Cinderella’s Royal Table & More Disney World Restaurants Returning
Walt Disney World has just announced the reopening of a few fan-favorite restaurants at both Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in September and October 2020. In this post, we’ll offer dates and details, plus what else we can expect from WDW dining for the rest of 2020.
As you might recall, Walt Disney World released a List of Open & Closed In-Park Restaurants back in July, shortly before the theme parks reopened. Since then, not a whole lot has changed. EPCOT lost Tangierine Cafe but gained Teppan Edo, but that’s really about it. The bigger changes have occurred in the resorts and at Disney Springs, where more options have started coming back.
We love to eat at Walt Disney World, and the reduced restaurant lineup and scaled back menus are probably the biggest disappointment to us right now. It might sound silly, but it’s definitely noticeable while visiting. Finding fun snacks or a quick meal can be difficult, and we welcome the return of more dining options at Walt Disney World…
That’s why we were so excited when Walt Disney World announced Halloween Details & Dates at Magic Kingdom and beyond. Numerous fall snacks are coming to every single park at Walt Disney World–with over a dozen in Magic Kingdom alone, including our beloved Pumpkin Spiced Waffle Sundae and the Not So Poison Apple Cupcake.
Now, we have a few more favorites returning around the same time…
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there’s Halloween fun in store at Hollywood & Vine where Minnie’s Seasonal Dining is set to return on September 25, 2020. Then through the end of October, you can get in the spooky spirit during Minnie’s Halloween Dine.
This will be another modified character meal, with a “monster feast” served to your table family style rather than the normal buffet. And instead of normal character interactions (poses, autographs, etc.) it’ll be another moving ‘smile & wave’ cavalcade through the restaurant. Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse, and their friends are still set to appear for a “boo-tastic time” filled with Halloween décor, music, scary good food, and more.
Regular readers probably already know that we’re huge fans of Minnie’s Seasonal Dines. We raved about Minnie’s Halloween Dine in our review of that, and did likewise with our Minnie’s Holiday Dine Review. Only a couple weeks before the closure, we did Minnie’s Springtime Dine for the first time and absolutely loved it. The following day, Sarah marked June 1 on the calendar and booked an ADR for Minnie’s Summertime Dine (obviously, that did not happen).
We’ll be sitting out Minnie’s Halloween Dine and Holiday Dine this year, but it’s still very good to see them returning. Hopefully by the time Minnie’s Silver Screen Dine returns in 2021, we’ll be ready to do indoor restaurants again!
Continuing at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, ABC Commissary reopens for walk-in quick service lunch beginning October 8, 2020. This suggests that the shockingly good breakfast and fast casual dinner service won’t be available, which makes sense given the park’s operating hours. We forgot to review both meals–a seemingly wise move in hindsight, but simply an oversight in actuality.
Perhaps we’re reading too much into Walt Disney World’s announcement, but we’re hopeful that “reopens for walk-in quick service” means ABC Commissary won’t be Mobile Order-only. We strongly prefer using My Disney Experience to order, but not every Walt Disney World guest is as tech-savvy. Additionally, it feels a bit guest-unfriendly to have so many restaurants on lockdown.
Over at Magic Kingdom, two more restaurants are also returning. Beginning September 24, guests can enjoy dining in the enchanted, fairytale setting of Cinderella’s Royal Table in Fantasyland. The park’s flagship and most iconic dining experience returns offering a “regal banquet with unforgettable main courses” ranging from roasted chicken breast and tenderloin of beef to chef’s fish of the day.
However, this will not be a modified character meal. Per Walt Disney World, the “princesses will be taking a break from their royal duties greeting guests.” Nevertheless, there will be plenty of delicious fare and fun to be enjoyed in this beautiful, one-of-a-kind restaurant.
Back when the modified operation and health safety details were first announced, it was immediately clear that Cinderella’s Royal Table would not be able to run as it had before. At that time, we suggested a temporary return to King Stefan’s Banquet Hall, the same-location predecessor to Cinderella’s Royal Table.
We still think this would be a great idea. Tap into the endless well of Walt Disney World fan nostalgia, maybe release some King Stefan’s Banquet Hall branded merchandise, and (critically) draw a clear distinction to guests between the normal Cinderella’s Royal Table experience and this.
It’ll be interesting to see how this ends up working. Walt Disney World must be cognizant of that fact that they can’t charge normal Cinderella’s Royal Table prices for this experience (right???). Then again, I’ve said the same about a lot of prices during the phased reopening and thus far have been proven wrong nearly every step of the way.
On the plus side, Walt Disney World did recognize this with pricing for breakfast at Chef Mickey’s, and reduced the price accordingly. We’d expect the same to be true with Cinderella’s Royal Table/King Stefan’s Banquet Hall; now is your rare chance to dine inside Cinderella Castle if you’re not into princess meals!
Reservations for both of the returning table service dining experiences will be available on DisneyWorld.com and in the My Disney Experience app beginning on September 11, 2020.
In the more immediate future, Gaston’s Tavern will return to Magic Kingdom on September 4, 2020–just in time for the busy Labor Day weekend at Walt Disney World. 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.
Ultimately, even if Walt Disney World makes the mistake of not bringing back the Pork Shank, this is good news all around. As business continues to pick up at counter and table service restaurants around the parks and resorts, hopefully this trend continues. We’d personally like to see a greater emphasis on outdoor dining, but thus far there’s no guest demand. Perhaps that’ll change once Florida’s weather starts to cool down and there’s more widespread awareness about ventilation and the comparative safety of eating outside.
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!
What do you think of this news of restaurants reopening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom? Excited for these options? Would you be more excited if the Pork Shank came back to Gaston’s Tavern? What if Cinderella’s Royal Table were temporarily restored to King Stefan’s Banquet Hall? Planning on going to Magic Kingdom or DHS in September or October? Think this will provide a nice shot in the arm for the parks? Does this have you optimistic for more dining to reopen at Walt Disney World? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
Tom – not sure where to pose this question, but is there a list or schedule of future restaurant openings? Specifically looking for the Mara, Boma, Jiko at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. I find it odd that none are open while the Jambo House DVC’s are open. We have DVC trip planned in November at Polynesian (where most restaurants are open) but considering switching to Jambo House. thanks
There is no such schedule. At this point, they’re opening restaurants based upon demand and projected attendance.
I wouldn’t expect anything else at Animal Kingdom Lodge to reopen this year.
Really need for Crystal Palace to open. Out of all our trips we have never missed breakfast there. They could do it family style like they have some of the other buffets.
I agree, we’ve always done dinner w/ Tigger. They can do that stop n wave thing like at the other character interactions along w/ family style eating. We’d make a dinner reservation right now, & go in Sept.
So excited to see Cinderella’s Royal Table open without the princesses! Have eaten there for almost 50 years. I love character meals and princesses, but remember when King Stefan’s Banquet Hall was a relaxing, quiet dinner and not loud, noosy, or chaotic. I’m with you, go retro and open as KSBH for the short-term. Bring back those long dresess for the waitresses, cold logo-shaped butter in little urns on ice, pewter plates, and chocolate-mint or strawberry crepes for dessert!
With fewer restaurants open, are guests allowed to leave their park of the day to grab a bite at a resort then go back to the park? We’ve always used park hopper so we’re not used to staying all day at one park. I can’t seem to find the answer on Disney’s website. Thanks!
Good question? I’ve been wondering that myself because we always get the park hopper. We go to one park in the morning & leave around lunch so we can get off our feet & enjoy some swim time, then go back to a different park around dinner. It’s already bad enough that we can’t park hop (Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom Park are half days for us but will now have to be a full day or not at all), but I have to have some down time after walking Magic Kingdom or Epcot all morning.
We rescheduled this month’s trip to May 2021 & I’m hoping things get straightened out a little but watching Florida’s numbers, I’m not too optimistic. So it’d be nice to know what Disney expects from us.
Yes, you can leave and go back to same park. We’ve done it last couple days. Escaped a hellatious storm Friday that flooded Tomorrowland.
What is the quick service dining like after reopening? I know you use mobile order and then where do you eat at? I’m surprised they’re not utilizing outside tables to eat at. Or maybe they are? I just wondered where you eat your food at when she pick it up 🙂 does anyone know?
I haven’t tried to get an ADR at the earliest possible time in awhile… so I’m guessing that phone lines/web access will be pretty jammed up on September 11 with people trying to get an ADR for Cindy’s, no? When do they open up – is it still 7am ET? We are likely going to MK for one day in October and we would love to dine there… we’ve never been.
As Tom said, don’t know if Disney will be lowering the cost of a meal at CRT, but know that this is one of the most over-rated & over-charged meals at Walt Disney World, and breakfast is the worst. If prices stay the same, you’re looking at paying around $50 for a breakfast of eggs & bacon.
Thanks for the info, Peg. Yes, we will definitely consider reviews on the new offering, and the price they roll out before we make our final decision. We have heard mixed reviews of the food. Hopefully they change things up with the move away from a character experience. We are on a trip with all adults, only going to MK one day, and we thought it might be fun to do a table service in the park that day. We’ve done Skipper Canteen and Be our Guest, so we thought we’d try Cinderella’s or Liberty Tree Tavern.
Happy to see Gaston’s Tavern is opening back up. With Hollywood & Vine opening now I am hopeful for the holiday dine there with the characters in their Christmas attire. Happy to see that Cinderella’s Royal Table will open back up but knew it would be without characters…I just want to see inside but only if they modify the price enough to justify it…since this meal was originally on our list.
I know for a fact that in July Liberty Tree Tavern was using the Diamond Horseshoe as extra seating since that is where they sat me.
That happened to a friend of mine, too
Linda, Did you use mobile order? After you receive your food, do you get to eat it outside at tables?
Me too. My hubby and arrive the 12th!! We were bothdissappointedabout the cinnamon roll. I cannot wait yo tell him tonight! It better be on the menu. Its there signature snack so I’d think they wouldn’t dare not serve it. Halloween treats and gaston —
despite the earlier closing the trip is lookin better each day!
Any idea if/when Spirit of Aloha will return?
I wouldn’t expect it before Summer 2021.
I am ELATED to see Gaston’s is returning! It really brings some of the magic back for my family as it’s a must do for us. We have a trip coming up shortly and it was a hit to think we’d miss it this time. I can’t wait to eat that hot and sticky concoction while sitting outside in the hot and sticky Florida air.
I would love to see Hollywood & Vine replace the spring seasonal dine with a Star Wars themed meal in celebration of May the 4th. I miss the old Star Wars weekends with Princess Minnie, Jedi Mickey, Darth Goofy and Stormtrooper Donald.
Highly unlikely to ever see it again. Lucasfilm division has made it very clear they don’t want the non-SW characters in Star Wars attire. Personally, we are all big SW fans in my family, and I don’t think it hurts the brand at all (or whatever the reason is). I think it’s stupid and a lost opportunity. Not full time but alternating limited runs like the other themed dines.
I’m also hoping they add more outdoor eating options. I’m planning to visit in November and will only be eating outdoors (or back in my hotel room).
I saw on Yelp that Cape May Cafe is set to reopen on November 1st (along with quite a few other restaurants). They don’t have Cinderella’s Royal Table with a Nov 1st open date, though, so I don’t know how accurate their information is, and I’m curious as to how they’ll do the seafood buffet since they can’t do buffets any longer.
Hollywood & Vine isn’t on the list of restaurants anymore on the Disney site. Do you have any idea what the “Monster Feast” will consist of? The food there is pretty bad, so if we can’t pick what we want, it’s not worth the high cost. We only paid the high cost for the characters & passes for Fantasmic.
I don’t think Yelp’s dates are grounded in reality. I don’t know their source, but I doubt there is one. Walt Disney World restaurant info is notorious for leaking out; if that date were credible, it’d be reported elsewhere.
No clue what the menu will look like. Hopefully a smaller selection of higher quality items (although I think the buffet spread wasn’t too shabby).
Thank you, Tom! I was wondering. I’m trying to plan a trip to Disney next year, but it’s really difficult with not knowing which restaurants will be open & what they might or might not be serving anymore. We go so often that we don’t spend all day in the parks anymore. We have a bucket list for resorts & one for food. I don’t want to go if the signature restaurants won’t be open. I like seafood the way you like MEAT
That’s good news and signs of more to come. During our trip last week it was a bit more difficult to find places to eat. Mobile ordering worked great and we used that quite a bit. Also had quite a few meals, mostly breakfasts, at the Contempo cafe at the Contemporary resort where we stayed and they did a nice job with social distancing by keeping tables separated and clean. We mostly felt the lack of variety of places to eat in the parks, but given the shorter hours (and that it was so hot) we generally headed to one of the resorts for dinners.
Is Minnie’s Seasonal Dining for lunch and dinner or all three meals of the day?
“Would you be more excited if the Pork Shank came back to Gaston’s Tavern?” Of course! Gston didn’t get by eating a fruit plate!
Its nice to see more things opening, and it they reduced the price of CRT it would make it an appealing meal. (That said, BoG dinner has no princesses and still has a pretty steep price.)
I’ve eaten at the castle a few times. Once at King Stefan’s was admittedly a long, long time ago. We also did the princess meal with our nieces and the food was subpar for the price. Desserts were excellent, but overall not worth it. Fantastic theming, but the food didn’t cut it.
Good news on Gaston’s. Missed the Shank, but like the rolls as long as you can get more icing. (No such thing as too much).
Wasn’t King Stephan Aurora’s father? Not related to Cinderella?
Correct, DebC. It was an odd choice for the restaurant’s name!
Thanks so much Tom! I’m glad I held on to our “rebooked” value resort from april. Even with our upgraded room at Kidani village there were some cons to continuing with the trip. But with some Halloween decor, another modified character meal, and low crowds mon-fri late September, I am beginning to believe this will be an amazing trip. I will be online 7am sept 11th to book CRT (hoping for lower price). Thanks for the advanced notice!
Was so hoping for Columbia Habour House would reopen. Disappointed it did not.
Columbia Harbor House is being used by Liberty Tree Tavern for extra socially distanced seating.
Unless they really changed things recently, I believe you’re thinking of Diamond Horseshoe.
Columbia Harbour House returning would be a big win in my view.
That’s interesting. We’ll be eating there this weekend!
That makes more sense Tom, now that I think about it. Mmm, LTT Pot Roast on Monday…hell yeah!
Now, about those cheeseburger egg rolls, have the carts been open lately?
Aaaaaand I really NEED the chocolate bacon!
I thought they had opened it to Cast Members for breaks throughout the day.
They are using Columbia Harbor House as a cast member break area as many attraction break rooms are too small for proper social distancing. I figure this will stay this way for the near future.