Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! A Review of Cinderella's Royal Table, and Her Royal Highness Add-On

Cinderella’s Royal Table is, without much doubt, the most desirable dining location in all of Walt Disney World.  Why wouldn't it be?  After all, it is located in the most widely recognized icon in the most popular theme park in the world.  I have been lucky enough to dine here quite a few times and would love to share my experiences!  Let’s climb that spiral staircase and find out what makes this the most Royal Table indeed!

Cinderella’s Royal Table is a character meal that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  It does participate in the Disney Dining Plan as a Signature Restaurant, so be prepared to use 2 Table Service credits for this meal.  Reservations made on the dining plan will take a credit card for a hold only.  If you are not on the dining plan, you will be asked to pay for this reservation in full at the time of booking.  This helps ensure that all reservations made will be honored, but it also means that getting a last minute reservation will be more difficult.  There is a photo package included with this meal, but more on that in a bit.  

Your experience begins 180 days before your meal.  Yes, you read that right, 180 days!  Dining reservations begin 180 days in advance at Walt Disney World, and if this restaurant is at the top of your dining wish list than it is highly recommended that you(or even better, your favorite Kingdom Konsultant) make your reservation on your 180 mark.  
Greeting Her Highness, Cinderella

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s go eat!  You will check-in at the podium on the Fantasyland side of the Castle.  When it is your turn, you will be invited inside the large double doors where you will immediately feel as if the clocks have turned back quite a few hundred years.  The stone walls are flanked with medieval touches, from the deep rich woods, the elaborate tapestries, the suits of armor, and the stained glass (which include some of Cinderella’s friends - and one of the Princess herself!) - these details immediately immerse you in royalty!  You will be waiting in a not-too-long line for your chance to meet the guest of honor, Cinderella.  This is where you will have your photo taken for your photo package.  During your meal you will receive your 6x8 photo, along with four 4-6 photos in a decorative folder and a 6x8 photo of the Castle.  After you greet Her Royal Highness, you will be asked to climb the winding red carpeted staircase to the dining room.  

A Fantastic view of Fantasyland!
The dining room decor mimics the decor of the downstairs.  The buttressed ceiling has many flags with different coats of armor and large chandeliers.  The room itself it not very large, giving it a more intimate feeling.  Seating is arranged on two tiers, with the lower tier having a not-so-large number of tables set against the large stained glass windows.  If you are one of the lucky ones to have a table at one of those tables, you will get to dine with a view of Fantasyland - perfection!!

Crystal Tiara, part of Her Royal Highness Add-On Package

On our most recent trip, we were celebrating the birthdays of both our princesses.  Disney had recently announced a new add-on to your meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table, the Her Royal Highness package.  For $112.05, you will have a balloon waiting at your table when you are seated, followed by a crowning with a crystal tiara.  After your meal, you’ll share a 6-inch decorated princess cake.  As soon as I learned of this package, I called to find out if the cakes could be made allergy-friendly.  Bad news, they could not.  Good news, there is an alternative!  For $42.50, you will still get the balloon and the tiara, but instead of the cake you get an alternate dessert of a chocolate glass slipper filled with chocolate mousse, on top of an allergy-friend cake, with fresh fruit.  The best part, the plates are personalized in chocolate writing!  I opted for two of these packages, one for each child.  We were lead to our table with the balloons waiting, and were thrilled to see we were seated at the window!  Within minutes, two servers came over to officially present the tiaras, and asked my husband and I to crown them honorary princesses for the evening.  What a great start of a dinner fully immersed in the magic!  Of course this is a character meal.  Four of Cinderella's royal friends will rotate through the dining room and visit at your table.  For this meal, we were greeted by Aurora, Snow White, Belle, and Ariel (in her human legs, of course).

Roasted Beef Tenderloin, Gluten Free

On to the food!  A basket of assorted freshly baked breads were brought to the table, as well as a plate of warm gluten free rolls and butter.  We didn’t partake too much in the breads, after all, we knew dessert was coming, and that’s more our thing!  Next up were appetizers.  Hubby and I both chose the Roasted Beet Salad (with arugula, goat cheese, and a cherry vinaigrette), and both kids had the cheese and grapes plate.  Our salad was very simple, light, and refreshing.  Dinner followed very soon thereafter.  

Kids Chicken Fingers, Gluten Free

There were not a ton of allergy friendly choices here for me: the chef told me which menu items I could order with modifications (which were basically items they would leave off the plate).  At many other restaurants in WDW I have been offered many more possibilities either on or off the menu, so I was a little surprised to not get those same offerings here.  I went with the Roasted Beef Tenderloin, served without the sauce.  I’d love to say my meal was fabulous, but instead I will say it was “just fine” -  nothing at all that stood out and made me say “oh I would definitely come back for this again”; same went for my hubby’s meal (he had the same as me, but with the sauce).  The kids were very happy with their meal; they both chose the allergy friendly chicken fingers and very much enjoyed them.
Make A Wish!!

In between dinner and dessert was the Wishing Ceremony.  The little girls are given a Wishing Star and magic wand, and the boys are given a pirate sword.  Magical music begins to play, and the children are all asked to close their eyes and make a wish with the magic words - Bibbidi, Bobbidi, Boo!  Our princesses made some serious wishes that they absolutely would not tell.  I think if there’s ever a place to make a wish with any luck of it coming true, this is it!!
Her Royal Highness Dessert, Gluten Free

Finally, it was dessert time!  I wish I could remember what my husband and I ordered, but the truth is we were so excited about the special desserts for the girls that we barely paid attention to our own!  The special dessert plates were brought out, and the servers sang Happy Birthday to our girls.  The dessert was, by far, the highlight of the meal as far as food is concerned.  The chocolate was just delicious, and the portion was HUGE!!  Overall, I was extremely pleased with the allergy friendly version of the Her Royal Highness package.  I felt it was a very good value for the price, and certainly worth any special occasion!

Cinderella’s Royal Table is at the top of so many “must-do” dining lists, and it should be.  It is a classic.  Does it need repeating visit after visit?  Well, if you are a foodie, perhaps not; there are a number of Signature Dining locations throughout Walt Disney World that deliver food that will have you drooling in your sleep, and unfortunately the food here is not as memorable.   However, the location, the decor, the full immersive experience make this a memorable meal for other reasons.  I know you are not supposed to tell what you’ve wished for if you hope for it to come true.  Yet, with the extra magic from the Fairy Godmother and my own Wishing Star, my wish for a perfect evening for our two Princesses at Cinderella’s Royal Table did come true indeed!

Have you had the chance to eat here yet?  Do you hope to one day?


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