Character Meals: Vol 10 – Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner at 1900 Park Fare
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:
16 thoughts on “Character Meals: Vol 10 – Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner at 1900 Park Fare”
Thank you so much for posting this – I definitely want to do this on my Nov 2013 trip. I loved the Cinderella’s Royal Table breakfast on our Nov 2011 trip and this will make a great followup. I’m always amazed at how the characters/cast members manage to entertain the adults as well as the children. I need that picture of me and Prince Charming! (yes I know, what kind of 61 year old wants this – I do!)
The other Prince Charming picture I could have posted is one with my wife 🙂
“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 was 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).”
I had an experience with Spiderman at Universal that was awesome, btw!
I love 1900 Park Faire 🙂
The scale is, like much of my writing, speaking in comical generalities. I have had “mall Santa” experiences at Disney and great experiences with mall Santas!
Me too! He was AWESOME…my 5 year old was wearing his T-ball shirt, and Spiderman spent a ton of time talking about how much he loves baseball too. He was great.
I thought the character interaction at 1900 Park Fare was off the charts; just fantastic.
As a vegetarian family, I’d say the vegetarian options were below average compared to other WDW buffets, however.
I really liked the decor/theme of the resort. The grounds were really nice to wander after dinner. I got some wonderful photos of my girls in their princess dresses with a lovely background. The Grand Floridian beach offers very nice views of the Polynesian.
Next time you are there, you should ask to see Chef TJ. He is known for his out of this world vegan creations. He went so above and beyond for my meal that my entire meat-eating party wished they had asked for his special courses.
I should have mentioned this was from a visit in 2011. Chef TJ is well-known for his fantastic vegetarian & vegan food. Perhaps I was there before he took over. Personally, I was happy to have lots of salad and the one vegetarian maki. My wife put something together from the pasta on the kids table and mixed veggies as I recall.
The wonderful/hysterical character interactions with Lady Tremaine and her daughters more than made up for my less than stellar culinary experience. 😉
When we dined here in October 2012 they had switched out Prince Charming or Fairy Godmother. We were quite disappointed in this & so we asked about it. Our server told us they had changed it & would continue that way for awhile. Also, the previous time we were there, I believe in 2009, the character interaction was much better with the stepsisters dancing with kids, and Cinderella dancing with her Prince.
It’s become our family tradition to dine with Cinderella, Prince Charming, and the “steps” on the evening we arrive at Disney. It’s a nice meal after a long day of driving, and we do not have to enter a park (and use up a day on the tickets) to have a character experience. We also like to watch the Electric Water Parade that first evening.
Just booked for our trip at the end of the month. First time!
We LOVED 1900 Park Fare when we went on our trip in November. The food was very good (this was also my father’s opinion and he is a Cordon Bleu chef)! My daughter (age 3) loved the kids’ choices and she LOVED Cinderella. The step-sisters and mother were HILARIOUS! It was a long meal, but very pleasant. Our server was fantastic. I wish I remembered his name. He constantly kept our drinks filled and we were a party of 8.
I completely agree, Cinderella isn’t bad but she doesn’t go the extra mile. Maybe it’s because the stepsisters are really over the top and outrageous which makes for such a great experience. I also have to agree with Ariel at Akershus, she is the best Disney Character my family has ever encountered. I’m not exactly sure what makes her so special but she really seemed to go above and beyond.
Thank you for posting this! We have reservations for this dinner for the first day of our Disney vacation in August, 2013. I have read several poor reviews of the food and the service on other websites, and I was thinking of cancelling and booking dinner elsewhere. Your review, and the comments following it, have convinced me to keep the reservation.