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Guest Review: Akershus Royal Banquet Hall Dinner

Welcome James Hummel with a review of the Storybook dinner at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot’s Norway!

Having now traveled to Walt Disney World twice with our 4-year-old niece, we decided that it was time she experience dining with her favorite princess characters. We wanted to experience a new restaurant at the same time, and Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (a.k.a. Princess Nirvana) was the hands-down winner.

Atmosphere

Akershus is located in the Norway pavilion in EPCOT. The design of the restaurant reminded me of a European castle banquet hall. The entrance room is decorated with medieval style wooden chairs fit for Princes and Princesses.

Entrance Hall

Upon entering Akershus, you are welcomed by a Princess; our hostess for our meal was Belle. All guests had the chance to take a picture with Belle. Later in the meal, a Cast Member presents you with a package of your picture with the princess AT NO EXTRA COST! This was a pleasant surprise, as with most other character dining restaurants the pictures are an extra charge.

Belle and her fan

During the meal, there is a princess and prince parade. The Host Princesses ask the little princesses and princes to get up and walk around the room. Since many of the little princesses are dressed in their finest, this gives them the opportunity to show of their dresses.

Our niece loved the experience. She was able to meet Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Cinderella, Snow White and, her personal favorite, Ariel (Little Mermaid).

Cinderella

Our 3 year old son, on the other hand, was strangely terrified of the Princesses. Every time they came to our table, he played shy.

Eats

While the Princesses were a big hit with the kids, the food was the real winner for the adults! At the end of our week-long trip, we all agreed that our meal at Akershus was one of the best.

The meal begins with a cold buffet of lettuce leaf salad, rolls, Northern European cheeses, a variety of other salads (chicken, potato, fruit, etc.), and seafood.

Salad Greens and Dressings

Assorted Breads and Butter

Seafood

The buffet is included with all meals at NO EXTRA COST (noticing a trend here?). My brother-in-law and I agreed we could have easily made the buffet a full meal. All the food was fresh and delicious. I thoroughly enjoyed the cheeses (both mild and strong) and the cold salads (including the creamy chicken salad).

Assorted Meats and Cheeses

Variety of Salads

While entrees were limited, there was still a variety. I’m not overly familiar with Norwegian cuisine and culture, so I can’t comment on whether the entrees were distinct to the culture. There are meatballs on the menu, so I guess there was some culturally distinct food.

My wife ordered the Mushroom-stuffed Pasta. The dish was very generous and quite good. My wife commented to me later in the week that she wished she could order it again.

Mushroom-stuffed Pasta

My brother-in-law ordered the Beef Tips. He commented that they were very tender.

Beef Tips

For my entrée, I asked the server which she would recommend, and she suggested the Grilled Pork Tenderloin as it was accompanied with Rutabaga mashed potato. She said that the side was usually served in the fall and winter seasons in Norway.

I took her recommendation and was happy I did. The pork was very tender but the Rutabaga mashed potato was the big winner. The only thing that threw me off was the crispy onions on top. They were good, but not something I was used to with pork.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

I did get the chance to try the meatballs, as we ordered them for my son. Again, they were good. There really wasn’t a disappointing meal at the table.

Dessert was served family-style and included Chocolate Mousse, Rice Cream, and Flaky Puff Pastry. The mousse was nothing special and tasted like any other mousse at WDW. The Rice Cream was similar to rice pudding, but was the loser on the plate. (My mother-in-law makes a killer rice pudding.) The big winner was the Flaky Puff Pastry. Everyone at the table enjoyed it. I could have eaten one on my one, but I had to save room for a certain Snack Attack party later that evening.

Oops! We dug in right away! Dessert Sampler

Overall

Akershus was a big surprise. Again, we initially booked the restaurant for the princesses, but the food was the real winner of the experience (for the adults at least). I will return to the restaurant, as long as my son gets over his fear of the fine ladies hosting dinner. ;-)

What do you think about the cuisine at Akershus? Tell us in the comments below!

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23 Comments

  1. canadianslovewdw says:

    this is a must resturant for us we have daughters… my fav meal here is the salmon. the dessert try seems to change everytime we go…

  2. vicki g says:

    we’ve only been there for breakfast~which i highly recommend over CRT~but will definitely add this to our dinner plans for the next time. thanks very much for the informative review!

  3. TraciLeigh says:

    Love. Love. LOVE Akershus! It is our “must do” princess meal on every trip. Having done both CRT and Akershus, I have to say….Akershus is a better deal every time. One dining credit plus photos plus the cold buffet. Yeah, it’s a winner. Oh and the wild mushroom ravioli? It’s on my list of favorite things to eat at WDW – it’s “lick the bowl” good.

  4. Sommery says:

    I have only been there for breakfast but dinner sounds delish! Akershus is always a big hit with our family (I have three girls) and a must-do for every trip.

  5. I am the mother of two boys and on our last trip I insisted that we dine with the princesses at Akershus. We all had a fantastic time. What I loved the most was that each princess really interacted with my kids. I actually made a video of Ariel talking to my son about pirates and what they had in common with her. The spark? She saw that Captain Hook had signed his autograph book right before her. Also agree that the food was very good here. Lots to offer, even for my vegetarian hubby. Hoping that one day we will be back, but so many other places to explore.

  6. Alan says:

    I know all the parents love the Princess theme, but I miss the old days of the hot and cold smorgasbord when you could have reindeer stew. Where else can you get that!!

  7. Julie says:

    My daughters loved the brown cheese on the buffet, it had an interesting caramel taste. When I asked the server what it was, she said it was just called “brown cheese”. We managed to find some at a specialty cheese store back home and has become a fun snack for us.

  8. Grace says:

    We don’t have kids so we avoid this restaurant, but we really long for the pre-princess days. It was one of our favorites as we LOVE Scandinavian food! Especially the mashed rutabegas. Just like my Grandma’s, and where else can you get them? It makes me so, so sad that there is no chance to go there without all the kids and princesses.

  9. AJ says:

    Canadians — As long as there are lingonberries, I’m happy!

    Vicki — I’m so glad you enjoyed it!! I’m sure James will be glad to know that he’s convinced you to try it out!

    TraciLeigh — I MUST try the ravioli!

    Sommery — Let us know what you think when you try it out!

    Beth — So cool!! I love hearing about how the characters can do improv so well like that! Very cool. Do you have the vid up on your blog? Would love to see it.

    Alan and Grace — I don’t believe I ever tried this spot pre-Princess! What a sad realization! Thanks for sharing your memories. And I would suggest going late at night when there might not be so many kids at the restaurant, but bedtimes can be pushed back quite a bit at Disney! ;-)

    Julie — Awesome!! Now I have to go try the brown cheese! :-) How fun that you guys found a little bit of “Disney” back home (and good for your girls for trying something new!)

  10. Savorique says:

    I would have picked the Mushroom-stuffed Pasta.

  11. James (Disneynorth) says:

    Grace — Even with the princesses, it is a great experience. The food and the price are well worth the visit. I know I’ll return to the restaurant. I just hope my son isn’t afraid of the princesses again…

  12. Sonja says:

    My husband & I eat here pre-princess and it was AMAZING. My favorite part was that it was all you could eat. The portions were small, which gave us an opportunity to try multiple items. Now that we have our own princess, we will have to check it out on our next trip.

  13. Mike says:

    We dined there 2 years ago and loved it! The food was delicious and the restaurant was a lovely atmosphere to visit with the princesses.

  14. Grace says:

    Thanks for all the encouragement, everyone! Everytime we even walk by the entrance and see the throngs of princess dressed kids, I think oh no. But maybe we’ll just have to buck up and go anyway! I do truly miss the food, and if you say it’s not so bad with the princesses I have to believe you (my fellow foodies!). Heck. It might even turn out to be fun. I’ll see what the hubby says :-)

  15. JoAnn says:

    I’ll have to try to talk my friends into going here on our next trip.

  16. Diana says:

    It is a great time with the princesses. We went for breakfast and it was really good, too.

  17. Hey AJ, just saw what you asked for. Yes, I wrote Personalized Princess Time at Disney and here is the link: http://www.theangelforever.com/2011/10/personalized-princess-time-at-disney/ There is the video of the improv and then my son giving us the loser sign by mistake when he rated the restaurant experience. Like I said I wrote it as the mother of two boys.

  18. H JUNIOR says:

    I’ve been in Akershus in July/August during a breakfast the place, crew and princess had so nice with my 3 yo daughter. In my option after Cinderella Royal table is the best place to meet princesses.

  19. Janice says:

    The brown cheese is Gjetost, available in specialty supermarkets. It makes a nice dessert or snack sliced thin all by itself or with fruit. I discovered it when Akershus first opened and have been enjoying it at home ever since. I miss the old incarnation too, but the princess experience is charming, even for adults without children, and the food is still delicious.

  20. Kathie Price says:

    Always do breakfast and love it!! We take our granddaughter and grandson and, since the characters are princesses, he gets his picture with one of the waiters!! It takes the sting out of the “girly” stuff!!

  21. Amanda says:

    Is the dinner show at a specific time? We have dinner at Akershus booked for 6:45pm, is that going to be too late (we are central time so I figured it would be right about when we normally eat dinner at home, which is about 6)? Will my girls miss out on anything or should I try to book a sooner time?

  22. AJ says:

    Amanda — If you’re talking about the Princess parade thing, I believe it happens every 30 minutes or so.

  23. Kathie Price says:

    We have been there 4 times now, the princess’ come out about every 25 or 30 minutes. You won’t have any problems seeing them no matter when your reservation is.

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