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Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Eat Lunch at Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom truly is the most magical place on earth, except when it comes to the food offerings. The lunchtime experience inside the park can be incredibly hot, busy, and stressful. And honestly, the food options just taste like your run-of-the-mill theme park food. For me and my house, that’s not how we roll. 

But did you know that there are quality dining options in the surrounding Magic Kingdom resorts? Why stay in the Magic Kingdom and eat sub-par food when there are a handful of resorts with much better food just a short monorail or boat ride away? The quality is much better, plus they have a fraction of the demand, providing shorter lines and a better chance to get a table service reservation. Leaving the park for lunch provides a more of a laid-back experience in the middle of your busy day.

Here’s your guide on the best lunch dining experiences surrounding the Magic Kingdom!

Contemporary Resort

Contemporary Resort 

This is the first stop on the resort monorail line, but there is also a walking path from the Magic Kingdom that takes you directly here!

Quick Service – Contempo Café 

Take the Monorail from the Magic Kingdom Main Entrance and hop off at the first stop. You will find this hidden gem right in front of you. This location has a few more lighter options than what is found in Magic Kingdom – their salads are decent and filling! Plus there are a handful of flatbread options and chicken fingers for the kids.

There is plenty of seating in the air conditioning, decent quick service food, and it is not crowded. Plus you get great views of the Magic Kingdom at a table next to the floor-to-ceiling windows!

Steakhouse 71- Paula Kennedy
credit: Paula Kennedy

Table Service – Steakhouse 71

Located on the first floor of the Contemporary is this newly renamed and refurbished restaurant. If you can’t get a reservation, always ask if they have walk-ups at the podium. The bar/lounge area also serves the whole menu, so always check to see if there are seats available there! (Order the eggs and bacon – you won’t regret it)

polynesian long houses

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort 

This is the third stop on the resort monorail line

Quick Service – Capt. Cook’s

This amazing Polynesian-inspired restaurant serves the famous pulled pork nachos, along with some burger options. (The menu even includes a couple of yummy plant-based burgers!). One of the greatest benefits of eating here is the Pineapple Lanai! This is one of just a few locations on Walt Disney World property that serves Dole Whip! No waiting in line in the Adventureland sun, PLUS this location offers the spiked Dole Whip that Magic Kingdom cannot serve.

Once you are done with your lunch, take a stroll around the beach, or head up to the Tambu Lounge next to ‘Ohana for a cocktail! (They also have some small dishes, but not as filling as Capt. Cooks.)

Kona Cafe
Photo Credit: Disney

Table Service – Kona Café

Have a craving for some sushi or a poké bowl? This sit down restaurant has both! 

If you don’t want to sit down at the restaurant, there is a mobile ordering option for the whole menu. (Don’t forget to order that famous ‘Ohana bread pudding for dessert!) You can take your food outside and have a picnic on the turf, or sit on a lounge chair with your feet in the sand overlooking Seven Seas Lagoon and Cinderella Castle.


Grand Floridian Resort 

This is the final stop on the resort monorail line, but there is also a walking path available from Magic Kingdom.

Grand Floridian Friendship Boat

Quick Service – Gasparilla Island Grill

This spot has great sandwich, salads, and flatbread options with a little more variety than Contempo Café. You can also often find seasonal bakery offerings here! I am always impressed with their themed cupcakes.

Table Service – Grand Floridian Cafe

This lunch menu is very brunch-like. Avocado toast and chicken and waffles? Sign me up! This victorian-themed restaurant never disappoints and is a great change-up from the types of foods served inside the parks.

Once you’re done with lunch, go and enjoy some live music in the lobby or walk around the paths by the water!

Wilderness Lodge waterfall view
Credit: Disney

Wilderness Lodge 

This resort is not accessible by monorail, but grab a boat just outside of the Magic Kingdom and you will be dropped off just outside of the lodge!

Quick Service – Roaring Fork

Honestly, this quick service spot isn’t something to write home about, but I would still pick it over all of the quick service restaurants in Magic Kingdom. Their breakfast is decent, and the lunch food is easily eaten while lounging by the pool. They *do* serve chicken and waffles all day, the best homemade chips on property, plus a few great grab-n-go desserts! 

Table Service – Geyser Point Bar & Grill

Lastly, one of the best casual dining locations on property is the Geyser Point Bar & Grill. Located next to the lake just past the pool sits a large awning, covering a bar surrounded with comfortable seating. This restaurant does offer mobile ordering to-go if you prefer as well! 

While it may seem counter-intuitive and inefficient, leaving Magic Kingdom for a short time in the day could add a lot of value to your Disney vacation. Either leave shortly to eat and then return, or stop at one of these resorts as you are headed to your next park. This calm break in the day will almost feel like a rejuvenating nap, getting you ready to close down the parks for the night!

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