent butter sauce underneath. The Risotto soaks up any excess sauce and is made all the more delicious by the meaty pancetta that’s mixed in with the Faro. Really delicious.
The evening’s big disappointment was the “Saffron-infused Seafood Bouillabaisse – Seasonal Fish, Maine Lobster, Shrimp, Confit Potatoes, and Baby Fennel.” I’m assuming Bouillabaisse is French for “waterlogged” as that’s the main thing that’s going on here with a thin broth that added nothing to the dish other than making everything taste soggy. All of the seafood was tough and overcooked. I’d hold off on this one until you start reading some more positive takeaways.
It’s a shame because the Sauteed Shrimp and Scallops from the previous menu was such a favorite, though on our last visit, the creamy sauce that we had enjoyed previously had been replaced with a much thinner, much more acidic wine-based sauce.
Closing the entrees out, we have the “Roasted Pork Tenderloin – Crispy Berkshire Pork Belly, Caramelized Cipollini, Roasted Asparagus, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower Purée, and sprinkled with Bacon Dust.” The two slices of tender, juicy pork work as bookends to the star of the show, which is the Crispy Berkshire Pork Belly with an incredibly rich, meaty flavor. The pork was under-seasoned for our tastes – I’m not sure where the “bacon dust” comes into play. Nevertheless, the tenderloin was roasted to a nice medium pink and there was no question that it was a quality cut. The vegetables, and the Brussels Sprouts in particular, were all prepared nicely. The Cauliflower Puree in particular added a nice creamy texture to the rest of the dish. Overall, it wasn’t quite there for us, but it’s real close and I’m expecting that there will be few complaints moving forward. It’s the right idea.
Overall, the quality of the entrees is similar to what was served during the 5+ years of a la carte service. If anything, I think Be Our Guest might be trying to do a little more with each dish than the kitchen is reliably capable of executing. There are a lot of people dining at any given time and it’s not really a surprise that a thing here and a thing there will be missed. Of course, that’s not much of an excuse when you’re paying $55+ to eat here, but it’s the nature of the beast. NO PUN INTENDED.
Here’s a reminder of what’s on the kids’ menu:
As I’ve mentioned before, it’s nice that Disney is offering elevated fare for the youngsters, but I’m not sure how many 6-year olds are into the likes of Sweet Potato Wedges, Sauteed Zucchini, and Cauliflower Rice. It seems like it would be nice for Disney to add fries and a burger to the menu.
Dessert is the same trio for all.
We have the “Almond Macaron with Lemon Jam and Raspberries, White Chocolate “Chip” Cup with Grey Stuff and Crisp Pearls, and Dark Chocolate Truffle filled with Dark Chocolate Grand Mariner Ganache.”
Each dessert was surprisingly good. The soft Macaron was nice and light with a bright fruity quality and three plump, delicious raspberries. The cookies and cream icing that is “The Grey Stuff” sits inside the delicious white chocolate Chip cup. The Dark Chocolate Truffle was appropriately decadent with a little bit of cherry and citrus coming from the Ganache.
Save some room because everyone’s getting a platter. The paper underneath with the stained glass pattern is also edible, though you probably don’t want to try it.
Here’s the Kids’ version with the Chip cup that youngsters can “paint” themselves with the sugary frosting. There’s also a similar macaron without the raspberries and a dense chocolate truffle without the Grand Marnier ganache.
Even if you don’t have any kids in your party, you might request that one of the adult desserts be switched out for this version. They shouldn’t have any problem doing so and the plate will assuredly elevate your Instagram account.
Beast continues to meet and take pictures with guests after the meal during dinner service only.
For those already planning on visiting Be Our Guest for a 2- or 3-course meal and paying out of pocket, the “enhanced” Be Our Guest experience will be just about the same as it would have been before the change over to the prix fixe menu. If you were planning on sharing a $15 appetizer, ordering two $30 entrees, and finishing with two $5 cupcakes, your meal would have come to $95. Now, it’s $110 and you’ll add a second appetizer and enjoy two dessert platters that are more varied.
Those that were planning on using the Disney Dining Plan get hosed. Objectively, this is not a good use of a credit. An adult will get $58 worth of value out of one table service credit for lunch at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Norway at Epcot. Here, you’re getting less than half that given the fact that Be Our Guest costs two credits for the $55 meal.
Those that were planning on visiting for just appetizers or cupcakes are out of luck. Try lunch when you can do just that or split a breakfast on a 9am open day and enjoy the head start to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
I think most people that review the food poorly are unfamiliar with what Disney table service restaurants typically offer at these price points. Having visited a Disney World theme park 3-7 times per week for the last eight years, and “enjoying” over a thousand meals on property, I can tell you, unequivocally, that the quality of food that Be Our Guest serves is equal to or better than any other Magic Kingdom restaurant and on par with most regular resort restaurants at a similar price point. It’s not Flying Fish or California Grill. But dinner at Be Our Guest is much less expensive than a 3-course meal at any of Disney’s signature restaurants. At California Grill, a soup, steak, and dessert would cost you $80, or 45%+ more money than Beast’s Castle.
If you’d like more flexibility and would like to eat at Magic Kingdom, my favorite restaurant is Skipper Canteen, which currently serves the following menu:
You can pull up my most recent review here.
The steak will still set you back $35, but it’s a lot to share, particularly with a couple of appetizers and dessert. And if you’re a vegetarian or pick a less expensive entree, you’re going to spend a lot less money. Kids’ entrees are also around $11 or about a third of the cost of Be Our Guest.
Like just about everything else in life, Be Our Guest’s Prix Fixe Enhanced Dinner is not for everyone, but most people will be able to make it work. Those ordering what would be more expensive dishes may even come out “ahead” versus ordering similar items at another restaurant. And if dinner isn’t for you, there are plenty of other options at Be Our Guest and elsewhere.
Such is life.