SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We Love Be Our Guest Restaurant

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DSC_1118This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at Six Reasons We Love Be Our Guest Restaurant. With the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train inching towards completion later this year, today we’re going to look at what can be considered the “E-Ticket” of New Fantasyland, Be Our Guest Restaurant. While the Magic Kingdom is the gold standard of the theme park world for meet and greets, dark rides, parades, night time spectaculars and even themed bathrooms,  one area that we all agree needs some improvement is the quality dining. Be Our Guest not only starts to fill that void, but you could make a strong case that it is the best themed restaurant inside any theme park. The Beast’s castle “weenie” can be seen from far away and the closer you get the more impressive everything becomes.

Today we’re going to look at six reasons we love Be Our Guest and why it’s our favorite restaurant experience in WDW. We should add that this article represents the dinner experience, as the lunch experience can be quite different. Some would argue you can get much better value with the lunch menu, but we’ll save that debate for another day.

Please remember to click on any picture to see the full size version.

# 6 – The Beast

Our host for the evening is Beast himself, and throughout the night he does a walkthrough of the three dining rooms (always to a round of applause), and is afterward available for pictures at his study when you’re done with your meal. The design work on this character is impressive and watching him walk through the restaurant is fun. The photo-op at the end of the meal is a nice cherry on top of the sundae and like many of the recent Disney meet n’ greets, the setting for the picture is gorgeous.

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# 5 – Pre-meal and Post-meal Ambience

To eat dinner at Be Our Guest you check in before the bridge and are handed  an electronic pager, which you are asked to hold along the bridge area until it goes off. When the pager goes off, you approach the front of the castle and are met by a greeter. One member of the dining party is given a candelabra to hold as you’re led to your table.  The tables themselves are decorated with napkins folded up to look like roses. Small touches like that go a long way toward an immersive experience, if you’re able to tear your eyes away from the building itself.

When guests are done eating for the evening, they are encouraged to check out the castle. This is also when you will have your opportunity to meet Beast. In one last surprise, guests will walk by two rows of suits of armor who appear to be having a conversation with each other…

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# 4 – The Three Dining Rooms

There are three rooms you can dine in at Be Our Guest, and each of them are worth trying. The main dining room is a nearly exact replica of the ballroom where Belle and Beast had their dance from the large chandeliers, friendly cherubs in the ceiling mural, and wall of windows that give a glimpse of the  “snow” outside. The main dining room is sure to be a hit with everyone in the family.

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The West Wing is much darker in atmosphere, possibly too dark for some. The iconic painting of Beast in human form hangs in this room and during your meal you will experience the room changing as a thunderstorm approaches, with the painting transforming into the “slashed” version in the lightning. Of course there is the enchanted rose as well, whose petals fall off during your meal. The West Wing is the smallest of the dining areas, providing the most intimate experience of the three options.

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The Enchanted Rose in the West Wing

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Someone needs a hug…

The last room is the Rose Room room which has a gigantic music box with Belle and Beast on top, circling to a custom song. The walls of the room are covered with full-scale paintings of classic scenes from the film as well as new scenes that feature Belle and Beast. The entire restaurant is lavish and elegant, but is definitely family friendly and doesn’t make you feel underdressed wearing normal theme park attire.

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“She glanced this way, I thought I saw, And when we touched she didn’t shutter at my paw…”

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One of the many wonderful paintings adorning the walls.

BOG_Beer# 3 – Alcohol in the Magic Kingdom

This may seem like a small deal to some, but for those of us who have spent countless hours planning a Disney vacation, got up early to enjoy the benefits of the Extra Magic Hour, have run into people who just stop in the middle in the road, and made sure our little princesses could meet all their favorite Disney princesses, well… sometimes you just need a drink. Until Be Our Guest, the stiffest drink in the Magic Kingdom was a Dole Whip float. Now during BOG dinner service there is a wide selection of beers and wines for adults to choose from. Thankfully the beer menu is themed towards France and Europe in general as it forced us away from beers such as Miller Lite or Corona and let us try Kronebourg 1664 (France. A lager with a noble history, characterized by its fine taste, golden hues and delicate bitterness from Strisselspalt, a French aroma hop from Alsace) and Hoegaarden Wit (Belgium. With an aroma of orange peel, coriander and spice, its characteristic taste is smooth and light-bodied with a subtle, spiced citrus flavor.)

# 2 – The Food

While definitely not value priced, the level of quality food at Be Our Guest blew us away, especially compared to other table service meals we have had in the Magic Kingdom (we’re looking in your direction Tony’s Town Square Restaurant.) With vegetarians and vegans in our party, it was good to see items on the menu they could actually order and not just try to make do with salads and side orders. The big hits for appetizers were the potato leek soup and the seasonal salad trio. The trio plate included three individual bowls with various salads made up of beets, raisins, tomatoes, watermelon, radish, and more.

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The Seasonal Salad Trio gets the Mickey Check seal of approval

The entrees we ordered included Sautéed Shrimp and Scallops (with Seasonal Vegetables and Mushrooms served in Puff Pastry with a creamy Lobster Sauce), Layered Ratatouille (Oven-baked Zucchini, Eggplant, Mushrooms, Tomatoes, and Caramelized Onions sliced and layered on Quinoa served with a Bell Pepper Sauce) and the Grilled Strip Steak (with Garlic-Herb Butter and Pommes Frites.) The vegan in our party loved the ratatouille, saying it was full of flavor. The steak competes with any steak Disney serves outside of Le Cellier or Yachtsman steakhouse) but there could have been a couple more scallops on a plate promising “sautéed shrimp and scallop.”

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Sautéed Shrimp and Scallops

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Layered Ratatouille

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Grilled Strip Steak with Pommes Frites

The only real negative from the main meal was the kid’s selections. We ordered the baked macaroni and cheese, but what came was just regular macaroni and cheese. The server made it seem like this was how the mac and cheese always came. They replaced it with the kid’s fish selection.

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“Baked” mac and cheese

# 1 – The Grey Stuff

Unlike LeFou’s Brew, the Grey Stuff is the perfect marriage between Disney dining and the Beauty and the Beast source material, evoking the same  feelings that Universal tapped into when they created Chocolate Frogs, Cauldron Cakes, and – of course – Butterbeer. We’ve all heard the Be Our Guest song a thousand times and have had lines, “try the grey stuff it’s delicious, don’t believe me ask the dishes”  drilled into our head. Now we can finally try the Grey Stuff.

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The Grey Stuff

Turns out, the Grey Stuff IS delicious. When Be Our Guest Restaurant first opened, the Grey Stuff wasn’t on the menu, but instead was a special surprise for a few lucky guests. They would get a dollop of the dessert on a plate. Due to what must have been an unbelievable amount of complaints, the Grey Stuff was made available for purchase.  It comes on what looks like a Milky Way or Snickers candy bar, but inside the chocolate shell is a great tasting brownie. The grey stuff itself is on top and can be described as like an Oreo cookie frosting. It’s really great and everyone at the table loved it. The Grey Stuff is also available during the lunch hours on the “Master’s Cupcake”.

In fact, the entire dessert experience at Be Our Guest is fun because a trolley is for presentation and description of the desserts. On our most recent trip there was a limited edition Red Velvet cupcake to honor Valentine’s Day (only sold in the month of February). Other selections included a triple chocolate cupcake, a strawberry cream cheese cupcake, a passion fruit cream puff and several other cream puff varieties, and the Grey Stuff. The server retrieved our selection from the cart and put it on a plate where they made a Mickey or Minnie shaped design out of chocolate and strawberry sauce. A wonderful presentation. Desserts are made fresh every four hours at Be Our Guest and you can tell.

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“You can leave that here….”

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Limited Red Velvet Cupcake at Be Our Guest

For our family, the experience of Be Our Guest couldn’t have been better and might have been the highlight of an already incredible day.  From the gorgeous rock work and theming outside, to the elaborate details inside, to the food itself and the post-meal meeting with Beast, everything was fantastic. The server was fantastic and the ability to order the grey stuff greatly improved my personal experience (I went shortly after BOG opened and wasn’t one of the ones given the treat.)  While not cheap by any means, I believe the atmosphere and food itself more than make up the cost.

One thing to note is that if you want to have dinner at BOG you need to start attempting to make a reservation ASAP.  I tried fruitlessly over a month to book a reservation for a last-minute trip and it wasn’t until the day before my planned day at the Magic Kingdom when the heavens opened up and blogger extraordinaire Morgan Crutchfiield called me to let me know a reservation had become available and she had secured it on my behalf. While I was waiting at BOG to check in, the four parties in front of me were all trying to get walk-up reservations. Each were told that there was a minimum hour and a half wait. They would be given a pager and would need to stay on the bridge leading to the restaurant the entire time and were specifically told there were no guarantees they would even be seated. None of the four families took them up on the offer. I have heard many people say that most families on stand-by get into the restaurant in less than 30 minutes, but as a person who was traveling with a four and one year old, I’m not sure I would take that risk either. The restaurant does book day-of reservations with cancellations that have become available beginning during the lunch shift, however, so if you happen to have the time, see the cast members at the rock podium at the entrance to the bridge.

So there you have it: Six Reasons We Love Be Our Guest Restaurant. See you next weekend for the latest edition of the Saturday Six where we will look at Universal’s Mardi Gras celebration. If you had fun, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles or, for your listening pleasure, check out Pardon the Pixie Dust podcast.

Special thanks to Disney Blogger Morgan Crutchfield and Universal NOW!’s Brandon Glover for their assistance with this article.

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Posted on February 15, 2014

17 Responses to “SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We Love Be Our Guest Restaurant”

  • Hey! A pro-Disney Saturday Six! Such a rarity!

    Now, if only we could get something better than Kronenbourg 1664. I mean, if they’re going to bother with booze at MK, they should make it worthwhile, and different from what can be found at Epcot’s France pavilion.

  • Chimay red and blue.

  • by Nikki Beattie on February 15, 2014, at 8:24 pm EST

    Do people go there just for dessert? We have a 8:50 reservation in August. That’s really late for dinner for our family but we all really want to see the restaurant. Also, we are all super picky eaters and the menu isn’t super appealing to us. I haven’t been to enough table service restaurants to know if this would be frowned upon. Thanks for any insight!

    • ooh, going just for desert is a great idea as my 3 kids would never eat anything on their kid’s menu… I’m anxious to hear if that is done by people and okay with the restaurant.

    • Yes, it can be done. I’m not sure I did it the right way though. We also had a late reservation with the plan of only having dessert. I told the greeter at the bridge that we were there for dessert. I was told it wasn’t possible. After a little back and forth she called a manager over. I explained to him that we just wanted dessert, that we had already had dinner, etc and he said it was ok. But in hind sight, I would wait to be seated and I would only tell the server that we were there for dessert only. Have a great trip!

  • I am sure it is ok to just get desert. I do it all the time at California Grill. No one ever cares.

  • I really like the “quick service” lunch at BOG. It feels like a better deal, especially as it is only 1 QS credit on the DDP, and has an experience as unique. The ordering screens are easily the best touchscreen interface I’ve used at WDW (including anything at EPCOT). The food is delivered to your table in a way that actually makes it appropriate to call those bracelets “magic.”
    I’d echo the call for better beer options.
    I’d also disagree that the Tangled bathrooms are the best-themed bathrooms in Orlando. I’d give that award to the Moaning Myrtle loos in IoA.

  • I’ve had dinner at BOG twice (Dec 2012 & Oct 2013) and this is the first I’ve heard of the candelabra. Maybe this is new? Or something they just give to little kids?

    On the other hand, I ate there just a couple of weeks after it opened and received “The Grey Stuff” free just by asking for it. It did not come on the brownie at that time.

  • We went in December and the ambiance is incredible, I loved meeting the beast and the food was surprisingly good.

    The Grey Stuff though… I so wanted to love it but it was really really bad.

  • We were there in September and this is the first I’m hearing about the candelabra as well. Overall, I thought it was a good experience. Going back in April.

  • We had 2 reservations back in November. We were so disappointed with BOG, we cancelled the 2nd. Price was a non issue. The main dining room was like eating in one big loud mess hall. I felt the theming in the room was cheap and boring (perhaps the west wing is better?). Our waiter was exceptionally rude and the food was edible but nothing special. From our corner of the room we saw the beast walk through to his meet and great but that was the most exciting thing that happened and nobody ever mentioned that was what was happening. No candelabra, talking armour or magic….

  • I’m still not sure how I feel about BOG. We went for dessert only, but they brought the dinner rolls out for us as well. We were in the Rose Room and there were several empty tables the entire time we were there, yet there were tons of groups waiting outside to be seated. The dessert was good. Service was iffy.

  • I think they are cooking the tables to make demand higher. we got a coveted reservation. We were put in the “Rose Room” and I was grossly disappointed. Although I will agree that it was vastly quieter in there than in the main room. But I also felt it had no special magic.

    The entire time we were there, that annex room (as it was referred to by our server) was, AT MOST, 25% full. I asked the server and she claimed that it was b/c they do not usually use that room, are only starting to open it up, and they only staffed for a partial seating. This sounded like a BS story from me (not the last I would get from a cast member at WDW on my trip).

    Other than to make BoG artificially inflated as a “get” reservation, there seemed to me no reason not to have all the tables seated. Yet the majority of that room was going unused.

    I also felt the food was terrible. I got the steak, and it was very gristly and fatty. I only really thought that the grey stuff was worth the entire trip there.

  • Did my post not post?

    • It looks like your comment posted. That’s a shame your experience definitely did not live up to expectations. I would love to know if Disney would approve of servers calling the Rose room the annex. Maybe that was someone have a bad day. I definitely agree it should be opened up if you have so many people trying to get in. Playing Devil’s Advocate, as someone who lives with someone in the restaurant business, maybe having the restaurant completely full at night would over tax the kitchen. Not saying I know one way or the other but it would be unlike Disney to turn down money for people trying to get into an expensive restaurant.