By Tom Driver
My eyes lit up when my wife mentioned a new restaurant called Gaston’s Tavern would be part of the recent additions to Fantasyland in Disney’s Magic Kingdom. I loved the spitting, roughhousing and clanking of mugs from the tavern scene in the movie Beauty and the Beast. “That’s a great idea,” I told my wife, “a place for all the weary, stroller pushing men to relax for a few minutes and enjoy a cold adult beverage.” Unless you resemble a diminutive Frenchman named LeFou, Gaston’s Tavern seems like a fun place to hang out. “It’s not like that,” she tersely replied.
The tavern is adorned with Disney’s expected attention to detail. Visitors are greeted with a statue of Gaston in all his narcissistic glory but at the expense of poor LeFou. The entrance is a testament to the host’s philosophy of using antlers in all of his decorating and the interior continues the rustic theme highlighted by Gaston’s hunting trophies on the walls and enough wood to build a small village. The barrels displayed above the counter sporting names like Trois Blondes Biere and Chateau Blunderbuss are fun but just a tease to those wishing they were real.
Despite being Gaston’s footstool Lafou owns the tavern’s headliner – LeFou’s Brew. A combination of frozen apple juice and toasted marshmallow topped with a passion fruit and mango foam. It’s tasty. My daughter tried to finish every last drop inside her souvenir cup before sampling the snacks we ordered. She opted for the stein with Gaston and LeFou’s picture over Belle’s goblet; the refreshing concoction is also available without the extra souvenir.
Gaston’s Tavern is not a quick service restaurant so don’t expect burgers or hot dogs with a side of french fries. The menu consists of snacks, and that’s how it would be tallied for those using the dining plan, with the most hearty, and expensive, being a roasted pork shank for $9.49. The rest of the snacks range from $2.99 up to $4.39. Our family sampled the cinnamon roll, chocolate croissant, mixed fruit cup, apple slices with caramel sauce and the hummus and dip.
The cinnamon rolls are comparable to anything one would find in a fine bakery. The huge chunks of light and fluffy bread are served at the perfect temperature in that the icing was just beginning to melt but not enough to disappear into the roll. The chocolate croissant was delicious but messy; powdered sugar seemed to land all over the customers, especially little ones, and the tables, but cast members were quick with a rag. We also tried the mixed fruit, sliced apples and hummus and chips. They tasted quite bland, as one might expect from a prepackaged snack.
Our family had lunch at Gaston’s Tavern, however this was only accomplished because we had a large breakfast. If one is really hungry the pork shank, which another patron heartily recommended, might do the trick but it’s not likely to appeal to everyone in the family. We skipped it because a hot, humid day and a hot piece of roasted pork wasn’t an appealing combination. We recommend stopping by for a mid-meal snack of LeFou’s Brew and either the cinnamon roll or the croissant. There’s no real brew but LaFou’s mixture combined with a bakery treat are worth the visit.