The Ultimate Guide to Eating at Be Our Guest Restaurant
The hardest ticket to get at Magic Kingdom isn’t any attraction. Instead, it’s a reservation at Be Our Guest, the restaurant so majestic that Disney built an entire castle for it. Here, the food is prepared and served with flair. You’ll have to jump through a lot of hoops to eat a meal at Be Our Guest, though. Is the restaurant worth the effort? Read on…
The Basics of Eating at Be Our Guest
The introduction wasn’t an exaggeration. Getting a reservation at Be Our Guest can feel like an impossible task. We’ve previously offered suggestions on booking an Advance Dinner Reservation here and the other popular eateries at Walt Disney World.
Even compared to the rest, Be Our Guest is a bit different. The restaurant opened in 2012 yet it remains at maximum occupancy almost five years later. You’ll have to do some planning and make an effort to eat here.
Thankfully, Disney has increased your chances in recent years. Be Our Guest is now open for breakfast as well as lunch and dinner. Guests who aspire to see the interior of the castle should angle for an earlier meal. Anecdotally, there’s (somewhat) less competition for breakfast and lunch Advance Dinner Reservations (ADR). For reasons explained in a moment, those two meals can be a better deal in some instances anyway.
When you eat at Be Our Guest, the main thing to remember is that your ADR isn’t the actual time when you’ll eat. The restaurant is inside the castle. You’ll have two check-ins before you sit down for your meal. The first one occurs at a kiosk to the left of the pathway into the castle. It’s not difficult to find the area, which is a quarter-circle past the exit area for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. You may miss the check-in if you’re not paying attention, though. It’s kind of innocuous.
Be on the lookout for a cast member in a distinctive blue vest. That’s the person who will put your name on the list. In most instances, you won’t go immediately. Instead, you’ll receive a buzzer that will alert you once it’s your turn. I’ve waited as little as a couple of minutes and as long as 75 minutes. The latter was back in the early days of the restaurant. A wait of 20 minutes seems fairly standard lately. Disney’s streamlined the check-in process and expedited the serving speed of its tables.
The buzzer notification means that you can head inside the building. Almost. You’ll check in at near the front door, where the hostess will put your name on the list. When someone calls your name, you can go inside. That’s why the wait-times are so significant. It’s a two-step process just to get into the restaurant. Be Our Guest is POPULAR!
The Beast’s Castle
The first thing that you’re likely to notice as you enter the building is an astounding mosaic of Beauty and the Beast. It’s a Happily Ever After Pose, so he’s in human form, and they’re both wearing crowns. Disney’s setting the mood for your royal feast by establishing that your part of the king’s court for the day.
The Beast’s Castle has three distinct sections. The Ballroom is the largest portion. It’s an open space, but your eyes might sweep over all the regal tables, at least if you look up at some point. The designers of the building had the rare, weird ability to commemorate their work. They artistically rendered cherubic illustrations of their children on the ceiling. Some people find it off-putting, but everyone certainly remembers it.
The Ballroom also has my favorite special effect in the building…and at any Disney restaurant for that matter. To perfect the theme of a castle atop a snowclad mountain, the exterior windows at the back of the Ballroom display a scene of the outside world. It’s dancing snow that shines with brilliant blue light. I’ve probably taken more pictures of this special effect than anything else at Walt Disney World…and I include the aquarium at Coral Reef in that. The Ballroom’s other highlight is that every 45 minutes, The Beast comes roaring through the room. He doesn’t stop to converse with his royal guests. He simply snarls mightily and then makes his way onto parts of the castle.
The West Wing features more amazing tricks of Imagineering. The Enchanted Rose is the centerpiece of the room. This item taunted Beast during his decades of suffering. The restaurant’s recreation is visually stunning. Still, I think of another piece as the finest achievement. A painting on the wall depicts the handsome prince before his punishment. Claws have scarred the artwork. Every 20 minutes, however, the image briefly changes. The Beast replaces the prince as the subject of the painting. You have to pay attention at the right time or you’ll miss it, though. The West Wing is also home to the character meeting with The Beast. You don’t want to miss that.
The third and final section is the Rose Gallery. This area seems to be where large groups are most likely to get seated. If you don’t recognize the design, that’s okay. You shouldn’t. This room isn’t from the movie. Instead, Imagineers had free reign to build a Beauty and the Beast-based dining area that’s thematic but independent of the film. The tapestries here are breathtaking. Even if you’re not seating here, you should take the time to explore the area before you exit the building.
The Dining Experience
I want to stress in advance that you’re not eating at Be Our Guest for the food. Don’t get me wrong. Many of the offerings are quite tasty. You’re simply not visiting this restaurant to dine. Instead, the priority is the experience, and you will definitely have an unforgettable time here. It’s an ornate building with masterful theming and spectacular special effects such as the snow. Also…
YOU ARE EATING IN A FREAKIN’ CASTLE!!!
Having acknowledged that, the meal options at Be Our Guest are workmanlike in nature. Breakfast and lunch offer a novel experience at Walt Disney World. You can use Disney’s Order Ahead service to plan your meal in advance. Once you’ve settled on your choices, you can order them up to 30 days in advance. The only rule is that you must have an ADR for either breakfast or lunch. The service isn’t available for dinner.
I’ve used the service twice. While I’m not crazy about the limited menu options, Order Ahead does offer an unexpected benefit. It gets me out of Be Our Guest in about half the time. Since this is one of the slowest meal services on campus, the time-saver is a huge asset. I just wish the food were better.
But How Is the Food?
The shock of Be Our Guest is that it offers strong value for the money. In fact, the breakfast and lunch options are terrific for Disney Dining Plan participants. These meals cost only one Quick Service credit each. If you want to maximize the bang for your buck, you simply cannot do any better at Walt Disney World.
Breakfast costs $24 per person plus beverage and any side items. Most Quick Service credit restaurants are in the $10-$14 range instead. For lunch, the prices are more in line with that range. I usually order the Croque Monsieur, which costs $14. Other sandwiches cost as much as $17. A meal plan credit would add a beverage and dessert, which still brings the total into the $25 range. Let’s be honest about the fact that these are still just sandwiches, though.
Breakfast offers much finer cuisine, particularly the decadent Croissant Doughnut and Feast A La Gaston, the latter of which offers breakfast staples like bacon, sausage, herb-roasted potatoes, and scrambled eggs. This meal explains why there’s no one as burly and brawny as Gaston.
Dinner’s an entirely different affair. This is a gala affair complete with the type of cuisine that you’d expect to see on Top Chef Masters. The Potato Leek Soup and French Onion Soup are both huge crowd pleasers, especially with my family. I tend more toward the Gaston side of the menu, though. I always order the Assorted Meats and Sausages for two. It’s the finest charcuterie at Magic Kingdom.
The entrée menu is fairly limited. You only have eight options, although I’ve never noticed anything beyond the Grilled Strip Steak. It makes me happy, so I’ve never even considered ordering anything else. Generally, I’m with a party of five when I eat at Be Our Guest.
What I’ve observed is that the Sautéed Shrimp and Scallops and Sustainable Catch of the Day are crowd pleasers. The Layered Ratatouille looks amazing, but it’s nothing special. The Roasted Rack of Lamb is by all accounts spectacular, but I prefer the Braised Beef and Roasted Pork Tenderloin. The only thing I can’t recall my family ordering is the Pan-Seared Chicken Breast. The other seven entrees range from okay to spectacular.
As for the dessert, we’re usually on the Deluxe Dining Plan, so we’ve tried it all. And it’s all mouth-wateringly delicious. The Lemon-Raspberry Cream Puff and Lemon Meringue Cupcake highlight lemon in a way that this lemon fanatic deeply admires. The other cupcakes on the menu are all crowd pleasers, but two desserts stand out. One is the less heralded Éclair à l’Orange, which combines custard, orange, and a chocolate éclair into one dynamic bite.
The entire meal at Be Our Guest revolves around The Grey Stuff, though. At lunch, it’s called The Master’s Cupcake, and it’s sublime. Oddly, the composition changes into a brownie at dinner. I’ve never had the two of them in a close enough timeframe to compare, but as a fan of cupcakes, I slightly favor that version. Even so, the dinner brownie version of The Grey Stuff is one of the tastiest things I’ve ever had.
There’s one other important element about Be Our Guest. When it opened, the restaurant was the only establishment in Magic Kingdom that served alcohol. Disney’s loosened up those standards in recent years, but liquor’s still a strong selling point here. The wine menu is deep and pairs nicely with many meal options. And guests you prefer lagers and ales will find plenty to make them happy, too.
Is Be Our Guest Worth the Hype?
That’s a matter of perspective. In terms of vacation excitement, the only that rivals eating at The Beast’s Castle is a meal inside Cinderella Castle proper. Be Our Guest is a lot cheaper than Cinderella’s Royal Table, which has a fixed cost of $79.10 per adult for a pre fixe menu. Once you get past the showy nature of eating inside Cinderella Castle, the only thing that restaurant offers that’s superior to Be Our Guest is the endless parade of Princess meet and greets.
Be Our Guest is newer and more exciting. It also costs only one Table Service credit on the Disney Dining Plan whereas Cinderella’s Royal Table costs two. That makes Be Our Guest a better value and a newer meal experience. In fact, Be Our Guest isn’t any more expensive than, say, The Crystal Palace, which currently costs $47.93 per person for a mediocre buffet. In fact, the only downsides that my family has noted are the difficulty in booking a reservation, the wait-time to be seated, and the auditorium noise, which is pretty extreme, particularly in the Ballroom.
In conclusion, Be Our Guest is wonderful for the ambience. You’ll feel like an invited guest of the Royal Court. As far as the food goes, you’ll have a perfectly good meal that’s serviceable more than it’s delicious, which is true of most Table Service offerings at MK. You’re there for the ambience more than the culinary treats. Guests who want a better meal know to hang out at Disney Springs or Epcot’s World Showcase instead. Overall, Be Our Guest is still one of the greatest dining experiences you’ll ever have on vacation. And you really should try the Grey Stuff. Because, well, you know…
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I have a question. Is the Beast available for the Memory Maker pictures during the dinner only? Or are we able to get pictures withe him after lunch, also? Thanks
I believe that’s just at dinner…