Located in the Norway pavilion at Epcot, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall allows you to join Disney princesses for Storybook Dining.
Akershus is themed after a medieval castle and truly is a royal banquet hall.
Sticking to its concept, Norwegian-inspired fare is served here family-style for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even though this isn’t a buffet, the meals remain all-you-can-eat.
It’s been awhile since we dined at Akershus (plus, it remained closed for awhile following the pandemic), so we wanted to visit some princesses again in Norway in 2023.
Note: Our reservation was considered “dinner,” because we ate here before breakfast and lunch officially returned on May 14, 2023.
It’s important to note that dinner served here is exactly the same as lunch. Breakfast is, obviously, different. So, if you’re debating whether or not to book lunch or dinner at Akershus, know that the characters, food, and pricing detailed below are the same.
Now, here is our review of Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall offers character dining featuring a variety of Disney princesses. Meals here are served family-style.
Location type: Family-style character dining
Type of food: Norwegian, American
Meals Served: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Seating Available: Indoor
- On the Disney Dining Plan? Yes, 1 Table Service credit(s)
- Pros: Meet multiple Disney princesses at once, that usually include Princess Tiana, Ariel, Belle, Princess Aurora, and Snow White.
- Cons: Norwegian-style food may not appeal to everyone, especially little ones.
- Tips: While Cinderella has met here in the past, Tiana, Ariel, Belle, Aurora, and Snow White are usually the main princesses who meet here now. The characters appearances are subject to change, so it’s kind of a “surprise” who you’ll meet during your meal.
How we got an Akershus reservation
Akershus can be a difficult dining reservation to get due it being popular and a character dining location featuring Disney princesses. We recommend (like we do with most dining reservations at Disney World), to make reservations as soon as you can.
Reservations for all the restaurants at Disney World currently open up exactly 60 days in advance — and you should book dining as soon as you can.
Grabbing dining reservations at Disney World is extremely competitive. We were lucky to snag an Akershus dinner reservation 47 days prior to our trip.
You never know when there will be availability, but the most surefire way to get any reservation is booking 60 days before your trip begins.
Other ways to score an Akershus dining reservation
Set dining alerts
If you don’t get a Akershus reservation or want to try to book one last minute, try setting up a dining alert.
Reservation finding services are built to constantly check for openings at restaurants that you choose. Depending on the service, you can receive an email and/or text alert or a push notification when something becomes available.
You can also keeping checking yourself to see if anything opens up. We’ve had a lot of luck with this method. Trust us when we say reservations become available all the time — even the day of!
Join the waitlist
Many Disney World restaurants also have a waitlist option that you can either join in the My Disney Experience app or in person.
If you don’t have luck snagging a reservation, this might be your next best bet. But, keep in mind, it’s not always a guarantee.
Like with many Table Service restaurants across Disney World, we checked in for our reservation 20 minutes prior using the My Disney Experience app.
If you check in via the app, you can only do so up to 20 minutes prior to your reservation time. For example, we checked in at 2:45 p.m for our 3:05 p.m. dinner time.
We were called to sit down at 3:09 p.m., which was only 4 minutes after our 3:05 p.m. reservation time.
That means, because we checked in 20 minutes before our official reservation time, we waited about 25 minutes.
But this is a good lesson: just because you can check in 20 minutes prior to your reservation, doesn’t mean you will get called right away or exactly at your reservation time.
What’s included in lunch and dinner at Akershus
Let’s take a look at what’s included during lunch and dinner at Akershus…
Akershus’ all-you-can-eat family-style meal includes:
- Beverages (all alcoholic drinks cost extra)
You meet a variety of Disney princesses in their dresses (they all sign autographs, but we were not given an autograph card here). We met the following:
- Princess Tiana
- Princess Aurora
- Snow White
Akershus allows you to meet a variety of Disney princesses all at once!
It’s important to note that Cinderella met here in the past, but per our server, she’s now “usually at her own castle,” aka at Cinderella’s Royal Table.
Though, that doesn’t mean you won’t see her. Our server said that the princesses meeting that day are usually a “surprise,” but you will usually meet the following. We met all of them during our dining reservation.
If you’re wondering, the princesses do sign autographs.
Unfortunately, we were not given an autograph card, even though we know other guests who dined at Akershus in 2023 received one (as you can see below). It is unclear why they didn’t hand them out during our visit.
When meeting the princesses, Akershus makes it fun. Music is played to introduce a new princess into the banquet hall. It’s like a game and you can guess who it is before she makes her grand entrance.
As for the interactions with the princesses, they were all-around great. What we appreciated is that each one initiated the conversation and asked us questions.
Admittedly, some of us get nervous talking to characters and aren’t sure exactly what to say, so this put us at ease and made meeting the princesses much better.
Their conversations moved quickly, as well. They ended each chat by asking if any of us wanted to take a “portrait” together and then they moved to the next table.
As each princess entered the dining room, they moved around in a timely manner. We met each princess once, but a Cast Member came out after the princesses cleared the banquet hall to make sure we didn’t miss anyone.
The princesses also do a promenade around the room that is short, but lovely and very royal-like.
Akershus food and drinks
For lunch and dinner, you get a family-style meal at Akershus.
While there are Norwegian-inspired dishes served, there are also American options that balance out the meal for pickier eaters and to please little ones.
Remember: because this is a family-style meal, you can always order more of your choosing.
Here’s what was included with our May 5, 2023 dinner at Akershus (keep in mind that menus and prices change, so the following may not always be the same):
This field greens salad with tomatoes, pickled cucumbers, and a lingonberry vinaigrette was phenomenal. It might not look like much, but this was a very good salad that was light and flavorful.
Alongside the salad, we were served Lefse, a traditional soft Norwegian flatbread. A cardamom-cinnamon butter comes with it.
You can dip the flatbread in the butter, which was kind of difficult because the spread was super soft. But, traditionally, you’re supposed to roll out the Lefse flat, spread the butter on it, and then roll it back up before eating.
This what we did and it was tasty. Allyson enjoyed it more than Felicia and Heather. Overall, it wasn’t a standout, but it wasn’t horrible, either.
Entree and sides
Our server brought out one platter filled with the main entrees and sides for the table to share, which included:
- Traditional KjØttkake: Norwegian Meatballs topped with lingonberry jam
- Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
- Green Beans
- Red Cabbage
- Grilled Salmon with Herbed Butter
- Macaroni and Cheese
- Corn Dog Nuggets
As you can see above, the meatballs were served on top of the mashed potatoes. Heather found the meatballs to be just ok. The dish reminded her of the meatball appetizer with grape jelly sauce.
Felicia would have preferred the meatballs without the lingonberry jam. She said it added an odd sweetness to the meatballs, but it also didn’t prevent her from liking them.
Heather and Felicia weren’t impressed by the salmon and felt it tasted too fishy. Everything else was pretty straightforward in taste.
We also got a bowl of “Kylling og Melboller,” aka Norwegian Chicken and Dumplings. Even though this did have a thicker consistency, Felicia and Heather weren’t sure how they were supposed to eat this since they weren’t given bowls and only plates.
It definitely wasn’t a standout, so much so, Heather only picked out the carrots to eat, which she did enjoy.
It’s important to note that there isn’t a separate kids’ menu, but if your little one is a pickier eater, they will probably enjoy the macaroni and cheese, corn dog nuggets, green beans, and mashed potatoes.
Vegetarian and vegan offerings
As for Allyson, she was served a completely separate dish from Heather and Felicia due to her being vegetarian.
Her plate included:
- Green Beans
- Macaroni and Cheese
- Red Cabbage
- Plain Mashed Potatoes
- Plant-Based Bratwurst
As for the vegan bratwurst, our server described it as a “plant-based German bratwurst.” Yes, “German.” Why is a German vegan bratwurst being served in Norway? We’re not really sure, but we can only assume that this is the best they could do for a plant-based offering, which was definitely disappointing.
Fun fact: this is the exact same plant-based bratwurst served at Biergarten Restaurant in the Germany pavilion. [insert shrug emoji]
Overall, Allyson does not recommend Akershus for vegans and vegetarians. The food was fine and she liked everything, but it wasn’t outstanding. It was all pretty basic and not very Norwegian-inspired.
For desserts, a dish came out with two Norwegian-inspired desserts:
- Chocolate Mousse Cake
- Rice Cream with Strawberry Sauce (the strawberry sauce does not contain gelatin)
Neither if these were amazing, but the chocolate mousse cake was a standard chocolate mousse cake, but tasty.
As for the rice cream with strawberry sauce, well, you really have to like the texture and get past the appearance. Heather is a rice pudding fan, so she enjoyed it. Allyson and Felicia were not fans — at all.
Allyson also ordered the plant-based vanilla gelato, which is exactly what it sounds like. It was bland and flavorless.
We wish there would’ve been more of a traditional plant-based Norwegian pastry or dessert available, instead of something you can buy at the grocery store.
Here’s what you can expect from beverages at Akershus…
Water, soft drinks, juice, coffee, tea, and milk are all included with the cost of your meal.
Alcoholic beverages for an additional price
You can order beer, cider, seltzer, wine, or cocktails. There are several Norwegian options, as well.
Allyson and Heather both ordered the Einstök White Ale, which is also available at the outdoor cart near Anna and Elsa’s meet and greet and Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe. The Icelandic beer is a must try and one of our favorites that we get during most visits to Epcot.
Felicia got the Aass Pilsner (pronounced Ouse), which can also be found at the outdoor cart in the Norway pavilion and at Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe. This is a solid pilsner and one we definitely recommend trying.
Important: If you or someone in your party has dietary restrictions, many Disney World restaurants have accommodations and they also sometimes list the allergy-friendly items on the menu (online and in the My Disney Experience app). If you have questions, be sure to chat with a Cast Member and they’ll be able to assist you.
Our most recent review of dinner at Akershus
Where do we begin?
Let’s start with the service.
We had fantastic service at Akershus. Our server was beyond great. He was super friendly and explained everything we ordered, all while providing history and background on how or if the food and drinks pertained to Norway.
We love a non-buffet. After a long week in the parks, it was nice to not have to stand in a buffet line. This also makes it easier on families and groups traveling with little ones.
The entire meal moved at a good pace. It took about 60 minutes, which was the perfect amount of time.
Now, let’s discuss the food.
First, allow us to say that the salad at the beginning of the meal was top-notch. We truly loved it.
However, if we’re being honest, the food was a bit confusing. While there were Norwegian-inspired offerings, the corn dog nuggets and macaroni and cheese were an interesting choice.
Yes, we get it. They are mainly there for kids, who most likely aren’t going to want to eat salmon or red cabbage. But, we couldn’t help chuckle when the platter came out with corn dog nuggets.
Don’t get us wrong, we love kid-style food. But, it might be better if they serve a separate plate for kids with these types of offerings (mac and cheese and corn dog nuggets) and add a few more Norwegian dishes to the platter for adults.
The vegan/vegetarian options weren’t outstanding, either. Besides the red cabbage, nothing about Allyson’s meal was “Norwegian.” After all, they put a “German” plant-based bratwurst on her plate. Talk about confusing.
On the other hand, the Norwegian food served here in the past was something you either liked or didn’t. You had to have a specific palate to dine here. So, now that there is a better mix of food, pickier eaters can enjoy it more.
But, if you’re hoping for strictly traditional Norwegian cuisine, you aren’t necessarily going to get that here.
Is Akershus worth it for lunch/dinner?
This is a great location to meet a group of Disney princesses at the same time.
But, is it worth it? This depends, especially if you compare Akershus to Cinderella’s Royal Table. These are the two main Disney princess character meals at Disney World.
While Akershus is a bit cheaper in price, Cinderella’s Royal Table isn’t that much more in cost when you really break down the experiences and what you’re hoping to get out of princess character dining.
Cinderella’s Royal Table pricing (you must prepay when booking)…
So — Akershus is cheaper, you usually meet 5 Disney princesses, you can still say hello to Cinderella at Princess Fairytale Hall in Magic Kingdom, and you get more of a “unique” meal.
As for Cinderella’s Royal Table — you get a PhotoPass photo taken with Cinderella, meet 4 other Disney princesses (usually Jasmine, Aurora, Snow White, and Ariel), are able to choose your own entree, and dine inside Cinderella Castle.
If you don’t care about definitely meeting Cinderella, eating inside her castle, or being able to choose your own entree, then you might just want to try Akershus for the reduced cost.
But, if you want to have a cooler atmosphere and to have more of a say in what you’re eating, Cinderella’s Royal Table might be the better way to go.
It’s important to keep in mind that the princesses you meet at both Akershus and Cinderella’s Royal Table are subject to change. That can be frustrating not knowing who you will definitely meet during your meal. Whatever the case, you’re still spending a good chunk of money on both princess meals.
Overall, we had a good experience at Akershus. We didn’t love it, but we also didn’t hate it. Will we back? Maybe to see what breakfast is like, but it isn’t a character meal that we, personally, would book again.
Have you ever had lunch or dinner at Akershus? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments!
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