We hear it again and again (and we’ve said it ourselves): Cinderella’s Royal Table is a must at least once in your Disney World vacation life.
And most guests who’ve dined in this hard-to-book restaurant inside Cinderella Castle agree that you’re really not there for the food. But the ambiance! The princesses! The views! The whole dining experience (did we mention it’s inside the castle?!) is the draw, even if the food is… a little hit or miss.
And it’s that experience that keeps Cinderella’s Royal Table hopping — with Advance Dining Reservations (ADR) ideally being made right at the 180 day mark — 180 days before the first day of your vacation. (Learn more about making dining reservations at Disney restaurants here.)
If you do get an ADR, prepare to be dazzled by the decor and wooed by the energy in the restaurant. You definitely get the sense that you’re in a special space, and with princesses swooping in for a chat and wishing stars waving in the air, it’s a one of a kind meal.
You access Cinderella’s Royal Table via the passage that leads straight through Cinderella Castle. You’ll find the check in desk at the Fantasyland end of the passage, and you’ll enter the castle via Cinderella’s foyer after you’ve checked in. From there, you’ll head immediately into the Cinderella photo line. If you DON’T want to get your picture taken with Cinderella, just move past the line set-up and take a seat on one of the little couches on either side of the room until your name is called.
If you stay in the line, you’ll soon meet the main princess herself and await your party’s name being called. (Don’t be surprised if your party is suddenly full of lords and ladies!) A photopass photographer is there to take photos of everyone with Cindy, but they’ll also take pictures with your camera if you don’t want to purchase a photopass picture.
The foyer is grand — complete with an ornate fireplace (no cinders in sight!) and royal shields.
Ceiling details are stately, with wood beams and elaborate chandeliers.
If you (or your kiddos) look closely, you might even spot Jacques and Gus Gus overlooking all the action!
The dining room is located upstairs (there’s a winding staircase and an elevator). The view from the second level looking down into the foyer gives you a little idea of the scale and set-up. (You can also see the line set-up here.)
As you go upstairs, we recommend bracing yourself for the beauty that lies ahead. Because the dining room is… spectacularly royal. Massive stained glass windows let the sunlight (or at night — the fireworks!) shine through.
Views overlooking Fantasyland just add to the wonder. If you dine before park opening, you’ll get to watch the crowds disperse into the land below.
Vaulted ceilings and colorful flags create great vertical space and make the restaurant feel open and airy.
There are castle-worthy light fixtures casting a warm glow.
Seating at Cinderella’s is at tables with comfy padded chairs. The design of the seating is unobtrusive, not competing with the elaborate decor that fills the dining room. Tables are organized on two different levels, providing views across the restaurant for those who aren’t near the windows and breaking up the space a little.
The “show” here takes place in cycles. The cast members seat a bunch of guests, then, about mid-way through your meal, you’ll fear a fanfare and the princesses will arrive one by one. Princesses cycle through the entire restaurant, and there are a couple of little sessions where they might twirl and dance, bringing kiddos along with them. Then, once all the princesses have been announced and gone through the restaurant, the next session of guests starts being seated for the whole thing to start over again.
Cinderella’s is a VERY POPULAR RESTAURANT, and service, as a result, is quite rushed so that they can fit in more table turnovers. It’s a very expensive meal, so if you’d like to relax and take your time, know that you CAN. You don’t have to rush just because you’re being rushed.
On our visit we saw the most common Cinderella’s Royal Table princesses (although royalty may fluctuate from time to time): Snow White, Aurora, Ariel, and Jasmine.
Princess interactions differ depending on lots of variables, but we often see princesses getting right down to seated child level here, engaging kids one-on-one. Remember that a character meal is a terrific way to see several characters in one place without a long wait (or a sunburn from waiting outside!).
As part of the experience at Cinderella’s Royal Table, dining princesses and princes will receive a wand or sword and a wishing star. Throughout the meal, lights will flicker and an announcement will be made to allow everyone to make a wish. These are souvenirs that little royals (and big ones!) can take with them.
Ooh — pastries. Let’s take a look at the food!
Tables are set before arrival, with a coffee mug, silverware, small plate, and napkin. Shortly upon arrival, diners receive a plate of pastries and a glass of juice. (Orange juice is the default, but guests can request something different.)
The pastries are pretty good — and there’s a decent variety: Blueberry Mickey Muffin, Apple Puff Pastries, Cinnamon Rolls, Raspberry Palmiers, and a sweet Pecan Roll. (There’s also fruit, but, you know: carbs.)
The Blueberry Mickey Muffin is probably the most kid-friendly of the group, and it’s nicely moist and sweet with plump berries and golden ears. 😉
While downing all the carbohydrates, diners peruse the menu, which has only six adult options. (Kids get a standard eggs, sausage, Mickey Waffle plate — but speak up if you need something different!) Click on the menu below to enlarge it.
There’s decent variety within the limited options, including a Traditional Breakfast and a Healthy Choice. But I was looking to dig into a couple of the more location-specific options.
Here’s something to note: at my many visits to Cinderella’s, I’ve had different answers to “is this all-you-care-to-enjoy?” For a while, it was. Guests could order seconds, or multiple entrees. My server on this visit said that it was NOT all you can eat, and each person gets one entree.
First up is the Caramel Apple Stuffed French Toast. This sweet breakfast option is decent. The caramel and apple are, of course, great partners.
The inside is dense and doughy, and there’s not enough caramel sauce to compensate for all of that dough. The apples are packed in there, and they are cut into big chunks so you definitely know what you’re eating. But the toast itself is a small challenge to get through.
This is good overall, and will be your choice if you’re looking for dessert for breakfast.
Our second entree was markedly better. The Beef Tenderloin and Egg is an upscale take on steak and eggs. The beef was well-seasoned and cooked beautifully for me (ask if you prefer a different doneness!) and is perched on a Potatoes and Cheese Frittata. The frittata is tasty, and with pieces of soft potato baked into it, it’s hearty enough to balance the substantial beef. Some Broccolini is hiding between the beef and frittata, and the ah-maz-ing Boursin Cheese Sauce and Chive Oil add tons of flavor.
This was my favorite of the two entrees, by far! It’s super filling and in great balance.
Nosh or Not
You’ll want to mingle with royalty at Cinderella’s Royal Table if:
- You appreciate a full dining experience that isn’t all about the food.
- Dining in Cinderella Castle fulfills some serious childhood dreams.
- You want to enjoy a classy character meal with the princesses.
You might want to skip Cinderella’s Royal Table if:
- The idea of spending a bunch of money (like $70+ per adult) on a princess character meal isn’t in your plans.
- You don’t want to look down onto the Carousel — you want to ride it ASAP!
- You want to dine on the best food WDW has to offer — even if that means dining elsewhere.
Cinderella’s Royal Table Tips
- Book your dining experience 180 days in advance if possible
- If your child is interested in Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique, consider having him or her go to their appointment before dining with the princesses so they’ll be all dolled up themselves for the photos.
- Again, even though you may be rushed by your server, your dining pace is up to you.
- Have a plan for how you’ll handle meeting the princesses. Let them know that you’re going to take a picture with each child, or a picture with each camera. They want your experience to be unforgettable, so giving them a heads’ up on how to do that is helpful.
- Prepare your kids with fun things to talk to the princesses about (it’s always fun to ask them about their movie or character) for some great video fodder or photos.
- Head to the restroom right when you sit down so you don’t miss any of the fun.
Breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table might just be our favorite time to dine there. The food was decent — great, even, in the case of the tenderloin. And the brightness of the restaurant and the views of a brand new day dawning in Fantasyland are invigorating. We still say everyone should dine here at least once, and breakfast is going to be your cheapest option by far.