In what is hopefully a sign that Be Our Guest Restaurant is in the process of reverting to its pre-closure operations, the Magic Kingdom table service restaurant is making changes. In this post, we’ll discuss what’s new, plus how the post-reopening dining experience differs from pre-closure, and what we hope happens next.
As has been the case over the course of the last decade since it opened (wow does time fly), Be Our Guest Restaurant is still the hot ticket in Magic Kingdom. The “new restaurant smell” still hasn’t worn off, with Walt Disney World guests eager to step inside Beast’s Castle to eat in a setting themed to Beauty and the Beast.
Part of the reason Be Our Guest Restaurant is so popular is because it’s so popular. Call it momentum or a self-fulfilling prophecy, but the point is that many Walt Disney World guests want to do what everyone else is doing. This hype creates sky-high expectations and, unsurprisingly, a lot of disappointment. When it comes to overrated restaurants at Walt Disney World, Be Our Guest Restaurant is the one we hear mentioned most often by readers. (We strongly disagree with that assessment, for what it’s worth.)
Another aspect of Be Our Guest Restaurant’s popularity is undoubtedly its past reputation as being a good value on the Disney Dining Plan (DDP), which remains temporarily unavailable. (See When Will the Disney Dining Plan Return? for our thoughts and predictions on when that’ll be back.)
Note that this is also past tense. When Be Our Guest Restaurant was a 1-credit regular dinner, it was a great use of DDP credits. That ended a few years ago when it became a 2-credit Signature Dining Experience with a 3-course prix fixe dinner menu. Similar to Le Cellier before it, Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs) for Be Our Guest Restaurant remained in high demand following that due to a mix of inertia and outdated info, among other things.
With that shift, the beloved Breakfast at Be Our Guest Restaurant also vanished. This morning meal was great from a Disney Dining Plan use of counter service credits perspective and also for rope dropping Fantasyland attractions. It’s unclear how this would change with daily Early Entry, but it was fantastic for beating the crowds to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Peter Pan’s Flight.
Since reopening, Be Our Guest Restaurant has only served the prix fixe dinner menu (see our Be Our Guest Prix Fixe Lunch/Dinner Review). This means it’s only table service, with the same appetizer, entree, and dessert options all day long. It has been this way since Magic Kingdom reopened, and remains the case nearly two years later.
We’ve wondered if or when it would ever revert for a while now, and we’re previously hoping that would happen for the start of Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. It did not, but we’re finally seeing some incremental movement, which may or may not be indicative of more changes to come.
There are two new updates to share today. First, Be Our Guest Restaurant is now opening an hour earlier, effective immediately.
Per the official Walt Disney World website, Be Our Guest Restaurant will now open at 10 a.m. daily through at least the beginning of June 2022. That’s as far out as the calendar goes, but the change is presumably indefinite.
Advance Dining Reservations are now available for Be Our Guest Restaurant during this earlier time slot. Although it’s only an hour, that should nevertheless help with ADRs. It’s been slim pickin’ for a while now, even at or around the 60 day mark. Every little bit helps when it comes to restoring restaurant capacity.
In fact, in searching for several dates, we’ve found new availability during the 10 am to 11 am window at Be Our Guest Restaurant in the coming couple of months. Hopefully this helps those who have been stalking DisneyWorld.com or the My Disney Experience app for options.
On a related note, we’ve noticed same-day “ADR Dumps” on a couple different occasions for Be Our Guest Restaurant in the last month or so. What we mean by this is that at around park opening time, a ton of reservation windows have been added to the My Disney Experience app.
We can’t speak to how often this is happening, but I’ve personally seen it on three separate occasions. My suspicion is that it has to do with confirmed staffing levels, but that’s really just a guess. (Aside from this, it’s always a good practice to check for ADRs the night before; a lot of people cancel at the last minute to avoid the penalty, opening up a decent amount of new availability. This is pretty much our go-to strategy for all restaurants right now.)
Second, as part of this earlier opening, Be Our Guest Restaurant is now testing out a couple of brunch options. Menu additions include the following:
We haven’t yet tried any of these…and won’t. One of the reasons we are generally okay with Walt Disney World’s “controversial” move to make more unique restaurants prix fixe is because we order otherwise expensive menu items.
Given that Be Our Guest Restaurant is still serving prix fixe menu that costs $62 regardless of what you order, it makes absolutely no sense to choose an omelet (even one with crab meat) over the Center-cut Filet Mignon, or even the Pork Tenderloin or Sea Scallops. It’s the modern-day equivalent of a herd of vegetarians buying the Disney Dining Plan! 😉
Nevertheless, this has us optimistic. It’s good to see Magic Kingdom finally tinkering with Be Our Guest Restaurant after it has been almost entirely unchanged in the ~2 years since reopening. The core menu has been the same for way too long, so these are very much welcome additions, even if we won’t order them.
I guess technically they added a trio of new and odd items for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, but that was part of a resort-wide initiative. This seems like it could be different, the first step in pivoting back to normal operations at Be Our Guest Restaurant.
Or not. It’s entirely possible that Walt Disney World has discovered Be Our Guest Restaurant is more profitable with the all-day prix fixe menu, even if it means turning over tables less frequently and serving costlier cuisine.
This wouldn’t surprise us in the least, as the average price of that table service menu is at least double that of the counter service one. The question is which has better margins, and I don’t know enough about restaurant logistics and wholesale food costs to credibly comment on that.
At the very least, bringing back breakfast should be prioritized by Walt Disney World when staffing levels allow for it. While I can’t comment on the question of counter service v. table service lunch profitability, breakfast v. no breakfast is easier math.
After crunching the numbers, I’ve come to the conclusion that serving breakfast is more lucrative than not serving it. As it turns out, $0 in profit is less than above $0 in profit. Didn’t even need the ole calculator for that.
Ultimately, we’re really just ready for more variety at Magic Kingdom’s restaurants. The dining scene has improved markedly since reopening and the 50th Anniversary additions gave the park a shot in the arm, but it’s still far and away the weakest restaurant lineup of any park at Walt Disney World. This was true pre-closure, and it’s even more pronounced now.
There’s arguably only one other dining option in the entire Magic Kingdom that stacks up to Be Our Guest Restaurant, and that has a more adventurous menu that won’t appeal to picky eaters. (Normally, Cinderella’s Royal Table an Crystal Palace can be good options, but they’re not as universally accessible as regular restaurants.) We acknowledge that Be Our Guest Restaurant is polarizing, with fan opinion typically falling either in the “love it” or “hate it” camps, but everyone wins with more options and variety.
Even if you won’t dine at Be Our Guest, it having more seatings eases demand elsewhere, and makes your ADR of choice easier to book. For our part, we fall firmly in the “like it a lot” camp when it comes to Be Our Guest Restaurant. It’s not on par with Signature Restaurants in the resort hotels, but it’s well-above average if setting aside the hype and viewing it objectively. Beyond that, I’ll admit that I want pre-park opening breakfast to return because I’ve grown “bored” of normal Magic Kingdom strategy and am ready for a new challenge!
What do you think of the brunch menu additions at Be Our Guest Restaurant? What about the added hour of operations? Think this is a sign of more changes to come at Magic Kingdom’s most popular restaurant, or are we getting our hopes up for nothing? What are your thoughts on Be Our Guest Restaurant, generally? Do you think it’s worth the money? Is it overhyped and/or overrated? Would you rather do a table service meal elsewhere in Magic Kingdom, or is this the best option? 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!