Pros: Lots of great places to eat! I love to eat!
Cons: Food at Disney can be expensive.
These restaurants are, in my opinion, the Ten Best Places to Eat at Walt Disney World. I go to Disney World a LOT on vacation. Some might say excessively, as I've just returned from my 14th trip. My favorite thing to do there, or on any vacation, is EAT. I have been to most of the restaurants in the theme parks and many at resorts. Generally, the food at Disney is overpriced, but it is very diverse and there are some excellent places to dine. The following is a list of my top ten picks for a great dining experience within the Walt Disney World Resort. I selected from a mixture of different price ranges and levels of formality. Some cater to children, and some are primarily for adults. Bon Appetit!
10. Sommerfest - Counter Service - We never, ever leave Disney World without stopping for a brat and some beer at this World Showcase eatery. The inside seating makes a good place to escape from a sudden Florida downpour, while the outdoor tables provide a nice view of the pavillion's cuckoo clock. If you have kids that don't like bratwurst, the soft pretzels are also a crowd pleaser. (Epcot)
9. 50's Prime Time Cafe - Casual Sit-Down - The Prime Time Cafe is not so much a restaurant as an experience. The 50’s theme is evident in the décor, where guests sit in a kitchen and are served by their waiter Dad or waitress Mom. Be warned, your server will not be hesitant to scold you about elbows on the table or failing to finish your vegetables! The menu is classic comfort food such as fried chicken and pot roast. Chicken Pot Pie is my recommendation. The café is a little pricey, but worth experiencing at least once. Dinner is significantly more expensive, so to me this is more of a lunch place. (Disney MGM Studios)
7. California Grill - Sit-Down - Business Casual - Located at the the Contemporary, this restaurant offers the best views of any Disney eatery. The food is fabulous and diners are entitled to use the restaurant's private verandah for fireworks that evening regardless of their reservation time. We were impressed with the wine list, and don't miss the delicious Goat Cheese Ravioli appetizer or the Rasberries, Chocolate, and Raspberries dessert. My complete review of the California Grill can be found here. (Contemporary Resort)
6. San Angel Inn - Sit-Down - This is my pick for the most romantic place to dine in any of the theme parks. Diners get to enjoy the ambience of the Mexico pavilion, complete with a starry sky and view of the boat ride and temple scene. The service here is fabulous, and the restaurant seems quieter than many others in the park. I love the Mole Pablano, which is chicken breast in a chocolate sauce. Just goes to show chocolate makes anything great! Be sure to try the yummy (and very large) margaritas, one is enough for me generally. A complete review and reservation info is available here. Although the atmosphere is more formal than some other restaurants, theme park attire is always acceptable within the parks. (Epcot)
5. Boma - Casual Sit-Down - I am not much for buffets but it seems almost blasphemous to call this amazing dining experience a buffet. The delicious African-inspired soups, salads, dips, meats, and desserts available here make this restaurant a perfect pick for adventurous eaters and plain janes alike. Our particular favorites include the various types of hummus, prime rib with a variety of toppings, and ham and bean soup. This one is definitely a must-do at least once. (Animal Kingdom Lodge)
4. Main Street Bake Shop - Counter Service - There is something very special about stopping for breakfast on Main Street. The baked goods all seem so fresh and homemade, although I am a bit distressed that Krispy Kreme has infiltrated the bakery. I like the Apple Danish and Chocolate Chip Muffins. The shop is not very crowded when the park opens, but it can get busy around 10 when people start to take a break. Stopping here for breakfast isn’t necessarily a great idea if you are on a tight schedule, but if you have a little extra time to relax its fun to sit here and watch the crowds go by in the morning. If you’d rather stop in the afternoon or evening for a sweet treat, try a Chocolate Chip Cookie or Bearclaw. (Magic Kingdom)
3. Kona Cafe (Polynesian) - Casual Sit-Down - One day my family just decided to take the monorail here from the Magic Kingdom because we weren’t sure what we were in the mood for to eat. We were surprised at the high quality of food and nice atmosphere available at this little restaurant. The food has Polynesian influences, but not too adventurous for picky eaters. The Barbecued Pork Sandwich and Mahi-Mahi sandwich are particularly good. I recommend this one for lunch, because it gets much more crowded at night. There is a great dessert menu, though, and it’s a fun place to stop by for dessert after watching fireworks at the Magic Kingdom. A whole review is available here. (Polynesian Resort)
2. Le Cellier - Casual Sit-Down - Yummy, yummy, yummy food going on hear. Le Cellier has a cozy atmosphere, great service, and some of the best steaks you will find. This is a great place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the theme park. Don't miss the apple cobler for dessert. A full review of my October 2005 dining experience is available here. If you time your reservation right you can exit the restaurant just in time to walk right out to a great viewing spot for Illuminations! (Epcot)
1. Victoria and Albert’s - Formal Sit-Down - I saved this for last because it is truly the best of the best as far as Disney dining goes, or dining pretty much anywhere. This restaurant is the most formal at Disney, requiring a jacket for men. Service is fabulous and the atmosphere is very elegant, complete with harp music in the background. Guests receive a personalized menu, and ladies are given a rose at the end of the evening. Of course, this experience is not cheap, the set price is $95 per person. The menu changes daily, but includes six courses. An in depth discussion of my visit is available here. For something truly special, you won’t regret dining at this restaurant. It is definitely my favorite Disney dining experience. (Grand Floridian Resort)
-Liberty Tree Tavern (Magic Kingdom)
-Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop (Downtown Disney)
-Les Chefs de France (Epcot)
-Cinderella's Royal Table (Magic Kingdom)
-Boatwright's (Port Orleans Resort)
-Gardenview Lounge Afternoon Tea (Grand Floridian)
This is only a small selection of the wonderful dining opportunities available at Walt Disney World. Eating well is, in my opinion, critical to having a great vacation. During your Disney vacation, I would definitely advise taking some time out of your busy touring schedule to sit, relax, and eat some really good food.
*Planning a trip to WDW? These other reviews might be helpful...
Top Ten Things You Must See on a First Visit
Magic Kingdom for Adults
Epcot Center's Hidden Treasures
Animal Kingdom - One Day Touring Plan
Downtown Disney Marketplace
Caribbean Beach Resort
See the complete list in my profile!