In what is With a bit of luck In a sign that Be Our Guest restaurant is resuming pre-closure operations, table service restaurant Magic Kingdom is making changes. In this article, we’ll discuss what’s new, the difference between the dining experience after reopening and pre-closing, and what we hope will happen next.
As has been the case for the past decade since its opening (wow time flies), Be Our Guest Restaurant is always the hot ticket to the Magic Kingdom. The “new restaurant smell” still hasn’t dissipated, with Walt Disney World guests eager to enter the beast’s castle to eat in a themed setting. The beauty and the Beast.
Part of the reason Be Our Guest Restaurant is so popular it’s because it’s so popular. Call it a momentum or a self-fulfilling prophecy, but the fact is, many Walt Disney World guests want to do what everyone else does. This hype is creating exorbitant 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. (We strongly disagree with this assessment, for what it’s worth.)
Another aspect of Be Our Guest Restaurant’s popularity is undoubtedly its past reputation for being good value on the Disney Dining Plan (DDP), which remains temporarily unavailable. (To see When will the Disney Meal Plan return? for our thoughts and predictions on the comeback.)
Note that this is also the past tense. When the Be Our Guest restaurant was a regular 1 credit diner, it was a great use of DDP credits. This ended a few years ago when it became a 2 credit Signature dining experience with a 3 course prix fixe dinner menu. Similar to the Cellar before it, advance meal reservations (ADR) for the Be Our Guest restaurant remained in high demand following this due to a mixture of inertia and outdated information, among other things.
On the other hand, lunch at the Be Our Guest restaurant has been on our list of best counter service values during the Disney dining plan before closing. Unfortunately, this counter meal has been (temporarily?) replaced by an all-day lunch/dinner menu since reopening.
With this change, the beloved Breakfast at Be Our Guest Restaurant also disappeared. This morning meal was excellent from the perspective of using the Disney dining plan in the perspective of counter service credits and also for the Fantasyland attractions rope drop. It’s unclear how that would change with daily early entry, but it was fantastic for beating the crowds at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Peter Pan’s Flight.
Since its reopening, the Be Our Guest restaurant only serves the fixed price dinner menu (see our Be Our Guest Prix Fixe Lunch/Dinner Review). This means it is table service only, with the same starter, main and dessert options all day. It’s been that way since Magic Kingdom reopened, and it still is almost two years later.
We’ve wondered if or when it will ever return for some time now, and previously hoped it would happen for the start of Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary. This is not the case, but we are finally seeing a gradual movement, which may or may not indicate more changes to come.
There are two new updates to share today. First, the Be Our Guest restaurant now opens an hour earlier, effective immediately.
According to the official Walt Disney World website, Be Our Guest Restaurant will now open at 10 a.m. until at least early June 2022. That’s as far as the schedule goes, but the change is likely indefinite.
Advance dining reservations are now available for Be Our Guest Restaurant during this earlier timeslot. Although it’s only an hour, it should still help with the side effects. Picking has been thin for a while now, even at or around the 60 day mark. Every little bit counts when it comes to restoring restaurant capacity.
In fact, by researching multiple dates, we found new availability during the 10-11 a.m. window at Be Our Guest restaurant in the coming months. Hope this helps those stalking DisneyWorld.com or the My Disney Experience app for options.
On a related note, we have noticed same-day “ADR dumps” on several occasions for Be Our Guest Restaurant over the last month or so. What we mean by that is that around park opening time, a ton of booking windows were added to the My Disney Experience app.
We can’t speak to how often this happens, but I’ve personally seen it three times. I suspect it has to do with confirmed staffing levels, but that’s really just a guess. (Other than that, it’s always good practice to check ADRs the night before; a lot of people cancel last minute to avoid the penalty, opening up a decent amount of new availability. That’s pretty much our strategy favorite for all restaurants right now.)
Second, as part of this earlier opening, the Be Our Guest restaurant is currently testing a few brunch options. Menu additions include the following:
- Seasonal country salad with peach vinaigrette
- Crabmeat omelet with egg, brie cheese, chunks of crabmeat, choron sauce and roasted potatoes
- Kids Breakfast Sampler with Mickey Waffles, Mickey Eggs, Bacon, Sausage and Roast Potatoes
We haven’t tried any of these yet…and habit. One of the reasons we generally agree with Walt Disney World’s “controversial” decision to offer more unique prix-fixe restaurants is because we’re ordering otherwise expensive menu items.
Since the Be Our Guest restaurant always serves a prix fixe menu that costs $62 no matter what you order, it makes absolutely no sense to choose an omelet (even one with crabmeat) over center-cut tenderloin or even pork tenderloin. or Sea scallops. It’s the modern equivalent of a herd of vegetarians buying the Disney Dining Plan! 😉
Nevertheless, it makes us optimistic. Good to see Magic Kingdom finally tinkering with Be Our Guest Restaurant after it has gone almost entirely unchanged in the ~2 years since reopening. The basic menu has been the same for too long, so these are very welcome additions, although we won’t be ordering them.
I guess technically they added a trio of new and weird items for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World, but that was part of a resort-wide initiative. It looks like it could be different, the first step to returning to normal operations at the Be Our Guest restaurant.
Or not. It’s entirely possible that Walt Disney World has discovered that the Be Our Guest restaurant is more profitable with the all-day prix fixe menu, even if that means turning tables less frequently and serving more expensive cuisine.
This wouldn’t surprise us in the least, as the average price of this table service menu is at least double that of counter service. The question is who has the best margins, and I don’t know enough about restaurant logistics and wholesale food costs to comment credibly on that.
At the very least, bringing back breakfast should be a priority for Walt Disney World when staffing levels permit. While I can’t comment on the question of the profitability of counter service versus table service, breakfast versus no breakfast is an easier calculation.
After crunching the numbers, I came to the conclusion that serving breakfast is more lucrative than not serving it. Ultimately, $0 profit is less than $0 profit. I didn’t even need the old calculator for that.
Ultimately, we’re definitely ready for more variety in Magic Kingdom restaurants. The dining scene has improved markedly since the reopening, and the 50th anniversary additions have given the park a boost, but it’s still by far the weakest dining line-up of any Walt Disney World park. That was true before the shutdown, and it’s even more pronounced now.
There’s arguably only one other dining option in the entire Magic Kingdom that overlaps with the Be Our Guest restaurant, and has a more adventurous menu that won’t appeal to picky eaters. (Normally Cinderella’s Royal Table and Crystal Palace might be good options, but they’re not as universally accessible as regular restaurants.) “hated” camps, but everyone wins with more options and of variety.
Even if you won’t be dining at Be Our Guest, having more seating makes it easier to ask elsewhere and make it easier to book your ADR of choice. For our part, we definitely fall into the camp of “I really like” when it comes to Be Our Guest Restaurant. It’s not on par with Signature restaurants at resort hotels, but it’s well above average if you put the hype aside and look at it objectively. Beyond that, I’ll admit that I want breakfast before the park opens back because I got “bored” of the normal Magic Kingdom strategy and am ready for a new challenge!
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What do you think of the additions to the brunch menu at Be Our Guest Restaurant? What about the extra hour of operations? Do you think this is a sign of more changes to come to Magic Kingdom’s most popular restaurant, or are our hopes dashed? What do you think of the Be Our Guest restaurant, in general? Do you think it’s worth the money? Is it overrated and/or overrated? Would you prefer to have a table-service meal elsewhere in Magic Kingdom, or is that the best option? Questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback – even when you disagree with us – is both interesting for us and helpful for other readers, so share your thoughts below in the comments!