Fantasmic! at Disneyland is overall better than ever, we viewed it several times during our trip in July. For one of those viewings, we had booked the Fantasmic! Dining Package at the River Belle Terrace. The River Belle Terrace will be closing for a refurbishment with Cafe Orleans replacing it during that time period.
From the Disney Parks Blog: While River Belle Terrace is under refurbishment at Disneyland park, guests can make reservations beginning August 15 for the Cafe Orleans dining package. These packages are available September 5 – November 16.
No matter which table service venue you are dining in, this will give an idea of what to expect with the food and Fantasmic! Dining Package process and show. To be honest, my first choice for the dining package would have been Blue Bayou but it sold out for each night we were there almost immediately once packages went on sale. For about $20 more per person ($65 vs. $45 plus tax and gratuity), it offers a beautiful setting and really a better menu and I wouldn't go any other way next time if booking a package. But if you are on a tight Disneyland deadline and want a good spot with little work, the River Belle Terrace was fine for that. Here is a look at the full experience. The one package that is different is at the Hungry Bear, the food is a boxed meal. You can book packages at 60 days out here.
We will be talking about our experience with the Fantasmic! Dining Package on Mousesteps Weekly #236 and I will embed that in the next day or two.
We had a 5:00 p.m. reservation at River Belle Terrace. This was the first time I had been here since it changed to table service dining. I personally liked it as counter service, but maybe the refurbishment will give it more of a table service feel.
When we arrived, there was almost nobody in line. By the time the next photo was taken, it was much longer - about one hour later.
Guests could choose to dine outside, but it was pretty hot.
The regular menu is listed outside, many of these items are on the Fantasmic! menu.
This is the River Belle Terrace Fantasmic! menu. Three courses are included, plus a non-alcoholic drink for the $45 price plus tax & gratuity, for $15.00 there is an upgrade that includes a seat at the River Belle Terrace. While not as intimate or close, it is a nice way to view the show. Annual pass discounts are accepted.
There is also a menu for kids, $25.00.
I started with the Corn Chowder. There were only two starter choices, so Jeff took a salad and I took the chowder. This was good, creamy and better than I expected. In fact, almost everything was better than I expected except for one item.
Jeff ordered the House Salad. It didn't really appeal to me, but Jeff enjoyed it. The salad looks really fresh.
I ordered the Half Chicken, which says it is an oven roasted BBQ chicken. I ordered the green beans for my side, there were a few choices including tater tots. It also came with baked beans. Visually I didn't think the chicken looked that appealing, but it was actually quite tasty. It wasn't too spicy. While not a memorable entree, it was good. The green beans had some snap and the baked beans were delicious.
Here is a look at the baked beans.
Jeff ordered the Pork Spareribs. I don't eat them, but he said they were excellent.
The one disappointment of the meal was the Strawberry Shortcake. There are two desserts, so we went ahead and ordered one of each. I love strawberry shortcake, this was the first time I didn't. The outer "cake" was terribly dry, there also wasn't much whipped cream. The strawberries were good. Another guest passed me after I set it aside, making a comment while pointing to my dish on how nobody liked the shortcake. Maybe it was a one day glitch, but I wouldn't order this again. It looked pretty though.
On the other hand, the Maleficent Dragon dessert was delicious and chocolate. I wish I had ordered this one. There was some spice to it inside.
Here is a look at the seating setup.
We each received a ticket to Fantasmic!, we had a choice for the first or second seating (there were three shows that night).
It was still early when we left the restaurant. Fantasmic! testing was going on at the Rivers of America when we walked by.
A Cast Member was out in a boat.
We walked past the Preferred Dining Entrance, which was for River Belle and Blue Bayou guests. The night we were there, they also let Hungry Bear guests into the second showing seating here, and I think Hungry Bear now gets better seating than what they did at first (maybe the same location now).
This is near the Haunted Mansion and it is a good idea to scope this out before it gets dark. New Orleans Square gets extremely busy in the evening around Fantasmic! and it can be confusing to find otherwise.
The Preferred Dining seating was excellent, front and center. It was also where we sat with Fastpass for the third show the previous evening, so we had already been in that section without the dining package.
Aladdin and Jasmine on the magic carpet, this is also new and a beautiful segment of Fantasmic!.
Rapunzel and Flynn Rider join the prince/princess section, Snow White and her prince are no longer featured here.
And Maleficent as the dragon is still stunning.
Of course, one of the highlights is the Mark Twain with dozens of Disney characters - that never disappoints. it is really wonderful seeing Rivers of America open again, though we will have to wait until next month to actually ride the Mark Twain since it and the railroad were not quite ready yet for guests and are now. There was a huge refurbishment of the Rivers of America and Disneyland Railroad due to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge construction for over a year.
Jasmine on the Mark Twain.
Sorcerer Mickey and fireworks to end the show.
With tax, gratuity, and 10% AP discount, the total came to over $100.00. Did I feel like I got a $100.00 experience? I didn't. The meal wasn't a particularly relaxed one, it felt like a cafeteria style where they wanted to turn tables fairly quickly. That is why I would go with Blue Bayou, getting a fully dedicated and lovely table service experience for what I consider a nominal cost above what we paid at the River Belle Terrace (the package guests were also receiving a seat cushion, I am not sure if that is still the case). The Blue Bayou would feel more of a value to me, just like Carthay Circle for the World of Color package. However, if you have a day or two only at Disneyland and really want to see Fantasmic! with a meal, this was fine and there was plenty of room for everyone to sit on the ground in the seating area.
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