If you’re heading to Disney World for the first time, deciding where to stop and dine can be a pretty daunting task. With over 130 restaurants at Walt Disney World Resort, it’s hard to know which ones are going to enhance your time at the Disney or which one will be pretty forgettable. We here at Disney Addicts have whittled down our list of Dining Experiences that we think manage to capture that Disney magic. Whether its character dining, fine dining or one-of-a-kind theming here’s our list of 10 Disney World dining experiences that newbies should give a try.
1. Be Our Guest – Magic Kingdom – We think there’s a lot to love about this Magic Kingdom eatery and we’re sure you will too! The restaurant is designed as a wonderful replica of Beasts Castle from Beauty and the Beast. From the gargoyles that greet you as you make your way to the entrance, to the beautiful ballroom complete with a window view of gently falling snow, to the enchanted rose shedding its petals in the gothic West Wing, this eatery is truly enchanting. Dinner is considered a Table Service meal (and starting this Summer will cost 2 Table Service Credits) and The Beast is even on hand to make an appearance. However, for breakfast and lunch, the restaurant offers Quick Service meaning you get that wonderful feeling of eating somewhere regal for a fraction of the cost. The is one of the hottest reservations to get at Disney so early booking is a must.
2. Tusker House – Animal Kingdom – This buffet restaurant located at the Harambe Marketplace at Animal Kingdom ranks high as one of our favorite Disney eateries. Here you’ll find a wide array of tasty dishes inspired by the flavors of Africa with a few trusted favorites thrown in for the kids. What makes this restaurant even more special is that it is considered a character dining experience with guests being visited by Safari Mickey and friends. Prices here range from $35 – 59 per adult and it will set you back one table service dining credit for those on the meal plan.
3. Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant- Hollywood Studios – Hollywood Studios has a few delightfully unique restaurants but this one really steals the show. Its always night inside this restaurant as guests enter a sound-stage made to look like a drive-in movie theater from the 1950’s complete witch cheesy B-movies playing on the big screen. What makes this restaurant a dining memory you won’t soon forget is that instead of tables, guests are seated behind the wheel of classic convertible cars where you’ll enjoy tasty milkshakes, burgers and other drive-in favorites. Open for lunch and dinner, dining here will run $15 – $39 per adult or 1 Table Service dining credit. This restaurant books up quickly so make those reservations early.
4. T-Rex- Disney Springs – This restaurant may be just the spot when it comes to finding that special place to make your children go “wow”. Guests get to dine among some very prehistoric creatures as animatronic dinosaurs fill the dining halls. The restaurant erupts every 20 minutes with a meteor shower and there’s even a Build-A-Bear Workshop that only offers dinosaurs. Food is tasty, not as pricey as some other Disney Springs eateries, and features a nice array of classic American dishes. A meal will set adults back $15 – $34.99 or a Table Service credit. This can be a pretty tricky reservation to get so the earlier you book the better!
5. Chef Mickey’s- Disney’s Contemporary Resort – Considered by many to be the quintessential Disney character dining experience, you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy this fun-filled meal with Chef Mickey and friends. The food here’s pretty good standard buffet fare but the atmosphere is the real draw. The restaurant sits in the heart of the Contemporary Resort with the monorail makings its rounds right through the building as you dine. Being just a quick stop away from the Magic Kingdom it is also the perfect place to head to before or after your day at the parks. Chef Mickey’s is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The cost is usually between $35 – $59 per adult. Advance reservations are essential.
6. Cinderella’s Royal Table – Magic Kingdom – For princesses of any age, no dining experience really captures that fairy tale moment quite like dining in the heart of Cinderella’s Castle. Cinderella’s Royal Table will have you feeling like royalty as you indulge in elegant dishes right in the heart of the Magic Kingdom. Several of your favorite Disney Princesses will also be on hand and visit each table to say hello, sign autographs and pose for photos. Dining here is a magical moment you’ll remember for a long time to come but it does come at a cost. For those on the dining plan, Cinderella’s Royal Table will set you back two dining credits with costs upwards of $60 per person. Booking at the 180-day mark is essential as getting a reservation here is very competitive.
7. 50’s Prime Time Cafe- Hollywood Studios – This is another wonderful Hollywood Studios eatery that delivers a blast from the past. The restaurant is a throw-back to the 1950’s with classic televisions displaying some of the much-loved sitcoms from the day. The food on hand is of the “blue plate special” variety and they even serve up a pretty darn good meatloaf. But what really makes this eatery extra special is the lively waitstaff who will treat you like family. Just don’t let them see you eating with your elbows on the table or not eating your vegetables. Dining at 50’s Prime Time is one Table Service dining credit or will set you back $15 – $34.99.
8. San Angel Inn – Epcot – What you’ll get at San Angel Inn is pretty standard Mexican Cuisine. However, a meal here is more about the ambiance. The restaurant is located inside the Mexican Pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase where it is always night, volcanoes erupt and the dining area sits at the base of a gorgeous pyramid. So be sure to bring those appetites but more importantly have those cameras at the ready! Dining here will set visitors back around $15 – $34.99 per adult.
9. ‘Ohana – Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort – You’ll hear a lot of Disney regulars going on about ‘Ohana and with good cause. This is a wonderful Disney World eatery located in the Main Ceremonial Hall at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Go in the morning and you’ll dine on classic breakfast fare brought family style in big skillets to your table. During breakfast you’ll also get to hang out with Lilo, Stitch and Hawaiian Mickey. For dinner ‘Ohana offers a delightful banquet sans characters but with live Hawaiian music, storytelling, games and mouthwatering dishes like sweet and sour chicken and oak-grilled shrimp brought to your table. Reservations for both breakfast and dinner can be tricky to get so book early. The cost to dine at ‘Ohana will range between $35 – 59.99 per adult.
10. Sanaa, Boma or Jiko – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – For those willing to go a little off the beaten path, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge offers three fantastic eateries that we like so much, we couldn’t just pick one. Sanaa, located at the Kidani Village section of the resort offers up a wonderful array of African and Indian dishes all while you watch giraffes and zebras stroll by your windows overlooking the savanna. Jiko a Signature Dining Restaurant serves up African dishes but with such artistry and attention to detail, you’ll almost feel guilty eating them and also boasts a pretty enviable list of amazing African wines. Boma, is a wonderful family-style buffet featuring exotic African dishes coupled with tried-and-true American buffet classics. For dessert, you’ll want to be sure to try Animal Kingdom Lodge’s signature Zebra Domes. Sanaa and Boma will set visitors back 1 Tables service credit or $14 – 34.99 whereas Jiko is two credits with meals typically $50 and above.
Reservations for all of the restaurants on our list open up 180 days before you are due to arrive at Disney and can be booked via My Disney Experience or by calling 407.WDW.DINE.
We hope that if you’re planning your first Disney getaway you’ll find several of the restaurants on this list that you’ll want to add to your plans. Trust us. You won’t be disappointed.
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