Walt Disney World has announced a reopening date for breakfast and lunch at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in the Norway/Arendelle pavilion in World Showcase at EPCOT. This post will share dates, details, and thoughts doing Storybook Dining in this medieval castle with the Disney Princesses.
This is the latest of several character dining experiences that have been recently restored, with Cinderella’s Royal Table and Chef Mickey’s both returning within the last month. Prior to that, several other restaurants restored their missing meal services late last year, bringing the character dining scene closer to normal at Walt Disney World.
The next step in this progression is breakfast and lunch at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, which is essentially EPCOT’s counterpart to Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom. (Despite being similar ideas, the execution is very different; this is not an equivalent alternative to eating inside Cinderella Castle!)
According to Walt Disney World, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall will resume serving breakfast and lunch on May 14, 2023. Advance Dining Reservations are not yet available, nor has Disney indicated when ADRs will drop, so stay tuned for that.
Since its reopening late last year, Akershus has been open from 2:45 pm until 8:05 pm daily. This has due to staffing shortages–because there are only enough performers and/or culinary Cast Members for a single shift.
With this issue improving as Walt Disney World holds regular culinary jobs fairs and continues to add more College Program participants, more normalcy is returning to restaurants around Walt Disney World. This is especially true in EPCOT, where the International Program also helps free up Cast Members to fill other roles around World Showcase. Among other things, that should soon allow Akershus to operate from 8 am until 9 pm (or around those hours) daily.
Pre-closure, Akershus offered an all-day menu for lunch and dinner and we’re assuming that will be the case again upon the restoration of lunch. In other words, it’s not so much a distinct meal service returning with lunch at Akershus, but rather, operating hours from 11 am until 2:45 pm.
Suffice to say, you can safely expect lunch at Akershus to be identical to dinner at Akershus, meaning it’ll cost $63 per adult and $41 per child, with the same family-style platters that are highlighted by traditional kjØttkake (Norwegian meatballs), Kylling og Melboller (Norwegian Chicken and Dumplings), and grilled salmon.
For breakfast, guests will be able to savor Norwegian-inspired fare with family-style platters fit for royalty! According to Walt Disney World, breakfast will once again consist of pastries, scrambled eggs, potato casserole, and Norwegian waffles.
Along with this announcement, Walt Disney World has released new photos of the breakfast at Akershus (above and below).
It’s difficult to say what will change after the three-plus years that breakfast at Akershus has been on hiatus. Previously, hot items were brought to the table family style, and cold items were served on a self-service buffet at Akershus.
In addition to what’s listed above, the Akershus breakfast buffet offered yogurt, granola toppings, fruit, cheeses, smoked salmon, peppered mackerel, and sliced salami & turkey. That’s about it. The cost was $53 per adult and $34 per child, but again, that was over 3 years ago. Expect breakfast to be a few dollars more when Akershus reopens on May 14, 2023.
As covered in our full Review of Breakfast at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, we are not fans of that meal service at Akershus. For us, it was on par with dinner at Chef Mickey’s…and that is not high praise. The value proposition was way off, with the cuisine quality and variety for breakfast at Akershus not even remotely living up to the price point.
Whenever we share sentiment like that, it’s met with backlash by Walt Disney World character dining enthusiasts. Honestly, I sorta get it. For many guests, cuisine quality is not at all the point. It’s about the magical memories of their kids meeting the princesses in a special setting and without having to wait in line. There’s a lot to be said for all of that, and it’s sentiment shared by many Walt Disney World fans. Character dining is popular for good reason–it checks a lot of boxes for many guests!
But if that’s your perspective, why even bother with reading a review? I am unapologetic Country Bear Jamboree fan and think its (many) haters are flat out wrong and just don’t get what makes the show special. And yet, I do not seek out reviews of Country Bear Jamboree to ensure they’re all positive. I like what I like, and if others don’t, that’s their prerogative. Everyone is entitled to be wrong!
From my perspective, reviews are helpful when there’s something about which I’m on the fence and I need help deciding whether it’s worth my time or money. If reviews were universally positive, it would render the whole concept pointless. But I digress.
Just like this digression, our thoughts about breakfast at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall are kind of pointless. There is zero doubt in my mind that this will be a highly sought-after Advance Dining Reservation, booking up at or before the 60-day mark, just like dinner at Akershus.
Our review, whether positive or negative, will have zero bearing on demand. Breakfast at Akershus is going to insanely popular and difficult to reserve, regardless. Even if claims went viral on social media that Akershus were serving salamander (of enchanted variety–gotta stay on-theme) for breakfast, it would still be among the hottest ADRs at Walt Disney World.
Part of this is that demand for character dining has been incredibly high since these meal services returned. Arguably, this is consistent with Advance Dining Reservations as a whole, but I’d contend it’s even more pronounced with the character meals.
My suspicion is that it’s a wrinkle to pent-up demand; these meal services started returning in full force last year, so there’s the normal demand among rite of passage tourists plus that from Walt Disney World regulars who didn’t get a chance to experience when in 2020 or 2021.
Another part is undoubtedly that several character dining experiences are still temporarily unavailable’ or are operating at a reduced capacity (sorta like Akershus through May 13!).
In the EPCOT area alone, Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast and Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Harvest Breakfast at Garden Grill still are not back. That pushes some of the demand to nearby alternatives, like Breakfast à la Art at Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera…or this!
Speaking of demand for Akershus, one thing I’ve noticed repeatedly since its reopening is that the number of guests waiting to be seated is almost always high. This is actually pretty common with popular restaurants at Walt Disney World, which maximize bookings to minimize the number of tables that go unfilled and often have long waits to be seated as a result.
With that said, I can only think of a handful of restaurants that regularly have this large of crowds outside (Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant is another that immediately comes to mind). Just something to consider when booking Advance Dining Reservations, especially if you’re doing so with the expectation that it’ll enable you to eat efficiently. Right now, that’s often not the case at the more popular restaurants.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t also cover the positive of Akershus Royal Banquet Hall: the interior is really cool and an exemplar of old school EPCOT Center design. It may not have the cachet of dining inside Cinderella Castle, but it’s still awesome.
It’s based on Akershus Castle and Fortress, a fortified medieval castle on Oslo harbor. That castle and fortress was built in the late 1200s to protect and provide a royal residence, which was also strategically important for the capital city.
Whoever controlled Akershus ruled Norway. From what I understand, this is the premise of Frozen III, with Elsa seizing Akershus Royal Banquet Hall from Belle.
This culminates in the climactic Battle of Test Track, before the tear-jerking conclusion with the Guardians of the Galaxy rewinding the cosmos to restore order to the Other-World Showcase. Synergy at its finest.
The Norway pavilion’s Akershus replicates many architectural features of Oslo’s real Akershus Slott og Festning. Elements of the facade, towers, and hall in the World Showcase version are all strikingly similar to the real thing in Norway.
In All About Norway in Epcot’s World Showcase, we cover the pavilion’s other architectural inspirations from Bergen, Ålesund, Oslo, and the Setesdal Valley.
Ultimately, we’re excited for the restoration of breakfast and lunch meal services to Storybook Dining featuring the Disney Princesses at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. This is mostly because we know so many of you have been anxiously awaiting this, and it’s a family-favorite offering at EPCOT.
It’s also because we are, ourselves, eager to do another late-night dinner at Akershus, and have had no luck scoring Advance Dining Reservations since the restaurant reopened last Christmas. While we aren’t fans of breakfast at Akershus, we do love dinner–especially late night seatings as the restaurant starts to clear out. Our hope is that adding breakfast plus more seatings from 11 am to 2:45 pm will help absorb more demand, making the ADRs we want easier to book.
The bottom line is that the return of breakfast and lunch at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall are wins for families looking for princess dining at EPCOT and anyone else who wants easier ADRs elsewhere. So that covers pretty much everyone visiting Walt Disney World, or at least EPCOT! In addition, dining at Akershus is a chance to see inside an exemplar of Imagineering’s old school World Showcase design work while enjoying somewhat unique cuisine. A nice win for both kids and parents!
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Will you be booking an ADR for breakfast or lunch at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall when those meal services return on May 14, 2023? Have you dined at Akershus in Epcot’s Norway pavilion? Excited about the opportunity to experience the design and details of Akershus Castle and Fortress? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!