The Walt Disney World Resort culinary team reignited Delicious Disney: A Chef Series in a spectacular way last month with an exclusive after-hours dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table.
While many special events end with fireworks, the Delicious Disney dinner started with them, with guests gathered on the raised platform at the top of Main Street with a clear view of the castle at the other end. And we sipped cocktails during the show. Yes, real cocktails with actual alcohol in them. Very civilized.
After the show, we were led to the castle through a backstage side passageway — no need to “salmon” our way upstream through the exiting throng. We gathered for a reception where we sipped on Dom Perignon and Ruinart Rose.
And what goes best with Dom Perignon? Why Spam of course.
Yes, we were served Spam, but it was on a brioche crouton and topped with a fried quail egg. It was, according to our hosts, one of Walt’s favorites (though I’d bet he just fried up a big slab of Spam and put it on white toast with chicken eggs; just guessing.) There was also another Walt favorite, Waldorf Salad, served on leaves of endive. Good reception food, but the Spam was the hit.
Guests were then invited to the dining room of Cinderella’s Royal Table for the dinner, which was introduced by Magic Kingdom’s culinary director, Robert Gilbert, and executive chef Al Youngman.
The theme of the dinner was the Magic Kingdom’s 45th anniversary, and each course was dedicated to one of the Lands. (The menu was printed on the back of the original Magic Kingdom map.)
We started in Tomorrowland with an escolar ceviche topped with caviar and citrus pearls and lemon foam, served whimsically in a sardine tin. The fish had a buttery texture and the caviar gave it a nice salty note.
Lasseter Family Wines, of Sonoma Valley, were featured throughout the dinner. The 2014 Voilà, a blend of semillon and sauvignon blanc, accompanied the first course. Nice hints of citrus on the palate helped bring out those citrus pearls with the ceviche.
Main Street U.S.A. brought us Wagyu Beef Three Ways, which included beef tartare, a slider, and a corn dog. (Hey, if we could start with Spam, why not a corn dog?) The tartare was my favorite, especially with the truffle custard that accompanied. This course was served in a commemorative vintage-style Disney lunchbox. Because what kid wouldn’t want to open his lunchbox at school and find that his mom (or the butler) had prepared Wagyu beef?
The wine was Lasseter’s 2012 Reminiscence, a cabernet-heavy blend. But we also had a shake to sip on made with Palm Ridge Reserve Bourbon. Because what kid couldn’t use a little nip to get through the afternoon?
Liberty Square was represented by a Cranberry-cherry Semifreddo and Lace Cookie. A freedom for the palate.
The adventure of Adventureland was provided by Mackerel, Sea Urchin and Hearts of Palm. The mackerel was skewered and each guest was provided with a glowing hibachi on which to cook the fish.
Watari Bune Junmai Ginjo 55 Sake was served, a rather sweet and fruity sip.
Frontierland is, of course, where the buffalo roam. Or roamed. Spruce-scented Bison was served with braised salsify and a “tumbleweed” of smoked cotton candy.
Lasseter’s 2013 Chemin de Fer, a blend of grenache, syrah and mourvèdre, offered wonderful berry fruit to accompany the lovely gaminess of the bison. (And chemin de fer means railroad, so it fit with the frontier theme.)
Dessert was Fantasyland, with Strawberry Sponge, Chocolate Sphere Surprise and Fantasy Candy. Even better: Chateau d’Yquem Sauterne, 1999. I must be dreaming.
Guests were seated at long tables and attended to by some of the resort’s most skillful servers.
If you’re thinking that a dinner that includes Chateau d’Yquem, three types of Wagyu, Caviar, Dom Perignon and Spam would come with a rather dear price tag, you’re right. Attendees paid $499 per person. (I was an invited guest.) I don’t think anyone wasn’t content. From the exclusive fireworks perch to the quiet stroll out of the empty Magic Kingdom at midnight, it was a meal to remember. And they got to take home their lunchboxes, to boot, filled with sweets.
The Delicious Disney series continues on February 22 with a dinner presented by Animal Kingdom’s culinary team at Markham’s at Golden Oak. (Indeed, the next six dinners will be at the private dining room of the exclusive neighborhood.)
Other dinners are April 26, featuring Victoria & Albert’s chef de cuisine Aimee Rivera; May 31, with a Silly Symphony from John Clark and team of Park Events; June 28 and a tribute to Ratatouille’s 10th anniversary from Citricos’s Dominique Filoni; July 19, with an Under the Sea themed dinner from Timothy Majoras of Flying Fish; and August 16 with a Walk Around the World led by the Flavor Lab Team and culinary director Edwin Wronski. All the dinners begin at 6:30 p.m. and most are priced at $249 (don’t expect a lunchbox).
Get more information at Disney Parks Blog. Reserve early — the dinners usually have fewer than 60 seats.