Cinderella’s Royal Table Restaurant Review
Cinderella’s Royal Table is a table service princess character meal inside Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom. This Walt Disney World dining review features food photos, our thoughts on lunch & dinner at the restaurant, and whether the experience is worth the money. (Updated February 28, 2023.)
The menu consists of American cuisine that is almost fine-dining caliber. Between the menu and the dining inside the castle, Cinderella’s Royal Table is arguably the flagship restaurant in the Magic Kingdom (only Be Our Guest Restaurant surpasses it in popularity), and one of the most unique restaurants in all of Walt Disney World. Aside from spending a night in the Cinderella Castle Royal Suite, it’s your best chance at entering the park’s icon.
As Walt Disney World’s prolonged phased reopening continues, things continue getting back to normal. Traditional meet & greets have returned with autographs, hugs, and high fives. After a very lengthy delay, this is also finally true at Cinderella’s Royal Table. Let’s start with an update on the latest good and bad changes at this restaurant as of 2023…
February 28, 2023 Update: First, the good news. The Disney princesses have officially returned to the dining room at Cinderella’s Royal Table for the first time since pre-closure. Unlike Breakfast à la Art at Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera and Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White (our two favorite character meals at Walt Disney World right now), Cinderella’s Royal Table had not returned to normal…until today! Per Walt Disney World, the princesses had been “taking a break from their royal duties greeting guests.”
As of today, princesses are now back at Cinderella’s Royal Table. For those who are unfamiliar with how this character dining experience operates, Cinderella greets guests downstairs and a few other visiting princesses roam the main dining room, making the rounds for photos. Cinderella had previously returned downstairs (unofficially and not guaranteed), but now all of the other princess performers are back, too.
The bad news is that, with the character component at Cinderella’s Royal Table restored, the price has increased. As of yesterday, the cost was $67 per adult and $39 per child at lunch or dinner, and $45 per adult and $29 per child for breakfast. These breakfast and lunch/dinner prices were after multiple price increases during the phased reopening.
As of today, the cost of breakfast is up by $20, and lunch/dinner have both increased by $12. Breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table now costs $65 per adults and $39 per child. Dining with the princesses inside Cinderella Castle now costs $79 per adult and $47 per kid.
That’s hefty fee for dining with royalty! Or is it?!
Throughout our reporting on Cinderella’s Royal Table, we’ve pointed out that the price actually decreased when the restaurant reopened without princesses, while also warning that the cost would shoot up when characters returned to the dining room. Although the $12 or $20 price increase sounds extreme, when compared with March 2020, these prices are only up $2 to $4 per person.
Cinderella’s Royal Table has always been expensive, and we certainly wouldn’t argue otherwise with anyone. However, Disney has had no trouble filling restaurants at absurd price points. Not only that, but a $2 to $4 price increase over the course of 3 years–especially in light of food inflation since then–hardly sounds extreme.
Whether it’s overpriced is subjective; for many young kids, eating inside a castle with royalty is a priceless experience. But it’s probably fair to say that if you it’s overpriced now, it also was before–and vice versa. If anything, the increase here is less steep than what other character meals around Walt Disney World have seen in the last 3 years. (Which is precisely why we predicted even higher prices at Cinderella’s Royal Table upon princesses returning!)
One thing that has not changed is that Cinderella’s Royal Table requires prepayment in full for secure an Advance Dining Reservation.
It’s a bit surprising that this policy is still in effect, which previously discouraged ADR-hoarding, as the popularity of Cinderella’s Royal Table is not what it once was with Be Our Guest Restaurant now being the top draw in Magic Kingdom.
The big question right now is whether Cinderella’s Royal Table is worth the reduced cost given the atmosphere and food alone for those who are not interested in character dining.
We’ll try to answer those questions first, and then turn to the normal “Fairytale Dining Experience” for families considering Walt Disney World trips in 2023, now that the princesses have returned and Cinderella’s Royal Table is back to normal…
I can still remember looking in the Walt Disney World book I had as a kid and seeing the star-filter enhanced photo of King Stefan’s Banquet Hall, and thinking how awesome it would be to eat inside Cinderella Castle. On that basis alone, we convinced ourselves to give it a try anyway.
Suffice to say, we were downright shocked by Cinderella’s Royal Table…
In terms of ambiance, Cinderella’s Royal Table is spectacular. It looked like it had been fairly unchanged since it was King Stefan’s Banquet Hall, and I honestly think that is probably for the best. The restaurant is still in great condition, from the carpet to the intricate details to the flags overhead.
I hope Disney’s Imagineers never change the look or feel of the restaurant, because it feels very regal, beautifully designed, and most of all, like an authentic European castle. I trust in the Imagineers, but I really hope they don’t opt for a “modern” refresh, as that’s totally unnecessary here.
The guest ambiance was also surprisingly good. Now, this definitely is a ‘your mileage may vary situation’, but there were no crying children, and the restaurant overall was not loud like we expected. We’ve been to some chaotic character meals, and this didn’t have that feeling at all.
It wasn’t peaceful or subdued like a fine dining experience late at night can be, but it was shockingly relaxed. Perhaps Disney has utilized fabrics and other sound-dampening techniques, or maybe we just got lucky. Regardless of why, we were stunned and impressed.
On to the food. Note that Cinderella’s Royal Table is not all you can eat. You order off of a prix fixe menu, with a variety of appetizer, entree, and dessert options. (Note that the menu has changed somewhat since our last meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table.)
Dinner started out with bread service. This was rather pedestrian.
I started with the Crawfish and Shrimp with Grits. This consists of crawfish and shrimp in a New Orleans-style barbecue sauce with goat cheese grits.
I loved this appetizer, which had a really unique flavor (different than standard shrimp and grits). The seafood in it was good, and wasn’t rubbery as is often the case when it’s mixed in a concoction like this.
Sarah had the Strawberry Salad for her appetizer. This consists of strawberries, feta cheese, arugula, almonds, balsamic glaze, and olive oil.
She found the quality of the salad to be very high with a great mix of complimentary ingredients, and a refreshing taste.
We ‘fought’ over who got to order the Beef Tenderloin. Since we always order different foods for the sake of reviews, we couldn’t both order it.
I “won” this time, but don’t feel sorry for Sarah…she usually wins.
Wow is all I can say about this.
Cooked medium-rare to perfection, the meat was almost tender enough to cut with a fork, the cut of meat was excellent, and the glaze gave it a rich flavor. The potatoes were similarly out of this world.
Sarah instead opted for the Slow-roasted Bone-In Pork, which is served on a couscous medley. She was surprised at how flavorful, tender, and juicy the cut of meat was.
I tried it, and I was similarly surprised–especially about the juciness. I think Sarah could have gone for a slightly leaner cut, but I thought it was the perfect amount of lean meat versus fat.
For dessert, Sarah ordered the ‘Clock Strikes Twelve.’ Awesome presentation, but I can’t say it really wowed either of us. Really rich, and that was really the dominating “flavor.”
It wasn’t bad–and maybe it just wasn’t for us.
I had the Chef’s Dessert Trio.
Same deal–awesome presentation, sort of ‘meh’ desserts. I really did like the pistachio dessert in the middle. The others were sort of lackluster.
Finally, let’s wrap this up with a quick look at the princesses for those planning a Walt Disney World vacation and debating a meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table.
Cinderella greets guests downstairs with a dedicated photo backdrop while Aurora, Snow White, Ariel, and Rapunzel meet guests upstairs in the dining room.
I’m not a big fan of meeting face characters. It also feels like an awkward experience, and while I’m comfortable cheesing it up with fur characters, I don’t have that comfort level meeting real people.
But, that’s my problem. These characters were great, and Sarah had a lot of fun with them.
She especially liked Snow White, who had a bit of sharp wit about her, without breaking character.
In fact, I enjoyed watching her character interactions with each of the princesses. Most did a really good job, and were pretty good representations of the characters depicted.
The real “dessert” or happy ending to our meal was the fireworks (another thing you won’t experience during the phased reopening). In our Magic Kingdom Fireworks Viewing Guide, I wrote that I don’t care for locations outside of Main Street for viewing the fireworks.
While I still prefer those locations, and would absolutely recommend those spots for a first time visitor or someone who will only see the fireworks once during their trip, for us, seeing them from inside Cinderella Castle was pretty special.
The problem for viewing the fireworks from inside Cinderella Castle for a first timer is that you’re not even getting close to the full experience of Disney Enchantment nighttime spectacular. You’re missing the projections, soundtrack, the near bursts, and more.
However, it’s a pretty cool experience if you’ve already seen Magic Kingdom’s fireworks a couple–or a couple dozen–times. The way the different pyro bursts illuminate the inside of the restaurant, basking everyone in different colors throughout the meal is something special. The beautiful gothic architecture of the interior plus the glow of the fireworks was pure Disney magic. Putting aside the characters and even the better than expected food, this alone made the high price “worth it” for us.
In normal times, Walt Disney World considers Cinderella’s Royal Table a “Fairytale Dining Experience.” which I think just refers to the fact that you can meet Cinderella and other visiting princesses here. The meal also includes a photo of your party and Cinderella taken by PhotoPass photographers.
Also normally, Cinderella’s Royal Table participates in the Disney Dining Plan as a 2-credit Signature meal. Due to it requiring two credits, it is not a good choice if you’re trying to maximize your value on the Disney Dining Plan. However, the Disney Dining Plan is still temporarily suspended, and it’s entirely unclear whether it’ll return in 2023…or at all.
Ultimately, I’m of two minds about Cinderella’s Royal Table. While the food is surprisingly good, it’s overpriced even by Walt Disney World standards. However, you’re obviously not paying for just the food when you dine here. Just as much a part of the meal as the food is the fact that you’re dining inside Cinderella Castle and potentially meeting princesses.
If neither of these things matter to you, there is simply no reason for you to dine at Cinderella’s Royal Table. Even given our praise for the food in this review, you can get better food for less money elsewhere. However, if princess dining and/or a meal in Cinderella Castle is appealing, it might be easier for you to justify this restaurant as a splurge. In the end, it really comes down to whether you’re comfortable spending this much on a meal that I’d peg at just a rung below fine dining.
If you are a family looking for a “fine family dining experience” and are willing to pay accordingly, Cinderella’s Royal Table is the Walt Disney World restaurant for you. If you’re a couple looking for a romantic restaurant were cuisine is paramount, you might want to look for one of the Signature Restaurants in the Magic Kingdom resorts.
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Have you done Cinderella’s Royal Table at Walt Disney World? What did you think? Worthwhile for the characters, ambiance, food, or all of the above? Is this meal something you’d like to try? Any specific recommendations? If you have any questions or thoughts to share, please post them in the comments. We love hearing from readers!
Enjoyed your review of Cinderella’s Castle meal and happy princesses at back and food is good. Went to dinner last night at Beast castle and won’t be going back for some time if ever. Food was very good and our waitress excellent. My LARGE complaint is Beast interaction and our table. They seem to have added more tables to the ballroom and placed all the tables for 2 along the wall which is very much an after thought because we weren’t even in the main ballroom. But my biggest beef was the BEAST wasn’t even an interaction…every 30-40 minutes he literally only walked through main aisle and waved at guests while walking through. We were told to remain seated and have our cameras ready. If someone walked by or his keepers were blocking your view you missed the split second you had to take the shot before he was gone. $67 /person
REDICULOUSNESS. I member when you could meet BEAST by the fireplace in the other room and have a nice shot with your family. They need to stop calling it character dining until it is or eliminate beast and lower the price. Next time if I decide to eat in a castle it will be with the Princesses!
Tom, do you suggest lunch or dinner here over breakfast?
It’s been a long time since we’ve done breakfast here, so I don’t really feel qualified to talk about cuisine quality of that meal.
Setting that aside, I’d most likely recommend lunch/dinner. The cuisine is high quality and it’s just a more satisfying experience after a long day in the park (IMO). By contrast, I think there’s a sense of (self-imposed) urgency to get in and out if you eat here earlier.
That could be a matter of personal preference, though. With few exceptions, I almost always favor doing a nice dinner as opposed to a nice breakfast at Walt Disney World. I hope others share their perspective on this, regardless of whether they agree or disagree with me!
We had another couple visiting wdw from CA for the first time. She is a huge Cinderella fan. We booked an early pre opening breakfast and were able to check in along the bridge by the Christmas shop and then we were escorted past closed ropes to the castle. It was so nice for them to see MK very uncrowded and the breakfast was phenomenal. We enjoyed mimosas and many breakfast breads as well as main courses in a very mellow environment. But note the other princesses had not returned although I think the kids were all behaving due to them not being too tired yet and I think they react positively to the formal room. It was a lot of food and but we ended up cancelling our dinner reservation at Be Our Guest! She said she already enjoyed dining in the number one castle and that was enough! My husband and I have eaten there at night and that is a totally different experience. It’s really fun to see a marriage proposal too!
I booked CRT for April at the lower price and already paid for it at the lower price back at the beginning of February. Will the new pricing affect me? or did I squeak it in at the lower price and get the returned princesses?
You should be good paying the old rate–that’s how subsequent price increases at pre-paid experiences like this have always worked in the past. With that said, nothing would surprise me.
BRYAN, I would love to hear what happens with your reservations, whether you get lucky as you prepaid at the lower prices or whether they try to shake you down for the princess upcharge. Let us know!
The Royal Table is a must do whether the food is good or not. It is the quintessential Disney Experience.
The Beef Tenderloin is no joke, SO GOOD!
We went during Princess Week, and we had the glass slipper special dessert, which was like a 15 out of 10. The kids got the trio, and honestly, looked unimpressive compared to everything we ate prior.
Between Be Our Guest and CRT, CRT wins across the board.
I really wanted to try Story Book dining with Snow White for the first time on our upcoming trip this May, but I am realizing this may be traumatic for my 6-year-old who is terrified of the Evil Queen. She makes me skip that page in her Disney character encyclopedia whenever we read it before bed, because she finds her so scary. It might be back to CRT for us (we were only there once, 5 years ago). I think my 8-year-old has mostly outgrown the princess phase, but considering my 6-year-old is still always dressing up in all of her princess costumes, I think she’s still young enough for Cinderella’s Royal Table to feel extra special and magical. Since you say the food is good, in our case, I think it will be worth the splurge.
If you want to try something different, Akershus is Epcot’s Norway also hosts a similar princess dining experience, we really enjoyed the ambiance and food there in December (when princesses had not yet returned to CRT).
Totally unrelated but seeing Rapunzel featured here got me thinking…. Do you think Bon Voyage Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno will ever come back? That was our favorite!!
Is gratuity included in the price at CRT or added separately?
its included, the whole meal is paid for when you book, minus add ons like drinks etc
Honestly, we’ve done Be Our Guest and CRT, and would spend the money on CRT again for sure.
Agreed- I’m much more likely to splurge on CRT. On our last trip, BOG was a quick service and we had the dining plan, which was a great value. I’m not sure I can stomach those new prices – they could at least throw in a glass of wine!
I was glad we did it when the price went down and only Cinderella visited. We’re not character people, and we would feel doubly bad taking a seat from a family or child who really wanted to meet the princesses. Last year gave us the perfect opportunity to visit the castle for dinner (even if we were seated nearly an hour late).
My family and I had breakfast here on December 3rd. I can honestly say it was better than I expected. We had a good memorable time and was definitely cool to be inside the castle. Probably a one and done but was absolutely worth it for us.
Thank you for the balanced, non-snobby review. No, it is not the best foodie spot, but it is a special experience. My daughter went when she was 5.5yo, and it’s the first thing she talks about when I talk about another trip, wanting to go again. If we ever get to Disneyland, she wants their princess meal because she assumes it will be as special and magical. Want to give a compare & contrast review of the outrageously priced princess meal at the Grand Californian for people who have done CRT?
It’s ok food given you are in a castle. Everyone who is a Disney fan should dine in the castle at least once. Yes it’s expensive, but it’s the experience your kids will remember.
Literally the worst food in all of Disney.
Would never EVER eat there again.