Nestled on the waters of the Seven Seas Lagoon is a restaurant that has been on my bucket list for years! It seemed only fitting to use the current move, a milestone birthday and a huge life-changing decision as reason and incentive to tell hubby it was finally time we cross Narcoossee’s, a signature Disney restaurant, off our bucket list.
NARCOOSSEE’S ~ THE PERFECT PLACE FOR A CELEBRATORY MEAL
Narcoossee’s is perfectly situated at the edge of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. In my honest opinion, it has some of the most picturesque views of the lagoon, not to mention a spectacular view of Cinderella Castle across the water at Magic Kingdom. I have been wanting to eat here for quite some time, but had to wait for the perfect moment to persuade hubby it would be worth every penny. So many reviews have raved about this place and, when I glanced at the menu before making birthday rezzies, it outshined the options offered by the other establishment I had been contemplating.
~ Reservations Made Early ~
I made a fairly early dinner reservation for the two of us. The plan was to provide enough time to walk it off and perhaps enjoy the Happily Ever After fireworks over Cinderella Castle that night. We arrived close to 5 PM and were warmly greeted at the door by one Cast Member. We approached the podium where we were once again welcomed with a smile and a swirl of “happy birthday” wishes. The wait from there was only a few minutes and we were taken to our table, which, by the way ~ I swear was the BEST seat in the house. We had a window seat, water side, and could literally see Cinderella Castle in all her glory across the lagoon. The table was spacious, covered with a royal blue cloth and decorated with a bountiful sprinkle of tiny colorful Mickeys. Yup – it was going to be a good night!
~ The Ambiance ~
There was a calming kind of quiet, as we had not quite reached the dining hour for most Guests. The restaurant is bright and has a coastal theme to it. Its shape is round, which I have heard puts some people off, but I thought it was nice. It is elegant inside, but not too stuffy, as some signature restaurants can feel. The restaurant’s dress code is business casual, but we actually saw a variety of attire. As the evening progressed, some arrived in shorts and nice t-shirts, while others were dressed to the nines in dresses and suits. No matter, it was a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere for all who were dining there that evening.
This place is sincerely gorgeous, in my opinion. I love the color scheme, the feeling of being so close to the water and the striking views. Oh, my goodness. The views! We could see Bay Lake Tower and Disney’s Contemporary Resort from our seats. Cinderella Castle was vividly off in the distance and we watched as the monorail carried Guests around the Magic Kingdom Resort loop. There were a few boats on the water and a tranquility in the air that was refreshing. It was absolutely what I had been hoping to experience that evening.
~ Meeting our Cast Member ~
Our server’s name was Lori and she was perfect! Earlier in the day, my youngest and I had encountered a not-so-birthday-like experience at a table service restaurant in one of the other Parks (I’m not going to share because I have a very positive review and opinion of that restaurant in the blog. That was a server issue, not a restaurant issue). In light of that encounter, I had been praying we would have someone for dinner who was bright, chipper, enthusiastic, personable and genuinely interested in dialogue.
Sure enough, Lori was all that and more! She was a breath of fresh air and had a smile that was contagious as soon as she introduced herself. She near immediately began to ask if there was a special occasion we were celebrating that evening and she authentically seemed curious about all that was going on with us ~ without appearing intrusive, of course.
~So, let’s start off the night with a drink ~
I mean, it was my birthday and there was no way I was walking away without having had something special to sip throughout the meal. I am, by no means, someone who drinks often; however, I do like to enjoy one specialty drink every now and again. Tonight, I was all about the Conundrum White Sangria (Conundrum White Wine, Peach Schnapps and a blend of Pineapple and Orange Juices). It was the perfect way to begin the evening with a light, refreshing fruity, but not too sweet, flavor. I sipped on it all night. Hubby actually chose the same and enjoyed it just as much as I did.
~ Starting off with an appetizer ~
This was a no-brainer for me. From the moment I reviewed the menu a few weeks back, I knew what I wanted as an appetizer. That Maine Lobster Bisque had my name written all over it! You can take the girl out of New England, but you can’t take the New England out of the girl! The soup was perfect, though I could have enjoyed a little more lobster meat, but it had a nice little kick. It appeared more tomato based than cream based, so I asked what used to give it that kick and red tint. Lori told me they add a dash of cayenne to it for heat and color. Oh, yum! (there has to be something more giving it the red, though)
For hubby’s appetizer, he went simple and enjoyed the Petite Romaine Wedge (Romaine Wedge with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette, Herbed Mascarpone, Tomato, Avocado, Onion and Parmesan). Since his childhood, he has been a fan of warm bacon dressing as he remembers it being a favorite of his grandfather’s.
~ Don’t forget the bread ~
How could we? One cannot simply forget the warm basket of soft bread that was served. This actually came before the appetizer and with a square plate of butter sprinkled with pink salt. We honestly had to try and control ourselves…bread is our weakness.
~ Time for the Main Entrees ~
The menu offers coastal cuisine, including a combination of both superb seafood and land-fare, such as filet mignon.
To be honest, we were surprised we didn’t fill up on bread, salad or soup. Those were outstanding! But our palates were still eager to savor the delicious entrees we had ordered.
When they arrived, the aroma, wafting through the room from even several feet away, made our mouths water before our plates even hit the table. Hubby had ordered a The Black Angus New York Strip (which came with Yukon Gold Rustic Mash and Seasonal Vegetables with a Red Wine-Oxtail Reduction). He thought the steak was cooked to perfection, though the potatoes were a little on the salty side for him. He still enjoyed them, however, and I don’t think there was a single morsel of food left on that plate.
My choice included the best of both worlds. I enjoyed the succulent Surf & Turf with both steak and lobster tail. I had been craving a good piece of sirloin, which is something I don’t have very often, but that lobster tail screamed “birthday dinner.” Blame it on the New England in me. While my sirloin steak was a bit bland (could have used just a tad more seasoning), the salty potatoes helped balance that out. Otherwise, the steak had been cooked to perfection and was tender. The lobster tail was divine – honestly, divine!! It was exactly what my taste buds had been desiring.
~ The Sweet Beginning to a Sweet Ending ~
Dessert-wise, I knew what I wanted before I even arrived at the restaurant. I was all about that coconut-chocolate crème brûlée. Crème brûlée is my ultimate favorite dessert of all time!! I love that light, crispy layer of burnt sugar over the top of a smooth, custardy center. Oh, yum! It was even delivered with a special birthday message to make me smile.
Believe it or not, Hubby had a difficult time making his dessert decision. He finally ended up choosing the Narcoossee’s Candy Bar and it did not disappoint! This man is all about the chocolate! He could eat layers upon layers of chocolate, particularly dark, for hours and look like a kid in all his glory.
~ That Extra Special Magical Touch ~
Here is where the pixie dust happened. I had mentioned above that we were there celebrating not only the move and my birthday, but a pretty big life decision that I recently made. So, I was boasting two buttons that night on the strap of my purse and our server certainly took notice. If you remember, she had asked earlier in the evening what we were celebrating and never forgot. Before my actual birthday dessert even arrived, she had brought me what she claimed to be the #1 dessert in Walt Disney World ~ the Almond-crusted Cheesecake with Lambert Cherry Sauce!!!
OH ~ EM ~ GOODNESS, PEOPLE!!!!!! This was to DIE for!!!
Just look at that!! I mean, I love cheesecake, but wasn’t sure I wanted that for my birthday dessert (particularly when crème brûlée was an option. Again, remember that’s my favorite). However, when that almond flavor hit my taste buds, hands down! That was sublime!!! It was funny because it actually brought me back to a period in my childhood when my favorite ice cream treat was the toasted almond ice cream bar. Does anyone remember those?
~ The Perfect End to a Perfect Evening ~
While the food, ambiance and “cast”omer service were spectacular, Narcoossee’s boasts one of the most romantic locations to view the nightly display of fireworks over Magic Kingdom. Just minutes before the festivities begin, the doors are opened to the terrace that wraps around the restaurant. Guests filter out to find their ideal spot and prepare to be transported to a realm of music and lights, where dreams do come true. In fact, if you stand in just the right place, you could actually watch more than one display of fireworks, as the terrace offers a broad view of sky that spans across the entire Resort.
We were one of the first outside once the door opened and found ourselves a perfect little spot with direct visibility. It was chilly, so hubby wrapped his arms around me to keep me warm. I don’t think much of anything could have taken the smile off my face at that moment.
~ Let the Fireworks Begin ~
Within minutes, the lights dimmed and the music was piped in through the speakers surrounding us. We stood there, leaning just barely over the white trim, so that nothing obscured our view. My husband had his arms wrapped around me and my heart began to feel the music changing the rhythm of its beat. When the first line of the song hit my ears, because of the things that were running through my head at that point in time, I immediately teared up.
It got me. I was emotionally hijacked by the song, “Happily Ever After” and more, and was its prisoner for the next ten to fifteen minutes.
While the fireworks flew, the Castle became a storyboard and the music captivated us, my mind could not free itself from the lyrics. I am all about the words of a song (well, the melody and the harmony are important, too ~ I was a music major in college). I am, however, also all about the telling of a story through music.
~ Why This Night Was So Special ~
For the last few years, I have been struggling with a job that has been siphoning my energy and abilities without comparable compensation. My birthday was the first day of my freedom.
We have moved 11 times in 21 years of marriage (hubby’s career), but feel we have finally moved to a place where we ALL can experience the magic.
On a more personal note, I was just entering my mid 40s and have been craving ~ no…desperately seeking ~ a new focus.
With songs piped into the background like “How Far I’ll Go,” “Touch the Sky” and “I See the Light,” I could not help but feel like this was the beginning of MY dream come true. I tried hard to subdue my emotions…nobody saw me, but my husband could feel my tremors. He knew. He knew how much it meant to quit that job, begin doing something new that I love, be in my favorite place and feel like my birthday. was the start of a new chapter. I was lucky. He knew ~ and he saw that I was extremely happy.
~ Would I Recommend Narcoossee’s? ~
Okay ~ all that to say that I immensely enjoyed and fell in love with Narcoossee’s. The price tag is a little steep and it certainly wouldn’t be a place to frequent, but I found it the perfect place to celebrate our particular life events. In fact, it is quite possible that a brand new birthday tradition has begun for me (my poor husband). We experienced tremendous service, amazing food and riveting entertainment. I would have asked for nothing different when it came to celebrating this momentous occasion in my life.
“It’s just beginning
Feel your heart beat faster
Reach out and find your happily ever after”
~ Magic Kingdom Nighttime Fireworks (performed by Angie Keilhauer and Jordan Fisher).
If you have the opportunity to enjoy a signature restaurant while visiting Walt Disney World, this is a must try. If your experience is anything like mine, you will walk away knowing you have had the most magical evening ever.
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