An evening with Queen Victoria at Victoria and Albert’s
February 4, 2016
We’ve been to Walt Disney World Resort many times now, and as a planner, I’ve researched many aspects of it. One thing that kept coming up was the outstandingly reviewed Victoria and Albert’s restaurant at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. “I just can’t pay that much for food” was my mantra. Then I read a review saying you need to think about an evening at Victoria and Albert’s as an experience, much as you would put down good money for a night out at the theater. I know….it’s still a far stretch to justify the high price but when else am I going to eat at a 5 diamond restaurant rated 4th best in America?
A few things to know about Victoria and Albert’s: You have three dining options. The main seating includes a seven-course meal; Queen Victoria’s room is a semi-private dining area with four tables total and 10-course meal; and Chef’s table is in the kitchen, where the Chef comes out and talks with you and prepares a personalized 10-course meal for you. All of these options will set you back at least a few hundred dollars. With that in mind, my husband and I decided to reserve the Queen Victoria room. Our thoughts were if you’re spending that much anyway, might as well go all out. We didn’t do the Chef Table since it was just the two of us, it seemed like it should be saved for a larger party. (Plus, honestly, I was a little concerned if I didn’t like something and the Chef noticed me making a face, it’d be hard to cover up.)
A note about my husband and I – we are not fancy eaters. Chili’s, Applebee’s and Outback tend to be our staples. We like going to nicer restaurants, but with two younger boys we just don’t often take the time to do it. So after a lot of thought we decided to make the reservation, but in the back of my mind I figured, we can cancel it anytime – I was still having a lot of difficulty with the price. We packed our “fancy” clothes but I still figured I can cancel. Then, a few days before our reservation they called to confirm, they verified the spelling of our names and if we had any allergies. Um, I guess I can’t cancel now….we are going.
We arrived for our reservation and were escorted into the restaurant through the main dining room, through another set of doors into the Queen Victoria dining room. The room itself is private; there are four tables total in the room and you are pretty spaced apart. We were the last seating for the room which meant everyone else was at different stages in their dining. I have to say, we felt pretty awkward at first, it was very quiet and fancy! We had two waiters -who wore tuxedos with long tails – who were assigned to the room. One came over and introduced himself and placed a card holder with an envelope with my name on it with only the comment “a little something to start off the evening.” Turns out the “little something” was a very nice gift card from my dad covering most of our meal.
With some ordering stress taken off of us, our waiter came back over and handed us our personalized menus. As I stated before, your menu is set, but this is basically so you have an idea of what to expect throughout the evening. Now there are some decisions to make – do you want to add on the Miyazaki beef(Japanese massaged cow as I called it)? Apparently very few places in the US offer this, so of course we had to try that as well as a wine pairing. The wine pairing is just that = wine selected for you to go with each dish of your meal, so eight glasses. (I as this seemed like a lot of wine. They are smaller servings, which our waiter told me this works out to about 3½ glasses of wine as they would like people to remember their experience there.) As that still seemed like a lot of wine to me, we decided to split the pairing, an excellent choice on my part!
Our selections made, and menu explained, we had a champagne toast and relaxed into the evening. Our first item was caviar and lobster salad which came out in the tiniest container and a pearl spoon, as pearl doesn’t affect the caviar – who knew? I was secretly laughing to myself as my husband hates fish, but neither of us had thought about that prior to the visit. He actually really liked it. I found it better than I thought but there is a bit of texture to overcome eating fish eggs. From that point on, it only got better. I won’t go through all 10 courses, but I will say I have never had veal or lamb (I have a hard time eating baby animals), however there were two courses that had one or the other in it and they were divine – they even made me see past the fact I was eating a small baby animal (although I still feel guilty).
My absolute favorite was the ravioli with a poached egg in it…I wanted to lick the plate clean….I nearly did (except we were in a fancy restaurant)! Let me state that with many of these courses, a new piece of bread would come along to complement whatever course you were on, and each one was delicious with its own complementing butter. By the time the cheese cart came along, my husband and I were seriously wondering where we were going to find room as we still had dessert to come. They explained each of the cheeses and asked what we would like – it’s cheese, of course we wanted a little of all of them! However, the last liquid cheese (I can’t remember what it was) was the only thing not good at all that we ate there (honestly, avoid it. You know the Beverly drink at Club Cool in Epcot? I think I made the same face except trying to keep it dignified).
If they ask you if you want coffee, say yes. I really had no need for coffee at this point but I had seen the fancy coffee maker at everyone else’s table so I had to have some as well. They brew your coffee at the table in a vacuum brewer and give you every kind of sugar you could think of to use in it. It was really good coffee. Then came dessert. There are technically three courses of dessert here. They are all delicious – and two of them have gold on it. Yes, gold flakes! All I was thinking was how I would literally be pooping gold the next day. The final dessert is a large box of chocolate truffles that you can pick as many as you would like. They all looked delicious but at this point I was so uncomfortably full. All I could think about was taking my spanx off and laying down in the fetal position with a pillow on my stomach. At this point we were the only couple left in the room and our waiters were quite entertaining.
Before we left, we had to get a picture of ourselves in the room. I somehow pulled it together to stand in an upright position, and our waiter gave me a rose along with a Victoria and Albert bag with our personalized menus in them. I walked out tall and proper, and promptly ran to the bathroom to remove my spanx. I had no shame at this point. We took a taxi back to our hotel as it was easier than monorail and bus hopping.
So, would I go back to Victoria and Albert? Absolutely! It was THE BEST meal I have ever eaten. I am drooling as I type this thinking about the delicious food. Now, could I get myself to spend that much money again? Probably not. It was definitely an experience as we were there for 3½ hours, it was a magical evening of adult company and enjoying each other as we wondered about what new food would be presented to us. I would like at least one more trip in my lifetime – maybe our 25th wedding anniversary. I don’t know what I would do differently in terms of how full I was … maybe start food training beforehand … and find a dress that doesn’t require the spanx.