The Diamond Horseshoe began serving a table service all-you-care-to-enjoy dinner on March 13th. At the moment, the meal will continue being served until May 30th, though that date can always be extended. Spoiler: hope it doesn’t as this was easily the worst table service meal I’ve experienced at Walt Disney World. You’ll otherwise find it in between Liberty Tree Tavern on the left and Country Bear Jamboree on the right in Liberty Square. It’s best not to make eye contact.
Longtime readers may remember the website’s original review of Diamond Horseshoe all the way back in July 2011, when it stole the formats of Disney Food Blog and The Unofficial Guide. To this day, I give myself 100% credit for bringing lettuce and tomato to Diamond Horseshoe sandwiches. With our powers combined I don’t think there’s anything we can’t do.
The meal is served beginning with lunch at 11:30am and continuing late into the evening for dinner at a cost of $33/adult and $19/kids. It is a table service meal on the Disney Dining Plan and they do accept Tables in Wonderland.
Speaking of “lunch,” it is a thing that no longer exists at Crystal Palace, where “dinner” is now served beginning at 11:30am.
Dinner is also an all-you-care-to-enjoy extravaganza at Liberty Tree Tavern next door, where the price is the same as The Horseshoe. And again, if you are looking to stuff your face full of pot roast and ham, I would strongly advise going there.
While the meal is “all you can eat,” you are still expected to select an entree, which is a departure from family-style restaurants like Garden Grill and Liberty Tree Tavern where they just bring you everything.
The restaurant is dressed up nicely enough for the occasion. There is no show, of course, and the self-playing-piano on the stage was also not turned on. There is no seating upstairs with the two staircases roped off.
Those that have dined at Liberty Tree will recognize the plates.
The meal begins auspiciously enough with the Frontier Salad – Tossed Greens, Tomatoes, Onion, Roasted Corn, and Cornbread Croutons served with House-made Chipotle-Ranch Dressing. Disney typically does a nice job with their greens – they buy so much that everything is typically fresh and a little better than what you would otherwise get in a bag of Fresh Express at the store. I am also a big advocate of chipotle ranch dressing – my favorite of which is Litehouse’s Lite Salsa Ranch. Anyway, I thought the salad was slightly over-dressed, but that’s pretty nit-picky. The dressing, which is creamy with a slight kick of spiciness, was very good, and all the vegetables were fresh. The cornbread croutons are a nice touch, though there were just a few scattered on top.
Cornbread and honey butter are also served, though you won’t find any mention of that on the menu. It’s similar to what they serve at Trail’s End ($26/adult where the food is otherwise miles better), though less fresh. Trail’s End cornbread is devoured so quickly that there’s virtually always a hot plate arriving from the kitchen. But like Trail’s, the cornbread is appropriately sweet and fluffy, enhanced further by the honey butter. If the meal had ended here, The Horseshoe would have received a 9/10 at least on taste.
For the sake of the review, I ordered the $5.50 Prairie Punch – “Enjoy a refreshing combination of this Frozen Watermelon and Lemonade Beverage – 5.5.”
It was stupid sweet and artificial tasting. It’s just a ten-cent slush served in a standard glass.
You may remember that I enjoyed the $5.49 Schweitzer Slush – Frozen Apple Juice and Passion Fruit topped with Bursting Green Apple Boba Balls over at Skipper Canteen. It’s a whole one cent cheaper and adds the boba, which are kind of fun. I described that as “extremely sweet” but it was only 61.4% as sweet as Horseshoe’s. I was nursing it all night.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but the Slush marked the beginning of the descent into darkness. One thing about family-style meals at Disney World is all the food waste. I am by no means Mother Theresa, but it just seems like a shame. We ordered our original entrees – one of each, and without asking our server said that he had put in a second order of each dish and then delivered those plates about two minutes after the original entrees. So we had six plates in front of us and everything was disgusting. Nobody even touched the second plate of beef and there is no way we would have ordered a second. It seemed unfortunate and it was not like we could have sent it back. They would not have brought it out to another table and probably rightly so. But there is no talk about how much of anything you want.
One thing I did like about the meal is that we weren’t rushed through the cornbread and salad course. The server came by, confirmed we were finished, and then removed the original salad plates to deliver the entrees.
“Stewed Beef” is perhaps not the most attractively named dish in the world, served here on top of mashed potatoes with a side of vegetables that will likely prove to be always in season. I really can’t overemphasize how terrible this was – the sauce tasted like a soapy old beer and the meat was fatty and over-cooked, leading to a slimy texture. The potatoes had already developed a film over the top, though the bites that hadn’t been contaminated with the sauce were at least edible. If I was starving and you presented me with this and the infamous Angus Pizza Burger at Cosmic Ray’s, I would have some serious thinking to do. It was that bad.
If for some reason you are forced to eat here at gun point, the Spit-roasted Ham served with Country Beans and Seasonal Vegetables is the best of the bunch and the same thing they serve next door at Liberty Tree. A couple slices of very salty, lukewarm, soft meat are presented on top of mushy baked beans and undercooked green beans. The ham was significantly lower quality than what Costco would sell you as a spiral-sliced for something like $1.79 a pound. But if for some reason I had to go back it would be the entree I would choose.
The third option is Barbecue Pulled Turkey served over Cornbread and Seasonal Vegetables. This wasn’t terrible either – this sort of thing is delivered in huge plastic bags from a food services provider and then reheated and spooned on top of the cornbread. The sauce is mildly sweet and theoretically spiced up a bit by the two small pieces of jalapeno placed on top.
So the selections here are pretty limited and range from “okay if I have to” to downright deplorable. I think Liberty Tree next door does a much better job, but even then, I usually recommend the a la carte lunch over there. I don’t think I would go back to Diamond Horseshoe even if it was free. Which it isn’t. It costs $33 per person over the age of nine.
The simply named “Apple Tart” also arrives over here from Liberty Tree Tavern’s menu, where it’s called the “Johnny Appleseed Tart.”
What we were served was lukewarm at best again, though I liked the flavor of the spiced apples and cranberries on top of a thin soft crust. Everybody’s grandma probably serves up a better homemade version.
Not the finest in presentation on the Campfire Brownie, where they apparently only have trays in one size. You may remember our very small Kungaloosh arrived on the same platter over at Skipper Canteen.
While somewhat attractive looking, they were overcooked, hard, and crusty, with a definitive came-from-a-box, artificial chocolate flavor.
Our meal was early in the evening on the first night. I usually like to give a restaurant some time to get going before arriving to systematically dismantle it. But being a limited engagement with a lot of people potentially looking to make a reservation over spring break and Easter, I went ahead on the first day. But frankly, even if everything did taste great, I’m not sure there’s a tremendous amount of value here. You do get the salad/cornbread, entree, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverages for the $33/person price. But you could come away with an appetizer/entree/dessert/drink at The Plaza or Tony’s Town Square for similar money. At Plaza, you could order the most-expensive-entree in the $21 Meatloaf, $8 Brownie Sundae, and $3 fountain beverage for the same money and probably leave a lot more satisfied. Even if the entrees were served as quick service for $12/plate, I would have still been offended over the quality. It was that bad. And they do sort of do that as the pulled turkey is the exact same stuff they used to stick in sandwiches for $10.
I’ll have a more general update of the comings and goings around the Park later.
But everything is very pretty this time of year though it’s already getting hot. Today’s high is 88 degrees.