Wednesday 8 May 2019

Princess Storybook dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall by Janine Pipe

We would like to welcome Janine Pipe  to our Disney Dream Girls team! We are thrilled to announce that she will be writing various pieces for us about her Disney life and past trips.

Princess Storybook dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is something of a hidden gem. We decided to visit on our first morning of our last trip in August 2018. We tend to wake up super early and only last for a few hours at whichever park we go to, so it made perfect sense to make the most of an all-you-care-to-enjoy breakfast before a short but sweet visit to EPCOT. 
Akershus is located in the Norway pavilion in the World Showcase part of EPCOT. It was Extra Magic Hours at 8am and we managed to walk into an almost empty park through the Advanced Dining Reservation line. We made sure to take some photos with no one around! Even though we were about to have enough food to feed an army, my husband Steve got excited at the fact we had so many snack credits to use (we were on the Disney Dining Plan) and couldn’t resist an iced coffee from Joffery’s. 
It was almost surreal wandering through Future World with literally no crowds. World Showcase looked beautiful with no one there and Cast Members pottering around ready to start their day.
We checked in with the Cast Member outside of the restaurant and were told to wait for our party to be called. We were 15 minutes early but were called in a very short time.  
When we stepped into the beautifully themed entrance to the restaurant, we were invited to wait to see Belle. As this was a Photo Pass opportunity, we queued up as Felicity was wearing her personalised Belle t-shirt. This was a lovely interaction and then we were quickly shown to our table. We had a good position, sort of central and not too far from the buffet. 
It really does make you think that you are inside an old fashioned banqueting hall of an old castle. It is not quite as ornate as Be Our Guest or Cinderella’s Royal Table, but it is still nicely themed and the candles on the walls and dark wooden beams make it nicely atmospheric, even in broad daylight. There are several rooms and areas and the tables were not too close together so we didn’t feel like we were listening in to our neighbour’s conversations.
Our server was called Silje and she was amazing!!! Nothing was too much trouble for her and we were sure to send her a Cast Compliment on Twitter after we finished. She brought us coffee and juice and explained we could go and help ourselves to the cold buffet, and that hot food would be brought to the table.

The cold buffet is a Norwegian Smorgasbord and mainly comprised of cold meats and cheeses, along with various pastries and fruit. The cinnamon whirls were really nice as were the Lingonberry muffins. The hot plate which is eaten family-style, has scrambled eggs, potato casserole, sausages and bacon. Felicity was disappointed as she really wanted Mickey waffles on her first morning and Silje was kind enough to put a special order in just for her!!!    
There was plenty of food to go around and we all really enjoyed it. I am vegetarian and I really liked the potato casserole which was nice and cheesy. We didn’t make the most of the all-you-can-eat option with it only being our first morning; we hadn’t yet expanded our bellies to cope with American sized portions.
However, food aside, the main reason that we were Storybook Dining was to meet princesses! Having already ticked Belle off of the list, we were treated to meet and greets at the table by – Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel and Snow White. Although these interactions were short but sweet, they allowed time for an autograph, a hug (me included with Ariel as she is my favourite) and plenty of photos. Note that there are not any Photo Pass photographers inside the restaurant, the only official photo-opportunity is when you first meet with Belle.

For us, character meals are worth their weight in gold. Although we ended up seeing most of the princesses again this trip (we had a lot of character meals), being able to meet them without using a Fast Pass or queueing in the insane Florida heat, is a nice, civilised and air-conditioned way to meet Felicity’s heroes.

There was also a princess processional where the children get to take part in a nice little parade around the dining room. As Felicity was in her personalised glittery Belle t-shirt and swirly tu-tu, she couldn’t resist!

Akershus was for us very worthwhile. As we were on the Disney Dining Plan, it cost us one credit which was much better than the two credits we used for dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table.

An unexpected surprise occurred straight after we finished breakfast and left the restaurant too … a 10 minute stand-by on Frozen Ever After!!! This was a real first morning spot of Magic. 

I would 100% recommend the breakfast buffet at Akershus. We will certainly go back on our next visit.

To hear our weekly podcast, which takes an unofficical view of the Disney theme parks, search in all good podcast catching places for The Disney Dream Girls. 

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