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May 31, 2014

Magic Kingdom - Fantasyland - Cinderella's Royal Table

Cinderella's Royal Table is a table service restaurant offering character dining experiences for breakfast, lunch and dinner at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. It is located within Cinderella Castle, in the center of the park. Reservations are essentially mandatory, and in fact - plan on making them well in advance (that 180 day advance reservation option has been known to come in very handy!). For many Magic Kingdom visitors, this is considered to be the ultimate in dining experiences. Cinderella's Royal Table does participate in the Disney Dining Plan. 





Past the elaborate mosaics lining the interior walkway of Cinderella Castle, you'll find a cozy little nook hiding one of Walt Disney World's most elaborate treasures. Cinderella's Royal Table spares no detail in design, providing an elegant dining experience befitting of royalty. Imposing wooden doors part, once your party's reservation is confirmed, and your regal celebration has begun! After a gracious personal welcome from Cinderella herself in the regal Grand Hall (including a photo session), you will ascend the winding, red carpet- covered staircase up the stone turret into the stately Banquet Hall. Decked in vibrant, rich color, deep woods and ornamented archways, the Banquet Hall is both open and cozy. The layout of the dining area lends itself well to the seating arrangements, allowing for a more comfortable atmosphere than most on-property venues. 



A central, domed ceiling displays cascading medieval banners and shields adorned with royal crests, along with grand, ornate chandeliers. Extravagant stained glass windows line the walls, overlooking Fantasyland below. The only thing that grounds you during your visit is the lack of a dress code. I know many would gawk at the thought, and from the perspective of the weary, all-day visiting tourist, I do see the cringe-worthy nature of this idea, but I personally think it would add something to have an expectation to leave the Mickey ears and tank tops at the hotel. I know... I need to get realistic and settle for the myriad pint-sized princesses. Which reminds me - Cinderella encourages little ladies to adorn their finest gowns for this royal affair. Young guests will even receive wands and swords, as gifts to commemorate their special visit! 

Although the wands and swords are yours to keep, they're not the absolute highlight of your visit to Cinderella's. This is a character dining experience, after all! Remember that little photo session I mentioned earlier? Well, during your visit, you'll be presented with your family's photo with Cinderella herself. Photo packages are included with your meal price. If you've ever been presented with character dining photos to purchase you know that this inclusion is quite a nice perk! Best of all... your character experience has not ended there! Though Cinderella remains busy greeting arriving guests, she always has a few friends on hand who are more than happy to check on her visitors throughout their stay. Princesses are introduced with great fanfare, just as if presented in Royal Court. You never know who will be popping in, but you're sure to be visited personally by 3-4 of Disney's most elegant ladies as you dine. They will gladly pose for photos, so have your cameras ready. Cinderella's Fairy Godmother was once known to be a regular here as well, but her visits have become quite rare in recent years. Enjoy a double-dose of awesome by opting for dinner service, because... if you time your reservation just right, you'll have an unbeatable view of the evening's fireworks. To put your locale in perspective...


Soak up every ounce of atmosphere during your meal. Not only is this genuinely one of the finest, most incredible works of architecture on Disney property that deserves to be awed, but believe me... you're paying for it. Many guests who have posted online reviews of Cinderella's Royal Table take great issue with the price. Yes, it is one of the pricier meals you'll encounter on Disney property, BUT... two things to point out about that -  Even if you don't somehow naturally expect to pay a small fortune at the crowned jewel of Disney dining, it's not like they sneak the cost past you until post-pig out. AND, you should already be used to paying more for everything that falls within the Disney property line. Just like everything else, you're paying for that - the notch in your Mickey ears, so to speak. Furthermore, you're paying for the extras - the atmosphere and ambiance, the characters and photos, the view. Which brings me to another point... you're certainly not paying for the food!

Prices will range from $30-$60 per adult, depending on the time of your meal service. Personally, I find breakfast to be the most appealing for a few reasons. This is the meal with the most reasonable portion sizes and the menu is more universally appealing. Naturally, breakfast prices are the lesser of the three meals... added bonus. The stuffed french toast is the signature breakfast item, and absolutely a must - but be warned, it is heavy on the sweet side! (Psst... take the earliest reservations possible. You may receive early admission to the park!)

Lunch and dinner sound more impressive than they are. Though you will receive three courses of impressive sounding items, the portions are beyond minuscule, and menu options are limited. While many people will find something appealing, those of us on the pickier side will be a little less than satisfied with the offerings. The beef tenderloin was the only item that caught my eye, and I've had better beef strolling around World Showcase during Epcot's Food and Wine Festival. 

For more information on your included photo package, special celebrations/proposal packages and the current Cinderella's Royal Table menu, click here