Akershus Royal Banquet VS Cinderella’s Royal Table

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At Disney World, there are two main choices of character dining with the princess: Cinderella’s Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom and Norway’s Akershus Royal Banquet at Epcot. If your little princess or prince is dying to meet a lot of princesses and you want to try a character dining experience, the big question is – Which one do we choose?

We are asked all the time which princess character dining is better? Or which should we pick? If you haven’t experienced either, it is hard to know which to choose. Luckily, we have been to both with our crew and we will compare them for you. Then you can decide which is right for your Disney experience.

Keep in mind one thing: Cinderella’s Royal Table is a much smaller restaurant than Akershus Royal Banquet. Royal Table has much less tables and thus has fewer reservations. It is much harder to get into this restaurant, not because it is better, but because it is smaller. You may not be able to get a reservation depending on the time of year as well.

Atmosphere

Royal Table

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The entrance to the restaurant is actually on the first floor and it is designed like a castle with armor and flags. This is where you will meet Cinderella and take a picture with her. From there, you will climb stairs to the dining room. This room is, again, decorated like a castle with crests, flags and lots of wood and stone. It has amazing views out into the park. These views, unfortunately, are only enjoyed by the families seated right in the center or in front of the windows. If you have more than 4 in your party, you will not be sitting near these areas. The tables are dark, thick wood and the chairs are thick wood with medieval-style fabrics. The dining area is somewhat of a circle shape. The stain-glass windows looking out into the park are beautiful.

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Stain-glass windows that look out into Fantasyland

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Akershus

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Main dining room at Akershus

The entrance to this restaurant is somewhat like a restaurant waiting area, and you will take a photo with a princess in a small inlet area. The decoration is designed to feel like a castle with somewhat similar decoration to Royal Table – flags, crests, wood and stone. Inside the dining halls, there are many wood tables and wood chairs. The tables and chairs are less fancy than Royal Table. Stained glass windows and regular windows surround the dining areas. The dining areas are much larger than Royal Table and there are about 3 different rooms of dining tables.

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Overall: The overall atmosphere at Royal Table wins out only by a hair – the design of Akershus is still delightful and royal. But being inside the actual castle makes Cinderella’s just a smidge better.

Food

Royal Table

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Stuffed French Toast

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Kids meal breakfast

Cinderella’s Royal Table is served as a sit-down style where you order from the menu and it is brought to your table. The food is very good and the selections should appeal to most people. The menu is somewhat European/American style fare. The service is very good and prompt. The servers are very good with small children. Our kids always enjoy the food at this restaurant! This restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you are using the dining plan, this table-serve counts as two table-serves.

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Steak and potatoes breakfast

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Vegetarian quiche

Akershus

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Breakfast fare served family-style at table

Akershus is served as both a buffet/family style and a sit-down style. They serve Norwegian/American style fare food. Breakfast offers a buffet as well as family-style breakfast offerings brought to your table. Lunch and dinner have family style appetizers and desserts as well as menu-ordered entrees. They offer some different fare like fish, but we found the food was delicious and our kids enjoyed the food a lot, and even tried some new dishes.

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Breakfast fare from buffet

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Buffet at Akershus

Overall: It is pretty even on the food unless your family is extremely picky and Norwegian fare scares you (but it shouldn’t). Our family enjoyed meals at both restaurants evenly.

Princess Meet & Greets

Royal Table

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Cinderella greet before you enter the dining room

Cinderella meets guests at the entrance and takes photos there. There is a PhotoPass photographer there and the photos can be added to your PhotoPass account or on your MagicBand. All other princesses will do meet and greets in the dining room and come straight to your table. If you are there at the beginning of the “session”, each princess is announced individually and then begins a set pattern through the dining hall stopping at each table to say hello, interact, sign books and take photos. They also will do a wishing star portion with all the princesses and each child gets a plastic wishing star to make their wish. They used to give princesses wands and princes swords but that may have changed.

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Princesses love little princes!

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Wishing star and wand that girl receive at Cinderella’s – boys get a sword

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Akershus

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Belle greet before you enter the dining room

One of the princesses meets guests at the entrance and takes photos there. There is a Photopass photographer there and the photos can be added to your PhotoPass account or on your MagicBand. All other princesses will do meet and greets in the dining room and come straight to your table. Princess are announced individually and then they begin a set pattern through the dining rooms stopping at each table to say hello, interact, sign books and take photos. They also do a princess parade, where all the kids get in a line with the princesses and walk through the dining hall. They do this several times while guests are there.

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Princesses love little princes!

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Cinderella leading the Royal Parade

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Overall: The experience of meeting the princess at each restaurant is completely the same. They interact at your table and with your kids the same. It takes the same amount of time for them to get to your table. There is really no edge given to either restaurant for this one.

Keep in mind: All photos taken inside the restaurant are with your personal camera and not PhotoPass photographers. Also, the princesses NOT included in these dining experiences are: Anna, Elsa, Rapunzel, Merida and Tiana. Princesses usually included in these experiences: Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Ariel, Jasmine, Mulan and Belle. Belle is typically NOT included at Cinderella’s because she has her own greet at Enchanted Tales with Belle in New Fantasyland.

Price

Cinderella’s Royal Table is more in price than Akershus. Both are expensive and prices vary based on time of year so we can’t give you a set price. It can cost anywhere from $130-$160 for a family of four. Akershus counts as one table serve on the Disney Dining Plan. Cinderella’s Royal Table is more expensive – it is roughly $180-$210 for a family of four. It also uses two table-serve credits from the Disney Dining Plan. At both restaurants, breakfast is less expensive than lunch and dinner. At Royal Table, tax AND gratuity are included in your price. At Akershus, only tax is included. Also, Table of Wonderland discount cards are accepted at both locations.

Overall: If you are simply looking for the cheapest princess dining, then breakfast at Akershus is the least expensive.

Those are the four most important things to look at when deciding which princess dining experience you want to do with your family. Our family has dined at Cinderella’s Royal Table many times and recently wanted to try something different with Akershus, and we were pleasantly surprised with how much we enjoyed it and how similar it really was to the other restaurant.

We hope this comparison has helped you decided where your royal crew will dine with Disney royalty!

Big Hero 6 Review

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Should your preschooler see Big Hero 6?

If that’s your question about Disney’s newest movie, Big Hero 6, then this review is for you. We took all four of our kids to see Big Hero 6 including our 3 year old. First let me say that every child is different as far as their exposure to movies and what they can handle. My 3 year old has three older siblings so he has been exposed to maybe more movies and shows than some 3 year olds. But he does get scared easily at movies that his siblings do not get scared at. With that said, he loved Big Hero 6.

All my kids, and myself included, loved Big Hero 6! It was a very cute and fun story with engaging and interesting characters that kids enjoy watching and want to emulate in a positive way.

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The story does handle the issue of death and how the main character, Hiro, has to deal with the loss of his older brother. This part of the story might go way over a preschooler’s head. Hiro has to find his way in life as somewhat of a child genius in the world of robotics, and wants to go to college with his older brother. His brother is caught in an accidental explosion fire, and Hiro takes over with his brother’s invention named Baymax. Baymax is designed to be a healthcare assistant robot. When Hiro’s invention of nano-robots are stolen by a masked villain, Hiro recruits his brother’s friends and Baymax to try to defeat him. Does all this sound confusing? It really isn’t in the story. The story is actually very touching and sweet, and I teared up in the end.

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As for my preschooler, he loved most of it. About three quarters of the way through, he started to lose interest which for a 3 year old is pretty good! He climbed into my lap as the bad guy was a big intimidating. But then near the end, he was back into the movie and was in love with Baymax. He understood some of the jokes and he talks about Baymax at home.

So if you are thinking of taking your preschooler to see Big Hero 6 during the upcoming Thanksgiving break, we would say “Go for it!”  We don’t think it is too scary for their age but as always, their attention span may be lost at times. My older kids absolutely loved it! So we would highly recommend it for school age kids!

If you will be visiting a Disney park soon, you can meet Hiro and Baymax! At Disney World, you can find them greeting guests inside The Magic of Animation at Hollywood Studios. At Disneyland, you can find them in Tomorrowland near the Starcade. My kiddos will be lining up for this one on our next trip!

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WDW Dining Review: Cinderella’s Royal Table

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One of the most popular character dine experiences at Walt Disney World is Cinderella’s Royal Table. This table-serve restaurant is located inside Cinderella’s castle at the Magic Kingdom, and guests can dine with views onto Fantasyland while their favorite princesses visit each table.

We have dined at Cinderella’s quite a few times and have always had a wonderful time. In January 2015, the restaurant will be closing for refurbishment and renovations. We aren’t sure what the renovations will include, but it is at least a three month scheduled closing. **

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If you will be visiting the Magic Kingdom this fall, consider getting a reservation at Cinderella’s Royal Table for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Reservations book up quickly though! All meals have similar character experiences. Cinderella greets guests in the lobby and families can take photos with her then. During the meal, you will meet other princesses that walk from table to table. The princesses that are typically there are Snow White, Sleeping Beauty (Aurora), Ariel, and Jasmine. Belle no longer is at this character dine as she can be found at Belle’s Enchanted Tales in Fantasyland. As of right now, none of the newer princesses are here (i.e. Tiana, Merida, Rapunzel, Elsa or Anna).

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The meal is a traditional table-serve, not a buffet. The food is quite good and there are many options for children and adults. During the meal, princesses are given wands and princes are given swords. All princesses and princes are given wishing stars. They will do a wishing ceremony at least once during the meal, for everyone to make wishes with their stars and wands.

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They used to give families a print copy of their photos with Cinderella, but that feature is no longer being offered. If you have Memory Maker added to your Magic Bands, your photos with Cinderella will be loaded to your account. You can also use your PhotoPass card for these photos. There are no PhotoPass photographers inside the restaurant for the other princesses.

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We have both princesses and princes in our family, and they both love dining at Cinderella’s. It is not just for girls, I promise. My son loved seeing the princesses and taking photos with them. It is a very magical experience. The decorations inside are medieval themed with hanging tapestries and family crests. There is lots of wood and stone decor as well as royal fabrics that frame the large windows overlooking the park. The stain glass windows are beautiful.

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Any table-serve restaurant that is located within a Disney park, that serves breakfast, will offer reservations before the park opens. This includes Cinderella’s Royal Table. If you have reservations at a restaurant before park hours, they will have one entrance gate for special entry only for your party to use. Simply use your Magic Bands to show proof for reservation. I also advise having a backup reservation number or print out in case technology fails (that would never happen, right?)

We have always dined at breakfast, and here is a sampling of the food for adults and children:

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We highly recommend this table-serve restaurant if you are able to get a reservation. Space is extremely limited as there aren’t a huge amount of tables. I would suggest looking into lunch or dinner for this one if breakfast is not available.

Preschoolears Rating: Four (4 out of 5 stars)

**If you will be visiting the parks during 2015 and would like to dine with princesses, your other options until Cinderella’s is open is Akershus in Epcot. Cinderella also visits 1900 Park Fare dinner character dines, as well as Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine, Drizella and Anastasia.

I dedicate this post to my wonderful “princess” niece who is turning 21 today. She celebrated her inner princess with us at Cinderella’s Royal Table when she was almost 20 year old, and she had a fabulous time! It goes to show that you are never to old to dine with royalty!

Kayli

Printable Christmas Gift Tags

Christmas is fast approaching! If you are starting to wrap presents and are looking for some fun gift tags for the kids, we have put together some free printable gift tags for our readers and followers! There are two pages of Disney themed tags including some “Frozen tags” with your favorite characters from the new movie. We also made some simple circle tags you can make with a 2″ punch if you have one. These are best printed on a white cardstock to make the tag sturdy. And best of all, they are FREE! Enjoy this little Christmas bonus and happy gifting!

Click on the small image below to download the larger pdf file for printing.

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Disney Thanksgiving Printables

Disney and Disney Junior have some fun printables for kids this Thanksgiving. Disney Junior released some placecards, thankful sheets and how-to-set-the-table mats, with characters from Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, Jake & the Neverland Pirates, and Mickey Mouse. Over at spoonful.com, there are lots of Disney crafts as well as some fun printables like coloring sheets and activity placemats. Click on the picture below to download the printables for your Thanksgiving celebration! There are multiple pages in each download.

And follow Disney Junior, Spoonful and Disney on pinterest for more Disney fun! Enjoy!

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