REVIEW: Trattoria Al Forno Bon Voyage Character Breakfast Brings Tangled & Little Mermaid Couples to the Table
On Sunday, April 2nd, 2017, Trattoria Al Frono at Disney’s Boardwalk began serving a daily character breakfast instead of standard fare that they have had since opening a few years ago. Trattoria is a horrendously bad Italian restaurant for dinner, but featured a surprisingly great breakfast service despite that reputation. Sadly, that menu is now gone, replaced for the “Bon Voyage Breakfast at Trattoria Al Forno”.
The character dining experience costs $34 for adults, $20 for children. Please note: Disney Characters join guests for breakfast only. Character appearances are subject to change. Tables in Wonderland discounts and the Disney Dining Plan are accepted as well.
Upon check-in, guests are greeted by a pop-up shop of sorts, selling Princess merchandise. This is pretty much a first for a character meal, and does feel a bit cheap. That being said, I get it. Some family will probably impulse buy a dress for a cute picture, and it isn’t the world’s worst idea.
The interior of Trattoria Al Forno isn’t my favorite, as it is often quite dark and reminds me of Olive Garden, which provides me with marinara sauce PTSD upon sight.
The main event here is characters. Each of the four meet at tables individually and make separate, musical entrances into the restaurant before doing their meet and greet rounds. At various times, small parades with the characters and guests happen through the aisles, marching along to either Tangled of The Little Mermaid tunes. Yes, napkins are twirled in the air.
The characters offered are Ariel, Prince Eric, Rapunzel, and Flynn Rider (or Eugene). Our interactions with them were very nice, despite the fact that we were a table of grown men with large cameras asking to take pictures of the characters by themselves. If we could acquire a decent and lengthy interaction, that certainly you normal people can as well.
Before we get to the food, I want to talk about the atmosphere set by the background music. With adventure as the theme, the Bon Voyage event offers a music loop including songs from the Soarin’ queue, DINOSAUR, the Rocketeer, and more in the realm of inspiring scores. The music achieves the theme nicely, but feels out of place inside the soup, salad, and breadsticks aesthetic. Occasionally, the music changes to songs from the Tangled and Little Mermaid films, as you might expect, but only as and after the characters make their entrances.
Moving on to the meal, breakfast begins with your choice of a mixed berry parfait or fresh fruit salad, but also a frying pan of pastries featuring braided breakfast bread and clam shell pastries.
The twist was covered in chocolate chips, the clam shells were cherry turnovers, the Sun icon in the center was made of pastry crust, and the muffins were vanilla (despite being rainbow colored) and blueberry in variety.
The cherry turnover was the favorite of the table for the fresh jelly inside. It wasn’t the thick, gelatinous goo you find in most other Walt Disney World pastries. The chocolate chip twist was also very good, and the other desserts were standard fare, but all delicious.
As stated above, you also get a choice of fruit plate or yogurt parfait. Both are fine and what you would expect them to be, a nice way to start the meal. Each is topped with a small, decorative sugar cookie.
The main menu for adults is as follows:
“Shipwreck al Forno” Calzone with scrambled Eggs, Soppressata, Bacon, Sausage, Blend of Cheeses and Sunday Gravy
“Golden Frittata” Prosciutto di Parma, Piquillo Peppers, Green Onion, Pecorino Romano and Roasted Potatoes
“Swimmers di ‘light’” Smoked Salmon Egg White Omelet with Spinach, Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Goat Cheese and Roasted potatoes
Here’s a look at the full menu below, including specialty and alcoholic beverages:
The Italian Ice Coffee is a holdover from the old breakfast menu which I really enjoy and recommend if you want a sweet, caffeinated start to your morning.
There are four breakfast options for kids as well. While we didn’t have a kids meal, they are either something standard like a Mickey Waffle or egg white omelet, and we will cover the steak and pancakes as adult entrees later in this review.
Despite still offering a Buzz Lightyear Punch, the glowing clip-on toy that comes with the drink here is Pascal, new to Disney Parks. To my knowledge, it is not available anywhere else. Our waitress was nice enough to just give me one with my meal when I inquired about obtaining one, even though I am almost thirty years old…
Kids (and kids at heart) can also have fun filling out an Adventure Journal that they will find at their table.
The Chinese Theater actually made it in to the artwork, which made me happy.
Alright, lets move on to the entrees…
“Shipwreck al Forno”
Calzone with scrambled Eggs, Soppressata, Bacon, Sausage, Blend of Cheeses and Sunday Gravy
The dish initially comes out with “King Triton’s Trident” in it, which the server then immediately removes. Apparently a large fork is considered more dangerous than a steak knife which is provided to most ordering food.
The portion is massive and the flavor is there, but I can’t imagine why this is a breakfast item. Nothing about this screams “what I want to eat at 9am”. I’m not sure Italians eat calzones for breakfast and this Italian American certainly never has. Either way it is good, but you need to be in the mood for a calzone and come very hungry if you are looking to conquer “the beast incarnate”.
“Tower of Pancakes”
Seasonal Buttermilk Pancakes with Bacon or Sausage
The pancakes are a tall order and they are quite thick. Apparently, the fruit used in the topping will change seasonally, but it was strawberry today. The compote was quite tasty with the pancakes, but otherwise they were the big, dry flapjacks you have come to expect at most Disney World eateries.
Another large meal, the Royal Breakfast is Trattoria’s take on steak and eggs. The steak was fine, the potatoes and onions tasty, but the real winner was the cheesy egg torte which was delicious.
Trattoria Al Forno, cuisine-wise, falls somewhere in the middle when compared to other breakfast offerings on property. It’s not the best, and its not the worst, but it gets the job done. The pastries were fantastic, the fruit and yogurt parfait are fine, and the entrees are edible. Chances are, you will be coming here for the characters and not the food anyway, so it’s probably nice to know that you can at least digest their food, unlike Chef Mickey’s in most cases. The Bon Voyage Breakfast is a fine option (if you can actually find a reservation for it). While I miss the former breakfast menu, I understand the need for more Princess character dining and this is one of the better ones at least.