We finally did dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom! This review features photos of food, the restaurant when empty, and our thoughts on the experience and quality of eating here. You’re probably all familiar with Be Our Guest Restaurant by this point since it opened 4 years ago, but in case you’re not, its dinner menu offers French cuisine.
It’s hard to believe that Be Our Guest Restaurant opened 4 years ago. It’s even harder to believe that we’ve been trying to eat here for 4 years without success. (Well, Sarah and her sister did eat here a couple of years ago, but I did not.) Perhaps I should have my Disney blogger card revoked for that, but I think it just underscores how difficult it remains to make ADRs here unless you book 180 days (or close to it) in advance.
Unfortunately, it’s rare for us to book trips 180 days in advance, so we often can’t take advantage of our own tips. Consequently, our best strategy has been looking for last-minute cancellations. On virtually every visit to Magic Kingdom for the last few years, we’ve stopped by the Be Our Guest Restaurant podium at 4 p.m., and have also played the ‘constantly refresh’ game on the My Disney Experience app.
All of this was to no avail until our recent trip; we were able to score a post-fireworks ADR for what I assume was one of the last seatings of the night. This meant waiting longer than we wanted to eat, but at that point, I would’ve eaten a Casey’s Corner hot dog to tide me over.
Yep, I was that desperate to eat dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant. For all of the trouble booking this restaurant, you’d think Lumiere and other dancing dinnerware would set your table!
With that out of the way, let’s turn to ambiance. For our dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant, we were seated in the ballroom. In the past, I’ve lamented that this is my least favorite room in the restaurant. It has some beautiful details, to be sure, but the large, cavernous size makes it loud and lacking in intimacy.
In other words, like a dressed-up mess hall. I have other quibbles about it, but those are the main ones in turns of dinner, as this is not the type of environment I’d expect from a table service, quasi-fine dining experience.
Sarah, on the other hand, favors the ballroom. She likes the beauty and grandiosity of it, but mostly enjoys watching the falling snow. I can understand this to an extent–particularly if you get a “window” table–but we were about as far from those windows as possible.
Personally, I’d recommend requesting a table in the West Wing or Rose Gallery if you’re a couple looking for a more intimate experience.
If you’re a family with kids who will potentially be restless, the Ballroom could be appealing as it’s already pretty loud and chaotic in there, so you won’t stick out.
While I normally recommend the West Wing (by far my favorite room), Sarah points out that this could be scary for little kids since it’s dark and there’s occasional lightning. That seems odd to me, but I guess it could be true?
My dad was in the mold of Calvin’s father, subjecting me to things I didn’t like to “build character.” (I turned out fine…assuming that there’s some definition of “fine” out there that includes writing a Disney blog. 😉 )
Now, on to food. As mentioned, Sarah and her sister had dined here previously.
They both loved it that meal, and Sarah ranked this as the best Magic Kingdom table service restaurant as a result. Not that the competition is exactly fierce, but I think Skipper Canteen is a worthy contender.
As normal, bread was brought out to begin our meal. It was fine–nothing special.
For appetizers, we started with Mussels ProvenÃ§al with Pernod, Tomatoes, Garlic, Onions, and Herbs. This was addictively good.
The broth was incredibly flavorful (I may or may not have lapped it up with a spoon) and pretty pungent as a result of the garlic, onions, and herbs; it would’ve been a great base for a pasta or seafood dish.
The mussels themselves were tender and delicious, and it was a perfect starter for two to split. Really high quality all around.
Other options for starters include the soups that are also available (at lower price points) for lunch. I’m a fan of the French Onion Soup, but would not recommend it over the mussels.
Following starters, Sarah ordered the Roasted Lamb Chop served with Potato Pavé, Artichokes, Tomato Salsa, and Lamb Demi-glace.
She thought that the balance of fat and lean meat was about right, and gave the meat a great, tender flavor.
The accompaniments and presentation made it befitting of a fine dining meal, although the size was a bit on the small size (which seems the way Disney is trending with dishes like this).
I tried this and agreed it was delicious, and would recommend it with the portion size being my only reservation.
For my entree, I ordered the Sautéed Shrimp and Scallops with Lobster, Mushrooms, and Seasonal Vegetables in a creamy Lobster Sauce. Sarah previously ordered this when it was served in a pastry, and she loved it, so I thought I’d give it a try in its new form. It was fantastic: quality seafood in a rich (and incredible) sauce, this is one of the best dishes I’ve had at Walt Disney World in recent memory.
While the removal of the puff pastry might seem like a downgrade, it seems that the portion size of the dish has increased with the change (based on recent trends, that doesn’t sound right…so perhaps I got lucky?) and that’s a trade-off I’ll gladly take. It’s difficult to tell from the photo, but the portion here was generous. All told, a highly recommended dish.
Having filled up on glorious Casey’s Corner hot dogs (not really) before our meal, we elected to skip dessert. Actually, we decided to skip dessert because it’s all the same items that are available for lunch. Considering the high caliber of the cuisine here, it’s a bit disappointing that dessert is phoned in like this (particularly egregious at a French restaurant).
Plus, it was well after 10 p.m. at this point, meaning that we’d be having a traditional breakfast of cupcakes in only a few hours when we got up the next morning. Most people are probably going to want to try the Grey Stuff for the novelty, but we don’t think any of these desserts are particularly memorable.
After dinner, we were able to get a photo with Beast, which was a nice addition to the experience. I appreciate that Walt Disney World did not turn this into a full-blown character meal, because that would destroy any semblance of a fine dining experience the restaurant otherwise has.
BTW – Who wore it better? 😉
Before we dined here, one thing I noticed is that the guest response to dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant is fairly divided. Based on what I’ve heard, I would say 70% of guests love dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant, while 20% hate it, and 10% are fairly indifferent. Part of this is inconsistent food and service quality, something that plagues all table service restaurants at Walt Disney World.
If I had to guess, I’d say another part of the ‘hate it’ camp is at least in part due to sky-high expectations resulting from the difficulty of getting an ADR here. There’s also the possibility that some of that ‘love it’ camp is the result of confirmation bias: after doing all that work and hearing so much hype, some people probably want to love it and rate it more highly than they otherwise would have if they were able to walk-in to the restaurant without reservation. My point with this is that you should keep your expectations in check: I’d put dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant among the top 25% of restaurants at Walt Disney World, but it’s far from the best.
So…was dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant worth all of the hassle? Well, I’m glad I finally got the chance to do it, but I probably won’t go out of my way to score an ADR here again. Personally, I think Be Our Guest Restaurant and Skipper Canteen are both contenders for best table service restaurant in Magic Kingdom. Given that there’s absolutely no effort required to dine at Skipper Canteen, that’s the easy choice for me.
For the average family with kids doing their first Walt Disney World vacation (or an infrequent visit), Be Our Guest Restaurant will hold much more appeal for dinner. When viewed from that perspective, though, I think Cinderella’s Royal Table (which is underrated for its food, in my opinion) gives Be Our Guest Restaurant a run for its money. All of this is to say that I think Be Our Guest Restaurant is an excellent option; however, there are good alternatives for all demographics, so if you can’t score that elusive dinner ADR, it’s not the end of the world. Just make sure you do breakfast or lunch instead, as you’ll definitely want to see the inside of the restaurant one way or another.
What do you think of dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant? Is it worth the hassle to score an ADR? Would you rather do dinner elsewhere in Magic Kingdom, or is this the best option? Does it live up to the hype? Share your thoughts in the comments!