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Review: 1900 Park Fare Dinner at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Today, we’re back at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa to take in dinner at 1900 Park Fare!

You  may remember that the last time we were here, we were…nonplussed…unimpressed…frustrated…should I go on? Basically, we really didn’t have a great experience. But, as I always say, the only consistent thing about Disney restaurants is that they’re inconsistent. And some guests think this restaurant is fantastic — a great alternative to hard-to-get advance dining reservations like Cinderella’s Royal Table.

So we’re back at this character buffet for another try… . While breakfast at 1900 Park Fare left us flat, this time around we’re checking out the dinner spread and hoping for the best!

Atmosphere

You’ll find 1900 Park Fare off of the ground floor lobby of the Grand Floridian Resort. As you walk in the hotel’s front doors, the restaurant is located to your left, just past the Concierge desk.

1900 Park Fare Sign

The antique carousel decor flows with the Victorian feel that you encounter throughout the resort. While you can’t see the individual items on this menu board that’s displayed out front of the restaurant, you can definitely see the attention to detail when it comes to theme.

Menu Board Outside of 1900 Park Fare

When you first arrive and check in for your reservation (you DID make a reservation, right?), you’ll be given a pager and told to wait in the Grand Floridian lobby to be called when your table is ready. Note: this often takes A. LONG. TIME. In my experience, I’ve never been seated at this restaurant within 10 minutes of my reservation time. I’m always waiting quite a while to be called to the table. So if you’ve got little ones who are starving, bring some snacks to tide them over just in case.

Once you’re called, you’ll be told to get in line to have your picture taken with this mural. No…you’re not getting your photo taken with a character. Just with the mural. This can be a fun memory for families, but you might want to skip the pic and head straight in for your meal. Be persistent and make sure they know you don’t want to take the photo. They’re pretty serious about getting you into that line.

Trompe l'Oeil Mural Outside of 1900 Park Fare

Once you head into the massive dining room, you’re greeted with more Victorian charm in pastel shades. Even without windows, the sheer size of the dining room makes it feel airy.

There is a main area with high ceilings in front of the buffet, and some smaller dining rooms surrounding it with lower ceilings. I prefer these areas for seating, since they tend to be slightly quieter.

Dining Area

Seating itself is fairly standard, with cushioned chairs and nondescript tables.

Seating

The main dining room makes the best use of the carousel theme. There are several large statues of fantasy carousel animals situated atop half walls and surrounded by plants. You should take a moment to look at these, because they’re really beautiful.

Calliope in the Background and Carousel Horse Statue

The wall overtop the entrance to the restaurant plays host to an enormous calliope, reminiscent of the intricate musical instruments that you find on antique carousels. This is one of my favorite parts of the dining room, since it’s one of the only truly unique decor elements here!

Carousel Glockenspiel with Figures

Characters

While breakfast may include any number of characters from Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins, and the Winnie the Pooh gang, dinner is all about Cinderella. Billed as the “Cinderella Happily Ever After Dinner,” all of the characters that we enjoyed during our meal were from that animated classic.

To begin, the Prince escorted Cinderella into the room.

Cinderella and Her Prince

Cinderella made her rounds about the room in solo fashion as well. And this is a great time to mention that in contrast to our last meal here, the character interaction was much better. Characters came around earlier in the meal, and seemed far less rushed than during our breakfast experience.

Cinderella

1900 Park Fare is a great place to come to see characters that you don’t often see in other spots. While princesses abound at Disney World, princes are a little more scarce. It’s nice to see the full cast here.

The Prince

The Prince and Cinderella never broke character, and really were wonderful in their roles. Every once in a while, they enjoy a special dance together that the kiddos watch with awe!

The Prince Executes a Courtly Bow to Cinderella

Another special treat — seeing the villains of the story! It’s always fun to interact with Lady Tremaine and hear what will come out of her mouth.

Lady Tremaine, the Wicked Stepmother

Next, we had a chance to chat with Anastasia.

Anastasia

And finally, Drizella — who was truly hilarious! Look at her awesome mug for this pic! Who is your favorite awkward stepsister?

Drizella

But the best thing about having the full cast of characters? An amazing chance for great photo opps.

After the prince dances with Cinderella, he saves some dances for the kids in the crowd. This is the best time to have a prince handy, I’m thinking!

The Prince Takes a Turn with a Pint-Sized Cinderella

And I’m pretty sure that other little dude is a might jealous! Well, time to take a look at the spread and see if all is happily ever after there as well.

Eats

The buffet at 1900 Park Fare is the classic Disney set up,  but you don’t have the food repeated on either side — everything is different here, so be sure to visit both sides of the buffet to see all the different options. And there’s some really fun, unexpected themeing here, too!

Buffet

The food has an international flair, and is representative of several “kingdoms” from around the globe. How fun is that?

Salads

Start your culinary trip around the world with a visit to the Salad Bar. First up, there are Mixed Greens and a Hearty Edamame Salad.

Mixed Greens and Hearty Edamame Salad

Housemade dressings include Mango Vinaigrette, Chili Cilantro, and House Dressing. Ranch Dressing was also available.

House Made Salad Dressings -- Mango Vinaigrette, Chili Cilantro, and House Dressing

The cold area also has traditional salad ingredients like Cherry Tomatoes and Sliced Onions to dress up your greens a bit.

Cherry Tomatoes and Red Onions

If you’d prefer it, there’s also a pre-made Caesar Salad that looked quite fresh during our visit.

Caesar Salad

The Nicoise Salad was also beautiful, and something different that I hadn’t seen on a Disney buffet before.

Nicoise Salad

There was a colorful Watercress Salad with Raisin Vinaigrette that looked interesting.

Watercress Salad with Raisin Vinaigrette

The Watermelon Tomato Salad with Onion Vinaigrette instantly reminded me of some of the dishes you’ll find at one of my other favorite buffets, Boma.

Watermelon Tomato Salad with Onion Vinaigrette

The Aromatic Cumin Cucumber Salad drew inspiration from Indian flavors, and seemed a good choice for summer.

Aromatic Cumin Cucumber Salad

Potato Salad featuring red potatoes and an herbed mayonnaise made for an interesting twist on a classic favorite.

Potato Salad

And cold Roasted Vegetable Salad also sounded refreshing!

Roasted Vegetable Salad with Balsamic White Wine Vinaigrette

A really beautiful Vegan Noodle Salad rounded out the cold offerings.

Vegan Noodle Salad

What an incredible variety of salads! It’s safe to say that if you like the cold parts of a buffet, or your leafy greens, then 1900 Park Fare will probably score big points for you.

Soups

A good amount of variety continued as we moved onto the Soups. To begin, there was a classic Chicken Noodle Soup.

Chicken Noodle Soup

The Corn Chowder, one of my favorites, was extremely rich and creamy.

Corn Chowder

The Tomato Florentine, on the other hand, wasn’t the creamy version that we sometimes see. But it looked flavorful and healthy, with lots of spinach.

Tomato Florentine Soup

Of course, one of 1900 Park Fare’s most famous dishes is the chilled Strawberry Soup, served with a garnish of fresh, whole strawberries.

Fresh Strawberries and Strawberry Soup

If you love cream and strawberries, then this one is for you! It’s rich and full-flavored; definitely worth a try. And if you love it, make it at home with our Strawberry Soup recipe!

Strawberry Soup -- Up Close

And whether you consider this specialty of the house a starter or a dessert, it’s fun to see it on both the breakfast and dinner menu!

Entrees and Sides

Time to turn our attention to the main course of the meal and check out Entrees and Sides.

Since bread isn’t a particular superstar on this spread, you’ll find some completely serviceable slices of house made Sourdough Bread nearby, to serve whatever purpose you’d like.

Bread

There’s another entire cold section here as well, with offerings substantial enough to comprise a meal. Peel and Eat Shrimp is available by the bowl full.

Peel and Eat Shrimp

And another guest favorite — Sushi! I know lots of friends who could make a meal out of this section alone!

Sushi Rolls

You’ll even find Pickled Ginger and Wasabi on standby to garnish your sushi plate.

Condiments for Sushi

I left the cold options to others, and headed for the hot bar. And indeed, I did find a lot of variety here, too.

The Chicken Marsala looked pretty inviting with a savory, wine-laced gravy. I thought it was a nice departure from normal Italian dishes that are typically dressed with tomato sauce.

Chicken Marsala

Another favorite that we’ve seen on the menus of both Sanaa and Boma is Durban Chicken. This fusion dish incorporates flavors of Indian food, but actually originated in South Africa. (Read our impressions of Sanaa’s Durban Chicken here, and Boma’s Durban Chicken here.)

Durban Chicken

From the northern kingdoms, we spied Guinness Beef Stew. And what an interesting take on the dish! The thick, rich beef stew was loaded with chunks of meat and vegetables. The whole thing is then topped with thinly-sliced potatoes, which are browned to a crispy finish! It was gorgeous!

Guinness Beef Stew

This was one of the winners of the night for me! It’s always fun to enjoy a new twist on a comforting classic.

Guinness Beef Stew on My Plate!

There are also lots of dishes to serve beside (or under) those saucy entrees. Fresh Broccoli garnished with Carrots always adds a nice, healthy patch of green to your plate.

Broccoli and Carrots

And if you’re looking for something to catch some of those sauces, these incredible Creamed Parmesan Potatoes are a fabulous choice.

Creamed Parmesan Potatoes

Jasmine Rice makes a good partner for the Durban Chicken, or a number of other dishes.

Jasmine Rice

If you enjoy a one pot meal, try the Paella, with chunks of chicken and shrimp.

Paella

The fish option was Salmon Filet that was baked in an Orange Glaze.

Salmon Filet with Orange Glaze

There are also a couple of creamy pasta options, including a Seafood Pasta Salad and Penne Pasta with Vegetables.

Seafood Pasta Salad

Penne Pasta with Vegetables

As to why there aren’t more pasta options on the buffet…well, the next section will shed some light on that!

Create Your Own Pasta

Continuing with the theme here of an unbelievable selection of tastes and flavors, guests can also take a hand in making their own supper at the Create Your Own Pasta Station.

Create Your Own Pasta Station

Guests really seem to love interactive stations like this, and it’s a great way to ensure that the dish you’re eating is exactly the way you’d like it to be.

Pasta Fixings

Choose your pasta, and add your choice of sauce, veggies, and toppings. Here’s my custom creation! (I always tend to make the same thing, don’ t I?)

My Finished Pasta

While the options here aren’t as extensive as the other Create Your Own Pasta bars like Hollywood and Vine (here’s a review of theirs) or Art of Animation’s Landscape of Flavors (see more here), it’s still a fun way to create something all your own.

Carving Station

As with most Disney buffets, the Carving Station is a popular spot for guests. The night we visited, they were featuring Pork Steamship (a giant pork roast) and Beef Strip Loin.

Pork Steamship and Beef Strip Loin

There were lots of flavorful accompaniments for the carved meats, including Horseradish, a Fruit Compote, and Sauces.

Accompaniments for Carved Meats

Sauces for Carved Meats

But wait! There’s more. Time to head to the kids’ section and see what you’ll find there.

Kids’ Corner

The Kids’ Corner provides some good options for children in your group — as well as less adventurous eaters. After all, there’s no age restriction on the foods here. :-)

One thing I definitely am noticing lately is the Disney commitment to offering healthier kid food options. While you still see many of the same players, there are some more nutritious choices these days. For instance, there’s Baked Chicken rather than chicken nuggets at 1900 Park Fare — something we’re seeing a lot of on kids’ buffets these days.

Baked Chicken

And while the Cheese Pizza isn’t labeled as “multigrain” or “whole grain”, it definitely appears to have a crust made with more than just white flour.

Cheese Pizza

Some kid-friendly vegetables are on the menu, too, like Corn and Green Beans.

Corn

Green Beans

But what’s a kids’ buffet without Macaroni and Cheese?

Macaroni and Cheese

Mashed Potatoes (which look quite a bit like the grown up version) are also available for the kids.

Mashed Potatoes

And for your pickiest of eaters, there’s Whole Grain Macaroni and Marinara, which you can mix in proportion according to your taste.

Whole Grain Elbow Pasta and Marinara Sauce

The sauce looked pretty great — nice and chunky.

Desserts

Finally! We’ve made our way to the sweet stop.

While most buffets around Disney group the fresh fruit with the salads, here you’ll find fruit with desserts. You can choose from Grapes or a Fresh Fruit Medley.

Grapes

Mixed Fresh Fruit

Next, there’s a good selection of options for the kiddos, including freshly-baked Cookies and Brownies, as well as Krispie Treats.

Cookies

Brownies

Krispie Treats

And you can garnish to your heart’s content with Candy and Gummies! Though, interestingly, there was not an option for a make-your-own sundae with soft ice cream here like there is at many Disney buffets.

Candy and Gummies for Kids

Small, two-bite treats make it easy to choose from a nice variety of miniature pastries. I love this approach, which allows you to try a little of everything without wasting. You know I had to try the Carrot Cake!

Carrot Cake

There were mini Cheesecakes, garnished with fresh raspberries.

Cheesecake

The Fruit Tarts always look inviting, and the Chocolate Mousse Tarts have lots of fans.

Fruit Tarts and Chocolate Mousse

Another of my favorites, Key Lime Tarts, feature a fun twist that I love — they’re served in chocolate crusts with browned meringue on top. Yum!

Key Lime Tarts

There were also two warm desserts available — Apple Cobbler and Bread Pudding. There was a cold Vanilla Sauce offered to garnish both of the desserts.

Apple Cobbler

Bread Pudding

Vanilla Sauce

I was in an apple-kinda mood, so that’s the option I went with. That streusel topping looked so good to me.

Apple Cobbler with Vanilla Sauce -- Up Close

And smothered with the vanilla sauce, this was a perfect sweet ending to my meal!

Overall

After a less than memorable breakfast experience at 1900 Park Fare, my expectations weren’t particularly high for dinner. In fact, I wasn’t really looking forward to this meal much.

However, I was pleasantly surprised with a much better experience this go-round! Our service was far better than during our first visit, which made the biggest difference for us. And the timing with character encounters made the flow of our meal effortless. I didn’t feel rushed or like I was missing anything, and the characters themselves seemed eager to spend time with each guest.

As for the food, I found the choices to be interesting, diverse, and well above the average as far as taste goes. With a menu boasting international flair, this is one stop on the Disney dining trail that has something for everyone. After this latest experience, I feel much more comfortable recommending 1900 Park Fare for your next Disney Character dining experience.

Is 1900 Park Fare a favorite Disney dining destination for you? Leave a comment below and tell us about your experience!

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29 Comments

  1. Colette says:

    Great review :)
    I’m adding this meal to my next trip. I like eating at the resort hotels cos I think depending what restaurant it is that it adds a bit more magic. I like that this is the one character meal where you actually see one of the Disney Prince’s. They need to include them more in the parks and at character meals! I also think that because its in a resort hotel most people don’t bother because they feel that all the special dining is in the parks, it sometimes works out cheaper to eat at a character meal at a resort than in the park and it includes more or less the same character.

  2. Sue says:

    Great review. I never would have guessed that the dining rooms would look so plain by Disney standards. It reminds me of ice cream parlors where I grew up. But the food looks pretty good, and I like to take my kids to character meals, so it might make the list next trip. You’ve at least made me give it serious consideration.

  3. Brent says:

    I have been to both breakfast and dinner at Park Fare, and enjoyed the dinner far better. I found it more relaxed and the characters took more time with my girls. We are going back for dinner for our first day at Disney this coming trip.

  4. Alan says:

    I’m not big on character meals, but that interesting assortment of dishes sure looks good. The choice of salads and casseroles is impressive.

  5. Cheryl D says:

    Thank you for the excellent (as always) review. The pictures of the food are so good, and your descriptions of everything about the restaurant and the meal really make us feel like we know exactly what to expect if we go there. It has been so many years since we were there, I honestly think the restaurant was in a different part of the building!

  6. JJ says:

    I had the most amazing meal prepared by Chef TJ here last fall. I didn’t even eat off the buffet. Just a heads up though, we had an early dinner here before MNSSHP and the step-sisters weren’t there. Not sure if that’s a coomon occurance or not, but we were disappointed. We’ll just have to plan to go back soon!

  7. Betsy says:

    Your photos are quite lovely and from the ease of your pictures and the lack of people sitting at tables, I do wonder, what time was your dinner reservation? My guess was this wasn’t a Thursday – Sunday night dinner with lots and lots of children when you chose your ADR. I am curious, though. I’m glad to hear that the food was up to your standards this time. It’s so much better when we anticipate a terrible time and then are wonderfully surprised when things are lovely.

  8. Thomas says:

    Yes, Dinner at 1900 is better than Breakfast. But, you’re still dining in a hotel ballroom. The decor is perfunctory and it’s way below the standards of what I consider fine-dining at a Disney eatery.

  9. Barbara says:

    the food here makes it worth the trip, remember: the chefs that create here work at Grand Floridian, same resort as you will find Vicky & Al’s, and that one beginning with an N that I can’t spell! Loved everything about it! Lady Tramaine offered me her the two daughters when I told her I had single step sons…it was tempting, but the girls looked too high maintenance!

  10. Katie B says:

    We were there last week and the choices were quite different (apart from the dessert which was the same) so they must vary the buffet by day of the week. We thought it was excellent – second only to Boma as far as Disney buffets go. We also enjoyed the breakfast, one of the better Disney buffet breakfasts in our opinion, in terms of both food and character interaction. And the Grand Floridian resort is so beautiful. We loved looking around the shops and having a peek at the pools afterwards. Dinner will certainly be a must do for our next trip, and I would recommend the breakfast too.

  11. Michelle says:

    We ate there two years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. The characters and the interactions were totally worth the trip! The food was tasty and a great variety. We’re not food snobs so it was just fine! It has become our new “first night dinner” tradition.

  12. Linda Smith says:

    We love to eat at Park Fare. We love the breakfast as well as the dinner. We ate there a couple of weeks ago. Their caesar salad is the best we have found at DisneyWorld. They have such a variety of food for everyone. Excellent service and good character interaction.

  13. Dale Knight says:

    Meh . . . Had breakfast here once a few years ago. Will never go back . . .

  14. Corrie says:

    Best meal of our whole trip and we will be going back this trip no doubt! Chef TJ has done an amazing job for vegetarians to have a ton of options. Plus due to allergies he offered to make a dish for us, five dishes later I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Best Birthday meal ever!

  15. Michelle says:

    Also should mention that it is a very good presentation as well. Some buffet places just throw the food in steel trays and it can look less than appetizing. However, PF does a pretty good job of making it look appealing.

  16. Andrea says:

    Our family of 4 really enjoyed our meal here in 2010 and Chef TJ also prepared an amazing veggie meal for me (the best meal of my trip) ! – I was so full I didn’t even have room for dessert (which is very unusual for me !!). Definitely on our list to revisit when we head to WDW in Oct.

  17. Essie says:

    We went for the first time last year after Thanksgiving and loved it. We checked in and then enjoyed the choir singing Christmas music at the big tree and thoroughly enjoyed the giant gingerbread house! Our meal was wonderful! The food and atmosphere were good and the characters were on spot. My one BFF (who loves Cindy) kept saying, “This is great!.” We had so much fun with the Stepmother and sisters that we were laughing our heads off! The sisters were singing to us (off key!). If the Cindy characters are one of your groups favorites, be sure to let the manager. I did and it paid off big time. Great review, thanks.

  18. Jimofh says:

    Great set of pictures AJ — don’t think anyone could top that for thorough coverage and great looking shots! When did you have time to eat!?!

  19. JoAnn says:

    I enjoyed breakfast there last year. I will have to try dinner on a future trip.

  20. Keith says:

    Nothing looks good or interesting…I guess that is what you get with a buffet. Thanks for the info.

  21. Rhonda says:

    We have eaten here twice. Both times were really nice. The food is great and the characters are real characters. Listening to the Evil Stepsisters sing “Beauty and the Beast” in a chicken voice was incredible! My DD always has her hair done up and wears a tiara. The Stepmother asked her which kingdom she represented! Those were two beautiful nights.

  22. Marion Durham says:

    Drusella took notice of my then 12-year old red-headed middle son when we ate at 1900 Park Fare. She danced with him, kissed him on the cheek, asked if he was a prince, etc. Hilarious! Made our night. Great character interaction for sure!

  23. EJ says:

    Love, love, love 1900 Park Fare. My family eats here each time we go to WDW. In fact our tradition is to eat here our very first night. Even my Dad enjoys the all the carved meats. My sister and her fiancé went to WDW with his family and they did not eat here (or at any other character meal). She felt deprived of something special on her Disney vacation.

  24. EJ says:

    Forgot to add that on our last visit we all wore matching t-shirts with Lady Tremaine on them. The reaction from Lady Tremaine and the two step-sisters was hysterical :-)

  25. Kevin says:

    We’ve eaten here 3 times over the years and really enjoy it. I agree the decor isn’t much, but the food has been quite good and the character interactions have been great.

    I do miss the sof-serve ice cream they used to have, though.

  26. RC says:

    We just recently, January 14, 2014, visited 1900 Park Fare for dinner with Cinderella and Company, and I must admit, the character interaction was by far the best part of our meal. The stepsisters are just incredible. Unfortunately, perhaps we caught the chef on an off day, but the food was not up to par at all. In fact, I actually got sick from the meal. We weren’t sure if it was the Asian ribs or the quite cold orange glazed salmon, but something did not work for my stomach at all. We usually give restaurants two tries before deciding, because even chefs can have a bad day, but according to my husband, one visit at 1900 Park Fare was enough for us. Alternative suggestion…Crystal Palace!!

  27. Joel says:

    Made dinner reservations at 6 pm….didnt get seated until after 7 pm. Manager said table before us overstayed….she was apologetic but not overly accomodating. The food was okay but nothing to write home about….buffet style cuisine. The meals at other locations were actually much better. I was expecting more from the Grand Floridian. The characters were very good however and the kids loved that part.

  28. Suzie says:

    To tomas
    if you can manage to get a seat where the windows are its much much better looking. I remember having breakfast here as a kid and thinking what a really nice place. Took me forever to find out it was park fare because all the picture I seen of park fare look nothing like what I remember until it hit me, we were seated where the windows was and it made for a better and brighter room.

  29. Michele says:

    How long does the dinner last? I am booking the Pirate cruise after the dinner so I want enough time to get from the dinner to the Contemporary. Thanks

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