Yes, you too can spend a criminal amount of money to eat inside of the castle at Magic Kingdom. While your personal mileage may vary, expect to be extremely disappointed overall.
Disney spared no expense in terms of the details in Cinderella’s Royal Table. The entrance hall alone was spectacular.
Then the dining area was incredibly decorated as well.
I wanted to go through the areas slowly and get pictures for my daughter’s cosplay page (as she was perfectly dressed as Cinderella), but it was so busy there was nothing but a rush from cast members to keep moving along.
Alas, even though the details were magnificent, Disney skimped a LOT on everything else. Considering that I had to pre-pay $204 (for our party of four) six months in advance, they shouldn’t have many excuses to not be a top experience in Disney World. After all, if your guests have to pay in full upfront, it’s not like you’re hurting for revenue to keep the wheels greased at a place like this. By the by, if you’re on the dining plan, this meal eats up two of your sit-down dining credits.
To try to go through the rest of the venue in order, first, you check in for your reservation (this restaurant is reservation only 99% of the time, and it’s booked up to six months in advance).
Then, you get to pose with Cinderella herself.
After that, you guide yourself upstairs and are seated at a pre-determined spot, and you get a menu. Since you pre-pay for this meal, you can pick whatever you want as an entree and dessert, with a pre-selected appetizer. You drink is also included in the meal.
Now, our server wasn’t mean, she wasn’t awful at her job, but she came off as very grumpy throughout our time at her table. This was during Spring Break, so maybe she was overloaded and exhausted, but she definitely had an attitude that we needed to hurry up and get out so that they could flip the table for another party. Considering that her tip was included in my pre-payment of the meal (and it was something to the tune of $30-40 without me being able to alter or have input on that amount!) I felt like she had a really, really unacceptable attitude.
Part of the children’s meal included a plastic Wishing Star and either a Wand (for girls) or a Sword (for boys).
Our server smacked them on the table while walking through to get elsewhere. She gruffly said “these are gifts from Cinderella” and kept marching on without ever stopping. Again, maybe she was overloaded, but it was an abrasive action that I didn’t appreciate.
The appetizer came out quicker than expected. I don’t know how they managed to make cheese and crackers taste terrible, but they did it. They also had an over-seasoned salad with some type of pear (?) in it. The crackers, I believe, were the same gluten free crackers from the Perfectly Princess Tea Party, and they were still like eating plastic. I know that gluten free is a growing diet trend, but maybe you should ask your guest if they want that trend forced upon them. There is nothing about the appetizer that was appetizing in my opinion.
We had been sitting for maybe five minutes at this point, and the waitress had pressed us to order four times already. I was having trouble deciding on an entree, and trying to help my kids decide on their own, but I felt like I wasn’t moving to the server’s pace, and that she was getting put out over it. Maybe I’m wrong, but for $204 for a family of four to eat somewhere, I should get to relax, think about exactly what I want, and enjoy my time in the facility too!
Four additional princesses do come to the table at this restaurant, and, just due to our luck of timing, they showed up before our food. Let me touch on them and then I’ll get back to the food.
Back to the food, I settled on the ribs, my husband went after the pork, and we decided we would split those two entrees so that we could try both. I am not joking at all when I tell you that the entree was two bites. The photos below are not of super-sized plates.
The pork was two small coins of meat on a bed of rice, just a little larger than two hot dog slices,
and the ribs were two small cubes of meat on mashed potatoes.
I couldn’t believe these miniscule portion sizes! I wish I had thought to put a quarter on the plate for an accurate comparison. Disappointed didn’t even begin to cover it. For half the price of this meal I could have gone to one of a half-dozen other character meals that included a full buffet!
I will admit, the ribs were absolutely delicious, though. I don’t like mashed potatoes, but these were actually very scrumptious. The pork, on the other hand, was bland and dry, and that flavor extended to the rice as well. Overall, had the waitress not been so grumpy, I think we would have asked for a refill on our food (sort of as a joke, sort of hoping that a second helping was possible). So, 0 for 2 on the meal courses.
On the children’s side of things they were given grapes and cheese cubes as an entree.
My daughter had the chicken leg with rice. She wouldn’t touch her greens, but for the price of the meal, they became an “offering” to my husband.
My son had, I believe, a beef tip kids meal and said that he enjoyed it.
Then the desserts arrived seconds after our entrees were finished (adding all the more to the super-rushed atmosphere).
My husband and I both had The Clock Strikes Twelve. It was beautifully crafted and delicious. I believe it was vanilla ice cream in a chocolate shell with a white chocolate ring on the top and a graham cracker hand. A chocolate sauce making roman numeral numbers was a gorgeous touch, and a small pool of custard was on the side. My only complaint is that the dessert was bigger than the entire entree portion size.
My daughter, however, got the raw end of the deal. She picked the yogurt with blueberries. It sounded great, but nowhere did they disclose that it was GREEK yogurt. If you don’t know the difference, it’s a harsh taste and not at all like the typical yogurt you’d find in the US (which is essentially flabby ice cream). If you aren’t used to the stuff, it can take a while to get used to, and they should have warned her as it was a dessert option on the kids menu.
Side note, in front of the yogurt is the plastic Wishing Star that they give the kids. I apparently didn’t get a better photo of them.
Most character meals have a get-up-and-do-stuff moment. Some places have a parade for the little ones, others have a mini-dance party, it just depends on the venue. At Cinderella’s Royal Table, the barely audible loud speaker starts saying something about making a wish with your star and wand. As people quiet down you can hear better, but it’s still not very loud. On the magic cue, some lights flicker towards the ceiling, then all the princesses walk away.
My kids always participate in these moments, but the fact that the staff didn’t even call attention to it, and that you could barely hear it happening, well, that was just another disappointment of this venue. I was kind of irritated that, for so much more money, the little girls couldn’t even walk around with the princesses on parade or do a dance or song or SOMETHING!
Now, if you noticed earlier, I only described 3 princesses coming to the table. That’s because we got skipped by Jasmine. None of the characters had handlers, which was odd enough, but there were also no staff members coming around and checking that each character had visited us, something that has always happened at every other character meal we’ve had. In fact, I think this was our first time at a Disney sit-down restaurant that a manager didn’t pop by the table to check in.
So, my husband flagged down our waitress as we saw all the princesses leaving. He asked if they were coming back out and the server gets and attitude and says, “what, are you going to tell me that they didn’t stop by your table?” Really? This is why I NEVER tip in advance. If you have a guaranteed $30 in your pocket, you can be a complete jerk and you still get a huge tip for a bad job!
My husband said that it was just Jasmine that missed us. The waitress sighed and started walking away. She also stopped by a neighboring table and said “you know, you already paid in advance, so you can leave any time.” In a nice tone, that wouldn’t be anything off putting to say, but it was not a friendly tone.
Jasmine reappeared and chatted my daughter up for a few minutes before disappearing to the back again. Then we were made to feel like we needed to rush out as fast as possible, because our desserts had been finished for a whole five minutes.
Also, when I booked the restaurant in October of 2014, I was required to pay for the entire meal upfront. I already mentioned that, but part of the “package” I paid for as a diner included a free set of photos with Cinderella. I felt so rushed and irritated while at Cinderella’s Royal Table that I didn’t realize until I returned home that the waitress never brought those photos to us, and there was no desk or location to get them from in the castle.
I emailed Disney’s customer service and they thanked for my interest in their complimentary photos, but said that they discontinued giving them out in January. Wait wait wait – what?! One of the main draws of choosing this restaurant over another character meal was the free photo set, because we didn’t buy Memory Maker, and the photos cost around $40 a piece after taxes. That was basically the freebie that almost balanced out the insane amount of money they charged us to eat there.
I responded asking for a manger, because it wasn’t right to charge me six months in advance, then change what I signed up for without notifying me. Disney World makes hundreds of announcements a month, it’s unrealistic for me to go through them all hoping that one applies to my vacation – especially for something I pre-paid to get! Since all the money I paid didn’t go to food, couldn’t it have gone to at least a courtesy email about changes to my package and given me an opportunity to cancel my reservation? Ultimately, this conversation went nowhere and, since this was our last Disney World visit, it certainly left me with a bad impression.
My overall thoughts on Cinderella’s Royal Table:
- The portion sizes were pathetically small to where the kids’ meals had more food than the adults.
- The prices were double every other sit down restaurant in the park.
- The staff was not very nice and made us feel rushed every minute we were there.
- It’s nice to have the princesses come to you, but they’ll only spend 1-2 minute per table, so any experience is minimal.
- Considering the ungodly expense, the princess line up should be better. I understand that Cinderella needs to be at Cinderella’s Royal Table, but I personally feel that the rest of the characters should be updated to the more difficult-to-meet princesses that have longer wait times (make skipping those big lines more worthwhile!). Elsa, Anna, Merida (who is only available at limited times, weather permitting), and Rapunzel make the most sense to have in the restaurant, as their lines are always long, they are newer (and thus more relevant/recognizable for the children meeting them), and then it keeps the characters between here and Akershus completely different (meaning I can justify going to both places and spending more money!).
- I felt very burnt over the “free” photo set getting ripped out of our hands without advance warning.
Truly, I was not over-the-moon for Akershus (the princess character meal in EPCOT’s Norway), but it was roughly half the price of Cinderella’s Royal Table, the entrees were twice the size, and it included a salad bar. The princess line up is also very similar, except you get to meet Belle instead of Jasmine. And, at least during our visit, the staff at Akershus was very good. Overall, if you’re making a choice for a princess meal, Akershus is a much better deal, even though the adult entrees are a little strange (being Norwegian-themed food an all). Alternatively, I would also recommend 1900 Park Fare for dinner as it has really good food, and features the Cinderella cast (Cinderella, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, Drizella, and Prince Charming). We did their breakfast buffet and left very impressed and happy with everything food-wise, although the morning characters are English themed.