Story Book Dining at Artist Point is a Snow White and Seven Dwarfs character meal at Walt Disney World’s Wilderness Lodge, serving a prix fixe menu. In this restaurant review, we’ll share food photos, pros & cons of this princess dinner, whether it’s worth the money, and how to score a reservation. (Updated May 21, 2022.)
Let’s start with some good news, which is that Story Book Dining at Artist Point is now back to normal, after returning late last year as a modified princess meal. This means that hugs, autographs, high-fives, and photos with Snow White and friends have all returned. In other words, exactly what you see in this review is once again possible–for the first time in over 2 years!
Prior to the normal character dining experience being restored, Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White had been a “modified meal” with a character cavalcade around the restaurant and physically-distanced selfies. With Walt Disney World resuming normal character meet & greets and meals, Artist Point has also reverted to its normal experience.
With that said, Walt Disney World still hasn’t fully restored normalcy, and there are a few ways that impacts Story Book Dining at Artist Point. First, dining capacity is still reduced due to staffing shortages in kitchens all around Walt Disney World. This means many restaurants don’t fill every table, which can make Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs) even more difficult for popular spots.
Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White was one of the most elusive ADRs even pre-closure. On top of that and not filling every table, there are several other princess meals that still haven’t returned to Walt Disney World. This means there’s even more “competition” for Story Book Dining at Artist Point, making it even more difficult to book. In fact, Artist Point is often fully booked more than 60 days in advance! (You’ll really need the on-site 60 day plus length of stay window to reliably book Artist Point ADRs. This should be your top priority if it’s important to you.)
Second, the Disney Dining Plan still has not returned, which is largely due to the aforementioned labor shortage and resulting imbalance of supply and demand. (See When Will the Disney Dining Plan Return? for more details and analysis.)
Similarly, Tables in Wonderland also has not yet returned. That one may never come back–or at least, it’s unlikely until there’s a slowdown and Disney needs to incentivize Floridians and DVC members to dine more often. Just things to consider before attempting to book your ADR, which likely won’t be easy!
Walt Disney World fans are probably familiar with the saga of Artist Point, but here’s a quick refresher for those new to this character meal. The Storybook Dining character experience is a relatively recent addition to Artist Point, which was previously a Signature Restaurant. When this change was announced, it was very controversial (just read the 90+ comments on that post). Some loved the idea of more character dining, some found it to be a cheapening of the experience at a Deluxe Resort.
I’m not going to fixate on this because I already did so in the above-mentioned announcement, but I can see both sides of this controversy. Wilderness Lodge is a Deluxe Resort and fine dining should be a standard amenity, even if that restaurant was seldom more than half-full and offered aggressive discounts to Cast Members.
On the other hand, guests love characters and this incarnation of Artist Point is significantly more popular. Reservations were typically available day-of for the old Artist Point. Now, it’s fully booked months in advance.
On a personal note, I will miss the old Artist Point. As mentioned in the preface to my old review, I’ve hiked to the actual Artist Point in Yosemite National Park, and dined in a number of the grand National Park Lodge dining rooms that Artist Point evoked. For me, dining at Artist Point was a transportive experience to those memories. Fortunately, some of this still exists below the ‘enchanted forest’ additions, as we’ll discuss next in the theme section of the review.
In terms of theme, the new-look Artist Point is interesting. A ‘forest’ of light-up trees were added to create a canopy of leaves in Artist Point. These trees look like they’re carved right out of the support beams in the restaurant, and look like a natural, seamless addition. This is to make the environment better evoke the sensibility of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, rather than one of the National Park lodge grand dining rooms.
This is a smart idea in practice, and the end result is charming and whimsical. I didn’t expect to like the look of this forest, but it suits the character dinner well. It also allows for some fun light effects in the branches, as the leaves change color upon the arrival of certain characters, and ‘dance’ when the Dwarfs do their little parade. It’s fun and cute. (The photos below don’t really do it justice due to the daylight, but as soon as it’s dark, the tree branches twinkle and dance with light–it’s a neat effect.)
My one quasi-complaint here is that it feels like a half-measure in execution for anyone who has previously dined at Artist Point. Above the tree branches are semi-obscured murals from the original Artist Point, not fully hidden from view. This makes Artist Point feel a bit like a hodgepodge of contrasting styles, which I suppose mirrors the very notion of a German fairytale set in a United States National Park lodge. But whatever.
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure this is a complaint. As someone who loved the previous look of Artist Point, it’s at least somewhat reassuring that this could all be undone in relatively short order and restored to “normal” should the Storybook Dining concept go away at some point down the road.
Artist Point fans will probably be split on the new look for that reason. It’s almost the same deal as EPCOT Center–do you enjoy vestiges of the past even if you know those things are never returning in earnest, or would you rather plow forward with something totally new and distinctly its own thing?
Most Walt Disney World guests probably won’t notice the ‘split style’ of the environment, or care even if they do. For first-timers and many others, this version of Artist Point is the only version they’ll ever know. In this version, the setting is endearing. In any event, the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs characters are the stars of the meal here, with all other atmospheric elements playing second fiddle.
As for the characters, you’ll find Snow White, Evil Queen, Dopey, and Grumpy at Artist Point’s Storybook Dining. Snow White and the Dwarfs meet guests at their tables, while Evil Queen is at a staged photo op in the middle of the restaurant that you can do at the end of your meal (but probably shouldn’t).
Interactions were good at our meal. The two Dwarfs chosen have contrasting personalities, and can express that reasonably well in encounters with guests. Same goes for Evil Queen and Snow White, both of whom were at the top of their game.
There’s a wide personality range in these 4 characters, and that makes for a varied experience. Another Dwarf or two might’ve been nice, but it’s nonetheless a good character meal, with great engagement.
Obviously, this is not quite the same as getting a photo with all seven of the Dwarfs at once like you could do at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. The trade-off is that you don’t wait two hours and have genuine interactions rather than just being rushed through a photo op with characters-as-props. Personally, that’s a trade-off that I will absolutely take, but I’m not a huge Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs fan in the first place.
Meeting Evil Queen was the one odd component of the experience. For the bulk of our meal, she was just standing at her meet & greet location, awaiting guests. We’d catch her icy gaze every once in a while, which was amusing because clearly she didn’t have anything better to do, but was still in the middle of her set.
Then, at the end of our meal, which coincided with the end of several other tables’ meals, she concluded her set. This led to us and other parties just standing around the middle of the restaurant, waiting for her to return. This is probably on us, as our sever had told us multiple times that we could visit her whenever, but we figured the best option for that would be the end of the meal.
In short, heed your server’s advice and visit the Evil Queen in between courses or whenever convenient, rather than waiting until the end of your meal. Oh, and request a table away from this meet & greet, as it seemed like an awkward situation for the tables in that area, which regularly had other guests hovering around them.
I’m not sure why the Evil Queen wanted to flash the Wu Tang hand sign, but I was happy to oblige–I’m down with the Wu.
I also appreciated that there were a couple of PhotoPass photographers here, which is easier than handing my own camera off to another guest for photos.
Now let’s take a look at the food, starting with some of the “Wickedly Refreshing Cocktails.”
To the left above is “Evil to the Core: Patrón Silver Tequila, Blackberry Brandy, Habanero and Orange Juice.” Like so many Walt Disney World cocktails, this skews sweet, with too much sugary juices filling the glass. There’s also an inordinate amount of blackberry seeds, but such are the perils of foraging for drinks in the forest, I suppose.
To the right of that is the “Enchanted Apple: Skyy Infusions Citrus Vodka, DeKuyper Pucker Sour Apple and White Cranberry Juice.” This is an interesting interpretation of an Appletini, but this one is a bit too syrupy, sugary, and watered down. A slight tartness offsets that to some degree, but it’s still another stereotypically sweet Walt Disney World drink. Not one we’d recommend.
Finally, the “The Smoking Mirror: Johnnie Walker Black, Wildberry, Lime and Rosemary Smoke.” The presentation is perfectly on-theme, with the smoke-filled glass delivered to the table upside down. It’s then flipped over and the cocktail is poured as smoke floats away. Now this is the drink to order. A perfectly balanced flavor and alcohol profile, delightfully aromatic, and beautifully presented.
The meal starts with the “And So The Story Begins…” Shared Appetizers for the table. Individual servings of each are brought to the whimsical tree serving platform in the center of each table.
This consists of the following:
- Wild Mushroom Bisque Soup
- Hunter’s Pie (Turkey and Chicken, Black Truffle, Cranberry Preserve and Crispy Sauerkraut)
- Wicked Shrimp Cocktail (Bloody Mary Vinaigrette, Seaweed Salad and Spiced House-made Seasoning)
It should be pretty easy to tell which is which from the photo above.
All of these were fantastic, but the standout was the Wild Mushroom Bisque, which very closely resembles the iconic Smokey Portobello Mushroom Soup that used to be served at Artist Point. I don’t think the recipe is quite the same–it’s been a while–but it was excellent. Rich, creamy, and with a distinct mushroom flavor.
We also both really liked the Hunter’s Pie, which had distinct truffle and cranberry flavors to pair with the turkey and chicken meatball and a tasty crust.
There seems to be a “movement” to cram all of Thanksgiving dinner into a single dish, and this is a good (inadvertent?) entry into that.
Next, we’ll turn to the entrees. These are from multiple meals at Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White over the last couple of years. I’m consolidating them here for simplicity, so you don’t have to read multiple reviews of our various meals. Although we’re big eaters, we couldn’t eat this all in one sitting!
A Stroll through Nature is the vegetarian option, and consists of Asparagus, Leeks, Arugula, Gnocchi, Sage, and Parmesan.
Despite being the ‘last straw’ choice when we were choosing what to order, this ended up being the surprise hit of the meal. It was rich and creamy, and dialed the cheesiness up about as far as you can go without being over the top. This was a strong and modestly ambitious dish that would appeal even to non-vegetarians. I loved it.
For one of her entrees, Sarah ordered the “Cottage” Beef Stroganoff consisting of Tender Beef, Preserved Vegetables, Spätzle, Mushrooms and Aged Cow’s Milk Cheese.
This was fantastic. Although the vegetables on top were straightforward and unimpressive, everything else about the dish delivered. The spätzle was the perfect consistency and paired well with the tender and hearty beef. The cheese enhanced both, making it a filling and delicious dish. (I thought this was excellent, but I also couldn’t care less about the vegetable component of any entree.)
Replacing the famed Cedar Plank Salmon is tough for any fish dish, and Bashful’s Butter-poached Snapper (with Root Vegetable Risotto, Wild Mushroom, Citrus-Butter Sauce) is tasked with that unenviable role.
It’s nothing special. A mild and inoffensive fish, with the accompaniments not doing much to buoy it. I’m not personally a huge fan of even well-executed snapper, so perhaps someone else’s opinion would carry more weight here.
For poultry, Artist Point serves the Brother’s Grimm Roasted Chicken with Cauliflower Purée, Roasted Vegetables and Chicken Jus.
This was another favorite at our table, with the lean chicken being juicy, flavorful, and having a robust, herby flavor. This is actually one of the best chicken dishes I’ve had at Walt Disney World.
Oddly, and probably not worthy of mentioning but for the fact that it amused me, but the apples tasted thoroughly like Brussels sprouts. Probably not something I need to taste again in my life.
Next, the Royal Prime Rib Roast, with Horseradish Mashed Potato, Hay-smoked Carrots, Popover, and Jus.
A lot of you are going to gravitate towards this, so it might be disheartening to hear that it was the closest thing to a letdown we had during the meal. The cut was a bit too fatty and slightly tough, while also being a bit on the bland and dry side. I didn’t dislike the Royal Prime Rib Roast, and perhaps you’ll have better luck, but it was my least favorite dish on a table that included a dish without meat. (Also, steer clear of the carrots.)
Finally, the Magic Mirror Slow-braised Pork Shank with Horseradish-Mashed Potato, Wilted Greens and Jus. This is the standout of the Storybook Dining at Artist Point menu.
The good news for the serious carnivores out there is that tender shank was a generous portion, perfectly-prepared, with bold flavor. I won the entree lottery with this one, as it was by far the best.
The meat was juicy, flavorful, and fall-off-the-bone tender. In addition to that, the mashed potatoes were an all-star, with a pungent horseradish quality that made my mouth water with each bite. I’ve had horseradish mashed potatoes before, but never executed in such an addictively-good manner.
This whole entree was like something worthy of an actual Signature Restaurant. If this were served to me for dinner at Topolino’s Terrace, I would’ve left happy.
As with the appetizers, desserts are also shared.
We’ll start with the Miner’s Treasures, which is Sponge Cake, Chocolate Gems, and Buttercream Icing. This is cupcake constructed in a different fashion, and the sweetness of the dish overwhelmed whatever else was going on. To me, it simply tasted like “artificial purple.” (Maybe with a hint of artificial green. 😉 )
The “Poison” Apple (White Chocolate-Apple Mousse, Sour Center) was my favorite. The sweet exterior lures you in, and gives way to a sour punch inside.
It’s a playful, sharp contrast, and one I really enjoyed.
The Fairy Tale Gooseberry Pie (Meringue, Gooseberry) was also good. It’s sweet, dense, and mildly tart.
None of these desserts are on par with what you’d order from a standalone menu, but individually, the latter two are far superior to what you’d find on a buffet.
Finally, the meal ends with the Hunter’s Gift to the Queen, which is Crackled Maple Popcorn and a Ganache Heart. This one is all about presentation, and it’s fun.
If one thing can be said about all of these desserts, it’s that they’re befitting of the experience. This feels like a themed character meal through and through.
Price-wise, $60 per adult or 1 credit on the Disney Dining Plan (when available) seems very fair given the quality of the cuisine and the character experience. Artist Point not accepting Tables in Wonderland was a bummer and somewhat surprising given that this isn’t a new restaurant, but my total cost after tip was still only ~$70, which isn’t bad (by Walt Disney World standards) for the amount and quality of the food, and fun of the experience.
We’ve monitored this meal since it first debuted, as Story Book Dining at Artist Point struck us as the kind of restaurant that could offer enticing introductory pricing before spiking $10-15/person…or even jumping to 2 credits on the Disney Dining Plan. We’re happy to report that, aside from some lateral menu changes, its standards are just as high as of 2022 as they were when it debuted a few years ago.
Overall, we love Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White. It’s a strong addition to Walt Disney World’s character dining scene, and we both liked it much more than expected when it debuted. It’s nice seeing the beautiful murals and National Parks art, even if it’s partially obscured by the trees and dancing of Dwarfs. The menu is less ambitious and inventive than its previous incarnation, but that’s hardly a surprise as it has gone from Signature to character status.
Within the character meal category, Artist Point serves the best food at Walt Disney World, and is your top pick if you want quality over quantity for dinner (Topolino’s Terrace takes that title for breakfast). What is offered on the prix fixe menu is mostly good to very good, and these options will be crowd-pleasers. If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan and enjoy characters, Artist Point is a no-brainer, presenting objective value on par with Akershus while offering significantly better cuisine. Even paying out of pocket, Artist Point is a solid choice for Snow White fans.
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What do you think of Storybook Dining at Artist Point? Are you excited to try this ambitious new character meal? Do you understand why the change was made, are are you bitter about losing the Signature Restaurant? Where does it rank in terms of dining at Walt Disney World for you? Have any favorite dishes at the new-look Artist Point? Any questions? Hearing your feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts or questions below in the comments!
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