Disney Dining – Be Our Guest Restaurtant Review

We always make sure to book our Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs) exactly 180 days before our Walt Disney World vacations.  This most recent trip was no exception.  Usually, we book one table service meal per day, but because we wanted to make the most of the Food & Wine Festival offerings (food booths and special events), we only booked four dinners.  One of those was at Be Our Guest.RM-Be-Our-Guest-Entrance

Dinner booked, I was pretty excited to finally be able to go inside The Master’s lair and see for myself all those amazing Disney details and magical touches.  Then, about 24 days before our trip, we received THE email – the email from Disney inviting us to book a FastPass for lunch at Be Our Guest!  We were not sure if we should cancel dinner in favor of lunch, pass on the lunch, or do both.  I quickly posted the question to Facebook and Twitter and the advice we received was nearly unanimous – do BOTH!  And that’s just what we did.


So here’s the scoop.  I try to always give balanced feedback and today’s no different.  Be Our Guest is not perfect.  It’s very visually interesting and in most of the rooms, very beautiful.  It’s also a little gimmicky and regimented – there seemed to be a lot of rules, procedures, routines from which no deviation must occur.  I found that just a tad off-putting.  Perhaps if we had not been two adults alone we would have had a better time?  The food was hit and miss – for the price, it should be better.

Be Our Guest Dinner

The evening started by standing in line to check in (outdoors) at a booth on the outside edge of the bridge that leads to the castle.  Once we received our pager, we were told to just wait on the bridge – this made me wonder about bad weather and how RM-Be-Our-Guest-Gargoylemiserable it would be to wait in the rain.  We didn’t wait very long before our little device started flashing and we were escorted inside by a very cheerful and pleasant young lady named Sue.  Sue handed us a Lumiere toy to carry that was supposed to help light the way to our table – except Lumiere was not turned on. RM-Be-Our-Guest-LumiereLooking around I noticed that none of the Lumiere’s were glowing and I asked Sue why we were carrying them if they weren’t turned on and she informed me that they usually are turned on and she didn’t know why they weren’t working that particular evening.  Okay, so non-lighting Lumiere in hand, we followed Sue, who was very excited to tell us we’d be dining in the West Wing.RM-Be-Our-Guest-West-Wing-Ceiling

The West Wing is just as it appears in Beauty and The Beast.  Dark, decaying, with moldy-looking ripped curtains and shredded tapestries, the rose hovering by the window in its glass case. RM-Be-Our-Guest-Rose The West Wing is also really dark – as in pitch black, hard-to-see-anything dark.  We were seated not far from the room’s entrance and had a great view of the double doorways through which The Master made his entrances and exits during the evening.RM-Be-Our-Guest-PortraitAt dinner only, the Beast appears several times and makes his way to the library to receive guests – BUT only guests who have finished their meals are allowed to visit the library and meet The Master.  The announcer reminds guests of this repeatedly over the course of the meal.  Visitors are allowed to tour the other rooms in the castle to see them and take pictures at anytime during their visit (which I did).RM-Be-Our-Guest-The-MasterRM-Be-Our-Guest-Ballroom

Our server was Michelle and she was cheerful and professional – the kind of Cast Member who likes her job and isn’t afraid to show it.  We liked Michelle very much.RM-Be-Our-Guest-Place-SettingShe took our order for a bottle of wine (oh, yes indeed – we felt so wicked imbibing in Magic Kingdom!) and an appetizer for two called “Assorted Cured Meats and Sausages” – turned out we were not fans of this starter!RM-Be-Our-Guest-MenuRM-Be-Our-Guest-AppetizerFor our main courses, we both ordered the “Thyme-scented Pork Rack Chop with Au Gratin Macaroni, Seasonal Vegetables, and Red Wine Jus”.  We both thought it was delicious.  I was completely happy with my entrée – the seasonal vegetable was green beans with red bell pepper and they were firm and crunchy and delicious.  Raymond doesn’t eat green beans (would starve to death first) but enjoyed the bell pepper, the chop, and the macaroni.  The Red Wine Jus was very delicious on the pork.RM-Be-Our-Guest-Porkchop

While we were eating, we noticed this big wooden cart with a giant glass domed top being rolled all round the restaurant.  I nicknamed it the battering ram of desserts.  When guests are finished eating, the battering ram of desserts is rolled over for their perusal of the dessert selection – this is NOT a dessert display!  The dessert you end up eating has been rolling around in the cart, at room temperature, and, I’m sorry – didn’t give the impression of being as fresh as it would have been if it had been brought straight from the kitchen.  We decided to split the chocolate torte topped with “Gray Stuff”.  We tasted it and left the rest alone.  As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and this dessert did nothing for me.RM-Be-Our-Guest-DessertAfter that, we visited with Michelle for a few minutes while we finished our wine, paid the bill (about $120 before tax and gratuity – food $70, wine $50), then made our way outside.

The very next day, we went back for lunch and our experience was very different!  We’d taken advantage of the ability to pre-order our meals.  Upon arrival, we checked in at the same booth-on-the-bridge and were told to go on inside and get in line.  Unlike the previous evening, the restaurants doors were wide open in welcome.  Once inside, we were directed to the right into a very well-themed hallway lined with suits of armor.RM-Be-Our-Guest-ArmorAs the lined moved slowly forward, it became clear that those suits of armor weren’t just for show!  They’re enchanted (and enchanting!) and a lot of fun.  At the end of the hallway, we entered a room full of payment booths where we paid for lunch and were told we could sit wherever we wanted!  Our lunch would be brought to our table shortly.

While we were helping ourselves to drinks, utensils and napkins, we heard a friendly voice ask, “Weren’t you two here last night?” – It was Sue the friendly Cast Member who’d showed us to our table at dinner!  Feeling very special after that, we chose the room with the giant Belle and Beast turning music box and found a table.  Our lunch did appear shortly after that, as if by magic (or magic BAND).  RM-Be-Our-Guest-French-Onion-SoupThe French Onion Soup was just meh.  The soup had no flavor, was a thin broth, and the soggy bread under the melted cheese was completely unappetizing.  Raymond ate his soup, I did not.  Entrees were a mixed bag – Raymond had the “Croque Monsieur on Millet Bread -Grilled Sandwich of Carved Ham, Gruyere Cheese and Béchamel on Millet Bread with Pommes Frites.”  It was a grilled cheese sandwich and fries – all of which was extremely mediocre to me (I had a taste).RM-Be-Our-Guest-SandwichI was VERY happy with my selection and happily ate the “Braised Pork (Coq Au Vin Style) – Eight Hour Slow-cooked Pork with Mushrooms, Onions, Carrots and Bacon served with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans Jardiniere.”  RM-Be-Our-Guest-Lunch-PorkAll of which was perfectly delicious.  Our desserts were the Master’s Cupcake (mine) and Crème Puff (Raymond’s) and were nothing either of us found exciting.  Lunch finished, a few pictures snapped and it was time to get outside and find a place to sit for the Festival of Fantasy Parade (my favorite!).

Be Our Guest – Counter Service by day, Table Service at night, is a magnificent display of all the Disney details we know and love.  I would eat there again, most likely for lunch if I could get in, and would just order the Braised Pork.  If you want to go, the atmosphere is what makes the experience rather than the food – keeping that in mind might make your meal, be it lunch or dinner, more enjoyable.  For current online menu information, go here.

Have you visited Be Our Guest?  What did you think about it?





7 Styles of Disney Park Walking

RM-Main-Street-USA-Magic-KingdomEveryone has a style.  I’d be willing to be that in this particular category of Walt Disney World guest, you have a style from which you rarely deviate!  I’m talking movement – how you travel within a Disney park on foot.  I’ve had the opportunity to observe Disney park visitors over the past couple of dozen years and I’ve identified what I like to refer to as….

The 7 Styles of Disney Park Walking

1. Walk OR Talk – If this is you, a multi-tasker you are not.  This type of traveler cannot walk and talk (or eat) and must stop and start repeatedly.  Walk….stop and turn to a particular traveling companion, speak…..resume walking.  No brake lights makes this type of fellow park guest RM-Fantasyland-Crowdone we shouldn’t follow too closely or a collision will most definitely occur!

2. Diagonal Walker – At first these cross-movement specialists seem as if they might be trying to traverse the crowd to reach a specific destination, but no…the diagonal path leads to the very edge of the walkway and then, like a pinball, this vacationer bounces back into the crowd in a new direction back across the path of every other visitor.  This is one of Disney vacationing’s greatest mysteries to me – If you’re a diagonal traveler, please enlighten me – Why must you walk that way?

3. Weavers – These fans of the random zig-zag seem virtually incapable of walking in a straight line from points A to B.  Not to be confused with the Diagonal Walkers, the zig-zag pattern is very narrow and repeats often – most commonly in the RM-Epcot-France-Pavilionvery center of paths and sidewalks.  It seems to me that Weavers are more likely to be pushing a stroller which makes me wonder if a faulty stroller wheel may contribute to this phenomenon.

4. Red Rovers – Remember the semi-violent playground game “Red Rover”?  The premise was to physically band together in an impenetrable straight line – the goal being to remain attached firmly enough to repel attempts by opposing team members to break the line.  The Red Rover style of park crossing involves the same principle:  Walk side by side with friends or family across as much of the walkway as possible, allowing no one to pass between you from either direction.  Oncoming or overtaking foot traffic must not be allowed to pass!  Personally, I find this to be the #1 most annoying type of group walking behavior in Disney parks.  Please don’t tell me if you are a member of this category.RM-Walkers-Walt-Disney-World

5. The Classic Mosey-ers – I admire them as much as I dislike this type of Disney guest.  They care not one whit about getting anywhere in a hurry.  The masters of the mosey walk in a straight line while their heads slowly swivel from side to side, soaking up the atmosphere, taking in all the sights and sounds, living the dream, baby!  My problem is that I always seem to be stuck behind them with a FastPass that’s about to expire.

6. Rear Viewers – This style is so difficult to execute successfully, it may be impossible – but that doesn’t keep plenty of brave souls from trying.  This method of reaching a final destination involves walking backwards to converse with other travel party members, check on offspring, or gesture in the direction from which they are moving away.  Rear viewers have absolutely no idea what they may be walking into!  Probably the most entertaining walkers to watch, these Disney tourists are missing some pretty awesome stuff in front of them – mainly the comical flight of the folks they’re about to run down!

RM-Adventureland-Magic-Kingdom7. Roundabouts (a.k.a. Dodgers or Gappers) – This is the category I call home!  We are the fast paced travelers who swiftly negotiate the other 6 types of walkers by taking advantage of gaps and openings wherever we find them.  Our ninja-like stealth allows us to flow through all the other park guests unnoticed with barely a ripple.  We are always moving forward briskly and with purpose.  Oh, okay, I’ll admit it – I just want all the non-like-minded people to get out of the way so I can be in front!  Since that rarely happens, I’ve developed what I like to believe are some well-honed skills that make me and my family members amazing crowd negotiators.

Yes, I really want to know!  Which type of Disney park walker are YOU?



Dinner at Citricos at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Citricos-Interior“Citricos in the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is a hidden gem among Walt Disney World’s table service dining options.  The combination of excellent service, relaxing atmosphere, and delectable dishes makes Citricos an excellent choice for a romantic dinner.” – Me, once again channeling my inner restaurant critic.

Last week Raymond and I ate at Citricos for the very first time.  All through our meal and after, we kept asking ourselves WHY!!?!?  Why did we wait so long to eat there?  It was a fantastic experience – one we cannot wait for the opportunity to repeat.

From the moment we walked through the door, we were made to feel like the most special guests in the restaurant.  Escorted to our centrally Citricos-Vincelocated table by Vince (who looked very young yet had oodles of charm to spare) and introduced to our server, Michael, who helpfully explained the menu to us and pointed out a few of the restaurant’s specialties; our evening began.

Raymond chose a bottle of wine for us to enjoy while Michael brought us some fabulous bread with butter.  The butter is unsalted, but sprinkled with sea salt and citrus zest before serving.  I may have eaten a little more bread and butter than was wise, but it was just irresistible.  Perusing the menu, we were pleasantly surprised by the selection – a huge number of items to choose from, sure to please every type of appetite.  Even the children’s menu is amazing.

Citricos-MichaelFor starters we chose the Cheese Course Trio which is “Wijngaard Chèvre Affiné from Holland, Taleggio D.O.P from Italy, and Cashel from Ireland served with seasonal accompaniments” and completely perfect in every way.  It reminded me of the cheese appetizer we had at the Boardwalk’s Flying Fish (and we loved that as well).  Michael paced our courses just right.

The entrée was so hard to select!  Raymond and I both decided on the Pan Seared Icelandic Cod served with “Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes, Nueske’s Applewood-smoked Bacon, New Smyrna Clams, P.E.I. Mussels, Carrots, Fennel, and Creamed Fish Fumet”.  For all that fancy talk, we got some mighty tasty eats!!!  I’m not a huge fan of fennel and was pleased to note that I couldn’t even tell it was in there.  The dish’s flavors blended together perfectly.

Between the bread and butter, the cheeses, and the huge main course, we didn’t have room for Citricos-Seared-Icelandic-Coddessert.  We took our time finishing our wine and enjoying the restaurant’s ambiance and each other’s company.  When we were finished, we leisurely made our way to the monorail and rode back to the Contemporary and our home away from home at Bay Lake Tower.  Except for eating a bit too much, we couldn’t think of a single thing we would have changed about the evening.

Check out Citricos’ full menu here and do not pass up the opportunity to try Citricos for yourself next time you’re looking for an awesome Disney dining experience.

Have you eaten at Citricos?  What was your experience like?

Citricos- Copper-Pot-Mickey


Walt Disney World’s Memory Maker Review Round Two

STUDIO_TOWEROFTERRORBRIDE_7071419898Please note:  The advance purchase price for Memory Maker has increased to $169 (from $149) since this post was originally published.

If you read my first review, you already know that our initial experience with Memory Maker was not a good one and it was entirely our own fault.  Raymond and I decided to have a do-over, a Memory Maker Mulligan, if you will.  Perhaps it seems silly to spend $149 (advance purchase price) to have Disney photographs of just the two of us, but hey!  We are not the type to ask a bunch of strangers to take our pictures AND we aren’t the best at selfies (perhaps our advanced ages are a disadvantage?).  No matter the reason, we took this most recent trip to Walt Disney World to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary and I wanted pictures to commemorate the occasion.

So, how did we do with round two of Memory Maker?  I’m proud to say much, much better!  MM-Animal Kingdom EverestWe got 105 pictures from many different settings in each park.  We absolutely love the new ride videos included with our Memory Maker purchase!  We are completely happy with our investment this time around.

What we did differently:

  • We deliberately located a photographer immediately after park entrance every day and waited (if the line was short) when necessary.
  • We took advantage of photographers a little off the beaten path.  (One we found near Epcot’s Italy Pavilion was especially great.)
  • When we saw a character with a short line, we jumped in it.  Our pictures with Duffy are priceless (we sent one to our children right away since they are most decidedly NOT Duffy fans!).  Our pictures with Chip and Dale in Frontierland are hilarious because we were still soaking wet from Splash Mountain!
  • MM-Magic-Kingdom-Hat-KissWe didn’t just stand side-by-side.  When Raymond kissed me behind his hat in the middle of Main Street U.S.A., a nearby snack vendor started calling out tips which in turn got the crowd involved.  “Kiss her again!” “Without the hat!” “Ma’am!  You’ve got to pop the foot!” – which meant we got even more cute pictures!
  • We asked if “Magic Shots” were available and ended up with Olaf in one picture and Anna and Elsa in another.  The ghost driver of the hearse in front of Haunted Mansion during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party was our favorite.

Note:  You can view your photos almost immediately by logging on to My Disney PhotoPass.  Even if you make sure everyone is linked, you still may not be able to see all the pictures.  This happened to us – when Raymond’s Magic Band was scanned after pictures were taken, I couldn’t see them.  A quick stop at (of all places) a FastPass+ Kiosk in Epcot got the situation resolved.  A very helpful Cast Member named Jennifer was able to quickly fix the problem.Magic Shot at MNSSHP

Tip:  If any of your pictures are missing, call (407) 560-4300 (Monday – Saturday from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm) and see if they can be located.  The Cast Members are excellent and will do all they can to find your missing photos.

Have you used Memory Maker?  How was your experience?  Where were your favorite pictures taken?  How many pictures did you get?

  • Expedition Everest Ride Photo