Citricos at The Grand Floridian Review

My family has a tradition of going to a fancy restaurant every year for Christmas Eve. Now that we all live in Central Florida, Disney World was an obvious choice since it is one of our favorite places. Even more obvious, was to be at the Grand Floridian for Christmas Eve because it is one of the festive spots in Disney.

We debated between going to Citricos or Narcoossee’s, but ended up at Citricos for a wonderful dinner. If you’ve never been to The Grand Floridian around the holidays, I highly recommend it. They go all out with the Christmas decorations in a very elegant way.

Citricos Grand Floridian Disney World Review

The highlights are an opulent multi-story Christmas tree and a life-sized gingerbread house. However, the little touches make it even more magical, like the orchestra playing Christmas tunes and the complimentary chestnuts being roasted outside. I knew it was just the experience we wanted for Christmas Eve!

Location and Atmosphere

The Grand Floridian is a Victorian style hotel with just a hint of whimsy. It actually was inspired by the Hotel Del Coronado, which we visited last year in San Diego. This is one of the three Magic Kingdom hotels on the monorail line. You can see the castle and the fireworks from the resort!

Citricos Grand Floridian Disney World Review

Citricos fit this resort theme well with its ornate dining room. Some might find the restaurant a bit stuffy with its columns and large upholstered chairs. However, the entire area is surrounded by windows showing off the resort, the seven seas lagoon and a few glimpses of The Magic Kingdom. I think this balances out the space well. Like the rest of the resort, there was garland, wreaths and other Christmas decorations brightening up the space. It felt classically festive and perfect for our fine dining experience.

In order to get to Citricos, you can either drive, take the monorail or take a boat from the Magic Kingdom. If you have a reservation, you will have no problem parking there and I highly recommend a reservation.

Citricos Grand Floridian Disney World Review

For some strange reason, we kept thinking ours was at 5:30, but it was actually 5. When we showed up to the gate they told us our reservation was half an hour ago and I literally ran to the restaurant to see if we could still get a seat! Luckily they fit us in, but they pretty much always prioritize reservation guests even if they are late, so that’s why it’s good to have one.

Drinks at Citricos

As a Mediterranean inspired restaurant, Citricos boasts an award winning wine list. They are available by the ounce, by the glass or by the bottle. A sommelier is also on hand to suggest wine pairings, although the wait staff is well versed as well.

My Dad has a tradition of drinking Manhattan’s on a Christmas Eve though, so we went with the cocktail list instead of the wine list. He, Andrew, my brother and I all ordered the Florida Manhattan. This simple drink was made with Palm Ridge Whiskey, Sweet Vermouth and topped with a cherry.

Citricos Grand Floridian Disney World Review

We have had Palm Ridge Whiskey before and liked it a lot. This drink was as good as we expected. It was very strong and flavorful and a nice compliment to our meal.

My mom went the Solerno Prosecco cocktail which is much more her style. This was Prosecco mixed with blood orange liqueur and orange juice, which made it reminiscent of a mimosa, with a slight bitterness added from the blood orange. Bread was served shortly after our drinks and consisted of a multi grain and a sourdough type, as well as some black sea salt butter.

Citricos Grand Floridian Disney World Review

We also ordered a couple plates arancini, which is basically like fried balls of rice and cheese. These came with a herb aioli and smoked tomatoes, which amplified the flavors. It was a very tasty appetizer, but we were disappointed they did not have more options. We like sharing appetizers and most of the choices here would have been hard to do so.

The Food at Citrico’s

The menu is at Citricos is limited to eight options, but I still had a hard time choosing. When I picked this restaurant out six months ago, I had planned on getting the Scallop Risotto. For $48, it seemed like a well rounded dish with many components I enjoy. However, they changed it a few days before and now a lobster risotto was offered for $62.

I LOVE lobster, so part of me very much wanted to order it. However, it was by far the most expensive thing on the menu and I was worried the amount of lobster wouldn’t be worth the price. In the spirit of Christmas, my parents urged me to get it and I ended up being so happy I did.

Citricos Grand Floridian Disney World Review

There’s pretty much a whole lobster in this dish as a giant claw and plenty of tail meat is placed on top. The risotto is made with a lobster emulsion, so it is a very lobster heavy dish, just how I like it! Mixed in with the risotto is black truffle, parsnip and pie nuts. The combination of these items made for the perfect meal and one of my favorite splurges.

My Mom, brother and Andrew all ended up going with a Christmas Eve favorite of theirs- a beef filet. The Oak Grilled Beef Filet was cooked to perfection and came as an ample portion. It was also served over mashed potatoes, dragon carrots and a cipollini jam sauce. Everyone who got this was satisfied with the entree, even with the $51 price.

Citricos Grand Floridian Disney World Review

My Dad also broke the mold and got the Oak Grilled Tuna. I think this was the surprise hit of the night! I tried a bite and it was seriously the best tuna I have had! It only came with a cannelloni bean type salad as a side, but this seared tuna made up for that fact. This was only $44 and we found it to be almost as comparable as the more expensive dishes.

Citricos Grand Floridian Disney World Review

I have not mentioned that our Christmas Eve had been off to a rough start. My sister came down with a strange stomach bug that morning. She had been planning on skipping out all day, but felt mildly up for it and ended up coming later. Unfortunately, her stomach was still not doing well, so she did not enjoy the meal as much as us.

Her Christmas Eve dinner consisted of coke, bread and the Kids Meal Chicken Noodle Soup. She had been hoping to get an adult soup, but the only option was a mushroom bisque which seemed too creamy for her condition. The chicken noodle soup is actually a kids “appetizer”, so they ended up doubling that portion and giving it to her as a meal for $8. It hilariously even had Mickey shapes noodles! She was just happy we could all be together on Christmas Eve, despite her stomach.

Citricos Grand Floridian Disney World Review

Other entrees at Citricos include chicken and polenta, ratatouille, a Berkshire pork, a red snapper and short ribs. It can change at any time, but I have found the type of entrees only vary slightly, mainly with vegetables and sauces. They have a few disrespectful to choose from including truffle fries, mashed potatoes and mushrooms. However, I found the entrees were more than enough food and that you are better off saving room for dessert then going with one of these sides.

We did not get dessert because we had plenty of Christmas cookies to eat at home and we were pretty full! The dessert menu did sound enticing though. They had a gingerbread cheesecake in addition to a tropical creme brûlée, a cherry torte and a few other dishes.

Citricos Grand Floridian Disney World Review

Christmas Eve Experience

Being at The Grand Floridian on Christmas Eve was truly a magical experience. The atmosphere was just so joyful and a lot of people were dressed up or in holiday attire. In addition to the orchestra playing Christmas tunes, Mickey and Minnie were greeting in the lobby in their holiday best!

Citricos Grand Floridian Disney World Review
Citricos Grand Floridian Disney World Review

When I saw how cute they looked in their outfits, my inner five year old was dying to meet them! We went down to the lobby though and there was a line all the way across the resort. They said it would be forty-five minutes to an hour, which a bit daunting.

Andrew and I got in line while my parents were taking some pictures of the resort, and ended up moving a lot faster than we expected. In total, the wait was about twenty-five minutes. I hear the Grand Floridian has the longest holiday character wait of all the resorts. Because of this, I would recommend waiting it out if you happen upon a resort character meet and greet!

Citricos Grand Floridian Disney World Review

Even if you don’t like meeting characters like my husband, the energy in the lobby was palpable and so cheery. We want to try a new restaurant next year, but it will be hard to ignore the lure of the Christmas cheer at The Grand Floridian.

Know Before You Go

Though our day had a few setbacks, we had the most wonderful Christmas Eve dinner at Citricos. It’s definitely more of a splurge than I usually do at Disney World. However, I think it’s worth it for a special occasion.

  • Reservations can be made 180 days in advance, but probably only need to be made a couple months in advance, unless you are going on a holiday. Keep in mind if you cancel on the day of, you will be have to pay $10 per person
  • Seating is inside only
  • You do not need a park ticket or hotel reservation to dine here
  • Citricos is open for dinner only from 5:00-9:30
  • The restaurant is located on the second floor of the Grand Floridian Resort. You can get here by, car, monorail, bus, or a boat from the Magic Kingdom area
  • If you are on the Disney Dining Plan, this restaurant requires two dining credits since it is a signature.
  • The ratatouille is the only vegetarian entree, although the kitchen can make substitutions.
  • There is a dress code, but it’s is barely enforced. They mainly don’t want people walking up looking like they just got out of the pool. I would recommend wearing something nicer than your usual casual attire to celebrate a fine dining occasion.

Citricos is a solid signature dining experience for anyone looking for a classy night out. If you are on a Disney vacation, I would not recommend dining here after a long day of theme park touring. It’s much better enjoyed if you have time to get ready and enjoy the meal, instead of rushing to and from theme parks. There isn’t a lot going for children, but I saw plenty there who were well behaved and even enjoying the experience. Considering we spent Christmas Eve dining here, I would highly recommend it if you are celebrating something special.

Citricos at the Grand Floridian Review Disney World

Have you been to Citricos before? There is a big debate regarding if Citricos or Nacroossee’s is better, so let me know if you have a preference!