There is a little known gem in Walt Disney World called an Intimate or Private Dining Experience at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. I first learned about it here on the WDW for grown ups forum (which I would encourage everyone to join as its a great source of information, and everyone is super friendly!), I saw another member mention it and as it was something I had never heard of, I asked some questions to find out more. This private dinner is arranged with Disney's private dining at the at the Grand Floridian on either the 3rd floor balcony (weather permitting) or at the 5th floor window.
It was our wedding anniversary and I decided to book this as a surprise for my husband. What could be better than an intimate dinner for just the 2 of us with our very own private butler - yes, really!? We have never eaten in a Signature Disney restaurant as I have loads of food allergies and intolerances. My husband however is what you would called a 'foodie', he likes fine dining and I don't think there is a food that he doesn't enjoy. While I still enjoy my food, it has to be pretty plain and boring sadly. The beauty of this experience is that I worked closely with someone at the Grand Floridian private dining to create the perfect menu for both my husband and myself, he was able to have some very fancy food whilst I could have things really simple. The best of both worlds!
I started by finding out who I needed to speak with at private dining, and sent an email asking how to make arrangements for the dinner. I received a reply which included a menu and instructions for how to book. I needed to call up with a credit card to secure the booking. The price was listed at $95 per person, plus tax and tip at 20%, plus $75 for the butler for 2 hours, extra hours if needed would be billed at the time. Soft drinks were included in the dinner price. If you would like alcohol it must be ordered in advance when you send the menu choice back however, we aren't really drinkers so I decided to just stick to the soft drinks.
The menu for this experience changes seasonally. As I was doing this as a surprise for my husband I had to choose what I thought he would enjoy most;
Whilst I had;
We were told to arrive at 7:30pm and the butler would meet us at the grand piano in the lobby. I told my husband that we were eating in the Grand Floridian Cafe but that I wanted to get there early to have a drink in the lounge first. As we were staying at Bay Lake Tower we walked to the contemporary and hopped on the monorail. We were a little later than planned but still early for our reservation, yet the butler was already there, so I led a very confused husband away from the lounge - minus drink - and downstairs towards the piano. He said I was acting very strangely but it soon became clear when our butler greeted us by name and asked us to follow him... My husband soon realized we weren't going to be eating in the Grand Floridian Cafe.
The butler introduced himself as Jack and he led us to the lift for guests staying at the Grand Floridian. He used his key card to take us upstairs and mentioned on the way that it was a bit windy out on the balcony but that it should die down soon. I had been watching the weather all day praying it wouldn't rain, if it had rained we would have been inside on the 5th floor at the window but I really wanted to be outside eating alfresco. Luckily the weather gods had listened to my prayers and we were shown to our table on the balcony.
It really was quite windy at first, the table had a couple of rose petals on it, and lots blowing around on the floor beside us... There was also a lamp with a flameless candle inside and some beautiful flowers. It was so pretty out there. Jack asked if we would like a drink from the bar and my husband said yes, a long island iced tea, I declined and just had a diet coke. Jack poured my drink and water for us both and gave us some warm bread before going to get my husband's drink. He asked if we would like some music to listen to, when we said yes he put on music through his cell phone and some portable speakers.
When he came back with the long island iced tea, he brought our first course which was the soup.
I would probably run out of adjectives when describing everything that passed our lips this evening, the food was the best either of us have ever eaten - this includes Palo on the Disney Dream last year which before this we said was the best meal we'd ever had.
When he took away the soup he brought us our starters of lobster risotto and spring egg rolls.
I was trying to save room so didn't eat all that was on my plate so when Jack came back he jokingly scolded me and made me eat the last one, I didn't really need any encouraging - I was just trying to be good.
Then it was time for the salad course, Caesar for me, Tuna for my husband.
Again the portion was very large and I only managed a few mouthfuls of mine though it was delicious, I knew I still had 2 more courses...
We did also have a little friend during our meal, a tiny frog was on the window beside us and at one point jumped into my lap and scared the life out of me! I think he felt like he was missing out on such a good night and wanted to join in on the action.
It was then time for our mains, chicken with mushroom sauce for me, pork chop for my husband.
During our main course Wishes started so we watched the fireworks while eating. It was beautiful.
Then came the dessert, this was the winner of the meal for me. I loved the swans, they were the best dessert I could have ever wished for. My husband had the baked chocolate mousse which he thoroughly enjoyed however I didn't like at all when I tasted it (but of course I don't like dark chocolate so it was no surprise really!).
When it came to the end of our meal I had to visit the ladies so Jack took me downstairs to use the restroom by Citricos, he did offer to wait for me but I asked him to get the bill for us as I wasn't feeling too great (nothing to do with the meal, I have some health problems that were troubling me on this trip). When I came out to wait for my husband, Jack returned with him to say goodbye and thank us, he gave us both great big hugs. We had left another $30 tip on top of the tip included in the meal as he really was the best server we have ever met in Disney. He was very funny and had some great stories, yet he knew when to step back to allow us time to ourselves. Also, I found out afterwards that he had bought my husband's drink for him to say happy anniversary and he had given us a white chocolate picture of the Grand Floridian, which my husband showed me once we returned to our room.
This has to be the best experience I have ever had in Walt Disney World. Everything seemed to come together at once, lovely weather, beautiful setting, mouth-watering food, perfect service and of course wonderful company. It gave us the best anniversary we have ever had and a memory I will cherish for many years to come.