There’s a new deal at Walt Disney World for dinner and a show at Disney Springs, dubbed Animated Evenings. This post will cover details about the participating table service restaurants, Drawn to Life by Cirque du Soleil, and which of the options offer good value for money.
Let’s begin with the basics. During Animated Evenings, start by enjoying a meal at one of 13 Disney Springs restaurants, before or after you see Drawn to Life presented by Cirque du Soleil. Each participating table service restaurant has a special prix fixe menu just for this dining offer. (By “special” they really mean limited to less expensive options.)
Following that, you’ll be captivated by the imaginative story of Drawn to Life. The new show by Cirque du Soleil is a love letter to the art of Disney animation, bringing classic stories and characters to life through the talented Cirque du Soleil performers and timeless musical scores. Guests can experience dinner and this amazing show at Disney Springs via Animated Evenings. This Drawn to Life prix fixe dining offer is available to Cirque du Soleil ticket holders. Get ready to let your imagination (and taste buds) run wild…
To book your Animated Evening, first purchase your tickets for Drawn to Life presented by Cirque du Soleil and Disney. You can purchase tickets from Cirque du Soleil online or call Cirque du Soleil at (877) 924-7783. Next, book dining reservations for Animated Evening by calling (407) 587-5981. And be sure to ask for the Animated Evening menu when you arrive at the restaurant!
Worth noting is that Floridians, Disney Vacation Club Members, and Annual Passholders can sweeten the deal. You can add Animated Evenings on to the current ticket offer, which is valid for performances of Drawn to Life through October 1, 2022 (subject to blockout dates: 9/2-9/5 and 9/10/22). Discount varies by date, showtime, and seating sections.
For those unfamiliar with Drawn to Life, it’s the first-ever collaboration between Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Walt Disney Imagineering. The show journeys into a world where an animator’s desk becomes the stage and drawings come alive. The show is a celebration of life, accentuated by the delightful, mesmerizing movements of Cirque du Soleil’s acrobatic mastery.
To receive the special prix fixe pricing, you must order from the Animated Evening menu (tax and gratuity are not included). Guests who have booked the prix fixe dining offer must request the Animated Evening menu upon check-in. Menus are subject to change. All dining reservations must be scheduled at least 2.5 hours before or 2 hours after the Guest’s ticketed showtime.
There are two tiers of Animated Evening restaurants, the first of which offer a prix fixe menu priced at $45 per person:
City Works Eatery & Pour House
House of Blues Restaurant & Bar
Jaleo by José Andrés
Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante
Paradiso 37, Taste of the Americas
Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant
Splitsville Luxury Lanes
Terralina Crafted Italian
The higher tier prepares a prix fixe menu priced at $65 per person:
We have a few recommendations for Animated Evenings at Disney Springs, based on perusing the menus and past experience at the various table service restaurants.
The main one is to dine at Jaleo by José Andrés. Seriously. We make this recommendation when it comes to just about any special offer, but Jaleo (yet again) has the most interesting menu with the best bang for buck. At Jaleo, you’ll get four tapas courses plus dessert. This is arguably a better value than any of the $65 restaurants!
The menus at Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante/Enzo’s Hideaway also look appealing and could offer good value for money, but the choices are limited–so be sure there are high-value options before booking this reservation.
That’s really about it. None of the $65 restaurants strike us as “worth it,” even the ones we like. Conversely, there are several $45 restaurants that offer objectively good value and have more menu variety, but we don’t really care for them. (At least, not as compared to the wealth of excellent and ambitious restaurants at Disney Springs.)
As for my capsule review of the new Cirque du Soleil: Drawn to Life, it’s pretty positive. (I’ll have a full review at some point…probably.) This show beautifully marries the family-friendly acrobatic escapades of the Cirque troupe with lessons of Disney animation. It’s a touching tale with ruminations on grief, perseverance, and using art and creation to overcome loss and personal tumult.
That might sound overly heavy and deep for the escapism that typifies Disney, but it tugs at the heartstrings in a fashion that’s familiar of Disney’s animated films. Those themes are there for those who want them; on the surface, the show offers stunning visuals and breathtaking acrobatics. It’s incredibly well done and fun…it just might make you shed a tear or two along the way.
With that said, we certainly don’t think Drawn to Life is a Walt Disney World must-do, especially for a larger party and at regular prices. Even the “discounted” tickets are relatively expensive, and I fully expect better deals in the months and years to come once Drawn to Life is no longer brand new. That’s exactly what happened with the last Cirque du Soleil at Disney Springs.
First-timers also should not prioritize Drawn to Life, unless they’re really big fans of Cirque du Soleil. Although it’s a really good show, in addition to being expensive, it’s time-consuming. With limited vacation days and hours, dedicating an evening to seeing Drawn to Life probably isn’t the best use of time.
Ultimately, that’s how we feel about Animated Evenings as a whole. The meal deal is not that great for most restaurants, the menus are limited, and it’s likely we’ll see better options in the months to come. (That’s not just a guess–there are already better options for Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month.)
Nevertheless, it’s a good enough option if you already planned on seeing Drawn to Life by Cirque du Soleil and eating a table service dinner at one of these Disney Springs restaurants in the coming months. If you’re a Floridian, DVC Member, or Annual Passholder who has “done it all” at Walt Disney World and can score decently-discounted tickets, Drawn to Life is also worth doing as a “new to you” way to expand your WDW horizons.
Have you seen Drawn to Life by Cirque du Soleil? What did you think of the show? Will you be doing Animated Evenings at Disney Springs? Which of the 13 participating restaurants are your favorites? Are you a fan of Disney Springs? What do you recommend doing there? Any favorite Disney Springs restaurants? Do you agree or disagree with our advice? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!