Top 5 Interactive Dining Experiences at Walt Disney World
Where to Have Fun When Dining (and Become Part of the Festivities) at Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World has some excellent restaurants where the food clearly has the starring role. But some of the most memorable dining experiences are those where a little Disney magic and entertainment are added to the mix.
From Disney Character Dining to audience-participation dinner shows, there is something for everyone at Walt Disney World and you owe to yourself to experience at least one of these over the course of your vacation.
Top 5 Walt Disney World Interactive Dining Experiences
Here are my top five picks for the best interactive dining options at Walt Disney World Resort.
1. Hoop Dee Doo Revue (Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground)
The Hoop Dee Doo Revue has been running in various forms at Pioneer Hall in Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground for almost as long as Walt Disney World has been around. This old time dinner theatre show features a travelling group of stage coach entertainers who crash your party.
The Hoop Dee Doo Revue dinner show is fresh, fun, interactive and truly spans all age groups. Kids and adults alike will enjoy this one (and the all-you-care-to-enjoy fried chicken, ribs and bottomless drinks are all pretty good as well).
2. Cinderella’s Royal Table (Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park)
Character Dining at Walt Disney World is where the magic comes alive and nothing is more magical than Dining inside Cinderella Castle and meeting five Disney Princesses up close and personal.
While the food here is pretty good at all meals, the real attraction is being inside the castle in the elaborate dining room and meeting five of Disney’s most popular princesses. The line-up of princesses changes from time to time, but one of them is always Cinderella of course. She greets all guests as they enter her castle and poses for photos before you ascend to the upper dining chamber.
3. Whispering Canyon Cafe (Disney’s Wilderness Lodge)
Over at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Whispering Canyon Cafe is an interactive meal of a different kind. Not a traditional dinner theatre type of show, but the audience participation here is fun and tongue in cheek.
This is one where the less you know beforehand, the more fun and surprising it will be. There is plenty written about Whispering Canyon elsewhere, but try to resist searching out the spoilers if you want to appreciate the full effect firsthand. I will say that if anyone in your party is not a good sport (in case they become involved) then Whispering Canyon may not be suitable for them.
4. Chef Mickey’s (Disney’s Contemporary Resort)
Disney’s most famous characters are Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and his Clubhouse friends and there’s nowhere better to see them for a meal than at Chef Mickey’s restaurant.
Located in the open air lobby of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Chef Mickey’s is an upbeat dining experience where you will get to meet at least five characters, which typically include Mickey, Minnie and friends.
The buffet breakfast at Chef Mickey’s is my personal favourite over lunch or dinner. If you can get an early seating — one of the first of the day — you will be able to meet the characters on their first go round and finish breakfast in time to head to a park for opening (or close to it).
5. Spirit of Aloha Luau (Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort)
Another of the original Walt Disney World dinner shows dating back to the 1970s, the Spirit of Aloha Luau at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is a fun and entertaining traditional type of Luau show, complete with hula dancers and fire dancers. The food here is average but the show is worth seeing.
I recommend the later show (there are usually two seatings) if possible since it generally takes place when it’s dark out, adding to the overall ambiance of this outdoor theatre. Note that the dining area is covered in case of rain, although the show may not proceed in questionable weather.
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 full history of visiting Walt Disney World. 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 table service 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 add an up and comer in its place.
When looking for reviews of any kind, my best advice to readers is to find a reviewer who’s tastes you know, trust and that tend to be in line with your experiences. That way, a given list is more likely to provide the results you are expecting. Lists that rate things are more art than science, but they can help to shape your planning if you have confidence in a specific reviewer.
Planning a Walt Disney World Deluxe Vacation?
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™