Dining with the Princess: A Review Of Ariels’ Grotto – Disneyland
Listen here parents: If you’ve got a little girl who loves princesses, this post is for you. If you are planning on hunting down the princesses for photos and autographs in the parks, I’m here to tell you that Ariel’s Grotto is going to be of huge benefit for you. Yes, even at Disney prices. This place has some good bang for your buck!
I recently visited Ariel’s Grotto with just my sister. Yes, that’s right, two grown women with no children in tow eating at a princess character meal. But guess what – no one seemed to look at us strangely, so I’m going to guess we’re not the first adults to do a character meal sans children.
When you first arrive, you’ll check in at a podium and likely be given a pager. When your pager buzzes, you’ll be asked to go down the stairs to the restaurant. Here, you’ll encounter a small line waiting for a photo with Ariel. She appears here in her blue dress.
Our Ariel was quite charming. She wanted to know where we had swam from that day. When we told her, she said she understood why we were on our legs now, as our fins must be tired from such a long swim!
Ariel’s Grotto Menu
After your photos, you’ll be seated at your table. The menu is not huge but has sufficient options. You’ll be choosing a soup or salad, a main course, and the dessert is brought for the whole table to share.
Bread was brought to the table right away. This may be some of the prettiest bread I’ve ever seen.
To start, my sister and I both opted for soup, since it was such a cold day. My sister had the clam chowder, which she deemed delicious, and I had the butternut squash bisque. Also delicious! I make butternut squash soup for my family at home, but this one was decidedly better. I enjoyed the spices that were used in this version – very holidayish.
We both chose the Citrus Glazed Chicken Breast which comes on a bed of udon noodles in broth. For blogability sake, we probably should have ordered different dishes, but hey, this is the one that sounded best to both of us that day. It was quite good. My chicken was a little overcooked, but otherwise had nice flavor. My sister’s chicken was cooked just fine. The broth was good and the noodles were perfect consistency. Overall, we’d both recommend this dish to others.
While dining, a trumpet herald is played and each princess is announced. They are announced one at a time, with a space of about 5 minutes between each. This allows them the make their rotations around the tables neatly and in a timely fashion. Compared to other character meals I’ve done, this was far more organized. Usually, a character meal has characters milling about the room already when you arrive…they make a point to try to get to each new table, but there never seems to be much order to it. And if it’s time for one to go on a break, you may see them leave while you sit eating and you have to wait for them to come back on shift if you want to meet them. Here, they appear to seat tables on a scheduled rotation, such that all tables seem to arrive within 20 minutes of each other, they have all the princesses come out within 5 minutes of each other, make their rotation, leave, and then the tables finish up and clear out. Then they start the process over again.
The Disney Princesses We Met
We had four princesses at this lunch: Snow White, Aurora, Cinderella, and Belle. To see all of these princesses in the park would normally take a quite a long time waiting in lines, so this is a great way. When you include Ariel, that’s five princesses while you eat lunch (something you have to take time for anyway)!
The princesses came around to each table and in their usual way were lovely and charming and make nice conversation. You can take multiple photos with each, and if you are doing autographs, you can ask them to sign your book, and then they move on to the next table.
Once you’ve finished your meal and seen all of the princesses, it’s time for dessert. The waiter will bring you a platter of goodies with a chocolate dipping sauce, much like a mini fondue. It was all quite good, but we were pretty full already so we ate the fruit and asked for a box for the rest. The other mini desserts made for good snacks later in the day.
While you’ll pay more to eat here than many other lunch options, for those with a princess lover in the family, you certainly can’t beat the experience anywhere else in Disneyland. Be sure to make reservations, though, as this restaurant does fill. Reservations open 60 days in advance. As always, I take care of dining reservations and so much more for all of my clients!