Day 66 of the Nowhere To Be Project marked our third, and final, day at Disney. As natives of Central Florida, we’ve been coming to Disney all our lives. We are always beyond impressed with the cast members, facilities and parks. We just don’t know why Disney cannot pull it together when it comes to dining. Several years ago, we had an amazing meal at Disneyland’s fine dining option, Napa Rose. This was the driving force in our decision to celebrate our son’s 21st birthday at Victoria & Albert’s, Walt Disney World’s most upscale restaurant.
The restaurant itself is located in The Grand Floridian Hotel. The hotel is promoted as the finest option for lodging on Disney property, so it makes sense that Disney’s premier restaurant would be housed there as well. Victoria & Albert’s is located on the second floor overlooking the lovely hotel lobby. Guests are greeted at the door and seated in a time-staggered style to avoid a rush at the entry. We arrived approximately ten minutes prior to our 6:30pm reservation. I had booked the reservation months in advance, first having tried and failed to reserve the popular chef’s table option. The maitre d’ informed us that he would not be able to seat us for twenty minutes and escorted us to the adjacent bar while instructing us to return shortly. We did as he said and returned twenty minutes later with a bar server who said she had to carry our drinks back to the restaurant for us if she wanted to keep her job. We were warmly greeted again and promptly seated.
Our waiter greeted us by name, acknowledged my son’s 21st birthday, and distributed personalized menus to all four of us before explaining the menu. There are two options: seven course or ten course. Within each option, there are several additional choices, some of which require an up-charge (e.g caviar, Kobe beef, etc.). A representative from the restaurant had called several days prior to our visit to gather information on dietary restrictions. At that time, I had indicated that I was vegan, so was given strictly vegan options on my menu. We all chose the seven course option ($185.00 each) and I added the paired wine course ($105.00). This included seven paired samples to accompany each course of my meal (2oz each).
The presentation of each course was lovely and the service was solid and refined. While the dishes were a genuine pleasure to gaze upon, they didn’t really ignite our tastebuds. As foodies, we had been looking forward to innovative dishes and explosive flavors. What we got was just okay, nothing any of us would seek out again, and that is beyond tough to swallow when spending $1100.00 to do so! Food at this price point should completely blow you away, shouldn’t it? Furthermore, the facility itself is extremely dated with worn upholstery, tired furnishings and china, and dated restroom facilities.
We’ve had a wonderful time at Disney and really enjoyed the celebration at Victoria & Albert’s despite the disappointing meal. I just can’t figure out why Disney drops the ball with dining. Over the years, I’ve eaten at almost every quick service (in park) option and probably all upscale fine dining venues at Walt Disney World and am consistently underwhelmed. I really wanted to love Victoria & Albert’s, but it simply did not deliver. I guess we can’t expect a company that has set the bar so high for entertainment to do the same for food. Next time I visit, I’ll dine off property.