Be Our Guest in New Fantasyland
A Walt Disney World Dining Reviewby Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 03-27-2014
As soon as Be Our Guest was announced as the newest dining attraction in the Magic Kingdom, I knew that I wanted to sample it for myself.
The idea of dining in a new castle in the expanded Fantasyland, coupled with the fact it was French food, really appealed to me.
Be Our Guest - Sautéed Shrimp and Scallops in Puff Pastry
The sautéed shrimp and scallops with seasonal vegetables in puff pastry and a creamy lobster sauce served at dinner at Fantasyland's Be Our Guest restaurant.
However, on our first visit when the new Fantasyland was open, we were sadly unable to secure one of the coveted reservations for dinner here. I had feared it would be the same on our most recent trip to Walt Disney World, but thankfully Tinker Bell was sprinkling some of her pixie dust over me, and I was able to snag a reservation for an early dinner the night we were attending Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.
Despite being told there would be a wait for our table, as they were running behind, we were seated almost immediately, and I was so excited to walk through the front doors, and finally see what lay behind them. I certainly wasn't disappointed. The Cast Member who took us through pointed out the "transition" as we passed into the castle, and you really did feel as if you were leaving the real world behind, albeit it was still the Magic Kingdom, and passing into the Beast's Castle.
I had heard a lot about the West Wing, so I was disappointed not to be seated there, but that soon evaporated, as I took in our surroundings in the Grand Ballroom. This certainly lives up to its name, with a fine painted ceiling high above you, familiar to us from so many palaces and castles around Europe. Then there were the columns on all the walls, impressive chandeliers above us, and the large "windows" at the end of the room, complete with snow falling outside. It really did make us feel as if we were special guests in a fairy tale castle setting, no doubt exactly the impression that the Imagineers set out to create.
Although I'd been disappointed to not be seated in the West Wing, when I went to explore, that feeling disappeared. I was surprised at how dark and scary that part of the restaurant was. As our server told us, they tend not to seat young children in the West Wing, and I can fully understand why, as it was an imposing place, with signs of an angry Beast everywhere. The portrait of him in his original prince form has claw marks through it, and above the room, shredded materials are scattered. It's worth a visit in here though, just to see the prized rose in the corner of the room, which is a lovely touch.
So on to more important things ... what was the food like at Be Our Guest? For appetizer, we both went for the mussels Provençal, with white wine, tomato, garlic, onion, basil and butter. We were very impressed with this, which is saying a lot, as we've had some of the best mussels in the world on our various visits to Belgium (the Belgians specialize in this, along with chocolate)! Other options included a French onion soup, potato and leek soup, assorted cured meats and sausages, and a fascinating-sounding seasonal salad trio, made up of individual bowls of roasted beet, gold raisin and orange salad; green bean, tomato and roasted shallot salad; and watermelon, radish and mint salad. Maybe if we can get another reservation for dinner here, I'll try that next time.
For my entrée I had the sautéed shrimp and scallops with seasonal vegetables and mushrooms, served in puff pastry with a creamy lobster sauce. It was absolutely divine! My grandmother was French, and the sauce was absolutely spot on, exactly how she used to make it. I was in heaven with this dish!
My husband had the grilled strip steak (the master's favorite!) with garlic herb butter and pommes frites, and he really enjoyed it. He was tempted by the chicken breast Provençal, pan seared and simmered in a rustic blend of heirloom tomatoes, olives, white wine, and fresh herbs, with seasonal vegetables. The other meat options the night we dined there were thyme-scented pork rack chop, braised pork coq au vin-style, and herb-crusted lamb rack.
Magic Kingdom - Be Our Guest
Our first glimpse inside the grand ballroom.
For those who don’t eat meat, there was also pan-seared salmon on a leek fondue, which tempted me, and layered ratatouille.
Now here I have to mention the drinks, as when Be Our Guest opened, there was a lot of controversy about the fact it would serve alcohol in the traditionally alcohol-free Magic Kingdom. For me, this was perfectly in keeping with the theme of a French restaurant. That's why the Disneyland Park in Disneyland Paris, their equivalent of the Magic Kingdom, is the only one of its kind in the world that sells alcohol, as it's such a normal part of French life. We studied the wine list, which was very comprehensive, and opted for a bottle of Terra d’Oro Moscato, which ironically was from California, rather than France, but it was a sweeter taste, and worked perfectly for us.
Perhaps the highlight of the meal was the presentation of the desserts at our table, so we could see all the mouth watering delights in front of us before making our choice. However, I was disappointed by the selection they had, as a lot of them followed a cupcake theme, and I would have hoped for a little more variety than that.
Now while I liked the idea of trying the “grey stuff,” when I found it what was in it (and I won’t spoil it for those who don’t know), I wasn’t that enthused any longer. I have to say it wasn’t just the ingredients, it didn’t look that appealing on the plate either! Instead, I had the passion fruit cream puff, and it was excellent, although after everything else I’d eaten, it was too much for me to finish. My husband went for the chocolate cream puff, and he was very enthusiastic about his, easily clearing his plate!
Other options included a triple chocolate cupcake, strawberry cream cheese cupcake, lemon meringue cupcake (see what I mean about there being a lot of cupcakes on the menu?) and a lemon-raspberry cream puff, which is gluten-free and has no sugar added.
All in all, we were very impressed by our dinner at Be Our Guest. I had had very high hopes for this place, and it certainly met them. I wouldn't hesitate to dine here again, if I can snag one of those coveted reservations. I certainly hope we can, as I'm looking forward to trying some different items from the menu there.
Updated 03-27-2014 - Article #1064
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.
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