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