Character Meals: Vol 4 – Akershus

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(Note: This is a continuation of a series.  If you’re interested, the others so far are Cinderella’s Royal Table, Chef Mickey’s, and The Garden Grill.)

Who’s going to turn down a meal with princesses?  Not me, that’s for sure.  Luckily, at Walt Disney World, there are two options for such a regal meal.  The one most know of is Cinderella’s Royal Table, but I am here to tell you about the “other” princess meal: Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (yes, that’s the official name…who knew).

Belle and...Belle!?

Atmosphere

The feast takes place in the Norway pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase.  As an unqualified lover of all things World Showcase, it is no surprise that I enjoy the location.  Anything that ropes my family into more Epcot time is okay with me.

The inside of the dining hall is very nicely appointed.  It is spacious, but the whitewashed brick walls, wooden ceiling, and exposed beams make it look royal and ancient.  The main dining area is further enhanced with a vaulted roof, royal flags, and “stone” arches.  If you can peel your eyes from the camera’s viewfinder it is quite a nice room.

All is not perfect, in fact there are two atmospheric downsides.  The first is that large vaulted ceiling in the dining area, which elevates the noise level.  Of course the noise level already starts out pretty high since you’re dealing with a lot of young children (and wives chastising their husband for noticing Jasmine a little too closely).

The second problem I found was the waiting area, or more spcifically, the complete lack of one.  The wait for Akershus can be a little longer than most meals because of the picture that you take prior to being seated.  Instead of taking you to an open table right away, you are led to a line where you wait for a picture with Belle.  Since the check-in kiosk is right at the entrance to the restaurant, there is nowhere to wait while you await your “royal invitation.”  What results is a conference of mini-princesses baking in the sun in the middle of a replica Norwegian courtyard (which is not as funny as the mental image of that scene suggests).

Main Dining Area

Characters

As I mention above, Princess Belle (Beauty and the Beast) greets you into the dining hall where you take a picture with her in her lovely yellow gown.  Much like Cinderella at Cinderella’s Royal Table, this is the only time you’ll see Belle.  The good news is that, also like Cinderella’s Royal Table, the picture with Belle is included in the price of your meal.

The other princesses that attended our meal were Ariel (the Little Mermaid), Jasmine (Aladdin), Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), and Snow White.  The frequency which they visited the table was right on for me (just enough time to eat in between) and they were great about coming back when my little princess was using the little princesses’ room (a hilarious aside: if you go near the bathroom, look for the trail of glitter leading to the ladies room from all those dresses).

One thing I find the more I meet the princesses is that the individual portraying them makes a huge difference.  With that in mind, I have to make a special mention of the Ariel that we had.  She was easily the best “Ariel” I’ve ever seen.  She was scattered, funny, and appeared to have a very short attention span, which is perfect for that character.  I would have followed her around all night to listen to her shtick except then I would be writing a blog post entitled “My experience in Disney jail for stalking.”

Ariel getting very excited and my daughter getting very confused.

Food

Here is where I may surprise you since I am a self-professed tough food critic.  We dined at Akershus during dinner, which consists of a buffet of cold meats, fish, and cheese.  In addition, the entrees available are salmon, chicken breast, kjottkake (Norwegian meatballs), pasta, pork tenderloin, and herb dusted beef tips.  I am a very open eater, but some in my party are not so I was naturally worried that authentic Norwegian food (well, they say it’s authentic. I have no idea) would be too much.

I personally thought the food was fantastic.  I didn’t really try much on the buffet as I am not big on the fish, but I did order two entrees (yes, it’s allowed although the waitress gave me a weird look).  I tried both the meatballs and the beef and both were top quality.  The beef specifically I wish I was eating right now (great, now I’m hungry).

The desserts were also very good (and yes, I still had dessert after two entrees…don’t judge).  The platter they supply has chocolate mousse, rice cream, and puff pastry with mascarpone and berries.  The puff pastry was too thick and chewy for my taste, but the chocolate mousse I downed as if it were the antidote to a poisoned apple.

Odds, Ends, and Details

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all served at Akershus.  The breakfast is a more traditional breakfast, served family style.  The lunch menu is also Norwegian, but geared more toward sandwiches (the meatballs are available, but sadly not the beef).  The prices are a little high (although lower than Cinderella’s Royal Table), yet typical for character meals at $39.40/$23.42 (adults/children) for breakfast, $41.53/$24.49 for lunch, and $46.85/$25.55 for dinner.  Alcohol is available, but is not included in the price.

Final Thoughts

I very much enjoyed Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (phew, that’s a mouthful) as did my family.  In fact, I’m going to go as far as to say that I prefer it to Cinderella’s Royal Table.  Akershus is a more economical option as well, especially if you are on the Disney Dining Plan because Cinderella’s Royal Table is two credits to Akershus’ one.

The bottom line is that if you or your kids want to meet some princesses, this is a great place to do it.  If you can get over not eating in Cinderella Castle, Akershus is my recommendation.

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Posted on November 2, 2011

17 Responses to “Character Meals: Vol 4 – Akershus”

  • We really enjoyed our breakfast here pre-rope drop. The picture turned out great of our girls with Belle. Since we had already done 1900 Park Fare earlier in the week decked out in Bibbitti Bobbitty regalia, the girls just wore simple sundresses to this meal which was nice. If you go before rope drop and want to be through in time to get to Future World for rope drop, make sure and ask to take care of the check first thing. We did and by 9:10 the girls had seen the princesses and the big 5 and I had Soarin fastpasses in hand. On the other hand, I wouldn’t mind going later in the day sometime to spend more time sitting and enjoying my meal.

    • How early was your reservation? Can you beat the rope drop crowd?

      • Our reservation was for 8:15 but we were at the turnstiles early and were in our seats by 8:10 or so. Don’t know how the new rope drop procedure affects this, but we were with the crowd right by character spot at rope drop. My wife and 2 daughters were 4th in line for Mickey and the gang while I went to get Soarin fastpasses.

  • By the way, the breakfast food was very good.

  • Ate dinner at both Akershus and Cinderella’s castle. While I find the food at both to be below par, as a family we enjoyed the castle more. My daughters probably enjoyed both experiences the same, but being in the castle was a little bit cooler in my opinion.

  • We loved akershus! We loved it so much that we are going again in January. We also did CRY the day after akershus, and our experience was horrible. Most of the frustration was with the wait staff at CRT, but some was the experience itself. Akershus felt more laid back and kid friendly while CRT felt very formal and regimented. I’m glad we had both experiences but akershus was our favorite.

  • We are having dinner at Akershus on Friday. Thanks for the review!! :)

    • This post was mentioned on Twitter by Big Girl Bombshell, Big Girl Bombshell. Big Girl Bombshell said: I want to know what you think Does the body carry meoerims?

  • Excellent article, as always. I was laughing so hard at the “My experience in Disney jail for stalking.” Thanks for the review, makes me feel better about our upcoming reservation.

  • Thanks for the review! I was a bit wary of the food after too many Stenaline (ok – they’re Swedish, but the cold meat and fish travels across Scandinavia) trips spent *starving* hungry, but it sounds like there’s some decent variety.

  • we have done breakfast at both akershus and cindy’s, and in my opinion akershus was better by a mile! the last time we were at akershus (three years ago now) we had all the princesses you mentioned plus mulan and mary poppins(?). the food was served family style, as opposed to pre-plated at the castle, and was superior in every way. we were just at the castle in september, and i don’t think we ate one full breakfast between the four of us, the taste was just horrendous. i am happy to see your dinner review, we will definitely try that next time!

  • Akershus is our ‘must do’ meal every single visit!! We have always gone for breakfast and never been disappointed! Oh how sweet it was this last visit to see my sweet 2yo daughter parading through the restaurant holding Cinderella’s hand!!

    Last trip did both Akershus and CRT and for us, it was an easy decision for favourite. Even without counting in using a double credit of our dining plan, Akershus was more enjoyable for us.

  • We chose Akershus over CRT because of the cost and because I had read that the food was better at Akershus. And as adults we wanted a good meal in addition to the charactors for our daughters. We were very happy. We had lunch. The cold buffet included, fruit, cheeses, lunchmeats, a couple salads (I think potatoe and a pasta salad) and a limited make your own garden salad plus rolls. Which was awesome. Great charactor interaction. And a very good relaxing meal. This was our first stop on our first day of our very first trip to Disney. I am so glad we made this choice it was perfect.