Liberty Tree Tavern
Character Dinner

by Deb Wills
AllEars® Editor-in-Chief

Feature Article

This article appeared in the February 27, 2001 Issue #74 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

Editor's Note: This story/information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all current rates, information and other details before planning your trip.

Give Me Liberty or Give Me....
...Some Good Ol' American Food!

Deep in the heart of the Magic Kingdom's version of colonial America, just past the Hall of Presidents and the Liberty Bell, you can find the Liberty Tree Tavern. When you walk through the doors, be ready to eat! Stopping by to say hello while you dine will be Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Goofy and Chip and Dale, all dressed in colonial attire!

I had never eaten here before, wasn't sure I really wanted to...but it seemed like a good choice for an evening to be filled with the Main Street Electrical Parade, fireworks and E-Ride Night enjoyment! Turned out to be really good food and lots of fun, too!

Even at 5:30pm on an off-season Friday night, the waiting area was already full of families, with the overflow spilling outside! I guess everyone had the same idea as I did. I was meeting up with friends for dinner and we were a large party of five adults and two children (Marcia, Debbie, Michele, Caleb, Deb and Katharine, 8, and Patrick, 5).

The decor is Early American -- lots of dark woods, blues, reds and whites. Even with several different seating levels and rooms, it was VERY loud! Dinner is all you can eat, brought to you at the table on large platters.

After about a 20-minute wait, we headed in for our seating at a large rectangular table. We had barely been seated when our server arrived to take our beverage orders (no alcohol is served in the Magic Kingdom), quickly followed by two large salad platters. The radicchio, red lettuce, romaine, and baby spinach salad was topped with carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers and tossed with a strawberry vinaigrette. The salad greens were very fresh and tasty; the carrots and cucumbers were good, but the tomatoes were barely ripe. I know they aren't in season -- but tomatoes ought to be red, not pale in color! Despite that, I enjoyed the salad and promptly ordered another platter, while anticipating the main course.

Accompanying the salad were small sweet rolls with cinnamon apple butter. Caleb was licking his lips and convinced me to try some. The apple butter was VERY tasty, especially on the sweet rolls. Katharine and I tried to figure out what made the rolls sweet and we finally decided they were lightly brushed with honey. Both Patrick and Katharine were very fond of the rolls!

All of the previous characters meals I've had at the Magic Kingdom have been rushed, and the Liberty Tree Tavern continued that trend. We'd only just finished our salads, when the plates were whisked away and the main courses and accompaniments appeared.

The food, served "family style", consisted of two Patriot Platters, with generous servings of roast turkey breast, marinated flank steak and honey-mustard glazed ham.

The flank steak was already sliced and, though tender, had a strange spice added. None of us could decide for sure what it was, but we think it was sage (neither child cared for the beef). The ham was also tender (no need for a knife) and coated with a sweet glaze of honey mustard. The roast white meat turkey was great...probably the best roast turkey I have had at WDW! It was tasty and tender! In fact, turkey won solidly when I polled everyone on their favorite meat. Actually, we had 4 votes for turkey, 2 for the beef and Patrick voted for the Mashed Potatoes!

Speaking of the mashed potatoes, our sides also included baby carrots, herb bread stuffing and Stouffer's Macaroni and Cheese. The kids didn't care too much for the carrots or the macaroni and cheese, but kept going back for more mashed potatoes. I had to agree with them on the mac and cheese -- it was way too soft, mushy, and tasteless. I thought the carrots were done nicely, with a slight glaze to sweeten them. The stuffing was made of corn bread and most of us found it too sweet for our tastes. There was PLENTY of food and no one left hungry!

About 40 minutes into our meal, we still had not been visited by any of the characters we saw milling among the other guests. A question about this to our server brought the standard reply: It takes them an hour to work their way around the whole room. The problem with that was they were spending all their time on the entry level and hadn't even begun to make their rounds our way -- guests at the table behind ours were also beginning to complain!

Happily, Dale came over to our table soon thereafter. I embarrassed myself and upset Dale by calling him Chip (and I even know who is who!). He is a forgiving chipmunk and was soon hugging me and posing for photos. Both Chip and Dale had colonial attire on, I figured out the powdered wig, but I'm not sure what else they were wearing! Goofy was dressed more as a riverboat gambler in a green jacket and black flat topped hat. Minnie had a blue gown with a white shawl draped around her shoulders, and a white colonial cap on her head.

Although we all chowed down for dinner, I had heard about the good desserts so I saved a little room. Our server came by with a dessert tray that included: poundcake with pecans and ice cream; ice cream sundae, strawberry shortcake, chocolate cake, maple brown walnut cheesecake, and finally apple crisp. Desserts are not included in the dinner price. Coffee and tea were served in delicate white teacups with a floral pattern.

Katharine loved the cheesecake, in fact she said she was a "cheesecake girl". The strawberry shortcake was another favorite with a light and crispy biscuit. I had the pound cake which was (in my opinion) the best of all the desserts. The buttery pound cake was not too rich and not too sweet with a buttery warm pecan caramel sauce. The apple crisp was also enjoyed and featured fresh sliced apples and vanilla bean ice cream.

Overall we had a great time, good food and plenty of it. Our server, Cuong, seemed a bit absent (except to deliver the food) and we had to ask several times for drink refills. The dining hall was noisy, as most character meals are. My real complaint was how rushed we were from start to finish. I have found this pretty typical at character meals inside the theme parks, including a recent experience at Cinderella's Castle breakfast. If you want a leisurely paced character meal - go to one of the character meals offered in the resorts.

However, if you're looking for someplace the whole family can enjoy dinner right inside a theme park; I recommend that you head on over to the Liberty Tree Tavern in the Magic Kingdom. Be sure to get a Priority Seating! Enjoy the good, not great, food, have fun with the characters, and try to get your server to slow down so you can relax a little.

Cost: Adults, $19.95; children 3-11, $9.95. Tax and gratuity not included.

Hours: Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Dinner begins at 4:00 p.m. Closing time depends on what time the Magic Kingdom closes.

Notes: When I searched for the restrooms, I was directed up a flight of stairs. As I walked back to the main floor, I looked for handicapped restrooms on the main floor. There aren't any! I inquired at the podium and was told the nearest accessible restrooms were out the door to the left (back towards the Adventureland cut through).

Liberty Tree Tavern serves an a la carte menu for lunch, no characters. Appetizers range from $3.25 to $7.50, Salads with chicken or shrimp for $10.75 and $11.75, sandwiches around $10, and for those wanting a hot meal figure on $10.95 - $16.95 for entrees.

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Editor's Note: This story/information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all current rates, information and other details before planning your trip.