REVIEW: The Highs & Lows of the River Belle Terrace Fantasmic! Dining Experience “Standard Package” at Disneyland Park
Fantasmic! is once again lighting up the night at Disneyland, and if you want to enhance the experience, River Belle Terrace along the Rivers of America is offering up two different special dining packages. We opted for the less-advertised, cheaper option of the “Standard Package”.
The Standard Package can not be booked in advance, it is simply something you can add-on when you check-in for you regularly acquired River Belle Terrace dining reservation. They also do take walk-ups at times, but your luck will vary depending on the day.
With the Premium Package, you are served a more upscale menu on the patio of the restaurant, which is where you will atcha the show from. The Standard Package has a viewing area by the water’s edge. More details on all of the packages can be found here.
Entering the restaurant, you’re immediately met with Southern charm, and this stately looking painting of riverboats on the water.
The menu comes on a board that features art of the Mark Twain Riverboat as it sails on the Rivers of America.
The package, which costs $50.00 for adults and $30.00 for children ages 3 through 9, comes with a choice of starter, entrée, dessert, and beverage. It’s available for both lunch and dinner. Supposedly you can swap in some items from the standard restaurant menu, but we tried what was actually listed on this one.
Cup of Red Beans and Rice
Andouille Sausage, Peppers, and Ham Hocks
A perfectly good and hearty soup filled with large chunks of andouille sausage, plenty of beans, and a small dollop of rice. The broth and sausage bring a hint of spice, but not too much. My only problem with this is that a lot of the dishes include beans, and after this dish, you should be full of them.
River Belle Lettuce Blend, Pickled Radish, and Balsamic Reduction
The salad was fresh enough, but incredibly basic. We found found 3 pistachio crumbs and a total of one strawberry diced into the tiniest bits. A light flavorless vinaigrette. On the bright side it was a relatively fresh, healthy option, it’s just a sad portion size for the price.
Open-Faced Blackened Catfish Sandwich
Candied Bacon, Heirloom Tomato, and House-Made Tartar Sauce
This is not a seasonal item either, but we both had to eat. So I tried another entree we had not tried before. Since I’m not a fan of open-face sandwiches, I simply didn’t eat the bread. I tried a little, and it was fine, but it wasn’t necessary. The dish comes with a healthy piece of catfish that was well-prepared and nicely seasoned with a somewhat spicy finish.
Again, the fish was flaky and flavorful. The thick-cut bacon underneath was a good addition as well, bringing some different flavors to the dish. We would definitely order this again.
Both sandwiches were served with tater tots and barbecue baked beans. The tater tots were hot and fresh, with a good crunch and soft interior. They were a little salty, but not overly so. The beans were standard in our estimation.
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Burnt Ends Grilled Cheese Sandwich
House-Made Brisket and Pickled Pepper Relish
If you want to walk out very full, this is a good option. Heaps of cheese and meat fill out the toasted bread. The quality of the beef is fine, a little tougher than I would like, but it’s more than enjoyable. It does have the smokey flavor you might want and expect from it. The cheese accompanies it well, making for a fine meal.
Cookies & Cream Cheesecake
The Cookies and Cream Cheesecake is nothing out of the ordinary, but it does take a nice picture. It is very rich cheesecake with bits of Oreo cookie and cream inside and crumbled along the perimeter. It won’t change your life, but it’s exactly what we would expect it to be.
Seasonal Monkey Bread
We usually are fans of the Monkey Bread here, but this clearly sat out for a long time. It was as hard as a rock. The seasonal offering was pumpkin spice, but when it’s this stale, the flavoring does little to help.
I would advice you to not eat here later in the evening as the kitchen turns its focus to those with the Premium Package and serving all of them simultaneously. We saw the quality of the food and service diminish quickly as the night progressed.
At the end of our meal, we were presented tickets to a reserved viewing area for Fantastic, the second show on this particular evening.
We were directed to enter the viewing area near Harbour Galley. I would suggest showing up at least 15 minutes before the time on the ticket as seating is first-come first-served and space along the railing goes fast. Also, this viewing area is shared with those doing the Hungry Bear Restaurant package, so there will be a good-size crowd for either showing that day (if there are two).
The viewing area is right on the water, providing one of the best views of the shows, provided you aren’t behind that many others. You will have to be seated on the ground for the duration of the show.
We had a fantastic view just against the railings. They aren’t as distracting as you might think when watching the show.
Here’s a full video of the show from out viewpoint:
While the meal at River Belle Terrace wasn’t one of my favorites, this was one of my favorite views of Fantasmic I have ever had and we didn’t have to fight that hard to get it. Yes, we sat on the ground for a bit before it began, but it certainly beat fighting crowds for a view that was less-centered. Honestly, we ate plenty of food and had a tremendous view of the show for $50 a head, so I do recommend this, just maybe it’s best to pair this with lunch at River Belle Terrace when the kitchen can devote more effort to the food while not preparing tons of different meals for those on the patio partaking in the Premium Package.
Do you think a view like this is worth the money? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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