If there’s one thing Disney does right, it’s creating a totally immersive experience in its’ attractions, rides and as we’ll talk about in this article, its’ restaurants. Every one of the restaurants at Disney Parks and resorts is totally unique and provides a feast for all your senses. Here are a few of our favorite themed restaurant experiences that are exceptional!
7. Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Café—Frontierland, Magic Kingdom
Located at the corner of Frontierland and Adventureland you will find a counter-service restaurant modeled after a booming mining town of the 1800’s. On the outside it gives the appearance of an old-fashioned saloon, minus the swinging doors. Step inside and you are transported into the American Old West. The dim lighting coming from replica oil lamp light fixtures hanging from the ceiling, the wood floors and the dark wood paneling add to the western-themed atmosphere. All the order takers and kitchen staff are decked out with western outfits, complete with bandanas, jeans, boots, etc.
As you walk around, you will notice hanging on the walls, personal belongings of famous characters of American folklore, such as Paul Bunyan’s axe, Annie Oakley’s twin Colt 45’s, Davy Crocket’s satchel and powder horn, and even the Lone Ranger’s mask. Everywhere you look, you see bits and pieces of the American Frontier.
The head cook will be serving up burgers, BBQ pork sandwiches, chili cheese fries, fries, onion rings, taco salads, Caesar salads, corn chowder, and every guest is invited to visit one of the best “fixins” bars around, with plenty of lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, pickles, onions, banana peppers, sautéed onions and mushrooms, hot cheese sauce, salsa, etc. You can create a great salad or embellish your sandwich with any or all of the above condiments. For your sweet tooth, there is carrot, cake, chocolate cake, or strawberry yogurt. Yummy!
6. Tony’s Town Square Restaurant-Main Street, Magic Kingdom
As you are entering the Main Street Town Square, on the right side you will see a beautifully Victorian-styled restaurant with a large outdoor patio. This charming eatery’s theme comes from the full-length Disney animated feature film, “Lady and the Tramp”. The favorite eating spot of Lady and the Tramp was Tony’s, an Italian bistro where they shared a heaping plate of spaghetti and meatballs while Tony entertained them with a lovely Italian melody. The walls of this Italian restaurant are covered with pictures depicting scenes from the animated classic, and there is a central fountain with two life-size statues of Lady and the Tramp. The theme is carried out with the tables covered with checkered tablecloths, black and white tiled floors, and the servers are wearing vintage clothing from the late 1800’s. The background music reflects the nostalgic, Italian tunes associated with that era.
The Italian fare includes such specialties as spaghetti and meatballs, chicken parmigiana, ravioli, cannelloni, shrimp scampi, steak, pork tenderloin, etc. The desserts are delectable servings of Tiramisu, Pistachio Crème Brulee’, gelato, and several other sweet treats. Even if you never saw the movie, “Lady and the Tramp”, you are sure to be delighted by this wonderfully themed, Italian restaurant.
5. Be Our Guest Restaurant – Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom
Located in Beast’s Castle in Fantasyland, this restaurant is totally themed to the “Beauty and the Beast” full length animated feature film. To access the restaurant, you first pass through an old gateway to a stone bridge and then through wrought-iron gates with beastly figures along the sides. Once inside Beast’s Castle, you realize you have stepped into a fantastic world of ornately designed statues and furniture, with only the light coming from numerous candelabras, chandeliers, and stained glass windows. Soon after you enter the front parlor, you are invited by the Beast’s servants attired in velveteen britches and blue and gold vests, to follow them down the Armor Hallway, where you pass by several suits of armor, which, if you listen carefully, you will hear them whispering.
After ordering your lunch from a touch screen kiosk, you make your way to one of three dining rooms:
1. The Stately Ballroom – This large, elegant ballroom is the favorite room of Beauty and the Beast, where they love to dance under the enormous crystal chandeliers. You can look through the large, arched windows and view the French countryside, where, with the magic of special effects you can watch the snow fall, then view a beautiful starry night.
2. The West Wing Dining Room -This room is darker and more mysterious. One fascinating special effect is a flash of lightning which causes a portrait of a young prince to morph into one of a beast.
3. The Rose Gallery – This room features a large 7-foot music box with Beauty and the Beast dancing on top. The walls are filled with paintings and tapestries with images of all the characters from the movie. Also, throughout the room you will find many carved roses.
For your dining pleasure Belle and the Beast will be serving grilled ham, turkey, or roast beef sandwiches, vegetable quiche, braised pork, French onion soup, potato leek soup, etc. The desserts are sweet temptations: chocolate sponge cupcake, strawberry cream cheese cupcake, lemon meringue cupcake, triple chocolate cupcake, chocolate cream puff, tropical fruit cream puff, and several more. It is a tough decision to choose just one, but one is all you will need; they are so scrumptious. After your exciting lunch or dinner with Beauty and the Beast, you will be ready for a nice long walk around Fantasyland!
4. 50’s Prime Time Café – Hollywood Studios
As the name of this restaurant implies, the theme of the 50’s Prime Time Cafe is the average American family kitchen/dining room during the 1950’s. As you walk into the front entrance, the first room you enter is a typical 50’s living room, complete with all vintage furniture and fixtures, including a working black and white television. This is where you can wait until your name is called. When your table is ready, you will hear your name called in a very unique way: “Mom’s got dinner ready for the “Smith kids”. You will understand why soon enough. Every room is modeled after one of “mom’s kitchen” of the fifties, complete with all the decorations and knick knacks of that era. Every table is situated so that all diners can watch a black and white television while they eat. Playing on the TV are programs, such as “Leave It To Beaver”, “Dennis the Menace”, “Mickey Mouse Club” and many more.
What makes this restaurant one-of-a-kind, other than the décor is your very special server, who just happens to be a member of your family, a cousin, Aunt or Uncle. Even though the server is role playing, you will want to play along. You will be reprimanded if you have your elbows on the table, chew with your mouth open, or refuse to “make a happy plate” by eating everything on your plate. Your punishment is as humorous as the rest of your experience. You might be asked to stand in a corner, perform a short but sweet musical number, or your server may even pick up a fork with a green bean or a carrot and entice you to open your mouth with “choo choo” noises. The retro menu includes such offerings, including “Grandma’s chicken pot pie”, Mom’s old-fashioned pot roast”, “Dad’s traditional meat loaf”, “Aunt Liz’s golden fried chicken”, to name a few. Desserts include “Dad’s brownie sundae, 50’s Boston cream pie, a season cobbler, ice cream sundaes, and of course, “S’mores”.
Dining at the “Prime Time” is more of a Disney experience than simply enjoying a meal. Laughter is the key word of the day, every day, here, and for a short period of time, every guest gets to be a “kid in Mom’s kitchen”. It is especially fun for the “real kids” to watch their parents being chastised for not eating all their veggies! How often does that happen?
3. Pizzafari – Animal Kingdom
Pizzafari is a beautifully themed quick service restaurant located on Discovery island in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The moment you step into the main lobby, you can’t help but notice the spectacular, vibrant mural covered walls. Every wall is covered with a menagerie of colorful inhabitants of the African jungle, along with the beautiful examples of exotic plants and vine-covered trees.
Every room comes alive with a rainbow of colors, butterflies and birds in flight, and each room has a different group of animals painted on the walls according to something they have in common. In one room, the animals depicted are known for their camouflage abilities, such as a chameleons and geckos. Another room highlights animals who carry their homes on their backs, like turtles and snails. Bats and possums are in the room displaying animals who hang upside down, and in a final dining room, you will find murals including nocturnal animals, such as raccoons and porcupines. The cast members are all dressed in brightly colored shirts and are eager to help you find hidden animal secrets in every room, maybe even a hidden Mickey or two.
The specialty of this popular restaurant is, of course, the personal size cheese or pepperoni pizzas, accompanied by a small Caesar salad. They also serve an Italian sandwich or a grilled chicken salad. The menu here is perfect for any one who prefers a light lunch or dinner in preparation for those long adventurous treks around the attractions of this immense Disney park, appropriately named Animal Kingdom.
2. Pinocchio’s Village Haus-Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom
The theme of this authentic looking German eatery, as you may have already guessed, is the story of Pinocchio, the wooden puppet who was changed into a real boy by the Blue Fairy, a beautiful animated, full-length feature film. All the furniture and décor give every guest the impression that they have crossed over into another time and place in this most magical place called Pinocchio’s Village Haus. The order takers and servers are outfitted with traditional Everywhere you look you can view images and artwork commemorating this classic Disney film, plus you can hear the delightful sounds of Bavarian style polka music. The main dining room is huge, with smaller dining areas, each celebrating colorful scenes from the movie. The most popular room which fills up first is the Monstro Room, which overlooks the loading area of the “It’s A Small World” attraction. Another popular room is the 2nd story balcony which overlooks the main dining room on the inside, and from the windows there is a spectacular view of Cinderella’s Castle and Golden Carousel attraction.
The mostly Italian menu includes pepperoni, BBQ chicken, Caprese, and Cheese flatbreads, Mediterranean Salad, meatball sub, chicken breast nuggets, chicken parmesan, plus side orders of breadsticks, Caesar side salad, fries, and tomato basil soup. For dessert, you can satisfy your sweet craving with chocolate gelato, chocolate cake, or strawberry yogurt. After you have enjoyed your visit with Pinocchio, take a boat ride on the “It’s A Small World” attraction located next door. This is a great way to let your food settle, while enjoying a tour of the ever popular, multi-cultural world of audio-animatronic children from different countries in their authentic native attire, singing the theme song in their own native language. When the boat ride is over, you are now rested and relaxed and ready to make more magical memories in the Magic Kingdom.
1. King Stefan’s Banquet Hall, Cinderella’s Castle-Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom
For a truly fairytale dining experience, a meal at Cinderella’s Castle will create a most magical memory for every family member. The first hint you get that this lunch or dinner is truly unique is walking into a most magnificent, beautifully decorated parlor, and there to greet you is one of the most famous Disney Princesses, Cinderella herself. Every family is given the opportunity to visit with Cinderella, including a photograph taken by a professional Disney cast member. This photo will be brought to your table before you finish your meal.
All around you inside this authentically designed European Castle are colorful flags, suits of armor, and adorning the walls are many medieval weapons and shields, representing the era of dragons, wizards, and royalty. Hardly noticeable is a small spiral staircase, which is where you are taken by your host up to the entrance of the large, elegant dining hall, complete with sparkling, crystal chandeliers, and an enormous stained glass window overlooking Fantasyland. All the servers are costumed in the traditional garb of that period, long vests, ruffled white shirts, tan knickers, white socks, and black shoes for the men, long vests, white shirts and long tan skirts, black low heel shoes for the women.
As soon as you enter this magnificent hall, you are greeted as lords and ladies by your host or hostess, and from that moment on, you are treated like royalty. The royal chef has chosen for your lunch or dinner a bounty of delicacies that are absolutely “fit for a king”. The offerings include a choice of tasty appetizers, such as a special Castle salad, strawberry salad, or crawfish and shrimp with grits. Guests have a choice of the following main entrees’: slow roasted bone-in pork served with sweet potato hash, mustard greens, and braised apples, pan-seared chicken served with pea risotto, corn nage, trumpet mushrooms and snow peas, or choose rice with roasted vegetables(eggplant, mushrooms, onions and squash tossed with Arugula, Pesto, and a splash of aged balsamic. These are just a few of the fancy feast choices for your dining pleasure
I am a working mother of four adult children, 2 granddogs, and one grandcat. I have been a Disney fanatic since 1959, when my parents took my sister and I on a journey across the country to Disneyland. Needless to say, we were thrilled, and this became our vacation destination for the next 10 years. Later, when Walt Disney World was opened, we travelled to Florida and discovered a whole new Disney experience, and WDW became our new vacation destination. Now, our extended family members are all Disney Fanatics and always ready to talk about anything Disney.