Always one to love a plan, I’m first when it comes to reservations for dining and FastPasses. So when my partner wanted to have dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table on the first night of our vacation, I was hot on to get us in there. I was delighted to get a reservation for 8:15 that night, then remembered that it would mean we’d miss Happily Ever After at 9 pm! However, on second thought, it could be a great experience to be in the castle during the fireworks as they go off around us.
Firstly, if you’ve never dined at “Cindy’s” before, prepare yourself for disappointment. The big selling point to me was being inside Cinderella Castle, which is a Disney life goal that every fan needs to tick. Also, if you want to meet the princesses, they’re all here! You get to meet Cinderella for a photo opportunity before ascending the spiral staircase and being taken to your table. Then Snow White, Jasmine, Ariel and Aurora mingle as you eat, an amazing opportunity if you have your own little princesses who are desperate to meet them and get those autographs and pictures without having to wait in line. However, the room itself is quite small and loud, and there’s not much to see through the windows at night.
The menu is a fixed price three course offering, and the food is nothing more than average. To start I had an OK potato soup, followed by an overly salty beef salad (incidentally, the following day I had an amazing steak salad at Satu’li Canteen for a fraction of the price), then for dessert a very Instagram-able “Clock Strikes Twelve” mousse. Service seemed rather rushed, and was included in the price (we used/wasted two credits each in the Dining Plan).
So on to the fireworks. Maybe this would make the experience something special? It didn’t. The lights dimmed slightly (after about 3 minutes into “Happily Ever After”) and the music was played into the room, but not loud enough. We had a table in the middle of the room so we saw very little of the fireworks themselves; I think having a window table may be slightly better. However, with so many castle projections and pyrotechnics, you really are limited in what you are going to see. Also, the princesses don’t stay around during the fireworks, so this is something to consider and may actually limit your character interaction time. After the first few moments of the fireworks, most people carried on eating and seemed to be uninterested in what was going on outside.
My overall opinion is: DON’T MISS “Happily Ever After” for this. I’d go as far as saying don’t bother wasting your time eating here, unless you want to meet all the princesses and have the experience of being inside the castle. If you would like a different fireworks dining experience, I would suggest California Grill at Contemporary Resort, where both the food and views are incredible. Alternatively, get a reservation over at ‘Ohana, then watch the fireworks from the beach at The Polynesian after dinner, where they also pipe in the music. (I recently saw Holiday Wishes from here, and the view was epic!)