While the Enchanted Rose won’t officially open until Tuesday, October 8th, the new Beauty and the Beast-inspired bar and lounge is now in soft openings. We gave you a photo and video tour around the location as the first guests to arrive back on Friday, and today we wanted to give you our thoughts on the experience, venue, and food and drink offerings to help you decide if you should visit during your next vacation. Here’s our Enchanted Rose review!
The rumor and subsequent announcement of a Beauty and the Beast-themed bar and lounge drew quite a bit of opinion from Disney fans online. Mizner’s Lounge, the space that a portion of Enchanted Rose was to take over, was popular with locals and tourists alike. It was a small, hole-in-the-wall bar and lounge space that was mostly a quiet venue with wonderful staff. It wasn’t always the most popular bar, but it was quaint. Disney obviously saw room for expansion. Both of the space and of their bottom line.
As we talk about theming, we’d be remiss not to mention two contrasting trends happening at Disney resorts right now. On the one hand, we’re seeing room renovations that remove a lot of the “Disney touch” that guests have been use to for decades. Many guests have likened it to a “sterile” theme of sorts, as bedrunners and more details throughout the room see the removal of Disney IP and characters. On the other hand, we’re seeing the potential infusion of IP into resorts that previously might not have had it. From the testing of Incredibles-themed rooms at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, to the introduction of a Beauty and the Beast-inspired bar and lounge at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. I’m not sure there is much of a point other than just to point out the contrasting actions being taken by Disney. It’s hard to see their endgame, but perhaps Enchanted Rose can shine a light.
First, we’ll start with the concept art released by Disney and compare it to the actual space.
Here’s a look back at the Commander Porters shop that the Showcase Ballroom Bar took over, from roughly the same angle as the photo above. I don’t think that anyone would argue that Commander Porters was a better use of the space. There is little doubt that this is an upgrade from a seldomly patronized mens shop.
Back to Enchanted Rose. The space is split up into four different rooms. The Showcase Ballroom Bar is likely going to be the most popular of the rooms. It features the centerpiece chandelier that is supposed to represent the flowing gown that Belle wears in the ballroom dance scene of the movie. Because of the prevalence of live-action remakes of Disney animated classics, it’s probably worth noting that this bar draws its inspiration from the live-action remake, not the animated classic.
The handful of references to the movie and franchise are more subtle than I’m sure the majority of Disney fans had expected, perhaps tempering the fears that the bar would be a literal representation of scenes from the movie like you would see at the Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom.
The Showcase Ballroom Bar will likely be a nice space to grab an early-afternoon drink, but as the day continues into night, we noticed that the acoustics of the circular room made the noise levels almost unpleasantly loud. We can see Enchanted Rose being a wonderful spot to grab a midday drink and recharge (both you and your phone).
We really enjoyed interacting with the bartenders during the hour and a half or so that we spent at the bar, but noticed that the entire room got too loud to hear the background music (yes, there is background music) or even have a conversation when your party is three or more.
There are some comfortable and nice tables throughout the Showcase Ballroom Bar beyond just the bar seating.
Moving on, we’ll head to the Formal Library next, which is the space that use to be Mizner’s Lounge. We’re told that most of the time spent during construction was to raise the floor here. As you might remember, Mizner’s Lounge was set about three steps below the hallway that runs along the second-floor perimeter of the lobby. By raising the floor here, Disney has made the space much more accessible.
There is a bigger variety of seating here than any other space, making this much more of a lounge and where we spent the majority of our time on opening night. The space absorbs conversation nicely and the seating remains generally intimate even though it is a large room.
It is worth noting that if you arrive before 4 or 5pm, it’s likely that this room won’t be open. According to managers that we spoke with, they will open the Showcase Ballroom Bar first, with overflow seating available in the Whimsical Garden and patio as needed. It’s possible that if the Enchanted Rose becomes extremely popular like a Trader Sam’s that Disney will have to revisit this operational plan, and we’ll update this post should that change.
The Formal Library is also home to the most Beauty and the Beast references and even some live-action characters in their static state.
In general, the Beauty and the Beast theming is not overly in your face. It’s possible that more than a few guests will even walk in and not even notice a single Beauty and the Beast character.
Disney is kind of in an interesting position here. They clearly wanted to introduce an overarching theme of Beauty and the Beast, possibly for a larger princess theme to the resort in the coming years, but they took out a bar that was frequented by convention center guests as well. As the only real bar at Disney’s Grand Floridian, Enchanted Rose will have to wear a lot of hats. From Disney fans to conventioneers to families, there is a much bigger pool of potential guests than Mizner’s Lounge could have drawn. Whether it works in the long-term remains to be seen.
We’ll only talk briefly about the Whimsical Garden and patio spaces, because they are underwhelming compared to the Showcase Ballroom Bar and Formal Library. In order to create the Whimsical Garden, Disney had to wall off a seating area that was otherwise not used previously. I think I was expecting for there to be something more interesting than a mural and bench seating. There were no extra elements or special effects to make this space anything more than what you see below.
If you want to sit outside, there are a few tables on the patio, which is accessible through the Whimsical Garden space. I’m more likely to give Disney a pass on the patio than the interior space as far as theming is concerned. As you can see, there’s really not a lot of effort given to this space beyond maybe some planters along the far wall. There are some space heaters out here which will make the space usable year round.
The quick takeaway opinion is that Disney made subtle references to Beauty and the Beast while still creating a bar that can stand alone on its own. It’s not “cartoony”, and there are some nice spaces to enjoy. Now, let’s take a look at what we had to drink and eat in the over eight hours we spent at Enchanted Rose on opening day.
Island Rose – $15
Ketel One Grapefruit and Rose, Lime, Orgeat (Almond), Pineapple, Bitters, and Rose Water
The Island Rose is a wonderfully fruity drink. It’s a bit of an odd addition to the otherwise strong lineup of cocktails. This almost felt like a Trader Sam’s drink given the tropical flavors and presentation. A spray of rose water on the top of the drink gives it a floral aroma until you find the bottom of the glass. The predominant flavor was a combination of pineapple and lime, with some of the Ketel One grapefruit present as well. It’s an “easy” drink to enjoy if you’re not looking for a stronger option.
Rye Not? – $24
Whistle Pig 10yr Rye Whiskey, Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, Cinnamon, Pineapple, and Lemon
If the Island Rose was an easy drink to get through, our next drink was very much a sipping drink. The Rye Not? allowed the Whistle Pig 10yr Rye Whisky to shine. Whistle Pig claims that this is the most awarded Rye Whisky in the world, and on first sip, we can see why. It’s a smooth whisky that still packs a punch. The cinnamon and pineapple combine with the lemon to create a complex flavor that is much more than just a whisky.
It’s served in a chilled glass and very cold. We actually really enjoyed how cold it was, and hope that the bartenders are able to prepare the drink properly, even during high traffic times.
Lavender Fog – $18
Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin, Rothman Crème de Violette, English Breakfast Tea, Vanilla, and Cream
A slightly frothy drink, the Lavender Fog is a nice and creamy drink that presents the tea nicely. The vanilla is present as well, and it’s finished off with a smooth gin.
Seasonal Old Fashioned – $25
Widow Jane 10yr Straight Bourbon Whiskey, House-made Seasonal Syrup, and Bitters
Disney is betting on this being a showstopper of sorts. We’re told it will be featured in USA Today on Tuesday, and it’s one of the drinks that the Cast Members are highlighting when guests ask for a recommendation. A lot of care and thought was put into creating this drink, according to managers at the location. From house-made seasonal syrup to a carefully crafted flavor profile, does the Seasonal Old Fashioned live up to the $25 asking price?
As you can see in the photos, there is more to this drink than simply mixing a few liquors. Fresh cranberries are used to create the “seasonal” flavor, which we’re told should last into the new year, as the flavor profile is expected to change quarterly. The cranberries are muddled into the drink to create an exceptionally fresh flavor and aroma.
The end result is a drink that, while pricy at $25, is still a wonderfully made cocktail that will earn its featured spot on the menu.
Tableside Cocktails – Amour & Envie – $21 each
Perhaps the best part of our evening was the presentation of the Tableside Cocktails. These can be served either at your table or at the bar, but we recommend having them served tableside for the full presentation. That said, on opening day Disney was running low on ingredients for the cocktail and our server Chelsea was wonderful enough to find just enough ingredients to serve us the last two drinks of opening evening. Because we were served the last drinks of the evening, the presentation took place away from our table as you’ll see in the video below. That said, the rolling cart would typically be taken directly to your table for the full experience.
These two cocktails not only are opposite in name, but also flavor and style.
The Amour (love) cocktail was very sweet and fruity, with some floral tones. It perfectly matched what we expected from a cocktail with the name Amour and the storyline given in the presentation.
On the other hand, the Envy contained a smoothness up front, but some bitterness at the end. Again, a smartly prepared drink to match the storyline given to us.
At $21 each, I think that these are the most reasonably priced drinks at Enchanted Rose. Between the presentation, backstory, and (in the case of the Envy) strong pour, they will likely prove to be popular.
Mini Smoked Short-Rib Sliders – $16
With some drinks enjoyed in the early afternoon, we were ready to try some food when it became available at 5pm. Do note that the hours of Enchanted Rose are 1pm to midnight, but you’ll only be able to grab a bite to eat between 5pm and 10pm.
Ok, on to the first bites of the evening – the Mini Smoked Short-Rib Sliders. In addition to the Short Rib, you’ll find Glacier Blue Cheese and Onion Marmalade on Split-top Buns.
Everything about this was excellent and these will likely become the most popular item on the menu. Sure, they’re $16 for three four-bite sliders, but $16 is cheap at the Enchanted Rose. The buns were nicely grilled, providing a bit of a crunch on the exterior before surrendering to an amazingly soft interior. The Glacier blue cheese added a bit of sharpness to the dish to balance it well. We might come back just for these sliders alone. We can definitely recommend them!
Crab and Gnocchetti Gratin – $16
Jumbo Lump Crab, Gnocchetti Sardi, Robiola Bosina Mornay, Citrus Breadcrumbs
What we have here is essentially a seafood Mac & Cheese. A nice serving size would be enough to fill you up even though all of the food at Enchanted Rose is listed as a starter. Shredded crab is present throughout, providing the mild to moderate “fishy” flavor. The gnocchetti was cooked well and the breadcrumbs added a nice crunch to the dish.
House-made Flatbread – $18
Charred Broccolini, Seasonal Mushrooms, Fennel Sausage, Ricotta Salata, Tomato Confit
We find another wonderful portion with the house-made flatbread. Fresh veggies can be found on top of a slightly crunchy flatbread. Between the sausage and mushrooms, you got quite a hearty dish that balanced well with the broccolini and tomato. Another wonderful option if you find yourself wanting to grab a bite to eat with your drinks.
Espelette Pepper-spiced Shrimp – $19
Lime Gelée, Piquillo Pepper Purée, Serrano Ham
The shrimp is the first dish that really sticks out as one that is probably blatantly overpriced. That’s not to say that it’s not good, because we loved it, but we would have wanted to see eight shrimp hit the plate instead of the five we received for $19. The shrimp themselves were chilled, a nice contrast to the serrano ham draped over them. The Piquillo Pepper Purée was particularly delicious to pair with the shrimp and ham. Again, we really enjoyed the dish, but found the price and offering to be too far apart to recommend it right now.
Truffle Fries – $14
Shaved Black Truffles and 18-Month Aged Parmesan
Finally, we have arrived at the Truffle Fries. $14 is a lot to swallow for truffle fries, but we were happy to find the portion was sufficient and the fries were good quality. It’s served with a garlic aioli on the side that is extremely dippable, and makes the fries a wonderfully accessible option.
Overall, the Enchanted Rose is probably going to be viewed quite positively by the vast majority of guests. Yes, locals lost Mizner’s Lounge and everything that made it charming, but Enchanted Rose will get the average guest to get off the monorail or boat when they otherwise wouldn’t have.
Another big loss that can’t be understated is the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra. No, they haven’t been cut or discontinued, but upstairs seating outside of Enchanted Rose has displaced them to the first floor.
They will eventually have to move again for the installation of the Gingerbread House in the coming weeks. This could place them even further from guest view, over in a corner of the lobby. We really wish there was a way to get them back on the second floor balcony, but it seems unlikely.
As far as Enchanted Rose is concerned, it’s not an over-the-top “cartoony” version of Beauty and the Beast. Does it fit in the current version of the Grand Floridian, probably not, but Disney is constantly changing and upgrading their hotels and the Grand Floridian is looking quite dated in some regards. We’ve seen the introduction of Bippity Boppity Boutique recently, and I’m sure Disney has more plans for the space in the future that might make more sense for Enchanted Rose.
The real highlight of Enchanted Rose is the fact that you have Cast Members and managers that have prepared strong enough drinks to make the $20+ pricetag “worth it”.
We found the Showcase Ballroom Bar and Formal Library spaces to be enjoyable, with the library being preferable once the evening crowds show up at the bar. Keep in mind that this isn’t a Trader Sam’s type atmosphere with a lot going on. It’s a relaxing space and doesn’t really offer much in terms of stimulation, especially for younger guests. Overally, we’ll certainly be back to Enchanted Rose and can suggest it for a relaxing night out.