Be Our Guest Restaurant at Magic Kingdom has switched to a new, 3-course dinner. In this post, we’ll review that prix fixe menu at Walt Disney World’s most popular dining option, sharing photos of food and the Beauty and the Beast-themed interiors. We’ll also cover whether it deserves Signature status, and if it remains a good value on the Disney Dining Plan and out of pocket.
Speaking of which, Be Our Guest Restaurant is a Disney Dining Plan participant as a two-credit table service restaurant at dinner. That’s right–two credits. That makes it one of the worst uses of your table service credits at Walt Disney World. If you’re not using the Disney Dining Plan, dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant offers a 20% discount for Tables in Wonderland cardholders, and a 10% discount for Annual Passholders.
That’s a rough way to start out the review if you’re reading this as someone who is using the Disney Dining Plan, but there’s really no way around it. While the average dollar cost of dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant is nearly unchanged for those paying out of pocket, it’s now double the cost in terms of Disney Dining Plan credits.
Previously, Be Our Guest Restaurant almost made our list for the best values on the Disney Dining Plan at dinner. Now, it’s nowhere even close. In terms of value, you’d literally be better off using your credits at Plaza Restaurant in Magic Kingdom, a dining option that is known for being slightly more expensive than counter service restaurants.
The good news comes for those paying out of pocket. Well, those paying out of pocket who would order three courses and entrees with meat. You are likely to break even or come out ahead with the new prix fixe menu as compared to the old dinner menu. In fact, both Sarah and I came out ahead with what we ordered (and I’d hazard a guess that the dishes we chose will be among the most popular going forward).
If that’s the case, why did Walt Disney World shift to a prix fixe menu here? Walt Disney World stated that the reason for going prix fixe was to “enhance” the menu with “exquisite and delicious cuisine” and an “experience will make you feel like royalty.”
The reality is more likely that they compared demand to per table revenue and realized they could do much better. To that point, the ‘double the cost’ on the Disney Dining Plan is a pretty big deal.
Moreover, it used to be relatively common for guests to book ADRs at Be Our Guest Restaurant so they could experience the atmosphere and meet Beast, while just ordering cupcakes. For those out of pocket guests, this prix fixe menu most certainly will not be cheaper than the old dinner menu.
I know this “cupcake only” practice caught the ire of a lot of fans, but my philosophy on this (even as someone who was shut out of Be Our Guest for years by these shenanigans) was “don’t hate the player, hate the game.” Those are words to live by.
My view on guests exploiting loopholes is pretty much always “kudos on the ingenious thinking.” This has led to me holding some unpopular opinions among Disney fans who believe they’re the moral authorities, arbiters, and enforcers of rules. My perspective is that Disney tries to screw guests at every chance the company gets, and turnabout is fair play. As the party best situated to avoid the loss, Disney is always in a position to close loopholes should the company so desire.
With that said, my “don’t hate the player, hate the game” philosophy (it’s really more a way of life than anything) also requires respecting the game when it’s changed. That means the people knowingly exploiting the loophole don’t bellyache about the change, but respond with nothing more than a golf clap. Disney Dining Plan users, on the other hand, are free to shake their fist at the sky, as their complaints here are legit.
Anyway, as we said when this change was announced, we’re surprised it didn’t happen earlier. We fully expected Be Our Guest Restaurant to be Signature from day one. It has been so hard to get a table at dinner here for the last 5 years, even at the 180 day Advance Dining Reservations mark.
It’s still difficult now, but we suspect that’s at least in part because many guests are booking based upon outdated information. Within the next year, we’d expect it to settle into the same territory as Cinderella’s Royal Table: tough, but not downright impossible. That in-castle eatery often is fully-booked inside 30 days, but seldom fills up 6 months in advance like Be Our Guest Restaurant.
This is already getting long, so I’m going to skip a thorough discussion of theme and ambiance, all of which we’ve already covered in our previous Be Our Guest Dinner Review. My favorite room is the West Wing, but the Rose Gallery is also nice. I’m not a fan of the Ballroom because it’s cavernous and loud.
Let’s move on to the main course of the review: the food itself, starting with a look at the menu:
Most of the entrees from the old a la carte dinner menu return to the prix fixe menu in some form, albeit “fancified” in some manner.
The most notable example of this is probably the swapping of strip steak for filet mignon.
Every dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant starts with bread service.
It’s very bread-like.
For my appetizer, I started with the “Charred Octopus: Citrus-laced Fingerling Potatoes, Pickled Hearts of Palm, and Red Pepper Coulis served Cold.”
Presentation here was good, and red pepper coulis provided a spicy complement to the octopus. The flavors all worked well, but my octopus was too tough. I’m not sure if this was simply bad luck, because it otherwise worked. Unfortunately, as served this couldn’t hold a candle to the superlative octopus at Tiffins, or even the more tender offering at Coral Reef.
Sarah started with the “Maine Lobster Bisque: Crème Fraîche and Poached Lobster.”
We had wavered between this and the escargot for our second appetizer (while great, the French Onion Soup is an inexpensive lunch option), and I think we made the wrong choice…and that’s only in part because soup is the most boring subject for food photography.
The soup tasted good, with a rich and creamy flavor. Even though the portion looks small in the photo, it was ample, especially considering the decadent flavors. Having “lobster” in the menu’s item name twice is probably accurate, as that’s how many chunks of lobster were in the dish. I’d expect sparse lobster meat at a normal Walt Disney World table service restaurant; here, it’s a disappointment considering this is now a Signature restaurant.
For her entree, Sarah ordered the “Spice-dusted Lamb Chops: Roasted Salsify, Baby Zucchini, Charred Tomatoes, and Royal Trumpet Mushrooms with a Lamb Demi.”
If you look back at our previous Be Our Guest Restaurant Dinner Review, you’ll notice this dish is nearly identical to the lamb we ordered for that meal. About that lamb, I wrote: “the accompaniments and presentation made it befitting of a fine dining meal, although the size was a bit on the small size.”
Perhaps all that speculation above about Walt Disney World analysts realizing they could increase per guest revenue at Be Our Guest, or wanting to close the ‘cupcake’ loophole was incorrect, and this really went Signature because Bob Iger is a regular reader of this blog and saw that I thought this dish was already fine dining caliber, and made it so. Yeah, that seems totally plausible and not at all conceited.
Anyway, exact same story with the new Lamb Chops. Very good dish with a portion that’s slightly too small. The spice-dusting provides a bit of flare, but also made some bites slightly over-seasoned. (There’s no kick, for those worried about that–it’s a crowd-pleaser.)
For me entree, I ordered the “Center-cut Filet Mignon: Robuchon Yukon Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetables, and Cipollini Marmalade with a Red Wine Glaze.”
I’ll admit, my expectations were low. I was expecting either a glorified strip steak or perhaps a center-cut that was really, really small. Instead, I received a generous portion of one of the best cuts of meat I’ve had at Walt Disney World in years.
Perfectly cooked, tender, juicy–I could go on and on. I was shocked and am still wondering if maybe this fell off the truck on the way to Capa. Or perhaps regular reader of the blog Bob Iger handpicked this cut for me, knowing we’d be dining at Be Our Guest this evening. (If that were the case, you’d think we wouldn’t have been seated in the far corner of the Ballroom, but I digress.)
The red wine glaze underneath added a subtle twist to the steak, but I actively tried to avoid using it because the meat held up on its own. Everything about this was exquisite, and I’m still a bit flabbergasted. Despite my effusive praise, in the back of my mind I know that I had to have gotten a little lucky here. Even if yours is only 75% this good, it’s the must-order dish on the new prix fixe menu.
The meal ends with the same dessert trio for everyone, which includes “Almond Macaron, White Chocolate “Chip” Cup with Grey Stuff, and Dark Chocolate Truffle.”
If I were feeling curmudgeonly, I might complain that a Signature Restaurant doesn’t offer a selection of ambitious dessert options, but I can’t here. This is so adorable that it melted my cold heart. Plus, realistically everyone coming to Be Our Guest is doing it for at least in part of Beauty and the Beast coolness.
These desserts aren’t merely fodder for social media–they’re delicious and compliment one another nicely. This is a definite upgrade from the cupcakes served here before, and the mix of taste plus delightful presentation instantly places this among the best overall desserts at Walt Disney World. It’s really fun.
Part of the “fun” for me is that it’s also very photogenic, and a tricky subject. I’m not even going to tell you how long I spent taking pictures of this before eating it (the 3 edited photos in this review are a small number of my total keepers, though). Suffice to say, it’s probably a good thing we were seated in a far corner of the room.
Overall, we enjoyed dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant before and we like it slightly more now. For the most part, fan opinion seems to fall either in the “love it” or “hate it” camps, but we’d say we’re firmly in the “like it a lot” camp. It’s not on par with Signature Restaurants in the resort hotels, but it’s better than expected. While I wouldn’t use two Disney Dining Plan credits on it, we were pleased with the quality of our meal for the out of pocket cost. Walt Disney World definitely created winners and losers with the switch to a prix fixe menu here; based upon our ordering style, we were among the winners. If you’re not so lucky, your opinion of the changes at Be Our Guest Restaurant might differ significantly from ours.
What do you think of the prix fixe dinner menu at Be Our Guest Restaurant? Do you think it’s worth the money or use of 2 Disney Dining Plan credits? Would you rather do dinner elsewhere in Magic Kingdom, or is this the best option? Does it live up to the hype? 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!