Review: Lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Be Our Guest Restaurant in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom was an overnight sensation, and has stayed at the top of every Disney fans’ must-get-a-reservation list.

The crazy to get a table has reached epic proportions and has resulted in an unprecedented move: this counter-service-at-lunch spot now offers Advance Dining Reservations. (Previously, Be Our Guest tested lunch Fast Passes. See more information on the move to ADRs here.) Dinner, which continues to be table service, also requires ADRs just as soon as your 180-day window opens.

And now, after hearing rumors forever, Be Our Guest just started testing Breakfast Service. We had a chance to try it for ourselves the very first morning it was served!

Be Our Guest Restaurant sign

Be Our Guest Restaurant sign

I’ve enjoyed all three meals here. The food has been good to great, and the impeccable themeing make this a must-do experience at least once.

Gargoyle Light Post and Waterfall

Scenery Begins Before You Ever Enter the Castle: Gargoyle Light Post and Waterfall

But I never like to assume a place continues to be awesome — especially a spot as busy as this. It’s very easy for busy restaurants to nose dive in the quality department, and to trade on their fame alone. And so, it’s become pretty important to me to check in with Be Our Guest periodically to see if I’d still recommend that you fight the good fight to get a table here. And that’s just what I did on a recent lunch visit.

Join me, won’t you?

Atmosphere

Be Our Guest has taken a hybrid approach to service since day one. While dinner is a table service meal, lunch continues to be…not so much counter service, as upscale quick service. But now there’s officially a twist to lunch — you can (and totally, totally should) book an Advance Dining Reservation (ADR for short). So you’ll check in for lunch much the same as you do for dinner.

Check In for Be Our Guest Restaurant

Check In for Be Our Guest Restaurant

My, how things have changed. Thanks to ADRs (and the fact that standby waiting often isn’t even available), the routinely crazy-long line for lunch doesn’t start up at the crack of 10AM anymore.

Be Our Guest Entrance

Be Our Guest Entrance

Wanna see what I mean? Here’s a view from the pre-ADR lunch days. Yikes!

Lunch Line at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Lunch Line at Be Our Guest Restaurant

But don’t get any ideas that you’re just going to stroll in for a quick look-see. Nearly the only ticket that will gain you access to Beast’s Castle is an ADR.

Entrance Into the West Wing

Entrance

Once you’re through the entrance (woo! You made it!), be sure to take in every detail. Be Our Guest is truly a gem, and a stunning example of Disney’s ability to imagine and bring to real life the animated worlds that they’ve created.

To your left, you can see just what I mean. Fans of the film will remember the backstory of Beauty and the Beast at the beginning of the film, told through a series of stained glass windows. And in the final scenes of the film, a new window is shown — with Belle and her Prince. You’ll find the scene immortalized in a mosaic at Be Our Guest.

Belle and Prince Stained Glass Window

Belle and Prince Stained Glass Window

But to get your lunch party started, you’ll actually head to your right, down the Gallery. The narrow passageway is lined with shining suits of armor standing at attention — and it’s one of my favorite spots in the restaurant.

Whispering Suits of Armour

Enchanted Suits of Armour

These Enchanted Suits of Armour whisper, crack jokes, and generally just have a good time.

More Whispering Suits of Armour

More Enchanted Suits of Armour

I’m going to take you a little out of the normal DFB sequence here so that we keep the order of how things work at Be Our Guest. Once you leave the Gallery, you enter the ordering area. And this is why I don’t call Be Our Guest a counter service spot. Here, you can see to the right the Digital Menu Boards that feature lunch items.

Digital Menu Boards

Digital Menu Boards

And directly ahead, there are kiosks. Some are manned with Cast Members who can take your order, and others are available for guests to enter their information directly. I chose the self serve option.

Instructions for Ordering

Instructions for Ordering

From there, the detailed menu took me through each stage of ordering. Here are the adult options. A “1” over the item indicates that it is part of our order. Because I had a FastPass to dine at Be Our Guest (this was before the restaurant changed to ADRs), I pre-ordered, making the ordering process slightly faster once I got there. It was just a matter of confirming our choices.

Digital Touchscreen Kiosk Menu -- Entrees

Digital Touchscreen Kiosk Menu — Entrees

And here’s a screen which shows you Kids’ Meal options. We had pre-selected a meal for the child in our party as well.

Digital Touchscreen Kiosk Menu -- Kids' Meals

Digital Touchscreen Kiosk Menu — Kids’ Meals

An additional pop-up menu for the Kids’ Meal gave us the opportunity to change up any beverages or side dishes.

Digital Touchscreen Kiosk Menu -- Kids' Picks Options

Digital Touchscreen Kiosk Menu — Kids’ Picks Options

Digital Touchscreen Kiosk Menu -- Kids Picks Options

Digital Touchscreen Kiosk Menu — Kids’ Picks Options

It’s at this point that you pay. Once payment is taken care of, you either receive a [Read more…]

Guest Review: Dinner at Les Chefs de France in Epcot

Join us in welcoming guest author Eric Lane! Today, he’s sharing a review of Les Chefs de France in Walt Disney World’s Epcot. Bon Appetit!

Based on its location and consistently solid food quality it’s no wonder that Les Chefs is one of the most popular establishments in Epcot.

Atmosphere

Sitting right on the promenade of World Showcase Lagoon, Chefs de France is a prominent restaurant. Built to replicate a French bistro, the large open interior is fronted by a long, glass sunroom. Those walking along the World Showcase Lagoon can see the diners all the way in the back, and those in the back can see all of those walking by.

Les Chefs de France Window Tables

Our reservation was at 8:50PM and a positively bubbly maître d’ seated us right in the middle of the sunroom window. Seats against the glass were for two, we were one row away from the window. Because the whole restaurant is an open room, you can see all the waiters, everyone getting up and down, and all the people walking outside.

Les Chefs de France Back Sunroom at Night

A large floodlight outside provided an amber warmth that calmed all the hustle and bustle.

Front of Les Chefs de France at Night

We ate as the restaurant closed and slowly cleared until it was just our table and about 5 others when we were finished at 9:45PM.

Eats

Since we were at a French restaurant I decided to start with the French onion soup. The cheese was a little sharper than I thought it would be, which caught me off guard. Although unexpected it added a welcome bite to the flavor. The onion and beef flavors were much more subtle, but the cheese didn’t overpower them.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

Another unusual touch was that I got the heel of the bread, which made it a little difficult to cut out a good hunk of bread with my spoon. Overall good, but not enough to stop me from sampling another appetizer next time I eat here.

The next dish was the ungainly titled “Filet de Saumon, pommes de terre ecrasess, au buerre et chboulette, sur coulis de tomate et poivron rouge.” That was the bold faced name of the dish, but instead of saying it while ordering or the direct English translation of “broiled salmon, smashed potatoes with butter and chives, served on a tomato and red pepper sauce” I was able to get away with just asking for the salmon filet. I appreciated that the sauce was not served on the salmon, but placed on the plate before the potatoes and salmon. It let me dip the salmon in the slightly spicy sauce and get just the right amount on the fish for my taste.

Salmon

Salmon

The salmon itself was perfectly cooked and seasoned with a little black pepper and just enough other spices to bring out the flavor of the fish. The potatoes were simple and added nothing of note to the dish other than a starch. It was a good, straightforward main course. (Note; the accompaniments on this dish have changed on the menu since the review was written.)

My friend, who despite not being a foodie is my BDFF (best Disney friend forever), had the baked macaroni with cream and gruyere cheese. She enjoyed it but I absolutely loved it. Flavorful, simple, and among the best [Read more…]

Guest Review: Dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant in Disney’s Magic Kingdom

The uber-popular restaurant, Be Our Guest, serves a quick service lunch and table service dinner at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Sharing her dinner experience, guest author Rebecca Elliott takes us inside the Beast’s Castle!

Atmosphere

My family and I have always been big Beauty & the Beast fans. Which made it such a surprise that, prior to the grand opening of the new Fantasyland in 2012, Disney World didn’t have a whole lot of Beauty & the Beast attractions.

All that changed with the opening of Be Our Guest, a spectacularly themed restaurant set in the Beast’s castle. It’s almost as if Disney is trying to make up for its previous lack of Beauty & the Beast material by creating this over-the-top, lavish dining experience.

A View of the Castle from Across the Bridge

A View of the Castle from Across the Bridge

As you can imagine, dinner reservations are hard to come by. Guests staying on site are able to make advance dining reservations (ADR) 180 days in advance. Since our plans came together rather spur of the moment, we attempted to make a reservation about 60 days out. Of course, none were available. However, we kept trying several times over the next week and, unbelievably, someone must have cancelled and we got our reservation for 6:30pm.

Gargoyle Outside the Castle

Gargoyle Outside the Castle

Atmosphere

Hats off to the designers and Imagineers that brought the Beast’s castle to life. Every nook and cranny of this restaurant makes you feel like you’re in the movie. We checked in at the desk at the foot of the bridge outside of the restaurant, then crossed over and waited outside the castle until our buzzer went off.

It was fun to take in the details even the exterior of the building had to offer. Giant lion statues flanked heavy wooden doors with a tile mosaic above the threshold featuring the famous enchanted rose. (Roses became almost like Hidden Mickeys; they are featured consistently throughout the décor. It was fun to find them everywhere, from the napkins, to the chairs, to the sculptures and more).

The Entrance of Heavy Wooden Doors with Rose Tile Work

The Entrance of Heavy Wooden Doors with Rose Tile Work

Even the Napkins Carry Out the Rose Theme

Even the Napkins Carry Out the Rose Theme

Entering the castle is truly like entering the movie. Theming in Disney restaurants has always been ambitious, but Be Our Guest is their best interpretation of a film in real form. Don’t rush to the restaurant – you’ll want to take a closer look at the gargoyles holding up the archway. Even more, you don’t want to miss the tile mosaic of Belle and the Beast dancing, which is a re-creation of the very last scene in the movie.

This Guy’s Got a Tough Gig – Holding Up the Castle

This Guy’s Got a Tough Gig – Holding Up the Castle

Belle and the Beast Tile Mosaic in the Entry

Belle and the Beast Tile Mosaic in the Entry

We were greeted by a cast member at the inside host desk who informed us we would be eating in the West Wing. I nearly fainted. I had no idea where our reservation would be, and I certainly didn’t think it would be in the West Wing. We were very, very excited!

It is perpetually evening in the castle, no matter what time of day you go. To get to the West Wing, the cast member guided us through the Ballroom. Holy smokes! Stepping in there was like stepping into the scene of Belle and the Beast dancing, with Mrs. Potts singing, “Beauty & the Beast” in the background. The ceiling is painted with cherubs and clouds, the crystal chandeliers let off a soft, warm glow, and when we looked out the windows overlooking the terrace, it was snowing! We had read about this, but until we saw it, we didn’t realize what a truly magical effect it was.

The Dramatic Ballroom

The Dramatic Ballroom

The Hand Painted Ceiling in the Ballroom Takes Your Breath Away!

The Hand Painted Ceiling in the Ballroom Takes Your Breath Away!

Snow Falls Outside the Windows, Setting the Scene for an Enchanted Night in the Castle

Snow Falls Outside the Windows, Setting the Scene for an Enchanted Night in the Castle

We made our way to the West Wing, which was equally dramatic. The setting is a dark and stormy evening. Thunder and lightening can be heard and seen in the background. There is the painting of the Beast as a young man, complete with claw marks, just like in the movie. (Tip: Keep an eye on the portrait; it changes into the Beast himself with a flash of lightening!)

The Beast’s Portrait in the West Wing, Appropriately Scarred

The Beast’s Portrait in the West Wing, Appropriately Scarred

The most dramatic element of the West Wing is the enchanted rose. It floats beneath a glass dome, its petals falling. I have no idea how they created this effect (hologram?), but again, it is just like the movie.

The Enchanted Rose in the West Wing Was Truly a Sight to See

The Enchanted Rose in the West Wing Was Truly a Sight to See

My daughter and I decided to take in the Rose Gallery. Here is where things got a little confusing. The Rose Gallery is huge – not as big as the Ballroom, but certainly bigger than the West Wing. And it was empty. There were a couple of tables with guests, but the rest of the dining room remained unseated. This was perplexing, because reservations were so hard to come by. It looked as if the few tables that were seated were overflow from the main dining room. The rest of the tables weren’t even set. I understand this room is typically full at lunch. Why not utilize it at dinner? (Editor’s Note: At dinner, the Rose Gallery is often used as a food preparation area instead of a seating area.)

Belle and Beast Take Center Stage in the Rose Gallery

Belle and Beast Take Center Stage in the Rose Gallery

Tapestries Depicting Scenes from the Movie Hang in the Rose Gallery

Tapestries Depicting Scenes from the Movie Hang in the Rose Gallery

More Tapestries

More Tapestries

I should mention here another feature of the dining room. About every 15 minutes or so, a clock chimes and you can hear the Beast being introduced. Because we were seated in the West Wing, we saw him make his entrance into the dining room. He walked out, waved to the diners, and made his way to the picture taking spot at the other end of the restaurant, greeting guests along the way.

We thought this was a fun touch. The picture area is the quick service ordering spot during lunch. On our way out, we had our picture taken with him. He was very kind and accommodating.

Beast Making His Way Through the Dining Room

Beast Making His Way Through the Dining Room

Guests exit the restaurant through a hallway lined with suits of armor. I was reminded of the scene in Beauty & the Beast when Cogsworth gives Belle a tour of the castle. They walk through a similar hallway. Make sure you listen closely – some of the suits of armor talk!

Suits of Armor Line the Exit Hallway

Suits of Armor Line the Exit Hallway

Some of the Suits of Armor Were a Little Chatty!

Some of the Suits of Armor Were a Little Chatty!

Eats

We were seated and promptly greeted by our server, who informed us that Be Our Guest offers beer and wine, the first restaurant ever to do so in the Magic Kingdom. We don’t drink, but noticed several guests were taking advantage of this new offering. Instead, all three of us ordered the all-natural lemonade sweetened with organic cane juice and topped with wildberry foam. It was delicious. (FYI, even though this drink is non-alcoholic and we didn’t order it in the commemorative chalice, there were no refills and it is not considered a fountain beverage.)

All Natural Lemonade with Wildberry Foam

All Natural Lemonade with Wildberry Foam

The menu at Be Our Guest is French themed, thought not authentic French. Still, it was one of the better meals we experienced on our trip. We were participating in the Disney Deluxe Dining plan, so each of us ordered an appetizer, an entrée, and a dessert.

To start, I selected the assorted cured meats and sausages. Please note, this dish serves two, but I made a pretty good dent in it all by myself! It is served with a whole loaf of bread, some delicious pate, cured meats (prosciutto, ham), sausages, mustard, cornichons, some tart jam, and cheese. I truly enjoyed this dish. A lot of Disney food tends to the mildly seasoned. This dish was bursting with savory flavors and a variety of textures. It was very satisfying, and could easily serve as an entrée.

Assorted Cured Meats and Sausages

Assorted Cured Meats and Sausages

My daughter tried the [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Soup!

It’s freezing…well, just about everywhere. AND, it’s National Soup Month! So I thought it was time to add some brand new bowls of comfort to our Disney Food Pics of the Week Series.

It’s always so fun to flip through the fantastic photos that our members post on the Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza, our Flickr group. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, head over there! It’s great for a virtual trip to Disney, or even some fun inspiration for planning your next trip — or your next meal!

Cheddar Cheese Soup from Le Cellier

Ah, we couldn’t kick off a soup post without sharing a photo of one of your favorites and mine — Cheddar Cheese Soup from Le Cellier! It’s such a luxury to have a whole bowl of it! But it’s also nice to get a taste at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival each Fall. Only ten months to go! Woo!!

Photographer: Nancy RK

Cheddar Cheese Soup at Le Cellier

Cheddar Cheese Soup at Le Cellier

French Onion Soup from Les Chefs de France

There is nothing better than [Read more…]

The “Everything On the Menu!!” Dinner Review of Be Our Guest Restaurant in Disney World

Mystery has surrounded the creation of the Beauty and the Beast-themed Be Our Guest Restaurant — Disney’s newest dining location — since we first saw the Be Our Guest Restaurant concept art!

From the announcement that beer and wine would be served for the first time at a Magic Kingdom restaurant to our most recent Be Our Guest guest review, we’ve explored the Beast’s domain from afar.

Be Our Guest Bridge Entrance

Well, not anymore. I finally was able to dine at the Be Our Guest Restaurant in the New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom! And over the course of several meals I (and my various dining companions) ordered everything on the menu. (Well, the adult menu anyway.) I know how important it is to know what you’re getting when you’re planning your dining in Disney World, and I wanted to be thorough with this one for you guys.

After months (and months) of speculation about the decor and menu, stepping inside Be Our Guest Restaurant was truly exciting.

Be Out Guest Restaurant Check-In Area

After dining there several times this weekend, I’m anxious to bring to you my take on the food, beverages, and decor. So, let’s get started…

Atmosphere

Guests begin their experience by checking in at the Bridge entrance — a bit like a Gatekeeper’s area. This is where you make your requests for a dining room if you’d like — the Ballroom or West Wing (the Rose Gallery is usually used only for lunch, though some overflow tables are seated there during dinner currently).

Once you’re checked in, you’ll be given a pager and asked to wait on the bridge. Once your page goes off, head toward the large restaurant entrance to be greeted by the Beast’s servant who will take you to your table!

Be Our Guest Restaurant Entry Doors

Beast's Servant Leads Us To Our Table

Once you’re inside the castle, be sure to peek into the Beast’s Study. It’s the room where lunch guests make their orders, and is located right through the hallway where the Knights are all whispering to one another!

In the study, you might see Beast himself greeting his guests!

This was a surprise for those of us dining at the restaurant the first night of reservations. We’d all been told that Beast would not appear, but at 45 minute intervals throughout the evening he walks through the restaurant (with great fanfare and cheering) and then settles in [Read more…]

Guest Review: Be Our Guest Restaurant Lunch in the Magic Kingdom

Thanks to my colleague Zanna DiMarzio from Zannaland, for sharing her lunchtime counter-service experience at Be our Guest Restaurant. We love her honest take on things at the Magic Kingdom’s newest restaurant. To read a Be Our Guest Restaurant Dinner Review, click here.

I have been lucky enough to walk through the Beauty and the Beast-themed Be Our Guest Restaurant a few times since “Dress Rehearsals” first began for New Fantasyland. Although with each visit, even though I saw a bit more of the space, I was still missing out on seeing the two additional dining rooms as well as actually eating there.

Floor Mosaic at Be Our Guest Restaurant

That all changed today, when I got to enjoy the Be Our Guest Restaurant Quick Service lunch and venture into the West Wing and the Rose Gallery dining rooms. I was just a little bit excited!

Before we get to the food, however, let’s discuss exactly how things work at Be Our Guest for lunch.

Atmosphere and Mechanics

When you walk in to the restaurant, you are directed down the hallway to the right, flanked by three suits of armor on each side. These suits of armor are, of course, enchanted, and actually speak to each other, sing a little, snore a little, and sneeze every now and then.

Suits of Armor in Entry Hallway (c) Disney

For the time I was standing in there, the knights ribbing each other and talking back and forth reminded me of the main Tiki Birds joking with each other. It was really fun.

As you wait, menu screens in the center of the hallway switch to show you photos of the food you are about to order, making it much easier to [Read more…]

Guest Review: Be Our Guest Restaurant Dinner at the Magic Kingdom

We are absolutely thrilled to bring you our first review of dinner at the Be Our Guest Restaurant in the New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Welcome guest author Amy Gagliardi with details of her experience during an unexpected Be Our Guest Restaurant preview night!

Be Our Guest Sneak Preview Walk-In Experience

Serendipity is one of my favorite things about visiting Disney. The unexpected coincidence of events that can make any moment a truly magical memory has come to be what I expect from each visit. This is how I came to dine at Be Our Guest Restaurant. It was quite by accident and good fortune.

My husband Peter was given a tip by a server at dinner one night that Be Our Guest would be taking walk ins the following night. He recommended we go to the podium and ask if we could dine and that is exactly what we did.

With a simple walk to the outside reservation podium, we were able to be seated for any time that we selected. In addition to myself, our party of five consisted of my husband, a friend of the family, our youngest daughter Faith and her boyfriend Jon.

Atmosphere

We were thrilled and filled with anticipation as we were escorted beyond the heavy wooden castle doors and through a foyer, which brought us to the Ballroom dining room in which we were seated. The hostess and server seemed as delighted to be a part of the dining experience as we were. The congenial warmth of the staff contributed to a feeling of hominess even in such a grand surrounding.

We were invited to wander at will throughout the 3 dining areas. We truly felt like guests as we strolled through the West Wing and Rose Gallery and wondered in awe.

Panoramic View of The Rose Gallery

The rooms connected to each other with smooth thematic transitions.

Walkway Between Ballroom and Rose Gallery

The dimly lit rooms, common to each sitting area, reinforced an enchanted fairy tale atmosphere supporting the Beauty and the Beast story line.

From our table in the Ballroom we could see the large painting of the Beast as a handsome prince, which stands tall in the West Wing. At intervals we could hear a crashing of distant thunder and at that moment, like a stroke of a clock, the face on the portrait would turn to its Beastly counterpart.

Princely Beast

With faux snowfall gently trickling across a midnight blue back drop behind a window on the back wall of the Ballroom, we relaxed into our seats to view a rose theme at out table.

Rose Themed Menu

From the rose on the cover of the menu to the rose-like folding of the deeply red napkins, we were transported to another time. The room was filled with [Read more…]

Best Disney Soups

We threw out an inquiry asking for favorite Disney soups and got back a crockful of great ideas! Soups are satisfying meals and hearty snacks and can really warm you up on a chilly park day. Disney’s been working overtime creating memorable ones!

The Best Disney Soups

Thanks to our DFB readers and Facebook Friends for sharing their soup suggestions via the Disney Food Blog Facebook page!

Gorgonzola Onion Soup with Pear and Bacon Garnish at Grand Floridian Cafe

The hands down favorite soup mentioned was the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup at Epcot’s Le Cellier. Honorable mentions go to the soup selection at Boma and the French Onion Soup at Les Chefs de France.

Let’s take a look at the winners, then drool over the runners-up and a few of my own new favorites!

Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup

Made with Moosehead beer and bacon, the Canadian Cheddar Cheese soup is one of the reasons you should secure a coveted reservation at Le Cellier!

Sooth your soup craving and try the Cheddar Cheese Soup recipe at home.

Cheddar Cheese Soup at Le Cellier Steakhouse

Kathy B. exclaims “It is the BOMB!!!”

Margaret C. even has a cost-saving tip. She suggests [Read more…]

Review: Les Chefs de France Restaurant in Epcot

I can remember, years and years ago, while visiting Epcot with my parents on one of my family’s “Easter vacations,” we approached the Worldkey kiosk to book a reservation in France for that evening’s meal. All I knew — around age 7 — is that I probably hated French food, and I was 100% ready to dislike this restaurant.

Well, things have apparently changed in my old age. I’ve enjoyed all of the food I’ve ever had in the “real” country of France, and the same goes for anything I’ve had in the Epcot version of the place as well. Especially at Chefs de France.

Atmosphere

Les Chefs de France sits in a quaint corner of Epcot’s World Showcase, just across the bridge from the UK pavilion and the International Gateway.

Les Chefs de France

The restaurant is, aesthetically, one of my very favorites in Walt Disney World. With walls of windows framing a classic French bistro dining room, it’s one of the only restaurants that truly makes me feel as though I’m dining in a foreign location. (I can recall dining in a restaurant in Paris that looked a heck of a lot like this one, in fact!)

Front of Les Chefs de France at Night

Once inside the restaurant, everything is done in dark woods, beige, and [Read more…]