I’d never been to 1900 Park Fare, and to be honest it looked like it wasn’t going to happen on our Christmas trip either- after all, there is only so much food you can eat and time you can spend dining on a trip, am I right?
After talking to the SavEars (and then my husband, who predictably told me to do what I wanted), we (I) decided to move some things around so we could try 1900 Park Fare.
We arrived about 3 hours before our dining reservation at the lovely Grand Floridian. This gave us plenty of time to resort hop to the Polynesian and the Contemporary, while also getting to explore Grand Floridian a bit.
We headed to our reservation 15 minutes early, where we were told they were running a little behind and we’d probably be called right at our reservation time, if not 10 minutes later. Less than 60 seconds later, we were being called to be seated. Time is a funny thing.
1900 Park Fare is a beautiful, “fancy” space with several gorgeous carousel animals. We were seated right at the entrance, which meant I got a view of the whole restaurant. We had just enough time after placing our drink orders for me to take my daughter to grab a plate of food, and then return to get my own before Prince Charming arrived.
Prince Charming was nice enough, if not a bit aloof. In general, and perhaps this is just me, I’ve found the princes are always the weakest link. The exceptions are Flynn & Eric at Bon Voyage- both of these gentlemen are charming beyond belief (with Flynn being my special favorite).
Hot on his heels came Cinderella and my poor husband was starting to wonder if he was ever going to get a chance to visit the buffet for himself.
Cinderella was also nice enough. She is a beautiful princess in a beautiful gown, but I don’t really have anything memorable to say about her- she seemed eager to get through her rounds. She certainly wasn’t rude, but we’ve had much better character interactions- even with Cinderella herself in other venues.
The stand out stars of this character meal are Lady Tremaine, Anastasia and Druscilla. My 4 year old had a little trepidation meeting the haughty Lady Tremaine, but she kept up a running commentary about how her ungrateful stepdaughter never appreciated her and didn’t invite her places- it was delightful. We also enjoyed listening to her scold other tables. She snuck up on the folks behind us and when the lady at the table finally turned around, she exclaimed “Oh, so nice of you to finally notice I’m here!” She also chided a teenaged boy for not pushing his chair in as he stood to (dutifully) take a picture with her.
Anastasia carried on a good five minute conversation with my daughter (they are both redheads), until finally Druscilla arrived and fussed at her sister to move along so she could spend time with the little girl. Now I was trapped at the table without being able to get food, but the bickering was too enjoyable to mind. Druscilla tried to convince me to trade redheads, then suggested that perhaps we could just take Anastasia for free. Miss Bongo readily agreed.
The characters came quickly on the heels of one another, the Tremaines in a quick group of three, while Cinderella and her Prince were fairly close together. After we saw them, we didn’t see anyone again (though places like Tusker House and Crystal Palace we’ve seen the characters cycle through several times during the course of a meal).
I’d heard great reviews going into this meal, but it’s a buffet. A Disney character meal buffet at that. They aren’t always known for having the best food. Good, maybe, but not necessarily great.
I don’t think I tried a single bite of food that wasn’t delicious. The Prime Rib was sublime, tender and flavorful even without au jus, even though I got mine from the more “Well” cooked meat. The sides are nice, if somewhat standard- good mashed potatoes, good salad, good mac and cheese- the butternut squash ravioli was fascinating, with a bit of brown sugar that gave it a pleasant sweetness, but didn’t make it overwhelming. Think sweet potato casserole in a ravioli pocket.
The signature Strawberry Soup was so interesting. My daughter loved it, stealing the bowl for herself. I thought it was enjoyable, but it wasn’t something I wanted to eat a bowl of. However- give me a chunk of vanilla cake and a ladle full of that soup over it? I think that would have been dessert heaven.
My husband raved about the salmon and catfish (and I will admit, the Catfish was salty and clean tasting, flaky with a crunchy cornbread coating). I don’t even like catfish, but I wasn’t upset to try it! His note for the shrimp was: “Eh, it tasted like standard shrimp- but I hate having to peel it!”
There are plenty of delicious meat options. I’m a bit pickier than my husband but I was very pleased with the options. My husband was in heaven.
The desserts were good- although maybe I should have skipped them for another go at that prime rib! The cheesecake was good but the flavor was a little muddled- it was hard to place exactly what note they were trying to hit. I enjoyed the orange chocolate cake and the little chocolate mousse bites. Everything else I took a bite of to try and then moved on.
Y’all. Sticker shock is real. Even pre-pricing the meal, I cringed when they brought the bill. It’s vacation, it’s vacation…it’s vacation.
At close to $200 for two adults and one child after tip (this is peak pricing), I almost cried at the table. Ok, it wasn’t quite that bad, but whew. It hurt to sign that receipt.
That being said, I would absolutely do this meal again. The atmosphere was lovely and surprisingly quiet for a buffet meal. It didn’t feel as crowded or as hectic as some (looking at you Tusker House & Crystal Palace) and the Tremaines were amazing. I am also pretty sure I’m going to dream about that Prime Rib.
As always, I recommend getting a laughably small portion of anything interesting to taste test, then getting a full plate of “Greatest Hits” to really make your meal! It minimizes waste and you never know when you’re going to find a standout favorite!