*DIS Contributors review meals, resort stays, and entertainment that they have paid for during their own vacations. They only utilize discounts and offers if they are available to the general public, such as annual passholder discounts, Tables in Wonderland, or DVC membership discounts. They receive no additional compensation for dining experiences or events, so that they may give their honest opinions about price and value.
This is a review of six different character meals done over an eight night, nine day vacation at Walt Disney World during August 2019. For the full seven days we were there, our party of six, including myself, my wife, our six and one year old daughters, and our four year old son, along with my mother, braved a collection of buffets to see as many characters as we could. These reviews were done with the Disney Dining Plan, and the only out of pocket expenses were the tips.
The scores given in these reviews will be in context of each other, and not comparing them to other restaurants on property. The scores are out of 10, and anything less than a 5 will signal that there was a negative experience.
So, why so many character meals? First, it's a fantastic way to maximize the value of the Disney Dining Plan. Second, it gets you and your family out of the heat and into some air conditioning. Third, after seeing all the different characters at the meals, you don't need to wait in line to see them in the parks. When you're shepherding around three small kids, these meals are great at keeping them occupied at the table while allowing you to relax for a bit before getting back to touring the park.
Cinderella's Royal Table
Location: Magic Kingdom
Signature Dining (2 table service credits)
Characters: Ariel, Snow White, Aurora, Cinderella, and Jasmine
Cost: $75.00 per adult, $55.00 per child
Total Cost: $325.00 | Disney Dining Plan Cost per day: $282.43
The Location and Theming
This signature dining experience is located inside Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom. As far as location goes, you cannot beat eating in the iconic castle at the center of the park. The entrance to the restaurant is at the back side of the castle in Fantasyland near Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. The restaurant itself is located above the entrance with a view of the roofs of Fantasyland and Prince Charming Regal Carrousel.
Downstairs, once your party has been called to enter, you will step into a royal welcoming hall. You will wait here until your table is ready. You will get to meet Cinderella before you head upstairs to your table.
Upstairs, you'll find a royal themed dining room that is tiered and circular in shape. There are a few steps that separate the two tiers that give ample room for waiters and princesses to move around. The restaurant is accessible by elevator or stairs. You can look out into Fantasyland through beautiful stained glass windows.
Score: 10 / 10
When it comes to the menu, you'll find a collection of appetizers and entrees that will provide something to eat for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. My wife was pleased with her choice of salad and Protein Bowl with the vegetarian option.
The server offered her suggestion: the Seared Scallops and Tenderloin of Beef. The Tenderloin is described as a "Grilled Beef Tenderloin, Celery Root Mash, Seasonal Vegetables, and Sauce Bordelaise." I ordered mine medium rare and it came out cooked as requested. The meat was tender and had great flavor, especially with the bordelaise sauce. The scallops were also delicious. They were paired with a parmesan mousse, and I found myself wishing that I had more of it for the rest of my meal.
I also shared the charcuterie with my mother. The full complement was on par with was was offered on the appetizer buffet at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. It was good, and what you would expect of a meat plate.
Along with the appetizer and entree you are offered a choice of deserts. I have a personal love for peanut butter, and the Peanut Butter Cake described as "Peanut Sponge Cake, Salted Caramel, Milk Chocolate Cream, Candied Peanuts, and Banana Sorbet" hit the spot. The Banana Sorbet was the thing that really pulled the dish together.
For the kids, you're offered a wider selection than your normal mac and cheese and chicken nuggets, with a few selections of Turkey Pot Pie and Beef Tenderloin however, our kids still stuck with mac and cheese. I was hoping for a taste of the pot pie.
Beer and wine are offered as well.
Score: 9 / 10
As with all of the character dining on property, the cast members do a wonderful job interacting with the guests. The princesses at Cinderella's Royal Table spend a lot of time at each table, probably more so than any other restaurant. The dining room is small, so the kids can watch the princess flit across the room visiting the other tables. The children are given wands and swords to play with, along with wishing stars. Throughout the meal, you may be called to hold up your star and make a wish.
Prior to being seated for dinner, you will have the opportunity to meet Cinderella for pictures in the downstairs hall. This is sure to give you a great photo to frame and hang on your wall.
Score 9 / 10
Since this is a signature dining restaurant, you can expect top notch service at Cinderella's Royal Table. Our head waiter, along with the support of the rest of the team filling drinks, clearing plates, and helping kids with dropped wands helped to illustrate this level of service. This is a full service meal, not a buffet, so the wait staff is fully attentive.
At no point during the meal did I feel rushed to leave. Service was welcoming and understanding of my party of six, which included three small children. They even offered special modifications from the kitchen to make the dessert extra special.
Score 9 / 10
Value for Your Money
So far, we've given this restaurant high marks as compared to other character meals. However, when it comes to value for your money, I have to score this restaurant pretty low in comparison. As a signature dining experience, you'll need two dining credits to pay for the meal. When compared to other character meals, especially Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, you're losing out on pure dollar value. What you're paying for here is a full service, three course meal inside Cinderella Castle, heavy emphasis on that last part.
While everything was fantastic and I don't regret visiting Cinderella's Royal Table, I find that I may have had a better experience using my table service credits with a breakfast at Chef Mickey's and a dinner at The Crystal Palace, or any other restaurant in the Magic Kingdom. Other guests may put a premium on the location and theming and happily pay the extra money or dining plan credit for the experience, and I wouldn't begrudge them. For me and my family, I think the value isn't there, especially if you've eaten at Cinderella's Royal Table before.
If you're paying out of pocket, the hefty price tag is something that may keep you away. There are so many other restaurants or experiences that your money could go toward. Those dollars should be able to fund all of your Mickey Bars for the whole vacation and then some.
Score 6 / 10
My overall experience with Cinderella's Royal Table is much like my first in 2015. Eating inside the castle is a unique experience that really creates wonderful memories. You can always point to a picture of the castle and say "I ate there!" The characters, the production, and the theming are top notch and, barring the cost, the experience is probably one of the best on property.
Due to the cost of money or Disney Dining Plan credits, I wouldn't chose to eat here every trip. However, if you've never been and are able to get a reservation, I can't suggest Cinderella's Royal Table enough.
One suggestion: if you're planning to go to Cinderella's Royal Table, make sure you snag a reservation at your 180 day mark. Otherwise, depending on the size of your party, you'll be finding yourself eating closer to 8pm, if there are any reservations available at all. This is the hardest ticket to book at the Magic Kingdom.
10 / 10 The Location and Theming
9 / 10 The Food
9 / 10 The Characters
9 / 10 Service
6 / 10 Value for Your Money
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