Does Disney’s Latest Restaurant Update Finally Signal the End of Prix-Fixe Dining?

Prix-fixe dining has been popping up at more locations around the Walt Disney World Resort over the years, and fans are mixed on the added multi-course dining options.

With Disney’s latest restaurant update keeping one location’s original, a la carte menu, could the tendency toward prix-fixe meals finally be coming to an end?

Narcoossee's at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Credit: Disney

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The latest restaurant news out of Walt Disney World was the official reopening date for Narcoossee’s, the signature waterfront dining experience located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. While the interior of this popular dinner spot will debut a new look when Narcoossee’s reopens, the menu was also given a set of updates, none of which include prix-fixe dining.

Fans of other Disney restaurants, but not of prix-fixe dining, have not been so lucky. California Grill, the signature restaurant located on the 15th floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, launched a prix-fixe menu created just for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World in October 2021. With California Grill being one of the most popular restaurants, especially for its varied menu options ranging from sushi and small plates to filet mignon prior to the 2021 re-do, news of an updated menu was highly anticipated.

California Grill Dumplings

Credit: Disney

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The new menu at California Grill, unfortunately, is another prix-fixe option. While it sounds delicious, and it could be a great value (depending on what you order), the update to California Grill is another instance where Guests no longer have the option to opt for more flexible, and more affordable, a la carte dining.

It is possible to avoid the prix-fixe menu at California Grill, but you will need to try your luck at scoring a seat at the bar, which is walk-up only and based on very limited availability. The bar menu features a selection of a la carte options, but without the ability to make reservations, you may be chancing whether or not you’ll actually be able to get in. (Note: Seating that was once part of the California Grill Lounge has since been replaced with regular tables for prix-fixe dining.)

Space 220 Restaurant in EPCOT at Walt DIsney WOrld

Credit: Disney

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Some of Disney’s newest restaurants offer a similar setup, with prix-fixe dining the only way to go unless you happen to find a place in the lounge. In EPCOT for instance, Space 220 Restaurant opened with the only regular-dining options being a two-course meal for lunch or a three-course meal for dinner.

And we can’t forget to mention Be Our Guest Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom. When this restaurant opened in New Fantasyland, many Guests appreciated the option of opting for quick-service dining for breakfast and lunch. While it was pricey by Disney quick-service standards, these options allowed Guests to dine in an iconic location without the heftier pricetag that came with dinner. Since Disney World’s restaurants reopened in 2020, Be Our Guest has operated on a prix-fixe three-course menu for both lunch and dinner, and breakfast has yet to return.

Be Our Guest Restaurant

Credit: Disney

For some high-end restaurants at Walt Disney World, multi-course dining continues to be offered, though fans largely view these locations as full experiences in themselves where each course is appreciated. These locations include spots like Monsieur Paul and Takumi-Tei in EPCOT, where Guests would likely spend as much as the prix-fixe menus cost anyway if another option were given. And of course, Disney’s only AAA Five Diamond experience, Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian Resort runs similarly, with each course comprised of gourmet specialties that together make the whole meal memorable.

Prix-fixe dining has its positives- If you order a more expensive entree, like filet mignon at Be Our Guest for instance, you are likely getting an excellent value for the cost of your meal. If you are in the mood for a pasta dish, however, or if you eat a plant-based diet, you may not find such a value in your meal, in which case you could be left wondering if the cost is worth it or simply wishing for an a la carte option.

Family Dining at Garden Grill with Chip and Dale Visiting the Table

Credit: Disney

Much like the Disney Dining Plan, which was replaced by the Disney Dining Promo Card, at least for now, prix-fixe dining can also be frustrating for Guests who have smaller appetites and would not choose to order an appetizer, entree, and dessert with their meal.

All of this is to say that with a new menu revealed for Narcoossee’s, this writer was at least a little surprised that another prix-fixe option will not become the only way to enjoy the Grand Floridian’s waterfront restaurant. And perhaps this update will signal later revisions for menus to include a la carte options along with prix-fixe dining. Now if we could just tackle Disney’s family-style craze, too….

The opinions in this article are the individual writer’s and may not reflect Disney Tips as a whole. 

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."