Cinderella's Royal Table
Character Breakfast

by Deb Wills
AllEars® Editor-in-Chief

Feature Article

This article appeared in the April 15, 2003 Issue #186 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

Cinderella

Rrrrrrrrrringggg!!! Your alarm goes off at 4 a.m. You fumble for the phone, and hit the speed dial number for Walt Disney World Dining, hoping against hope that you'll be able to get through to make that oh-so-hard-to-attain Priority Seating for breakfast at Cinderella's Royal Table. And then you hold. And you hold. And you hold.

If you live on the West Coast, this drill might be all too familiar to you. Especially if a certain someone in your family just HAS to have breakfast with Cinderella and the Disney Princesses in the Magic Kingdom's castle.

Belle at Cinderella's Royal TableA reservation to breakfast with "Cindy" is, without a doubt, the toughest reservation to obtain on Disney property. Cinderella, the lovely hostess, makes limited public appearances throughout the Disney theme parks. If you or your child want to see her "in person", there are really only one or two places to do it. This has led to the Cinderella Royal Table breakfast becoming enormously popular -- so popular, in fact, that WDW finally extended the hours of availability (now 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.). In addition, a Character Dinner, Cinderella's Gala Feast at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian Spa and Resort, was added a few months ago to give the adoring public an additional opportunity to spend some time with Her Royal Cinderella-ness.

After finally managing to snag a coveted seat at Cinderella's Royal Table, all I have to say is this: you have to REALLY love Cinderella to go through all this, because you certainly don't go there for a relaxing, gourmet breakfast!

Princess AuroraSince seatings for this breakfast begin at 8:00 a.m. daily, transportation can sometimes be a little tricky if you don't have a car. If you're staying at a Disney resort, be sure to ask at the front desk what time transportation to the Character Breakfast begins... and then make sure you're on the first bus if you have an early breakfast! The bus will take you to the Ticket and Transportation Center where you board the monorail to the Magic Kingdom.

Upon arriving at the Magic Kingdom, proceed to the far left set of turnstiles. Cast Members there will check your name against the Priority Seating list and you can get in line. Despite the fact that the Priority Seatings begin at 8 a.m., on the morning I went to the breakfast I noticed that no one was allowed into the park before 8.

By the time I arrived at the Castle, there was already a short line of folks checking in at the podium. We had been told that the Fairy Godmother would be in the main lobby posing for photos and providing autographs throughout the breakfast hour, however she hadn't arrived yet when I walked by.

Stained Glass of Cinderella in Castle Stairway
In no time at all I was led up the staircase of the castle to the restaurant. (There is also an elevator for your convenience.) As you scale the stairs, you can't help but notice the beautiful Cinderella-themed stained glass windows -- the morning sun shone brightly through the colored glass bringing it alive.

The main dining hall is a beehive of activity, with costumed servers weaving their way through the very closely spaced tables -- it's clear that they're trying to squeeze as many Lords and Ladies (i.e., paying customers) in as possible.

When my two guests and I arrived at our table, we found a basket of mini-pastries (croissants and danish), fresh cut-up fruit (mostly melons) and very sweet low- fat strawberry yogurt. Our server quickly appeared and took our beverage order and poured orange juice. He explained that there are two basic meals -- regular and healthy -- and that you can ask for unlimited refills of any of the foods offered. The regular breakfast consists of pre-plated scrambled eggs, potato casserole, bacon, sausage links and cheese-stuffed blintz. The "healthy choice" breakfast consisted of granola, low-fat strawberry yogurt and caramelized bananas.

Snow White at Cinderella's Royal TableAfter a quick sampling, I found the potato casserole was the best item on the regular plate -- the bacon and sausage were also good. But my scrambled eggs were so runny I had to ask for another serving, cooked well -- eventually, the server brought fresh eggs that were much more to my liking. The cheese blintz (which the restaurant called "cheese-stuffed French toast") was dried out, and smothered in canned, overly sweet blueberry sauce. And, if you are counting calories, don't bother with the pastries!

The "healthy" breakfast may have been healthier than the regular breakfast, but it did nothing for one of my guests, who is diabetic. She wondered if she might have scrambled eggs made with Egg Beaters, but was told they do not keep such egg substitutes on hand. This was a great disappointment, and we found that there weren't any special accommodations that the restaurant could provide on the spot -- perhaps if we had called at least 24 hours beforehand to describe any special dietary needs they would have been able to do more than simply remove certain items from our plates.

Enough about the food -- what about Cinderella? Is *she* at least worth the price of admission? Well, within about 10 minutes of our being seated the Princesses appeared. All followed the same circuit around the dining room. Our first "Princess" visitor was Mary Poppins. She was followed by Belle, Snow White, Cinderella, then Sleeping Beauty/Aurora. Each was delightfully in character and posed for photographs -- which was often a challenge, having to squeeze in the very cramped spaces between tables. After a few moments, they were on to the next table, where several youngsters were anxiously awaiting their arrival. The children, at least, seemed thrilled.

Mary Poppins at Cinderella's BreakfastTIP: You might consider allowing your own little prince or princess to dress up for this photo op with Cinderella and company. If you do, don't forget to bring a change of comfortable clothes for after breakfast!

Bottom line? ONLY attempt to get a Priority Seating here if you or someone you love *must* have breakfast with Cinderella in the castle! If you are a Cindy-lover, but you don't care about the venue, I'd instead recommend that you try the Grand Floridian's 1900 Park Fare for dinner at Cinderella's Gala Feast. It's slightly pricier than the breakfast ($23.99/adults; children 3-11/$10.99), but you'll have a much wider selection and better quality food, you'll feel much less rushed, and you don't have to reserve your seating with a credit card deposit. And, perhaps the biggest plus of all -- you will be able to sleep in, without having to worry about making an obscenely early phone call!

Cinderella's Royal Table is offered daily in the Magic Kingdom from 8 until 10:30 a.m.

Prices: Adults, $19.99; children 3-11, $9.99. Tax, gratuity extra; a beverage is included.

Priority Seatings for this Character Breakfast require a credit card DEPOSIT (not guarantee) of $10 per adult and $5 per child at the time of booking. Once the Priority Seating is made, NO CHANGES may be made to the name on the booking. Priority Seatings may be cancelled for a refund of the deposit at least 24 HOURS prior to the seating time.

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