Well, Walt Disney World, that is.
I’m one of those people who think that food is a big part of your Disney vacation. In fact, I truly believe food can make or break the trip, even if you’re not a “foodie.” Think about it: Eat the wrong thing and you feel sluggish. Spend your expensive dining credits at the wrong restaurant and you’ve wasted your hard-earned money and will probably end up spending money out of pocket elsewhere. Miss out on that all-important character meal and . .. well, okay it’s not the end of the world but it’s sort of a right of passage for kids (and adults too).
I eat at a lot of Disney restaurants because of my job as a travel agent and because I live fairly close to the Mouse. Fortunately, most everything on property is good. Some of it is even great. Occasionally however, you run into a meal (I’m looking at you, Chef Mickey’s) that’s just so-so, but that’s not the norm by any means. And for Disney to be able to consistently turn out satisfying food, even in a theme park, is impressive. But, there are the exceptions.
The Diamond Horseshoe in the Magic Kingdom is one of those exceptions. Here’s all you really need to know: I’ve eaten in an Army mess hall set up in a tent in the Honduran jungle and the food was better. That’s right, I said in a tent. And while it would be tempting to think that Army cooks are just that good, the truth is, The Diamond Horseshoe is just that bad!
Guests 10 and up will pay $35 for the pleasure of eating at the Diamond Horseshoe; kids ages 3 to 9 are a mere $21 and those under 3 are free. In other words, this isn’t a cheap meal. You can get a lower priced entree at the California Grill for less or an entire meal at Via Napoli, for around $30 and that meal will have you thinking about it for days!
Your meal is served family style, starting with a wilted, over-dressed salad composed of some sad iceberg lettuce interspersed with the occasional shred of carrot and maybe a spinach leaf. Now, if you’re spending $15 at the Golden Corral with grandpa on Sunday after church, you kind of expect that, but you’re spending $35 here and at the very least, the salad should actually contain, you know, something that seems like a salad! You’ll also be served cornbread. This was actually okay. In fact, it was the best part of the meal, although that’s not saying much.
Next up, the entrees. The macaroni and cheese, pictured above, looked like someone had plated it and then sat on it before serving it to us. It was dry and tasteless. You’re also given a meat plate with beans, sliced beef and gravy, turkey, and sausage links.
The beef was tasteless and stringy and the gravy was a gelatinous mess; you could almost taste the cornstarch they used to thicken in. The turkey was the same turkey they serve at Liberty Tree Tavern, although it was drier. This was fine. Not $35 per person fine. But it was edible at least. Finally, the sausage. Well that was just plain awful, dried out and tasteless. No one took more than a bite.
Let’s not forget dessert. This is a campfire brownie.
Marshmallow fluff and a blowtorch do not equal dessert, my friends.
There’s actually no entertainment at the Diamond Horseshoe, unless your dining companions enjoy complaining Statler and Waldorf-style about the food (which we do), but there is a stage. I’m not sure entertainment would have improved the food.
The room is also pretty and airy.
Finally, it must be said that the service was excellent. This is not the case where the manager wasn’t present and the staff didn’t know what they were doing. In fact, the manager was pitching in with the wait staff, picking things up, running around from table to table; she was good and we felt sorry for her because she could only do so much to make up for the food. Kudos to the cast members here for living up to Disney’s high standards and having some of the best wait staff anywhere.
Bottom line, this food isn’t up to Disney’s high standards. Skip it. You’ll be better off eating at Cosmic Ray’s or anywhere, really. Even an Army mess tent in the middle of the jungle.