When we moved to Orlando this past summer we knew we would be come Disney Annual Passholders. We figured that we would have to wait until close to Christmas to save up the money, but with their awesome payment plan we were able to get our passes at the end of August! We have been going to Disney at least twice a month ever since. Please don’t hate me!
Dining at Disney
Most of the time we try to pack snacks/meals so that we don’t have the added expense of buying food in the parks because as a family of 5 we can barely get out of a normal restaurant for under $50, let alone a Disney one. (You can see more about how we eat at Disney HERE)
But sometimes we plan ahead or just get the urge to splurge!
Here are my favorite restaurants in the parks at Walt Disney World.
Since we are Annual Passholders we don’t think to do things like make advanced dining reservations (ADRs) very often. This isn’t a problem in ANY park except for the Magic Kingdom. This is perfectly understandable because for families taking their little ones to Disney the first time there are more things for them here than at the other parks (BUT you don’t want to skip the other parks!) and more restaurants geared towards children. The downfall is because of this we have only made it to one table service restaurant, The Crystal Palace, because we were going for birthday celebrations. We have frequently tried to get walk up reservations, or looking on the My Disney Experience app during the day, but there just aren’t many cancellations happening.
We have, however, eaten at almost every quick service restaurant at the Magic Kingdom.
For all of your ballpark fare from hot dogs to cotton candy and Cracker Jacks, Casey’s Corner is your place! Their corn dog nuggets are a dream and the menu is reasonably priced at under $15 per entree. The downside is that because of it’s excellent location (right at the corner on Main Street by the Hub) it is ALWAYS busy and seating is at a premium. There is also a decent amount of outdoor tables, but people tend to sit for a good while watching parades and relaxing with the food the brought with them.
For some slightly heartier comfort food check out The Friar’s Nook. While you can still get your basic hot dog (none of the fun toppings as Casey’s) the highlight of this dining experience is the different macaroni and cheeses. You can get it plain, but why would you when barbecue chicken or pot roast are options? Located right at the edge of Fantasyland near The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Fairytale Hall, and Seven Dwarfs Minetrain there is heavy foot traffic and minimal seating.
Ahhhh our only table service restaurant is also a character meal! This buffet is fantastic! There is literally something for everyone to eat, and like many places at Disney, they do birthday’s great with a cupcake, card, and singing. Throughout the visit Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet go from table to table greeting everyone and it takes about an hour to see all four which is totally worth it. My main complaint is that I do feel like a sardine in the restaurant. This is, unfortunately, pretty common at Disney. It stinks, but not enough from stopping me from going.
These days many people are scratching Hollywood Studios from their Disney visits because of all of the closures, unless they are Star Wars fans. I think this is silly. We love Hollywood Studios! I am sad about 2 things from the closures, I can’t stare at Mr. Gold’s Antiquities Shop and they closed my favorite drink spot! Those bartenders made the best drinks.
It took us forever to get into the 50’s Prime Time Cafe. As I said, we never thought ahead to make reservations. This was usually because we would decide about 24 before which park we were going to and by then all of the reservations would be gone. Just a few weeks ago, however, we thought ahead and were able to book a perfect lunchtime reservation. This restaurant reminds me of Dick’s Last Resort (without the raunchy aspects) because the servers mess with the customers. Our waitress actually climbed into the booth and tried to feed our son veggies. It was HILARIOUS! This is a restaurant where you are paying for the atmosphere versus the food, though. Don’t get me wrong it’s tasty, but the portions are small.
Another fun themed restaurant is the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre. This is another atmosphere heavy restaurant. The tables are all cars designed to be at a drive-in with a HUGE screen playing old cartoons. The dark room and cartoons are a perfect break from the hot Florida sun and with choices of Shepherd’s Pie, Steak, burgers, and milkshakes a plenty there is something to be found for every appetite.
Fun Fact : You can eat in all of the outdoor theatres in the parks. So this is the perfect place to hit before going to see Beauty and the Beast or Fantasmic which are right across Sunset Blvd. The fare is nothing write home about, but convenience is pretty important while at Disney.
This is our preferred park to eat at. We frequently will start our day somewhere else and then go to EPCOT just to eat dinner. There was one time we started at Animal Kingdom then went to Hollywood Studios before going to EPCOT just to eat!
This is NOT a restaurant to take your children. Don’t even think about it…go downstairs to Chefs de France. My husband and I went here for a date night and it was the most amazing restaurant I have ever eaten in. It was classy, delicious, and everything you could imagine a French restaurant would be (complete with snotty waiter!). My only regret is that we did not get a bottle of wine for the table. I wasn’t a big wine drinker at the time and got a different specialty beverage.
Where walking in anywhere at Magic Kingdom is laughable, we have walked in at *almost* every restaurant we wanted at EPCOT. Rose & Crown has been one of my favorites! The UK section of EPCOT’s World Showcase is one of my favorites, but there is a part of me that thinks I should live in England. With a table by the water, Black & Tan in hand, and Cottage Pie on my plate I was at peace with the world. I was even able to snag a bite of fish and chips from my kiddo’s plate and it was divine!
The Food and Wine Festival in the fall is perfect. You can sample a little bit of everything from the countries that are regularly in the World Showcase and beyond. If you can stand the lines the tiny drinks and bites are a great experience for an adult. F&W is not nearly as fun for kids, but they can usually be bribed with dessert of a Perry Mission.
I hang my head in shame a little when it comes to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. While we love all of the attractions at the park we don’t really eat there. I know this is dumb because they have some amazing food…so I’ve heard. We have done full days at the park only a few times. Usually we gt there at “rope drop” so that we can get on Expedition Everest and Dinosaur before they get crowded then we might hit one or two things before moving on to another park. It’s not that there isn’t a lot to do there, but that is all we usually want to do.
The one place we have stopped for a meal is the Harambe Market. This area is set to look like an open-air market with a few different windows and options. We tried the sausages and beef gyro and they were absolutely amazing. This is also one of the locations throughout the parks that sell “snack packs” as a kid’s meal option. We frequently get 2 of these to split between 3 kids. Otherwise they are pretty good to eat a little bit and then save some for snacking.
Let’s just be honest, I like to drink my meals while in the parks…I’m a more pleasant mommy then.
Disney Dining Bucket List
I am a BIG fan of making lists, especially bucket lists. I still have quite a few on my Disney Dining Bucket List.
- Cinderella’s Royal Table
- Be Our Guest
- Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
- Coral Reef Restaurant
- Hollywood Brown Derby
- Sunshine Seasons
- Wishes Firework Dessert Party
- Le Cellier Steakhouse
As you can see there are still quite a few left. I better get on those reservations!
Do you have a favorite restaurant in the Walt Disney World parks? Is there something that you HAVE to have every time you make it to Orlando?
OH! And be sure to follow all of our Disney adventures on my dedicated Disney Instagram @DisneyPassProj! I post tons of pictures there from all of our trips.
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