There are so many reasons that restaurants are loved- for exquisite food, for decadent desserts, for the one-of-a-kind views, or for the overall unique experience and ambiance. Whether you love a restaurant or not depends on what qualities you value most as a guest. The restaurants on this list are renowned for a variety of reasons, but we’re sure that you’ll enjoying experiencing each at least once! Here are 13 restaurants you must try at Walt Disney World, and why we think you’ll love them!
Why You’ll Love Them: Unique Experiences
1. 50’s PrimeTime Cafe
Located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, 50’s PrimeTime Cafe offers some of the park’s best food- comfort food at its finest. Meatloaf, fried chicken, and thick milkshakes are all on the menu, and they’re served up with a side of sass. The cast members- your “cousins”, as it were- are not going to tolerate your elbows on the table or your failure to eat your vegetables! Expect some good-natured teasing from your server during this meal and be ready to play along!
2. Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater
Also at Hollywood Studios, the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater is styled after a 50’s drive in and features American classics like burgers and fries. You’ll love watching the old sci-fi movie clips that play all around you while you dine in your very own car.
3. Hoop Dee Doo Musical Review
This dinner show experience is located at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. Enjoy dining on unlimited barbecue favorites while you enjoy the show, featuring singing, dancing, and comedy. Hoop Dee Doo has been going strong for over 40 years and remains very popular.
Why You’ll Love Them: Meals with a View
One of three fabulous restaurants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Sanaa offers views of the savannah and it’s resident animals. If you don’t get a table near a window, you’ll have plenty of time to check out the animals before or after your meal from the nearby walk-out observation area. Sanaa has a mix of both African-inspired meals and more accessible options ( like chicken and steak), but they’re most known for the Indian-style Bread Service appetizer, complete with a variety of dipping sauces.
5. California Grill
Known for both fine dining and exquisite views, California Grill is a one of Disney’s Signature restaurants. Guests of the restaurant enjoy a panoramic view from the top of the Contemporary resort of the Magic Kingdom and Seven Seas Lagoon. Late dinner reservations during Happily Ever After fireworks are very popular, and the restaurant has its own observation deck from which to view the evening show. Want to watch from the deck but dined at lunch? Just bring your receipt for entry at the appropriate time.
6. Coral Reef
Over the years, Epcot’s Coral Reef restaurant has received mixed reviews about the food (although I’ve always enjoyed it). The atmosphere, however, is one you have to experience at least once. You’ll dine in view of the large aquarium and reef at the Seas pavilion- I recommend waiting a bit longer for a table in the lowest tier of the restaurant, right near the tank. You may even catch a glimpse of some guests on a scuba tour!
Why You’ll Love Them: Meals with Character
7. 1900 Park Fare
I recommend this character dining location often, and I’m always afraid word will get out about how good it is if I keep doing so! 1900 Park Fare is located at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The food is top-notch here; the restaurant doesn’t seem to suffer just because it’s a character meal like some others do. You’ll find a great variety of food and characters at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Don’t miss the famous strawberry soup! The character interaction at 1900 is also second to none- especially if you happen to see the Mad Hatter during breakfast or the Tremaine sisters at dinner.
8. Tusker House
While everyone else vies for reservations at Chef Mickey’s to meet the Fab Five, you’ll find me lining up to hit the buffet at Animal Kingdom’s Tusker House. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner all feature Mickey, Donald, Goofy, & Daisy clad in safari gear, and the food is a delicious combination of American favorites and food with exotic flair. Like 1900 Park Fare, Tusker House seems to be another exception to the “come for the characters, not the food” reputation that character meals earn.
9. Cinderella’s Royal Table
This is themed dining to the maximum! Cinderella’s Royal Table is located in Cinderella’s castle, and features several popular princesses, usually including Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora, Princess Jasmine, and Ariel in some combination (but subject to change).
10. Trattoria Al Forno
If you need an excuse to check out Disney’s Boardwalk, this is it. Trattoria Al Forno has most recently added a character breakfast to its repertoire, and it has become quite popular. The “Bon Voyage Breakfast” is quite different from other meals on property as it features the infrequently seen princes. The meal is hosted by Ariel, Prince Eric, Rapunzel, and Flynn Ryder. Breakfast is served at your table, with pastries for the table and individual meals to be selected by each party from the menu.
Why You’ll Love Them – It’s All About the Food!
11. Satu’li Canteen
Located in Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Satu’li Canteen is a newer quick-service location offering truly interesting fare. Grab a cheeseburger “pod” or enjoy a healthy “build-you-own” bowl full of fresh grains, protein, and veggies.
12. Kona Cafe
Kona Cafe may not be the Polynesian’s most popular restaurant (we’ll give that distinction to Ohana), but it is home to one of Walt Disney World’s most famous dishes: the Tonga Toast. You can visit Kona Cafe for sushi later in the day, but be sure to come for breakfast and enjoy a pot of Kona coffee and a huge slice of banana-stuffed french toast and the incredible strawberry compote sauce that compliments it.
13. Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’
Come hungry, because Homecomin’ is serving up some serious servings of comfort food. Known for their fried chicken, Homecomin’ is chef Art Smith’s tribute to Florida. Much of the food in the restaurant is locally sourced, in addition to the building materials and decor. You’ll also love the selection of moonshine-based beverages!