Walt Disney World Be Our Guest Restaurant Dinner Review

Written by Kandace Sparkles. Posted in Features, Mice Munchies

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Published on January 06, 2013 at 4:01 am with 19 Comments

We’ve had a few reviews of the new Be Our Guest restaurant located inside New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park. I’ve previously shared my initial thoughts of lunch at the restaurant during previews. Today, I’d like to give you my thoughts on Dinner at this popular new establishment.

Be Our Guest takes you inside Beast’s Castle from the 1991 film, Beauty and the Beast. Over the past year, the design of the restaurant changed somewhat as it morphed from sit-down to counter service to a mixture.  If you remember, before Tusker House was converted at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Donald’s Safari Breakfast used to be at Restaurant-O-saurus.  (Currently they only serve Quick Service lunch and dinner, as Tusker House serves Table Service for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day.)  Be Our Guest is not the first Disney restaurant to have some variation in their serving style throughout the day, but it is the largest to do so.

There’s no doubt, the setting is beautiful.

RESERVATIONS

For lunch, this restaurant features the newest Disney technology in a Quick Service Disney restaurant. (Check out my review of the lunch menu here.)  The same restaurant hosts dinner, but in a Table Service style.  Reservations quickly went as soon as booking began for the November 19th official opening.

ARRIVAL EXPERIENCE

During the previews, the arrival experience at the restaurant podium has posed some challenges.  I was told there were some extended waits to be seated, even for those with reservations, so I wanted to ensure I was there early enough.  (Apparently, diners have been spending more time enjoying the restaurant than anticipated.)  We went to check-in and were asked to return 10 minutes prior to our reservation time to actually check in; however, when booking they ask you to arrive 20 minutes early.  Thankfully, we were paged only 15 minutes after our reservation time.  We were quickly escorted across the bridge.  (You cannot access the bridge at night unless you have a reservation and have already been paged.  It is guarded by a wall of Cast Members.)  All of the Cast Members in Fantasyland continue to use “performance themeing” with the French village and Beast Castle.

 

DINING ROOMS

The dining rooms for dinner consist of The Ballroom and The West Wing.  (The Rose Gallery, not pictured, is only open for lunch.  Photos of The Rose Gallery can be found in my lunch review.)

The Ballroom can easily be quite crowded.  The tables are stationary (mainly due to the technology utilized for the Quick Service dining experience) and some have criticized it saying they are too close together.  Personally, I felt this more during my lunch meal but did not for dinner.  It is important to note that the stationary tables make it more difficult for large parties to be at one table.  Most likely, you will be at separate tables (as notated when you book).

The attention to detail is simply amazing.  It really feels that you have walked into the same castle from the film.  The “snow” you see falling through the windows is the exact same effects animation used in the original film.   The faces of the young angels you see flying above you in the ceiling have a special meaning.  They are either the young faces of Walt Disney Imagineers themselves or of their loved ones.

The West Wing may be a bit spooky for some younger guests.  I simply appreciate the attention to detail and little elements which make it enjoyable.  Every fifteen minutes or so you will hear a loud thunder crash followed by a flash of lightning.  The portrait of The Beast as a human in the the far left will change momentarily to The Beast as you know him from the movie.  At the same moment, a petal falls from the rose in the other corner of the room.


MENUS

Each red napkin is folded into the shape of a rose.

The menu features a number of French inspired items such as the Layered Ratatouille.

They also offer something new to Magic Kingdom – wine and beer.  This allows for a signature dining experience in the signature park of Walt Disney World Resort.  Don’t worry, it isn’t “signature” in Disney’s normal use of this word (ie. higher prices for entrées), but more in the style of service and the overall atmosphere.

SERVICE STANDARDS & THE BEAST’S VISIT

The service so far has been amazing.  The servers, food runners, and all Cast for the opening team were virtually hand-picked.  They got to be there for the ups and the downs of all of the previews, technology growing pains, and more.  Additionally, they get to make a decision.  Each Cast Member had three weeks to decide if in fact they wanted to stay or return to their home location per Disney’s union contract.  Since Be Our Guest started to staff earlier for training and previews, each Cast Member’s three weeks didn’t begin until they officially opened in late November to serve paying guests.

Sadly, a large percentage of tipped Cast Members decided they didn’t like their new home.  Perhaps it was due to the increased amount of  travel time to get in and out of Magic Kingdom, they weren’t making enough money in tips, or didn’t like moving to nights, etc. and have since returned to their original locations.  This is great for the Cast Members (both tipped and non-tipped) to allow them to be in a location where they want to work each day.  But at the end of the day, this means there have been a lot of job openings at Be Our Guest, and staff turnover.  Thankfully, they have filled rather quickly so there weren’t any major staffing issues during the recent holiday weeks.  It does mean one thing – those hand-picked servers for their amazing service skills – aren’t all there any more and service may not be at the level you’d expect.  Hopefully the Cast Members who came in behind them can perform at the same great Disney service level once they are fully trained.

Although this isn’t a character dining location, you will get to see The Beast!  Approximately every thirty minutes an announcement plays as he greets the guests of his castle.  He then parades himself through all of the dining rooms and into the Library.

THE MUNCHIES

Bread Basket with butter with Hawaiian salt

Grilled Strip Steak – with garlic-herb butter and pommes frites (shown here with au gratin macaroni) – $29.99

I’ve had my share of steaks, especially at Walt Disney World.  I will be the first to admit that I am definitely a “steak and potatoes [and macaroni]” kind of girl.  For this steak , the cut, seasoning, and appropriate cooking were all well executed.  However, it was just that – and nothing extra to write home about.  Let the steak competition between Disney restaurants continue!

Au gratin macaroni

What I simply adored were the potatoes!  According to the Chef, they are easy to make.  Ingredients include: bachmel sauce and macaroni mixed with egg yok and topped with mozzarella cheese.

Thyme-scented Pork Rack Chop – with au gratin macaroni, seasonal vegetables and red wine au jus – $21.99

The pork was very tender and delicious.  The red wine au jus was a nice touch to this meal.  And yes, more au gratin macaroni.

Pommes frites

We asked to substitute, but the food runner brought out the pomme frites anyway.  The more, the merrier!

DESSERTS

Dessert is wheeled out by your server using the same carts they utilize for lunch service.  After the server shares your options you get to do the difficult part – making a selection!

Triple Chocolate Cupcake – chocolate sponge cake, chocolate mousse filling, and chocolate ganache – $3.99

Lemon-Raspberry Cream Puff -filled with lemon custard – $3.99 (Also gluten free and No Sugar Added)

The dessert offerings are the same for lunch as they are for dinner.  As I mentioned in my lunch review, the Lemon-Rasberry Cream Puff is simply lovely.  I must add that it is also gluten free and no sugar added.  While I am not looking for either of those, I do enjoy raspberry which is why I originally ordered this.  This no sugar added dessert has become one of my favorites.  Perhaps that’s because I don’t have to feel too guilty for eating it?

AS YOU EXIT…

When you finish dining in Beast’s Castle, he invites all of his guests to meet with him in the Library.  (This is the area that’s also used as the entrance for the Quick Service lunch.)

It was lovely for The Beast to pose in his chair for us.

The other side of the merge podium for the Quick Service lunch experience. (This is the side the Cast Member loading your magic rose sees.)

The video menu podiums for lunch convert to this sheet music for dinner.

As you exit, you walk past the Knights of Armor.  The attention to detail here is amazing.  You are literally walking in the opposite direction you do for lunch, but this time it’s more peaceful.  Chances are there aren’t a lot of people around so you can really stop and take it all in.


As I left Be Our Guest that night, Wishes had already begun.  I noticed the bridge (that you cannot cross during dinner service until your table has been paged) was rather empty.  There were only a few other guests exiting, but mainly Cast Members and the Chef of the restaurant watching.  And why not… it’s a great view!  You have Cinderella Castle in one direction and Beast Castle right next to you.  What a nice way to end such a wonderful meal – with this image and a beautiful fireworks show.

About Kandace Sparkles

Kandace "Kandy" Sparkles is more than just a Disney World fan, she's an expert and an insider. She also has a great love for the food and beverage of the resort and authors the Mice Munchies column on MiceChat.

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19 Comments

Comments for Walt Disney World Be Our Guest Restaurant Dinner Review are now closed.

  1. This is great news for Disney stockholders. Maybe Disney will add more new attactions that you have to pay additional fees to enjoy (food and photopass Beast photos). The new princess meet-and-greet area that replaces snow white with photopass cash registers should increase park revenues too. Attractions can now be exclusive to certain income levels, and make money instead of costing money to run.

    • Before responding to this post, I had to wipe down my computer to get rid of all the cynicism dripping from it. Exactly what part of “Restaurant” makes anyone think this is an attraction? Be Our Guest is no more of an attraction than Cinderella’s Royal Table is and I’ve yet to see anyone make such a snide comment regarding that restaurant.

      Regarding the revenue generated from Photopass, I can simply remind this poster that Photopass is a sevice offered by Disney and in no way required to be used. The photographer will always be happy to use your own personal camera to take pictures for you FREE OF CHARGE. Compared to the competition, that simply doesn’t happen elsewhere.

  2. On second thought, I guess paying a dinning charge to experience this attraction isn’t much different from the Tahitian Terrace or the Blue Bayou, but with increasing ticket prices and Universal’s compitition they should be putting more of that theming effort into non-upcharge park experiences. To me, too many of these new additions feel like shakedowns. The restaurant does look nice and I look forward to eating there someday.

    • This isn’t an attraction, it’s just a well themed restaurant. A big huge people-eating restaurant. Do you think that today’s Disney is going to open a new land and not give it ways to pay for itself?

      Though, I do think its a bit sad that the best reviewed things in New Fantasy Land are the restaurant, shop, and exterior theming. It isn’t the rides people are raving about. That’s really a shame and a missed opportunity in my opinion.

      • Yes, I do wish there was more… but the food is so lovely! It’s actually quite nice that such a fine restaurant was included in the expansion. Restaurants are usually not the area of focus and while at Disney for hours, we all must eat. Now you can do so in style!

  3. I don’t understand your comment regarding Cast Member turnover: “Perhaps it was due to the increased amount of travel time to get in and out of Magic Kingdom”. The entrance to the cast areas and costuming is right under The Be Our Guest restaurant area (actually under the restrooms to the right of Pinnochio) so it is much closer for Case Members. In fact, my roomie worked at Toni’s on Main Street and that is the farthest for the cast to go.
    I know that full-timers would probably prefer a tipped position all day such as at other restaurants and prefer to have lunch shifts available to them for tippped positions.
    The easiest cast waiter/waitress job is the buffets as all they have to do is bring drinks and take dirty dishes. They don’t even bring you your food (you do).
    Working at a Quick Service Restaurant, every once in a while a guest would ask me if I could order my meal for them and bring it to them. I think this new restaurant is trying this concept for lunch.

    • Let me try to explain a bit more. Quite a few of the servers transferred from Resort locations. Many of them worked in the Resort location for a number of years. They never had to deal with the increased Cast Member traffic, parking in the far back of parking lots, taking shuttles to and from West Clock or Pluto Lot. For these Cast Members it might just be a bit more than they had originally expected and preferred to return to their home location.

      For those unaware, since New Fantasyland started soft opening, the Magic Kingdom Cast Parking has been experiencing additional parking challenges. The recently re-done Pluto Parking’s neighbor lot has been open daily for Magic Kingdom Cast over-flow parking. The parking has been a growing issues for years.

      Many of the servers also transferred from locations with multiple meal periods so the change in shift or lack of extended shifts may have made enough of a break on their paycheck. Even though the servers at Disney are well-paid with the amount they make in tips each day, losing out a meal period is going to make a change in your weekly paycheck and family budget.

  4. THANK YOU for the clear and detailed review, Kandace!
    Please write more excellent restaurant reviews on Miceage!

    I’m looking forward to trying out this restaurant and paying for it with Disney Rewards dollars from our Chase Visa card. Sorry if that sounds like an ad for the Disney Visa card, but it has been an effective way for our family to get more Disney magic, despite our budget, and another reader might enjoy this as much as I have. It’s also going to pay for our park tickets if we go to WDW.

    • jcruise 86 — You are more than welcome! I’m glad you appreciate all of my detail. (Sometimes they can be a bit too much.) I will continue to review more locations now as we have moved out of the holiday season. If you have any suggestions or are seeking information for a certain restaurant, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly.

      I also really hope you enjoy your dining experience and I hope you share it with me. It appears you have found a wonderful way to budget for your Disney vacation, as we all do.

  5. Thanks for your review. I’m very undecided between lunch vs dinner service. But one thing is for certain and that’s that I can not wait to give this place a try. It’s surprising how long it’s taken the Magic Kingdom to receive a table service Restaurant on this scale. Before we had to make do with Tony’s or Liberty Square. Can’t wait to check it out on my next trip.

    • Thanks for your kind words. Malin lunch and dinner are honestly worlds apart. I have to suggest that you at least opt for lunch until you can plan for dinner. As a Disney fan (and hopefully one who also enjoys the food, like me!) — you will really need to take it all in from a technology standpoint. The add in the extra detail that has been added for a Quick Service environment and it’s simply lovely.

      I will agree that it did take some time. Thankfully I’ve heard that there will me more special “touches” added to more restaurants inside the Magic Kingdom in the near future. When I hear more details, I’ll be sure to share.

  6. Well that’s the sad part of them not putting a beauty and the beast ride…you have this entire area themed to beauty and the beast but the only way you can immerse yourself in the story is by visiting the restaurant or storytelling with belle. What about adults who don’t want childrens storytime and who aren’t hungry…well you’re out of luck no beauty and the beast experience for you. I think that’s what eicarr is getting at and he’s right. Its one of Disney’s most popular animated films it deserves a decent size attraction.

  7. While the restaurant is themed nicely, only those that have a reservation can even see what the decor and concept is about. Surly cast members bark out to guests that they need a reservation or they can’t let you walk down the bridge let alone take a peak inside. For those of you who don’t have a reservation or can’t get a walk-in, spend a half hour in Gaston’s tavern nearby- you’ll get just as much themeing and a meal of about as good quality.

    The sad news is at dinner the the food is mediocre (at best). I think the reviewer’s comments about her steak dinner about sums up the food quality at this establishment. Unfortunately, the steak looked to be one of the better choices on the menu when I dined there; but ever the optimist I thought I’d let Mickey wow me with the seafood pastry. Well Mick, it was underwhelming in the taste department and quite small portion wise – not one of your better efforts.

    The Disney marketing team is trying to spin that this dining experience has been painstakingly designed by a WDW “master chef” to be a “traditional” French experience. If this is true then the Disney Dining plan has really done some damage to culinary creativity at WDW.

    Usually a new WDW restaurant starts out with ambitious entrees and has to pare back because of the Disney Dining program. Now it seems that we are getting into the mode of designing restaurant experiences around the Dining program and quality isn’t “job one” – sustainable profits using the most common and inexpensive of ingredients is.

    If the macaroni side dish is getting the most accolades than I can see the writing on the wall for this establishment. Honestly, the Lean Cuisine dinners in my grocer’s freezer look and taste more French than what’s offered at this restaurant. The mussels were particularly bland and disappointing (while many of them were on the plate they were extremely small and, tasteless – I had to wonder what the vintage of the white wine was in which they were steamed – the consensus at the table was probably 11:00 a.m. that morning?).

    I predict that this restaurant’s buzz will decrease significantly by next year. It will be like a Rain Forest cafe – go there once because the kids are begging but then the adults will overrule future visits.

    This location won’t be meeting its numbers by 2014 and this restaurant will evolve into a Beast character dining location – then parents can happily gorge themselves on dry salmon and penne pasta to their endless delight and the kids will be happy chowing down on their chicken nuggets and soft serve ice cream topped with Mickey sprinkles.

    There are so few WDW restaurants on property that even qualify as grand experiences anymore why not just put them all out of their misery. Most guests seem content with fast food or Disney buffets – just take the easy way out and focus on delivering higher, consistent quality in these two arenas and just call it a day.

    • disneytom —

      Thanks for your comments. I appreciate your insight on the seafood you ordered. It is disappointing that it didn’t measure up to your expectations.

      You also highlighted something key — while this is the first restaurant inside Magic Kingdom to offer beer and wine, their wine menu is quite limited. I have been told their original wine offering was going to be very extensive (think in line with or beyond Disney Signature restaurant wine lists), but it was quickly scaled down. Why? I can only imagine they didn’t want to open a location with beer and wine and TONS of it! Let’s hope they will only expand their offerings as they continue to grow and adapt their menu.

      I think that so many guests are content with Quick Service locations as it fits the needs of the families. Many don’t want to spend an extended time eating each day and would prefer to spend more time enjoy other aspects of the park. Add in a few kid’s that will only eat chicken nuggets (thanks to wonderful parenting and lack of food introduction) and you have a great plan for your day. As for a Disney buffet — I personally feel they are over-loved. They continue to remain popular due to the fact that nearly all of them host a character dining element. Adults can over-stuff themselves while the kid’s hardly eat because they’re too excited about seeing the characters. Many buffets can try to up their offerings, but regardless they will remain popular as long as the characters are there. But this is a debate for another article al together.

  8. I had dinner here a few weeks ago. I thought the atmosphere was great. And while I was initially disappointed to be seated in the West Wing instead of the Ballroom, I realized it was probably a better spot, as the Ballroom was cavernous, loud and crowded, and the West Wing was much more quiet and intimate. I had the salmon, and it was very good; on par with the salmon I had at Artist’s Point (which is a Signature restaurant) a few days earlier. The only area that was lacking was the service. From being greeted rudely and curtly by the check-in staff (we were a few minutes late due to parade traffic, and scolded and made to think we might now not even get a table) to our waiter who was scarce and aloof and brought us our after dinner coffee in to-go cups (clearly they wanted us out of there in a hurry) the whole service experience was really lacking. It’s not very pleasant to end a delightful and delicious meal feeling like they’re going to dump you out of your chair the second you take your last bite of dessert. I wonder if they were understaffed, as I saw our waiter also busing and setting other tables, which it seems like they should have separate staff for. It was a little frustrating to want attention from the waiter but he wasn’t available because he was busy setting a table for ten, which I think should be someone else’s job. So they’re giving the impression that this is a fine dining experience, but they want to get as many people in and out as they possibly can, and the two just don’t go together.

    • I am disappointed to hear your service experience wasn’t up to the Disney standards that it should be. Sadly, with the shuffle in and out of Cast Members to this location (as I mentioned in the article), this is a poor side effect. I can only hope that the Leadership will take note and make strides to improve this on a daily basis. The fact that your server gave you the coffee in to go cups without first asking is terrible. Just because most guests will ask for it (especially on cold nights) doesn’t mean from a service standpoint that it is acceptable to do that for all parties.

      I’m glad your salmon was just as wonderful as it was at Artist Point. At least that means they’re getting some of the menu right with their execution in the kitchen.

      As for the staffing — only a few restaurants at Walt Disney World actually staff Cast Members as “bussers.” (ie Chef Mickey’s, 1900 Park Fare, etc). Nearly all Disney restaurants require servers to buss and often set their own tables. Sure when times get busy you will often see the restaurant table assignor (with the tablet in hand) or assisting so they can continue to do their job efficiently or maybe a seater is helping. The key is pre-bussing the table. Your extra plates, flatware, straw wrappers, or anything additional that doesn’t need to be on your table — if your server removes those items in a timely manner, it helps once you leave for them to buss, clean, and re-set your table for the next party. (Yes, this is also one of my pet peeves — poor table maintenance.)

  9. Doesnt look or sound too terribly appealing. Lunch would suffice for me. When we first heard of this new restaurant, I imagined it would be cool to have the rooms ‘transform’, like at the end of the film, from cursed to spell-broken. ( Like the cruise restaurant that goes from b&w to color?) Still, it is gorgeous looking.

    Thanks for the details! This helps many of us make up our minds in advance.

    Also, wondering if Lumiere will be making dining room appearances, on a cart, like the concept art showed…
    Thanks again.

    • Sadly, Lumiere has yet to make an appearance inside Be Our Guest. Instead he seems to be quite busy inside Enchanted Tales with Belle. Remy continues to greet guests at Chefs de France — so it could happen. It’s just not anywhere in the immediate plans.

  10. Thanks for the review, it’s nice to see how the dinner experience is. We were not able to do the dinner so we did the lunch. We were VERY impressed with our lunch experience. We ended up waiting about 45 minutes, but I felt this was the highlight of our trip. As you mentioned the bridge is such a nice area, so nice that I propose to my now finance on it! <3