Dinner inside the Magic Kingdom’s quintessential castle at Walt Disney World is a remarkable experience any night of the year!
But imagine hobnobbing with Cinderella and feasting inside the royal dining room at Cinderella’s Royal Table on New Year’s Eve. Last year, my family crossed this adventure off of our bucket list — right before the clock struck midnight!
New Year’s Eve Tips
First, make your Advance Dining Reservation as soon as possible. For the most popular restaurants (especially during holidays!!), you’ll need to book 180 days prior!
You’ll find recommendations to arrive the Magic Kingdom early and stay all day and night. Without a break. In the massive crowds. This commando touring is not my family’s style. So I researched when the Magic Kingdom had closed and re-opened to guests for the past several years.
I found that the Magic Kingdom historically reached crowd capacity in the early morning and afternoon with re-openings by late afternoon/early evening. Even with our pre-paid dinner, we took our chances and it worked perfectly! Tip: You do not have to stay in the Magic Kingdom ALL day and night unless you must have a view of the castle forecourt for fireworks time. By 8PM on December 31, 2013, the Magic Kingdom had re-opened to all guests, including families staying off-site!
We spent the morning at the Animal Kingdom (late breakfast at Tusker House!!) and rested at our hotel the rest of the day. Arriving the Magic Kingdom about 6PM, we were admitted with no problems. Once inside, we experienced the thickest crowds that we’ve ever encountered anywhere. We formed a family chain by holding the back of each others’ shirts and somehow made our way to the back of the park.
Passing people sleeping on blankets as they saved their coveted spots in front of the castle for the evening’s fireworks display — we made our way to New Fantasyland. And the crowds were… gone! We practically had Big Top Treats and the area behind it all to ourselves. We got a snack and relaxed at an outdoor table. Tip: there were barely lines for the character meet and greets in this section of the park!
Our advance dining reservation was for 9:30PM. It was especially crowded waiting to be let in to the castle; and believe me, we weren’t allowed to approach the podium even a minute before our reservation time. There was only a small area in which we could wait as the back of the castle was already roped off for the fireworks. Once inside though, we experienced pure magic!
After photographs with Cinderella, we waited in the lobby to be beckoned to the dining room.
Among the last diners of the night, we witnessed Cinderella playing with children. She actually played hide and seek with them all throughout the lobby. It was an intimate moment with a fairytale princess that we reveled in watching, and I’m sure the children and their parents cherished the experience.
After our meal, we had to wait by the outdoor podium for the castle show to end. Once done, we were able to exit into Fantasyland. We found a place to sit on the pavement in front of Mickey’s PhilharMagic and waited for the fireworks. And they were amazing!
Ringing in the New Year at the Magic Kingdom was an amazing experience. We continued to walk around the park allowing the crowds to disperse. We found very few crowds in Frontierland where a DJ was still spinning tunes!
So, let’s check out our meal…
Cinderella was holding court next to a Christmas tree decorated in rich silver, gold, and blue!
Once you ascend the winding red-carpeted stairway (or take the more modern elevator), you’ll step in to a medieval dining room with a vaulted ceiling.
The table setting was enhanced with purple napkins and a gold table runner. The silver cutlery resembles crossed swords!
Gentlemen (young and young-at-heart) receive swords as souvenirs.
The menu’s cover echoes the jaw-dropping stained glass features found throughout the castle.
The bread basket and accompanying butter were delivered promptly.
With a choice of appetizers, hubby and son went with the Royal Tasting of Cheeses and accompaniments. Both of them enjoyed sampling the different options and gave it a thumbs up as a starter!
For my picky palate, I requested a garden salad with ranch dressing (from the kids menu!).
For entrees, note that the accompaniments change up frequently.
The guys had no difficulty choosing the Beef Tenderloin. Again, they both found the steak to be a delicious option but not nearly as good as previous steak entrees at Narcoossee’s, California Grill, and Be Our Guest.
My entree — Oven Roasted Chicken Breast. This dish was tender and moist. It was the right portion for a late night meal.
Accompanied with Farro Wheat Risotto, this side was not my favorite risotto due to the nutty flavor and extra chewiness. Perhaps I favor less healthy risotto options. 😉
Our choice of desserts included: the castle’s signature dessert – The Clock Strikes Twelve, a Dessert Trio, Seasonal Cheesecake, or No Sugar Added Lemon Sorbet.
As it was nearing midnight, we all went with the appropriately named The Clock Strikes Twelve.
With delicious white and dark chocolate, it was the perfect sweet for our New Year’s Eve dessert. A truly grand finale to a memorable meal!
Dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table is a rite of passage for many Disney World guests. Add a special occasion such as a birthday, wedding proposal, anniversary, or New Year’s Eve, and the dinner becomes extraordinary.
While the food is not on par with the finer restaurants at Walt Disney World (some previously mentioned above), dining with Disney royalty inside the iconic park structure should definitely be on your Disney dining bucket list!
What’s your favorite meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table? Do you like the menus as they are? Chime in — the comments are right below!