When it comes to prized dining reservations at The Magic Kingdom, none are more valued than Be Our Guest. The dinner slots in particular go quickly due to the striking décor and food that differs quite a bit from normal theme park fare. Plus, you can drink alcohol! We didn’t finalize plans for our latest Disney World trip until October, so grabbing a dinner ADR at Be Our Guest wasn’t possible. Luckily, there were still lunch times open for a Friday in January about 90 days in advance. It did require me to take a 1:55 p.m. spot, but not eating at the peak time was just fine. Even without the chance to have a beer in the Magic Kingdom, I was still thrilled to get the chance to eat inside such a widely acclaimed restaurant.
We arrived about 10 minutes before our ADR time and were immediately escorted inside to the front kiosk. There’s quite a chaotic feeling inside Be Our Guest once you cross the stunning bridge. We’d ordered our meal online in advance, so it just took a minute for us to grab our receipt and scout out a table. This freedom of movement was nice, but it also sent many visitors scurrying to grab a prized spot. We decided to sit in the West Wing and spotted a table but were quickly rebuffed by patrons who’d stepped away. One thing that’s noticeable is the tight pathways between tables. There’s plenty of room to sit, but it becomes something else when cast members are trying to transport large quantities of food.
Thankfully, we were able to snag another table in the West Wing after a brief wait. Despite the intricate décor, you can’t escape the “theme park restaurant” feeling of Be Our Guest. I can’t blame Disney too much for this atmosphere. There’s no real escape in a place like The Magic Kingdom. It just slightly lessens the magic of all the fun touches within the restaurant. It’s quite a cool destination, and I can definitely understand the hype about the setting. The dark lighting and smaller space do bring a more intimate feel to the West Wing. When you add in the Enchanted Rose and the Prince’s portrait to the mix, it’s a convincing atmosphere.
The Ordering Process
Your interest in the ability to order your lunch in advance online probably depends on how you approach a theme park visit. I was traveling with my wife and our two girls (6 and 2), so having our meal organized was a nice perk. On the other hand, some guests might prefer to avoid planning another part of their Disney World trip. It isn’t a huge deal to order your meal upon arrival, though I was relieved to skip that part of the process. The nice part about choosing in advance was having the chance to think through the options without much pressure. Honestly, the lunch options were fairly limited anyway.
The lunch menu at Be Our Guest includes seven entrees, along with two soups (French onion and potato leak). Given the lower prices for the soups of just over $5, those are more likely as sides. The entrée choices include two salads, three sandwiches plus a vegetable quiche and braised pork. There are also six meals for kids, and it’s a pretty good selection on that front even for picky eaters. Making our choices online was easy, and there were no issues locating our order at the restaurant. I’m not ready for Disney to go too far in this direction, but it wouldn’t shock me to see more examples of this online preparation down the road. Beyond the benefits to the guest, it also allows Disney to better plan what they’ll need in the kitchen for the day.
I like the way the menu at Be Our Guest differs from the typical fare, though not everything seemed like the right choice for the middle of a park day. I ordered the Braised Pork (Coq Au Vin Style), which was served with mashed potatoes and green beans. If you’re looking to ensure you have enough green veggies in your daily intake, this entrée is perfect. I could barely make out the other food beneath the mountain of green beans. Did Disney make a great deal with a distributor? Green beans were everywhere on this trip! The quality was solid, and it was a lot of food for $15. It tasted fresh and was the different meal I wanted. It was a good entrée improved by excellent sides, particularly the mashed potatoes. My wife ordered the Vegetable Quiche, which included a side salad. Her choice was okay, though probably not a signature dish. It also was brought down by the presence of too many green beans.
My daughters ordered the Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup and the Whole-Grain Macaroni. There was the option to substitute fries for the vegetables, which is sometimes necessary for pickier eaters like ours. I sampled the soup and found it to be acceptable though not particularly unique. Both were a step up from the standard macaroni and cheese, and I appreciated having some different options. The Whole-Grain Macaroni was served with marinara sauce and definitely a step above normal Disney fare. The girls both enjoyed their meals, but the real draw for them was the décor in the West Wing. They also were definitely on board with the desserts.
One of the draws of Be Our Guest is the chance to try the grey stuff; it’s delicious! This dessert isn’t included as a separate option for lunch but is the topping for The Master’s Cupcake. We chose that chocolate sponge cupcake along with a Strawberry Cheese Cream Cupcake. Both were $4.59 and on par with the better cupcake places in our hometown. It’s hard to say what I expected the grey stuff to be, but it was quite tasty. The Master’s Cupcake was definitely the standout if you’re looking for the best choice. There are seven dessert options on the lunch menu, all for the same price.
The Reason to Visit
Be Our Guest offers a good meal and decent variety, which isn’t a strong suit of The Magic Kingdom. Our lunch was just shy of $60 including drinks and tip, which wasn’t outlandish. Even so, the food isn’t really the real draw with Be Our Guest. I’m glad that Disney isn’t just offering hot dogs and hamburgers, so they deserve credit for raising the bar. This is especially true because of the restaurant’s very attractive theming. It’s filled with small touches across three rooms that offer very different experiences. In the West Wing, trying to catch the moment when the Prince’s face morphs into the Beast is a fun game.
Arguably the most impressive design comes before you even get inside. The intricate work on the bridge and the landscaping nearby sets just the right mood. The forced perspective used on the tower creates a cool backdrop that makes the meal feel like a special event. The entrance bridge also provides excellent views of nearby attractions, particularly the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. The extra details throughout the large space make Be Our Guest worth a visit. It also offers breakfast and could be a fun way to start your theme park day. I’ll conclude this post with more photos that should give you a better idea of this location’s charms.