1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian Resort is an interesting restaurant. It hosts character dining all day long, yet boasts three very different character meals. The Supercalifragilistic Breakfast sees Mary Poppins, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Alice, and the Mad Hatter, while the afternoon brings the Wonderland Tea Party. The meal I am focusing on here, though, is dinner, where 1900 Park Fare hosts Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner.
My biggest problem with 1900 Park Fare is an extension of my opinion of the Grand Floridian Resort, in general. I find it very classy and clean, but ultimately boring and uninteresting (although I have been called boring and uninteresting myself, so maybe I am not the best judge). The restaurant is lightly carousel themed, with a few antique looking carousel horses and a band organ as the primary decorations. These items are incredibly nice, but they are few and go unnoticed far too easily. Other than that handful of items, the rest of the room is filled with beige. Nothing really draws the eye, and there is nothing special to even discuss here.
Luckily, most do not come for the atmosphere. The characters are the stars of any character meal, and they should be, given the excess price demanded for character meals. The group that attends this celebratory dinner is from the 1950 classic Cinderella, which is still a favorite of many. The idea that is portrayed during the meal is that this is a dinner celebrating the marriage of Cinderella and Prince Charming (both in attendance). Of course, Lady Tremaine (Cinderella’s step-mother) and Anastasia and Drizella (stepsisters) could not stay away, either.
For our particular meal, all five characters were very good. My daughter was a little apprehensive about the step-family, because “they are not very nice,” but the characters did a wonderful job of staying in character without scaring her away. By focusing on things like their jealousy of our food and my daughter’s looks, they were catty without being mean. Prince Charming was regal and debonair, although a little short (come on, I have to knock him somewhere). Strangely, the only character we found less than great was Cinderella. There was nothing in particular wrong with her, and my daughter said nothing, which is probably all that matters, but Cinderella seemed a little disinterested.
I am, of course, picking on the poor princess. With every industry, service depends on the individual, and she was not even close to what I would consider “bad.” If I were rating the characters on a scale 1-5, with 1 being “Times Square Elmo” and 5 being “the Ariel I had at Akershus,” I would rate all characters a 4 (with Cinderella being a low 4), which is the “Disney” category. For the record 3 is “Universal” and 2 is “Mall Santa.” And, yes, that scale is approved by the National Society of Inane Rating Systems (NatSIRS).
For me personally, the food is the real star at 1900 Park Fare. It is served in a large buffet and contains many items not found on other Disney buffets. The line starts with 8 different salads and three different soups, then moves on to entrees such as sushi, strip loin, paella, coq au vin, and a create your own pasta station. Sides range from fruit to rice to beef stew, and the dessert table has several individually sized creations, as well as a big bowl of gummy bears (takes lots of willpower to walk by that, let me tell you).
Odds, Ends, and Details
While much of the food suffers from the buffet problem (stuff gets dry out there), most of it was very good and definitely above average for a character dinner. The buffet style, while creating preparedness issues, does allow a trial and error approach to unfamiliar items that is perfect for children and picky adults. You can see the full menu at the TouringPlans.com 1900 Park Fare page.
Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner costs $39.99 per adult and $19.99 for those ages 3-9. The price may increase during peak times of the year and does not include tax. Alcoholic beverages are available, although those are not included in the buffet price. Dinner is served daily from 4:30 to 8:30 pm.
While I do not personally enjoy the decor at the Grand Floridian in general and at 1900 Park Fare in particular, I cannot help but admit that the characters and the food make this a good meal. It is one of the pricier character meals due to the royal guests, but the good, solid food makes it feel a little more worth the money. If you have a child (or adult) in your party who is really into the movie Cinderella, this is a meal that person will enjoy, although an appearance by Jaq or Gus every now and again would not be a bad thing.
Previous Character Meal Volumes: