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.
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.
The rooms connected to each other with smooth thematic transitions.
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.
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.
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 young and old, single diners, couples and families. All seemed to feel at home at Be Our Guest.
I have a habit of being distracted by the dessert menu. I’ve been known to order my meal with serious consideration of being able to savor a sweet treat at the end. As my fortune continued this evening, we were seated two feet from the dessert display.
I immediately got up and walked a few steps to preselect how I would end my meal, but first let’s turn to the appetizers.
I ordered the French Onion Soup and my friend ordered the Potato Leek Soup. Both were hearty, but not heavy or dense. The portion was plentiful enough to be satisfying, but not so large as to interfere with our readiness to enjoy the entrée. The soups were not too filling but rather an enticing prelude of what was to come.
While waiting for the main course we enjoyed the warm basket of French bread-like rolls set down at the center of our table. The basket held one roll for each guest and was accompanied by a small dish filled with one large portion of sea-salted butter.
The rolls were immediately gobbled by each of us and satiated our hunger enough so we could patiently await our meal.
With perfect timing our main course was served. All five of us ordered a different menu item, which allowed us to finesse a taste of each others’ offerings. Our items included the following: Rotisserie Cornish Hen with roasted fingerling potatoes and miniature vegetables; Shrimp and Scallops with seasonal vegetables served in puff pastry with a creamy lobster sauce; Ratatouille baked with zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes and caramelized onions amid a bed of quinoa and topped with a bell pepper sauce; Pork Loin Chop with au gratin macaroni, seasonal vegetables and red wine au jus; and Pan-seared Salmon above a leek fondue and saffron mashed potatoes.
Each entrée was a home run. Distinct flavors for varying palates. As much as my taste buds appreciated the selections ordered by my dining companions, I was sure I had secured the best choice for my predilection.
The Pan-seared Salmon was truly delicious. The portion size was almost too large for me to finish, but the tender flavor and texture of the salmon and the subtle sweetness of the leek fondue and saffron-scented mashed potatoes persuaded me to finish each bite on my plate.
In enjoyment of good food we raised our glasses, or should I say souvenir goblets, to good health and happiness.
Natural fruit juices sweetened with organic cane sugar filled our cups.
While the fruit punch was a little tart, the lemonade was a perfect balance of strong lemon flavor tempered with sweetness. Lemon lime foam topped the fruit punch while wildberry foam topped the lemonade.
Before the desserts came — and in honor of Jon’s and my own birthday — a surprise was delivered to our table by our server, who at this point was more like kin.
Let me offer one hint to the surprise: Try the grey stuff, it’s delicious.
A small grey colored mound about the size of a 50-cent piece on a white plate was served to each of us. At the bottom of the plate in writing we were invited to “try the grey stuff”.
The grey mound was the texture of a mousse and flavored subtly and indistinctly. We took turns at guessing the flavor but were finally told the grey stuff is actually cookies and cream flavored. The edible Rice Krispie-like decorative topping on the mound added to the texture and flavor of this delightful surprise.
The grand finale of our meal, the dessert portion, did not disappoint. Too full for another bite but so willing to try, we ordered two different offerings to share amongst us. Our server recommended the Be Our Guest signature triple chocolate cupcake dessert.
From the bitter chocolate ganache dribble decorating the plate to the smooth dark chocolate frosting this was truly a chocolate delight.
We rounded out our dessert sampling with the healthier gluten and sugar free Lemon Raspberry Cream Puff. This was truly a delightful burst of subtle fruit flavors and creamy texture. It was a guilt free way to punctuate a pleasurable evening among family and friends.
Be Our Guest is a welcome and welcoming addition to the Magic Kingdom’s dining offerings. It is a warm and friendly place to eat well while being transported into a magical fairytale land.
Amy D. Gagliardi is a maternal and child health professional, mother of four and Disney enthusiast. Disney dining is among her favorite vacation experiences. Amy is employed at Community Healthy Center, Inc. and is chief operating officer for Lily’s Kids Inc.: A Non-profit Organization for Children.
Stay tuned, Be Our Guest Restaurant fans! We’ll have another Be Our Guest review — counter-service Lunch this time — coming up on Monday!