In the pantheon of Walt Disney World character meals, 1900 Park Fare at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa has not historically been one of our favorites.
It’s passable, with food that will fill you up even if it’s otherwise lackluster. And the atmosphere is in keeping with the Victorian stylings of the Resort, which many guests really embrace and enjoy.
There are characters at breakfast and dinner that cover a lot of ground. The Supercalifragilistic Breakfast brings Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter, Winnie-the-Pooh, and Tigger together in an inexplicable mash-up of British-y and colorful characters. Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner is a little more thematic, with Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, and Drizella.
Afternoons from 2PM to 3PM, 1900 Park Fare transforms for guests age 4-12 into the Wonderland Tea Party. This party is hosted by Alice in Wonderland and a couple of her friends and features apple juice masquerading as tea, the chance to decorate a cupcake, and a few fun games. Click here to read more about it!
Of all the options, the dinner line-up of characters offer the most fun for grown-ups, with Lady Tremaine and the Step-Sisters bringing the funny. But are the characters worth the price…and has the food improved since our last visit?
To get to 1900 Park Fare, you’ll need to find your way to the Grand Floridian Resort, located on the monorail loop and right next door to Magic Kingdom. Note that the former entrance to 1900 Park Fare was at the very front of the Grand Floridian’s lobby, but it has now been moved to the other side of the restaurant. To get there, walk to the back of the Grand Flo’s lobby and turn left. You’ll pass a gift shop and enter a small rotunda, where 1900 Park Fare will be on your left, next to Grand Floridian Cafe.
The atmosphere at 1900 Park Fare is essentially what you’d expect from a Disney-fied, Victorian-inspired restaurant. Some architectural details, fabrics, and embellishments harken to that period in history where there was no such thing as too much design. The restaurant’s entrance is a bit nondescript, with a small check in desk and a few benches for those waiting to be seated. A few carousel horse drawings adorn the walls.
The central section of the dining room is overseen by four brass chandeliers, several carousel ponies, and some fabulous (or fabulously tacky? You decide.) fabrics and wall treatments.
The vintage carousel theme is prominent in the carved animals and in the massive calliope that presides over the restaurant.
This is a special part of the decor as it’s really the focal piece. Swaths of striped fabric surround a vintage-looking calliope with wooden dolls, several instruments, and loads of little details. It is a really unique piece.
If you’re a fan of the carved carousel animals, you may stroll around to take a closer look (being careful not to squeeze too closely to other diners, of course). You’ll find these engraved plaques with information on the artist and date and location of creation. This is a neat historical detail for carousel aficionados.
Seating at 1900 Park Fare is simple: light colored tables and padded wooden chairs give the space a bit of a garden feel.
The chair backs have a hot air balloon look to them, which is subtly whimsical.
While most seating is at tables with chairs, some tables also have banquette seating.
Table settings are very simple. Silverware is wrapped in sage green napkins. Only the extensive drink menu and some extras like sugar packets are provided.
Overall, there’s not much of a vibe here, just a snapshot of a historical design period with touches of antique carousel. For some reason the lighting always seems to be a bit of a study in beige, and, much like the food, the decor doesn’t particularly wow.
I dined during dinner service on this visit, with hopes that the buffet items had somehow been improved since my last visit several years ago. I’ll save my overall thoughts for later, but let’s start with a drink.
One notable thing 1900 Park Fare has going for it now is an extensive drink menu. Offerings include cocktails, wine, beer, ciders, and non-alcoholic fruity drinks. If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, definitely take some time to peruse this menu and make a selection that will increase the value of this meal for your table service credit.
There are several cocktails from which to choose, including the Godiva Chocolate Martini and Cold Brew XO.
The soft frozen Pina Colava is a guest favorite around Walt Disney World.
Cocktails that come with a souvenir Glow Cube are always a fun option.
Staples like the Ultimate Long Island Iced Tea and Captain’s Mai Tai are available.
A Negroni and Smoked Turkey are great options, too.
If a cocktail is called Antioxidant Lemonade, you should have a couple because it’s healthy. 😉
Margaritas come in both sweet and spicy varieties.
You can pretend you’ve escaped to the islands with a Rum Swizzle or your choice of mojito.
You can enjoy the Paloma without alcohol, if you desire, and customize the Watermelon Margarita to make it spicy if you dare!
There are many wines from which to select, including Rose, Red, White, Sparking, and Sangria.
Beer, Hard Cider, and Sparkling Water are available, too.
Non-Alcoholic Mocktails offer lots of fruit and foam options.
I ordered the Blood Orange Margarita. This colorful drink was good — slightly sweet and pretty potent.
Sauza Conmemorativo Anejo Tequila, Cointreau, Lime Juice, and Blood Orange Sour combine to lend a little tartness to the cocktail, too. It was a tasty and refreshing way to start the meal — and not too heavy, which is key when you’re about to dig into a buffet.
The buffet itself is straightforward: walk along its length, identify food items you’d like to try, gather, and move on. The carving station anchors the buffet in the center. Note that the two sides of the buffet are DIFFERENT from one another, so you’ll want to tackle both sides during your meal.
The buffet includes cold salad options, like Caesar that’s dressed and tossed with grated Parmesan and a selection of Mixed Greens.
Toppings for the salad include chickpeas, black olives, grated carrot, grape tomatoes, and a few dressings (ranch, bleu cheese, and two vinaigrettes).
Other cold salad options include this Farro Salad with red onion, diced tomato, arugula, and crumbled cheese. Cheese cubes are available in cheddar, colby-jack, and pepper jack.
The Loaded Potato Salad is a bacon-y option, while the Broccoli Slaw provides some crunch.
The Kale and Strawberry Salad had a bit of a brown, soggy look to it owing to a ton of vinaigrette, while the Tomato and Mozzarella Salad was fairly simple.
The cold bar also offers Peel-and-Eat Shrimp and Crab Legs. Accompaniments include remoulade, cocktail sauce, and lemon wedges.
The hot bar included two soups on my visit: creamy Clam Chowder and hearty Chicken Noodle.
The Plant-Based Zoodles and Roasted Cauliflower with Pine Nuts serve as vegan (and low-carb) options. (The zoodles were new on our visit, and the Park Fare team was super excited about them!)
Mild Italian Sausage and Chicken Saltimbucca provide some meaty variety to the buffet.
Warm sides include the Potato and Pea Curry and Braised Carrots with Shallots.
Mashed Potatoes with Butter aren’t anything to write home about — but they’re a solid option for picky eaters!
We did have some tasty Green Beans, and the Stir Fry Manchurian Beef did have decent flavor… although it’s pretty saucy for a stir fry.
Jasmine Rice is a good basic starch for the the Beef, though.
Mississippi Fried Catfish and Ratatouille offer regional variety.
The creamy Butternut Squash Ravioli was a better-than-average buffet pasta dish, and the Cheese Tortellini was fine.
Carnivores may enjoy Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings and Pulled Pork.
And while fish is often a dicey buffet choice, the Salmon with Balsamic Glaze and Olive Tapenade is a flavorful selection.
Note that on our visit, the carving station was serving up Herb-Crusted Prime Rib, so if you don’t eat or enjoy beef, your animal proteins are limited to the meats and fish on the buffet hot bar.
The kids’ buffet, frankly, is sort of our favorite part. Chicken Nuggets, Corn, Macaroni and Cheese, Pasta with Tomato Sauce, and Pizza are staples for little ones… and picky ones… and ones who only eat chicken nuggets on vacation and just can’t enough. (We’ll let you decide which category we fall into… .) It goes without saying: diners of any age are welcome to enjoy the kids’ buffet offerings.
Hot Dogs and Meatballs are a fun addition to the buffet, and for parents of kids who, like, only want to eat hot dogs, they’re also a life-saver!
Of course there are a couple of bread options at 1900 Park Fare’s dinner buffet, including Cornbread and Dinner Rolls.
There are condiments and toppings to dress up the various buffet dishes. Sunflower seeds, Parmesan cheese, lo mein noodles, raisins, crumbled bacon, and more are on hand.
And near the carving station we found Horseradish Sauce and Chimichurri.
And some seriously sad Turkey Gravy keeps company with Beef Au Jus.
On second thought, maybe we should’ve just eaten dessert for dinner, because these were actually pretty good! The Apple Cobbler wasn’t super saucy, which is a bit of a bummer…
…but the Bread Pudding has a nice side of Creme Anglaise, which you can pour over anything. 😉
Pyramids of Krispie Treats and Brownies are always popular.
Key Lime Pie in mini form is still delicious. We could’ve stood a little more toasting of the meringue, but they were otherwise good!
The Cheesecakes are in the same sturdy graham cracker tart crust as the pie above and tasted fine.
Miniature Cannolis are a fun addition, too! The ricotta filling was a little overly sweet, but the crunchy shells were satisfying.
Simple mini Chocolate Cupcakes are garnished with colorful chocolate ribbons.
Chocolate Mousse is served in Chocolate Cups with Chocolate Cigars, in case you prefer your chocolate with more chocolate. 🙂
And who doesn’t love a Cream Puff? These are okay on their own, and they’re even better dunked into 1900 Park Fare’s famous Strawberry Soup!
This creamy Strawberry Soup is a crowd favorite, and it’s pretty easy to replicate at home. (Find the recipe here!)
Fresh Fruit is also available!
Finally: Gummy Bears. Because why not?
So the offerings for dinner at 1900 Park Fare are fairly diverse, and there’s likely something for everyone who’s looking to fill up (even if they’re filling up on Chicken Nuggets and Pizza).
We’d be remiss if we didn’t share some classic shots of the characters who typically circulate during 1900 Park Fare’s dinner service. Cinderella and her prince host the dinner.
During the meal, you may catch the love birds twirling about. (Eyes up here, sir!)
You can snag your pictures of Cinderella and her Prince separately as they come around to your table for chats and autographs.
But the real star tends to be Lady Tremaine, whose biting wit keeps diners chuckling. At my meal, she told me that she invented dancing.
Anastasia is always ready to pose, just in case her prince comes along.
And Drizella has what we can only assume will be Disney’s next big merchandise push: giant bow headbands. (See, they’ve already started!)
Seriously, though: this is one meal where the characters are easily the best part of the experience.
Nosh or Not
Steer your horse and carriage to 1900 Park Fare if:
- You must meet Cinderella and her crew (or Alice and her friends in the morning).
- You like simple buffet food, and you’ll be happy with these offerings.
- You want to eat at Disney’s Grand Floridian, and this restaurant seems to suit your purposes more than the others.
Dine elsewhere if:
- You’re looking for a more high-end experience with your family.
- Character meals totally aren’t your jam.
- You don’t plan on eating table service or buffet meals — you’re all about quick service!
1900 Park Fare has its place. If you really want to meet Cinderella, Pooh, or Alice without paying for a park ticket, this is your spot for sure! The buffet food has actually gotten better since my last visit. Though it’s still nothing to write home about, I can see they’re really trying to hop onto trends (ZOODLES!) and offer a variety of compelling choices for people who enjoy different kinds of foods and cuisines. And we hear from plenty of readers who love and swear by their meals here, and the character interactions with Cinderella’s step-family can be truly hysterical and memorable.
But this is very much still a kid-centric, packed to the gills buffet character meal. It’s loud, crowded, and can definitely be unappetizing if you’re not ready for what you’re getting into. So keep that in mind, first-timers!
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Have you dined at 1900 Park Fare? What was your experience like? Share with us in the comments!