Gaston’s Tavern is a counter service restaurant and snack spot in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. In this WDW dining review, we’ll share food photos, thoughts on the menu, and whether there’s a sufficient number of antlers in the decorating of this intimate New Fantasyland eatery.
While technically a counter service restaurant, the menu at Gaston’s is so limited that it’s better described as a “snack shack.” Now that the pork shank has been removed from the menu, you cannot eat a full meal at Gaston’s Tavern. That is, unless you want to fill up on sugar.
As Walt Disney World’s phased reopening continues, there’s good news and bad news for Gaston’s Tavern. The good is that it’s once again operating. The bad is that the menu at Gaston’s Tavern has once again been modified–and scaled back. Let’s cover what you need to know…
We’ll start with ambiance, Gaston’s Tavern is a much smaller venue than its counterpart in Beast’s Castle. (Read our comprehensive Be Our Guest Restaurant Review for full thoughts on the atmosphere and food.) However, what Gaston’s Tavern lacks in size it makes up in intimate charm.
While both Be Our Guest Restaurant and Gaston’s Tavern have some excellent theming, we feel that Gaston’s Tavern is the truly “transportive” restaurant. You feel as if you’re really in a quaint tavern (well, minus the beer), scarfing down some sugary treats and enjoying the antlers in all of Gaston’s decorating.
Gaston’s Tavern’s theming gives it that quaint village feel, and the details throughout the tavern are fun and cheeky. Everything from the lighting to the incomplete game of darts between Gaston and LeFou to Gaston’s prize heads on the walls just works.
The result is a perfectly executed theme, and a venue where it’s fun to linger and enjoy the ambiance. For me, it’s like the anti-hipster Starbucks. I know that if I were a local, I’d definitely be hanging out in Gaston’s Tavern instead of a local Starbucks! In Disney terms, it’s a bit like Trader Sam’s in terms of intimacy, although not in the same style and not quite as elaborate.
We really enjoy the atmosphere in Gaston’s Tavern–I probably like Gaston’s a bit more than I enjoyed Be Our Guest Restaurant. This is not to say it’s better than Be Our Guest Restaurant. Gaston’s has the distinct advantage of being a tavern in both the film and in New Fantasyland.
By contrast, Beast’s Castle and its rooms were not a restaurant in the movie, and they are a rather large venue in New Fantasyland. Even though both are restaurants, they’re each incredibly different types of restaurants, so each should be judged on its own terms, in its own class. In that regard, both are great experiences.
The current menu highlight at Gaston’s Tavern is the Master’s Cupcake (or Grey Stuff Cupcake) which is presented by Be Our Guest Restaurant.
This is a fun and tasty item, but arguably does not live up to the social media hype. More than anything, this is a novelty dessert offered so that people can say, “try the grey stuff, it’s delicious” and post photos with “clever” captions on Facebook and Instagram. Nevertheless, it’s worth giving a try to form your own conclusions–some Walt Disney World fans absolutely love it.
Another item that people seem to go nuts over at Walt Disney World is present on the menu: the cinnamon roll. I’ve never understood the appeal of this thing, and I doubt I ever will.
Our ‘pro tip’ here would be to order this first thing before noon. We’ve had awful luck ordering this as a late night snack, with cold cinnamon rolls and hardened icing that seem like they’ve been sitting around all day (and probably have!). Our success in the morning hours has been much better. It’s a great mid-morning option after rope dropping Fantasyland attractions.
Next up, LeFou’s Brew. This was basically introduced as Walt Disney World’s answer to Butterbeer in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando.
Let’s be honest: LeFou’s Brew is no Butterbeer. That Harry Potter drink is ridiculously good in all forms (frozen, normal, hot) and has no equals. However, LeFou’s Brew is still pretty good. A bit overly sweet, but delicious nonetheless. You might consider splitting it with someone else. Above is a stock photo of the souvenir steins–we always just buy it in the regular cups (pictured in the background of other photos of this review).
Finally, the Pork Shank has been removed from the menu at Gaston’s Tavern. However, we’re keeping it in this review to ‘raise awareness’ for its disappearance. This used to be one of the best meals at Magic Kingdom–way better than the Jumbo Turkey Leg.
I think I speak for everyone when I say BRING BACK THE ROASTED PORK SHANK. Seriously, just give us that fatty, addictively good and gluttonous treat. It’s been a tough year. We deserve it.
Cinnamon roll notwithstanding, my only real complaint about Gaston’s is the perplexing menu. This is Gaston’s Tavern. The place should be a tribute to carnivores. Instead, my people get nothing–not even a pork shank anymore! I’m not sure whether this is because of the size of the restaurant or what, but I’d love to see Disney give the whole “healthy eating” fad a rest for just one restaurant and go nuts with meats and completely unhealthy options.
If you health nuts want hummus, apple slices, vegetable cups, and fruit cups, you can go to one of the other dozen plus restaurants in the Magic Kingdom that have these same items. Let the rest of us have our options like Figaro Fries, Beaver Tails, and other long-lost unhealthy options. I know this is a pipe dream, but I think Gaston would approve.
Overall, Gaston’s Tavern is not to be missed, and is a fun “snack shack” at Walt Disney World. At least, from an atmospheric perspective. Gaston’s absolutely nails that, with wonderful intimacy and the perfect thematic vibe. When comparing the New Fantasyland offerings, I think Be Our Guest Restaurant is the better overall experience, but for what it is, Gaston’s Tavern is a must-see.
However, that’s exclusively from a thematic perspective. When it comes to the menu, Gaston’s Tavern fails to deliver. Consider stopping here during a mid-morning break to grab a cinnamon roll or cupcake and maybe a cup of LeFou’s Brew. Otherwise, you can simply stroll through the tavern to check out the details without stopping for a snack. Gaston’s Tavern should be a great place to eat, drink, and be merry…but it really only delivers in part on that promise.
Have any favorite menu item at Gaston’s Tavern? Disappointed that the pork shank has been removed? Do you agree or disagree with our review of Gaston’s Tavern? 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!