Top 10 Affordable Restaurants at Disney Parks and Why We Love Them
Walt Disney World is one of the most popular and most visited theme parks in the world. In addition to the exciting rides, unique attractions, entertaining stage shows, colorful parades and dazzling fireworks displays, the shopping and dining venues are phenomenal. From snack carts to a magical feast at Cinderella’s Castle, or from a souvenir stand selling toys and collectibles to a specialty shop filled with luxurious diamond jewelry and accessories from the Disney Boutique Collection, you will have plenty of shopping and dining options to choose from. I would like to introduce you to ten affordable restaurants at the Disney theme parks and why I think they are the best.
1. Sunshine Seasons Food Court – EPCOT
The ambiance, tranquility, and beauty of this huge open-air food court is amazing. Several counter service venues offer American and Asian cuisine entrees, salads, sandwiches, and Grab & Go sections for a quick snack. The sights and sounds of this extraordinary dining venue make any meal here a special one.
2. PizzeRizzo – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
“Rizzo” the wise cracking Rat from the Muppets TV show and movies, is the owner of this Italian Pizzeria located near the “Muppet Vision 3-D” attraction. Rizzo and his rat friends are serving hot, fresh pizzas, meatball subs, special salads, and yummy desserts. The atmosphere in this Muppet-themed New York style restaurant is fun, whimsical, and filled with Rizzo’s personal touch.
3. Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe – Magic Kingdom
Step into this futuristic dining hall, where Sonny Eclipse, an animatronic entertainer from another galaxy, sings and plays his electric keyboard on a stage at the center of the main dining room. The menu here consists of burgers, cheeseburgers, BBQ sandwiches, chicken nuggets, salads, fries, and more. The “toppings bar” is filled with sauces, vegetables, cheeses, etc. to top off your sandwich or entrée. Outdoor umbrella-covered seating is also available outside.
This is such an unusual restaurant. The story behind the décor and food is about a group of paleontology students who are on a exposition to find and study dinosaur fossils, and this is where they live and eat. The food is what you might find at a college university, such as burgers, cheeseburgers, a grilled chicken BLT sandwich, chicken nuggets, fries, soups, salads, etc. Take a few minutes before you leave and check out all the imagery and funny notes and items left behind by the students.
5. Backlot Express – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Enjoy a meal in this oversized warehouse of movie props and other movie set items. It’s a reminder of exactly where you are; a movie studio. The atmosphere is awesome and there is plenty of open air covered seating. Take a break and enjoy a hamburger, cheeseburger, hot dog, or the “Darkside Chicken & Waffles” or “Galactic Salad”. The food is good, but the atmosphere is the real star here. You can dine like the actors when they’re on the set.
6. Flame Tree BBQ – Disney’s Animal Kingdom
The aroma wafting from this beautifully designed counter service restaurant is hard to ignore as you are passing by. The outdoor covered seating area defies imagination with an exotic African décor featuring colorful sculpted figures of the animals and birds of the jungle along with brilliantly colored furniture. The back waterfront view of Mt. Everest is breathtaking. Dine on delicious BBQ ribs, chicken and pork plates which come with baked beans and coleslaw. The mouthwatering food combined with the unique décor and gorgeous view makes this a favorite place to dine.
7. Katsura Grill – EPCOT
Surrounded by the beauty of nature, this hidden Japanese restaurant is a real gem. The serenity and sound of distant Taiko drums adds to the flavor and simplicity of the menu. Choose from teriyaki, sushi, chicken cutlet curry, salads, Miso soup, and more. There is indoor and outdoor covered seating, and in the evening the colorful Japanese lanterns are a glowing addition to your delightful meal.
8. La Cantina de San Angel – EPCOT
Satisfy your craving for Mexican food at his small Mexican counter service restaurant located just across from the Mexican Pyramid, where you can enjoy a savory meal while enjoying the beauty of the World Showcase Lagoon. Feast on authentic Mexican cuisine with choices like tacos, empanadas con queso, guacamole, sweet churros, and traditional fruit popsicles. Enjoy the food and the view.
9. Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café – Magic Kingdom
How about a visit to an old rustic saloon serving American and Mexican cuisine, featuring burgers, fries, soups, salads, tacos, fajita platters, beef nachos, and more. There is an ultimate “toppings bar” where you can customize your meal with all sorts of fresh vegetables, cheeses, sauces, grilled onions, etc. The old West décor of wooden round tables and stools will get you in the mood for your “wildest meal in the wilderness”!
10. Columbia Harbour House – Magic Kingdom
You don’t have to be a seafood connoisseur to enjoy a meal at this early American colonial style seafaring eatery. Choose from among these specialties: battered fish or shrimp, lobster roll, grilled salmon, chicken breast nuggets, chicken pot pie, tuna sandwich, salads, clam chowder, side dishes, like macaroni & cheese, fries, steamed vegetables, etc. The atmosphere is seaworthy and the food is exceptional.
Be adventuresome and experience a restaurant you haven’t been to before. We all have our favorites, but be bold and give one of these restaurants a try. One of them may become a favorite. As the saying goes, “Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it”. It’s fun to explore new places and new menus, plus the restaurants highlighted in this article serve delicious food and are affordable.
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.