Friday, February 1, 2013

My Trip to Disney's "Be Our Guest" Restaurant

I keep forgetting I promised you guys a review of the new restaurant in New Fantasyland! Of course, calling it just a restaurant is a disservice: this thing is basically a walk-through attraction where they also happen to serve food.

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:

Dinner reservations are booking six months out, but you can show up for lunch any day before 2pm and just wait in line. As long as you're in line by 2 (or sometimes 2:30, according to a local CM), you're guaranteed to be seated and served. We waited about 30 minutes to get in - roughly 15 minutes outside on the bridge, and then another 15 inside.

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.

After the hall you arrive at the ordering room, which is swathed in heavy curtains all 'round and has 6 or 8 touch-screen kiosks, where you place your order. A large fireplace on one side is the only real focal point:

A helpful CM walked John through punching in the orders for all seven of us, and then handed him a round plastic piece shaped like a rose.

(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:

It's pretty dim in there, and obviously quite crowded, so my pics don't do the ballroom justice. Next time I'll have to bring a tripod and wide-angle lens to do it right. (That spot of light in the back is the front door where you first enter the castle.)

 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!)


  1. Thanks for sharing Jen. This place looks amazing! My favorite Disney movie of all time is Beauty & the Beast, so this is on my list of "musts" for when we go to Disney in May!

  2. Wow, how neat! Thanks for sharing, I do hope I get to go someday. One quick q: are the other two non-ballroom areas just for dinner?

  3. Thank you thank you for sharing! We were at Disney in late Nov. but didn't want to wait in line for lunch just to see the inside (stupid I know) and regretted it after we left the park and looked at pictures - your's give the best feel for what the restaurant is like :?)

  4. This post makes me want to go back to WDW just for this restaurant! It's beautiful!

  5. My mom and I were lucky enough to get seated for dinner as walk-ins on a preview day in November. There were some cast members sitting next to us (in the ballroom) who heard me inquiring about the cherubs and they confirmed that the faces of the cherubs are based on the baby pictures of the imagineers who worked on the restaurant!

  6. Beautiful pictures- its great to get a glimpse into the restaurant. Hoping to someday make it over there. I noticed that the west wing gallery special effects are the same they use in the 'animation studio' attraction in California Adventure, so at least us Californians can say we've seen a bit of this attraction. Love the Disney posts, keep em coming :)

  7. Oh WOW!! I got goosebumps several times looking at all these pictures! So amazing! So makes me wish I lived closer and could actually go there once in a while. Thanks for posting this for those of us without easy access to the parks. Nice to be able to visit virtually. :D

  8. @ Leela - you can sit in any of the three rooms for lunch as well as dinner. That's the nice part; you get to choose your own table.

  9. Trying to get dinner reservations there is no joke. I went through every single day from last December until early April, and I finally managed to get one. I keep checking in case I can pick up an earlier one.

  10. We got to see Be Our Guest during the DVC New Fantasyland preview, but didn't get to eat there. The restaurant is absolutely beautiful! Glad to hear that the food is pretty good, too.

    I'm debating on trying to get in there on our Labor Day trip. I'd love to eat there!

  11. I had dinner there tuesday night, I made my reservation in Nov. the first week it was accepting them. You are met at the gate by a personal host/hostess who addresses you by name. We were taken thru the ballroom to the west wing. The west wing as you said, is smaller and more intimate as well as a WHOLE LOT quieter. which is really good. the service is professional,informative and not rushed. I had the thyme pork with mac & Cheese and veg, my friend had the salmon. my pork chop was VERY thick cut and lean with a wine jus. perfectly cooked. $24.00. also had the garden salad with champagne vinigrette $5.00 and a sprite $3.00. the salmon was mushy and salty (at least MY taste was.) our reservation was for 7:40 and we got out at 9. the beast came thru and waved to his guests. the way you came in is the way out when you go to meet the beast and the rose room is closed and only used for lunch. I would recommend this restaurant providing you have a pass or make your reservations a tad early. We were never rushed and informed of when our entree was on it's way. I would recommend this for a nice dinner out. just be sure to have a pass and make your reservations EARLY.

  12. So cool! I'm obsessed with Beauty and the Beast, and scrolling down through your pictures I gasped at how beautiful those rooms were! Like you said, the detail is truly amazing.

  13. Oh, I've been saying for a while that I need to get back to Disney, and this confirms it! Your photos are beautiful. There's nothing like a little Disney magic!

  14. My family leaves for Disney World first thing tomorrow morning. Our plan is to have lunch here on Wednesday afternoon (if I can wait that long). I think it is my most anticipated meal!

  15. My husband and I eloped to Vegas, and never had a real "honeymoon". We decided long ago that WDW would be our honeymoon trip, and this post makes me want that to happen sooner rather than later! Love you Disney posts so much; I'm envious that you live so close and get to there so often! :)

  16. So beautiful. I love all of your Disney posts. I've longed to visit since I was a kid, and have never been so it's nice to get a glimpse inside. BUT....the hubs and I just received our packet for planning a trip because I want to take my kiddos SO BAD! So hopefully soon! Thanks, as always, for sharing...
    Nikki T

  17. My husband were in WDW in December, so we HAD to eat here. We shared the steak sandwich with pommes frites (how French! Haha!). It was really tasty.

    We ate in the West Wing and got to see the portrait flick a couple times. Pay attention to the lightning and thunder. I think it happens shortly after lightning, although I can't remember for sure.

    Also, I think I read that the little cherub faces were Imagineer babies! Kinda creepy, kinda cool. :)

  18. This is gorgeous and all the detail IS amazing. I have to say though (as a sewer) I'm shocked at the banners in the hall of arms. They're puckering, gasp! I suppose that can be ignored for the beautiful armor though.

  19. You didn't happen to get any pictures of the Gaston fountain did you? I love it and really want to see more pictures!


  20. Thank You so much! If we make it to Disney World, we will plan on eating there. My middle child loved that movie especially.

    In fact, you should post a whole guide section for us out of town visitors about the best tips from the locals for all the parks at Disney and Universal :D

  21. That is so amazing!!! I can't wait to go someday!!

  22. Can't! Wait! For! November!! I get to go and eat here and see the new stuff and the old stuff and just.... Gah!! November get here fast!

    Thanks so much for posting the Disney stuff! I live vicariously through each one of them. :D

  23. when my mom was growing up it was Cinderella and Snow White as her Disney princesses. I grew up with Ariel, Belle and Jasmine. This new area of WDW has me DROOLING about visiting and it is actually the first time any specific area has drawn me to the park since I did not grow up near it.

    I have yet to make it to a Disney park, someday I hope to make it possible and I WILL have dinner reservations for Be Our Guest!

    (personally I think they should have filled the middle room, with the music box, with dancing dishes and housewares. Make it kind of like a "chefs table" room)

  24. Beautiful! Thanks for the advice about lunch. My mom and I are heading to Disney next month, and Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie. It's nice to know we can eat lunch there without reservations.

  25. Okay, that is it. I now have to win the lottery, make my son fall in love with all things Disney and go there JUST to eat at "Be Our Guest".

    Thank you for giving me a reason to play the lottery each week once more, Jen! :D

    (By the way, I did snoop around on youtube a little and found this short video which shows the wilting of the rose and the portrait changing images. Just in case anyone else is as curious as I was!)

  26. Your review makes me want to go watch "Beauty and the Beast." They did such a great job making the ballroom look JUST LIKE the one in the movie.

  27. I went in December for lunch. It was so worth the wait. They also let me sit in "The master's" chair!

  28. That ceiling is breathtaking! I so want to take a Disney trip NOW!

  29. ..... I have never truly wanted to go down to Disney WORLD (having been to DisneyLAND when I was little). The one time I remember going to FL, it was muggy and hot, and I didn't enjoy it much. However... I may have to make a very special exception (and plan on a Jan/Feb non-summer trip) just for this. I LOVE Beauty and the Beast... it's been my favorite Disney movie since it came out when I was little. Belle and her books was me to a T! Thank you for the pictures, and creating a new travel-dream for me! :)

  30. So. Cool. I'm pretty happy here on the West Coast, and what our two parks have to offer, but I really wish we had space for something like this!
    Do you have pics of the rose-in-your-table ordery thingie? I love whimsical details like that and am curious what it looks like. It reminds me of the flags at Casa Bonita in Colorado, where the food is endless (but very sub-par), and you just raise your little flag when you want them to bring you another plate.

  31. Thanks for the tips about the restaurant. My family is going to WDW over Easter weekend, and you've just made my day with your advice about getting into this place. I love both of your blogs, and you've just added one more reason for me to keep obsessively reading them.

  32. Thanks for these photos. We went to Disney last May (my daughter's school band played at Epcot, yay!) but they were still working on the new Fantasyland. I want to go back so much!!

  33. Wow! I *WAS* there at the same time you were! I can see us in the first picture of the dining room. We are sitting right behind the B! If only we weren't so in awe, we could have spotted you and said hi! (Thanks to my aunt for spotting us!)


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