Pros: Dining in Cinderella's Castle, Good food, Princesses, Cinderella Photo opp.
Cons: Price, hard to get reservation, busy restaurant, they give kids weapons!
We recently returned home from a family vacation to our favorite place, Walt Disney World. In all my times that I had been to Disney, I had never dined at Cinderella's Royal Table because of the cost and also the fact that reservations are very hard to get.
The most sought after reservation in the Magic Kingdom
However, this time we went for it since our 4 1/2 year old daughter is an all-out Disney princess fanatic. Also, when we had booked our Disney trip we were able to get the Disney Dining Plan for FREE. Cinderella's Royal Table is considered "signature dining" and takes up 2 meal credits per person, but since our meal plan was included we didn't mind as much putting the double credits out and then just paying out of pocket for a different (cheaper) meal.
However, because we were visiting during free dining I thought surely we would have a hard time booking the reservation. When Disney allowed dining reservations 6 months in advance CRT was typically one that had to be booked the full 180 days out. They have since gone back to a 90 day booking window, and added online dining reservations in addition to their phone line to call for Advanced Dining. (Of course this is all subject to change). As a Disney resort guest, I was able to go online and book all of our dining reservations 90 days ahead (early in the AM). I squealed with glee when I was able to get a lunch at Cinderella's Table for our visit. If you want to dine at this restaurant you absolutely need to make your reservation early. You also must have park tickets to the Magic Kingdom to dine here.
Cinderella's Royal Table is open for 3 meals a day. Cinderella is always seated downstairs before you go up into the castle dining room and available for Royal Table Guests to get a photo and autograph. The photo is included in the cost of your meal. At character meals that do not include the photos they are sold separately for $30. But here at the CRT the photo is included. The photos are in a Cinderella/Castle folder and include a 6X8 of your family with Cinderella, another 6X8 of the castle, and 4 smaller 4X6 prints of your family. They are delivered to you during your meal.
The Tax & Gratuity is also included into your meal as well.
Breakfast and Lunch are character meals with princesses circulating througout the dining room and going table to table. What princesses are visiting that day, varies. Breakfast & Lunch for kids (3-9yrs) is $32.99 and adults are $49.99 per person. (these prices vary slightly throughout the season you are visiting WDW)
Dinner does not have mingling princesses, but instead a dinner show with the Fairy Godmother and the mice. Dinner for kids is $34.99 and Adults is $57.99 per person.
All children visiting the castle get a "gift": Wishing Stars for all children and for the boys a play sword, and girls a magic wand. They use these during a Wishes Ceremony before dessert is served.
It is not uncommon for little girls to dress up like one of the Disney princesses for dining at the castle. Many will go to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (also located in the castle) before-hand. Bring your own princess dress for your little princess or be prepared to spend inflated Disney prices.
Our Castle Dining Experience
We dined here late September 2009, for a late lunch (2pm). My daughter had a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique appointment (also in the castle) for 12pm so we had plenty of time for her to get transformed into a princess and then we went to lunch. In our party was my husband, myself, my 4 year old daughter, and my 8 year old son who has autism and is on a special diet (gluten free & dairy free). Disney accomodates food allergies well, and we had indicated his dietary restrictions at the time I made the reservation.
After checking into the castle we were led into a holding room where families lined up in a queue waiting for Cinderella to arrive. When Cinderella arrived they took a family photo and also allowed us to snap a few pictures of our own with the kids with Cinderella. Both kids had autographs to be signed and gave hugs to Cinderella. Once our pictures were taken we waited for them to call our name over a loudspeaker and then receive our "Royal Invitation". There is a suit of armour there that makes for a good photo opportunity. Also be sure to really look around and make note that Disney has left no detail uncovered - up on one of the high window ledges you will see Cinderella's mice.
Once you have your royal invitation you are able to go upstairs into the dining room and be seated. We got lucky and had a window seat which allowed us to overlook the magic kingdom fantasy land (the dumbo ride and the carousel).
Both kids were given wishing stars - as well as my son got a sword and my daughter a magic wand. We have a lot of pictures of them fighting with these "weapons" across the table while eating. The kids like the toys but whoever thought to give out weapons during a meal must really hate parents.
Because this is a character dining experience it is louder than you would expect for such a "royal" restaurant. It is mostly families with young children here at lunch time as well as a few couples. The princesses get announced before entering the dining room and then go to your table for photos and autographs so have your camera ready and your books open to a blank page. They do not spend very much time per table. Seat your kids closest to the aisles for pictures sake and they can hop out of their seats and stand by the princess, give hugs - etc. A few times when they came by my kids had mouthfuls and the princesses had to wait a minute for them to chew and swallow. I'm sure this is a common occurance!
The princesses that were at our meal: Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Jasmine, Belle (in her blue dress). And of course, beforehand we saw Cinderella (she does not mingle though - if you want Cinderella Mingling, then check out 1900 Park Fare where she is guaranteed to mingle or roll the dice and hope she is one of the princesses at your Akershus Princess Storybook Dining Epcot meal - we've been there twice and one time she was there, another time she wasn't).
The Royal Food
While breakfast is all you can eat, lunch and dinner are price fixed menus. For lunch - they start you off with a small sampling of 'signature' appetizers. It included a bruschetta, something with artichokes, I don't remember what else but my husband and I enjoyed it. The kids both got fruit cups before the meal with grapes, melon, etc.
My daughter had to order off of the kids menu which is pretty much your standard disney kids menu. Her dinner was served on a mickey shaped plate and she had chicken strips, a bowl of chicken soup, mashed potatoes. For dessert her meal came with a little royal sundae which was vanilla ice cream with a chocolate crown on it.
Other kids meal choices were pretzel hot dogs or grilled fish.
My son has food allergies and couldnt eat anything from the kids menu so the chef came tableside and discussed what he could or could not eat. He received a large piece of grilled chicken, some grilled potatoes and carrots. For dessert he had rice-dream ice cream (dairy free).
My husband and I had the choice of several entrees including: Ham and turkey ciabatta, salmon, pork tenderloin, major domo's pie, or pasta pomodoro). We both opted for the Major Domo Pie which was
shredded beef and veggies in a flaky crust - essentially an upscale pot pie. It was delicious but giant. I gave about half of mine to my husband, who enjoyed it. It also was served over really good mashed potatoes of which I was a big fan. For dessert we had the choices and I had a small chocolate cream cheese cake.
Our real treat for dessert was something that I added ahead of time to our meal. I called ahead to the Disney Dessert line and added a Cinderella Chocolate Slipper Dessert to be delivered to our meal. The cost was just $12.50 plus tax. It was the only thing not included in our meal plan and we just billed it to our room. It was so worth it. The dessert is a chocolate cinderella slipper filled with mousse and served on a pillow of cake with fresh berries, chocolate drizzle - even the plate had chocolate mickey heads all around the edges. They came out and sang happy birthday to my daughter and presented it (oops, I hadn't said it was for a birthday) but whatever. She loved it. I loved it. It was enough for 2 adults and 1 child to enjoy. The tables around all ooohed and aahed and wanted this! Tip: you can only get the chocolate slipper at Cinderella's Royal Table and at the Grand Floridian Park Faire so plan accordingly and order in advance.
We had a really magical experience at Cinderella's Royal Table. Where I'd previously been hesitant to the effect that it uses 2 Table Service credits on the dining plan. Be assured this is worth it. Our check for the 4 of us was close to $200 but with the Dining plan we only had to pay for the extra dessert. We received good service, the food was good and servings ample. The kids enjoyed the princesses and the fun castle atmosphere. My son tried to cut his melon with a sword and took great glee in battling his little sister across the table. She loved her royal dessert and looked adorable dolled up like a little Sleeping Beauty. Jasmine made a joke that she saw my daughter raiding Aurora's closet that morning.
If you've never dined in the castle - you must do it at least once. Little girls will enjoy breakfast or lunch most with the princesses in the dining room with couples and special celebrations being best suited for dinner.
Other Disney Character meals with Princesses:
Akershus Princess Storybook Dining (Epcot/Norway)
1900 Park Fare (Grand Floridian Hotel) with Cinderella