July 22, 2024

Is Be Our Guest Restaurant Worth the Money?

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Be Our Guest Restaurant is one of the most popular restaurants at Walt Disney World, and it can still be difficult to score reservations to eat inside the castle from Beauty and the Beast. With that in mind, we’re

Be Our Guest Restaurant is one of the most popular restaurants at Walt Disney World, and it can still be difficult to score reservations to eat inside the castle from Beauty and the Beast. With that in mind, we’re here to help you decide whether this prix fixe lunch or dinner is worth it with a meal review, photos & video, and commentary on whether the overall experience offers sufficient value for money as of 2023.

Even though we’ve dined here at least a dozen times over the last decade, it’s hard to believe Be Our Guest Restaurant has been open since 2012. We still fondly recall our first meal here during the soft opening that November before attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Plus several more breakfasts, lunches, and dinners when New Fantasyland was truly new, and you had to book Advance Dining Reservations 180 days out for a chance at dining inside Beast’s Castle. In the grand scheme of things, Be Our Guest is relatively new, having only existed for ~20% of Magic Kingdom’s history.

Nevertheless, a lot has changed since Be Our Guest Restaurant opened, and even more has happened in the last few years. The prix fixe dinner that debuted to replace the a la carte table service menu has been expanded to replace the counter service lunch. Once one of the best uses of a quick-service credit, breakfast still isn’t back–but there are brunch options on the regular menu. Honestly, we’ve hesitated on re-reviewing Be Our Guest Restaurant in the last couple of years in the hopes that some of these changes would be undone and the ‘normal’ Be Our Guest Restaurant would be restored.

With Walt Disney World revealing details of the 2024 Disney Dining Plan, including that Be Our Guest Restaurant will still be participating in the regular DDP as a 2-credit table service restaurant, it seemed like the time to revisit and re-review the restaurant. After all, many of you are starting to plan 2024 Walt Disney World vacations and likely want to start narrowing down your dining options–even if ADRs can “only” be made 90 (+10) days in ahead of time now.

I want to preface this by stating that it addresses paying out of pocket. Be Our Guest Restaurant is not worth it on the Disney Dining Plan. To the contrary, it is one of the absolute worst objective uses of DDP credits. (For the best options that are ‘worth it’ on the DDP, see our list of the Top 10 Table Service Credit Uses on the 2024 Disney Dining Plan.)

With that out of the way, let’s dig in and determine whether Be Our Guest Restaurant is worth the premium pricing for the prix fixe menu at lunch and dinner as of 2023…

In the past, one of the biggest criticisms of Be Our Guest Restaurant is that it’s loud, crowded and chaotic. The Grand Ballroom main dining hall is cavernous and tables are tightly packed, making it feel more like a fancy mess hall than an elegant and regal setting. We’ve voiced this concern in past reviews, and that the Grand Ballroom is our least favorite dining room at Be Our Guest Restaurant.

In fact, we’ve often recommended requesting to be seated in a different area. Although the West Wing is my favorite of the rooms, it’s also the least-bloggable due to being too dark for food photos. Accordingly, we normally request the Castle Gallery, which is the best of both worlds and very-bloggable (the most important metric for any meal).

For this lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant, I’m glad that I didn’t follow my own advice. I’d like to claim this was intentional, but really, I just forgot. Sarah normally handles logistics while I have my head in the clouds taking photos or whatever.

One thing you might notice from these photos and videos is just how empty Be Our Guest Restaurant is during my meal. This isn’t some camera trickery or newfangled AI, nor is it a result of doing the first or last seating of the day. It wasn’t during the fall or winter off-season, either.

I took most of these photos right around noon on what should have been a busy day at the start of the tourist season in Summer 2023. When I was seated in the Grand Ballroom, I was only the third party in the entire space. By the end of my meal, there were about a dozen or so other parties, and this is in a space that has capacity for around 300 guests. (That’s a guess. Total restaurant capacity is 550 people, and I’d imagine it’s about 300/175/75.)

To that point, here’s a video tour at the end of my meal that should give you an idea of how busy Be Our Guest Restaurant was as well as the dining room layout and sizes:

This meal was a reminder of our best experiences at Be Our Guest Restaurant, all of which were the first seatings of the morning for breakfast or the last seatings for dinner. During those meals, the Grand Ballroom actually has a certain opulence and elegance to it. Not in the way you’d find at a true Signature Restaurant–it’s more like stepping into the story of the animated film and experiencing its stylized version of sophistication, if that makes sense.

This was my first time experiencing that at Be Our Guest Restaurant at lunch. I was seated by myself with no one else within at least 5 tables of my, with a view of the snow falling outside the window of Beast’s Castle. It was truly serene, calming, and peaceful in a way that I’ve never experienced at Be Our Guest Restaurant…and presumably won’t again.

I did a lot of table service meals during this solo trip due to the 20% off AP discount for VIPassholder month, and Be Our Guest Restaurant was the most enjoyable overall experience. It was up there as having some of the best cuisine, too.

Most of you probably will not be able to replicate my low-crowd lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant. Then again, perhaps you will if you’re visiting in the coming months and opt for an early or late seating. With the counter service lunch still not back and the prix fixe menu costing a pretty penny, it seems like Be Our Guest Restaurant now has far more table service supply than it does demand.

As I left the restaurant, I lingered on the bridge for a while taking photos. It was likewise quiet out there, and I overheard a handful of guests who were able to obtain walk-up availability. On other days in Magic Kingdom, I regularly saw Walk-Up Waitlist availability for Be Our Guest Restaurant in the My Disney Experience app.

This also makes me wonder whether the counter service breakfast and lunch might come back at some point sooner rather than later. Staffing definitely was not the issue preventing more tables from being filled–there were a ton of servers who didn’t appear particularly busy. (It wouldn’t surprise me if there were more servers than guests when I arrived for lunch.)

It’ll be interesting to see what, if anything, changes with the 2024 Disney Dining Plan or even later this year. While the DDP tends to make table service restaurants more popular, Be Our Guest Restaurant requires 2 credits. There’s a possibility the Disney Dining Plan doesn’t help with demand–but it would for the counter service breakfast or lunch!

This tangent about crowds and availability is mentioned in part because it’s interesting to me and could impact how Be Our Guest Restaurant evolves over the coming year, and in part because congestion is relevant to value. We often say that Walt Disney World cannot compete with most real world restaurants when it comes to cuisine, but is unrivaled when it comes to the overall experience.

Part of why Signature Dining or themed restaurants hold so much appeal is because of the atmosphere, whether that be upscale and elegant or immersive and fun (or a combination thereof). At its best, Be Our Guest Restaurant is one such restaurant that wears multiple hats. As discussed above, it’s not always “at its best,” though.

In any case, that’s worth taking into account when determining whether Be Our Guest Restaurant is right for you. If you’re dining here at 7 pm during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, this is not the experience you’re going to have. It’ll be packed, noisy, and less pleasant. By contrast, if you do 11 am or 9 pm in mid-September, it could be similar to this. Other dates and times will likely be somewhere in between.

Of course, the key consideration for most people when determining if they want to be Beast’s guest at his restaurant is the value proposition in terms of the menu itself. Whether a meal is “worth it” is a matter of personal perspective and dependent upon your frame of reference.

If you’re comparing Be Our Guest to real world restaurants around Orlando, it’s unlikely to be a good value. Then again, the same is true of almost every dining option at Walt Disney World. It should come as approximately zero surprise to anyone that premium pricing is charged for the restaurants…and literally everything else…at Walt Disney World.

Stripping away the location in the park, themed design, unique atmosphere, and everything else is certainly your choice if those things don’t matter to you. So sure, the value here isn’t as good as Applebee’s or Outback or Sizzler or whatever other chain. However, it’s also not the same. Most of you probably already knew that. Probably not many people reading this to settle a debate between Applebee’s and Be Our Guest Restaurant.

To make a long story short, we’ll use the Hollywood Brown Derby as our frame of reference here. That was chosen after considering a number of other different restaurants (among them Chefs de France, Coral Reef, Tiffins, Space 220, and Topolino’s Terrace). If you’re willing to venture outside Magic Kingdom, a case can be made for Steakhouse 71. However, that doesn’t measure up on atmosphere and is more of a mid-tier budget pick (and a great one, at that!).

Instead, we opted for Brown Derby because we felt there were the strongest parallels between it and Be Our Guest. Both have names starting with “b,” for one. More importantly, they’re both borderline Signatures with similar cuisine caliber and menu parallels. Brown Derby might be slightly nicer, but Be Our Guest is stronger in atmosphere and also in Magic Kingdom, the premier park at Walt Disney World.

As noted above, Be Our Guest Restaurant currently offers an all-day prix fixe menu for lunch and dinner. This costs $67 per adult and $39 per child, plus tax and gratuity (minus any discounts).

The meal also includes a regular drink (so no booze or smoothies) and bread service, which is not offered at all Walt Disney World restaurants. The bread is serviceable; not something anyone would buy. The drink is what it is. (Mine was Coca-Cola. Tasted like Coke.)

For appetizers, there are five different choices. You can get French Onion Soup, Escargot de Bourgogne, Duck and Pork Terrine, Mixed Greens Salad, or Potato-Leek Soup. Three of these are soups or salads, so not exactly all-stars from a bang for buck point of view.

The appetizer is probably a tough one for picky eaters, as I can’t imagine snails or terrine are dishes that appeal to a lot of families. Without a doubt, the Escargot de Bourgogne is the “best value” item of the bunch. A similar appetizer would cost $19 over at Hollywood Brown Derby.

Fortunately, I am not a picky eater and happen to love escargot. This is a dish that Walt Disney World tends to do shockingly well, and this was no exception. The snails are truly bathing in butter, and that plus the garlic proves potent. You can still taste the earthiness underneath, and the chewiness of the escargot was perfect. The baguette was likewise delicious, and useful in soaking up the remaining butter. (Frankly, I don’t get why people are averse to escargot–it tastes like meatier mushrooms!)

There are also five entrees on the menu at Be Our Guest Restaurant–the Dry-Aged Duroc Pork Chop, Trout Amandine, Pan-roasted Zucchini, Grilled Filet Mignon, and Roasted Poulet Rouge Chicken.

This will probably come as a surprise to exactly no one who has ever dined at any restaurant (even Applebee’s), but the vegetarians are getting the poorest value here (and everywhere), with an entree worth approximately $7 (based on my totally unbiased calculations as someone who is frequently forced to eat zucchini).

At the other end of the spectrum, the filet mignon would cost $49 over at the Hollywood Brown Derby. The quality of this cut might be a little lower, but honestly, I don’t think so. We had both of them last year in relatively quick succession and they were pretty comparable. (Signature Dining locations in the resorts are definitely using higher quality cuts.)

In any case, I ordered the Dry-Aged Duroc Pork Chop, since I’ve never had that at Be Our Guest Restaurant. A dissimilar grilled pork dish is $38 at Brown Derby, which is probably about where this would be priced if a la carte.

The Dry-Aged Duroc Pork Chop is served with Smashed Potato and Stewed Pepper Piperade. It was a huge hunk of meat and, thankfully, properly-prepared. The Pork Chop was also juicy, tender, and with just enough exterior char to give most bites a bit of texture. It’s also served with a creamy and tangy sauce, which is delicious–but was unnecessary for the meat itself (I used it for the potatoes, which were a tad dry on their own).

The risk with pork chops is always that they’ll be overcooked and dry, and perhaps that could happen here when Be Our Guest is busier.  However, my Dry-Aged Duroc Pork Chop was fantastic and highly-recommended on that basis. It’s on par with the Grilled Filet Mignon.

Finally, the meal concludes with the Dessert Trio. This consists of a Lemon Jam Macaron, Chocolate Tart topped with the Grey Stuff, and a Dark Chocolate Truffle.

This trio is fun, but nothing special. I suspect that dessert is presented this way to distract from its lack of quality, which is on par with buffets. This spread is in no way on par with anything at Brown Derby. I guess I’d pay maybe $5 for it? That’s mostly for the novelty of the Grey Stuff. This isn’t to say these desserts are bad. They’re fine. They just aren’t particularly memorable one way or the other and not something you’d buy if paying out of pocket (except maybe the Grey Stuff).

Finally, there’s the character component of Be Our Guest Restaurant. This is not a character meal in any traditional sense of the term, and isn’t advertised as one by Walt Disney World.

Currently, there is a character ‘presence’ to the extent that the Beast walks through the various rooms waving at guests. I don’t know how frequently this occurs, but it happened 4 times during my lunch. This wasn’t a 4-hour marathon meal, so it’s gotta be around every half-hour.

My table was literally right along the walking path and Beast paused in front of me repeatedly for photos, which I greatly appreciated. It actually got slightly awkward by the third time. He’s there waving his heart out and no one is paying attention, so I gave a courtesy wave. Had to pay my respects after he was kind to pause for the photos on previous passes.

Beast responded with a more enthusiastic wave…and I felt obliged to reciprocate, resulting in this kinda weird wave standoff. I wasn’t taking photos at this point, so it’s basically just me and Beast waving back and forth while about 8 feet apart. That undivided attention would’ve been a magical moment if my ‘party’ included small children, instead of just a solo middle age dude. Regardless, most of you probably will not end up in awkwardly polite wave-offs with the Beast.

For most normal guests, the Beast’s appearance is nothing special and ‘worth’ whatever value you’d ascribe to seeing one character in Festival of Fantasy Parade. If you’re in the restaurant on a busier day and not seated near his preset path, you might barely be able to see him. Unfortunately, guests are required to stay in their seats during Beast’s appearance–meaning photos and autographs are not possible.

Previously, the Beast met guests after dinner for an actual meet & greet with photos, autographs, hugs, and high-fives. Executing a flawless Top Gun high-five with the Beast…now that is worth something! I really wish they’d bring the traditional meet & greet back, as it added value. This does not. You do get the below keepsake autograph postcard, though–that’s kinda cool.

All told, my meal offered about $62 in value versus the $67 cost, plus whatever premium I’d be willing to pay for the experience of getting into a passive aggressive arm-flailing contest against a royal werewolf in his fancy crib. Sure, I’d drop five bucks on that. Worth it for the photos and story alone!

Joking aside, my experience dining inside Beast’s Castle was worth the added cost, and that would’ve been true for me even if that surcharge were $15 to $20. The premium would have been nonexistent or negative if I ordered my Be Our Guest go-to dish (the filet mignon), but would’ve been a lot more if I lost a bet and bought zucchini. Walt Disney World definitely “punishes” vegetarians with prix fixe menus and the Disney Dining Plan and rewards carnivores, and that’s no different here. (Same goes for picky eaters, except for the ‘meat & potatoes at every meal’ people.)

It would not have been worth the money had I dined at Be Our Guest Restaurant on a busy day and gotten stuck in the middle of the Grand Ballroom with every single table filled. So not only is value a matter of perspective, but also a matter of the overall experience, which can be hit or miss beyond just the food.

I’m incredibly confident that Be Our Guest Restaurant would be beloved by most Walt Disney World fans if our experiences there were the norm. It actually reminds me a lot of ‘Ohana in this regard–another restaurant that is polarizing and can be both good or bad depending upon the experience.

Despite its mixed reviews and uneven experiences, Be Our Guest Restaurant remains so popular a decade later…because it’s so popular. Call it inertia or a self-fulfilling prophecy, but the point is that many Walt Disney World guests want to do what everyone else is doing. This hype maintains momentum for popular things. It also creates sky-high expectations and, unsurprisingly, a lot of disappointment.

When it comes to overrated restaurants at Walt Disney World, Be Our Guest Restaurant is the one we hear mentioned most often by readers. Again, we disagree with that assessment. We’ve also been fortunate with positive experiences at Be Our Guest Restaurants, know precisely what to expect, and aren’t subject to the hype machine.

Ultimately, we’re still fans of Be Our Guest Restaurant. Two courses of this meal were fantastic, with only dessert disappointing–but that’s a tale as old as time at this Beauty and the Beast restaurant. Or at least a tale as old as the last decade, as the dessert has never lived up to the hype. (As much as I enjoy the Grey Stuff, it’s still a counter service caliber dessert.)

Based on this, we still recommend Be Our Guest Restaurant as one of the top dining experiences in Magic Kingdom and even Walt Disney World as a whole. That does come with caveats, and we’d highly recommend scheduling your lunch or dinner to avoid the most crowded, chaotic, and loud times of the day.

At its worst, Be Our Guest Restaurant is all of the things its critics claim. But at its best, Be Our Guest Restaurant can be one of the most iconic Walt Disney World dining options, a memorable meal with that will stand out in the minds of Beauty and the Beast fans years–if not decades–later. In our view, the meal itself and those memories make Be Our Guest Restaurant worth the high price tag.

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

YOUR THOUGHTS

What do you think of Be Our Guest Restaurant? Is Magic Kingdom’s popular Beauty and the Beast restaurant worth the hefty price tag? Does the quality of the prix fixe menu coupled with the atmosphere and character component justify the cost? Is Be Our Guest Restaurant overhyped and/or overrated? Would you rather do a table service meal elsewhere in Magic Kingdom, or is this the best option? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

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