June 20, 2024

Bon Voyage Breakfast: Better Without Characters?!

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Walt Disney World is mostly back to normal on the restaurant front, with a handful of character dining experiences being the biggest exception. Among these is Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno, which

Walt Disney World is mostly back to normal on the restaurant front, with a handful of character dining experiences being the biggest exception. Among these is Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno, which was a newer addition pre-closure but had quickly become a fan-favorite for its princesses & princes, delicious menu, and convenience to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios.

Before we dig into our non-character breakfast at Trattoria al Forno, we might as well start with a look back at Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast. Along with a look forward with speculation about when the Bon Voyage Character Breakfast could return, since that’s a common question among Walt Disney World fans.

In a nutshell, Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast was an incredibly popular character dining experience that featured two of Disney’s most beloved couples: Rapunzel & Flynn Rider from Tangled and Ariel & Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid. Breakfast service featured a bit of fanfare with music and introductions to receive the royalty when they entered, but it was otherwise the regular restaurant–a bit upscale and sophisticated, at least as contrasted with other dedicated character restaurants at Walt Disney World, like Chef Mickey’s or Garden Grill.

That’s a big part of why Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast quickly became so beloved. Beyond that, it was because it was a start of a ‘new wave’ of character dining at Walt Disney World. This began at Trattoria al Forno, and continued with Storybook Dining at Artist Point and Breakfast à la Art with Mickey & Friends at Topolino’s Terrace. Not so coincidentally, those rank as the #3, #2 and #1 options on our list of the Best Character Meals at Walt Disney World.

As for when Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno will return…we’re frankly a bit surprised that it hasn’t already. With that said, character dining experiences that have featured princes and princesses have generally been slower to return. Not only that, but those that are back have been slow to scale up. This is all due to staffing shortages, especially of face characters.

It wasn’t until this spring that princesses finally returned to Cinderella’s Royal Table, and that’s arguably the most iconic character meal in Walt Disney World’s flagship park. More recently, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall restored breakfast and lunch a few months ago after only reopening late last year. It struggled to keep up with ADR demand at first, and still isn’t completely back to its preclosure operating hours.

It’s not just the restaurants, either. Meet & greets still aren’t operating at their pre-closure capacity, which is why wait times for characters spike during the daytime hours in Magic Kingdom during Party Season. These performers are needed for the after-hours events, reducing their availability during normal operations.

Suffice to say, the staffing shortages are getting better–but they’re still not completely resolved. Just look at Disney Auditions, where Walt Disney World currently has casting calls for Tiana, Elena, Moana, Jasmine, Pocahontas, and Mirabel; Bruno, Naveen, Aladdin, Flynn Rider, Prince Charming, Gaston, Snow Prince, Prince Eric, and Jack Sparrow.

It’s possible that some of these look-alikes are for Bon Voyage Adventure Character Breakfast. They also could be entirely unrelated, and for in-park appearances at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.

As for why Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast is among the last character meals to return even after other royal dining experiences have, that likely comes down to it being a lower priority. Although it was pretty popular pre-closure, it’s not a rite of passage like Cinderella’s Royal Table or the “in-castle consolation prize” that is Akershus. It was originally added pre-closure to provide much-needed character dining capacity, but the circumstances were different then–there was no face character shortage.

Compared to the other options, Bon Voyage Adventure Character Breakfast is hardly as “essential.” It has its fans, but it doesn’t have a rich history or legacy, and unlike Story Book Dining at Artist Point or Topolino’s Terrace, it isn’t an instant classic around which a ton of Walt Disney World guests book resort reservations. (This isn’t to say Bon Voyage Breakfast doesn’t have its hardcore fans, and I’m sure I’ll hear from them for being dismissive of it, but it’s still nothing like those. Its significance is comparatively minor.)

When Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast does return, don’t be surprised if it features different characters. I don’t say this with any inside info or insight, but since the setting is flexible, Walt Disney World might opt to incorporate new royalty either as a matter of convenience (e.g. who they’re able to most easily cast) or based upon who they want to highlight (e.g. maybe Mirabel and Bruno?). In all likelihood, it’ll be the prince and princess posse from before, but don’t discount the possibility of a change.

As for when Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast will return…as mentioned above, we expected it to be back by now. So it should be obvious that we have no clue. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of it opening by this Christmas or, if not, Spring 2024. With the Disney Dining Plan returning, there won’t be any shortage of long-term demand–not that there is now.

So it really comes down to sufficient staffing of the face characters. Personally, I think they should side-step that issue by making this a Mickey & Friends meal with turn-of-the-century Atlantic City outfits for the fur characters. Topolino’s Terrace serves as the perfect template for on-theme character costume dining.

Speaking of Topolino’s Terrace…be careful what you wish for! Following the Fall 2023 Character Dining Price Increases at Disney World, Topolino’s Terrace now costs $49 per adult. For that price, you could have 3+ of the breakfast entrees from the a la carte menu at Trattoria al Forno reviewed here!

Anyway, on with the review of the current breakfast at Trattoria al Forno…

For starters, we’re big fans of Trattoria al Forno. We’ve dined here on several occasions in the last few years, as it’s an easy last-minute Advance Dining Reservation and serves up consistently good (and filling–we usually have leftovers!) food at fair prices. Our post, Walt Disney World’s Underrated Italian Restaurant, about sums up our feelings on Trattoria al Forno.

It’s a very similar story at breakfast. We love this as an option for a late breakfast after Early Entry at EPCOT or Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While staying at the Crescent Lake or Skyliner resorts, it’s a convenient stop on the way back to the room for a midday break or, as is often needed, a second shower. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights…

Let’s start with the Sunrise Breakfast Pizza: Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Sausage, Bell Peppers, and Cheese.

The big difference between this breakfast pizza and pretty much every other one at Walt Disney World is Trattoria al Forno’s stone pizza oven. That ensures you’re getting an exceptional crust, on par with the likes of Via Napoli, and not just some flatbread that might as well be a saltine cracker.

This crust is glorious. It has tremendous texture and flavor, and a certain crispiness-meets-doughiness that is absolutely phenomenal.

The slightly-chewy crust is delicious on its own, which is a very good thing, since the toppings coverage on the Sunrise Breakfast Pizza left a bit to be desired. These photos are slightly deceptive, as there are layers of toppings in the middle of the pizza, but still not enough around the edges. A better distribution definitely would’ve been nice.

Nevertheless, don’t underestimate the Sunrise Breakfast Pizza based on these photos and the list of ingredients. There’s more than meets the eye here. Those bites in the center that combine layers of toppings along with a bit of country sausage gravy as sauce make for something special…and distinctly patriotic, as gravy is basically America’s national topping. (As someone whose political platform is basically pro-sauce, I would’ve loved a lot more of this–and think it would’ve worked well with the crust.)

More of this is basically how I feel about the Sunrise Breakfast Pizza. More sauce and more toppings would’ve made this an elite Walt Disney World breakfast dish, and probably one so substantial that two people could easily share it. As it was served, it’s tough to complain too much given the filling & fantastic crust plus the toppings plus the price ($14). All of that makes it a winner that we’ll happily revisit!

Next, the Tiramisù Bread Pudding: Cinnamon Brioche, Mascarpone Cream, and Espresso Drizzle served with choice of Bacon or Sausage.

You read that correctly. This combines Tiramisù and Bread Pudding for a dish that somehow qualifies as breakfast. How is that even legal?!? It’s like that time Congress declared that pizza is a vegetable in U.S. public school cafeterias. To be clear, I’m not complaining. If anything, I’m disappointed that Senate hasn’t mandated that I eat dessert each night right before bed. For health. 

As it turns out, I guess my political platform isn’t pro-sauce–I’m a member of the Tiramisù Bread Pudding Party. (Sorry to make this political, but I think these are the important issues upon which all Americans can agree!)

In all seriousness, Tiramisù Bread Pudding combines two of my all-time favorite desserts and I should be transparent with my obvious bias here. For me, there’s no such thing as bad Tiramisù or Bread Pudding. I’ve never had a version of either dessert that I disliked–they’re both ‘high floor’ dishes for me that have a baseline that’s very good.

I guess there could be fears that combining the two would be too much of a good thing or an awesomeness overload, but those were not concerns held by me. Bottom line, this Tiramisù Bread Pudding was pretty much guaranteed an 8/10 or above rating from me just by virtue of existing. I cannot imagine any kitchen screwing up the marriage of these two delicious desserts. (The Italy Booth has entered the chat.)

I’d rate this Tiramisù Bread Pudding as about a 9/10 or 9.5/10. Flavorwise, it’s fantastic. It has the trademark profile of tiramisù, with rich coffee and cocoa flavors, paired with the sweet and creaminess of mascarpone.

In terms of texture, it might stumble just a little. For me, this is a big part of what normally makes both of these desserts, and you do have elements of each in here. The top is fantastic and the first two-thirds of the dessert underneath are as well. But I think it becomes a bit too one-note, with the ‘loaf’ having a lot of sameness. That’s perhaps a bit nitpicky, but what I love about both tiramisù and bread pudding is the delight offered with the layers of each bite.

To avoid this, we’d strongly recommend splitting this between a couple (or a few) people. That way, it’s flat-out fantastic, and will leave everyone wanting more. Even though it’s not 10/10 perfection for me, it’s so inventive and delicious that it’s an easy and highly recommended breakfast/dessert. Better than the Sunrise Breakfast Pizza and arguably the best breakfast in this resort area (keep in mind, that includes Ale & Compass and potentially Riviera Resort’s restaurants).

This is truly the perfect pairing–I can’t imagine breakfast getting much better than this savory and sweet combo.

As I sat here devouring this divine duo, I found myself thinking back to when I was a child. If you told me that someday I’d be a researcher, I’d probably be disappointed, unless it was of dinosaurs. But if you told me that I’d be “researching” strategy for doing rides at EPCOT, followed by the best breakfast combos at Walt Disney World, my mind would be blown.

I probably wouldn’t believe it unless you also told me that the Detroit Lions still hadn’t won a Super Bowl, and that a Barry Sanders wasn’t the only generational talent to retire from the team in his prime. Then I’d say, yeah that checks out. (First place in the NFC North isn’t too shabby, though!)

Finally, a couple of items that are holdovers from the Bon Voyage Adventure Character Breakfast. The first of these is the Oak-grilled Steak and Eggs: Sunny-side Up Eggs, Breakfast Potatoes, Crispy Onions, Hollandaise Sauce.

As far as breakfast steaks go, this is a tender cut with a nice, mildly smoky flavor. It’s strikingly similar to the Wood-fired Steak and Eggs served for breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace, so if you’re looking for something like that but without the character premium pricing, Trattoria al Forno is a good alternative (for now).

Then there’s the Buttermilk Pancakes with Seasonal Compote, served with Bacon or Sausage.

This was served as a Tower of Pancakes, presumably inspired by Tangled (get it?), and that appears to still be the case. Presentation-aside, I don’t think this is really anything special–it’s a denser version of an ordinary pancake. I’m guessing there was less buttermilk and more cornmeal to give these a coarser texture and a bit of crunch. They were fine, but not something to order unless you’re only concerned with Instagramability.

Trattoria al Forno is inviting on the inside. There’s an abundance of warm colors, rich woods, brick features, and paneling. It’s not the pinnacle of themed design, but very much conveys the theme of upscale Italian restaurant.

From the upholstery to the light fixtures, there’s a depth and detail. Plenty of texture, variety of materials, and light touches that you’d expect from a family-run Italian restaurant.

The star of the show is the open kitchen, which is visible from the far reaches of the seating area.

I wouldn’t necessarily call the setting a distinctly Walt Disney World restaurant–definitely not the pinnacle of themed design or immersiveness–but it’s not bland, either. Trattoria al Forno is better by leaps and bounds than its closest competition (Ale & Compass). The design is thoughtful and inviting, just not memorable. You’re eating here for the food.

Overall, this breakfast was yet another great meal at Trattoria al Forno. As much as we enjoy dinner here, breakfast might beat it. Whereas dinner plays the tried and true Italian hits, the breakfast menu has interesting and somewhat inventive options. Beyond what’s reviewed here, there’s also the Caprese Omelet, Al Forno Eggs, Florentine Frittata, and Avocado Toast–all of which sound delicious (and ambitious).

Part of me wouldn’t mind Trattoria al Forno remaining an a la carte breakfast so we can revisit again and again to try all of those dishes–and order these items a few more times–without breaking the bank. Another part of me is still thinking about King Triton’s Shipwreck Al Forno Breakfast Calzone that was served at the Bon Voyage Adventure Character Breakfast. So honestly, I’ll be happy with whatever happens to Trattoria al Forno. Or doesn’t.

As we’ve said before, Trattoria al Forno is a mid-tier resort restaurant that punches above its weight, delivering approachable and quality cuisine. It’s reliably good, with delicious and a bit unexpected Italian cuisine served in sizable portion sizes at fair prices. It might not be a Signature Restaurant or a quintessential culinary experience at Walt Disney World, but that’s perfectly fine. Trattoria al Forno is much lower stakes, and usually overdelivers relative to expectations (and the bill). Which is more than can be said for some Signature Restaurants!

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 Trattoria al Forno? Have you done breakfast here? Would you prefer it to stay a la carte or for the Bon Voyage Adventure Character Dining Experience to return? Where does Trattoria rank in terms of Italian restaurants at Walt Disney World for you? Have any favorite dishes here? Any questions? Hearing your feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts or questions below in the comments!

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