Hear ye, hear ye! Calling all Lords and Ladies to join us at a royal meal in Epcot!
Dining with the characters at Walt Disney World is a rite of passage! And if you’ve got a little princess (or prince!) with you, chances are they would LOVE to eat with their idols. And while Cinderella’s Royal Table is the most coveted character dining reservation in all the land (scratch that, the most coveted reservation in ALL OF DINING), it’s not the only place you can eat with royalty.
Located in Epcot‘s Norway Pavilion, Akershus is (somewhat) of a hidden gem when it comes to character dining. While reservations are certainly highly recommended, it’s much easier to snag one than Cinderella’s Royal Table. And while this castle is more modest, IT’S STILL A CASTLE. So grab your tiara, and let’s head to Norway!
Like we’ve said, Akershus is located in Epcot’s Norway Pavilion, and is themed to be an old castle. In fact, upon entry, you can read this giant storybook explaining the Castle’s heritage.
Before being escorted to your table, it’s time for your first royal greeting! Typically, Belle is there in her lovely evening gown to say hello! (Sometimes at Christmas time she’s in her holiday gown which is TO DIE FOR.) Keep in mind, the visiting princesses can change based on who can make it to the castle. But you’re going to see several royal ladies no matter what!
After meeting and greeting with Belle, who is happy to sign autograph books and is the only princess here to have a Photopass Cast Member, you’ll be escorted to your table. There are several rooms in Akershus, all reminiscent of being in a castle of course! There are stone walls in some rooms…
…regal banners in others…
…and even a stone fireplace. Anyone else getting major Cinderella vibes?
We just love the accents that totally channel old European furniture and painting styles.
See what we mean by, it’s modest but totally regal?
Akershus is a little different when it comes to its menu, because it’s part-buffet, part-a la carte.
But first things first, DRINKS! Akershus has a wide variety of beer, wine, and specialty cocktails, as well as a few non-alcoholic specials. (Note you can even get Norwegian water! How’s that for authentic?!)
Per our server’s recommendation, I grabbed a specialty cocktail called “The Oslo.” It’s frozen cocktail with strawberries, banana liquor, vodka, and Norway’s signature liquor “Linie Aquavit,” named after the capitol city.
It was quite tasty, as far as frozen drinks go! It wasn’t super SUPER sweet (though still very much in the sweet family), and it was quite refreshing after a hot day walking around the World. The main flavor is certainly strawberry, as the banana was pretty muted. It reminded us of a daiquiri, but less sweet. If you’re a frozen drink fan, this one is worth a try. (That said, if you’re going to drink one frozen drink in World Showcase, our vote still goes to a margarita in Mexico or slushy in France.)
At this point, we also put in our orders for entrees. (This is where it gets confusing.) You see — the first course if buffet, but the entrees are a la carte. Our server had us select our choices before we scooted off to the buffet for course one.
After taking our order, our server explained the buffet. It’s a cold bar featuring authentic Norwegian meats and cheeses, as well as salads and pastas. You’re welcome to visit as many times as you’d like. Let’s take a look at the options!
First up, the salad bar. There are all the necessary fixins’ to make a yummy salad. While this isn’t super exciting, it’s sometimes nice to enjoy some greens amongst all the carby, sugary goodness that is eating in Walt Disney World.
Next to the salad bar options, we spotted several cold pre-made salads including a Sun-dried tomato pasta salad and broccoli slaw. (Don’t worry we are gonna take a closer look at everything shortly. Keep reading!)
There’s also a meat and cheese selection, that includes salami and Norwegian brown cheese among others.
What makes this bar extra fun, is the FISH! That’s right we said fish. You can grab peppered mackerel or salmon, with the fixings. We are in Norway, after all.
We grabbed a little of everything (we mean it — EVERYTHING), and headed back to our table!
First up, the meat and cheese plate. (This is DFB after all…and WE LOVE CHEESE.) We sampled a few slices of each cheese (Munster, Swiss, and Geitost — the brown one), as well as some meat (turkey and salami), and beet and bean salads.
Like we said, the brown cheese looks a little…off…but we promise it’s fabulous! It’s sweet and creamy, and goes great with some meat on a roll.
The first salads we tried were yummy as well — both the Bean Salad and Beet Salad were nice and fresh. The bean salad was our favorite of the two, with fresh red onions and herbs mixed in.
We also made ourselves a little salad from the fresh veggies available, and found the house vinaigrette to have a fabulous zip! Light and tangy, it was a very refreshing topper to our greens.
The sun-dried tomato pasta was perfectly cooked, and was a great option for someone who wants something different but not “brown cheese or cold fish” different. While it wasn’t the most flavorful pasta I’ve ever had, I really liked the addition of fresh tomatoes and olives into the pasta.
The potato salad was a vinegar-based mixture, which we quite enjoyed! It’s much lighter than your traditional mayo-based, and we loved that the skins were left on those lil’ baby reds. If you’re not a vinegary-person though, you may want to skip this one.
Two of the table faves were the Broccoli Slaw and Chicken Salad (or kyllingsalat in Norwegian). The broccoli was fresh and crunchy, and we loved the creamy, peppery mixture. The chicken salad was also chock full of flavor (thank you red onions!), and was a great choice for someone less adventurous.
Possibly our fave of all the cold salads was the shrimp salad! It’s a mixture of big pasta shells, cold baby shrimp, peppers, onions, and peas, all tossed in a creamy sauce. Color us surprised, we’re normally not a big fan of cold seafood, but this one was very tasty! However the next cold seafood item, did not make a return visit to our plate…
Hello, Peppered Mackerel. While the pepper helped with the extreme fishiness, we couldn’t get over the fact that this is literally just cold fish covered in pepper. THAT SAID, it seemed fresh and if you love seafood (particularly mackerel) you might just love it!
Still in the cold fish category, is the salmon. Now this one was certifiably fresh and had all the toppings you’d need — red onion, capers, hard-boiled eggs. This is the sort of item that really elevates Akershus from other character meals on property. Typically you don’t associate fresh salmon with this category of dining, but we are in Norway after all!
Are you full yet? We hope not, because we haven’t even had entrees!
For my entree, I went with a traditional choice: the Kjøttkake. Also known as meatballs. 😉
The meatballs are served with Mashed Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetables (green beans and carrots in our case), and Lingonberry Sauce.
These were a great mix of sweet and savory, with the Lingonberry Sauce providing a tart balance to the savory meat. The green beans were cooked very well, where they had a nice crunch and snap! And no complaints about the creamy mashed potatoes here either!
The meatballs themselves were nice and moist, and quite filling — especially after all that yumminess at the buffet!
After we were done with our entrees, our server brought us dessert.
Because two styles of dining aren’t enough, dessert is served in yet another way: family style! Each table receives plates full of three traditional Norwegian desserts.
First up, Traditional Rice Cream – topped with Strawberry Sauce:
This one reminded us of a thick tapioca pudding, consistency wise. But it was really quite flavorful, thanks to the strawberry sauce! A Cast Member let us know this is what his family eats at special occasions. While some people may not love it because of the consistency, it was a fun, unique dessert to us.
Next up, Apple Cake with cardamom whipped cream.
This one was fabulous! The sweet apple cake was chock full of cinnamon and nutmeg, and we loved the caramel drizzle on top. It was the hands-down favorite of the three.
Rounding out the trio, is a Sweet and Savory Chocolate Mousse.
This sweet mousse is salted to help balance out the rich chocolate. ALERT TO ALL CHOCOLATE LOVERS: this thing is creamy and sooo chocolatey. You’ll love it!
The dessert trio is a fun way to end the meal — and there’s something for everyone!
In addition to meeting Belle at the beginning of the meal, four other royal ladies graced us with their presence.
We discussed baking gooseberry pies with Snow White…
…swapped beauty sleep and self-care tips with Princess Aurora…
…discussed the best places to shoe shop with Cinderella…
…and chatted about the pros of having legs with Ariel!
The princesses were all so sweet and spent plenty of time chatting with us. Make sure your littles have their autograph books out and get your cameras ready when you see the ladies coming your way! Some of our favorite pictures are the ones BEFORE the posed one — when our little princesses are just in awe of their idols!
In the end, Akershus is still a winner in our book. Is it the best food you’ll ever eat in Walt Disney World (or even World Showcase)? No. But it is quite good for a character dining meal. Between the cold bar (which again, you can visit over and over should you choose), quality entrees, and dessert trio, we don’t have any major critiques about the food. The biggest negative of Akershus is the cost — it’s pretty pricey for a sit-down meal, especially if you’re gauging it on food alone. (It’s an incredible use of ONE dining plan credit though.)
That said, the main reason to visit Akershus is for the princesses of course! Considering we got to sit down in the air conditioning for an hour or so, eat as much cheese as we wanted, AND meet five of Disney’s starring ladies, I’d say a trip to this Norwegian Castle is still worth it.
Want to learn more about Character Dining in Walt Disney World? Check out this DFB Video!
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Have you dined at Akershus? Let us know about your experience in the comments!