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Guest Review: Black Tie and Blue Jeans, a Tables in Wonderland Event

Howdy to our guest reviewer, Derek! Derek takes us to the Black Tie and Blue Jeans event hosted in the Diamond Horseshoe Saloon featuring reserved parade space, a buffet meal, alcohol in the Magic Kingdom and entertainment. Yee-haw! Take it away, Derek!

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We joined Tables in Wonderland last year during Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival and right away the discounts we received more than paid for the membership.

We were also very excited about the special events offered to members. When the invitation arrived for what looked like a fun event at the seasonally closed Diamond Horseshoe Saloon in the Magic Kingdom and our schedules were clear, we were in!

Atmosphere and Background
The event was billed as “Black Tie and Blue Jeans” and the menu offered a good meal. As an event I assumed was built for serious food people, I allowed my expectations to grow. Although it was not the best meal or event ever, I was not disappointed.

From what we’d seen of past Tables in Wonderland events, the venue is part of the experience (as any good meal should be). Part of the entertainment was pre-meal reserved viewing of the Main Street Electrical Parade right outside the Saloon door. Although the location for parade viewing was perfect, the event planners did not stress the need to arrive early.

Diamond Horseshoe Saloon

The invite said the reception started at 6:45pm, the parade started at 7:15 and dinner would be served after the parade. No problem except that WDW transportation to, from and within the park can be uncertain. In addition, you may know that if you’re not where you should be when the parade starts, then you are not going anywhere.

We were almost the last people to cross the street before it was locked down for the festivities at nearly two minutes past seven. One couple at our table was a few minutes behind us and didn’t make it in time.

With the parade being such a big part of the evening, it would have been a shame to miss it. Viewing the parade from the cordoned off section in front of the Diamond Horseshoe was worth it –- nearly worth the $110 per person price not to have to fight the parade crowds.

Once the parade passed, we returned inside to refill our custom drinks. The “Blue Jean” and “Black Tie” were both champagne based, unique and surprisingly good. In fact, the Black Tie was exceptional! I had more than one and suggested it to all my tablemates. However, they needed another bartender (or two) at the event.

Black Tie Specialty Cocktail Menu

Also inside we got a good listen to the three piece Country and Western band. While they seemed slightly awkward, they still sounded great.

Black Tie and Blue Jeans Band

Black Tie and Blue Jeans Band

Eats
We knew ahead of time the meal was buffet style so we weren’t surprised to find the salads and main dishes already laid out. Unfortunately, I did not get too many shots of the food but, being a buffet, the presentation wasn’t the thing.

Of the salad options the Caesar was especially good and the cornbread was among the best I’ve ever had!

When we made it to the main courses, I was surprised that my favorite was the “Free Roaming Chicken with Country Gravy,” but I was happy to try all the options at least once. The Jack Daniels and Maple-glazed Grilled Salmon was my second favorite. For sides, the smashed potatoes were well above par and I spent a good amount of time trying to figure out exactly why but with no luck.  I also heard raves about the lobster mac and cheese.

Lobster Macaroni and Cheese

Grilled Baby Corn

Menu

Organizers deserve extra credit for following the theme of fancy and casual through to the menu. And as I expected, the food was exceptional and the attention to detail is what experienced diners expect from Disney’s A-game.

The dessert was a bit disappointing, but the tuxedo strawberries were the best of the offerings. Like the evening they were as much fun as they were good. Maybe a tad more fun than tasty, but the mix was right.

Dessert Plate

The biggest complaint – and one I share with others who attended – was that at $110 a head, the guests would have preferred being served rather than being handed a plate for the buffet line. But knowing that it was a buffet before signing up, it was hard to be too upset.

In the end, the night provided good food, great entertainment, unique drinks and fun. That was the point.

We’re paying close attention to the next Tables in Wonderland event and, if we can go, we will. The $75 fee for membership (Florida Resident price) was some of the best money I’ve spent anywhere near Disney.

Thanks Derek! Stay tuned for another guest post from Derek (in Epcot!) coming up soon!

Have you been to a Tables in Wonderland event? Would you like to attend one? Let us know in the comments section below!

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10 Comments

  1. John B says:

    This looks like a fun event. As I’ve said before, I wish there was more advance notice for these TiW events. To attend one it seems you need to be a FL resident or happen to be going to WDW by sheer luck at the same time as the event. I would LOVE to attend a TiW event, but they usually only give about 6 weeks notice and that is not enough to book a room, get ADRs, plane tickets, etc. Oh well, maybe someday!

  2. Kim says:

    John, I absolutely agree!! For those of us that have to make travel plans to get to Orlando (including coordinating work schedules, etc.) more advance notice would allow us to take part in these fun TiW events. If you get to one, let me know!!

  3. Sarah says:

    I agree, John. We never get the emails announcing the events either, despite giving them an email address several times. We considered this event, but like Derek mentioned, for $110, we would have preferred to be served (or at least have a nicer/more interesting location). We’ve also considered The Wave events, but the menus tend to be seafood heavy.

  4. Kim says:

    Sarah, so true! For $110, I expect white glove service in a more exclusive setting. ;-)

  5. Sally says:

    Derek, Thanks for taking the time to review this event. I was curious about the menu and how people would react to an expensive buffet.

    Do you remember the ingredients for the Blue Jean drink? I’m off to Google Black Vodka … never heard of it!

  6. Derek says:

    For Sally:

    Blue Jean (from the menu):

    1oz Blue Curacao
    4oz Champagne
    1oz Gin

    Coat the rim of the glass with sugar. Mix ingredients in shaker with ice. Strain into martini glass.

    Cheers!

  7. John B says:

    Sarah, I do get the e-mails, but they aren’t much help. Normally there’s only 4-8 weeks notice. Like Kim said, for those of us that have to make a special trip, it’s not enough time. Also agree that the Wave events are too seafood heavy (I don’t eat seafood).

  8. melissa sue says:

    I am with Sarah. I have repeatedly asked that my name be added to the mailing list, but we never receive anything! I even check my junk mail when I hear about an event being released … nothing.

  9. Shannon says:

    Oooh! I’ve been hoping for this review. I attended this event as well… in fact I spotted myself in the group shot above. Let’s not kid ourselves. For the price tag attached to a buffet experience, I was signing up for the opportunity to get a sanctioned buzz on in the MK. And… um… success!

    This is the first TIW event I had the chance to attend, and only because I just happened to have a previously scheduled weekend trip on that date. I signed up as a solo but had no problem finding tablemates. I just made friends in line at the bar!

    The food was fairly tasty. I remember particularly enjoying the lobster mac & cheese. There seemed to be a plentiful supply; everyone at my table went back for seconds. All of the cast members were very friendly but we definitely could have used another bartender. The poor guy was pouring as fast as he could all night.

    The parade view was perfect. I lined up about 10 minutes before it arrived & was against the rope with only one person behind me. Alice announced to the crowd that we must be celebrating an Unbirthday Party, so the characters must be used to singling out a group in that area.

    I consider that I received fairly good value for my money. I had a front row parade view with only 10 minutes’ time investment. I ate my fill of a buffet with slightly more upscale ingredients. And I had four mixed drinks throughout the evening. I would probably attend another TIW event if given the chance.

  10. Shannon says:

    I almost forgot the hit of the night, according to my tablemates! We were unanimous…. bourbon ice cream is a gift from the gods.

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