The Foodie’s Guide to Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World Resort as a Culinary Destination
One of the most noticeable and welcome improvements to Walt Disney World over the past few years has nothing to do with rides or attractions.
It’s all about the food.
There was a time when trying to get a decent meal at Walt Disney World left something to be desired. It’s not that it was all bad (there were always a few Signature dining restaurants that had legitimate upscale fare), but for the most part the food offerings in the parks and quick service establishments were barely a cut above food court quality. It was a challenge to find a healthy meal.
Not any more. Thankfully, this has changed — and it has changed in a big way.
Those of us who travel to both Disneyland Resort in Anaheim and Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando know that Disneyland has always had Walt Disney World beat when it came to healthier fare and more exotic and tasty varieties (the Tajin with the mango was always a nice touch). Somewhere along the line, however, someone at Disney HQ must have taken notice and the food offerings at Walt Disney World have been on an upscale trajectory ever since.
It’s time to pay attention to Walt Disney World as a gastro destination
The new focus on food variety and food quality can be seen all over Walt Disney World.
Quick service outlets in the Parks and Resorts have added a new wave of tasty and healthier offerings. It wasn’t that long ago that you would have to search pretty hard to find anything beyond burgers, fries, hot dogs, grilled cheese and fried chicken. Now you can take your pick from Lobster Rolls and Grilled Salmon at Columbia Harbour House in Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park, to a Teriyaki Beef Bowl and Vegetable Tikka Masala at Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there is fresh fruit aplenty at Anaheim Produce, and the Liberty Square Market in Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park offers similar fare.
The best of the bunch, however, has to be the medley of delicious bites that you will find as you make your way around World Showcase at Epcot. Quick service items at Epcot offer the greatest variety of global food items, including delights such as sushi, garlic shrimp and chicken curry at Katsura Grill; and a Surf and Turf over at the Liberty Inn. The food carts at Epcot seem to be increasing in number and quality on a regular basis and they feature bite-size snacks including crepes and traditional Norwegian meatballs (Kjøttkake).
Walt Disney World Festivals Focus on Food
Things get even more tasty during the annual Food & Wine Festival at Epcot each fall. The Flower & Garden Festival at Epcot in the spring seems to be turning into a Flower & Garden & Food & Drink Festival, as the snack-size bites are increasing there each year as well. A much welcome occurrence.
On the table service front, upscale items and more exotic fare are also on the rise. Even the most discriminating palates will likely be impressed by the ever-increasing range of offerings that you will find on the menus of Walt Disney World restaurants.
Some of the more interesting items that I have come across include the Char Siu Pork at Jungle Navigation Co. Skipper Canteen (Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park), the Duo of Venison or the Seared Hokkaido Scallops at Tiffins (Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park), the Colorado Bison Loin or Wagyu & Shrimp Ramen at California Grill (Disney’s Contemporary Resort), and the Angry Lobster Chow Fun at Morimoto Asia (Disney Springs).
This is just a small sampling of delicious dishes that are more the norm than the exception at present day Walt Disney World. Of course, a perfectly cooked ribeye or delicate piece of fish can also be had and the children’s menus has moved light years beyond peanut butter and jelly, which is where they were only a few short years ago.
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Be sure to read my Guide to Planning A Walt Disney World Vacation and my post on the Five Golden Rules of Walt Disney World Vacation Planning.
Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
Luxury Travel Blogger – Deluxe Disney Travel Specialist
The Finer Side of Travel™