Mary Poppins Makeover Coming to Cítricos
Walt Disney World has announced the opening of the newly reimagined Cítricos at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, which will pay homage to the whimsy and elegance of Mary Poppins Returns. In this post, we’ll share photos of the new menu and commentary about the thematic overhaul.
This is one of a few recent announcements of changes to Walt Disney World’s flagship resort. Earlier this summer, Disney Vacation Club has announced plans to expand the Villas at Grand Floridian by overhauling the Big Pine Key building of existing hotel rooms at Walt Disney World’s flagship resort.
As discussed in our 2021-2022 Walt Disney World Hotel Construction Tracker, don’t be surprised if Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort receives a substantial overhaul in 2022 after the Contemporary and Polynesian Village Resorts are finished with their reimagining projects. There were rumors of big changes to the Grand Floridian pre-closure, but those have since fizzled out. However, it would make sense to take those rooms down next if occupancy remains low and other Magic Kingdom resorts can absorb the displaced guests…
As for the details of the reimagining of Cítricos at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the announcement was light on details and photos. There was just the one image–pictured below.
Basically, all we know right now is that the new-look Cítricos will take subtle cues from the movie’s animated sequence. The dining room brings guests into a fanciful garden setting where you can “trip a little light fantastic” as you experience the restaurant surrounded by the glow from decorative lamps and chandeliers.
For this Signature Restaurant at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Chef Andres Mendoza crafted a new menu featuring Florida cuisine with a Mediterranean influence.
Even though Cítricos will now be a restaurant with characters, it’s still a restaurant with character. Guests dining at Cítricos are asked to adhere to the minimum dress code requirements. Dressier attire is also welcome.
Starters at Cítricos will include Sweet Corn Bisque with pickled fennel, popcorn, and fennel oil and a colorful Strawberry Salad with chamomile-infused goat cheese, frisée lettuce, bacon vinaigrette, and spiced sunflower seeds.
Entrées include Butter-poached Florida Cobia with mashed fingerling potatoes, grilled asparagus, and local mushrooms with a grapefruit beurre blanc or a delicious Guava Barbequed Short Ribs with aged cheddar creamy grits, roasted poblano, curtido slaw, and Brussels sprouts.
For a sweet ending to your meal, Pastry Chef Kristine Farmer created some truly delicious and decadent desserts.
These include the Warm Apple Rose with seasonal apple, marzipan layers, and frozen coconut milk as well as the Chocolate Torte, a dark chocolate financier, dark cherry compote, and vanilla bean mascarpone cream.
For those who enjoy an elevated food and wine experience, the new and exclusive Sommelier Room at Cítricos will allow Sommelier Israel Perez and his team to source boutique wines that pair with special creations from Chef Andres.
The award-winning wine list includes a host of epic wines, sold by the ounce using the latest technology in order to insure both freshness of product and a first-class experience. Many wines are available by the glass, and sommeliers are on hand to suggest wine pairings.
Cítricos will open on July 15, 2021. Advance Dining Reservations will be available on July 1, 2021.
Before we dig into the commentary, I want to start by re-sharing our “Grand Floridian Stay Report: Weak Rooms at Disney World’s Flagship Resort.” The title alone speaks volumes, but there’s more.
From that: “Grand Floridian simply cannot compete with the Four Seasons on the luxury level. Why not move the ‘battle’ to a playing field where the Four Seasons cannot compete with Disney? Lean into characters and theme, having more lavish Victorian designs with Dickensian Mickey & Minnie or Mary Poppins & penguins sprinkled into artwork and design flourishes.”
“Go all-in on Alice in Wonderland rooms, Beauty and the Beast rooms, Cinderella rooms, and whatever else…Port Orleans Riverside and Caribbean Beach have demonstrated that exactly this can be accomplished in a self-contained way that has minimal impact on overarching themes. The character rooms would draw families to the resort and the rest of the Grand Floridian could maintain its thematic integrity. It’s not like the lobby or common areas really need an overhaul–at least not like the Contemporary–anyway.”
Obviously, a restaurant is not a room.
However, I find myself more or less shrugging at the reimagining of Cítricos into a Mary Poppins-inspired restaurant. This is despite being a pretty fierce critic of the Enchanted Rose Beauty and the Beast Bar, which I still to this day maintain should’ve gone to Disney’s Riviera Resort.
For one thing, the single photo of the interior at Cítricos looks very subtle. If you didn’t tell me that design was inspired by Mary Poppins, I never would’ve known. (Even after telling me, I’m struggling to see the connections.)
For another thing, Mary Poppins makes sense at the Grand Floridian. It’s already there in the Villas, and it more or less makes thematic sense at a Victorian hotel.
While I don’t need intellectual property everywhere I go at Walt Disney World–especially in fine dining locations–this particular use of IP does not bother me in the least.
Even the original Club 33 at Disneyland had subtle nods to Walt Disney-era films. This is not really comparable to that from a quality perspective (those were props), but the point is that light touches are not necessarily incongruous with fancy restaurants.
Finally, there’s the simple reality that Cítricos needed something, anything in my opinion. It has felt tired for years, and maybe this will be that long overdue shot in the arm. I know some fans love it–and we’ve had some good menu items in there over the years, to be sure.
However, if I had to pick a Signature Restaurant for a special occasion, it would be dead last on my list. It just doesn’t resonate with me. I’m not sure that this will be what turns things around for Cítricos–or at least, causes my opinion of it to do a 180–but I cannot envision any of these changes making me like it less. These changes seem pretty low-risk, with a decent amount of upside and not much downside. I can see other Walt Disney World and Cítricos fans disagreeing, but that’s just my take as someone who is pretty indifferent to Cítricos. All of my current frustrations are focused squarely on the awful new menu at Trail’s End. “Unfortunately,” I don’t have any outrage to spare for this.
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What do you think of the Mary Poppins-inspired reimagining of Cítricos at the Grand Floridian? Are you on board with the “subtle” nods to intellectual property, or does this not belong in a Signature Restaurant? Are you a Cítricos or Grand Floridian fan? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Other thoughts or concerns? 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!
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