There are well over a hundred restaurants in Walt Disney World, both in the theme parks and at the Resort hotels. If I’m totally honest, the restaurants at Disney have become as big a factor in my enjoyment of our Walt Disney World holidays as the theme parks themselves. Some do the job and provide fast food when you’re trying to get back out to the rides. Others are gourmet meals, cooked by award winning chefs, featuring food that you don’t get at your average restaurant. I hope these pages help you to get the most out of the restaurants at Walt Disney World.
Types of Dining
There a 5 dining ‘experiences’ at Walt Disney World:
Also called counter service. This is the kind of food that you order at a till or counter and its served up on a tray for you to take away and eat. Around Walt Disney World there are an array of quick service options. You’ll see plenty of burgers and fries, but in addition there’s Mexican, ribs, Chinese, pizza, healthy options and pretty much everything else. If you come away having eaten burger and fries every lunch then you’ve definitely been doing something wrong. It is easy to do though, so do your research and know what quick service restaurants to try. You’ll find quick service restaurants at all of the parks and at the resorts – they’re great for any meal – the resorts will have quick service breakfast options – as do some of the theme parks, such as the Main Street Bakery.
Technically this covers pretty much everything else, but by this I mean the regular style restaurants, of which there are many! They range from mediocre to absolutely fabulous and are located around both the parks and the resorts. They may be regular, order from the menu style, buffets, and family-style. Family style involves platters being brought to the table where everyone can help yourself. If you run out of anything, just ask and you’ll be brought more!
One of the best ways to meet specific characters. There are numerous character meals located all round Walt Disney World. They guarantee you some face to face time with the characters in attendance – enough to get some photos and an autograph, with multiple characters at once. The other way to meet characters is at meet and greets round the parks, but that generally involves queuing up for only a minute or so of their time. The character meals are extremely popular and book up fast so you’ll want to get them booked way in advance of your trip. The most popular are Chef Mickeys, where you can meet the Fab 5, and Cinderella’s Royal Table, which is actually in Cinderella Castle. The latter is probably the hardest reservation to get in all of Walt Disney World – it can sell out within minutes of reservation’s opening 180 days in advance.
This is what Disney call their most prestigious (and expensive) restaurants. The best of these can also be hard to get reservations for. These restaurants offer the best meals on property and tend to employ award winning chefs. They tend to be quieter than the rest of the World, although this being Disney, they’re all kid-friendly (with the exception of Victoria and Albert’s which only allows children age 10 and above).
These are what they sound – dinner while you watch a show – usually with it going on around you! There are three available. Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Show is at the Polynesian and features hula dancers and fire eaters. Mickey’s Backyard BBQ at Fort Wilderness is an outdoor buffet and dance party. Finally, the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue is a cowboy themed family style comedy at Fort Wilderness.
Future blog posts will have information on individual restaurants and dining in general.