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Ariel's Grotto - Ariel's Disney Princess Celebration
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Ariel's Grotto is home to Ariel and the other Disney Princesses. Join Ariel, Cinderella, Snow White, Belle and Sleeping Beauty for lunch or dinner.
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Average Reviewer Rating: 3.4 out of 53.4 out of 53.4 out of 53.4 out of 53.4 out of 5
Number of Reviews: 45 ( Displaying Reviews: 1 - 10 )
4.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.0   July 12, 2010
Reviewer: Cyberkang Canby, Oregon     July 20, 2010
We had a premium character meal as part of our five-day package at the Grand Californian and left it to our youngest (10 year old Elizabeth) to make the final decision - SURPRISE, she chose the princess meet-and-greet at Ariel's Grotto!

Our reservation was for 2:10 on Monday July 12th... let me tell you, that was too late in the day to wait to eat lunch when you're walking around California Adventure all morning with just a granola bar to tide you over! But we arrived about 5 minutes early and were being welcomed in by 2:15 pm.

As is traditional, the first thing you do is meet Ariel and have your photo taken with her. She was very friendly and talkative and definitely looked the part (in formal dress) and we were soon ushered to our table inside the restaurant - a fortuitous table, as it turns out, as we were about fourth in line for the princess cavalcade to come, meaning we got first dibs on seeing them... gotta imagine they get a little worn out by the whole tour thru the restaurant.

The appetizer tray was a bit sparse, but we liked everything except the sweet pickles (instead of dill) - the sourdough bread was grrreat, and they brought us a second loaf, AND then sent us home w/the second half of that loaf plus an entire third loaf (midnight snack! yay!)

All five of us were pleased with our entrees - tri-tip, cioppino, veggie ravioli, chicken and redfish. All were sizeable portions, filling, tasty and well cooked. The dessert platter was more than enough for the five of us (two adults and kids 17,12 and 10) to make us overstuffed even after waiting for a late lunch.

As mentioned, the princesses came to us early - we met (in order) Aurora, Belle, Snow White and Cinderella. All were very pleasant and looked the part, took pics with our daughters... only one of the four looked like she was a little new at the whole princess thing (Snow White) but Cinderella was totally in character. They didn't spend a lot of time with us, but then all our kids are kind of out of the stage where they're interested in talking at length to cast members portraying princesses, so they were able to move to tables w/younger children, which was good.

As for the rest of the service, it was better than good - as with the rest of our trip, they practically fell over themselves to make us happy and respond to our requests. We did give in to the pitch to buy the photo with Ariel, despite having taken one of our own with my camera... we were just so overcome with good service!

I highly recommend the character meal here, and say that if you have a child who is a princess fan you MUST, if you are able, try to fit this in!
15 out of 16 people found this review helpful
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5.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.0   March 31, 2009
Reviewer: K & S Southern California     April 01, 2009
While celebrating my granddaughter's birthday yesterday, we had dinner at Arial's Grotto.

It was a wonderful experience in every way. The food was delicious and we enjoyed the manner in which the different courses were served, starting with the antipasto tower and ending with dessert platter. Within our party of four we ordered three different entrees and each was excellent. The Santa Maria Tri Tip was tender and favorful, the Herb Crusted Chicken Breast was moist, and the Mafalde Pasta had just the right amount of spice.

Our server was Alina and she truly made the experience complete. From the moment we were seated her attitude showed that she wanted us to enjoy our dinner at Ariels Grotto. Her service was attentive without being overbearing, the true definition of a great server.

Ariels Grotto is, in my opinion, the best in-park restaurant at the Disneyland Resort. Adults can enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine and the children can enjoy interaction with the Princesses, all while enjoying a really delicious meal.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful
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4.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.0   oct 3/08
Reviewer: mielle414 ( bc canada     October 27, 2008
We had a late lunch at Ariels Grotto 2:30 seating. Even though we had been there a few times before my favourite was chicken pot pie I was a little dissappointed I wasnt going to have my usual. I ordered the Tri-Tip and my son the Adult menu pasta dish. Our server first brought out the bread with butter and 2 dips for the Antipasto. The antipasto came in 3 tiers featuring a salad, cold cuts, veggies and dip, cheese and jello squares with strawberries. It was really good but my son looked puzzled but ate it all and said it was good. One of the breads was a little tough to chew but the rest was good. The Tri-tip was really good I told my server I like my meat very well done and they gave me the end cut which was really good. It came with cheddar mashed potatoes and veggies. My son ate the whole pasta meal saying it was really good. Dessert comes on a plate with a sample piece size of each which was really good, a white chocolate conch shell, brownies. tarts all good but by the time you finish your meal you are stuffed. The only complaint or observation I made was that several tables did not eat too much of the antipasto which you have no choice over. I think it is such a waste of food. Since my son and I are big eaters we only left a little of the salad. I reccomend this restaurant the service was awesome and meeting the Princesses great. For what my son and I had was great tasting and the right amount.
6 out of 8 people found this review helpful
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2.0/5.02.0/5.02.0/5.02.0/5.02.0/5.0   4/26/07
Reviewer: cactusgirl Wild and Wooly West Texas     April 29, 2007
Ugh. The food--not so good. The rolls were great, but the food was cold and tasteless. I had the special of the day--roasted chicken, green beans and roasted potatoes. It sounds a lot better than it was. Truly, there were no spices, butter or seasoning used on the green beans and the potatoes were cold, hard and undercooked. The kids' food went uneaten. It was cold and hard. However, we did eat the rolls. Lots of them. They were hot and tasty. If you are the least concerned about food, do Goofy's Kitchen. The kid's "dessert" was fresh fruit with yogurt or apples smothered in caramel. The girls wanted ice cream, but that wasn't an option. We did this exact same thing in WDW where they got ice cream with a chocolate crown. In fact, the food all around at the WDW version was far superior.

However, at DL, you are trapped. Want to see a princess--wait in line for hours at the Fantasy Faire or shell out the dollars to eat at Ariel's Grotto. There are no other princesses--anywhere. Okay, so there is one at the end of "Drawn to the Magic" but she doesn't always stay very long for pictures at the end.

On our visit, the princess interaction was dismal at best. They rush to your table, quickly sign books, lean over the chairs to hug the girls, snap your shot and they are gone. Once I asked is we could move to the aisle to take a pict, but I was told that there were lots of little princesses to visit. Now, at the table before ours, a few princesses were getting down on the floor with the girls, but not at our table. It was frustrating.

The worst part was the Ariel picture. I was going as a solo adult with 2 kiddos on this trip. I wanted a picture with all of us. However, the only option you have is the $35 package. You can't get a single 5x7--at least I was told that we could not. One very positive note--Ariel was incredible with the girls. She actually took time to talk with them, listen and make them feel special. That was memorable.

When we go back, we will do Goofy's Kitchen or Minnie's Breakfast. At each of those, the characters interacted more with the guests--young and old alike--plus the food is good.
12 out of 15 people found this review helpful
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3.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.0   March 27th 2007
Reviewer: manoangelic Albuquerque, NM     April 08, 2007
· Date of visit. March 27th 2007
· Type of meal. Lunch
· The experience is worth the price. We have 2 girls and they went nuts when the princesses visited our table. We got some pictures. Cinderella though snubbed out youngest by skipping her and went straight to the next table. She had a fit. She is only 1 1/2 yrs but she really wanted a hug from her but I assume she just didn't notice her.
The food was terrible. I had the salmon BLT. It was gross. The salmon just tasted way too fishy in a bad way. The wife had fish and chips and they tasted like frozen out of the box fish sticks.
I had the cheesy onion soup to start and it was way too bitter.
The dessert was good. Chocolate cake. can't mess that up too much.
If you have little girls this place is a must. If not skip it.

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful
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4.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.0   Friday, February 9, 2007
Reviewer: StuffnFluff San Luis Obispo, CA     February 13, 2007
Booked this dinner through AAA along with our hotel reservations. My parents, my 5 year-old daughter and I arrived a few minutes early and waited approximately 15 minutes to be seated. Our waitress was friendly and prompt and was happy to let us know how and when the Princesses would appear. A Page came by our table and spoke with my daughter for several minutes about the princesses and her visit so far. She made sure we had our autograph book and camera ready. The wait for dinner was minimal and the food was very good. My mom and I had the penne pasta which was very tasty and had a bit of a kick. My daughter had the pasta without sauce, just butter. Our food was served just as the princesses started coming out so she was way to excited to eat. Each princess spent a good amount of time with my daughter; asking lots of questions and listening patiently as my daughter answered. This was so much easier than waiting in that long line at the Princess Fantasy Faire....It was a little chilly with the AC blowing straight down on us and when we asked a cast member about adjusting it; he said he did not think they had access to it but would ask someone. He returned less than 2 minutes later and confirmed that they had no access to the AC controls and apologized. Normally I would think it was just us being too cold but I did hear a woman an a nearby table ask about the AC as well. This was a very easy way to enjoy a good meal and to watch my daughter have the time of her life meeting the princesses. We will return.
7 out of 7 people found this review helpful
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2.0/5.02.0/5.02.0/5.02.0/5.02.0/5.0   6/10/06
Reviewer: Doofy South Jordan, UT     July 15, 2006
Stuff we liked:
-Atmosphere (down on the water by Paradise Pier)
-Princesses were great and each came to our table a couple of times
-Food (especially the onion soup)
-Price was exactly what you expect for a character dining
-Our 2 year old ate for free

Stuff we didn't like:
-We had to wait 45 min for a table even though we had a priority seating
-Once we were seated it took an hour and a half to finish our meal because of the slow service
-We noticed all the other tables were given a bucket of cotton candy as a dessert after the meal, but we were not given one

Maybe we went on an off day but all the waiting we did left a sour taste in our mouth.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful
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5.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.05.0/5.0   3/27/06
Reviewer: mickey fan65 Hanover, IN     June 30, 2006
This is an absolute must-especially if you have a daughter:) I was unsure how my 11 year old would respond but she loved it. The food/service was excellent and is also a great value. You will leave stuffed. I highly recommend the chicken noodle soup as your appetizer. My daughter especially loved Ariel (on human legs:) and Belle....I don't know where they find these young ladies but they are perfect at their jobs. We also met Cinderella and Mulan, who were also very lovley. My son, who didn't want to eat with a bunch of girls was quickly won over by the princesses and Mulan who told him she could just tell he was a great warrior. The character meals are always top notch--we have experienced 10-12 meals at both WDW and Disneyland and this one is among the best!!
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful
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4.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.0   February 17, 2006
Reviewer: Bay Area Disneygoer Moraga, California     February 22, 2006
A little pricey, but worth the indulgence for a place to relax while your daughter gets some one on one time with five princesses. We were very pleased with this lunch, aside from having to wait almost 30 minutes even though we had priority seating reservations and a slight delay in keeping the food rolling. These were blips, however. The experience overall was very enjoyable. The food was much better than anything else you can get in the park (putting aside Club 33 and the like). I had a salmon blt that was delicious. The kids' meals were typical fare, but well-presented. Our 18 month old ate for free -- you don't come across "free" very much at the ol' magic kingdom! The room is very pleasant (outside looked nice, but it was a little cold that day), with a nice row of view windows and plenty of space between tables. The highlight, of course, was the well-organized rotation of the princesses through the room. We saw Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Ariel, Mulan, and Cinderella. All of them were perky and friendly, and Sleeping Beauty, Mulan, and, thankfully, Cinderella were particularly friendly and effusive with our daughter. The room is kept under control, with children politely advised in advance, and reminded as needed, to wait their turn at their own table. It beats standing in line at the castle by a zillion miles. The premium for the lunch is a fair trade for the chance to have table service (you can even order a beer, but that seemed a little out of place once we actually sat down), enjoy the view, and watch your little one rack up the photos and autographs during special "face time" with the princesses. Highly recommended. I would give five planets but for the longer than expected wait to sit down and for the lag in keeping the meal moving along (and there were some flecks in a glass of milk, a very helpful busboy whisked that glass away and replaced it with a new one very quickly).
12 out of 12 people found this review helpful
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4.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.0   Jan. 3, 2006
Reviewer: cpeak Yuba City, CA     February 12, 2006
We arrived a little early for our seating and had to wait a little bit. We were starving and tired. It was very nice to sit and be served, by a fantastic waitress. Everything was laid back. We enjoyed how the princesses came to us and we didn't have to compete for time. Also since DH and I were so tired, we didn't have to follow the girls around or keep getting up to get food. The food was fine; rest and princess interaction make this meal well worth it.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful
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