We return to Be Our Guest Restaurant for lunch after the most recent menu change and price increase.
No matter what changes Be Our Guest makes to its breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, or how much time goes by since the restaurant opened, reservations remain among the most difficult to book on property. 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 or by making the reservation and then showing up with more people. While the search above showed 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.
Above is the same search made at virtually the same time for a party size of one, now with several times available. Unlike most restaurants, where your reservation is held for 15 minutes, and after that time you may have some additional trouble checking in, Be Our Guest simply has you down as having a reservation for breakfast or lunch. That means they’re a lot less concerned about whether you show up for your 12:15pm reservation right at 12:15pm than a restaurant like Chefs de France. There are so many tables, so many available reservations, and so many people dining here each day that things typically work their way out.
It’s also why they don’t differentiate between pre-opening breakfast reservation times – whether your reservation is for 8am or 8:55am is of absolutely no consequence. Everyone is allowed back at 7:45am and will get in line to order or pay as they arrive. As long as your reservation is for before the Park opens, those with 8:10am reservations have no seating advantage over those with 8:45am reservations.
For lunch, you’ll still want to arrive at your reservation time should you have the ability. In the example above, if you have a party of two, one person could take the 1:30pm and the other could take the 1:55pm and you could arrive together at the restaurant and check in at 1:45pm. They would also most likely be happy to let both people in at 1:30pm, even if the other reservation is for 1:55pm.
On this particular afternoon, the four of us had three separate reservations for between 12:30pm and 12:55pm. We didn’t have any trouble arriving at 12:25pm with all of us given the green light to head inside to order. Be Our Guest is open seating, so you’ll find whichever table you like in whichever of the three dining rooms is most appealing. That means we didn’t have to combine our reservations in order to sit together.
With over a thousand reservations available over the course of the day, people are constantly cancelling. If there isn’t initially any availability for your party size and date, keep checking as it’s more and more likely that things will open up as you get closer to the date. All of us made our reservations on the day before we dined, despite the fact that there was very little or no availability for a party of four leading up to the date of our meal.
Below is the current menu. In red, I’ve added the price you would have paid for the same item as recently as May, 2019. On the three new entrees and soup, I’ve also added what the new items replaced:
All of the replaced items were part of the original lunch lineup back when the restaurant opened in December 2012. That makes this the first major lunch shakeup in about 6.5 years.
Here’s a great shot of the original offerings:
Back when the Turkey Sandwich and other entrees were about 50% less money.
I most recently reviewed the “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” back in October 2018.
At the time, I had this to say:
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.
Despite what “feels” like a positive review, you will still find plenty of people who would tell you that this website has nothing positive to say about anything.
Fortunately, I’ll be able to reach down into that big bag of negativity for the $19 “Braised Chicken (Coq Au Vin Style) – Coq Au Vin Braised Chicken in Red Wine with Bacon, Mushrooms, Roasted Asparagus, Blistered Heirloom Tomatoes, and Braised Leeks served with Mashed Potatoes.” This is a downgrade in nearly every sense. The portion is smaller. The meat is much less tender. The Braised Pork virtually melted in the mouth, while you’ll be sawing away at the thin slices of chicken underneath what looks to be a pretty unattractive brown sauce. I also preferred the presentation of the pork in the bowl. Everything is served on these rectangular plates now. The price is also up two dollars.
Two pluses – the vegetables are probably an improvement. Gone are the buttery, salty green beans and in are an assortment of brightly-colored vegetables with the Heirloom Tomatoes in particular sticking out as fresh and juicy.
The sauce is also probably closer to what you would receive if you ordered Coq au Vin in a French restaurant with a lot more emphasis on the red wine. One thing that I’ve picked up over the course of the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot is that you should use good wine when you cook. After all, it’s an integral part of the sauce’s flavor, even if the alcohol cooks out. Granted, I don’t think anybody is expecting Disney to pour a bottle of 2009 Chateau Latour over the chicken here, but we could probably do a little better than Gallo Family “Hearty Burgundy.”
Disregarding the past, and my negative comparisons to the Pork that was previously served here, the Chicken Coq Au Vin is still a top five quick service dish at Magic Kingdom. But you’re certainly paying for the privilege at the $19 price point, which is within $5 of a lot of sit-down entrees at restaurants like Skipper Canteen, Liberty Tree Tavern, Plaza Restaurant, etc. There’s enough chicken involved to fill most appetites and the flavor is largely on point. The creamy, buttery mashed potatoes are also very good. But I’m not sure who would prefer this version over the Pork of yesteryear. I’m also not sure if the change is due to costs or dietary concerns – a lot more people eat chicken than pork and there’s already a ham sandwich on the menu. Certainly on the dining plan, this is a great value and one of the most expensive quick service entrees available.
There are two versions of the “Spring Salad – Sliced Golden Beets, Roasted Peppers, Chilled Green Beans, Pickled Shallots, Carrots, and Herb Vinaigrette.” The “Thyme-Scented Chicken” version above will set you back $14.79.
This is a table service quality salad with fresh, quality ingredients. The tomatoes are again vibrant and juicy, the greens are nice and crisp, and the golden beets are mild with just a touch of earthiness and a little bit of sugar.
I thought the portion of chicken looked a little sad on the plate. It might have been a little less so if it was sliced and laid gently on top of the greens. The chicken is advertised as being “Thyme-Scented.” While I admit that I didn’t get all up in there and give it a big sniff (or if I did, I certainly wouldn’t admit it here), if the herbs did add any flavor to the meat, it was covered up entirely by the cup of bright green Herb Vinaigrette. That’s okay because the dressing brought plenty of herb-y acidic zest with a little bit of garlic in its own right.
Overall, it was a great salad, mixing fresh ingredients with a bright, interesting dressing that ended up being both light and filling. Like with the Coq au Vin, you’re paying more for the higher quality food. Most other quick service salads are in the ~$11 range with table service entree salads coming in around $18. So Be Our Guest’s Chicken Salad is basically in the middle of the two. That’s probably fair.
The same salad is available with six “Citrus-Poached Shrimp” for $16.79, or two dollars more than the Scented-Chicken version. The Shrimp were pretty good, gently poached and retaining a nice firmness. The Chicken is more substantial and less expensive, so I would probably look in that direction, but if you’re in the mood for shrimp, this is very good too. It’s probably just not worth the extra two bucks.
Our last new entree is the $15 “Cannellini Bean Cassoulet – White Cannellini Beans with Onions, Red Peppers, Zucchini, Eggplant, Tomatoes, Garlic, and Fresh Herbs served with Broccolini and Crostini.”
Under some amount of duress, I would admit that I don’t have a tremendous amount of experience with the world of the Bean Cassoulet, at least when sausage and duck confit aren’t involved. What you’ll end up being served is a lot more like a hot bean salad than anything. Cold, I think it would have made for a great picnic side. As it stands, the vegetables remain crisp and hearty with the beans providing some heft and the basil pesto on top adding a rich, herb-y garlic flavor along with a bit of an oily texture. On its own, I’m not sure it’s a terribly filling entree. It seems like this would have been a good opportunity to feature Beyond Sausage or another vegetarian meat to add a little protein.
We appreciated the Crostini, which was a nice, crispy accompaniment that was appropriately soft and chewy towards the middle. There are a few bites of buttery Broccolini on the plate as well, which offered a nice, firmer contrast to all of the softer beans and vegetables.
Overall, this didn’t come together quite as well as the other entrees. It’s more of a side dish than a main event, which is particularly rough at the fifteen dollar price point. But if you’re a vegetarian who isn’t looking for just another salad, it might be a nice change of pace for a smaller appetite.
My favorite entree on the menu is the $17.49 “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 as they typically come out limp and under-seasoned, but they add even more heft to a meal that’s probably large enough to share, particularly if you’re also sharing a soup or two.
Speaking of soup, the Potato Leek is no longer on the menu. The soup had a creamy, smooth consistency with the rich flavor of puréed potato and butter throughout each bite.
In its place, we’ve got “Corn Bisque Garnished with Corn, Bacon, Cilantro, and Chili Oil” for the same six dollars. The good news is that it’s also quite good, creamy and comforting with a rich roasted corn flavor backed up by meaty bacon and just a touch of pepper spice. Potentially on the downside, I’m not sure how French Corn Bisque is, particularly when it’s competing with the old Potage Parmentier. Our French Dip may not be very French either, technically speaking, but at least it has French in the title.
Anyway, I liked adding the Potato Leek Soup to my lunch order and while the Corn Bisque is very good in its own right, it doesn’t really “feel” like it belongs quite as well as a classic Julia Child recipe. I might feel better if it was called “French Corn Bisque.”
Fortunately, the French Onion Soup, now $8 instead of the $6.49 it would have cost last month, remains on the menu. 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 still staying soft and silky on top. Even better, French is in the name so you know it belongs.
Unfortunately, the latest menu update also removed the soups as snack credits on the Disney Dining Plan.
The back side of the menu lists Desserts and Alcoholic Beverages:
The $6 Crème Brûlée is a new addition. The other cupcakes have been available for lunch for some number of years now. They used to be available a la carte during dinner, before the move over to the prix fixe menu that you’ll now find exclusively offered after 4pm.
The Cupcakes are pretty good, but you’ll find a bigger selection of larger desserts elsewhere. You could certainly attach one to your order if you’re in the mood for something sweet. Of course, there is no minimum order for Be Our Guest lunch, unlike breakfast and dinner, which are both fixed price affairs. You could very easily make a reservation with plans to share a couple of desserts or other items. That would give you the opportunity to enjoy the restaurant’s atmosphere to your heart’s content. Just don’t admit you are doing this on any message boards or people who are planning on spending a million dollars on a meal here will make you feel bad about taking a reservation away from some starving family. Disney does need the money, after all. Their kids are headed to private college next year.
Of course, we gave the $6 “Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée with Fresh Berries” a try. This is a pretty big departure from your typical “Burned Cream.” The thin, brittle layer of crispy sugar is entirely absent and, in its place, you’ve got something that’s a cross between vanilla pudding and vanilla cheesecake. The flavor is about what you would expect with plenty of caramel and sugar showing through, in addition to the Mickey sugar cube on top in between an assortment of fresh berries. Overall, I don’t think this is a compelling dessert, but you won’t be disappointed if you order it so long as you’re not expecting a dessert that recently went under an open flame. It is on the small side compared to what you might be able to find for six bucks at something like Main Street Confectionery.
Be Our Guest is the only Magic Kingdom quick service that serves beer and wine. All table service restaurants now do. This 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. While it’s not listed on the printed menu, a glass of Charles de Fère Cuvée Jean-Louis Blanc de Blancs Brut is available for a dollar less and is, of course, all wine, which makes it a smarter buy in most situations.
Originally, Disney claimed that their Sangria was “house-made,” perhaps because they toss a raspberry in the glass. It was always Beso Del Sol Red Sangria, though, which is served out of a 3-liter box. Disney now cops to the fact that you’ll be served boxed sangria, which may be all we can ask for. Beso is 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. It’s here if you want it.
While Be Our Guest serves some interesting beers at dinner – Chimay Blue and Saison Dupont to name a couple – only three common brews are available for lunch. The Kronenbourg is probably the most interesting with Stella as another decent option.
Eating lunch at Be Our Guest is typically a long, drawn-out process. You’ll begin by waiting in line to check in. For whatever reason, each of the last six times I’ve dined here, they have not been able to find my reservation by scanning my MagicBand, searching for my name, searching for my confirmation number, or searching for my name on the printed list. This is despite the fact that I always have my confirmation number ready. Eventually, I’m always allowed in, but I don’t think I’ve ever had my reservation lost at any other restaurant on property once, let alone a half dozen times in a row. I’ve even pre-ordered online only to be told that my reservation is apparently inaccessible. This is likely some issue on my end. Nonetheless, you’ll still need to spend a few minutes waiting in line to check in.
Pre-ordering food is available via DisneyWorld.com, but it’s a far more cumbersome process than using the My Disney Experience app. And because you can’t pay for your food in advance, you’ll still need to wait at the restaurant to pay in person. The process to pay for a pre-ordered meal is much quicker than waiting in line to order at a kiosk, but you’re still looking at waiting at least five minutes for the opportunity. You can pull up the above pre-order screen by mousing over the “My Disney Experience” tab at DisneyWorld.com and then clicking “My Plans” before scrolling down to the restaurant reservation.
Waiting to place your lunch order will probably take about twice as long as waiting in line at another quick service. It’s painfully slow, largely due to the fact that there’s a 50% chance that you’ll need to use one of these unmanned kiosks to click through a number of screens to try to figure out what you want and on which screen you pick out which thing.
After placing your order, you’ll pick a table in one of the three dining rooms and a cast member will (ideally) deliver your food to the table once it’s ready. If you have a MagicBand, they should be able to find your party using that. If you don’t, you’ll place one of these RFID roses on the table and cast will (ideally) 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.
On my visit one before this one, when I was eating here with Erin and the family, they actually did lose our order as we sat there for more than 25 minutes waiting. I had to find a manager and show them my receipt to track down the food. Some poor cast member had probably been walking around trying to find us for some time. We did come away with an anytime FastPass+ for our trouble, but it’s still unpleasant sitting there and not knowing.
On the date of our most recent meal, June 9th, we checked in at 12:35pm and the food didn’t arrive until 1:26pm. That’s 51 minutes. We didn’t pre-order, in large part because I figured they wouldn’t be able to find my reservation and my pre-order would be lost anyway. If you’re able, I would highly recommend pre-ordering, which will shave off 20 minutes of your wait.
Conservatively, I’d budget 60 to 90 minutes for lunch, or twice as long as most other quick service meals would take with mobile order.
On the plus side, Be Our Guest is a pleasant, expansive, nicely air-conditioned restaurant.
Fountain beverages are still refillable with the cups located next to the dispensers for easy access.
Cast will eventually deliver your food to you on “real” plates with actual silverware.
They’ll also clean up after you, much like a regular restaurant.
As you’re probably aware, Be Our Guest dinner is now a mandatory 3-course, fixed price meal.
Overall, Be Our Guest Restaurant continues to serve some of the best quick service food in the Park in a relatively relaxing atmosphere. The overall process remains a bit of a hassle, from securing a reservation, to pre-ordering food, to waiting to pay for it, and then hoping that the order is eventually delivered. 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. The addition of the beer and wine is nice for those on the dining plan who would like to add a glass to their order.
We’ll see what’s next.