Restaurant Spotlight: Cinderella’s Royal Table

Just in time to celebrate the release of the new Disney live action film, Cinderella, the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort has reopened one of their most popular dining locations after being down a while for refurbishment: Cinderella’s Royal Table.  So before the clock strikes twelve, I thought this was a good time to review it!

Since this character meal has just reopened, there may be some differences between my experience and the current version. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the difficulty in getting a timely Advanced Dining Reservation here – so the earlier you can plan to book this opportunity, the better!

First, before I went in, I had to stop and take time to gaze at the incredible mosaic murals outside the restaurant entrance telling the story of Cinderella:

Just one of several huge murals outside of Cinderella’s Castle near the restaurant entrance.

Just one of several huge murals on the walls of Cinderella’s Castle.

Really, do take your time to look at them all – the detailed work on these immense pieces is amazing!

The entrance.

The restaurant entrance.

The experience began by checking in timely and waiting for your name to be called. At which point you had the opportunity to get your photo taken with the hostess herself – Cinderella! (This picture was later brought to the table in a very nice presentation folder.)

Once your photo op was done, it was time to ascend to the upper levels of the castle to be escorted to your table inside the dining hall.

Inside the restaurant.

Inside the restaurant.

Character meals always tend to feel rushed due to the competition between time with the characters and the time to eat your food. However, there was a nice pacing to the announced introductions of each character here, before the next one arrived to begin making the rounds of the room. There was also a lovely ‘magical moment’ during the meal that was fun to experience.

Though I will say the characters here (I saw Aurora, Snow White, Ariel and Belle) seemed more interested in spending time at tables with young ones rather than some of us “big kids”. This was a little disappointing to have only a brief interaction with them while other tables had far more – although I will say that Ariel in particular was lovely – she was fluttery and fun and excitable and joyous and just a pleasure to meet and her visit felt totally unhurried and gracious.

Sadly, I soon found the wait service here was even less available than the characters were! The waiter was nowhere to be found for most of the meal and therefore unable to respond to any food or drink requests, nor did he provide me with a certain ‘magical item’ that every other table received without asking. I had to make the effort to request one and nearly missed the experience of using it.

There’s magic in this location but you have to look for it. Or in some cases, request it.

There’s magic in this location but you have to look for it. Or in some cases, request it.

And finally there was the food, which also was not very satisfying. The salad was limp, the bread was dry and hard, the meat was just roast beef without much flavor, while the vegetables were overcooked. It was the only meal at the Resort I neither finished nor asked to take any leftovers with me.

So why bother with any of that when you can meet princesses elsewhere and definitely find far better tasting meals at many other Resort restaurants?

You’re in here while everyone else is out there!

You’re in here while everyone else is out there!

One reason and one reason alone: you are dining INSIDE Cinderella’s Castle. And while the meal and service were disappointing and character interaction limited, that location was magic. And I’m so glad I did it once though I feel no particular desire to go back again.

I really equate this experience with dining at the Blue Bayou in Disneyland (to be spotlighted at a future date). It’s ALL about the atmosphere and not about the food. Both are pricey dining options but without hesitation really MUST be experienced at least once as a Disney fan. Although I wouldn’t be in a hurry to return, it was still a very enchanting experience to dine inside Cinderella’s Castle!

Have you eaten at Cinderella’s Royal Table?


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