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