Should You Eat These Fancy Disney Meals?
Over the past couple of years, Walt Disney World has emphasized a different sort of dining experience.
Prix Fixe meals are on the rise because, well, Disney likes money. You like your money too, though.
So, you don’t want to waste it on an overpriced dining experience.
Should you eat these fancy Disney meals? Let’s talk it through.
Be Our Guest
You’ll find Be Our Guest toward the back of New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom.
Disney built an entire Beast’s Castle to create the illusion that this fine dining experience takes place within the movie setting.
While the restaurant didn’t always offer a Prix Fixe menu, it changed to this dining experience in 2018.
Later, Disney converted lunch to Prix Fixe as well. So, you’ll pay $62 per adult (plus tax) or $37 per child aged 3-9 to dine here.
Simply stated, there’s no dining experience at Walt Disney World that rivals Be Our Guest.
Other places like Akershus and Cinderella’s Royal Table offer similar regal settings.
Some newer places like Space 220, which we’ll discuss in a bit, provide similar Imagineering tricks.
As a total package, nothing tops Be Our Guest, though. You may sit in one of three sections of the “castle.”
Each of them comes with a spectacular ambiance and impeccable theming.
My favorite is the Grand Ballroom, where snow always falls just outside the window.
Also, while Be Our Guest isn’t a true character meal per se, Beast will sweep through the dining area multiple times per meal.
As for the cuisine, I love the bread and desserts here, especially The Grey Stuff, which is as delicious as advertised.
This restaurant opened nearly a decade ago, yet it remains one of the most challenging Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) on the Disney campus.
As such, eating here might not even be up to you. It takes some luck and planning to book a reservation when the 60-day window opens for ADRs.
The other con circles back to something you may have noticed under the Pros. I didn’t say anything about the entrees.
Honestly, I’ve struggled over the years to find one that justifies a $62 price tag. When I dine here, I’m doing it for the atmosphere more than the food.
Well, I’m not eating here for the entrees. I generally leave with a full belly because of the starters and desserts.
Yes, you should aspire to dine at Be Our Guest at some point. It’s a bucket list kind of experience at Walt Disney World.
In fact, the fact that the place remains so popular answers the question. Most of the people you’ll encounter at Be Our Guest have eaten here before.
They’ve come back because they love the place so much.
For 50 years now, guests have taken an elevator from the second floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
Their destination is the restaurant on the top floor, the one that provides a view of Magic Kingdom from 15 stories high.
California Grill qualifies as an institution by now, a generational dining experience that unites families.
When you dine here today, you know that you’ll look back in 15 years and say, “I remember when we ate at California Grill with…” It’s that memorable.
California Grill is open throughout the day. However, its best amenity is only available a few minutes each night.
Guests who dine here may watch the fireworks display from the deck of the restaurant. Many of the tables offer a similar view as well.
You can even eat a meal, leave for a while, and then return specifically for the fireworks.
Remarkably, that’s not the only fireworks view here, either. A private room on one side of the restaurant includes a view of EPCOT.
So, you can watch the Harmonious fireworks here as well.
Beyond the views, you’ll find plenty to love at California Grill, especially if you’re a wine aficionado.
The restaurant staffs as many as 20 sommeliers to ensure that each meal pairs perfectly with one of the 250 available wines.
California Grill only recently switched to a Prix Fixe menu, and some speculate Disney made this decision for a cynical reason.
Guests weren’t spending enough money at the restaurant, instead paying the minimum amount to enjoy the fireworks.
Now, a meal costs $89 for adults (plus tax) or $39 for children.
I’m skeptical about whether the entrees here justify that price tag…and I say that as someone who reveres the pork dishes on the menu.
The current menu highlights some of the most famous dishes from the restaurant’s 50-year history. So, it checks the nostalgia box, just not the value one.
I’m quite sentimental about California Grill. I spent my 10th wedding anniversary here and would have done the same for my 15th if Disney hadn’t been closed at the time.
Even so, I wince at the current price for a meal here. Personally, I would pass, but that’s because I’ve eaten at California Grill several times.
If you’ve never taken the elevator to the top floor, it’s another unforgettable Disney experience I highly recommend.
The newest Prix Fixe ding experience at Walt Disney World takes place at EPCOT. Specifically, it’s in the area near Mission: SPACE.
Imagineers have constructed one of the most inventive restaurants in the world…and that’s not hyperbole.
Floor-to-ceiling monitors create the illusion that you’re dining in outer space.
You’ll even take a “stellarvator,” an elevator that transports you from the ground to 220 miles above the Earth. It makes the 15th floor of the Contemporary seem quaint.
The theming here is unquestionably the best that Disney has ever done.
Once you enter the stellarvator, you’ll feel like you’re in a science-fiction movie as you exit the Earth’s atmosphere.
While you’re dining, you’ll stare at a constantly changing backdrop that reflects your new reality. You’re orbiting the planet from outer space!
The food here is also unique, with many drink options that do little tricks. Some fizz while others dissolve solid substances as liquid drips on them.
One drink even comes with a miniature Mars bar, which is funny because, you know, outer space…
I think of Prix Fixe meals as the new, deluxe version of character meals.
For many years, guests have shared the complaint that character meals cost too much. People still pay the money to interact with their Disney favorites, though.
However, they often complain about the food quality. Historically, Chef Mickey’s and Hollywood & Vine are prime examples of this scenario.
All three of the meals we’re discussing today occur at high-profile Disney restaurants, ones that almost never have an open table.
You pay for the privilege, though. Lunch at Space 220 costs $55…and doesn’t include dessert! That’s just you being cheap, Disney!
As for dinner, the price increases to $79, albeit with dessert. Two of the entrees you can eat for this price are…chicken and spaghetti.
You’re spending a LOT of money for the theming here.
Yes, once…and only once. The food isn’t good enough to justify return visits at the current price.
Hopefully, Disney upgrades this aspect later. They really don’t have the need, though. The place usually sells out anyway.