UPDATE: Please note that as of February 25, 2015, Be Our Guest Restaurant began to accept Advanced Dining Reservations for lunch. For further information, please click here.
Today, it’s time to head back into New Fantasyland for my very first taste of lunch at this must-do restaurant!
Because Be Our Guest Restaurant differs greatly from the run-of-the-mill counter service spots around Disney, I’m going structure this review according to how you progress through the restaurant. Follow the headlines, and it should all make sense. 🙂
We have a ton of great detail to cover, so let’s get right to it!
Amid a backdrop of rugged, austere mountains of New Fantasyland, you find the bridge and gateway that ushers you into Beast’s enchanted castle, home to Be Our Guest Restaurant.
Now that the enormous eatery is officially opened, there are still extraordinarily long lines for lunch on many days, as guests await their turn to see inside and sample the food.
We know that Disney is testing a fastpass like system and a pre-ordering for Be Our Guest, so the lines may soon be a thing of the past. But, in the meantime, be sure you know when they begin serving lunch (usually around 10am or 10:30am) so that you can get there early.
Regardless, the line did move quickly (it’s about a 30 minute wait from the back of the bridge); and soon, I was walking into the castle.
Once inside, you find pretty much exactly what you would expect: low-lighted spaces with beamed ceilings reminiscent of medieval European castles. Enchanted suits of armor guard the long entryway. At the end of the hall, you see the stained glass window depicting Belle and Beast’s famous dancing scene.
Listen closely, and you’ll hear the suits of armor murmuring to each other in French accents!
As you enter the ordering area, thoughtful touches tell you that you’ve arrived in the beast’s library!!
This ornate room is home to a cozy fireplace and Beast’s enormous chair. You’ll also find the automated ordering areas masquerading as stacks of books!
It’s to be expected that they are still ironing out some of the kinks in how this new concept works. So be prepared to wait in line to get in, and then for it to be a little confusing once you’re in the ordering area on busy days.
At lunch, when it’s your turn to order, you’ll be directed either to a cast member who will take your order (similar to a traditional Disney counter service location, like Columbia Harbor House) or to a self-serve kiosk, like those we’ve seen at Captain Cook’s and Pecos Bill’s — pictures here and here.
If you prefer one or the other, be sure to tell the cast member when you get to the front of the line. And don’t forget to pick up your Magic Rose! Your magic rose is programmed to help your food find you where ever you are in the restaurant!
Banners over the kiosks tell you which number you’re using, so if the cast member directs you to kiosk 1, you’ll look for this flag.
The kiosks themselves are dressed up as stacks of books and scrolls, and the screen itself is displayed on a scroll. I love this thoughtful touch. It’s just so fantastic that they’ve carried the themeing to these lengths.
You’ll find menus on the kiosks (pictures in a second), but there are also menus above the kiosks and posted outside the ordering area, so you should be well acquainted with your options before you’re up to bat.
The menu offerings for lunch, like dinner, are few. There is a good assortment, however, with salads, sandwiches, and vegetarian options all represented. You won’t find any hamburgers or chicken nuggets here.
Likewise, the “healthier for you” options continue on the Kids’ Menu. You can see the Mickey Check on four of the options, indicating that they’re choices which adhere to the Disney Nutrition Guidelines for Complete Meals.
We’ve been told that mac and cheese is now on the kids’ menu as well.
We have a tour of the kiosk screens here for you as well! The home screen lets you know that cash or voucher orders must be handled by a cast member.
Next, you’re asked method of payment — whether you’re using your Key to the World Card or credit, debit, or Disney gift card.
After that, you’re prompted to enter the number of guests in your party.
From this point on, the ordering process is similar to other kiosks around the resort. The pictures are a great touch, though. It’s always helpful to see what you’re thinking of ordering before you commit!
The menus also include nutritional content for the dishes (!!!!!!!!!!), so if you’re watching your intake of calories, fat, carbohydrates, etc. you can easily compare your options.
Completely cool for those who want the info — and tucked away for those who do not via a dropdown system. 😉
Your can also see exactly what ingredients are included in that dish you’re considering — especially great for those battling food allergies.
Once you’ve completed your order, you’re prompted to swipe your card in the special card reader to the bottom left.
You’ll hold your Magic Rose to the card reader, too, so that it can store your information making it simple for your food to find you at your table. Just be sure to follow instructions and find your table immediately. Once seated, set your rose in the center of your table, and it does the rest!
And with that, you’re set!
En route to your table, you’ll find the beverage stations, complete with cups, lids, straws, and condiments.
The beverage counters are beautifully blended into their surroundings.
Seriously — look how pretty these fountain machines are!
Although your food is delivered to your table, you pick up your (real) silverware and napkins at stations near the beverages.
It was time to choose a table, but first, I’ll wander around a bit and show you the lay of the land!
During lunch service there are three dining rooms available: the Ballroom, the Rose Gallery, and the West Wing. During dinner, only the Ballroom and West Wing are available (currently). This obviously means the space can accommodate far more guests for lunch.
The Ballroom is a nice spot to dine. You really do feel as though you just stepped into the movie when you look at it. One warning, though: because of soaring ceilings and lots of hard surfaces to the top, bottom, and sides, this space is ridiculously loud. That was very off putting for me personally, and a bit of a disappointment.
The detail is incredible, however.
And the snow falling outside of the picture windows is just lovely, and makes the inside feel almost cozy by comparison.
Hands down, we are hearing that everyone’s favorite dining room (including mine!) is the West Wing.
And why not? This is where the story of Beauty and the Beast really begins to unfold. Here, you’ll find the rose given to Beast by the beautiful enchantress.
The rose foretells Beast’s fate if he doesn’t fall in love, and cause someone to fall in love with him in return… . And during your meal, you’ll be able to watch the petals slowly fall from the rose!
You also find the portrait of the Prince that Belle stumbles upon when she goes exploring the West Wing.
And in true Disney fashion, the portrait transforms for a few seconds every 20 minutes or so! Watch as Beast takes the place of the Prince in the portrait!
The dramatic transformation is signaled by lights growing dimmer, and thunder increasing in volume within the room. Be aware that some babies in the space weren’t all that enchanted with the loud sound effects. 😉
And if you pay close attention, you’ll witness the change from Prince to Beast when the lightning strikes!
As I mentioned earlier, the Rose Gallery is mostly opened for lunch (although we have heard that it may be utilized for dinner at especially busy times.)
This particular dining room will not be found in the movie. Imagineers included it as an opportunity to pay homage to the film’s other characters, many of whom are included in portraits throughout the Rose Gallery.
The centerpiece is this beautiful, larger-than-life rotating music box. The story behind it? Maurice, Belle’s inventor father, created it as a wedding gift for Beast and Belle.
When you have the opportunity to dine at Be Our Guest, whether it be for lunch or dinner, be sure to carve out some time simply to wander around the space and take in all the marvelous detail. It truly is amazing.
Once you choose your dining room, take a seat and set your magic rose on the table.
One of the coolest details about Be Our Guest is the way your food finds YOU! That magic rose really works, because shortly after you’re seated, your food wheels up to your table on a cute little rolling cart.
Hot foods are stored under the curved glass above, keeping them safe and clean as they traverse through the dining rooms. Cold items are kept in a lower compartment.
But it’s finally time to see what we actually had to eat!
We chose two wonderful dishes for our first trip to Be Our Guest for lunch. First up: the Braised Pork, Coq au Vin Style.
The dish of pork that’s slow-cooked for eight hours is rich and delicious, a perfect comfort food item, and an excellent option to represent this French cooking method.
You really would expect to find this type of dish in a French castle! The meat was very flavorful and tender (but not mushy), and I enjoyed the veggies as well.
But I was most impressed with the mashed potatoes! As far as I could tell, these were real — lumps and all! they were great with the mushroom gravy.
And I simply HAD to try the Croque Monsieur. This was one of the dishes that caught my eye waaaaay back when we first reported on the menu at Be Our Guest Restaurant.
The grilled ham and uber-flavorful gryuere with bechamel sauce is a great grown-up sandwich. And considering I had my very first Croque Monsieur ever at the top of the Eiffel Tower, I’m guessing it’s also an excellent option for a French-inspired menu. And while I wasn’t absolutely wowed, it was very good, and worth the price.
The sandwich is served with pomme frites. They were basically fries with the skin still on — pretty standard, but good.
The multi-grain bread has a lovely, chewy texture that adds a little more interest to the sandwich. I’ve heard that some kids aren’t fans of this bread, so speak with a cast member before ordering if you need it on a different type of bread.
And with that, we were ready to call it a day!
Desserts and Soups at lunch are the same as they are at dinner, so be sure to check out our EVERYTHING on the menu review to see all desserts and soups! Note that these are a Disney Dining Plan snack credit if you’re dining at lunch!
A trip to Be Our Guest, whether for lunch or dinner, is an experience and an event. It’s very clear that Imagineers sunk a huge amount of time and energy to cover every detail imaginable. You really feel as though you have stumbled right into the animation of Beauty and the Beast.
And beyond that, the food that we have had has been great! The menu, while small, is thoughtful, with flavors that truly capture the French spirit. And while we didn’t get the chance this time to try the kids’ items — well, there’s always next time!
At this time, I would recommend braving the crowds to get to Be Our Guest. The excitement and hullabaloo is well deserved!
Have you dined at Be Our Guest yet? Leave a comment below and tell us about your experience!