What a nice way to start our Disney vacation!
Staying the night at the Grand Floridian before our Disney cruise there were few options available to us for dining when we arrived. We were getting in a little late and didn’t want to make the trip to Disney Springs after a long trip to Florida. But I found reservations available at 1900 Park Fare and it turned out to be a great choice. The food was above average for buffet service, but it was the character interaction that made it worthwhile.
Location: Grand Floridian at Walt Disney World
Type: Buffet character meal
Cost: About $45-50 for adults (depending on seasonal pricing) and $27-32 for kids 3-9
Craig’s Favorite: Getting my picture with Cinderella
Every Disney buffet character meal, whether you are at the parks or the hotels, is pretty much the same – self-service food, drinks brought to your seat, and characters roaming from table to table. I was admittedly expecting a bit more since this was the premiere hotel on Walt Disney World property, and the setting was underwhelming. Even the sign to the restaurant was lacking in comparison to next door Grand Floridian Cafe. Not very many windows to see outside, but the inside is charming and quaint. For a buffet it was surprisingly not overcrowded and we had enough room to maneuver around. The setting was Mary Poppins like, which makes sense since Disney advertises a “Supercalifragilistic” breakfast where you can meet the floating nanny herself. And they do a good job of managing the traffic so it doesn’t feel like you’re tripping over people at the buffet line.
The food itself was good. I enjoyed the soy-glazed salmon which was cooked expertly and not overdone as often happens on buffet lines. The scalloped potatoes were wonderful and the creamy polenta was delicious. The braised kale was tasty, but my cut of the herb crusted strip loin wasn’t to my liking. Cassie liked it though so maybe it was just me. Being gluten-free they had a really easy guide to lead you around the buffet (and for any other allergy conerns). They do warn you of possible cross contamination so if that is an issue for you, make sure to talk to a server or the chef. Still there were plenty of gluten-free options like BBQ spiced chicken, clams, sliced turkey, strip loin, shrimp, mashed potatoes and broccoli slaw to name a few. They even have gluten-free desserts you can order like a cookie or brownie sundae. As for the other desserts, some are good and some are okay. None were stupendous but there were more than enough choices to make everyone happy.
What I loved were the character appearances. If you’re a Cinderella fan, this is the place to go. Not only did Cinderella appear, but so did Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine (a daunting figure but funny), and Cinderella’s stepsisters, Drizella and Anastasia. Our daughter Emma is “too old” for character photos for the most part, but Lady Tremaine coerced, I mean “convinced” her to take a pic with her. Cassie got hers with Prince Charming. And of course, I had to have a picture with Cinderella. All of them were engaging, nice, and thoughtful and as I watched them talking to the guests they spent quality time at each table. Especially if you have little ones who love the characters, this is a great place to take them. You don’t get to spend this kind of time with the characters in the park and they make it very charming. Overall, we had a great time with good food and plenty of fun.