Victoria & Albert’s Review

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Victoria & Albert’s is a AAA 5-Diamond award winning restaurant in Grand Floridian Resort at Walt Disney World that offers a unique fine-dining menu of contemporary American cuisine. The restaurant is by far the most elegant and romantic restaurant at Walt Disney World–and also the most expensive. It does not participate in the Disney Dining Plan, but does accept the Tables in Wonderland card. Since per person prices at Victoria and Albert’s start at $135 and escalate from there, a Tables in Wonderland card potentially pay for itself in just one meal at Victoria & Albert’s!

Although we recommend reading the rest of this review if you’re considering dining at Victoria & Albert’s, no review really is necessary. Victoria & Albert’s is, hands down, the best dining experience at Walt Disney World. It’s well worth the expensive price, and actually is not overpriced when compared to comparable “real world” restaurants.

Sarah and I have had some nice meals at restaurants comparable to Victoria & Albert’s, and usually they aren’t my thing. Although I enjoy fine dining, I get impatient when eating several course marathon meals that take several hours, and I feel out of place at the lavish restaurants where everyone else is seemingly aged 60-80. We have received poor service at some such places, I feel, because the staff felt we “didn’t belong” due to our age. Consequently, on the rare occasions that we dine out, I try to steer us towards more moderate restaurants.

Moderation is not a word in Victoria’s (or Albert’s) vocabulary. As we ascended up the stairs and the polished mahogany (I’m no expert of woods, but it sure looked like mahogany; even if it wasn’t, that just sounds cool!) of the grand doors came into view, my stomach became unsettled, as I wondered if we had just forked down a substantial amount of money for what might only amount to a few hours of discomfort. I curled my Mickey Mouse camera strap into my hand as we approached the check-in stand, not wanting to appear like an “outsider.”

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My fears would quickly be allayed. We had two maids (waitresses and waiters go by maids and butlers at V&A) who were both incredibly friendly and personable. Immediately, they offered to bring a stool for our cameras. The rest of the experience was only uphill. Our meal and the options were explained to us, and we were given a wine list. Actually, I think it might’ve been some sort of catalog from which to purchase a new car. The names of the cars didn’t register (they were mostly French and older models), but the prices certainly suggested that it was a car catalog. Upon realizing all but the cheapest wines were out of the question (we didn’t end up ordering any), we were given the menu for the meal.

The explanations for some of the items on the menu were humorous, to say the least. My favorite was some type of beef that is born in Australia and then flown to Japan, where he is massaged daily (I’m going off memory, so those locations may be wrong—the massage part is definitely correct). The beef is the world’s most tender. All I could think of while our maid was describing this was some guy going out to the fields, 9-5 (or perhaps longer), to give a cow a massage. Do you think he takes a table and a white cloth to cover the cow up? When asked by his friends, what does he say he does for a living. Certainly there is a way to ‘dress it up’ to make the occupation sound better, but how different from the reality of the job can you make “Bovine Masseuse” sound?!

After ordering, one of our maids brought out palette stimulators, compliments of the chef. Upon my first spoonful of the egg, I knew I was in for the most amazing meal of my life. Up until that moment in my life, this was the best thing I had ever tasted. I don’t think my palette is refined enough to describe all of the tastes (even if it were, I couldn’t remember them so long afterward), but it was amazing. The other three portions were incredible, as well.

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My first course was Minnesota Elk Carpaccio. After the first course, I was incredibly excited for this, as I love wild game. The elk was delicious with excellent presentation, but it left me wishing for a little more. It was so thinly sliced that it was almost difficult to properly taste it (at least I thought). Still, wonderful.

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For her first course, we can’t quite remember what Sarah had (it’s pictured below). She was equally impressed with her course.

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After this, the maids served us bread. This was some of the best bread and butter I had ever had. The butter had garlic in it that, while probably not massaged daily, was rich and smooth beyond belief. The bread itself was delicious, too.

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For the second course, we both got the Marinated King Salmon; it was sweet and tender. Probably the best salmon I’ve ever had.  Very delicious.

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Throughout the meal, the maids were incredibly attentive and personable. Sarah asked one how she liked working at WDW, and they chatted for a few minutes about how (eventually) we’d like to work at WDW. The maid encouraged us to do it, which always lights up Sarah’s eyes. I give it no more than 10 years before we’re living somewhere in Florida.

Sarah had the Duck Breast, Duck Sausage and Confit, which I almost ordered as well. The sausage, especially, was delicious, and although I don’t know what confit is, it sure made the plate delicious!

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My rationale for not ordering the duck was that our meals were already going to shape up very similarly, and the Poulet Rouge with Mushroom-Truffle Ragout intrigued me. Truth be told, I had no idea what this was when I ordered it, and the maid’s explanation didn’t really elucidate things for me, but I decided to go for it anyway. I absolutely love mushrooms, and I figured it would be good. It was rich, flavorful, and incredibly excellent. Some of the best mushrooms I’ve ever had, and this is coming from an expert Northern Michigan Morel hunter.

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Next was the main course. Sadly, we decided against shelling out the extra money for the hand-massaged cow, instead both opting for the Niman Ranch Lamb. It was amazing. Out of this world delicious. At this point, though, it was a bit anti-climatic. Every course before it had been so amazing that we fully expected the perfect main course. It definitely delivered; cooked perfectly, nice and tender. It’s right after lunch as I write this, but even thinking about it on a full stomach makes me crave it.

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For dessert we were torn. It was really only a two horse race, but torn we were, nonetheless. Eventually we decided that Sarah would get the Hawaiian Kona Chocolate Souffle and I would get the Grand Mariner Souffle. Prior to this trip, I hadn’t been a big chocolate or desserts person (much to the disappointment of my waistline, I’ve become a convert). Hallelujah, I saw the light on this trip! I don’t even know if I could put into words the deliciousness of that dessert. Rich. Decadent. Super-awesome-fantasmic!

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Finally, we were treated to some wonderful candies. (V&A doesn’t even skimp on the candy!) Sarah was given a rose and we were given a dessert bread to take home. As the experience drew to a close, the maids gave us one last “course” that would prove wonderful—access to a private room in which we could take as many pictures as we wanted! The room, the Queen Victoria’s room, was set up for overflow or perhaps parties, and the bookings were very light that evening, so it was not in use. We went in there, set up a tripod, and went to town!

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After finishing our pictures in there, I convinced Sarah that we ought to take some pictures around the grounds of the Grand Floridian before changing and heading to the Magic Kingdom.

Overall, Victoria & Albert’s was an incredible experience. The thing I’m asked the most about Victoria & Albert’s is whether it was worth the money. Obviously if people are asking, they’re in a situation like us: money is not no-object, and a trip there would be splurging to some degree. My advice, unequivocally, no matter what degree of splurging it may be, would be to find a special occasion to celebrate there, and go. I don’t say the ‘special occasion’ bit so you have a nice “in” to get a freebie, but rather because I think it provides a nice reason to be there, and something to “embrace” while you’re dining. The meal is absolutely amazing, as was the service; really, I can’t say enough good things about the experience, except for the price (fixed-price cost for the regular dining room is $135 per person; wine pairings are $60 per person). That said, in terms of value, even at its high cost, I would rate Victoria & Albert’s very highly. In my mind, it’s one of the few restaurants that is not overpriced for the food and service it offers.

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However, no matter what amount of saving it requires you to do, it’s definitely worth doing once. If it weren’t for our honeymoon, I’m not so sure I could have enjoyed it as much in our present financial circumstances; rather, I’m pretty sure I would’ve been thinking about how much it was costing and wondering why we’re doing it. In the context of a once-in-a-lifetime celebration, though, thoughts of price didn’t cross my mind once (well, besides when looking at the wine list). I cannot wait until we are financially stable enough to enjoy our next meal there.

Your Thoughts…

If you’ve been to Victoria & Albert’s, did you like it? Do you think it’s the best Walt Disney World restaurant, or did it not live up to the hype for you? Planning on going? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Read our other Walt Disney World restaurant reviews and Disney Dining Plan resources

Overall Score: 10/10

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38 Responses to “Victoria & Albert’s Review”

  1. Donnie says:

    Nice site!

    I’ve always wanted to eat at Victoria and Albert’s, so thanks for the review.

  2. Mike says:

    Two suggestions for a better way to enjoy V&A.

    One is do not order the same food for any course; there is no problem in sharing.

    The other is to consider the wine pairings. However, again just order for one person and split them; otherwise you will get way too much for one person.

  3. DISboards saintstickets says:

    DW and I ate at V&A during our last trip the week after Thanksgiving, 2010. There are only 43 AAA 5 diamond restaurants in the entire U.S. and V&A is one of them. It definately deserves the rating. The prestigious James Beard Foundation (called the Oscars of the food world) recently named the chef at V&A, Scott Hunnel, the Best Chef in the South. I’m trying not to sound like an advertisement for V&A but it doesn’t matter. This is the finest dining experience we have ever had, bar none. I agree with Tom, you have to try it at least once in your life. We did exactly what Mike suggested in a previous post….DW and I specifically did not order the same thing and sampled each other’s course. We also split a wine pairing (a full glass of wine with each course would have put us under the table!) and they provided a short glass (half glass) of wine with each course that was matched to the serving. In other words, you won’t both get red wine if one orders red meat and the other has fish. The food is indescribable, the service is excellent and the ambiance is romance personified!

  4. Jessica @ Acting Adult says:

    I adore your pictures – thanks for the review! I want to go to V and A’s at some point but I think you’re right it needs to be a special occasion.

  5. ajcenac says:

    I’m sure he went to Bovine University with Ralph Wiggum.

    I enjoyed reading your review. I’m contemplating booking V&A for our trip in July/August 2011. After reading your review, I think I will call Disney Dining and see what is available.

    Thanks again.

  6. Glenn Sullivan says:

    Thanks for the review. I am sure I will do V&A next time. We almost went for V&A on our anniversary but it was in addition to the dining plan so we decided on Narcoossee’s, which was excellent. We changed another ADR later in the week and went back to Narcoossee’s a second time.

    If you get a table at the right time you can see the wishes fireworks from your table and they have the wishes music and narration piped into the restaurant.

  7. Bill says:

    Could not agree with you more about V&A. DW and I aren’t quite in that 60-80 age group you mentioned but it is fast approaching! We have been fortunate to eat at more than one five star/diamond restaurant and V&A is definately among the best in the country. At V&A, they do not try to impress you with a TV celebrity chef, an eclectic, postmodern or outrageous decor or some weird combination of foods that only a paid critic would appreciate (and wouldn’t if they had to pay for their meal!). Yes, V&A’s courses are not your standard fare but you’re not at Applebee’s or Red Lobster either. The butlers and maids are not “snooty” and the service is impeccable. Great service combined with food that will titillate every taste bud makes V&A a dining experience you will not soon forget.

    BTW, a full glass of wine with each course is too much for DW and I. V&A let us split a wine pairing between us. You get a short glass of an appropriate wine with each course regardless of what each of you order. It is the price of one wine pairing and well worth the additional expense.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience. Excellent tip about splitting the glass of wine. As soon as we develop our wine palates (and visit V&A again) we will have to try that!

      • Vince says:

        I took my girlfriend to V/A after we went on a Disney Cruise to celebrate her 21st birthday. Since both of us are 21, we didn’t have well developed palates for it. I had a distinct dislike most wine to be honest. We ordered the wine with one of our meals. It turned everything I knew about wine on its head. The way the wines complimented the food was remarkable. Overall going to V/A was one of the best decisions I have made in recent times. I am also glad that they made us feel welcome despite our age.

      • Tom Bricker says:

        Great to hear that you had a good experience. We agree that it’s great that the staff here doesn’t snub younger couples.

  8. Cherry says:

    I’ve always wanted to eat here but have never convinced anyone else to join me. After reading this review, I’m very tempted to say “screw it” and just book a table for 1 on my upcoming trip. :-)

  9. Andrea C. says:

    Just read your review and I am even more excited to go now! My husband and I are going on March 1st. I have been reading other reviews and things and everyone was saying that cameras were not allowed? I am so confused because I wanted to take photos of the dishes for my scrapbook, etc. I also thought it was very dimly lit in there? What settings did you use on your camera to get such beautiful shots? I wish I could photograph things so beautifully!

  10. Thanks Tom!!

    Hubby & I are off to WDW for our 10th Wedding Anniversary in Jan.. we were ‘uhming’ and ‘ahing’ over V&A’s but your review is super!! As we are still ‘pre children’ this looks like it could be a perfect place to celebrate.

    Love your photography, as always!

    Lucy

  11. eden says:

    you two are so lovely together! like two peas in a pod! ;D

  12. Gabby says:

    The parts about the “hand massaged cow” are hilarious. I’ve been enjoying reading your blog to learn about all things Disney before our trip. Thanks for being informative and funny, and for having great photos to look at.

  13. Captain Jim Davis says:

    What is the best day and time for dining at V&A?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I don’t think there’s really a bad or good day or time (they’re only open for dinner, and seatings are limited). Just book whatever works for your schedule!

  14. backinoz says:

    Thanks to your review, we’ve ‘taken the plunge’ & booked a table for our December trip. Thanks also to those who let us know about splitting a wine pairing – I was struggling to justify the $$ on top of the meal (and the fact that I may not remember the finer details of the latter part of it) so splitting sounds perfect :-) Not to mention that food that good deserves to be eaten with a nice glass of wine.

  15. Ennisf says:

    Husband surprised me with V&A’s last April for my 50th birthday. We each had the wine pairing and did not feel it was too much wine for one person. Loved the whole experience. Special menu options are not included in the $135/pp price but soooo well worth it. Will be back in April 2013 and have reservations again at V&A’s!

  16. Julie Parrish says:

    Thanks for the pics and review! My husband and I are going to disney on the platinum plan next month, V&R is included in this plan… I’m really looking forward to it!

  17. Mi Mi says:

    We just returned from our DW visit last night…I would add an echoing “Just Go” to your comments on V & A! It was our first time there, and it was extraordinary. From the ambiance to the service to the of-course-amazing food, it is a delightful counterpoint to the rest of Disney’s hustle and bustle.
    My husband had the Australian beef you described and proclaimed it the best he’d ever tasted and certainly the most tender. So I guess those massages work!
    We do not drink, so the price was a little lighter for us. And everyone is correct…it is ok to share a little. We ordered opposite dishes and politely did a bit of this.
    It seems most negative reviews of V & A on other sites stem from people uncomfortable with decorum (read ‘manners.’) For us this approach ensures fine dining at its best, with an experience of pure enjoyment. We are under 60, but age shouldn’t be a factor in refinement.
    My husband put our delightful experience this way:
    “Victoria and Albert’s is now on our permanent list of must dos every trip!”

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Glad you enjoyed it…although it sounds like you’d be better off (financially) had you not liked it! ;)

      Totally agree with everything you said.

  18. Terri Starns says:

    Tom, thank you so much for your outstanding Blog! I’m planning a trip for my boyfriend and me for the first week in December. I never would have looked at V&A if it wasn’t in your blog. After reading how extraordinary the experience is, I’m going to surprise my boyfriend with a spectacular meal. One quick question, I noticed you were in a suit. What is the dress code?

    • Kelley says:

      The dresscode is posted on the official V&A website is: “Men must wear dinner jackets with dress pants or slacks and shoes. Ties are optional. Women may wear a cocktail dress, nice dress, dressy pant suit or a skirt with a blouse.

      Jeans, shorts, capri pants, sandals, flip-flops or tennis shoes are not permitted.”

  19. Sophie D says:

    We have just booked our Disney World honeymoon for next March and we are definitely going to book a visit to V&A’s after this review!

    Also thinking of upgrading to the Deluxe Dining Plan (we got free Dining with our booking) but not sure if it’s worth it…any opinions?!

    • Sasha says:

      How did you get free dining with your booking in March? Do they include it automatically when it’s a honeymoon?

      • Sophie D says:

        We are from the UK and the package included free standard dining and a $200 gift card to use in Disney!

        We are going on 10th March, but I think the UK site is offering free dining throughout 2015

  20. Monica says:

    It has been 10 years since our V&A dining experience-and still it was the best experience ever. From the personalized menu, to the exquisite food…definitely worth the splurge. Since we don’t take lavish vacations every year when we planned the trip 10 years ago we planned it on our last night, got a babysitter for the kiddos and stayed out nearly all night (Pleasure Island after dinner). We are going back to Disney in 3 weeks (in 504 hours we plan to be in downtown Disney, Disney quest before dinner at Raglan road-but who’s counting?) and sadly, decided this time to not do V&A and explore other dining options. one tip-book the ADR on the dot of 180 days in advance or you likely won’t get in.

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  22. Emily says:

    Just got back from our honeymoon where we ate at Victoria & Alberts. Best food of the entire trip (although best dining experience was won by the chef’s wine tasting dinner at Flying Fish).

    A note about splitting wine pairings: when we inquired about it they said it’s split so you get 3 pairings each instead of 6 as each pour is 2.5-3 ounces (reading other people talking about splitting I assumed the pairing was a full glass and that’s why you would want to split it). As people who enjoy wine we opted to pay extra to each get a pairing instead so we got to try a different wine with each course. While I’m a wine lover I am a lightweight but this was not too much wine for me (we did get a full pour of champagne to start dinner) especially with how long dinner takes to eat each course. Comparatively I did not finish all of my wine at Flying Fish because it was 5 full pours and after three I knew I needed to sip the last two (which were luckily a red and a port which I like less than the whites I got earlier in the evening).

    And a final note: I believe wine pairings are now $65 a person from what I remember. You list it as $60.

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