Storybook Dining looked so beautiful in the pictures online- and it has the opportunity to meet a villain! I knew I had to check it out.
The theming is absolutely beautiful, as expected. Unfortunately we were crammed in a corner near the ordering system, so that ruined a bit of the magic of our surroundings. It almost felt like an outsider looking in, if that makes sense. Still, a seat is a seat and we would still be able to see the characters and eat the food, so it’s all good.
Our server came over and gave us the menus, and a mile-a-minute rundown of how the restaurant worked, ie. shared appetizers and desserts. He then immediately wanted to take our orders. Oh my gosh, I wasn’t quite prepared for this. My husband ordered The Smoking Mirror and I got A Brew Of Peaches. We both chose Prime Rib. I partially ordered it in a panic because I was expecting a moment to agonize over the menu. My daughter opted for Princess Pasta with red sauce.
Snow White was on us almost as soon as we ordered, and unfortunately our pictures are less than magical because we hadn’t optimized our seating arrangements. Nothing says immersive like the restaurant machinery, am I right? (at least most of it crops out). We promptly shuffled around so that our next pictures would be better. Snow White was beautiful and she had the voice and mannerisms down pat. I would say she was the best Snow we have seen and that includes a visit to Akershus on this same trip.
Dopey came hot on Snow’s heels and he was very sweet. I’d say more, but his interaction was pretty standard. Cutesy, cutesy, big hugs, great pictures, bye Dopey! He didn’t linger, but hey, we didn’t feel like he had somewhere more important to be, which is more than I can say for our next character…
Grumpy arrived just after our drinks and he was indeed grumpy- and not in a fun way. In the same way that a haughty Lady Tremaine made 1900 Park Fare wonderful, Grumpy made this meal stressful. He stomped up to the table and almost constantly made “hurry up motions” for pictures, then threw his pen down after signing my daughter’s book and was gone. I actually had to have the waiter bring him back because I wanted a picture and had been greatly looking forward to seeing him. There is a way to balance “grumpy” and villainous characters in which they are still fun to be around. Lady Tremaine hit that balance, Grumpy fell far short in his rushed and angry interaction. My 4-year old even commented on how he wasn’t very friendly. We played it off as “well, he is Grumpy”, but I don’t think he’s going to make it onto her favorites list and unfortunately he’s dropped off mine.
Our food had arrived just before Grumpy came, then we were notified that if we wanted to see the Queen, we should get in line immediately because she’d be taking a 45 minute break. Wow. I definitely didn’t want to sit for nearly an hour, so we abandoned our food (sigh) and claimed the last spot in line. My daughter was getting a little nervous as The Queen was abrupt and…well…evil with the adults and older teens in front of us (all of whom had the biggest smiles at the glares being cast their way). However, as soon as she saw our little girl she motioned her forward and dropped down to have a conversation about how it’s much better to be the Queen, rather than simply a Princess. Even her tone adjusted to her littler audience and she absolutely put her at ease. Grumpy needs to take some lessons. The Queen was by far our favorite of this meal and I was absolutely thrilled with the way she maintained her character while not going overboard and scaring my daughter.
Tim loved The Smoking Mirror (pictured) and the presentation was fantastic. He still talks about it! For me, it just tasted heavily of smoke and Johnnie Walker Black. I need a little more flavor- preferably something fruity. Unfortunately, I didn’t get it in my A Brew of Peaches. Billed as Buffalo Trace bourbon, peach, wild raspberry and Brûlée Demerara Sugar, it tasted like pure bourbon, with sugar melted on the outside of the glass. My waiter noticed I didn’t seem to be enjoying it and whisked it away to bring me “An Enchanted Apple”. Now this was a delicious drink I could get behind and I appreciated his thoughtfulness. You could still taste the alcohol, but it had a pleasant sweetness and didn’t taste like it was straight liquor. I even ate the apple slice because I’m healthy like that.
The appetizers were interesting. I am not a shrimp cocktail person- my husband describes it as “solid. It was good, but there was nothing crazy amazing about it. I wish the dressing in the cup had actually been on the shrimp, it all drained to the bottom.” The mushroom bisque was surprisingly good. As a non-mushroom eater, I actually found it to have a pleasant flavor. The chicken sausage with stone fruit preserve was very good and I enjoyed the opportunity to make it as I wanted it.
I had been nervous about getting the Prime Rib because in some of the early picture reviews it was very, very fatty. Ridiculously so. I am pleased to say my prime rib was delicious. Flavorful and tender, it makes my mouth water just to remember it now. Not a big horseradish fan, the potatoes that accompanied it were very tangy. It was good, but I could have done with a little less horseradish. My husband thought they were amazing. He is not picky when it comes to his food and will try a variety of things I wouldn’t touch, so he enjoys things like horseradish. The popover was fine, as were the carrots. Nothing to write home about, quickly forgotten.
Miss Bongo devoured her pasta and red sauce. In my non-professional opinion, it’s Gemelli shaped pasta with a standard red sauce on top. It’s pretty plain fare, nothing too interesting- but hey, she ate a ton of it! That makes this Mama happy. I’d much rather her enjoy her meal than pick at something snooty, you know? There was no way this kid was going to eat horseradish mashed potatoes. Unfortunately this is the best picture I got, the small child was ravenous apparently because she immediately dove it and kept scooting her plate away when I tried to get pictures. Whatever.
The desserts were delicious! Miner’s Treasures was my favorite. It had delicious layers of panna cotta over cake with small “chocolate” gems hidden inside and created a not too sweet dessert that just hit every note for me. I would have happily eaten all three, but unfortunately my family wanted theirs too. Greedy, greedy. The poison apples were fine, though we struggled to find the “sour center”- in fact, my husband’s had no sour center at all. I wouldn’t necessarily describe it as “dark chocolate” flavored mousse either, but it’s definitely chocolate, adorable and perfectly themed! The gooseberry pie was very good, tasting a bit like a tart apple pie. That’s the best way I can describe it, for those who have never had gooseberry pie before. Still, the one that pulled me back in was that Miner’s Treasures. My husband votes Gooseberry pie as the best and my daughter liked the poison apple. It’s my review though, so I get final say. Ha!
We enjoyed the Hunter’s Gift to the Queen, which is just some yummy chocolate (one heart for each person) with a soft ganche center and caramel popcorn. The presentation is fun, although it also felt a bit rushed. My only picture is kind of a blur. Then it’s dumped out onto a plate for your enjoyment.
Overall, I get the feeling that this restaurant is about getting people in and out as quickly as humanly possible. In fact, the folks seated beside of us (after we were seated) were actually out before we were and we watched a lot of turnover of diners in the restaurant.
Our waiter was very good, friendly and thoughtful, but man, it felt rush, rush, rushed. I definitely wouldn’t classify this as a relaxing meal, but it was mostly enjoyable and well worth experiencing at least once. I’m not sure we’ll prioritize going back- I fell in love with a different restaurant on this trip, but we did enjoy it and the Queen was everything I hoped she’d be.