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Review: Cinderella’s Royal Table Dinner in the Magic Kingdom

Gather, Subjects of the Royal Kingdom! It’s time to head to the castle for the dinner feast at Cinderella’s Royal Table!

Eating INSIDE Cinderella Castle is a quintessential experience for guests who visit Walt Disney World. After all, the castle has served as the icon for Disney itself in the past, and is the symbol for Disney World’s flagship park, Magic Kingdom.

Any guest visiting Magic Kingdom, whether they are 4 or 94, has dreamed of seeing inside the majestic building. Dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table gives you the best taste of the royal residence itself. Plus,  you get an audience with Cinderella herself as well as her Princess friends.

This is the type of experience that Disney dreams are made of. As such, an advance dining reservation here continues to be a tough one to score. While it may be a little easier to get now that Be Our Guest Restaurant is open and pulling lots of guests in, you should still plan to call 180 days out if you hope to secure a table.

We thoroughly enjoyed breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table a while back. Time to see if dinner still measures up to that experience (I hadn’t been here for dinner in ages)! But first, let’s take a look around.

Atmosphere

Inspired by some of Europe’s most beautiful castles (plus the fortress from a certain animated feature film we all love), the interior of Cinderella Castle is every bit as grandiose as the outside.

The Grand Hall

The Grand Hall and waiting area lends a great deal of happy anticipation to the experience. Only guests with advance dining reservations — apologies, but no prying eyes permitted — are allowed beyond the heavy double wooden doors that lead into the Grand Hall.

And once you’re there, you’ll have an opportunity to visit with Cinderella for a bit as she welcomes you into her home.

We were really fortunate to capture some great shots of the hall while it was empty. Here, you can see the weaponry and shields that adorn the stone walls. Heavy chandeliers and Gothic arches punctuate the scene. Seating in the hall is available while you await your visit with Cinderella and your admittance into the dining room.The low benches are plush and comfortable.

Entry Hall Seating and the Elevator to the Dining Room

Here’s your chance to explore a bit and take in the details. The ornate fireplace, topped with its heavy hood, is flanked by plaques that show the crests of nobility throughout the kingdom. Is your family’s coat of arms featured?

Fireplace and Shields with Crests in the Grand Hall

Take your time here, folks. The detail is incredible. And oh — be sure to look up every once in awhile. You never know just you you might spy.

Jaques and Gus in the Grand Hall

Soon, Cinderella joined the gathering. Before you ascend the staircase (or elevator) to the Banquet Hall, you’ll have the opportunity for a meet and greet with Cinderella.

Remember, Cindy doesn’t come up into the dining room, so this is likely your only chance to meet her during  your meal.

Cinderella Ready to Receive Her Guests

Not only will you have a chance to chat with Cinderella, get her autograph, and take a pic, but the photo will be professional quality. As part of your dining experience, you’ll receive a photo package containing one 6×8 and four 4×6 prints for a party of four. (Parties of 5-8 guests receive two packages, and parties of 9-12 receive three packages.)

All of the photos are placed in a special, Cinderella-themed folder. Guests also receive a magic wand (girls) and/or a sword (boys).

Wand, Sword, and Photo Package Folder

When it’s time to eat, chimes will sound as your party is called, and you’ll head upstairs to the Royal Banquet Hall.

Chimes That Sound When Your Party is Called

The romantic, red-carpeted spiral staircase twists and winds around the elevator. You can choose to take the stairs or the elevator — whatever floats your boat!

Staircase and a Suit of Armor in the Grand Hall

This guy guards the staircase so that no one goes up without proper permission!

A Polished Suit of Armor Guards the Dining Room Entrance

As you follow the royal red carpet up the staircase, pause for a moment to see the castle’s namesake immortalized in a stained glass window.

Cinderella in Stained Glass and the Red Carpeted Staircase Leading Up to the Dining Room

The royal restrooms are located on your way up as well.

Royal Rest Rooms

Also, be sure to check out the view of the Grand Hall from the landing above. It provides a great vantage point to take in all the rich detail of the room’s decor, especially those fantastic arches.

View From Above the Entry Hall

As you finally walk into the Banquet Hall, the scene that unfolds is really incredible.

The Banquet Hall Full of Guests

If you didn’t know better, it would be very easy to think that you’ve stepped back in time and across thousands of miles to a European castle.

The Banquet Hall

Really, the detail here is exquisite! The stone Gothic archways and windows are just stunning, and I love to study the beautiful banners as well. Wouldn’t you like to know the history behind them?

Spectacular Vaulted Ceiling from Inside the Banquet Hall

Seating throughout the dining room is cushy and comfortable. High-backed, heavy upholstered chairs feel luxurious as you pull up to dark stained wooden tables. Tables to accommodate various numbers of guests are available, and there is also some mixed banquette and chair seating.

Leaded glass windows overlook Fantasyland, and there are a (precious) few tables situated by the windows. For a stunning view, be sure to request one of these tables. You’ll see why in just a minute.

Seating for Four by a Window

We were lucky enough to snag one of these fancy schmancy tables ourselves!

Our Table by the Window

Throughout your meal, Disney Princesses will visit your table, sign autographs, and take pictures with you. This is one of the biggest draws to Cinderella’s Royal Table: princesses coming to you, not the other way around.

The evening we visited, we were happy to encounter several of Cinderella’s friends: Ariel, Aurora, Jasmine, and Snow White. Princesses will vary at each meal, so you never know who you’ll be able to meet.

Ariel

Aurora

Jasmine

Snow White

But something else to note that we’ve never really mentioned before: it is possible to see fireworks from inside Cinderella Castle if you time your advance dining reservation just right!

Fireworks!

Can you believe this terrific shot over the Carousel? So fun — especially with Beast’s Castle in the background!

Fireworks Above the Carousel in Fantasyland

We got some great shots of the fireworks over Fantasyland! More about those in a few, but now it’s time to check out the food!

Eats

Pricing at Cinderella’s Royal Table is prix fixe. You’ll choose from a selection of items available for each course for a set price. Dinner includes three courses. Standard, non-alcoholic beverages are included in the price as well. Keep in mind that even though you can now order beer and wine at dinner within Beast’s Castle at Be Our Guest Restaurant, Cinderella still presides over a dry dining room.

It is also of interest to note that the restaurant’s menu is touted as an “all you care to enjoy banquet.” While we didn’t have enough stomach space to get refills of anything, we did request to try three of the appetizers and weren’t turned down. Weigh in below in comments if you’ve enjoyed more than three courses here!

The menu has changed a bit since we last offered a dinner review, so it was exciting to see what’s new. I’ve been pleasantly surprised during my last few visits here at the quality and interesting nature of the food. You’re definitely seeing some hot food trends represented, like quinoa and farro.

Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Our meal began with complementary bread service, consisting of fresh Water Rolls and Butter.

Bread Service

For a starter, I chose the Soup of the Day. The minestrone was hearty and flavorful — it was a great beginning to the meal.

Soup of the Day

My husband and I also shared A Royal Tasting of Cheese, the restaurant’s answer to a cheese tasting plate.

While the selections weren’t outlined on the menu, they were a semi-soft Goat Cheese with Fig Jam, Sharp Cheddar, and a Bleu garnished with Honey. Nut Breads accompanied the cheeses.

The serving sizes were TINY, so if that whole “all you can eat” thing is really true, consider ordering two of these.

A Royal Tasting of Cheese

My husband chose the Crawfish and Rock Shrimp with Grits. The shrimp and grits trend is big at Disney World right now, and I was impressed to see it on the menu here at Cinderella’s.

Served with a New Orleans-style Barbecue Sauce, the Shrimp and Crawfish were well cooked. The rich sauce complemented the tangy Goat Cheese Grits perfectly.

Again, the serving size was teeny-tiny here, so be prepared.

Crawfish and Rock Shrimp with Grits

For dinner, we went with the Oven Roasted Chicken Breast. Served with Farro Wheat Risotto and Wild Mushroom and Leek Ragoût, the flavor of the Stone Ground Mustard Jus really worked well with the chicken.

The meat was actually pretty juicy — not dry, as I actually expected (bad AJ!). And we thought the farro risotto was an interesting and healthy alternative to the arborio rice customarily used in the dish.

The fresh leeks gave the dish a fun pop of flavor as well!

Oven Roasted Chicken Breast

We also decided on the Beef Tenderloin. While the presentation was a simple one, the Roasted Asparagus was well prepared, and the Tarragon Demi-Glace was wonderfully flavorful. I love bearnaise, which is normally flavored with tarragon, so this was a fantastic stand in!

The winner in this dish was the potatoes, though! We fought over them. Be sure to ask for extra if this is on the menu during your visit.

Beef Tenderloin

To be honest, the tenderloin wasn’t the largest serving of beef that I’ve enjoyed at Disney.

Steak -- Up Close

Still, it was well cooked, and the flavor was fine.

Steak is Perfectly Cooked

Soon it was time for something sweet AND tart. The lemon-blueberry combo that we’ve seen on so many menus is here, too, in the form of a No Sugar Added Lemon Sorbet with Blueberries. It was a good, light dessert, and it was super-tart!! We both loved this and kind of wanted more… .

No Sugar Added Lemon Sorbet

We also had to try the Chef’s Dessert Trio. There was no description of the selections on the menu. I assume this is so that offerings can be changed up as needed.

I feel certain that the chocolate cake was the Flourless Chocolate Cake from the menu. It was dense, chocolatey, and delicious. The Timbale Cheesecake was a lovely presentation, as was the Mousse with Berries.

Chef

And while I really appreciate the small-bite, taste-some-of-everything approach to the desserts these days, the portions here were miniscule!! That mousse with berries is in a tiny shot glass, so you can just imagine how small the other two dessert were. One bite, that’s it. It all tasted good, but there was just so little of it.

Overall

I’ve said it before and it still holds true: the big reason that dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table is so expensive is the experience of eating within the castle. That’s the big draw here, and the one-on-one time with so many princesses is royal icing on the cake. The price also represents some nice add-ons, like the photo package, which normally costs a significant amount extra.

Having said that, I feel the food here has come a long way, and the chefs seem to be interested in continuing to offer a good balance of common favorites and cutting-edge, trendy ingredients. I personally think this is a great balance to strike, especially for guests who measure the value of the meal based solely on the quality of the food. That said, the portion sizes are seriously tiny — especially in a resort where the big complaint is often how MUCH food you get at each meal.

Just keep in mind, if you book dinner in the castle, you should consider it an experience rather than just a meal. That’s the point of this venue, quite possibly more than any other Disney restaurant.

Oh, and if at all possible, try and book that ADR to coincide with Wishes.

Another Display of Fireworks

I thought viewing the fireworks from the beach at the Polynesian was the pinnacle of awesomeness — until I saw rockets exploding through Cinderella’s leaded glass windows over Beast’s Castle.

Fireworks Over Beast's Castle in New Fantasyland

Pretty awesome, eh?

Have you had the chance to dine at Cinderella’s Royal Table? Tell us about your experience!

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33 Comments

  1. Cindi says:

    I have never dined there and after hearing so many poor reviews of the food in the past, I never thought about it. But with your review I am really interested in trying a nice dinner complete with fireworks too! I didn’t want to pay for a meal that I was going to be displeased with as far as quality so it is wonderful to hear back that that aspect has improved. I loved the castle theme when dining at Akershus, so I know that this will be that times ten!

  2. JennM says:

    My husband and I celebrated our anniversary last year at that very same table with an absolutely magical view of Wishes! We had planned to leave in time to find a viewing spot outside the castle, but our waitress insisted that we would have the best view on property if we stayed. She was absolutely right. :) It felt like the show was just for us! The menu was different at that time, but we thoroughly enjoyed our meal.

  3. Alan says:

    In the early days of WDW there weren’t that many restaurants (or Hotels), so the Castle was a big deal. It was one of maybe three upscale and themed places to have a meal. I think that if you have eaten here at least once and don’t have any young Princes or Princesses in your group you might be better served eating at one of the other signature restaurants in the World. However AJ’s point about the balance of common favorites with a touch of modern cutting edge additions shows the current trend of Disney’s attempt to improve their food is continuing.

  4. Jill D says:

    Thanks for the review. We think this trip is the time to eat here. We have done Akershush (forgive the spelling please) three times and although the food and atmosphere are awesome, it just isn’t the castle! I think this is the year and your review has solidified that for me! Thanks.

    By the way… What time was your ADR?

  5. Asuka says:

    I went to Akershus and Cindy’s last year. I loved both and both had amazing food. I will say that the experience at Cindy’s is much more magical and it is about the experience more than the food. I am sad to see that they took the Ahi Tuna Salad off the menu as I very much enjoyed it last year.

  6. Denise says:

    We had lunch there in 2011. Since we weren’t really going for the food, but for the experience, the adults were all pleasantly surprised by how good the food was. We’re going back at the end of this year.

  7. Jennifer says:

    I had the pleasure of having dinner there with my 2 daughters back in August of 2011. We really enjoyed the food and of course all the Princesses. We are going back this year in November for dinner again since my girls have requested it.

  8. Gwen says:

    We had lunch at CRT on our last trip and while the experience was amazing for the kids, the foods was not so great :( However, this dinner menu looks 10x better. We’ll have to book dinner here next time we go :)

    Quick question, I have never had shrimp and grits, but am curious. You say that it is a popular trend at Disney right now…what other Disney restaurants can I find this dish??

    Thanks!

  9. Galloping Gourmand says:

    I ate here once, way back in 2002. The food was, bluntly put, so terrible it ruined the experience. I’m glad that its come a long way. Still, though, they coast on being in the castle. While some would say that’s ok because it’s more about the experience and location i think that’s poppycock. There are places with better food and more princesses and characters.

  10. Kimberly says:

    We had the worst meal of our honeymoon here last December. Upon arrival we had to wait in line for Cinderella even though we had no interest in taking a picture with her (we asked if we could just sit down in the chairs along the side, but were denied). There was a huge line and we’d been on our feet all day. About 2 families from the front, Cinderella goes on a ten minute break. 15 minutes later, she came back. We were called for our table in the meantime, but the CM kept insisting that we HAD to have our picture taken. Eventually we were able to have our picture and be on our way. We get to the top of the stairs and there is a group of 10 waiting to be sat that are leaning all over the table at the top of the stairs. We waited behind them and the hostess tried to seat us at the table that is *right* at the top when you walk up after the group was seated. All I could picture is the entire night of people standing all around us waiting to be seated while we tried to eat. I asked the hostess if we could have another table (any other table) and she went and got a manager. The manager told us, very bluntly, it would be an hour and a half wait for another table. I politely stated that we would just like a refund as we were hungry, tired, and I was getting a bit irritated at this point that we had decided to spend this much money on this experience (while thinking a counter service dinner was sounding better and better). Magically, another table was available and we were seated. Our server was AMAZING. She was so friendly and efficient. I had no idea the food was all you care to eat (??). Our menu selections ranged from mediocre to terrible. We will never be back, but at least our great server was a silver lining to an otherwise terrible meal. But that’s dining at WDW. They can’t all be amazing experiences.

  11. Kristie says:

    We just ate there recently. It was a FABULOUS experience. Even though we are adults, our server made us feel like princesses. I would definitely recommend. Loved it!!!!!

  12. Aaron says:

    Of course we all know that both toys are equally suitable for boys or girls.

  13. Jennie says:

    I had no idea Cinderella’s Royal Table was all-you-care-to-eat!! I’ve eaten there twice now and while I always left full, my bottomless pit better-half would’ve probably loved to order more (especially since he footed the bill, he likes getting more for his money). The servers never mentioned such, is it one of those situations where you have to bring it up?

  14. AJ says:

    Jill D — Sounds great! I can’t wait to hear what you think! Our ADR was around 7:30 or 8:00 I believe.

    Asuka — Thank you so much for sharing your review!

    Denise — That’s great that you were pleasantly surprised. Enjoy your visit this year!

    Jennifer — Yay! So glad you guys had a great time. Have fun on this trip!

    Gwen — Yep! Shrimp and Grits seems to be popping up in several places. We’ve had it at bluezoo at the Dolphin Resort, at Pop Century Resort’s Everything Pop Food Court, at Hollywood Brown Derby, Olivia’s, House of Blues, special menus at River Roose Lounge, as part of the tasting booths at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival this year, and at the Bull and Bear at Waldorf Orlando, just to name a few. These menus change regularly, so they may not be available on your visit.

    GG — Thanks for sharing your review; I’m sorry it was such a bad experience. :-( That’s a lot of money to spend on a not-so-magical memory.

    Kimberly — Thanks for sharing your experience. Yikes! We always choose not to get our photo taken with Cinderella, and nobody’s ever given us any hassle over it. It sounds like you ran into some bad CMs that day for sure! And I agree — that “top of the stairs” table would NOT be worth the constant stream of onlookers. Table placement makes such a difference!

    Kristie — I’m so glad you had a great time! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Aaron — Absolutely! Feel free to ask for either one for your little ones when you’re there.

    Jennie — I do wish they’d made that fact a little more obvious when we were there. They definitely don’t advertise it! We’ve double checked with Disney World Dining reservations agents and they’ve confirmed that it is indeed all you care to eat.

  15. Amy says:

    I’m late here, but we ate at CRT for the first time when we visited WDW last November. I had never heard great things about the food before, but this was our 3 year old daughter’s first trip so we figured we’d give it a shot. We really enjoyed the atmosphere, and of course my daughter loved meeting all of the princesses. While I didn’t think the food was outstanding, it was better than I had expected, based on past reviews. You definitely pay for the experience as a whole, rather than solely based on the quality of the food.

    I’m glad we did it, though we ate breakfast with the princesses at Akershus a few days later, and our entire party preferred that meal to CRT. I enjoyed the food more, and the vibe was more relaxed and less “assembly line” than at CRT. Still, I can’t say I regret dining in the castle–I think everyone should try it at least once. (And now, whenever we watch a Disney movie, when Cinderella’s castle appears in the opening credits my daughter proudly reminds us “I’ve been there!”)

  16. JanH. says:

    My husband and I have eaten here one time. There were no princesses and photos at the time. I think Cinderella was in the lobby, but we bypassed it. The food was very good. They had a larger menu and we were pleased with the service and the food. We will be trying this location again next Spring with our 7 year old granddaughter.

  17. Mary says:

    Just curious…
    What time would a family of 5 want to book dinner if they wanted to see the fireworks? Also, how do you request a special table for viewing? It will be our Anniversary and son’s birthday and wanted to have one special meal at the castle on our trip next year.
    Thank you so much! After reading all your comments, I am excited to have a magical experience!!

  18. AJ says:

    Mary — Probably book for an hour to an hour and a half before the fireworks are scheduled. When you check in at the podium downstairs, request a window/fireworks view table. They are few and far between, and I’m not sure there are any right next to the windows that seat 5, so don’t be disappointed if you’re not right next to the window.

  19. heidi says:

    The past 2 visits to WDW(2012/2013), I’ve gone to Cinderella’s Castle. Once for lunch with only 2 adults in our party and once for breakfast with 4 adults and 2 children in our party. On both occasions I was not really impressed with the food (It was good but much better is elsewhere in WDW that doesn’t cost nearly as much.). However, I LOVED watching my great-nieces with the princesses (pure joy!). The princesses spend a lot more time with you than at the other character dining restaurants even if there are not any children in your party.

    I highly recommend going if someone in your party (adult or child!) loves the princesses. However, if you are only going for the food it’s not the best WDW has to offer IMHO.

  20. Kathy says:

    How far in advance of your reservation time do you need to check in? I have read that it needs to be anywhere from 15 min up to 90 min before your reservation time. What does everyone suggest?

  21. Sandy says:

    We had our first dinner at the castle this past week. My 3 yr old told us it was her dream come true. I enjoyed the gnocchi and my husband the pork. However, the kids pizza was just ok, my picky eaters have had better pizzas multiple times in Disney World. The kids loved the decorate your own cupcake desserts. And having Jasmin come to the table was the highlight for our daughter. (Unfortunately we waited 70 mins to see her the day before in Epcot)

    Does anyone else think the formal pictures with the princesses are weird once you bring them home? It’s a great picture of the family, with some strange 20 something girl ?? Ha ha. ;)

  22. AJ says:

    Sandy — Ha ha! Your last paragraph cracks me up! :-)

  23. SG says:

    Hi. Just wondering…if we got a ressie at 8:20, do you think we would make seeing the fireworks inside? I think the fireworks may start at 8 pm. We are planning on going the first week of Jan. Thanks

  24. SG says:

    Hi. We are going the first week of Jan. I could get a ressie at 8:20. I thought that may be good for Wishes but then I noticed they start at 8 p.m. then. Do you think it would work out so we could see them inside some?

  25. RB says:

    FYI – “all you care to enjoy” has been removed from all CRT meal descriptions on the Disney website and servers are now denying additional portions to guests who request them. No word on whether portions sizes have been increased.

  26. Jill says:

    What time should we make our reservation so that we will be there during Wishes?

  27. lisa says:

    We went to CRT for dinner last week for my daughter’s 5th birthday. Our travel agent had put a note that we were celebrating my daughter’s birthday but we didnt mention it once there. When we were seated they said they had a special table for us and it was the same table you show in your picture. It was really neat sitting at window table and being able to view outside. They also had a special placemat at my daughter’s seat so all the princesses were aware it was her birthday and would wish her a happy birthday. Made her bday extra special. We also ordered the special cinderella chocolate slipper for my daughter and it was really good, we enjoyed it more then the desserts that came with the meal. We thought the meal was good not great but kind of knew we were paying for the experience of eating in the castle. I felt it was worth it to be able to meet 5 princesses without waiting in lines outside. For me, it was a cool experience for our daughter and I reccommend it if you have a princess obsessed daughter like mine. However, I don’t think I would spend the money to do it again. But def try once for the experience.

  28. Brittani G says:

    Can anyone tell me if we do not have the dining package how much this cost per person? Or even a family of 4?

    Thanks

  29. Jennifer G says:

    Brittany G I just booked 2 adults and 2 children and it was $262.00 :/

  30. Dawn says:

    What is the best time to book an dinner reservation, before/during fireworks? Sweet 16th birthday dinner in October…

  31. diane says:

    We booked for Oct 2014 6 months in advance which was the only days we could for 2 people online. We paid the whole bill which was 148.00 dollars which we will get 20 percent off when we arrive since we have tables in wonderland.

  32. Tiffany says:

    I just chatted with someone from Disney, and they told me this was not all you can eat. Have they gotten rid of this, or is it just something you have to ask for once you get there? They told me it would cost extra to order more than one item.

  33. Nikki says:

    No, I just ate lunch there on 7/3/14 and it is not all you can eat. They bring a set appetizer plate with hummus, aged gouda and a salad for the adults and grapes and cheese cubes for the kids. You have an option of about 6 entress and several deserts. The kids get a choice of about four entrees as well as a few deserts. The kids have the option of a salad or carrot sticks as an appetizer as well, all for one price. It is NOT all you can eat. I had the tenderloin salad and the mousse and it was tasty though.

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