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Lords and Ladies of the Kingdom, we welcome you to…Cinderella Castle!!!
Admittedly, I couldn’t wait to go back to the castle — in the middle of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom — to dine. I’d never had breakfast here (not since I was a small fry, at least), and I was downright giddy! I don’t care how old you are, it’s just plain rad to go inside the castle where nobody else (unless they have a reservation, too, of course) gets to go. Seriously. Rad.
So I made the reservation the minute our 180-day Advanced Dining Reservation Window opened up (yep — this is one of the toughest reservations to get, so book early), gave them my credit card number (need to lock this one in with a card number — call in advance to cancel, or you’ll be charged), and started counting down the days…
There are several magical things that happen when you book an early breakfast reservation at Cinderella’s Royal Table:
- You get into the Magic Kingdom early. That’s right. Book your reservation for 8:00am on a day when the park doesn’t open until 9 and you get the wonderful experience of entering the park before anybody else and walking down an empty Main Street USA. You feel like a VIP. THEN, when you’re finished with your meal, you’ve already bypassed the huge crowds that gather at the entrance turnstyles at opening time, and you get first crack at Fantasyland. Very cool trick.
- You get to explore the castle and its intricate decor in the daylight. You can’t do this at night, as the lighting isn’t very powerful; it’s hard to see all of the incredible detail.
- You get to carry around your princess wand or your prince sword all day long. OK. So that’s not so magical.
- You get to watch Fantasyland come alive through the castle windows!
Anyway, the scene opens when you get to the restaurant. Imagineers have done an excellent job of building anticipation when it comes to actually entering the castle, and then the restaurant itself. Guests check in at a podium set in front of huge double doors. Anyone without a reservation can only hope to peek inside and see what it’s like in Cinderella’s throne room — or even see Cinderella herself!
Shiny suits of armor and medieval weapons guard the massive entryway room, filled with dark wood, “stone” walls and floors, and plush velvet and tapestry decor. It’s everyone’s dream of a fairytale castle, and you’re inside!! I don’t know about you, but I still get goosebumps when I go in there. It’s pure Disney magic, and I’m willing to pay the price for it.
This is also where you can get your special princess wand or princely sword!
Once you have your photo taken with Cinderella herself, the imagineers have created another anticipatory segment to the journey. At this point, guests must follow the red carpet up the twisty-turny turret stairs or climb through the wooden doors of the elevator. (Seriously — twisty stairs! I love it!)
On the staircase, which I think is one of the best pieces of restaurant themeing I’ve ever seen in a Disney restaurant, you’ll pass an overhead view of Cinderella’s entryway downstairs, stained glass images of the princess, and fancy restrooms on the first landing before you come to a small doorway leading to the restaurant.
But you don’t immediately see the restaurant — you must come out of the doorway and turn before you see the two story dining room capped with royal shields, flags, massive stained glass windows, and huge medieval chandeliers.
Bright royal purple napkins crown dark wood tables surrounded by richly upholstered chairs. Tall, dark wood chair rails culminate in ornate carvings six feet up, and the “stone” pillars and columns rise into graceful archways surrounding the inner dining-room. I mean…come on! This is awesome. Admit it.
Plus — there’s the view…
The Show and The Princesses
Of course, as soon as the breakfast begins, the show is underway. Like Ariel’s Grotto in Disneyland, each princess is introduced individually, her story being told over the loudspeaker as she appears. On our visit, we got to see Ariel, Belle (the only time I’ve seen her at a Character meal in her blue dress), Aurora, and Snow White.
The princesses visit each table, and there are special little celebrations (sometimes with Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother!) scheduled throughout the morning for your little prince and princess to enjoy.
During your meal, your photo package created from the pic taken earlier with Cinderella will be delivered to your table in a handy little folder frame. We asked Cindy to pose for a solo photo so you could imagine your family there instead of having to look at our crazy visages! 😉
Breakfast begins with pre-plated pastries, fruit, and OJ. The fruit, as you can see, was gorgeous; and I really enjoyed the mini pan au chocolat pastries. The cinnamon rolls were fine, but probably not worth the calories 🙂
On our visit, we had the choice of a standard breakfast with eggs, bacon, breakfast potatoes, and sausage; or the famous stuffed french toast, which is basically a pastry filled with sweet cream cheese and covered with an apple-berry sauce.
We, of course, ordered both. The standard breakfast was fine and filling — nothing over the top to report here. It’s not going to win any awards, but it’ll definitely fill you up for a day of touring.
The stuffed french toast as uber-sweet and very good. Plan ahead, though, as the amount of sugar here will probably have you crashing halfway through your day! 😉 I ate a few bites of this along with some protein (eggs and sausage) from the other plate to balance everything out a bit. I do like that there seems to be a little hidden Mickey on my french toast, though!
Many folks rail about the food and the cost here, and while it’s not spectacular, 5-star cuisine, it’s really not bad. Pricing is high ($30-50 depending whether you’re getting a kids’ or adult meal), but what you’re paying for here is a truly wonderful experience unlike any other in Disney World. I don’t care if you’re five or 500, you want to see the inside of that castle when you walk through the gates of the Magic Kingdom. This is your chance.
If you haven’t eaten here, definitely book a reservation. Disney World is an icon, and Cinderella Castle is the epicenter of the magic. If you’re a big Disney fan, or you have a little prince or princess who might enjoy this meal, it’s worth the cost.
I know you have an opinion! Let us know how you like Cinderella’s Royal Table in the comments section below!