Writing about a place like Victoria & Albert’s is difficult.
I say this because it’s one of those meals that goes so far beyond just “good food” or “nice ambiance” that it’s hard to really explain once you’ve done it. So let me start off by saying that Victoria & Albert’s is an experience. It’s not the kind of thing you do on a regular basis, nor is intended to be so. No one should be throwing down upwards of $1,000+ on a single meal for two on a regular basis. But if you decide to take the plunge and go to V&A’s, know that the money you do spend on that evening will reap a lot more than just a full belly. It’ll be one of those experiences you talk about for years to come.
Because of the nature of a place like V&A’s existing at Disney World, a resort area made up of theme parks that most folks assume are geared solely toward young children and their frazzled parents, there are definitely a lot of misconceptions about it. Yes, Victoria and Albert’s is legitimate fine dining. There’s a reason it’s been ranked one of the top restaurants in the country for so many years, and it’s not just because you can walk out the doors from your super-expensive meal and enjoy the Electrical Water Pageant mere steps away (although that’s enough to catapult V&A’s to the top of the list regardless, in our opinion). Yes, Victoria & Albert’s is expensive. Fine dining is expensive. But it’s not extravagantly more expensive, considering what you’re being served, than any other highly-ranked fine dining restaurant simply because it’s on Disney property. The “mark-up,” if you will, is for the quality and care put into the menu and the overall experience you get while you’re dining there, not because it’s at the Grand Floridian.
But the biggest misconception we’ve seen is that so many people think they shouldn’t go to V&A’s.
“It’s too fancy for us.”
“We won’t feel comfortable there.”
“We’ll stick out like sore thumbs.”
Basically, many folks assume that V&A’s is a place for people who aren’t them. Fancy people. Rich people. Stuck-up people who eat like this all the time. The fact is, however, that V&A’s is for anyone who wants to go there and is willing to pay for the privilege.
The people eating at Victoria & Albert’s are exactly like you. Typically they’re celebrating something, whether it’s an anniversary, birthday, honeymoon, whatever. That’s one of the main catalysts for people forking over that much money in a single sitting. They’re there for the same reasons you are, and for many it’s their first time visiting. They’re just as awed by their surroundings as you. They’re not-so-discreetly peering around at other tables for guidance on whether or not they’re eating their caviar properly. They’re taking photos of their food and posting them on Instagram because they’re just as excited to be there as you are.
Please don’t let the fear of “not fitting in” get in your way of an amazing experience. V&A’s is not pretentious. You won’t be looked down upon. The staff is wonderful, they encourage you to take photos, and they’re super eager to give you tips on how to best enjoy your food. Don’t worry.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s talk more about V&A’s in general.
There are 4 different dining options:
- Main dining room 7-course meal
- Main dining room 10-course meal
- Queen Victoria Room 10-course meal
- Chef’s Table
The lowest-priced option is the first one. “Lowest price” is, of course, a relative term when speaking of V&A’s, so if you opt for this don’t feel like you’ll be getting a lesser experience because of it. Everything at Victoria & Albert’s is great. You aren’t missing out. For many years, the only way to get the 10-course menu was by booking a room in the Queen Victoria Room. That has changed, however, and now you can order the exact same meal you’d get in the QVR in the main dining room. This is good news because the Queen Victoria Room has a grand total of 4 tables. They only serve 4 tables a night in there. So if you can’t score a reservation for the QVR, never fear. The food tastes just as amazing in the main dining room, and you’ll get a lot more ambiance since you aren’t cloistered off in a separate room behind closed doors. The Chef’s Table is the most exclusive of experiences, so naturally this isn’t something we’ve done. You get your own menu designed specifically for you and cooked in front of you by the chef. We’d love to do this someday.
I sadly do not have photos of the main dining room, but they’re easy to find. There is a harpist who plays off and on throughout the evening. It’s just lovely, and definitely makes you feel all fancy.
The menus are all prix fixe, and there are optional add-ons (for an additional cost, of course) if you’d like to enhance your meal with additional courses. We felt so full at the end of our meal that we were afraid we’d need to contact landscaping to wheelbarrow us out of there, so approach these add-ons with some restraint. There is also the option for wine pairings. We loved this option and recommend it highly. The sommelier at V&A’s is sent directly from heaven.
The night we went, we were lucky enough to get one of the four tables in the Queen Victoria Room. It’s a smaller, more intimate room at the back of the restaurant, located behind a set of beautifully-engraved wood and glass doors. When we initially booked, we were on a waiting list for the QVR. We got a call about a month before our trip asking us if we’d like to have the table. So if you’re wavering on whether to book the main dining room or wait to see if the QVR becomes available, don’t. Go ahead and get the main dining room reservation, and ask to be put on the waiting list for the QVR. There’s a decent chance someone will cancel and you’ll get in. And if not, you still get to eat at V&A’s. Win-win.
The QVR staggers their reservation times. The first starts around 5pm when the restaurant opens, then they continue hourly after that until each table is filled. That’s it for the night in there. Why? Because the whole experience of having a 10-course meal at V&A’s takes at least 3-4 hours. Our reservation was at 6pm and we left around 11pm. We loved every minute of it.
If you look at the menu, you can see some items have a price listed next to them. Those are the extras. Don’t worry, your waiter/waitress will very clearly point these out as optional, and there is zero judgement if you choose to not do any of them. We didn’t. We don’t feel we missed out. We wanted to try the menu exactly as it was.
You get to keep the menu page, by the way. It’ll be personalised for you with your names and, if you’re celebrating something, a special greeting.
Probably one of the coolest aspects of the Queen Victoria Room is the wait staff. There were a grand total of two waiters the night we went, and believe it or not, they’re actually husband and wife. It was adorable. They were honestly the most knowledgable and attentive waiters we’ve ever encountered. They have the service down to a science. We loved asking them questions and picking their brains on various aspects of the restaurant. We never once felt intimidated by the surroundings or afraid to ask a question, no matter how silly it might’ve been. That’s part of the Disney charm, I guess.
I’ve written enough for now. I’ll just post the photos of the food and let them speak for themselves. They’re posted in the order they were served, which is the same as the order on the menu above.
So yeah. The food was as beautiful as it was delicious. As was the wine.
Some of the more interesting experiences you get when you dine at V&A’s are the butter tray, cheese cart, truffle chest, and the famous coffee service.
The photo above is the butter tray. The waiter brings it to your table and carves some of the super-creamy butter into a dish and presents it to you to spread on your assortment of breads served throughout the meal. Do NOT miss out on trying the breads and butter. It’s well worth losing some precious stomach real estate for.
The cheese cart is also a thing of beauty. Your waiter will spend what might seem like way too much time talking up a bunch of cheeses, but trust me, this cheese deserves it.
This specialty-made wooden box filled with truffles comes to your table at the very end of your meal. Like the cheeses, you can choose as many as you want. You’ll be lulled sufficiently into a food coma by now, but give these a try anyway. They’re all wonderful.
What Disney fan hasn’t heard about the coffee service at Victoria & Albert’s? The videos are all over YouTube. Let me go ahead and dispel the myths here: yes, the hype is very much deserved. It’s exceptionally cool, not to mention delicious. There’s also a really neat-looking tea service they’ve added, as well, if you aren’t a coffee drinker. We asked (sadly, after the fact) if you can order both services, and we were told that was perfectly OK. So do that. I highly recommend it.
Oh, and did I mention you won’t find any children under the age of 10 here? It’s the only place on WDW property with that rule. The night we were there, we didn’t see any kids at all. I think there was one family with a teenager out in the main dining room. Otherwise, it was all parties of adults or, most often, couples by themselves. It’s an escape.
Overall, we feel like Disney has perfected the fine dining experience with Victoria & Albert’s. In many ways, Disney removed the pretentiousness and stuffiness one normally associates with a place that serves this kind of meal without sacrificing anything in the process. It’s a magnificently gorgeous restaurant. It’s the kind of place that could exist on its own in any major city and do crazy amounts of business. Yet it also feels distinctly Disney in all the right ways. Anyone can eat here and feel at home, something Disney excels at. We paid with our MagicBands at the end of our meal and somehow it felt normal to do so. We rode the monorail to and from. Victoria & Albert’s essentially transports all the great things about the finest of fine dining to the Grand Floridian, removes all the elitist crap, and inserts some amazing Cast Members who truly love their job and the restaurant itself. It’s quite an accomplishment.
We hope to go back someday.