Cinderella’s Royal Table: Worth the Hype?

Until the opening of Be Our Guest, if you wanted the “eat in a Disney castle” experience in Magic Kingdom, Cinderella’s Royal Table was the place to go. My daughter and I had never been, and my husband hadn’t been since it was King Stefan’s Banquet Hall, so it was worth the effort to try and make this happen once while our child was still, well, a child.

Before we get to the food and experience, we need to address the two elephants in the room–reservations and price.

One does not simply walk into Cinderella’s Royal Table without a reservation. Thankfully, with the opening of Be Our Guest, getting a reservation for Cinderella’s Royal Table isn’t an epic of impossible odds. If you have a specific date and a specific meal in mind, you do need to be on the ball (pun intended) to make a reservation as soon as your booking window opens. If you have the ability to be flexible, more options open to you. I made my reservation for a party of 3 approximately one month out. Most of the times I found were either weekday late breakfasts, which wouldn’t work with work schedules, or late night dinners (after 10 p.m.), which was way too close to the pumpkin hour for our family. But with a bit of checking, I was able to find a Saturday lunch at 11:50 a.m. that worked great for our family. Reservations are available through Disney’s web site or by calling 407-WDW-DINE. At the time you book, you will have to pay for the meal in full, which brings us to the second item to discuss…

Price. There’s no question that you’re paying a premium price to book this meal. Adult meals will set you back around $65-80 per person (with breakfast being cheaper than lunch or dinner), and kid’s meals will run around $40-50. Children under 3 are free, however they will need to share food with someone else at the table if you want them to eat. When we dined, our table next to us had a two year old and a five year old, who were happy to split a plate of chicken nuggets. If you have a two year old and an eight year old, a kid’s meal likely won’t have enough food for both to be happy about that, and unless you’ve got a very adventurous young child, the adult meals are likely not going to be something the child would want to share with you.

The small size of the restaurant overall means that reservations can be tricky, but not impossible, to get.

You’ve made your reservations, and you’ve recovered from the sticker shock–do you really now need to drop another several C-notes at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique to get your princess all gussied up for the event? Absolutely not. There’s no requirement for formal wear at Cinderella’s Royal Table, and the princesses who visit you treat everyone equally whether they come in shorts and a t-shirt, a full ballgown, or something in between.

The check-in desk for Cinderella’s Royal Table is located on the back of Cinderella Castle. Those windows above? That’s the location of the restaurant.

We arrived at the check-in desk, located in the back of Cinderella Castle, at 11:35 for our 11:50 reservation and were told that check-in wouldn’t begin until at least 11:40 (but with the suggestion that coming back right at 11:50 would be best). When we came back at 11:45, there was a sizeable crowd, but the check-in process moved fairly smoothly. Once you’ve checked in, you move into a small waiting room where you wait in line to get your photo taken with Cinderella. PhotoPass photographers are on hand, and you can also have pictures taken with your own camera.

Make sure to take a look around while you wait and see if you can spy the hidden Gus and Jaq hidden in this room.

Once your picture is taken, and your name is announced (by a person playing actual chimes–no recorded stuff here!), it’s time to walk up the winding staircase to the actual banquet hall. There is an elevator for use by those who cannot negotiate the stairs, however it looked to be fairly small.

At the top of the stairs, you are escorted to your table and your meal begins. The kid’s menu is standard Disney favorites–mac ‘n’ cheese, chicken nuggets, plus some more unique options, like turkey pot pie and beef tenderloin.

Likewise, the adult menu has a variety of choices for different tastes.

Beer and wine wine are also available for purchase.

For the meal, you order your appetizer, entree, and dessert all at the same time, that way the food can be brought out without interrupting the clockwork-like flow of character greetings and special events. For kids, in theory they have a choice of appetizers, however every table was brought the cheese and grapes automatically. Without a doubt, my daughter loved this option, as she’s a big fan of cheese. I managed to snag one quick picture before the last of the cheddar disappeared!

I chose the Castle Salad. In theory, the mozzarella was citrus marinated, however it tasted like regular mozzarella to me. The salad was fresh and appropriately sized for lunch, but nothing spectacular.

My husband went with the charcuterie plate. It was a good start to the meal, but there are better charcuterie plates at other restaurants at Walt Disney World, like the one at BaseLine Tap House.

During our appetizers, the “experience” part of the meal began. Each princess was announced with a quick retelling of their story, however the chatter in the hall was such that you couldn’t hear too much. Still, with a couple of key words, it was easy to tell who was coming out. The princesses circled around to the tables, spending a few minutes at each for photographs and autographs. Overall, they provided a combination of very canned comments (for instance, Aurora asking us if we would be ready for a nap after the meal), and also some personal comments (like Snow White complimenting my daughter on having beautiful short hair just like her). You can’t beat the efficiency of meeting princesses at this meal. In addition to meeting Cinderella before you come in (she doesn’t make an appearance in the main dining room), you are visited by Snow White, Aurora, Ariel, and Jasmine. Although the meet and greet doesn’t feel rushed per se, you can tell that they’re moving very systematically from table to table on some sort of internal schedule.

As the princesses made their rounds, our entrees came out. I ordered the chicken with smashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables (in this case, squash and rainbow carrots). The portion size was good, and the chicken was juicy. The Madeira-mushroom sauce had a surprising amount of black pepper, but went well with the potatoes and vegetables.

My husband ordered the fish of the day, cobia served on spaetzle with a tomato-based sauce. The fish was nicely seared, but not dry. The spaetzle was mixed with peas and pearl onions, both of which went well with the sauce.

And Lily ordered chicken nuggets for a familiar comfort food. She enjoyed them, and said that the mashed potatoes were good, but didn’t have any desire to try the corn.

During our meal, we were brought out a few “props”–girls (of all ages) received a magic wand, and boys (of all ages) received a small sword (although if someone requested the other item they could swap).

Each child at the table also received a wishing star.

As the princesses neared the end of their rotations, with a loud fanfare, it was announced that it was time for kids to make their wishes. With much wand and sword waving and many chants of Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo, the wishing stars were filled with wishes and a bit of Disney magic happened in the hall. (I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t gone.)

After that bit of Disney magic, it was time for dessert. My husband ordered the citrus chiffon cake. It was very light in texture and mild in flavor. The raspberry sauce was a must to bring some flavor to the dish.

On the flip side, I ordered the no sugar added lemon sorbet with blueberries. A word of warning–you really have to like lemon to be able to survive this sorbet. It is absolutely mouth-puckering, cut only by the fresh blueberries. (I enjoyed it, but even I couldn’t finish the two scoops!)

By far, the best presentation of dessert was for the kids, with a decorate your own cupcake. There were actually two small cupcakes, one vanilla and one chocolate, which provided a lot of fun for kids at each table.

Because we hadn’t ordered alcohol, when we were finished with the meal (which was prepaid at the time we booked), we were able to get up and leave. As we walked out, my husband remarked that it was just like being back on a cruise. In many ways, the meal had a lot of similarities to one of the experience-based meals on the ship (like Animator’s Palate or Tiana’s Place). The food was good, but not something that alone would justify the price. The setting, of course, was priceless. Being able to look down into Fantasyland from the castle is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Because of the once-in-a-lifetime vibe to it, it is not a meal that I likely would ever do again. I’m certain there will be some people out there who disagree with me on this, but price aside, once you’ve had the experience once, it would be hard to replicate the feelings of seeing it all happen again. The only way I’d go back was if I brought children with me who hadn’t been before, so they could experience the wonder. Was it worth the cost to do once, however? Absolutely–even if you have a child who isn’t that much of a fan of princesses. (But for the meal, suddenly there was a whole lot of princess love going on for her! Don’t believe me, here’s some more princess photos as proof.)

 

Have you ever eaten at Cinderella’s Royal Table or, way back in the past, at King Stefan’s Banquet Hall? Do you think that the experience is worth the price? Do you consider it a once-in-a-lifetime experience or is it something you would repeat on subsequent vacations? Let us know in the comments.

Julia Mascardo

Freelance writer and editor, living the dream in Central Florida with my husband, cats, and spirited eight-year-old daughter.

13 thoughts on “Cinderella’s Royal Table: Worth the Hype?

  • July 17, 2018 at 11:40 am
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    My family of 7 is going in November and we will be taking my aunt (75) and my mother (80). It would be the first time either would experience Cinderella’s Castle. The rest of the party are all over 21 as well. Is it worth the cost for the experience for adults with no children attending?

    • July 17, 2018 at 11:56 am
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      It was very much worth it when we went with our granddaughter when she was little, but I wouldn’t recommend it for a group of adults. There are a number of less expensive options for character meals if that is what you’re looking for. Check out the Unofficial Guide or on line.

    • July 17, 2018 at 12:00 pm
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      If your family members are kids at heart, absolutely! We saw quite a few parties of just adults there (and I’m sure people can weigh in on the number of proposals that occur there, too). I have no doubt whatsoever that the princesses will take time to fawn all over your aunt and mother, and they’ll have a lot of fun with the other adults as well. If your mom and aunt are game, I’d suggest getting them tiaras to wear to really help them feel the whole Queen for the Day vibe. If you want something above and beyond that (and your budget permits), Disney Floral and Gifts has options for gifts that can be delivered to the restaurant as well (call 407-WDW-GIFT if you want to get some ideas of what types of things they can do). It will be a wonderful opportunity to make some family members together.

    • July 18, 2018 at 12:32 am
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      No – unless the adults are bona fide princess fanatics.
      Many nicer, calmer places for an all-adult lunch. Several of the restaurants in the Grand Floridian for instance. Which is an easy monorail trip.
      Or boat over to Disney Springs for Art Smith home-style upscale southern food. Or Irish pub fare, or…many places that you’ll enjoy.
      The castle is a costly experience with ear-splitting noise and so-so food. Strongly urge vacationing adults to go…elsewhere.
      Cheers –

  • July 17, 2018 at 2:21 pm
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    Something I am very nostalgic about is how important CRT was to the Disney Fan Community back in the late 90’s – early 00’s. There were entire boards/sites devoted to helping each other get reservations! It makes me happy that Cindy’s can still make us all, young and old, experience the magic across multiple decades.

  • July 17, 2018 at 2:30 pm
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    We did this for my daughters birthday back in 2014, it was truly magical. On the table next to us the guy asked his girl to marry him which was beyond lovely, as I stared frustratingly at my darling husband! That aside, the food (we had dinner) wasn’t noteworthy but the pudding was very nice. Good to know they now serve alcohol! The sword, wand and wishing stars we still have along with memories of good and prompt service, princesses that went out of their way to chat and have photos taken and just a lovely heartfelt experience. We were lucky that our meal followed a meeting with Anna and Elsa and then the fireworks display, so with all things Disney it’s all about the timing! Excellent experience, wouldn’t rush back but would do in future given the opportunity. PS we booked six months in advance to ensure we got the times we needed!

  • July 17, 2018 at 3:33 pm
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    It’s the kind of thing that really depends heavily on the cast members involved, but we have done a ton of character meals, an CRT is the only one we’ve ever felt rushed at the character experiences. Most of the princesses moved VERY quickly through, and Ariel, in particular, cut my daughter off mid-sentence and walked away. (We were the last table in the room, so maybe she needed to use the restroom?) I mean, they were friendly, but we have certainly dealt with many more skillful characters gracefully drawing interactions to a close.

    Don’t get me wrong, my daughters loved it and it’s an easy (though expensive) way to see a ton of princesses in the AC without waiting in line, but for that kind of money, maybe we can spend ten more seconds listening to a story about a dinglehopper. (Or stop forcing such a high turnover rate.)

    • July 19, 2018 at 12:00 pm
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      Sorry to hear that Ariel was a bit distracted that day! The princesses are on a very tight schedule; in fact, they have 45 minutes to visit the entire restaurant (42 tables). Hopefully you’ll have a better experience in the future! Just know that the princesses truly love all the little ones and try to spend as much time as possible with them!!

  • July 17, 2018 at 5:16 pm
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    My family ate in the castle before it was a character meal around 2000. It was definitely a highlight of my early Disney World memories and one I wish I could revisit. Now that I have my own family and boys who have no interest in meeting princesses (or any character meal, for that matter), it’s disappointing that only a character meal is offered, especially at such a steep price. Ideally, either breakfast, lunch, or dinner would be offered without the character aspect and I’d be fighting for those reservations, too, so that they could experience a meal in the castle!

  • July 18, 2018 at 12:33 am
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    No – unless the adults are bona fide princess fanatics.
    Many nicer, calmer places for an all-adult lunch. Several of the restaurants in the Grand Floridian for instance. Which is an easy monorail trip.
    Or boat over to Disney Springs for Art Smith home-style upscale southern food. Or Irish pub fare, or…many places that you’ll enjoy.
    The castle is a costly experience with ear-splitting noise and so-so food. Strongly urge vacationing adults to go…elsewhere.
    Cheers –

    • July 30, 2018 at 6:53 pm
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      Agreed!

  • July 30, 2018 at 1:00 pm
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    We took our granddaughter when she was 15 months old and she loved it. And they brought out a meal for her. I just loved seeing the inside of the castle. Cinderella had a good word for me because my t-shirt matched her dress. I’m not a foodie so that part didn’t matter much. We’re going back, granddaughter is now 8, and I thought another visit would be fun. And fun is the name of the game. Those on the dining plan should note that it is two meal credits, so you’ll have to go hungry some other night.

  • July 30, 2018 at 6:51 pm
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    I found it extremely messy. Noisy, rushed service. Definitely not worth the price.

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