Be Our Guest: A Retrospective

Where it all started. Fun fact: MouseWatcher exists because sometime back in 2014, I ranted to my husband about not being able to find a reservation at Be Our Guest no matter how early and often I checked – even though the restaurant had been open for two years at that point. (Remember, this was back when you could start booking dining reservations 180 days in advance and I STILL couldn’t book a table. Hence the ranting) My husband happens to be a brilliant developer so he quickly created a tool that helped me snag the reservation less than 24 hours later. And that’s how MouseWatcher was born.

So you can see why Be Our Guest will always be special to us here at MouseWatcher. Also, as an elder millennial, dining in the Beast’s Ballroom will always make my inner 90s kid shamelessly happy.

I reviewed Be Our Guest in MouseWatcher’s early days but sadly that blog post has been lost to the sands of time and internet gremlins. So rather than just updating that post as planned, here’s a look at the evolution of the dining experience at Be Our Guest, and a review of the current menu and dining experience.

The experience of dining at Be Our Guest is definitely not the same as it was when the restaurant first opened, so the question these days is always “Is Be Our Guest worth it?” I’ll go ahead and say that my answer is “Yes” but with a few know-before-you-go caveats.

Once upon a time, in the hidden heart of France…Florida

Be Our Guest opened in 2012 as the cornerstone of Disney World’s long awaited Fantasyland expansion of the Magic Kingdom. It has been one of the most popular restaurants in Walt Disney World ever since and was almost always in our top 10 most searched restaurants. Lately though, demand for Be Our Guest reservations doesn’t seem to be as high as it used to be.

The menu and service structure at Be Our Guest has been through many changes since first opening. I’ll admit that the current experience is definitely not as “fine dining” as it used to be, however that is not to say that it is not a quality menu. Let me explain.

In the first few years of being open, the menu at Be Our Guest was much a much more extensive a-la-carte menu and included many more high-end options like steamed mussels in a white wine sauce, scallops with lobster sauce, and more than one dessert option. There was also an extensive menu of imported wines and beers primarily from France. Let’s not forget that Be Our Guest brought alcohol to the Magic Kingdom for the first time.

There also used to be a separate lunch menu because lunch was a quick service meal. It was technically sort of a quick service/table service combination because you still needed a reservation. You placed your order at a kiosk or counter and were then given a buzzer for your table. Servers brought your food to you when it was ready. I always thought that this was a really good way to make dining in the incredibly immersive atmosphere of Be Our Guest more accessible and budget friendly. The quick service lunch menu included options like Croque Monsieur sandwiches, grilled steak sandwiches with garlic butter, and tuna Niçoise salad.

There was even a quick service breakfast option for a while. Yeah, you forgot about that one didn’t you? The quick service breakfast menu was a prix fix menu where you could get an entree, beverage and an assorted pastry plate. Entree options included an open-faced bacon and poached egg sandwich, Croque Madame, vegetable quiche, and French toast among others.

You may also recall that Be Our Guest was actually one of the first places to test out mobile ordering for their breakfast and lunch services. Sadly though, despite all of this early innovation in Disney dining experiences, changes were eventually made that began to affect the overall quality of the experience.

Theming and Atmosphere

From the very beginning, the best part of dining at Be Our Guest has been the incredibly detailed immersive design of the restaurant. Walking into the ballroom is one of those “you’ve just stepped into the film” moments. The scale of the ballroom dining are alone dwarfs Cinderella’s Royal Table or pretty much any other Disney World restaurant I’ve ever been to. Add in the digital “windows” depicting a snowy night outside the castle, and the enchanted rose and transforming portrait in the West Wing dining room and you’re fully immersed in the world of Beauty and the Beast. The Imagineering that went into developing this restaurant paved the way for newer restaurants like Space220.

Previously, you also had the chance to meet the Beast – who is considered a rare character – and take photos after dinner. Unfortunately, now you only get to see the Beast walk through the dining rooms waving and greeting guests from a distance.

The Food

Currently the menu offered for both lunch and dinner is the same prix fixe menu. Dining at Be Our Guest costs $70 per adult (ages 10 and up) and $41 per child (ages 3-9), plus tax and gratuity. The prix fixe menu includes an appetizer, entrée, and dessert.

We’ve already discussed how the menu at Be Our Guest has gone through many changes since first opening. Truthfully, the current menu is not as good as the original menu. There is less variety and the current options aren’t really “fine dining” options in my opinion.

To be clear: I am not saying that the new menu or quality of the food at Be Our Guest is bad. I’ve been very happy with my recent meals there. The food is good, but the full dining experience no longer has the exclusive, fine dining quality a dinner service at Be Our Guest once offered.

If you have never dined at Be Our Guest before, I don’t think you will be disappointed by your meal at all. However if you are a returning guest who dined here in the first few years of the restaurant being open, you may be a little disappointed because you can’t help compare the experience to what once was.

On our recent visits we enjoyed the Trout Amandine, Short Rib Beef Bourguignon, and Grilled Filet Mignon entrées with Potato Leek Soup and French Onion Soup for appetizers. The French Onion Soup at Be Our Guest has never once disappointed me. I know that I really should branch out and try all of the appetizer choices since, you know, I review restaurants but I just can’t. Someone at the table will always have to order the French Onion Soup. It is a solid choice and a French classic.

The trout, short rib, and filet were all delicious as well. I just don’t know if trout and short rib count as “fine dining” menu items. On our previous visits we enjoyed options like Smoked Ricotta and Corn Tortellini and a Saffron-infused Lobster and Seafood Bouillabaisse entrées and an Artisanal Meat and Cheese platter for two or Charred Octopus as appetizers.

The Dessert Trio is the only dessert option and will be served to you by default unless you request the plant based option which is a Vanilla Cake with Lemon Curd. (Anyone remember the dessert cart full of options? I miss that dessert cart.)

The Dessert Trio has been through some changes as well. Here’s a pic of my Dessert Trio from a 2019 dinner visit that included a molded white chocolate ‘Chip’ cup filled with The Grey Stuff on a stained glass rose themed plate, and a pic of my Dessert Trio from February 2024 that includes a macaron, dark chocolate truffle, and a tiny tart shell of The Grey stuff all served on a plain blue plate. The desserts were tasty both times but the presentation these days is just lacking. With zero context for the most recent photo, it could almost be a dessert photo from any Disney World restaurant.

The Takeaway

This brings us back to the question that is constantly being asked these days. “Is Be Our Guest worth it?” Yes, I think Be Our Guest is still worth experiencing.

Does the menu deserve the current price tag? No, not really, but much like dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table, you’re paying an additional cost for the experience, not just the food. Only at Be Our Guest the experience is the immersive “just stepped into the movie” feeling instead of meeting princesses.

That’s why I think it’s definitely worth dining at Be Our Guest if it’s in your budget. Is it technically more expensive than it should be? Yes, but inflation sucks and everything is more expensive than it should be in 2024. If you’ve already splurged on a Disney World trip, just book dinner and don’t over think it.

I definitely recommend trying to book dinner instead of lunch if you can because it’s a heavy prix fixe menu so you’re walking out completely stuffed. At least try to cross off all the roller coasters from your ride list before lunch. I think the best way to experience Be Our Guest is to book a late dinner reservation and then just roll yourself out of the park and right into bed to sleep off all the heavy French food.

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Be Our Guest