Guest Review: World of Color Dining Package at Ariel’s Grotto

Here’s how lucky I am:
1.) I was traversing facebook the other day and randomly found Heather Sievers, who just happens to be a Disney food expert;
2.) Heather and her family also just happened to have a reservation for the World of Color prix fixe dinner at Ariel’s Grotto a couple of days later; and
3.) Heather generously put together this awesome blog about her experience.
Lucky, right? I know. Seriously, I should play the lottery.
(By the way, Heather is the brilliant inventor of Time Out Spots. Don’t know what they are? Check ‘em out! Personally, I like the t-shirts.)

July 18, 2010: Born and raised in Orange County, California, I’ve been lucky enough to have had regular visits to Disneyland since my first time on my 5th birthday. Over 15 years ago, my boyfriend (now husband) bought me my first annual pass for Christmas. We’ve renewed over & over and two kids later, our family has never skipped a year.

This means we’ve been closely watching the construction of World of Color since the Paradise Pier Lagoon was emptied nearly a year and a half ago. I knew I wanted to see the show as soon as possible, but I also knew that it would be nearly impossible to get near it…. Fans of all food Disney, I knew they had to have some dinners lined up that would include reserved seating for the show. So what did I do? I called Disney Dining every single day for about 6 weeks straight to ask about it. I know a bit extreme, but guess what? I got my reservation the DAY they started taking them.

Genie at World of Color

We all know that the show opened on June 11, 2010, but we had company coming the following week that wanted to join us, so I waited out one week and made the reservation for Friday, June 18th. (I’m sure you are thinking, “get to the food part, get to the food part;” I promise I am almost there.) My options for in-restaurant dining were Ariel’s Grotto or the Wine Country Trattoria. I’ve dined at Ariel’s Grotto several times and have never been disappointed, so we chose the Prix Fixe World of Color Menu there.

Our dinner reservation was at 7:00 for the 9:00 show. You must check in, eat, and then pay before they fork over the reserved tickets for the show. Dinner is not cheap, but you do get what you pay for. We literally ate for about an hour and a half straight, so pace yourself.

Fun Wheel After World of Color

The meal starts with a beautiful bread basket accompanied with a trio of spreads (ranch, butter & pesto).

Bread at Ariel's Grotto World of Color Dinner

You then have a choice of antipasti for the table: cured meats and shellfish or grilled vegetables and cheeses. We went for the veggies and cheese and it was not only beautiful, but also delicious. The endive cups with blue cheese, apples, walnuts and dried cranberries were my favorite. Their house citrus-tarragon vinaigrette is also very tasty.

Full Veggies and Cheese Antipasti Tower

Tier 1 -- Endive Cups

Tier 2 -- Grilled Veggies

Tier 3 -- Salad

The children were brought an appetizer of apple gelatin sticks, watermelon and some mozzarella cheese, a perfect kid friendly dish.

Kids' Appetizer Plate -- Apple Gelatin, Watermelon, Cheese Stick

Each member then chooses their main entree. There were 6 in all to choose from: Santa Maria Style Tri-tip, Fillet of Redfish, Spinach and Ricotta Agnolotti, Herb Crusted Chicken Breast, Mafalde Pasta with Italian Sausage, and a mixed seafood dish called Cioppino. Really something for everyone. Two of us chose the chicken and my husband went with the Tri-tip. Again, there were no complaints.

Ariels Grotto Tri-Tip Adult Entree

Ariels Grotto Herb Crusted Chicken Breast Adult Entree

Full World of Color Ariels Grotto Adult Menu -- CLICK TO ENLARGE

The kids menu had 4 entrees to choose from: Glazed Chicken on a Bamboo Skewer, Kid’s Cut Tri Tip, Seashell Pasta (mac n’ cheese) and Meatball Lollipops (turkey). My boys both chose the tri-tip. The portion was just right for my 6 year old, but my 8 year old was left wanting more. I think he’s really close to ordering from the adult menu, which means he’d better get a j-o-b!

Kids Tri-Tip Meal

World of Color Kids Picks Menu -- CLICK TO ENLARGE

Dessert consisted of a colorful (no pun intended, but I’ll roll with it) platter of treats. The Chocolate Molten Cake was my favorite and I also really enjoyed the Passion Fruit Quenelles. My boys loved the white chocolate World of Color Film Strip, which I hated to see them break and munch up, it was SO cute.

World of Color Ariels Grotto Dessert

World of Color Prix Fixe reservations are booked up to 30 days in advance, and due to the overwhelming demand at this time, there are no “walk ins.” We saw several people being turned away. Adults (ages 10 & up are considered adult) are $36.99 and children ages 3-9 are $20.99. If you have an annual pass, don’t forget to use your passholder discount: 15% off for Premium and 10% off for all other annual passes.

Thanks again to Heather Sievers for this incredible review — the pictures are awesome, aren’t they? While I’m not sure how long it will be before I’m in Disneyland again to see World of Color, I’m pretty sure I’m booking one of the dinner packages; seems like a great deal!

Have you had a World of Color table-service dinner or picnic, yet? Are you hoping to? As always, we’d love to hear your comments and thoughts below!


  1. Jennifer says

    I think we were 2 tables over from you that evening. We really enjoyed it, too and truly had the best possible viewing spot for the show. It was definitely the way to see World of Color. Thanks to A J because I learned about the dinner package first on this site.

  2. Shayne says

    Great review, Heather! And great photos, too.

    Ok, this convinces me…we’re doing a World of Color dinner package in September. I don’t know when I’ll be back at DLR again, and I am determined to see this show! Now, to decide on Ariel’s Grotto vs. Wine Country Trattoria…

  3. says

    Hopefully they will be doing this in 2011, when the wife and I return to Disneyland!!! Woo Hoo! :)

    Oh. Questions! Can you discuss the seating for the event a little more? How is the seating for the show done? How were your seats? And where were they in relation to the rest of the crowd? Did you feel like you had to jockey for position? Did you eat inside or outside? (I’m not familiar with Ariel’s Grotto. Which I have just now made “dirty” in my head. Sorry, kids.)

    Also, I my wife probably won’t let me order the SM Tri-Tip, because I told her when it arrives at my table I’m going to yell “SANTA MARIA!!!!”

  4. Heather says

    Hello Nate, we actually ate outside, we’ve dined both indoors and outdoors at Ariel’s Grotto and I really love the outside dining. Especially now that the construction for World of Color is complete and the lagoon has been refilled! After dinner you are given tickets to the show, which is really reserved “standing” as there are no actual seats. Disney has the whole area very organized and if you have a reserved ticket, you will have a nice spot to watch the show. All we did was show an usher our tickets and we were taken to our “blue” section. I did not feel the area we were sent to was overcrowded at all. Another bonus is that most of the show is displayed approximately 40 feet in the air, so if you aren’t right up front, you will still have an amazing time. Hope that helps!

  5. says

    Jennifer — That’s awesome! So glad you heard it here first!

    Shayne — I don’t envy you that choice (but I hope you pick Wine Country so that I can see pics from there, too!)

    Nate — I can’t wait to hear all about your Disneyland planning!

    Heather — Thanks for the added info, and, of course, for the awesome post!

  6. Amber Hall says

    Thank you for posting all of this. We are taking our little girls (3 and 5) in November and were debating going to Ariel’s Grotto for World of Color…but for that much money we really wanted to understand what we were getting. This really clears things up. Can’t wait to go!!!

  7. Jena says

    Thank You!!! This was super clear!! They are terrible at explaining it over the phone. Disney can be so confusing if you haven’t been in a year. Our family goes in two and a half weeks!!!! AHHH! I’m glad I read the reviews and made reservations for the Ariel’s Grotto meal and viewing!

    Thanks again!!

  8. Angela says

    My husband and I have had the Ariel’s Grotto and Wine Country Trattoria World of Color Prix Fixe dinners. We loved the Ariel’s Grotto experience. The tiered appetizers made the meal feel special. The entrees were tasty and the desserts were fun.

    We didn’t like the Wine Country Trattoria as much, however. It didn’t feel as much like the dining event that Ariel’s Grotto created.

  9. says

    Jena — I hope everything was great!

    Angela — Thanks for your reviews! I haven’t been to Wine Country Trattoria yet; would you recommend it without the Prix Fixe dinner?

  10. Allison says

    We went to the princess breakfast at Ariel’s Grotto when the World of Color was under construction. We are going back in October and definitely want to see the show so we thought of Ariel’s Grotto again, hoping to “kill two birds with one stone”! So my question is….when you go at dinnertime, do you also see the princesses?

  11. says

    I think we figured out that Princesses weren’t at the WoC dinners after all. Will have to check with Heather on that one, though!

  12. Kristine says

    These reviews have convinced me that Ariel’s is the best choice. I am concerned about the seating though because we did the prefixed lunch before and the viewing area was quite crowded. I wish they had an option like Fantasmic–where you actually get a great spot with no pushing and shoving and great service.

    Thanks for your review !

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