The Top 20 Restaurants at Walt Disney World: A Recommended List
The Top 20 Restaurants at Walt Disney World
A Recommended List for Disney Dining
Note: This post was last updated in July 2019. This list does not include quick service dining, of which there are some excellent options, such as the Polite Pig, Disney Springs.
Deciding on where to dine at Walt Disney World can be on of the most challenging parts of planning your Disney vacation. Yet, because you can book dining starting 180 days before your arrival, it is one of the very first things (and the most important thing) that you must do.
As a result, your Disney dining choices end up forming the framework of your entire vacation itinerary.
Your dining choices will determine where you will be, at what time and on which day, so it is important to be very thoughtful about how you put together your table service dining reservations. Making changes later is possible, but it can have a domino effect on the rest of your itinerary. So my best advice is to be very careful that you are booking your dining with your itinerary in mind.
Remember: It’s not just about knowing which restaurants are better than others, but it’s also about knowing how long it will take to get from point A to point B in your schedule. This is the biggest shortfall that I see on a regular basis from guests who craft their own itineraries without having visited Walt Disney World before.
See the end of this post for an overview of how I rate and rank Disney dining.
Please note: I have excluded Victoria & Albert’s from the list below. While it is arguably the “best” restaurant at Walt Disney World (and likely one of the most celebrated in Florida for that matter), kids under 10 cannot dine there, so it is not realistic for many vacationing families.
Top 20 Restaurants at Walt Disney World Grouped by Experience (and in no particular order).
Best Disney Character Dining
Dining with Mickey & Friends
Chef Mickey’s (Disney’s Contemporary Resort)
Chef Mickey’s is a classic Walt Disney World Character Dining experience located in (and open to) the lobby of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Buffet style for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The main draw here is the characters, but I personally like the food — especially the breakfast, which is my recommended meal for this one.
Donald’s Dining Safari (Tusker House, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park)
If you can’t make it to Chef Mickey’s for any reason, Donald’s Dining Safari at Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park is an excellent alternate.
Minnie’s Beach Bash Breakfast (Cape May Cafe, Disney’s Beach Club Resort)
If you are staying in the Boardwalk area of Walt Disney World, you may prefer to attend a breakfast at the Cape May Cafe, located at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. This is a fun buffet breakfast that features Minnie Mouse and friends in their casual beach attire.
Dining with Disney Princesses
Cinderella’s Royal Table (Cinderella Castle, Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park)
When it comes to dining with Disney Princesses (five of them in fact) nothing beats a regal meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table inside Cinderella Castle in Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this is not a buffet meal. Instead, you will get to choose from typically two options on the royal menu. Cinderella will welcome you to her castle and you will meet four other Princesses over the course of your meal.
Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner (1900 Park Fare, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort)
Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is focused solely on the Cinderella story. Here you will typically meet Cinderella, Prince Charming and the Fairy Godmother. In addition, you may be surprised by some (or all) of Lady Tremaine, Drizella and Anastasia. A very fun and entertaining buffet-style dining experience. Dinner only.
Other Recommended Character Dining
Supercalifragilistic Breakfast (1900 Park Fare, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort)
Another fun and recommended character dining experience, the Supercalifragilistic Breakfast is a morning breakfast buffet at 1900 Park Fare. At this meal you generally get a mix of characters, usually including Mary Poppins, Alice from Wonderland, the Mad Hatter, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger too. A very popular meal due to its mix of favorite characters.
Best Friends Breakfast (‘Ohana, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort)
Fans of the Hawaiian Islands and Lilo and Stitch will love the Best Friends Breakfast over at ‘Ohana in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Here you will get up close and personal with Lilo and Stitch and you may even meet up with Mickey and Pluto as well.
Best Disney Table Service Dining
California Grill (Disney’s Contemporary Resort)
California Grill is an unbeatable combination of scenic vistas and a very good table service restaurant at the top of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. It also has a very impressive wine list.
Grand Floridian Cafe (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa)
With so many good dining options available at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the Grand Floridian Cafe often gets overlooked. Don’t get swayed by the hype, this one is worth a reservation (so much so that it knocked Narcoossee’s off of this list).
Epcot is flush with excellent dining options, but one of the very best is also one of the very newest. Takumi-Tei is truly an upscale dining experience. Service and culinary offerings here rival Victoria & Albert’s. From Japanese steak to seafood, dining here is an experience that you will be hard pressed to match anywhere else at Walt Disney World.
Citricos (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa)
Citricos is a good choice for upscale dining at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. It is a notch above the Grand Floridian Cafe on the price scale and opulence and offers better fare than Narcoossee’s (which I have dropped from this list, as the quality there has waned in recent years).
Le Cellier Steakhouse (Canada Pavilion, Epcot)
Anyone craving a good steak dinner at Walt Disney World should look no further than Le Cellier in the Canada Pavilion at Epcot. But it doesn’t just stop with steak. You’ll find mouth watering seafood, chicken, wild game, soups and more.
Monsieur Paul (France Pavilion, Epcot)
If French Cuisine is something you adore, then Monsieur Paul in the France Pavilion at Epcot is a great choice. This one is on the upper end of the price scale, but both the food and the ambiance are quite good.
Kona Cafe (Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort)
One of the more moderately-priced and lesser-known table service restaurants, Kona Cafe at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is a top choice for casual and unique dining with an island flare.
The Boathouse (Disney Springs)
Whether it’s lobster, fish, steak or burgers that you crave, head to the waterside dining at The Boathouse in Disney Springs. This is upscale dining with a nautical twist.
Tiffins (Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park)
Tiffins is located near Pandora in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. It promises to set you off on a culinary expedition of international cuisine (and it delivers on just that).
Victoria & Albert’s (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa)
If you are looking for the ultimate in a luxurious upscale dining experience at Walt Disney World Resort (or in Florida, for that matter), make a reservation at Victoria & Albert’s, located on the second floor of the main building at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. There are several restrictions to be aware of for this one, so be sure to read up before making a reservation.
Disney Interactive Dining & Shows
Dinner with Hawaiian Hospitality (‘Ohana, Polynesian)
‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is a very popular restaurant that features a family style feast similar to a Brazilian Steak House (all-you-care-to-enjoy). This fun dining experience also features a strolling ukulele minstrel, coconut races for the kids and you can even learn to hula. This one is dinner only and fun for the whole family.
Hoop Dee Doo Revue (Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground)
One of my personal favorites, the Hoop Dee Doo Revue at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground is one of the longest running dinner shows at Walt Disney World. A hugely fun experience with a comedic stage show and all-you-care to enjoy chicken, ribs and more (including adult beverages). Recommended.
Whispering Canyon Cafe (Disney’s Wilderness Lodge)
Interactive dining with a twist, Whispering Canyon Cafe is great fun for friends and family who have a good sense of humor. You can dine a la carte or all-you-care to enjoy and have an awful lot of fun with fellow diners along the way.
How I Review, Rate and Rank Disney Dining
Ratings and reviews are typically very subjective, whether it’s a movie, restaurant, hotel or anything else for that matter.
As a formally-trained Chef and Graduate of Culinary School, I review, rate and rank Disney dining based on my culinary experience, along with my lengthy history of visiting Walt Disney World Resort. As an original Disney traveler since the Resort first opened in 1971, I visit Walt Disney World for multiple weeks each year and dine at Disney restaurants on a regular basis. My opinions are based on numerous visits to each establishment and I have experienced and tasted menu changes for nearly 50 years at Walt Disney World. As a result, I never base my reviews, opinions or rankings on a single visit. Typically, if I have a poor experience with a certain establishment that is on my list, I will not remove it immediately. It could be the result of a chef having an off day, a server having an off day, or a particular dish having an off day. So I tend to give restaurants in this situation two additional seatings over the next 12 to 18 months. If things have not improved, I will generally remove that establishment and replace it with the next establishment in line, which did not previously make my list.
When looking for reviews of any kind, my best advice is to find a reviewer who has similar tastes to your own and whom you trust. That way, a given list is more likely to provide the results you are expecting. Lists that rate things are often more art than science, but they can help to shape your planning if you have confidence in a specific reviewer.
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Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
Luxury Travel Blogger – Luxury Disney Travel Specialist