Gaston’s Tavern Review
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.
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
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!
We love the LeFou’s Brew. Get one everyone trip.
We’ve tried the cinnamon roll & pastries twice, the 2nd time hope for a better one, but still dry and cold. Oh well, plenty of other food at MK.
Well we stumbled in around 10pm, we were hot and starving so thankful for seats. We had a very unpleasant cashier. The pork shank was ok but so weird to have not any other option. Granted, the building was nicely decorated but didn’t make up for the personnel.
The cinnamon rolls are like eating sponges with a hint of cinnamon. There was hardly any icing on it at all and it just tasted old. I do not get the appeal either.
what about the prices?, its my first time in Disney and i am a Little bit afraid about spending a lot of money only in meals, some other advices?
Check AllEars, http://allears.net/dining/newmenusystem.htm, for menus with pricing. They have a fairly extensive list.
I have been researching all the additions, as I haven’t been to WDW since ’09 and there is so much more to experience now! I used to live in Orlando and was once a cast member so I used to be pretty knowledgeable. LOL. I am bringing my boyfriend in October, along with my cousin and her husband. My bf hasn’t been there since he was a kid!
Anyway, 1. I LOVE your blog, definitely my favorite for great information, photographs, and a dose of humor! 2. I read similar complaints about Flame Tree BBQ. A few posters (not on this blog!) mentioned not being able to eat there because one person was a vegetarian and the rest of their (large)party were carnivores. Now I am all for variety, diversity, and convenience but if I’m not mistaken FTBBQ is quick service and has open seating outside (beautiful views I might add. Could you not just order at another QS option and meet back up with your party? That may be a tad inconvenient, but why deprive the rest of your party the opportunity to eat there? This sounds as if it could be true to Gaston’s Tavern as well. Disney could stay true to the theme of Gaston’s nature and Prince Eric’s Village Market could be your non meat eaters paradise. Or at the very least have a few more “meatier” options. It’s WDW for heaven’s sake! There is something everyone but it doesn’t mean every restaurant should follow the same menu. Variety is key. I say stick to the appropriate theme. Bring on the meat! Can’t wait to visit my second home and see all the new fun things Disney has been doing in my absence 🙂
Tom is this now known as the Liberty Tree Tavern? Or is that something else entirely? Taking my 2 and 5 yr old boys down the first week of May, and Trying to plan our meals – tough when there is not much for reservations available for some of these!
Liberty Tree Tavern is a different place entirely. It’s table service in Liberty Square. Gaston’s Tavern wouldn’t have reservations because it’s counter service (fast food). Both are good restaurants!
Had the famous cinnamon roll, and was not disappointed. It was warm gooey and wonderful. Just the right thing on a cold rainy day. We shared our table with strangers that became our “lunch” friends. That brightened our day.
Don, thanks for your feedback on these reviews. Great to hear another perspective! 🙂
My son is 23, autistic and loves gaston tavern. It’s hard to drag him away. He can put away 2 of the brews (and probably more if I didn’t want to sleep that night). He loves the pork too.He even got to arm wrestle Gaston himself once, for Belles affection.
That’s awesome about him getting to arm wrestle Gaston!
It will probably be a cold day in hell before I order a pork shank myself but yes, Disney totally needs to get some more good solid dishes ‘bad’ dishes to back that big hunk o’ meat n gristle (the pork shank, not Gaston himself I mean) up. The grab n go place (Eric’s market) is ideal for hummus, veggies, and fruit cups so lets have some variety / something unique. Ahhh if only Gaston’s became the place where all formerly extinct things like beaver tails and figaro fries went like you suggested. =)
Oh, we popped into Gastons during late night EMH last year and the cinnamon roll was definitely warm so it sounds like you caught a crabby CM there.
For so many years, Disney was all about unhealthy options, but in recent years it has gone so far the other direction (towards more healthy options) that it seems like some of the terrible-for-you staples are being ignored.
I don’t expect everyone to eat a big hunk of fatty meat or some dessert with 200% of my daily saturated fat, but if that’s what I want to do, that should be my prerogative.
Gaston’s Tavern is definitely awesome! I had Lefou’s brew in Gaston’s stein (which I now use for alcohol!) and it was seriously addicting. I thought about trying the pork shank but since I’m not big on pork, I didn’t. Although, I agree with you and several others here about the lack of meat items here. I’m like, “Come on Disney! You gotta appeal to the carnivores too.” Without carnivores, Disney would not be here.
So, is Gaston’s participating in the quick service dining plan? I didn’t see it listed in the 2013 brochure so I am a little confused. Thanks!
I just got back from WDW and agree that Gaston’s Tavern was an excellent choice in food and experience. However ( there’s always an however), EVERYWHERE in WDW,a Quick Service Meal under the Disney Dining Plan includes an entree, desert and a drink. I ordered the Pork Shank, Chocolate Croissant and a coke and was told that the desert was not included with the quick service meal. The pork shank was only $9.49 and the Croissant was only $2.99. In other places i got a $12.49 entree AND a $4.99 Desert( the St. Patty’s day cupcake) so i did feel a bit cheated.
Really? That doesn’t seem right. I wonder if the Cast Member screwed up, or if that’s actual policy. If that’s actual policy, it’s poor policy.
Yea, I’m assuming the Cast Member got it wrong, because in Be Our Guest at lunch , its a quick service meal and the computer system directs you to chose an Entree, Desert and drink, but i wasn’t in the mood to make a big deal about it.After all it IS the Happiest Place on Earth. Just wondering if any body else had the same experience.
An all meat, or mostly meat, menu would not be unhealthy; just ask our hunter-gatherer ancestors, who subsisted on flesh as their main source of sustenance for 200,000 years, without a doubt the most successful of all periods of our history in an evolutionary sense. A big, fatty pork shank always hits the spot, and history bears that out. As for vegetarians, I rarely acknowledge that they exist (which isn’t easy, since they are an aggressive, scolding, whining, self-important, noisy lot of neo-Puritans).
It’s nice to see you back! Also nice to see you make your return with, dare I say, the greatest comment this blog has ever seen. Thanks for starting my morning out with a good laugh!
I’m sorry you feel that way. Honestly I think it’s just a small percentage of vegetarians (and maybe a higher percentage of vegans) who give the rest of us non-meat eaters a bad name.
Anyway, you probably won’t even read this, but I know lots of people feel the way you do and it’s a shame, because I bet the average vegetarian is just a regular person who loves Disney as much as the next guy or gal.
Vegetarian is an old Indian term for bad hunter
This is the best reply I’ve ever seen anywhere!! Love it
And I agree Tom, I would love to see a restaurant of unhealty options!
Some people are vegetarian for their health and need something on the menu that they can eat so they can share a meal with their meat eating friends and family who they are not judging. If they want to let their friends eat like you and be able to go with them then both dining options need to be in the same place.
People that don’t like LeFou’s Brew definitely “aren’t awesome”! Disney hit a homerun with that one!
I agree with the review 110%, Tom. I could spend HOURS sitting in the Tavern, tipping back Brews while talking, laughing and singing with friends.
In regards to the pork shank. It’s fatty and messy, but that’s exactly in line with what I’d expect for it. Heads and tails better than the old turkey legs. The shanks are a larger portion and cheaper. I was amazed to see how expensive the turkey legs have gotten on my trip last November.
What I REALLY love about Gaston’s, which wasn’t touched upon in this review, is how the Imagineers incorporated elements from the Broadway show (and not the movie) into Gaston’s. Several of the instrumental songs in the background loop are songs original to the Broadway version. Also, the large line of metal, silver mugs tacked to the framing above the order counter have got to be a nod to the memorable mug-clanking sequence. It’s awesome that they decided to include things like those.
I also like the lone, errant dart that is stuck in the door frame that’s at your back when you walk into the “darts room”. Most people didn’t seem to be noticing that one when I was there.
It wasn’t touched upon in this review because I’ve never seen the Broadway show and had NO CLUE that Gaston’s Tavern drew so much inspiration from it. That’s truly awesome, and I’m really glad you shared it!
You learn something new everyday!
for me the pork shank was “fat dripping off your chin” delicious!!! So so so much better than the turkey leg. The pork shank is my new favorite Magic Kingdom meat on a stick!
and you’re right about Lefou’s Brew, it’s sweet and addicting!
“fat dripping off your chin” delicious <- hilarious!
Yay! This was my favorite part of New Fantasyland…I went here all 3 days of my most recent 3 days trip. Spot on!
I assume you mean sporadically…right? Spending 3 ENTIRE days in Gaston’s might be a bit of overkill! 😉
I had a LaFou’s brew with a carton of popcorn from the stand around the corner from Gaston’s and it was the perfect combo of salty and sweet!
That sounds pretty good…and I’m not even that much of a popcorn fan!
we had the cinnamon roll in the morning – they were soft and warm…so sorry you had a bad one… they really great when you have it the right way. i remember when gastons taverns menu was revealed and there were many people in a uproar about the pork, i think that might be why they didnt go crazy on the menu. Great review for Gastons Tavern, we can not wait to get back there again!!
There was an uproar about the pork? Really?! What were people saying?
I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised…no matter what Disney does, some people will complain!
Exactly – when it was announced that they were going to serve pork – the boards went crazy about how people who did not like meat did not have anywhere to eat and just how it was a bad choice, and they should have a …get this… a vegatarian item.
People never cease to amaze me.
Side not: when I first read your comment, I thought the last two words were “vegetarian ham.” I mulled that over in my mind for a few seconds before realizing what it actually said. Vegetarian ham would be quite the feat!
You need to get the cinnamon roll at the Main Street Bakery, they are always warm and gooy. Have to get some every time we go.
We’ve had the cinnamon roll from the Main Street Bakery a couple of times, and it wasn’t good either time.
Granted, we went in the afternoon, but I still doubt that we’ll be trying it again anytime soon.