There’s one Walt Disney World restaurant at which we’ve dined repeatedly over time, and but, one way or the other nonetheless haven’t reviewed…till now. Traditionally, it’s been the worst eating possibility at Magic Kingdom, making the ‘most mediocre meal’ moniker hyperbole. (I can’t go up alliteration–even when including a superlative to mediocre makes little semantic sense.)
This notorious eatery is the Diamond Horseshoe in Liberty Sq. at Magic Kingdom. Pre-closure, this restaurant operated seasonally and went by way of a wide range of menus and meal companies, from quick-service lunch to family-style feasts to an a la carte dinner. Little or no thought or, frankly, effort was put into any of that. These menus made Tony’s City Sq. appear like the head of the culinary arts, by comparability.
Folks doing the height weeks at Walt Disney World (and bloggers like us) have been “handled” to a revolving door of ideas on the Diamond Horseshoe, with every new meal managing, in opposition to all odds, to be simply as dangerous because the one earlier than it. That is truly a pink flag in the case of Walt Disney World eating–the Italy and Mexico cubicles don’t do new menus for each single EPCOT competition as a result of they’re attempting to push the culinary envelope!
Earlier than we get forward of ourselves, let’s begin this restaurant evaluate of the Diamond Horseshoe with fundamentals. This eating spot presently provides a ten% low cost for Annual Passholders or Disney Trip Membership members. (That may improve to twenty% throughout slower seasons–or if Walt Disney World brings again Tables in Wonderland.)
For these planning prematurely, the Diamond Horseshoe is a collaborating restaurant for the 2024 Disney Eating Plan. If in any respect attainable, we advocate paying out of pocket when consuming right here, regardless of the blingy title, Diamond Horseshoe is a horrible worth on the Disney Eating Plan.
There’s completely no cause to imagine that’ll change between now and subsequent 12 months, even when the Diamond Horseshoe does get one other menu overhaul. One in line with this spot is that the menu has at all times been among the many least expensive out of pocket eating places in Magic Kingdom. About the one manner it might change is that if dwell leisure returns to the Diamond Horseshoe…and I’d be shocked if that occurs in my lifetime.
Planning-wise, the Diamond Horseshoe is exceedingly simple to e-book. In truth, this is likely to be one of many least-competitive in-park Advance Eating Reservations (ADRs) in all of Walt Disney World. It’s by no means booked up greater than 30 days forward of time; even throughout busier occasions, there’s often availability a number of days out. (You gained’t want it right here, however see our Information to Advance Eating Reservations at Walt Disney World for suggestions & methods to attain elusive ADRs, data in regards to the 60+10 rule, and extra.)
Principally, the Diamond Horseshoe is the default ‘lack of higher choices’ possibility at Magic Kingdom. When you do any quantity of advance planning, you’ll seemingly have your choose of seating occasions. Even in case you don’t, it needs to be attainable for same-day ADRs or to attain a spot by way of Stroll-Up Waitlist.
Stroll-Up Waitlist is exactly how I booked my meal right here. Unsurprisingly, the Diamond Horseshoe had the shortest wait time of all eating places in Magic Kingdom on this specific night time. At the same time as different eating places have been booked stable or had lengthy waits, Diamond Horseshoe had an estimated wait of 5 minutes. That was truly an earlier return time than many Cellular Order time frames at counter service eating places!
Regardless that I’ve been burned by the Diamond Horseshoe many occasions prior to now, I opted to offer it one other shot. Partly as a result of I needed to lastly get a evaluate printed earlier than the menu might change once more (mission completed). Partly as a result of I used to be touring solo, and I knew Sarah wouldn’t care within the least if I revisited this spot with out her.
Additionally, there’s no manner it could possibly be any worse than previous trainwreck meals at Diamond Horseshoe have been–possibly it’d be one other Walt Disney World restaurant redemption story!!! (Narrator: it was not.)
Now that I’ve given away that this isn’t a redemption story, I also needs to share a number of different key particulars. First, in case you get a little bit of the déjà vu trying on the menu, that’s for good cause. The family-style feast right here is precisely the identical because the “All-You-Care-to-Take pleasure in Invoice of Fare” over at Liberty Tree Tavern. The names of the varied dishes are totally different, but it surely’s in any other case an identical. Not solely that, however the meals all comes from the very same shared kitchen between the venues.
For some time after reopening, the Diamond Horseshoe was used as overflow seating for Liberty Tree Tavern. The previous has since returned as a definite restaurant with distinct reservations and a definite menu, however these are finally all distinctions with none significant variations. For all sensible functions, the Diamond Horseshoe remains to be Liberty Tree Tavern overflow–simply with a veneer of separation.
There are most likely some followers who will declare the delicacies is healthier at Liberty Tree Tavern for some cause or one other (we nonetheless hear comparable claims with the Monte Cristo served in New Orleans Sq. at Disneyland), however there’s no foundation to that. Perceptions are coloured by the setting, historical past, previous experiences, or no matter. Which is completely truthful. Walt Disney World is all about nostalgia, and sure delicacies “hits totally different” somewhere else.
With that mentioned, this brings us to a different sensible piece of recommendation for these doing Stroll-Ups: take a look at the wait occasions for each Liberty Tree Tavern and the Diamond Horseshoe. Once more, my wait to be seated right here was 5 minutes. At the very same time, the estimated look forward to Liberty Tree Tavern was 55 minutes and there was an enormous crowd outdoors ready to be seated. (I’m form of stunned Walt Disney World wouldn’t redirect friends to the Diamond Horseshoe in that state of affairs.)
Wanting across the seating space on the Diamond Horseshoe is like déjà vu yet again! (This admittedly extra clever mangling than Magic Kingdom’s most mediocre meal isn’t mine.)
The Diamond Horseshoe would possibly look acquainted in case you’ve visited Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, or Disneyland Paris. These parks are house to the Golden Horseshoe, the Diamond Horseshoe, and the Fortunate Nugget Saloon, respectively.
Of these, the final two are the very best and distinct from each other. (Above is a photograph of the now-retired stage present at Tokyo Disneyland–see extra in our Evaluate of the Mickey & Co. Diamond Horseshoe Dinner Present. A brand new idea debuts there in September 2023.)
Against this, the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland incarnations are simple to confuse in type, substance and–sadly for me–names. (Nonetheless not as dangerous because the Little Mermaid darkish rides on every coast, however I digress.)
The seating space within the Diamond Horseshoe is pretty small–most likely the smallest of any restaurant in Magic Kingdom. It’s additionally basically a large open room, with little or no to interrupt up the area.
This was once a revue/jamboree a lot within the type of Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Fort Wilderness. I vaguely bear in mind seeing it after I was a child, however nothing has been carried out on stage right here since 2003.
Now, the one “leisure” on the Diamond Horseshoe is the “World Well-known Self-Enjoying Piano.” The music is good, but it surely’s a shadow of what as soon as was.
The time for mourning the lack of the revue or jamboree leisure on the Diamond Horseshoe has gone, and that’s not what I’m trying to do right here. Nevertheless, I do assume it’s truthful to level out that this venue was constructed for that goal, and has basically been a flex area for years.
The Diamond Horseshoe was shuttered for a number of years up till round 2009, when it began getting used as a personality dance celebration and refreshment spot throughout Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Get together. As famous above, it has since been open seasonally for a rotating assortment of ideas.
Perhaps I’ve the burden of information, however the Diamond Horseshoe very a lot feels like a flex area to me, even at present. The old-fashioned design and a focus to element is good, however it’s important to put blinders on for it. There’s additionally a variety of unused a/v gear, the bars aren’t used for any sensible functions, and the upstairs seating is unavailable.
Once more, possibly it is a “me drawback.” However even serving the identical menu, I discover a night-and-day distinction between the ambiance on the Diamond Horseshoe and Liberty Tree Tavern. The latter is much better–extra heat, inviting, and comfortable.
I wouldn’t argue with anybody who claims the meals–which, once more, is precisely the identical–tastes higher at Liberty Tree Tavern consequently. Wrapping up mediocre delicacies in a prettier bundle with nicer ambiance has a manner of doing that at Walt Disney World!
Turning to delicacies, I wish to supply the necessary (to me) caveat that I’m not a meals snob. I like consolation meals. Considered one of my ongoing private ‘initiatives’ is compiling a Record of the Finest Burgers at Walt Disney World. I just lately reviewed a brand new menu of sizzling canines at Magic Kingdom. I eat and luxuriate in all forms of delicacies, from quick meals to high quality eating.
Simply placing that on the market now as a result of the next might recommend in any other case…
The All-You-Care-to-Take pleasure in Frontier Feast on the Diamond Horseshoe begins with home rolls.
These weren’t superb, tasting like somebody took retailer model bread from Walmart and slathered a layer of butter on the outside and put them below a warmth lamp for 45 minutes. Silver lining: bread is pointless filler and may by no means be the star of an all-you-can-eat meal.
After the dinner rolls got here the Diamond Horseshoe Salad: Combined Greens, Apples, Cranberries, and Cheese tossed with our Home-made Dressing.
This can be a easy and simple pre-mixed salad. A charitable evaluation can be that it’s gentle and refreshing, with a wide range of greens, sufficient toppings to make it attention-grabbing, and a straightforward strategy to examine the field of some veggies earlier than consuming a heavy feast. Much less charitably, there are actually numerous counter service salads which might be higher and extra bold than this.
Nonetheless, I extremely doubt anybody is trying on the menu for the Diamond Horseshoe and reserving on the idea of breads or salads. Each of those starters are adequate as position fillers.
Let’s flip to the star of the present, which is the Saloon Feast.
This consists of Roasted Turkey, Pot Roast, and Oven-roasted Pork with Mashed Potatoes, Seasonal Greens, Herbed Stuffing, and Home-made Macaroni & Cheese.
I began with the edges, going straight for the mashed potatoes.
These are the usual subject Walt Disney World mashed potatoes, accessible at a wide range of eating places. That’s not criticism–they’ve perfected these mashed potatoes right into a masterpiece, with simply the correct quantity of butter, seasoning, salt, creaminess and texture. They’re not the very best mashed potatoes you’ll ever have, however they’re a quintessential Walt Disney World dish. I like them.
Subsequent to the mashed potatoes, you’ll spot inexperienced beans. These tasted like inexperienced beans. That’s all I’ve to say about that.
The opposite spotlight of the edges would usually be the macaroni and cheese. Not the case with this meal. This was like in case you took a field of off-brand mac & cheese, dumped the pasta, powdered cheese, and water right into a container, and microwaved it for 45 minutes as an alternative of 4 to 5 minutes. Dry isn’t usually a phrase I’d use to explain mac & cheese, but it surely suits right here.
The herbed stuffing was a tad higher, but it surely was positively over-seasoned/salted. Past that, stuffing isn’t actually my factor so I can’t communicate to its general high quality–providing additional ideas can be like a vegetarian reviewing a rack of ribs.
Shifting on to the primary occasion: MEAT.
The Roasted Turkey and Pork have very comparable taste profiles, regardless of being essentially totally different. These meats have been dry, salty, and simply usually low-quality and appeared over-processed. Each struck me as the kind of meat that has a double-digit share of “resolution” plus a cocktail of chemical compounds to “improve” the flavour, tenderness, and juiciness (mission: failed).
Fortunately, the pot roast delivered.
That is the spotlight of the meats; it’s juicy, tender and melts in your mouth. The pot roast has a wealthy and strong taste, which is additional enhanced with just a bit little bit of gravy. This meat was far and away my favourite a part of the meal; I ordered a refill of this and nothing else from the platter.
Now, I’m not going to say this pot roast is something particular or of a better high quality than the turkey and pork. It most likely isn’t. This additionally tasted low-quality, and I’m betting an inspection of the label would reveal a bunch of lab-made components the names of which I couldn’t pronounce.
However at the least this pot roast tastes good. I can settle for that it takes some good ole normal science to create among the addictively scrumptious meals that I like. Ignorance is bliss–I’ve zero need to study what’s in a McRib or the corn canine nuggets at Casey’s Nook. What I’m not down with is scientifically engineered “meals” that additionally, one way or the other, tastes dangerous.
Lastly, we arrive on the grand finale of the meal: dessert! On the Diamond Horseshoe and Liberty Tree Tavern, the signature dish is the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake.
If I’m being trustworthy with you (and hopefully Sarah has stopped studying by this level), “needing” to lastly evaluate the Diamond Horseshoe was merely a pretext. I used to be right here for bottomless Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake that I didn’t must share with anybody. They may’ve served cardboard for the opening acts of the meal (and possibly did!) for all I cared.
Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake is without doubt one of the finest desserts in all of Walt Disney World. It doesn’t rank because the definitive #1 for me, but it surely’s extremely shut. At all times within the high 10, which is extremely excessive reward for a dessert at an all-you-can-eat meal.
The bottom has the density and taste of a thick toffee-chocolate chunk cookie, with a crunchy exterior giving strategy to a gooey middle. It’s topped with plain vanilla ice cream, caramel, chocolate sauce, and toffee chips. Very like the remainder of the meal, the components listed below are all a bit bizarre on their very own. Not like these, this one way or the other comes collectively in excellent concord, with the top consequence being some of the addictively good, wealthy and scrumptious desserts you’ll have anyplace at Walt Disney World.
It’s arduous to explain what makes the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake so good, but it surely jogs my memory of the No Manner Jose at Seashores & Cream (one other seemingly “bizarre” dessert that excels) meets the Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Sundae at Ample Hills. Now that the latter venue on BoardWalk has closed, that is the very best “Ooey Gooey” dessert at Walt Disney World.
Finally, the conclusion of this evaluate and my meal on the Diamond Horseshoe are each outlined the identical manner: by the ultimate impression. When you stopped studying on the turkey and pork, there’s most likely no manner you’d wish to eat right here. And admittedly, this household type feast as an entire isn’t superb. Calling it “mediocre” would most likely be a charitable evaluation when contemplating the totality of the dishes.
Then I feel again to that Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake. It’s actually so good that I discover myself participating in psychological gymnastics to justify recommending a meal on the Diamond Horseshoe. Positive, two of the edges and two of the entrees have been borderline inedible, however possibly I acquired unfortunate. Perhaps your tastes differ. Additionally, the mashed potatoes and pot roast have been fairly good…and aren’t these the apparent issues any affordable individual would wish to eat, anyway? Does the remaining actually even matter?!?
Finally, that’s just about the place I’m at with the Diamond Horseshoe. When evaluating the meal objectively–as an entire with all parts thought-about and equally weighted–this is able to be my least-favorite restaurant in Magic Kingdom. (As an entire, it’s additionally not practically pretty much as good as Toy Story Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant–talked about as a result of I dined at and am reviewing these back-to-back, they usually’re considerably comparable.)
Nevertheless, I’m disinclined to attract the plain “on paper” conclusion in regards to the Diamond Horseshoe. Subjectively, I’m more than pleased to ignore the dishes that didn’t communicate to me and fee this solely on the idea of the mashed potatoes, pot roast, and Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake. All you may eat beef and potatoes plus drink and dessert in Magic Kingdom for less than $39 is a meal I can heartily endorse!
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Have you ever dined on the Diamond Horseshoe in Magic Kingdom over time? What was the great, dangerous or ugly of your meal at this restaurant? Do you assume it’s all “price it” for that superb Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake? Do you agree or disagree with our ideas? Any questions we might help you reply? Listening to your suggestions–even while you disagree with us–is each attention-grabbing to us and useful to different readers, so please share your ideas beneath within the feedback!