Hear ye, hear ye! Lords and ladies of the Magic Kingdom! You are hereby most cordially invited to join us at Cinderella’s Royal Table!
A meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table is one of the most coveted dining experiences in Disney World. After all, you’re dining INSIDE the single most iconic landmark in all of Walt Disney World — Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella Castle — in the presence of true Disney Royalty.
What could possibly go wrong?
Weeellll, as it turns out…a few things, actually. In fact, we asked our readers to tell us about some of their — ahem — not-so-magical experiences dining in the Castle: AKA Cinderella’s Royal Table FAILS. And YOU had some stories to share!
We should start by saying that — for the purposes of this post – we’re discussing the traditional experience at Cinderella’s Royal Table as a Character Meal for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner featuring Disney Princesses. Keep in mind that Character Dining is NOT taking place at the Royal Table right now in keeping with current safety measures (though Cinderella does make physically-distanced appearances).
But, as more Character Dining returns to Disney World while restrictions continue to ease, we thought this could be a good time to talk about this exceptionally popular experience in case you’re doing some future Disney World vacation planning! Cinderella’s Royal Table is one of the hottest tickets in town, but should YOU plan to eat there?
Know Your WHY
There are three main aspects that make up the Cinderella’s Royal Table experience: the setting, the characters, and the food. And we’re adding one more: the specifics of YOUR dining party. Before you make a reservation, it’s wise to take some time to truly consider which aspect is most important to you. WHY, exactly, do you want to dine at Cinderella’s Royal Table?
Make no bones about it: dining INSIDE Cinderella Castle is the MAIN DRAW for most guests. And there’s a reason for that…
…it’s simply stunning. From the moment you set foot in the Grand Hall, the remarkable scene is set.
Climb the spiral staircase, and the anticipation builds for the BIG REVEAL.
Once upstairs, you’ll find that the Banquet Hall is truly fit for Royalty!
The setting, in fact, is THE reason we continue to recommend that everyone dine here at least once to cross it off your Disney Bucket List. You’re eating IN THE CASTLE. That’s a pretty solid reason to want to eat here.
So if dining inside the Castle is your goal, we still say…GO FOR IT.
There really is nothing quite like it. (Just keep in mind… this isn’t the ONLY Castle in Magic Kingdom these days. We have the Beast to thank for that, with his castle providing the beautifully storied setting at Be Our Guest Restaurant!) As one reader said, it’s “Super cool eating in the castle…” and we totally agree! (This reader also had a little more to share, and we’ll touch on that as we move forward.)
Is your main goal hobnobbing with Disney Royalty? Here are some of the Princesses known to stop by Cinderella’s Royal Table! It starts with meeting the Princess behind the Castle herself, Cinderella, upon entry.
Though visiting Princesses may change, during the meal, we often encounter Snow White, Aurora, Jasmine, and Ariel.
That said, lesser-known Character Meals also feature Disney Princesses…but that doesn’t mean they are any less magical! In some cases we feel like you actually get more quality time with them at other Character Meals. For instance, several readers mentioned feeling rushed at Cinderella’s Royal Table: [Our] “Reservation was 7, we were done and out by 7:50.”
And who can relate to this sentiment 😉 ? “Royalty showing up the second the food is set in front of us. Mickey Waffles > Princesses.”
We’ve had that experience ourselves. But, as AJ has shared, “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.”
That said, we’d like to present some alternate locations you might consider for your Princess Character Meal.Keep in mind, at this time, these options are still unavailable. Let’s start with Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in EPCOT. Though it’s not THE Castle, you’re still dining in A castle, and a lovely one in the Norway pavilion in EPCOT, at that. And Princesses? Oh, they’ve got ’em! While the Royalty rotates 😉 , we’ve met Belle, Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, and Ariel here.
We’re big fans of the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno on Dinsey’s BoardWalk, as well. Royal COUPLES are in the house here, featuring Rapunzel and FLYNN RIDER and Princess Ariel and Prince Eric.
Yes, ALWAYS ALL CAPS FOR FLYNN, thankyouverymuch. (What can I say? It’s that smolder…)
If it’s Cinderella you’d most love to meet, at 1900 Park Fare in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Her Royal Highness is joined by Prince Charming and Lady Tremaine along with Anastasia and Drizella at dinner (for breakfast you often find the likes of Alice and the Mad Hatter, Pooh and Tigger, and even Mary Poppins from time to time!). And the newest Character Meal on the scene featuring a Princess is Storybook Dining with Snow White at Artist Point in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
True, there is just one Princess at Storybook Dining, but she’s a pretty big deal, seeing as she’s Walt’s original: Snow White! This enchanting experience also presents rarely seen characters like Dopey, Grumpy, and the Evil Queen. And the food? It’s impressive! Which brings us to our next topic… .
The Cuisine of the Castle
Are you looking for a great meal with your Character Dining experience? Of course you are… especially at top dollar! The current non-Character Meal at the Royal Table is a lesser price (though, for real, not by much). But the full experience with Characters costs $75 per adult for Lunch and Dinner, and $45 for children ages 3-9. Breakfast is $62 per adult and $37 for children. Oh, and the little dining princesses and princes receive a wand or sword and a Wishing Star.
But still… the food quality at Cinderella’s Royal Table probably garnered the MOST comments of all, including: “For the $$$ you would think it would be superb every time.”
One reader stated that the fail they experienced was: “The Charcuterie Board! It was like two pickles and tuna.” Yikes.
Frankly, your meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table likely won’t be the best of your life. It probably won’t even be the best of your vacation. Additional comments we received were: “The food is not worth the price! It’s such a fun experience, but the food isn’t great,” and “We’ve had better meals for cheaper at other Disney restaurants.”
SHOULD you have to adjust your expectations? No. But DO you have to adjust your expectations? Unfortunately, that might be the case. “For the price, the food is subpar compared to other Magic Kingdom restaurants.”
This is not to say we haven’t enjoyed any of the food here. We recommend that you take some time, study the menu on the Disney World website or the My Disney Experience app ahead of your visit, and read previous reviews. Specifically, we’ve enjoyed the following dishes: among the “Entrees Royal” during Lunch and Dinner, for instance, we’ve liked the Roasted All-Natural Chicken Breast.
Our favorite of the desserts (and a highlight of the meal, for us), was the Jaq & Gus, which is a deconstructed dish of whipped cheesecake with seasonal flavors and garnishes.
It’s also worth mentioning that a reader said that the fail they experienced was: “Dinner! Breakfast is so much better!”
If it’s a great meal you’re after with your Character Dining, though, you might want to check out Storybook Dining with Snow White, as we mentioned above, or consider Breakfast a la Art with Mickey & Friends at Topolino’s Terrace at the Riviera Resort.
YOUR Dining Party
Now, in the excitement over the thought of dining in the Castle, it’s easy to imagine the picture-perfect, straight-from-the-brochure scene of the entire family having the Ultimate Magical Experience at Cinderella’s Royal Table, like this truly charming moment.
But we also encourage you to think about the specifics of YOUR particular dining party, especially with regards to age. One reader regrets “Being too young to remember it all “ at the time.
If Disney World is a once-in-a-lifetime trip or you just so happen to have a wide range of ages and preferences in your group, we don’t think you’ll regret booking this experience. However, it could be a matter of waiting for the right time for everyone in your group, IF possible. (One reader mentioned: “My teenage brothers [were] TERRIFIED of the princesses talking to them.”) Just something to consider, if your traveling plans allow for it.
OKAY! So, we’ve discussed knowing your WHY. And if you’ve decided that Cinderella’s Royal Table is still must-do dining, then let’s talk logistics!
Scoring a Reservation
One of the most common issues when it comes to Cinderella’s Royal Table? To begin with, it’s simply “Getting a table!”
‘Tis true… scoring an Advance Dining Reservation here remains a tough ticket to get. So, KNOW the steps for making a reservation ahead of time, mark your calendar for the first day of your reservation window (currently 60 days out from the day you’d like to dine), and set your alarm to be up and at ’em on that date to make an online reservation when the clock strikes 6AM EST. (And, actually, we advise you start trying at 5:45AM and hit refresh as needed in case things open up a bit early.) If you don’t get a reservation, stalk (seriously) My Disney Experience or the Disney World website to check for openings as your trip approaches. Go over our list of HUGE tips for landing those hard-to-get reservations.
And, when all else fails… have a Plan B with some of the options we’ve discussed above.
Another common guest experience? Hurry up… and WAIT. We received comments such as: “They sat us close to 90 minutes past our reservation time,” and “We had to wait over an hour for our reservation.”
We mentioned readers feeling rushed while dining above, but that doesn’t always ring true as far as actually getting seated. While we can’t fix that problem, we do advise building in a BIG window of time for your experience.
It’s quite possible that the return of dining with the Princesses may coincide with other returning experiences in Disney World such as FastPass+ to reserve your time on park attractions and even the Happily Ever After evening fireworks spectacular returning VERY soon.
Alas, our advice doesn’t change the potential wait, but it may alleviate the stress of missing out on other experiences you had planned. (That said, seeing fireworks from inside the Castle can actually be pretty sweet, though loud.)
Meeting the Princesses
Alright, at last: You’re IN THE CASTLE! It’s TIME… they’re HERE — the DISNEY PRINCESSES!!!
Soooooo… NOW WHAT?
Though anyone can get a little tongue-tied in the presence of Royalty, we’re going to focus on the little ones here. For instance, Once Upon a Time, as a reader’s story goes… “My cousin was in love with Aurora so much he panicked and barfed on the ground.”
Yeah, it can happen. Even the most outgoing child can get a little star-struck. (It happens for me with FLYNN RIDER every time.) While a visit to Cinderella’s Royal Table can certainly start your trip with a bang, if you have little ones along, you might consider planning this meal for the latter part of your vacation.
This will give your little prince or princess a chance to get used to being in the presence of characters before it’s FULL-ON PRINCESS TIME. Plan a visit to Character Meet and Greets at locations like Princess Fairytale Hall or EPCOT’s Sommerhus (featuring Anna and Elsa) ahead of your dining reservation. You might even help children think of some talking points, or encourage them to consider what they’d like to say to the Princesses in advance (referencing something from their movies is a favorite of ours!).
Photos and Autographs
Readers also expressed sentiments such as: “I kind of wish a photographer went around with the princesses at the tables.”
Yep, as another reader shared, it was a bummer “Waiting forever to meet the princesses and there’s no one to take a picture of you with them!” As we’ve discussed previously, have a plan as to how your group will handle meeting the Princesses. For example, let them know that you’re going to take a picture with each child, or a picture with each camera, so they have some idea and can more easily help create your ideal experience.
A reader also mentioned this regret: “Not showing up with a Sharpie.”
This is a great reminder: Don’t get caught without your pen and autograph book, here or at any Disney Character Meal! When autographs are happening, be sure to have that pen or marker open and ready with a blank page for an autograph. In the immortal words of Scar, “Be prepared!”
Remember the first reader quote we shared? That reader went on to nicely sum up a thought similar to what we’ve shared in previous reviews: “Super cool eating in the castle but so expensive! 1 and done.” And we agree that dining in the Castle is a truly unique experience that most guests will treasure long after their trip is over, and should have at least once.
Because dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table with the VIPs (Very Important Princesses) truly can be a magical experience. After all, in addition to the comments we’ve shared above, we received THESE: “My family and I love the place and the food,” and “I’ve had a great experience both times I have eaten there.”
“No fails — went there once on my first trip on my 5th birthday pure magic…”
And when this reader considered Cinderella’s Royal Table FAILS? “Nothing it was perfect!”
And THAT’S our wish for all of you, no matter where you dine in Disney World! We hope this helps as you plan YOUR Cinderella’s Royal Table experience. And we thank our readers for contributing to this post! It’s a team effort when it comes to dining in Disney World, and we appreciate you!
Dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table is a big deal for many guests. Check out our DFB YouTube Video to watch us break it all down!
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Have you ever dined at Cinderella’s Royal Table? Please let us know about your experience with a comment below!