By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.



yourfirstvisit.net—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor







Review: Princess Dining at Akershus



By Dave Shute

Review of Akershus from yourfirstvisit.netStorybook Dining in Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, a table-service restaurant in Epcot’s Norway Pavilion, is one of Disney World’s three “Princess Meals”—and arguably the best of the three.

  • Cinderella’s Royal Table, in the castle in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom, is the most iconic, sought after, and—by far—expensive of the three.  Cinderella and other princesses visit at breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • 1900 Park Fare, in the Grand Floridian, offers dinner attended by Cinderella, Prince Charming, and Cinderella’s family. The setting is undistinguished, the food great, and the price is about half that of the Royal Table—exactly half if you are using the dining plan—one credit, rather than two.
  • Like Cinderella’s Royal Table, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall has a bucket of princesses and is set in a castle, but is priced comparably to 1900 Park Fare—more than 1900 if cash (but still not as much more as Cindy), the same as 1900 if dining plan.

STORYBOOK DINING AT AKERSHUS ROYAL BANQUET HALL

Akershus in Norway at Epcot from yourfirstvisit.netAkershus Royal Banquet Hall is in the Norway Pavilion of the Epcot’s World Showcase. (From Epcot’s Future World, the second country going clockwise, right after Mexico.)

Akershus Keep in Norway at Epcot from yourfirstvisit.netThe Banquet Hall is inside Akershus Castle.

Dining Room at Akershus from yourfirstvisit.netThe castle,  in the less interesting Romanesque style rather than the frothier Gothic style of Cinderella’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom, is not so immediately appealing, but the interior is lovely.

Breakfast is typical of what is served elsewhere but the lunch and dinner menus have many Scandinavia highlights, starting with a buffet with range of appetizers and cold dishes—fresh foods, cheeses and preserved meats and fish.  Besides the buffet, one also orders an entrée…

Magical Dad Drink at Akershus from yourfirstvisit.net…possibly a silly drink for dad and mom…

Dessert at Akershus from yourfirstvisit.net…and a dessert sampler.

Unadventurous eaters will find something to enjoy, but the adventurous, and/or lovers of preserved fish, will most enjoy the Akershus lunch and dinner menus.

Me and Son #2--Oh and Belle, too--at Akershus from yourfirstvisit.netMeals there include visits from several Disney princesses—on our visit, we were formally greeted by Belle…

Ariel at Akershus from yourfirstvisit.net…and also met Ariel…

Cinderella and Son #2 at Akershus from yourfirstvisit.net…Cinderella…

Aurora at Akershus from yourfirstvisit.net…Aurora…

Snow White at Akershus from yourfirstvisit.net…Snow White, and others.

The best features of Akershus are the princesses, the castle setting, and then the food.  The food comes higher on the list for those interested in Scandinavian cuisine.

Being in Epcot is a mixed blessing.  Epcot most rewards older kids willing to accept its invitation to think and to be creative.  There’s not as much there for kids young enough to most enjoy a princess meal—and such kids may also not be adventurous enough to enjoy the full range of food on offer.

(On the other hand, I was eating pickled herring and smoked salmon at age three, so I love this place…I was not sophisticated…but my dad ate them, so so did I. )

A great day for younger kids at Epcot would start before park open and include Soarin (if they are mature enough and at least 38 inches), The Seas with Nemo and Friends, Spaceship Earth, Turtle Talk with Crush, and a character meet ‘n greeting.

An early breakfast—early enough that you are done by park open, so you can take advantage of the lower crowds then–at Akershus fits this well.

Lunch also works just fine with this kind of morning.

For younger kids not afraid of fireworks, a visit—or return–in the evening for dinner at Akershus and the fireworks show Illuminations also works.

Kids just old enough to enjoy everything at Epcot—both the princess meals and the challenge to their intellect and imagination—will enjoy the park, including Akershus, the best!

*   *   *

PICKING BETWEEN CINDERELLA’S ROYAL TABLE AND STORYBOOK DINING AT AKERSHUS

I’m often asked, since my itineraries include two princess meals, Cindy and Akershus, if a family can afford just one, which should they pick.

If the kids are old enough to enjoy Epcot fully, I’d go with Akershus hands down.  You get the same piles of princesses at a lower price, with a more interesting menu.

But there’s a lot to be said for the iconic appeal of dining in the castle at the Magic Kingdom, and the Magic Kingdom, of course, appeals to all ages.  So for younger kids, that’s the one I’d suggest.

My itineraries promise all the best of Walt Disney World—so in them you get both!

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21 comments

1 FatmanOSU { 10.31.13 at 12:21 pm }

I am going for the Trifecta. My daughter really wants to see the evil step mom and sister over at 1900 Park Fare. Have to do the castle and want to give her something special at Epcot. On the dining plan so not as a big an issue.

2 Dave { 10.31.13 at 1:44 pm }

I think the evil step mom will be a hoot! BTW…since I write this site from Ohio…which OSU?

3 KE { 11.03.13 at 4:32 pm }

We are going to Park Fare since the last time (just hubby and me) we loved it! It was so much fun and we enjoyed the food. We also decided to do Akershus this go-’round because of our daughter. We chose the lunch since it is our last day and we will leave from EPCOT to start the drive home. Your review is wonderful for those of us who have yet to enjoy this place, but one lingering question: What entree would you recommend for those of us who are adventurous eaters but not lovers of fish?

4 Dave { 11.04.13 at 7:12 am }

KE, thanks for the thoughts! Here’s the most recent Akershus lunch menu I could find: http://allears.net/menu/menu_norl.htm The beef and chicken sandwiches both look good to me…

5 KE { 11.04.13 at 5:41 pm }

Thanks! The menu looks delicious and since I am making dinner as I type this, I’m quite ruffled that dinner tonight won’t compare to many of those options…Oh well, only a few more weeks until I can enjoy it all! :)

6 Dave { 11.05.13 at 7:45 am }

Have fun, KE, and write back and tell me what you think!!

7 SarahB { 12.03.13 at 4:22 pm }

Hi Dave. I have two boys who will be 4 and 7 on our first visit. Neither is especially into princesses. I know that at some of the other parks, there is a “touring plan” advantage to having an 8am ADR. At Crystal Palace, you can take pics on an empty Main St. At H&K, you are closer to Jedi Training sign-ups. At AK, you can take uncrowded pics in front of the Tree of Life, and you are also right by Kilimanjaro Safaris. I have not been able to discern any special “touring plan” advantage to an 8am ADR at Akershus since the Rope Drop folks are probably just as close to Soarin and Test Track. Am I missing anything? If we are not into princesses and we are already doing several other character meals (CP, H&V, Tusker, and maybe Chef Mickey’s, plus HDDR and BOG-Dinner), is there any strategic reason to also do Akershus? Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

8 Dave { 12.05.13 at 8:42 am }

Hi Sarah! 1. I concur with the idea that you get little out of an 8a ADR at Akershus. 2. Moreover, the whole concept of 8a being a good idea,never really strong to start with (people are too ruched) has been swept aside by events except at MK. AT HS, Epcot and–I believe–AK–the parks now open typically at 8.45. So breakfast puts you behind, not ahead…

9 SarahB { 12.05.13 at 10:46 am }

Thanks, Dave!!! I, too, am debating whether it is worth it, especially at HS. On the message boards, there are those who swear it IS helpful for Jedi sign-ups (provided, of course, you request the check immediately and eat quickly) and those who say NO WAY since HS typically opens at 8:45. I am going back and forth in my mind. Our trip isn’t until May anyway, so I will keep the ressie for now and see whether any procedures are changed between now and then which could sway me either way. At AK, I am also a little torn as it seems like quite a hassle to get all the way there from BLT so early yet, given that I have grandparents in my party, it might just be helpful to already be back at Kilimanjaro Safaris after breakfast to save the mad rush from rope drop. There is a lot to consider! It does sound, though, like I can cancel the Akershus ressie. Thank you again and I hope you are enjoying yourself at the World!

10 Dave { 12.07.13 at 3:01 pm }

Sarah, let me know what you end up deciding, and if you do the breakfasts in May, how it works!

11 Jackie { 08.26.14 at 9:43 am }

Hi Dave, I have quite the dilemma. My daughter will be 3.5 years when we go to Disney next year (February 25-March 4). I am getting my itinerary in order so that I can make my reservations Friday morning. I initially contacted you to ask which parks we should attend with her with a 5-day pass and I chose MK for 3 days, AK for 1, and HS for 1.
My daughter loves loves loves the princesses and my plan was to do Cinderella’s royal table, however I just learned of the closing for renovations. I am so upset about it and am now wondering if I should change my days to include Epcott instead of Hollywood Studios and do the Akershus Castle so that she can eat with the princesses. Is it worth it to change the park pass for the character meal? Or should we skip the meal altogether, assuming she will get her princess fix in the park itself? The last option is buying the park hopper for the 5 of us (me,husband, daughter, and in-laws) then be able to go to Epcott only for the character meal? In the last option, at least we will have a little more flexibility with parks, but I’m not sure it’s worth it. Let me know what you think.
Thank you! Jackie

12 Dave { 08.27.14 at 7:57 am }

Jackie the simplest thing to do is to add another ticket day and do Akershus on your arrival or departure day. Another ticket day will cost $10.65 per person–much better than a hopper. The next best option is to to book dinner at 1900 Park Fare–details are here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2014/05/22/review-disneys-grand-floridian-resort-spa-page-3/

13 KE { 09.07.14 at 10:49 am }

Never came back to this page to report how AWESOME Akershus was! My daughter loved it and the food was awesome. I could have been satisfied with just the buffet offerings. I ordered the chicken sandwich and that was wonderful. My husband had the meatballs and raved about them for quite some time. This upcoming trip we are going to CRT because we are keeping our days just at MK. Never done CRT, but I would definitely recommend Akershus to those with little princesses! Some of the character meals leave a little to be desired when it comes to food, but Akershus did not! We loved all of it from start to finish!

14 Dave { 09.08.14 at 7:31 am }

Thanks, KE!!

15 Javier { 09.10.15 at 10:44 am }

Hi Dave..Im booking right now on akershus for december 29 or 30 but i have this question…there are princess at every time of the day you reserve or only on specific hours …thnx best regards

16 Dave { 09.11.15 at 6:19 am }

Javier, all the reservations include the princesses!

17 Karissa { 02.25.16 at 11:17 pm }

If you still check this, this review was very helpful! I am debating between breakfast and lunch. My daughter 2.5 is picky, but my husband really wants to try the Norwegian food. If I did an 11am reservation, technically still breakfast, would be be there during the switch to lunch and get lunch food as well? What is best time for “lower” crowds? We have to go mid June… Thank you!

18 Dave { 02.26.16 at 11:02 am }

Thanks Karissa! The honest answer is that I don’t know but I doubt it. The food costs are very different so I’d imagine they don;t bring out the lunch food til lunch has begun. From a timing point of view the key is to go at off hours–e.g. 11a for breakfast, 2p for lunch, rather 9a for breakfast or noon for lunch. It’s popular enuf, though, that it’ll likely be full most times you go…and will be even more popular after the Frozen attractions open in Norway, sometime this summer.

19 Karissa { 02.26.16 at 10:58 pm }

Thanks for getting back to me! :)

20 Sass { 06.24.16 at 10:21 am }

Just booked our trip for October 2017. We arrive 10/9 and depart 10/14 (then two days in WWoHP). Would you recommend Akershus on the first evening for dinner or is it better experienced as a breakfast? Our kids will be 8 (boy) and 9 (girl). We would love to see as many princesses as possible in one place, but are there more princesses there for breakfast as opposed to dinner or vice versa? We were considering going there for dinner on our arrival date but will change that if breakfast is better.

21 Dave { 06.25.16 at 9:17 am }

Sass, there’s not enough Princess difference to matter. Evenings are easier–but more expensive–than breakfast.

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