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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Seating itself is fairly standard, with cushioned chairs and nondescript tables.
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.
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!
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 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.
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 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!
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.
Next, we had a chance to chat with Anastasia.
And finally, Drizella — who was truly hilarious! Look at her awesome mug for this pic! Who is your favorite awkward stepsister?
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!
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.
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!
The food has an international flair, and is representative of several “kingdoms” from around the globe. How fun is that?
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.
Housemade dressings include Mango Vinaigrette, Chili Cilantro, and House Dressing. Ranch Dressing was also available.
The cold area also has traditional salad ingredients like Cherry Tomatoes and Sliced Onions to dress up your greens a bit.
If you’d prefer it, there’s also a pre-made Caesar Salad that looked quite fresh during our visit.
The Nicoise Salad was also beautiful, and something different that I hadn’t seen on a Disney buffet before.
There was a colorful Watercress Salad with Raisin Vinaigrette that looked interesting.
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.
The Aromatic Cumin Cucumber Salad drew inspiration from Indian flavors, and seemed a good choice for summer.
Potato Salad featuring red potatoes and an herbed mayonnaise made for an interesting twist on a classic favorite.
And cold Roasted Vegetable Salad also sounded refreshing!
A really beautiful Vegan Noodle Salad rounded out the cold offerings.
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.
A good amount of variety continued as we moved onto the Soups. To begin, there was a classic Chicken Noodle Soup.
The Corn Chowder, one of my favorites, was extremely rich and creamy.
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.
Of course, one of 1900 Park Fare’s most famous dishes is the chilled Strawberry Soup, served with a garnish of fresh, whole strawberries.
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!
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.
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.
And another guest favorite — Sushi! I know lots of friends who could make a meal out of this section alone!
You’ll even find Pickled Ginger and Wasabi on standby to garnish your sushi plate.
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.
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.)
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!
This was one of the winners of the night for me! It’s always fun to enjoy a new twist on a comforting classic.
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.
And if you’re looking for something to catch some of those sauces, these incredible Creamed Parmesan Potatoes are a fabulous choice.
Jasmine Rice makes a good partner for the Durban Chicken, or a number of other dishes.
If you enjoy a one pot meal, try the Paella, with chunks of chicken and shrimp.
The fish option was Salmon Filet that was baked in an Orange Glaze.
There are also a couple of creamy pasta options, including a Seafood Pasta Salad and 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.
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.
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?)
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.
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.
There were lots of flavorful accompaniments for the carved meats, including Horseradish, a Fruit Compote, and Sauces.
But wait! There’s more. Time to head to the kids’ section and see what you’ll find there.
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.
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.
Some kid-friendly vegetables are on the menu, too, like Corn and Green Beans.
But what’s a kids’ buffet without Macaroni and Cheese?
Mashed Potatoes (which look quite a bit like the grown up version) are also available for the kids.
And for your pickiest of eaters, there’s Whole Grain Macaroni and Marinara, which you can mix in proportion according to your taste.
The sauce looked pretty great — nice and chunky.
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.
Next, there’s a good selection of options for the kiddos, including freshly-baked Cookies and Brownies, as well as 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.
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!
There were mini Cheesecakes, garnished with fresh raspberries.
The Fruit Tarts always look inviting, and the Chocolate Mousse Tarts have lots of fans.
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!
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.
I was in an apple-kinda mood, so that’s the option I went with. That streusel topping looked so good to me.
And smothered with the vanilla sauce, this was a perfect sweet ending to my meal!
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!