Diamond Horseshoe Table Service Dinner Review

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.

Comments

  1. Lindsey says

    That meal looks foul! The cornbread looks so oily and dense. It’s a shame there are so few decent places to eat at MK.

  2. Sarah says

    Wow. When I saw the details of the offerings I thought the biggest concern would be the lack of options. You’d think with so little on the menu they’d be able to at least make the stuff edible.

    • josh says

      You would think they could get three things somewhat right from a kitchen that is otherwise sending out very similar food every day of the year.

  3. Carol O says

    Great, entertaining review. I think Daz just sees us at money-excreting rubes who will eat any dreck placed before us at any price. I gave up eating in the parks long ago. Once when leaving the park, we were asked by the survey-taker near the gates if we would like to take a survey about what we ate or drank in the park that day. We thought for a minute, then said, ‘we didn’t eat or drink anything here today’. I was sort of surprised at the time, as we had been there for hours.
    Also, you aren’t the only one who hates the wasted food. My sister feels the same way about ‘Ohana.

    • josh says

      It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they throw away more food than is actually eaten. Prices have gotten pretty nuts. I looked up Tony’s menu for this review to check prices and the chicken parmesan is up $5 or 23.8% in less than two years. IT’S A FROZEN CHICKEN PATTY!!! The Zucchini Fries there are up to $11 from $8. I would be surprised if anything they serve there wasn’t frozen at some point perhaps save for the pasta and even then.

      • Carol O says

        Tony’s will live in infamy as the worst park meal we ever ate. It was several years ago and I remember thinking my elementary school cafeteria served better food. Also the ‘creamer’ they served with the coffee was basically white water and the coffee didn’t even recognize it. Major sins.

  4. R&RMom says

    So disappointing. Why don’t they put more thought into opening this back up??? The space is really cute from the pictures. Why not a show?? Characters?? Or at least decent food. First Skipper Canteen, now this. Glad I made a dinner ADR at The Plaza. Thanks for making the sacrifice Josh on our behalf.

  5. Joho says

    Two out of three were “stewed?” That word makes me think of several gallons sitting in a steamer tin all day.

  6. andrew says

    What I can never understand how the food in WDW’s Magic Kingdom and DLR’s Magic Kingdom are so vastly different. The quick service food in DLR is miles better than the table service in WDW and I can’t seem to figure it out. I had the Club from the Plaza the other day and while it was good(kinda hard to screw up) it is still $3-4 over priced. Food in the ‘World is getting too damn expensive when it is not all that good to begin with. At in DCA at the Cove Bar you can get a giant mound of high quality lobster nachos for $15 while sitting on the water enjoying great views of the park. Compare that to the $12 beef nachos at Pecos Bill’s and it is laughable. In park food is not supposed to be gourmet by any means but it shouldn’t come down to the least objectionable option and it’s pretty much there now.

  7. Kristina says

    Yuck–the menu items sounded bad and looked worse. Thanks for eating there so we don’t have to! I guess it’s good they’re exploring more TS options for MK, since they’ve badly needed some.

  8. J. Golden says

    Damn, too bad it sucks. I had hopes for this since it is “my type” of vacation food. I like HDDR food and this seems very similar in many respects but it sounds like the quality is horrible. Hopefully enough bad reviews will get them to revamp the entrees.

  9. Mary Ann says

    Yowza. Tell us how you really feel Josh. 😉 (Of course that’s your job after all). Sorry you had to suffer through that. Why in the world did they move away from counter service here. And no show. If they’re going to serve sub-par food the least they can do is distract you while you eat it.

  10. Becky says

    Hopefully they will see your review and make adjustments. Although when we stopped in and asked they said they took Tables in Wonderland.

  11. Jennifer says

    On our trip a few of weeks ago I found myself wanting to order by price instead of by what I really wanted to eat. Probably the fact that my husband just got laid off from work the week before (true story!) may have had a little bit to do with that. I was just so much more aware of how outrageous the prices are this time. Plus,the fact that these buffet meals count a ten year old as an adult also pissed me off. She wanted to eat off of the kids menu at the castle but was still charged for an adult meal! I threw $1000 bucks on the ground right there and went to the Boardwalk to get drunk.

  12. Heather says

    More is not better, especially if it’s a pile of yuck. From your description, it sounds on par with frozen meals from the supermarket. Lower the waste & increase the quality.
    Thanx though. We considered Liberty for a classic family dinner. Now I really don’t feel bad about cancelling that resv yesterday.

  13. Dorliss Chambers says

    It sorta looks like hospital food. Or maybe food that sends people to the hospital. I’m confused.

  14. Laura says

    When I first read about this, I got so excited that I made a ADR for our April trip as quickly as I could. Then I went back and actually looked at it a little closer – I hadn’t realized at first that the price was $33 a person. I was thinking about cancelling the reservation, but your review sealed it! We are staying at Fort Wilderness again, so we can get good frontier-type food at Trail’s End whenever we want!

    Hope you can help me out with another Magic Kingdom question. You had a post awhile back about what line to stand in, when to arrive to early ADRs like BOG or CRT. We have an 8:35 reservation for CRT on Thursday, April 7 – we are taking the boat from Ft. Wilderness to the Contemporary and will walk from there. What time should we plan on being at the gates so that we can get admitted and arrive at the Castle in time? Sorry I couldn’t find your original post, I’m bad at searching.

  15. Dawn says

    hidden mickey mayo mustard? having never been inside I guess I wasn’t missing much…thanks for taking yet another hit for us! and for the record we enjoyed our Tony’s meal a few years back..

  16. Kathy says

    Thanx Josh. All I can say is from your photos & descriptions, it is a total turn off! It’s sad that Disney is serving worse food–yuck food–for exorbitant prices!

  17. Mary says

    I also hate all the wasted food. We had free dining on our last visit, so on one day I had breakfast at The Garden Grill with my son and daughter. I then had a lunch at a French quick service (including dessert, of course, because it’s included in the plan and I like getting the biggest value from even free food), and then dinner at Garden Grill that night with just my other daughter. It’s ridiculous, I know, but those last two meals were part of my daughter’s special Mom and Me time, and she insisted that she wanted to go to Garden Grill more than her siblings, and it wasn’t fair for us to not go there just because I wanted to try their breakfast. Anyway, there was some waste in the morning, but there were 3 of us, so it wasn’t too bad. However, our dinner meal had well over half the food thrown away. I warned the waitress at the start that we weren’t very hungry and asked if we could maybe get less food than they bring to everyone else, but she said she couldn’t. The two of us were first served something like 6 rolls along with a big salad, and then got our 3 main courses with sides, including the Italian Sausage that I had asked to have removed because I knew neither one of us would eat it. Of course you aren’t allowed to take any leftovers home, so we had to leave all of that uneaten food. There were plates and plates worth of food thrown away just from us. This is the restaurant connected to The Land — couldn’t this be some sort of model for reducing food waste? Sad.

  18. Jeanie says

    This review is spot on and I’d like to add it carries over into Liberty Tree Tavern as well. Last week(Mar. 20 to be exact) we had lunch at LTT. It’s a place we’ve eaten before and loved it. The changes to LTT’s menu are exactly like what is served at Diamond Horseshoe. The pot roast is served exactly like what is being served at Diamond Horseshoe; they look identical now. It was HORRIBLE! Our waitress, confirmed that they had undergone some recipe changes and asked if I like the “new” food; to which I replied ‘No, it’s not good at all.” She just looked at me, said, “Oh” and walked off. Honestly, it was hard to get the main dish down; quite possibly the worst dish I’ve eaten at WDW. Surprisingly, though, the desserts were almost all unchanged and were still as good as ever. If you’re going to eat at LTT or Diamond Horseshoe; don’t say you haven’t been warned. LOL!

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