If you’re in the know on Disney Parks news, you know that a special character dining experience recently reopened at Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World. That’s right! Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White…and I was able to snag a reservation when they opened a couple weeks ago.
I was excited to try this newly reopened experience since we had never been able to eat here in pre-pandemic times. If you’ve done character meals pre and post pandemic, you know that the overall experience has changed a little bit. No more autographs, no more up close and personal at the table with the characters. Characters are physically distanced, but the restaurants are generally doing a good job of making sure you can still get good pictures and enough interaction to satiate your hunger for character meet and greets.
There are a handful of character dining experiences that I think truly hold their value. Many of them still aren’t back yet, but before this meal at Artist Point, I would have probably only said Topolino’s Terrace breakfast at Disney’s Riviera Resort is worth it. The food, the atmosphere, the characters are all amazing there, so for a big trip or special occasion, I think it’s totally worth it.
As you walk into Artist Point, it’s like you’re walking into the Enchanted Forest with twinkling lights in the trees and the outside decor of Wilderness Lodge through the windows only adds to it.
At each table, there is a spinning tree with lights that serves as the platters where appetizers and desserts are served. My 6-year-old got a real kick out of it and thought it was an awesome touch.
The meal is prix fixe and they serve everyone all of the appetizer selections, you choose your entree and then, like the appetizer, they serve all the dessert options so you can try everything.
For the kids, they have one standard appetizer (WHICH IS AWESOME, please hold and I will elaborate) and then they choose and entree with 2 sides and they share the dessert with the table.
But back to the kid’s menu…
As you can see, it’s not the hot dog/chicken nugget/cheeseburger meal that you see at most restaurants, so I was a bit apprehensive if this meal would hold it’s value for my picky 6-year-old.
Let’s start with the appetizer. This thing was amazing. Direct quote from my daughter, “Wow, Mom…they really created something kids will love with this one.” Not kidding. That’s how cool she thought it was, and I have to agree.
Let me describe to you what you’re seeing. From the top, there’s a jar of ranch (the way to my kid’s heart) for the vegetables that are in the pot. There are also apple sticks and grapes, which you see in the chocolate “soil.” The added touch of making this an interactive appetizer is such a great move. They can shovel the dirt into the planter and plant their fruits and veggies. SO COOL. Then there’s also string cheese because who doesn’t love string cheese. Now to the pièce de résistance, make-your-own honey butter with roll. The jar with the black lid had butter and honey layered and our server explained we needed to shake it up for 90 seconds to make our own special butter. It was so good, I had to stop my daughter from using the plastic shovel as a vehicle to eat the butter.
Now let’s move to her entree before I talk about the adult meals. Like I mentioned, my kids are picky eaters and not very adventurous, but we made it work and she ate most of it in the end.
What you’re looking at is the grilled chicken with a double side of mac and cheese. And what bomb mac and cheese it was! There were no complaints coming from my little sidekick, that’s for sure.
Quickly, I’ll mention the adult appetizers. I wouldn’t say they are anything I would choose off of your standard appetizer menu, HOWEVER, I tried them all and was pleasantly surprised. It was all delicious! Even the mushroom bisque, and I hate mushrooms.
Now let’s take a look at the 3 adult meals we chose.
They were all delicious. No complaints. Generous serving sizes and great flavor. I had A Stroll through Nature and it was SO good. I’m not one to usually gravitate toward the vegetarian option, but I’m so happy I gave this a go!
Before I touch on dessert, let’s just take a peek at the characters you see during the meal. We were one of the first seatings of the day, so we got a “front row” table and saw Snow White come out for the first time.
When a character is about to come out, the lights on the trees start twinkling and there is a narrator who introduces each one. You’ll also notice the lights in the trees change color depending on who is arriving.
Throughout the meal, you see Snow White, Dopey, Grumpy and The Evil Queen. I thought the character spacing was great and it didn’t feel rushed nor did it drag. There were no long pauses between character arrivals, which made the flow of the meal really nice. We thought each character did a great job making time for each table and interacted with everyone who wanted that time with them.
Truthfully, the Queen stole the show. I know Snow White is the headliner, but I get the feeling people come to see the Queen. She was amazing. Even though she absolutely despised my daughter’s shirt and couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t wearing a portrait of her instead, she so kindly told us she would love to share a recipe for an apple pie that’s TO DIE FOR. How absolutely wicked, right?
After she left our table, my daughter said, “you know, her face kind of looks mean, but her voice is really nice. I think maybe she’s not all bad.”
Eating here and having these interactions with the characters makes me excited to see the direction Disney goes with their live-action Snow White movie that’s in the pipeline. I’ve really enjoyed how they’ve humanized a lot of the villains in the live-action movies and shown the emotional and human sides of them that you don’t really see in the animated versions. (I can also assume that demand for this meal will go way up after that movie comes out- I see you, wait time for Jungle Cruise)
Now let’s move onto dessert.
Gooseberry Tart, Cookies and Cream Panna Cotta, and a “Poison” Apple mouse! The panna cotta and chocolate apple mousse were really good. Gooseberry Tart was decent and they were large, but not my favorite. My daughter was a big fan of the apple, the panna cotta and especially they chocolate gems that came with it!
Lastly, there was a second part to dessert, which we weren’t anticipating. The Hunter’s Gift to the Queen. Our server came over with this ornate wooden box and did this whole presentation. Inside the smoking box were 4 chocolate truffles, milk and dark chocolate, raspberry, and cappuccino.
We ended up boxing them up to bring home, along with most of the dessert because we were stuffed!!
With our check, there was an autograph card from the characters, which was very exciting. Worth noting, Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club members are eligible for a 10% discount.
Overall, I was very happy with the entire meal experience. The food was amazing, the characters were so much fun and top to bottom we all really enjoyed ourselves. From a kid perspective, I think it was perfect for my 6-year-old. My 3-year-old stayed home this time and I’m not sure she would have enjoyed it as much. Maybe in a year or so, but I know I would have been grumbling that I had to pay for her meal that probably would have gone more untouched than not. Character breakfasts are a bit cheaper than character dinners, so with the really young ones, I always think breakfast works out better for everyone.
My recommendation is unless you have a 3-year-old Snow White FANATIC, I’d skip until they’re 4/5/6 where they’re really going to enjoy the whole thing. If they’re 2 or younger and you want to go, by all means go because until they turn 3, they are free. So definitely take advantage there!
What do you think? Will you make a point to grab a reservation at Story Book Dining for your next trip?