Heigh ho, heigh ho, it’s off to Artist Point we go! Once a “hidden gem” of sorts among the Signature Dining experiences at Walt Disney World, dinner at Artist Point has been transformed into an enchanted forest for a brand new character dining experience. This news came with mixed reception, as fans of the restaurant lamented the loss of a favorite dining option. Many fans of character dining, on the other hand, rejoiced in this unique new option. To give you some context for the following review, I was travelling with my small family (husband and 4-year old son) and we dined at Artist Point in the Spring of 2019. We had never dined here before, nor do we typically try Signature Dining, as none of us have particularly adventurous palettes. Still, we were intrigued by the chance to meet Snow White and friends, and looked forward to doing so in a format that differed from the typical buffet style meal.
1. Atmosphere & location
If you’ve ever visited Wilderness Lodge, you know that the resort is an exquisite, yet charming tribute to the Pacific Northwest. Artist Point is a beautiful location, and it has been transformed into an enchanted forest for your dining experience. You may want to request seating more toward the center of the restaurant (away from the open entrance, kitchen doors, etc.) to be more fully immersed, but overall the restaurant is beautiful. We dined before sunset, so the room was still fairly bright. The restaurant features large windows that overlook the Wilderness Lodge grounds and Bay Lake in the distance, so it’s a pretty bright space depending on the time of day. The twinkling lights in the indoor trees, meant to make you feel surrounded by the forest, would probably have more of an impact if you were to dine after sunset.
2. The Food
Storybook Dining at Artist Point is unlike many other character dining experiences in that it is neither family style service, nor a buffet. Instead, you’ll enjoy a prix fixe menu consisting of a standard non-alcoholic beverage, an appetizer, entree, and dessert selection for each person. The appetizers and desserts are both served as trios, and enough are brought to the table so that each person can sample one of each item.
I highly recommend checking out the menu in advance, as this meal is a bit on the fancy side. Be adventurous, but also know that you can ask for alternative items. For instance, chicken fingers for the kiddos was listed on the menu as being available by request. I also heard an adult asking for the macaroni and cheese entree, and the server kindly offered up adult portions of all kid’s menu options. Don’t be afraid to ask for what will make your family’s experience the best it can be. Dining cast members are exceptionally helpful!
At the time of this writing, the menu consists of the following appetizers: Mushroom Bisque, Wicked Shrimp Cocktail, and a Hunter’s Terrine (chicken sausage, black sausage, fruit preserve, and house-made pickles). Note that the menu is said to change seasonally.
The appetizers were all served on an interesting tree-shaped lazy susan in the middle of the table. I wasn’t crazy about the Hunter’s Terrine; chicken sausage served (intentionally) cold is unappealing to me, and we aren’t fans of shrimp. I enjoyed the mushroom bisque soup and ate my husband’s, too. For children, the appetizers are the same, with the addition of an adorable mini garden appetizer (veggies, cheese, and dip) We especially enjoyed the vegetables and dip, which were accompanied by a “make your own honey butter” experience. All we had to do was shake up the jar and enjoy the delicious butter that was created.
For entrees, we had a choice of 7. I selected the Brothers Grimm Roasted Chicken, accompanied by potatoes and squash. It was quite good, but not terribly memorable. My husband enjoyed the Royal Prime Rib Roast, and said it was very tender. Again, note that the menu items are subject to change; the current offerings are not exactly the same as what we ate just a few months ago. Our son chose the Prince and Princess pasta (fancy macaroni with a choice of cheese or red sauce), and the kid’s menu also included prime rib, grilled chicken, and a vegetable steam bun.
Dessert was served in a similar fashion to the appetizers. I’ve come to love the mini desserts at Walt Disney World, and this was no exception. We loved them all, but especially enjoyed the Miner’s Treasure. In addition to the 3 mini desserts we each got, we were also presented with the “Hunter’s Gift to the Queen”, which was a really interesting cracked-maple popcorn with a chocolate ganache candy heart. It was cold and was presented with dry ice steaming off of it, which my son got a kick out of!
Although specialty drinks are not included in your pre-paid price, it’s worth taking a look at the menu. In addition to a full wine menu, there are some really interesting specialty cocktails (and a few without alcohol, too) that are very highly themed! The names, theming, and taste of these drinks did not disappoint. We enjoyed the Enchanted Apple and Evil to the Core.
3. Character Interaction
This meal reminded me a bit of an element of 1900 Park Fare that I enjoy- the interaction between the characters themselves. In this case, Dopey and Grumpy were particularly interactive, not just with guests, but with each other as they circulated the dining areas. Snow White’s visit was very quick, but friendly. Dopey spent a good deal of time playing with my son, even sitting down next to him and playing for a bit. Grumpy took his time too, but seemed, well, aptly grumpy about it!
At the end of the meal, you meet the queen. It’s not easy to meet villains, so this is a nice change up to the typical character meal offerings. On the flip side, children are not used to seeing villains in the parks up close and personal, outside of special ticketed events. Children may be surprised by the Queen’s distaste for children and her general aloof attitude. I would not classify her as scary, but she is also neither warm nor welcoming. That being said, she was excellent in her role and we enjoyed meeting her. It would be wise to let young children know what to expect if they are sensitive.
Character dining is notoriously expensive; often, the complaint is based on the fact that food quality suffers because the focus is on the experience and the characters. In this case, food quality was very good and much more interesting than traditional buffet offerings. If you were to estimate the cost of enjoying a non-alcoholic beverage, an appetizer, entree, and dessert at a sit down dining location, it would easily cost what this experience costs ($59.99 per adult).
If you’re using the Disney Dining Plan, you’ll only use 1 credit at Artist Point, making it an excellent meal choice on the Dining Plan!
We think this meal is a great value, and there are enough accessible options on the menu to make it enjoyable for all types of diners. Since this experience is a little different than what most of us expect from character dining, just know what you’re getting yourself into and check out the menu before you commit. If you’re prepared for the slightly more sophisticated menu and want to meet characters from Snow White, you’ll definitely be enchanted by Storybook Dining!
$7.96 with discount
$7.96 with discount
$10.36 with discount