Even if you’re more into pirates and Star Wars than Disney Princesses, I think it’s safe to say that every Disney fan young and old wants the chance to go into Cinderella Castle. And while spending the night in the castle is not something money can buy, a chunk of royal change will score you an audience with Her Highness for dinner (or breakfast, or lunch).
And when I say a chunk of royal change, I do mean quite the chunk. At the time of writing, dinner for two adults at Cinderella’s Royal Table will set you back nearly $160, although to be fair, that does already include tax and gratuity.
So, is dining with Her Highness really fantastic enough to recover from ye olde royal sticker shock?
In my honest opinion, it really depends. For me personally, it was totally worth it to have the experience of being inside the castle, but not something I’ll do again anytime soon.
Let’s go through everything that the hefty price tag gets you, so that you can determine if a seat at Her Highness’s table will be worth it for you and your family.
The architecture both inside and outside Cinderella Castle are without peer. The attention to detail that Disney pays never ceases to amaze me. When you check in outside the entrance, you will wait a few moments before a royal courtier calls your party inside.
Once inside, you are free to mill about the lobby (that’s probably not the right royal word, but since I’m not officially a princess, I don’t know what a castle’s foyer is called!). Cinderella herself will be taking portraits with each guest, so while you wait to meet Her Highness, I strongly recommend taking in the details of your surroundings.
There will be a PhotoPass photographer taking your portrait with m’lady, but you can always give Her Highness’s royal attendant your personal camera if you choose not to pay for the Disney photo download.
Even after your get your royal portrait made, you’ll still be waiting a few moments before your party is royally beckoned upstairs. Seriously, walk around and take in all the details!!!
Once you are beckoned upstairs, you’ll take what is likely to be the most magical spiral staircase you’ll ever experience up to the dining hall. The stained glass windows adorning the stone walls are simply breathtaking. Take it all in! You’ve paid good money for this level of detail, after all.
The dining hall itself is a spacious octagon, with many of the two-person tables lining the windows. While you can never be 100% guaranteed of where you’ll be seated, it doesn’t hurt to request a window seat. If you timed your reservation to coincide with the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular fireworks, a window seat truly provides an unrivaled view.
We dined at Cinderella’s Royal Table for my birthday dinner (an early dinner, at 4 PM — hey, it was the only time slot available!). I’m not sure if it was because it was my birthday or just random, but they placed my husband and me in a primo window spot. Seriously you guys, having a view of the carousel (one of my favorite rides!), with Beast’s Castle sitting high in the background, was seriously the most perfect dining view I’ve ever had at a Disney restaurant.
Your server will come around to take drink orders. Be aware that Cinderella’s Royal Table currently does not serve alcohol, so there will be no champagne toasts with your favorite Disney Princesses. The price of your meal does, however, include unlimited non-alcoholic drinks of your choice, such as Coke products, coffee, tea, milk, and juice. I can be a real cheapskate, so I definitely took advantage of the bottomless Diet Coke. 😉
Also be aware that your server will want to take your order very quickly upon being seated. Our server was sadly one of the most disengaged, apathetic Cast Members I’ve ever encountered at Disney. Which is especially odd considering one would think being a Cast Member at Cinderella’s Royal Table would be a really tough gig to score, for only the best of the best.
Anyway, our server claimed that she needed to take our complete order (even dessert!) so soon so that she wouldn’t be in the way once the Princesses were making the rounds. But my instinct told me the Cast Members just have orders to get people in and out as quickly as possible.
The menu itself is fairly limited. At the time we visited, there was only one appetizer (so no choice there), six choices of entrees, and four choices of desserts. Again, my theory is that streamlining the menu as a prix fixe makes it much easier to turn tables quickly, thus maximizing the number of guests (and amount of royal cash flow!) per day.
While I didn’t like feeling so rushed in our (very expensive) dinner, I have got to admit that the food was fantastic. In fact, its quality far exceeded my expectations, which I had set somewhat lower given that I knew this was meant to be more about the experience than Michelin Star dining.
The cheese plate was superb, and I was impressed with how beautifully it was plated. For our entrees, my husband ordered the grilled beef tenderloin, served with mixed greens, Riesling-braised beets, pickled pearl onions, and goat cheese with a maple vinaigrette. I ordered the roasted chicken with goat cheese polenta, baby rainbow carrots, and a Madeira mushroom reduction.
Since chicken is the only meat I eat, I did not taste my husband’s steak, but he said it was fantastic. I am a very picky eater with pretty particular standards, and the chicken was to die for, especially considering I normally dislike it still on the bone. My only complaint is there weren’t enough carrots for my liking. But then again, I eat so many carrots that I’ve been called a rabbit before, so this is no surprise!
I will say, once again we felt very rushed through our entrees. I seriously felt like there was a busser hiding behind one of the royal wall hangings just waiting to pounce once he saw the last bite taken – that’s how quickly they took our plates!
Next came dessert. My husband got the daily special, which was cheesecake, and I got Bruno’s Favorite, a pineapple-carrot cake with mascarpone, pineapple-ginger sauce, and pecan brittle.
Our server even brought out a complimentary cupcake with candle for my birthday, which I thought was a nice little Disney touch.
In addition to just being inside Cinderella Castle, one of the biggest perks to dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table is being visited by four Disney Princesses. Throughout the meal, a bugle will sound, and a royal courtier will announce the arrival of each Princess.
I’ve heard that the Princesses rotate regularly, so I was hoping to meet some I had never met before. Namely, I had somehow (?!) never met Snow White before. So you can imagine my delight when she was the first Princess to grace our dining hall.
The three other visiting Princesses when we dined were Ariel, Aurora, and Jasmine. I had never met Jasmine before either, so seeing her was a real treat. I had also never met Ariel with legs, so I was excited to get a photo with her in a dress.
Somewhat surprising (to me, at least) was the fact that Cinderella herself does not visit guests in her own dining room. I get that the Cast Member performing her is downstairs greeting newly arriving guests for the next royal seating, but given the entire name of this character dining experience, one would be forgiven for assuming you get to actually dine with Cinderella herself.
Regardless, meeting so many Disney Princesses at once is really what can make the hefty price tag worth it or not for you. For example, at the table next to ours, there was a family of five: mom, dad, a boy who looked maybe 12, a boy who looked maybe 7, and a girl who looked maybe 4. The girl was ecstatic meeting all the Princesses, but both boys literally had video games (!!) out the entire time and barely touched their food. I couldn’t help but think that the $100+ those parents spent to have their boys eat could have easily gone towards a royal babysitter for an hour.
My point is, think carefully about whether everyone in your party will truly enjoy the intangible perks of Cinderella’s Royal Table. Will they cherish this magical opportunity? Do they love meeting characters, especially Princesses? Do they appreciate the details of all the decor? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then I would suggest seriously reconsidering dining here. The food is fantastic, but the culinary experience alone most certainly does not justify that kind of money.
At the end of the day, the whole experience was totally worth it for me, since I had never been inside Cinderella Castle before. That being said, I seriously think Disney needs to rethink how forcefully they rush guests through such an expensive meal. I get that they are a corporation and need to maximize profits – I really do appreciate this fact. However, I honestly feel that if I am spending nearly $200 on a dinner that requires booking six months in advance, I should get to savor every moment of that experience and get more than 45 minutes to do so.
So, you’ve read my review and decided you want to fork over the funds for a meal with princesses? I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the difficulty in scoring a seat. Like all Disney restaurants (other than Quick Service), advance dining reservations (or, ADRs) open up 180 days in advance. And Cinderella’s Royal Table is one of THE most difficult places to score reservations.
For this reason, it is absolutely imperative that you put a reminder on your calendar for exactly 180 days in advance of when you will want to dine. While I don’t have access to data to support this claim, it is widely agreed that breakfast reservations book up the fastest, as this is a popular spot for young Princesses-in-training to be taken by their parents for breakfast. (Plus, breakfast is the cheapest!).
Another caveat to scoring your seat with Her Highness: Cinderella’s Royal Table is one of the few signature dining experiences that requires advance payment in total. Yep, you’ll be saying goodbye to $100+ six months before you get to rub elbows with Cinderella. Be sure to read the fine print very carefully regarding cancellations, as you may or may not get any money back.
Tell me, have you dined at Cinderella’s Royal Table? What did you think?
Please leave any vacation questions in the comments below!