9 Best Walt Disney World Restaurants for Rookies
Choosing where you’re going to eat on a Walt Disney World vacation is not an easy task because there are so many incredible options. With over 340 restaurants featuring everything from smoked turkey legs to poached quail eggs there is something for every palate. But on your first trip to the Happiest Place on Earth it’s fun to check out some restaurants that are uniquely Disney. Here are a few favorites that will really let you know that you’ve arrived at Disney World!
9. 50’s Prime Time Cafe
If you like 1950s sitcoms you’ll love the 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Hollywood Studios. Step back into a simpler time as you enter into the ultimate 1950s kitchen. Enjoy American home-style cuisine as you watch your favorite 1950s shows on the ubiquitous TV sets. But be sure to keep your elbows off the table or you might get a scolding from your server! And don’t even think about dessert until you’ve finished your vegetables.
8. Be Our Guest
One of the hottest dining reservations in Walt Disney World is for Be Our Guest, a newer restaurant based on the classic Beauty and the Beast. Have a meal inside Beast’s castle, in the elegant ballroom where he and Belle danced or in the West Wing where the enchanted rose is kept. Both dining areas are full of Disney magic! During lunch hours Be Our Guest is a quick service restaurant that doesn’t require reservations. At dinner it is table service and you’ll need a reservation to dine here! Beast himself makes appearances during the dinner hours in his study, so you’ll have a chance to take some photos. Don’t forget to try The Grey Stuff – it’s delicious!
7. Tusker House Restaurant
Dining with your favorite Disney characters is one of the essential Disney World experiences, and one of the most interesting places to do it is at Tusker House Restaurant in Animal Kingdom. Themed as a colorful African marketplace, Tusker House serves a buffet of traditional American favorites interspersed with African dishes. Mickey and the gang will come visit you at your table decked out in their safari clothing, so be sure to have your camera ready! And be sure to check out the details in this restaurant; they’re really incredible.
6. The Garden Grill
The Garden Grill, located in “The Land” Pavilion in Epcot, is another character dining experience. Chip, Dale, Pluto, and Farmer Mickey will visit your table as you enjoy your lunch or dinner. In addition to the fun of greeting characters, this restaurant has another surprise; it rotates! As you dine you will slowly move through the restaurant and get changing views of the ride “Living With the Land” below. Food at the Garden Grill is served family style on large platters and is all-you-can-eat. Enjoy roast turkey, grilled steak, or the sustainable fish of the day as you journey around the restaurant.
5. Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant
Located in Hollywood Studios, this fun restaurant gives you the chance to check out some kitschy old sci-fi flicks from the comfort of your own convertible. Enjoy classic American fare like burgers, milkshakes and fried dill pickles while you watch aliens invade on the big screen under a ceiling of twinkling stars. It’s a dining experience like no other!
‘Ohana means family, and this is a great place to bring your family on your first trip to Walt Disney World. ‘Ohana, is located in the Polynesian Village Resort, one of the original WDW resort hotels. At breakfast you can enjoy American favorites at the only character meal featuring Lilo and Stitch. Dinner includes Hawaiian-style entrees, storytelling, and games. ‘Ohana is a great restaurant to enjoy during a “down day” when you can spend some time exploring the Polynesian Resort Hotel, but it’s also an easy monorail ride from the Magic Kingdom.
3. San Angel Inn Restuarante
Yes, you might have a great Mexican restaurant in your hometown, but it probably doesn’t have an atmosphere like this! Located in the Mexico pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase, San Angel Restaurante Inn features delicious Mexican favorites in a restaurant modeled after a 17th century hacienda. Dine under a twilight sky and watch the boats from “Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros” glide past Mayan ruins. Note that there are three restaurants bearing the “San Angel” name, which can be a little confusing. “La Hacienda San Angel” is a table-service restaurant located across from the Mexico pavilion on the Bay Lake waterfront and is great for viewing “Illuminations.” “La Cantina de San Angel” is a quick-service dining option also serving Mexican food.
2. Cinderella’s Royal Table
If someone in your family is princess-obsessed, this is the restaurant for you! Experience fine dining inside the ultimate fairy-tale castle, complete with suits of armor, stained glass windows, and stone archways. Not only is Cinderella’s Royal Table located inside the iconic Cinderella’s Castle, your table will be visited by some of your favorite Disney Princesses! Finish off your meal with a signature chocolate slipper or chocolate crown dessert. Looking for more princess dining? Check out Akershus Royal Banquet hall in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot.
1. Chef Mickey’s
There is no restaurant that screams, “You’re at Disney World!” like Chef Mickey’s. There are just so many “Disney” things about this character dining experience. Chef Mickey’s is located in the Contemporary Resort, one of the original WDW Resort Hotels. This is one of the few places where you can see the entire Fab Five (that’s Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto) in one place, and they’ll come right to your table in their chef attire. Enjoy a buffet of American cuisine while the monorail glides overhead. Chef Mickey’s is a fantastic way to kick off your first Walt Disney World vacation, or to say “so long for now” before you head home.
While there are many, many wonderful restaurants at Walt Disney World, these are great for your first visit because they’re full of Disney magic. As you’ve probably guessed, these restaurants are among Walt Disney World’s most popular and dining reservations fill up quickly. Be sure to book your favorites a full 180 in advance so you can to secure a table for one of these uniquely Disney dining experiences. You never knew that eating could be so much fun!
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