Guest Review: Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

While an exclusive meal at the Chef’s Table at Victoria & Albert’s is a unique experience, the main dining room exudes romance. This week, guest author Michelle Buchecker reviews this table service restaurant at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.

Located on the second floor in the main building of the Grand Floridian Resort, Victoria and Albert’s puts the “fine” in “fine dining”.

This table-service restaurant has won many awards and accolades for its fine food and superb service. The restaurant is divided into three seating areas: Main Dining room, Queen Victoria’s room, and Chefs Table. The Chefs table is in the kitchen. There is only 1 table and it often books well in advance. The Queen Victoria room seats 8 people and has only 1 seating a night. The 8 people may be all 1 party or 4 parties of 2 people or whatever ends up being reserved. But once they hit 8 people they close reservations.

Victoria and Albert's Entrance

Victoria and Albert’s Entrance

The main dining room (where we dined) has about 20 tables and has 2 seatings per night. This is a prix fixe meal for $135. A wine pairing is an extra $65. In addition, the menu will have “upcharge” items, which I will mention in the details below.

Victoria and Albert's Seating

Victoria and Albert’s Seating

The dress code is jacket and dress pants for men, and nice dress or pants for women. Ties are optional. We did see 1 family where the 2 men were dressed in tuxes and the woman was in a long cocktail dress. Most women were in nice dresses or skirts, but I did see one lady who was more casually dressed.

Our reservation was for 5:15PM on a Friday night. We arrived about 5:00PM and the doors were still locked. There were several other couples seated in the lounge area that is shared by Victoria and Albert’s and Citricos. Shortly after, a hostess came and asked people their names and escorted them into the restaurant based on their reservation time. Reservations are staggered, my guess is to not overwhelm the staff all at once. At about 5:10 we were escorted in and shown our table.

Atmosphere

As you enter the restaurant there is a [Read more…]

DFB Reader Questions Answered: Best Restaurants to Celebrate a Grown-Up Birthday at Walt Disney World

Today, we’re pulling another great question out the Disney Food Blog mailbag. You guys ask some great ones, and lots of times, we’ll get several emails and inquiries about the same subject.

Spontaneous Birthday Treat at Citricos

Spontaneous Birthday Treat at Citricos

Today, we’re going to delve into the wonderful world of birthday celebrations for grown-ups!

Celebrating Grown Up Birthdays in Walt Disney World

Our DFB reader asks:

We will be vacationing at WDW in May. My 25-year old son will have a birthday while we are there. We would like to have a special meal to celebrate, something fun but also really good!

I love this question! Disney brands itself a great place for all kinds of celebrations. And when it comes to birthdays, why should kiddos have all the fun?

When planning a special meal to celebrate a birthday at Walt Disney World, the most basic advice is probably a great starting point: what does the birthday boy or girl enjoy?

Birthday Dessert

Birthday Dessert

Does he like fine dining, or would he prefer a great night out at a sports bar? Does she like a quiet, elegant setting, or a spot with intricate themeing? Or are they a kid at heart who can Celebrate Mickey with the best of them?

Fantastic ideas abound for fun birthday celebrations at Disney World, but let’s go with my three favorite ideas. At the very least, it might lead to some good brainstorming when it comes time to plan your own special dinner party!

Signature Dining

For the Disney fan who enjoys a fine dining experience, there would be no other place to celebrate a birthday than where these two things meet — Disney’s signature dining restaurants.

If you’re looking for the pinnacle of fine dining, consider booking a table at Victoria and Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

Victoria and Albert's Main Dining Room

Victoria and Albert’s Main Dining Room

The ultimate in Disney fine dining, this relaxed, refined restaurant has won countless awards for its upscale take on modern American fare and its stellar wine menu. To make it an even more special experience, book the Chef’s Table!

Another great option is California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The restaurant sits atop the hotel, and boasts panoramic views. It’s a great spot for viewing Wishes, Magic Kingdom’s fireworks spectacular!

Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli is as Good as Ever

Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli at California Grill

Food here is always fresh and inventive, celebrating the farm to table movement and the Asian fusion style that placed California on the culinary map.

For something a little off the beaten path but no less delicious, check out Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Jiko at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

In a relaxing atmosphere that mimics the [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Coffee!

Aaaaaahhhh…Coffee. Some of us simply can’t get the old motor cranking in the morning without it! And there have been some changes to the coffee world in Disney parks these days!

We thought it would be fun to show off some of the pictures that YOU have captured of java in our regular feature, Disney Food Pics of the Week. Thanks to those readers who shared with us a little of their Disney trip by posting on Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza, our Flickr group!

If you’d like to get in on the fun, head over to Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza on Flickr and join the group. We’d love to see even more of your great food shots! Let’s see what you’ve found!

Iced Pumpkin Spiced Latte at Main Street Bakery

The real victory for many coffee lovers at Disney parks has been the opening of Starbucks in both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The first location opened at Walt Disney World transformed fan favorite Main Street Bakery in Magic Kingdom to a mix of part bakery, part retro coffee shop.

While reviews have been a somewhat mixed, many guests are super happy to stroll down Main Street USA with their favorite Seasonal Iced Latte in hand!

Photographer: ernobrn0918

Pumpkin Spice Latte from Main Street Bakery

Vacuum Pot Coffee at Victoria & Albert’s

But then, if you are looking for the most prestigious pot of coffee anywhere in all of Walt Disney World…well, you just knew it would be Victoria & Albert’s that delivered, right?

This is coffee as theater, my friends, and it’s just as dramatic and delicious as it looks.

Photographer: Spikey1967

Cona Vacuum Pot from Victoria and Albert's

Press Pot Coffee From Kouzzina

Kouzzina is Chef Cat Cora’s Greek-leaning restaurant at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. In relatively short order, this [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: September 1, 2013

Mac and Cheese! For a dose of one of our favorite comfort foods, stop by Electric Umbrella in Epcot’s Future World for the new Macaroni and Cheese Burger.

Mac and Cheese Burger

Mac and Cheese Burger

We continue to keep up on the latest technology introduced at Disney restaurants. This week, we reviewed the new iPad wine list at Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian!

Catch up on all the food news from Disney!

Disney Food News

Dig in!

Of course, there’s more! Check out all the latest Disney Food News — even the stuff we don’t mention in posts on the blog! — on our Disney Food News Pin Board, including Disneyland’s Harbour Galley debuted new menu items, Disneyland’s September gourmet candy apple flavor, and more.

DFB Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other edible awesomeness — in or from Disney, share a photo with us on facebook or twitter so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

DFB Guest Author Corey shared one of his favorite treats – sprinkled marshmallows – from the Magic Kingdom’s Main Street Confectionery!

Sprinkled Marshmallows

Reader Sara tweeted a [Read more…]

News! Changes to Disney World Tables in Wonderland Dining Discounts for 2014

We’ve got some news about one of Disney World’s popular dining discounts!

Tables in Wonderland, Walt Disney World’s fee-based dining discount program offered to Florida residents, Annual Passholders, and Disney Vacation Club members, is a great way to save money if you are a frequent diner at Walt Disney World.

The program offers 20% savings on food and beverages, including alcoholic beverages, at more than 100 Walt Disney World restaurants.

Today, we’re getting news of an update to restaurants that will either stop offering the Tables in Wonderland discount in the near future, or will be subject to more blackout dates when using the card.

Victoria and Albert’s to Discontinue Offering Tables in Wonderland Discount

According to the Tables in Wonderland website, Victoria and Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa will continue to honor the Tables in Wonderland discount through July 14, 2014. However, as of August 1, 2014, the ultra-luxurious dining spot will no longer accept the Tables in Wonderland card.

Victoria and Albert's Main Dining Room

Currently, Tables in Wonderland members may still [Read more…]

Disney Popcorn Gallery

We always love adding to our Disney food galleries!

From Margaritas to Ice Cream to Creme Brulee and more, we’re always collecting options and photos to share with you. And we quickly realized that there was one salty snack missing from our gallery list! What’s a trip to Disney without at least one bucket of Popcorn?

I think Disney popcorn is some of the best popcorn anywhere, and while newfangled snacks and treats will come and go, the classics will never go away.

You’ll find carts selling popcorn all over Walt Disney World and Disneyland, as well as in some of the resorts that also draw visitors, like Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. But there’s even more variety to it than that, so we’ve put together this handy gallery to showcase all the great popcorny options available!

You Never Get Tired of Disney Popcorn!

We’re going to share with you some of our favorite popcorn and popcorn-related goodness, but be sure to let us know your favorites or anything we don’t mention in comments below! Also, please keep in mind, especially in regard to menu items that include popcorn, that menus are constantly changing, so you may not always see these items when you visit a restaurant.

Disney Popcorn: A Classic

In need of some popcorn at Disney? You never have far to look. In fact, if your first stop is Magic Kingdom, you encounter a popcorn stand as soon as you set foot onto Main Street USA! Some of our readers say that Disney popcorn is the best-tasting in the world — and who am I to disagree?

Disney Popcorn!

And another great bit of news — Disney popcorn is vegan and gluten-free! Popcorn is naturally devoid of gluten. But the kernels are popped in a combination of coconut, corn, and canola oil, and are seasoned with kosher salt, so there are no animal products used. (Disney cautions that because the popcorn is prepared in outdoor locations, there is potential for cross-contamination. When in doubt of a food’s ingredients, be sure to ask for an ingredient list.)

Souvenir Buckets

If you think the fun stops with the snack, well…then let me show you something completely awesome. In addition to the crunchy goodness, you can also amass a completely fabulous collection of souvenir buckets should you be so inclined.

Collect different ones from each Disney park! Here’s one from Animal Kingdom, [Read more…]

The Most Popular Disney World Restaurants (and Alternatives When They’re Full)

Many Disney guests agree that the most important Disney Dining Tips lists include one specific piece of advice:

Making Advance Dining Reservations is an absolute must when it comes to planning.

While many seasoned Disney travelers are aware of this, there are lots of folks who visit the parks and are stunned to find no tables available at their top restaurant choices. Don’t worry, it happens to all of us at one time or another…and we’ve got solutions for you!

Today, we’ve updated our list of the most popular Disney restaurants, and terrific alternatives if you can’t score a table at your coveted spot!

Let’s take a look at the most elusive restaurants to book these days…

Dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Scoring an advance dining reservation at Be Our Guest Restaurant for their table service dinner can be a daunting task.

Be Our Guest Restaurant Ballroom Dining Room

From the time that they first announced the restaurant’s soft opening until now, we have heard from many readers who haven’t been able to secure a spot at Magic Kingdom’s newest restaurant. Here are a couple of reasons why:

Newness: The biggest reason for this remains the novelty of the place. Be Our Guest and all of New Fantasyland is still the hottest ticket in Walt Disney World since its grand opening in December 2012.

Incredible, Immersive Themeing: The impeccable themeing means that stepping into Beast’s Castle is truly like climbing through a portal into Beauty and the Beast. You almost expect to look down and find your food animated!

The Grey Stuff -- It's Delicious!

Novelty: The French-inspired cuisine that’s served at Be Our Guest is unlike anything else available in all of Magic Kingdom. In addition, there is huge novelty surrounding the fact that you can now order beer and wine in the formerly dry Magic Kingdom (for dinner only).

So, what to do if you can’t [Read more…]

DFB Readers Choose! Best Disney Restaurants for Quiet Dining

Need a relaxing date night? Have a sleeping baby? Want to simply get away from the crowds and the bustle of the Disney parks for a while?

We asked our friends on the Disney Food Blog Facebook Page for their recommendations on quiet dining in Disney World and Disneyland, and we want to hear YOURS, too!

The locations mentioned the most in Walt Disney World were: Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

In Disneyland, Facebook Friends gave the most shout-outs to Blue Bayou in Disneyland Park and Napa Rose at the Grand Californian Resort.

Best Disney World Restaurants For Quiet Dining

Let’s take a peek at these top Disney Food Blog reader choices for quiet dining in Disney World!

Jiko

For romance, delicious dishes, and a peaceful meal inspired by low lighting and a calming water feature view, head over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jiko.

Jiko View

Facebook Friend Adhiraj G. recommends “Jiko later in the evening! great view, great service and quiet (in a relaxed sort of way)!”

Filet and Mac and Cheese at Jiko (Mac and Cheese can be ordered by request)

A window-side table offers a beautiful view during daylight hours while savoring the gourmet cuisine. Keep an eye on the soothing “sunset wall” at the back of the restaurant, which cycles through the [Read more…]

Review: Victoria and Albert’s Chef’s Table at the Grand Floridian Resort

Today, we travel up the elegant stairway to the pinnacle of fine dining at Walt Disney World, Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

Join me for an unparalleled experience as I take you behind the opulence to the excitement and camaraderie of the Chef’s Table! And let me tell you… it’s AWESOME!!

Victoria and Albert’s is the crown jewel in Disney’s culinary offerings. And while it is certainly expensive (that might be an understatement), I aim to show you that for the true food lover, the Chef’s Table experience is worth every penny.

By the way, if you read through this review and decide the Chef’s Table is not for you, you can also dine in the Dining Room to the more intimate Queen Victoria Room.

Victoria and Albert's Plate

Reservations for Victoria and Albert’s go quickly. It is recommended that you book as close to 180 days out as possible. As for cost, the menu is prix fixe, meaning that you pay a set price for the meal. Expect your meal to begin at $135 per person for the Dining Room, with an additional charge of $65 for wine pairings. That price includes six courses. Queen Victoria’s Room and the Chef’s Table menus may include up to thirteen courses, and prices start at $210/person for dinner and $105 for wine pairings. Keep in mind that these prices do not reflect tax or gratuity, so be prepared.

While Queen Victoria’s Room offers the height of elegant dining, the Chef’s Table provides interested guests full access to the restaurant’s culinary team in a meal that is as much performance as it is sustenance.

Atmosphere

Once you check in for your reservation at the Chef’s Table, you are escorted through the well appointed (and very quiet!) main dining room. You’ll notice low light, beautiful fresh flowers, and the strains of harp music. The whole effect is quite romantic and very formal. There is a strict dress code here, and men must wear jackets.

Victoria and Albert's Main Dining Room

The Dining Room consists of a mere fourteen tables, beautifully set with spotless crystal and china. Very chi chi.

Victoria and Albert's Seating

We followed the debonaire Maître d’hôtel, Israel Perez, through this space and into the brightly lit kitchen. At that time, we were informed that Chef de Cuisine Scott Hunnel would not be joining us because of a conflicting event. In his place, Sous Chef Aimée Rivera would guide us through our meal.

Maître d'hôtel Israel Perez and Chef Rivera

Both Mr. Perez and Chef Rivera were phenomenal, and it’s clear that their passion and driving force is the comfort and enjoyment of their guests. Chef Rivera invited us to interact at will with the kitchen staff, and suggested that we voice any and all questions that we might have (Mua ha ha ha!!! She didn’t know just how annoying I can be!).

An interesting fact: once you are seated, you can’t [Read more…]

Disney Food For Families: Teachable Moments at Disney Restaurants

Learn from the Chefs at Victoria & Albert's Chef's Table

My 15-year-old daughter was recently invited by a classmate’s family to a super swanky dinner event at a super-duper swanky restaurant in New York City.

When she was telling me about it the next day there was a lot of “who wore what” and “what was on the menu” discussion. And then she said this to me, “Thanks for taking us to Victoria & Albert’s. I knew what to expect at the dinner last night because we had been to V&A’s.”

After I got over the shock of such an overt expression of gratitude and politesse from a teenager, I allowed myself a brief moment of parental pride. My plan to use Disney restaurants as a manners training ground had worked!

Using Disney Restaurants as Manners Boot Camp

I understand that using Victoria & Albert’s as etiquette boot camp is a bit over-the-top, but the concept could be applied to any signature restaurant at Walt Disney World. Before I get going, let me say that while of course you can (and should) teach manners at restaurants in your home town and at your own dinner table, the Disney signature restaurants are an ideal learning environment for adult behavior.

The Disney signature restaurants have all the elements of posh and polite, PLUS all the elements of easy-going and family-friendly. The restaurants put you in a position to succeed, with no fear or threat of derision or embarrassment if you don’t. The Disney signature venues are the perfect stepping stone on the path to civilized behavior.

Here are some things your children can learn and practice at a signature venue: [Read more…]