There are plenty of far better photos out there, but mine should at least give you an idea of how cool this place is. Here's the entrance, as we waited in line:
Immediately inside the doors and to the left you're greeted by this stone alcove. The "stained glass window" is actually mosaic tile, and beautifully done.
Directly in front of you is a large archway leading into the main ballroom, supported by these two unfortunate-looking characters:
The line takes you to the right, though, through this doorway:
(I'm going to say this a lot in this post, but: look at all that detail!)
And into the hall of armor:
Each side of the room is flanked by three magnificent suits of armor, each of their own unique design:
Seriously, look at this level of detail! It's simply breathtaking.
Plus, as an extra Disney touch, there are speakers in or behind each suit that play snippets of muffled dialogue (with French accents, of course), sneezes, and snoring. It definitely makes the wait more entertaining!
Tried taking this shot from a small child's perspective, just for fun.
(Here's the cool hidden "magic" of the rose: you place it on the table where you want to sit, and that tells the kitchen and servers where to bring your food. Works like a charm!)
From the ordering room you walk through a small archway into this jaw-dropping vista:
Through those giant "windows" there's a perpetual snowfall, which is really beautiful with all the lights twinkling in the glass reflections.
I was especially enamored with the ceiling:
My pics make it seem much darker than it actually is. In reality, the hand-painted ceiling is a sweet mix of blues, pinks, and purples, and every cherub has a unique face - which makes me suspect they're all based on real people. (The Imagineers' children, perhaps?) [Confirmed! A few of you have told me the cherubs are actually based on the Imagineers' own baby pictures. Too cool!]
We barely had time to get our drinks and gawk for a few minutes before our food "magically" appeared on this spiffy serving cart:
I ordered the braised pork (with green beans and mashed potatoes) based on a friend's recommendation, and I was blown away by how amazing it was. I've since had it confirmed by several sources (including Ricky of Inside the Magic) that the pork is the best meal on the menu, so I can't recommend it enough. The cupcake-like desserts all seem to be pretty fantastic, too, so I don't think you can go wrong with any of those. (John & I split the strawberry one.) And, shockingly, the prices aren't bad! Desserts were only $3, and the entrees are around $11 or $12. Considering the quality of the food, that's light years ahead of normal Disney park fare. [You can see the whole menu - complete with pics & prices - on Disney's site here.]
Ok, now back to the restaurant itself.
As big as the main ballroom is, there are still two more large dining halls to choose from. The Rose Gallery features a large rotating "music box" statuette of Beast and Beauty in the center, but is otherwise fairly nondescript:
Is it wrong that my favorite part of this room is the base of the statue?
The far more interesting of the two side halls is the dark and foreboding West Wing:
Here you'll find the slashed portrait of the prince and the famous rose, both of which have a bit of Disney magic to them:
The portrait changes in a flash with ominous lightning strikes, but sadly I didn't get to see the change during my few minutes exploring the room.
The rose is a kind of hologram, and slowly rotates in place. I'm told if you wait long enough, you'll even see a petal drop from time to time:
And I think that's a fitting photo to end my review with. I hope you guys enjoyed the virtual visit! You can bet you'll be seeing more photos of Be Our Guest here in the future, just as soon as I can get back with a tripod in tow. (CAN'T WAIT!)