We return to Be Our Guest Restaurant after the most recent price increase along with the addition of beer and wine to breakfast and lunch.
Be Our Guest lunch remains a difficult reservation to book. You’ll want one if you’re planning on dining here because cast typically turn walk-ups away from at least 11:30am through 2pm. You may have luck getting in right at 11am or between 2pm and 2:30pm, but it’s far from guaranteed. If you’re having trouble finding availability, you might have some luck searching for a party of one and either finding overlapping times that way or making the reservation and then showing up with more people. While the search above showed up no availability for two or more, there were several reservations for one person available. Since there aren’t any tables for one, they should let a couple in with a reservation for just one guest.
Here’s the current lunch menu:
You’ve undoubtedly heard about the price increases at Walt Disney World that brought the price of a 20-ounce bottle of Diet Coke to $4.50. The price of a regular Fountain Beverage also rose to $3.99 from $3.49.
Here’s the menu from Friar’s Nook back in 2011 when a regular Fountain Beverage would have set you back $2.19. The cost has nearly doubled over the course of seven years.
Discussions about price increases are always accompanied by some amount of amusement with a roughly-equal number of people who can’t believe that you’d mention the amount of money things cost and those that still frequent Disney blogs but have sworn off the Mouse seven or eight price increases ago. Of course, prices will only continue to increase as people continue to pay them. On the other hand, most people go into a vacation with a budget in mind and this website frequently focuses on the value and opportunity cost of your time and money. As prices continue to rise at a much faster rate than most people’s incomes, I think we only grow all the more conscientious about cost and where it makes sense to spend money.
If price increases get the townsfolk riled up, the thought of adding alcohol to Magic Kingdom is going to push many of them over the edge. You always get the Walt quote about not wanting booze in Disneyland. Of course, that was a marketing move to differentiate his new theme park from the area carnivals. With a classier atmosphere, you can charge more money, and overcome whatever losses you might see from not slinging Bud Lights at the children as they walk up Main Street USA. I’m not sure anybody ever changes anybody’s mind about whether or not being able to order a glass of wine with lunch makes the entire experience impure. As someone that “enjoys the occasional cocktail,” you’re not going to see me pretending to know what a man that’s been dead for 50 years would want and then use that for the justification of my position. Wine and beer were introduced to Magic Kingdom just under six years ago and to this day, I have never noticed anyone visibly intoxicated in Magic Kingdom. If anything, the promise of a glass of wine with dinner may make someone slamming drinks before entering the Park less likely to overdo it before arriving.
Here’s the full lineup of beverages:
None of the best beers that the restaurant offers during dinner are available for lunch – the Chimay Blue, Saison Dupont, and Jai Alai are all absent, perhaps due to the fact that they all carry a higher ABV. Schofferhofer is a 2.5% ABV beer, which is half of the alcohol you’ll find in a Budweiser. My estimation is that there isn’t going to be a lot of wine in the Mimosa or Peach Bellini. We’ll see.
Ordering breakfast or lunch works as before. There’s two lines to enter with those planning on ordering via the in-restaurant kiosk lined up outside on the right before queuing for a few minutes inside.
Pre-ordering via the Disney World website is a smarter option. You’ll see the above by mousing over the “My Disney Experience” tab at DisneyWorld.com and then clicking “My Plans” before scrolling down to the restaurant reservation. Unlike the quick services that offer mobile order, you can’t use the app to place an order or pay. You’ll have to do it via the site and then pay in person. Those that pre-order use the line on the left and don’t have to wait for a kiosk to open up, thus reducing the wait to order and pay by about 90%.
After placing your order, you’ll pick a table in one of the three dining rooms and a cast member will deliver your food to the table once it’s ready. If you have a MagicBand, they should be able to find you using that. If you don’t, you’ll place one of these RFID roses on the table and cast will be able to track you down that way. While it’s obviously convenient to have the food delivered, my paranoia levels are always on high alert after a couple of minutes of sitting because I’m always certain that they either won’t be able to find me or my order has been forgotten. Fortunately, the food has always arrived. Expect it to take 10 to 15 minutes.
On to the meal at hand. Here is the $10 “Be Our Guest Peach Bellini,” which is at least 50% juice with an overwhelmingly sugary, artificial flavor and just a hint of carbonation from the two or three ounces of wine. The Blanc de Blancs is a dollar less and all-wine, which makes it a smarter buy in most situations.
When Erin and I ordered the sangria on October 5th, it was advertised as “House-made.” “House-made” has very little meaning, of course. This might be a glass of Beso del Sol Sangria poured from a 3-liter box, but it becomes “house-made” with the addition of the raspberry. To help make things a little clearer, France passed Public decree No. 2014-797 back in 2014, which allowed restaurants to put a “fait maison” logo next to dishes that were truly “house-made.” But with a flurry of exceptions and resistance from many restaurateurs, the law ended up making things even more confusing. Anyway, Beso del Sol is actually half-decent as far as 3-liter boxed sangria goes – it’s a little bitter for my tastes and at 7.5% ABV, is only about 53% as boozy as your typical glass of chardonnay. It was a pretty large glass full at least, even after taking the ice into consideration.
On the wine front, the George Duboeuf and Simi are the worst value propositions with the price of the glass just a dollar less than the retail bottle price. One potentially nice thing about the alcoholic drinks is that they come out separately from the food, so you can typically enjoy a couple of sips before the food arrives.
Two soups are offered, here with the $6 Potato Leek that no longer appears on the dinner menu. The soup has a creamy, smooth consistency with the rich flavor of puréed potato and butter throughout with a hint of thyme. It’s a decent portion and pretty easily shareable considering it arrives with the entrees.
This is the $6.49 French Onion Soup, which is now listed as a “vegetarian option” on the menu, which will perhaps put to bed the argument over whether or not beef broth is used. The comforting soup is served piping hot with a thick layer of melted cheese on top and a flavorful broth underneath that’s full of sweet caramelized onions and bread. I love how crispy the cheese gets on the sides while staying soft and silky on top. Both soups are filling without being overwhelming. As we’ll see from the entrees below, most pairs should be able to share a soup, entree, and dessert and leave satisfied for around the same money as you’d pay for a couple of burgers and fries at Cosmic Ray’s.
Here’s the $17 “French Dip Sandwich Served on a Baguette with Au Jus and Pommes Frites.”
It’s quite sizable – the bread is thick, fresh, and nicely-toasted with plenty of lean roast beef inside to make for a meaty, crunchy bite.
The Au Jus is served in a precious little pot and adds even more of a beefy flavor. The fries aren’t typically great, but they add even more heft to a meal that’s probably large enough to share, particularly if you’re starting with a soup or two. We enjoyed it.
I ordered the $17 “Braised Pork (Coq Au Vin Style) – Eight Hour Slow-cooked Pork with Mushrooms, Onions, Carrots and Bacon served with Mashed Potatoes and Green Bean Jardiniere.”
A version of this was on the dinner menu here for a couple of years and I’d say that it’s pretty close to table-service-quality. There’s a ton of tender, richly flavored pulled pork involved and the comfort food tastes even better as temperatures (hopefully) drop a bit. I appreciated the garlicky mashed potatoes on a hot October afternoon just the same. The red wine sauce is present, but never overwhelming with a number of vegetables mixed in and the green beans are prepared to a nice al dente with a nice chew and a lot of butter and pepper. It’s a well thought out, nicely executed dish that’s elevated compared to just about any quick service entree you’ll find in the theme parks.
The dessert selections were nearly identical to what was offered at dinner for years, but breakfast and lunch are now the only times that you’ll have the option of adding a cupcake.
As you’re probably aware, dinner is now a mandatory 3-course, fixed price affair.
You can pull up my full review of the experience here.
Back to lunch, it’s potentially worth sharing a cupcake or other treat for a sweet finish to the meal, though there’s no shortage of goodies available all over Magic Kingdom.
For two dollars more, you can order this gigantic “Red Spiced Jumbo Apple Cupcake with Pecan Crunch and Buttercream,” for example.
But if you’d like to add something sweet to the meal, you could do a lot worse than a $5 dessert here.
Overall, Be Our Guest Restaurant is a smart lunch choice, offering some of the best quick service food in the Park in a relatively relaxing atmosphere. The entrees are typically a couple dollars more than what you’d pay elsewhere, but I think the quality is high enough that it’s worth the extra cost. Portions also remain on the large side. The addition of the beer and wine is nice for those on the dining plan that would like to add a glass to their order. Out of pocket, the selection isn’t particularly great. I’d stick to the riesling, chardonnay, or sparkly.
We’ll see what’s next.