‘Be Our Guest Restaurant’ in Walt Disney World’s New Fantasyland magically drops Magic Kingdom diners into the splendor, elegance and fairytale charm of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, with a setting right out of the hit animated feature film: the magnificent castle of The Beast, where guests dine in three richly appointed rooms that bring to the story to life.
“This is a whole new level of theming for a Disney restaurant,” said Maribeth Bisienere, vice president of Food & Beverage and Merchandise for The Walt Disney Company. “More than ever, we’re using storytelling and creativity as we develop our menus.”
Be Our Guest Restaurant is the next step in the evolution of creating delightful dining experiences for Disney theme park guests, she added.
The storytelling starts with Walt Disney Imagineering, This time it’s all about the mysterious new Magic Kingdom castle that’s home to Beast from Beauty and the Beast, a forbidding castle in the Fantasyland “countryside.” Guests pass through an old gateway to a stone bridge and through wrought-iron gates with six beastly figures along the sides – the first of many that reinforce the story of the Beast’s transformation.
The restaurant’s spacious interior re-creates the look of the film in great detail. Lunch guests enter through the Armor Hallway, where six suits of armor stand along the wall (listen closely for an occasional whisper from the metal figures), and into the Beast’s Parlor to place lunch orders on five guest-activated terminals. For dinner, guests enter directly into the majestic Ballroom.
There are three dining rooms: the stately Ballroom, the forbidden, dramatic West Wing and the delicate Rose Gallery. The Ballroom conveys the elegance of the film with a coffered, 20-foot ceiling with fluffy clouds and cherubs, sparkling chandeliers and a terrazzo floor. At the far end of the room, 18-foot-tall arched windows look out to the French countryside, where special effects create a light snowfall through the starry sky.
The West Wing dining room is darker and more mysterious, with the glass bell jar containing the enchanted rose slowly dropping petals as time runs out for the beast. Over the fireplace, a portrait of the young prince in human form is slashed by the claws of the beast. As lightning flashes, the image in the portrait transforms, changing from prince to Beast.
The Rose Gallery dining room features a large music box centerpiece nearly 7 feet tall with Belle and the Beast slowly twirling atop. Along the walls are paintings and tapestries that celebrate the characters from the story, with four of the tapestries inspired by background art from the film. Throughout the room, carved roses are featured, including intricate tile mosaics on the floor.
Music is an important element throughout the restaurant, with musical themes from the film adding to the ambience. In the Ballroom, a 50-piece orchestra recorded the music from the film. In the adjacent Rose Gallery, special music box arrangements were recorded of the same pieces heard in the Ballroom, in perfect synchrony, so that guests moving from room to room will hear the same tune transformed from one style to another. In the West Wing, a somber, melancholy arrangement creates yet another mood.
The restaurant seats 546 for lunch and 340 for dinner. (In the evenings the Rose Gallery is closed to guests and used as a staging area for table-service dining.)
About four years ago, the Disney Food & Beverage team started creating a menu to match the theatrics. A team of Disney chefs, including longtime Disney Chef Roland Muller, a native of Alsace, France, developed the French-inspired dishes, creating both a quick-service menu for lunch and more elegant table-service menu for dinner.
“Our role is to finish the story,” said Walt Disney World Executive Chef Lenny DeGeorge. He describes lunch as more of a French bistro, with dishes such as a classic Croque Monsieur (ham, Gruyere cheese and béchamel), braised pork coq au vin style, vegetable quiche and a tuna Niçoise salad.
Guests order at touch-screen devices and head for tables where high-tech touches ensure that food quickly is delivered to each table.
“We wanted dishes that are recognizable, but also movie-themed,” said DeGeorge. “Everything is fresh, made to order, and for lunch we are hoping for the bustling kind of energy like the movie scene in the dining room.”
Dinner is a more elegant affair with starters such as mussels Provençal, French onion soup and charcuterie (cured meats with cornichons, pickled onions and toasted whole-grain bread). Entrées pay homage to a castle feast in the 1400s with whole roasted hen, thyme-scented pork rack chop, and pan-seared salmon with leek fondue and saffron potatoes. Gourmet cupcakes – strawberry cream cheese, triple chocolate and lemon meringue — and mousse-filled cream puffs are finished tableside.
And just for dinner, select wines and beers will be offered that complement the French-inspired cuisine.
“As part of the overall theming, we wanted to offer wine that enhances the guest experience and complement the French-inspired cuisine,” says Stuart McGuire, beverage director, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. ”The wines focus primarily on France’s famous wine growing regions including Champagne, Alsace, Loire, Rhone, Burgundy and Bordeaux.
“We’ll also offer the leading French beer, Kronenbourg 1664,” says McGuire. “And, staying in the general region, we’ll also offer Belgian beers.”
L’amour Vrais, French for “true love,” is a souvenir, castle-themed goblet with one of two signature non-alcoholic drinks: an all-natural fruit juice punch and wild berry extract sweetened with organic cane juice and topped with lemon-lime foam, or an all-natural pure squeezed lemonade sweetened with organic cane juice and topped with wildberry foam.
Just for Kids
For lunch, the kids’ menu includes a grilled carved turkey sandwich, braised pork with sautéed green beans and potato-vegetable mash, turkey meatloaf (shaped like Mickey Mouse) and seared mahi mahi. Dinner is grilled steak, fish or chicken breast with fresh vegetables.
“We’re even making the ketchup from scratch using carrots,” said DeGeorge. “And the meatloaf also has vegetables, so kids are getting their vegetables and don’t even realize it.”
‘Every Detail Part of Story’
Servers complete the picture, dressed in a style inspired by European fashions from the 1400s to the 1600s: a royal purple embroidered doublet, or vest, over a shirt with knickers that reach just below the knee. For evening service, a jabot or ruffle, buttoned at the throat, is added.
“From the moment they cross the bridge into the castle, it’s all about immersing our guests in the dining experience,” says Bisienere. “Every detail is part of the story.”
The Disneyland Resort has announced that it will be offering a special preview of the fall 2012 menu at PCH Grill, located at the Paradise Pier Hotel, for annual passholders throughout September. The prix fixe cost for the meal is $34.99 per person prior to any eligible passholder discounts and includes an appetizer, entree, dessert, soft drink and FASTPASS tickets to World of Color for the same evening as dining.
The menu is as follows:
Sunday, September 2 through Thursday, September 6:
Choice of Appetizer
- Beer Battered Onion Rings
- Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Choice of Entrée
- La Mesa Southwest Burger
- Muir Woods Roasted Red Pepper and Mushroom Pasta
- Malibu Beach Sustainable Fish
Sunday, September 9 through Thursday, September 13:
Choice of Appetizer
- Santa Monica Flat Bread
- Seaside Shrimp Flat Bread
Choice of Entrée
- Hail “Mexican” Caesar
- Pebble Beach Shrimp Mac & Cheese
- Santa Maria Tri Tip
Sunday, September 16 through Thursday, September 20:
Choice of Appetizer
- Seasonal Soup d’Jour
- Artichoke and Spinach Dip
Choice of Entrée
- Malibu Beach Sustainable Fish
- Surfside Grilled Chicken Breast
- Santa Maria Tri Tip
Reservations are required in advance by calling (714) 781-DINE or (714) 781-3463. The passholder who makes the reservation must attend the dinner, but is allowed to bring non-passholders as dining guests.
Have you ever wondered what it was like to be a chef in 1416 A.D., or to cook in a medieval castle for kings and queens during the Tudor era? Well fasten your seatbelts and prepare for a journey through time when “Time Machine Chefs” blasts off, Thursday, August 16 at 9:00 pm ET/PT on ABC. With no modern appliances, amenities, running water or electricity, four popular chefs must create culinary masterpieces — and impress three esteemed judges — with only basic kitchen equipment, their imaginations and craftsmanship. Only one chef will be crowned The Greatest Chef in History.
The judging table consists of chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Nancy Silverton, Dave Arnold of the French Culinary Institute in New York City, and chef and cookbook author Silvena Rowe of Quince in London’s May Fair Hotel.
The “Time Machine Chefs” are:
Chef Art Smith is executive chef and co-owner of Table fifty-two in Chicago and Art and Soul in Washington, DC, as well as Southern Art and LYFE Kitchen restaurants. In 2012 Chef Smith opened his latest restaurant, Joanne’s, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, with Lady Gaga’s parents, Joseph and Cynthia Germanotta. In 1997 he became the personal chef to Oprah Winfrey, a position he held for 10 years. Chef Smith has made numerous television appearances, including Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” and Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.” He is also the author of three award-winning cookbooks.
Chef Chris Cosentino has been executive chef of Incanto in San Francisco since 2002 and is co-owner of Boccalone, an artisanal salumeria. Chef Cosentino has worked at a number of notable restaurants, including Red Sage in Washington, DC, Rubicon, Chez Panisse, Belon and Redwood Park. He debuted his first cookbook, Beginnings: My Way to Start a Meal, in 2012 from Olive Press media.
Chef Ilan Hall is best known to television viewers as the winner of Season Two of Bravo’s “Top Chef.” Chef Hall trained at Italy’s Lorenzo de Medici Apicus Program and at the Culinary Institute of America. He is owner and executive chef of The Gorbals in Los Angeles, CA.
Chef Jill Davie is a private chef in California. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and UC Santa Cruz, Chef Davie has served as Chef de Cuisine at Josie Restaurant in Los Angeles. In August of 2006, she won the grand prize of $10,000 on Food Network’s “Hot Chefs: South Beach” competition and was a contestant on “The Next Iron Chef” in 2007. Chef Davie has appeared on numerous television programs and is currently a partner and head chef at Venice Beach Wines.
“Time Machine Chefs” is produced by Breakfast Anytime Inc. for the ABC Television Network.
Although I must confess to not having tried it myself this past year at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival at the Walt Disney World Resort, it was impossible for me to ignore the constant raves regarding the pumpkin mousse available at the American Adventure pavilion.
Although I didn’t read it before it was apparently deleted, a tweet from @WaltDisneyWorld leads me to believe that the recipe for the pumpkin mousse was published online, if but for a short time. Thus I am pleased to be able to bring you the official recipe from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts as relayed via a press release from Ocean Spray, one of the event’s sponsors.
Note however that the recipe comes with the warning that it has been sized down proportionally from the kitchen sized proportions required by the Epcot theme park, so ‘flavor profile may vary.’
Pumpkin Mousse Trifle with Cranberries and Apricot-Orange Sauce
- 1 store-bought spice cake mix, prepared per package directions and cooled
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 cup apricot jam
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 egg yolk (or 1/4 cup pasteurized egg yolks)
- 3/4 cup canned pumpkin pie filling
- 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup Ocean Spray® Craisins® Original Dried Cranberries , plus extra as garnish
Prepare cake as following package directions. Cool completely. Cut into cubes and set aside.
To make streusel:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a sheet pan with foil; set aside.
Combine oats, flour, brown sugar and sugar in a medium bowl. Add melted butter and stir until mixture is crumbly. Pour onto prepared sheet pan
Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside to cool; crumble into small pieces. Set aside.
To make apricot-orange sauce:
Combine apricot jam and orange juice in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk together until smooth. Set aside.
To make pumpkin mousse:
Combine egg yolk and pumpkin pie filling in a medium mixing bowl.
Place white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stopping every 30 seconds to stir. Stir melted white chocolate into pumpkin mixture.
Using an electric mixer on high speed, whip cream in a medium mixing bowl until stiff peaks form. Gently fold whipped cream into pumpkin mixture.
To assemble trifle:
Place a dollop of mousse at the bottom of a serving dish. Top with Craisins® dried cranberries and a drizzle of sauce. Place a few cubes of cake over mousse. Top with another layer of mousse, Craisins® and sauce, then top with streusel. Garnish with a few Craisins® on top.
Makes 6-8 servings.
Disney Consumer Products to Expand Produce Offering to Provide More Healthy, Family-Friendly Options
Disney Consumer Products (DCP) today announced that it will continue its commitment to helping families eat healthier foods by expanding its produce offering to make Disney-branded produce more widely available and offer more product variety. Families can shop at grocery and national retailers for healthy options including sliced apples and Foodles by Crunch Pak and produce from Dayka Hackett and Chelan Fresh. The expansion effort will include packaging changes to the line of Disney-branded produce such as an update to the recognizable stylized green leaf bearing the Disney logo; placement of nutritional information on the front of packaging, making it easier for families to identify healthy foods; and the addition of the Disney Magic of Healthy Living logo. The packaging transition in the marketplace will be seamless and cause no disruption in product availability.
During the next year, DCP’s produce licensees expect to launch several new and refreshed Disney-branded products that capitalize on synergistic promotional opportunities tied to Disney entertainment content and beloved characters. To facilitate the ongoing expansion, DCP will collaborate with Minneapolis, Minn.-based Golden Sun Marketing to enter into new license agreements with fresh produce growers and shippers.
“Since Disney announced landmark nutritional guidelines associating Disney brands and characters with a more nutritionally balanced range of foods, we have helped bring more than one billion servings of fruits and vegetables to children and parents looking for healthy food choices,” said John King, director of food for DCP. “By forging relationships directly with leading suppliers and growers, we’re one step ahead in building on this strong foundation. We’re reaching even more families through an expanded product offering with the positive message of eating more fruits and vegetables.”
Disney understands the challenges faced by parents in regard to their family’s nutrition and wants to be part of the solution. In 2006, Disney announced new food guidelines aimed at giving parents and children healthier eating options. Under these guidelines, Disney committed to using its name and characters on kid-focused food products that meet specific criteria, including limits on calories, fat, saturated fat and sugar. The guidelines also included a long-term target for balancing the licensed food portfolio such that 85% will be everyday foods with the smaller 15% comprised of special-occasion treats. DCP has achieved this goal in North America.
As part of its ongoing effort to promote healthier lifestyles and nutrition for kids and families, Disney announced last September the Magic of Healthy Living — a national multimedia initiative designed to help parents with their quest to raise healthy, happy kids. The initiative, which included public service announcements featuring First Lady Michelle Obama and young Disney stars, builds on Disney’s commitment to a healthier generation of kids.
If Disney-branded eggs and fruit aren’t in your palate, maybe chocolate in a candy shell is more your thing. Mars’ My M&Ms vanity line is now selling a series of custom Disney inspired blends.
Choose from Mickey, Fairies, Cars, Princess, Toy Story, Disney Babies, Winnie the Pooh, High School Musical and more. Full details on their website.