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.
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 miserable 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. Looking 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.
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. 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.At 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).
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.She 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!For 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.
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.After 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.As 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). The 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).I 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.” All 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?