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