We had a bit of a conundrum, on one of our Magic Kingdom days. I had booked Tony’s Restaurant for the Festival of Fantasy dining package, but the forecast called for rain all day– and I didn’t want to risk the bad reviews I’ve heard about Tony’s and not at least get the reward of seeing the parade. So, just before our cancellation window ended, we cancelled. That left us with a hole in our Disney Dining Plan- a hole only a Table Service could fill. But which one? Pickings were slim, and we debated going back to our old standby of Crystal Palace, but my husband suggested we go with The Diamond Horseshoe “just to be different”.
So, against all my over-planning instincts, I booked Diamond Horseshoe without anything more that a cursory check of the menu.
We trooped in around 2:30pm and were immediately impressed by the atmosphere. We’d never been in The Diamond Horseshoe and it’s bright and beautiful, giving you a “high class saloon, or maybe it’s a dance hall” type feel- definitely fitting with Frontierland. Not long after we were seated, the piano began playing a tune by itself- unexpected.
Our server took our drink orders (I got a slushy lemonade and Tim had a beer, in addition to our Diet Cokes because we were on the dining plan. Value! Miss Bongo had a lemonade). We ordered the family style All-You-Care-To-Enjoy Saloon Feast. At $39 per adult and $21 per child, this is not the best value for your TS credit, but in the name of trying something new, we did it anyway.
First up was the mixed green salad with “chipotle dressing”. Our waitress identified it as chipotle ranch- ugh. Not a ranch fan. Tim gave it a try first, because he’s willing to sacrifice himself like that, and declared you couldn’t tell it was ranch. Hesitantly I tried it and honestly- you couldn’t tell it was anything. This was the most bland salad I’ve ever had. My husband even asked for salt and pepper. It’s bad when you have to salt your salad, you guys. I was worried for the rest of this meal. The cornbread that arrived with the salad was a bit chewy and I didn’t enjoy the whole corn kernels in it- they were also very chewy and it was just unpleasant to eat.
The Saloon Feast arrived and I was having serious regrets. The corn tossed on top looked very over boiled. I’m happy to report it was only mostly over boiled. The brisket was fork tender, but a bit bland on it’s own. We definitely had to use the barbecue sauce that came with the platter- and tasted straight out of the bottle. The brisket had very little fat, which I was pleased with. Our request for more brought out some pieces that didn’t look nearly as good as the first, so it’s just luck of the draw.
The pulled pork was passable, but too sweet and tasted entirely like nothing with bottled BBQ sauce on it, while the sausages had a good snap, but were nothing to write home about. The chicken was dry and didn’t pack a flavor punch. Overall, everything in the platter left us with a feeling of “meh”.
Tim loved the baked beans side dish, declaring it the best part of the main course. The mashed potatoes had huge chunks of unmashed potato and were generally just … “meh.” They were in desperate need of butter, salt and pepper. The whole meal was in desperate need of flavor. I’m considering suggesting they rename this “The Bland Horseshoe”.
This is a perfect example of how photos can be misleading- the macaroni and cheese was nearly dry and the color of boiled pasta, not a rich, cheesy yellow. I could barely eat a mouthful of it, it was so tasteless. Yuck. It wasn’t tasty enough to be compared to boxed Kraft Mac and Cheese.
The star of the meal was definitely the S’mores Cake. This chocolate cake is covered in a rich chocolate ganache. There is a layer of graham cracker buttercream (that can have a bit of a gritty texture, but works because it’s graham crackers), and in the center of that is ooey, gooey marshmallow. I could have eaten this all day long- and yes, it is all you care to enjoy. I recommend skipping the salad and entrees and stuffing yourself with the dessert if you’re unfortunate enough to find yourself eating here.
There wasn’t much worry about over eating, because frankly the food wasn’t good enough I wanted to over indulge.
This became the benchmark for bad food for us. If we tried anything on the trip that was less than stellar, we’d look at each other, shrug and say “at least it’s better than The Diamond Horseshoe”.
Don’t waste your money on this bland, tasteless meal. If you’re looking for delicious barbecue, head to Polite Pig at Disney Springs- you’ll be twice as happy for half the price.