At some point or another, we all reach for comfort food. Some of us do this after a long, hard day. Others do it simply because it makes them happy. I don’t know about you, but when all else seems wrong in the world, a big bowl of rocky road ice cream seems to make everything right once more (at least while I’m eating it…afterwards might be another story). There is typically nostalgia and sentiment attached to comfort foods, perhaps reminding us of home or simpler times. Comfort foods can be anything from warm, hearty meals to filling snacks and rich desserts. They are often loaded with carbs and require very simple preparation. Just like Olaf, I like warm hugs, and that’s what comfort food is to me—a warm hug, providing therapeutic contentment.
We’ve all had a tiring and exhausting day at Disney World. The lines can be long, the day can be long. Our feet ache, and the little sleep you got the night before starts to remind you in the form of heavy-lidded eyes and overall sluggishness. Let’s face it, on days like this you need a little something extra to look forward to…something to power you onward. The next time you find yourself in need of just a little added comfort at Disney or you are simply looking for food that’s darn delicious, we’ve got you covered. Check out our list of the top comfort foods at Disney World and where to get them as they are certain to deliver immediate happiness straight to your tummy.
10. Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Tomato Soup
At The Beach Club Resort’s Beaches and Cream you can order your childhood favorite, Grilled Cheese with Tomato Bisque. It’s amazing how a sandwich constructed with nothing more than bread, cheese and butter can satisfy us so fully and richly. It’s the ultimate comfort food and nothing brings the “warmth” quite like it. This six-cheese blend on brioche bread is sure to maximize your feelings of cozy comfort. With the ooey, gooey melted cheese and the buttery crunch of the thick bread you’ll have all you need to provide you with some tasty nostalgia. Throw in a bowl of deliciously steaming tomato bisque to warm your belly and the happiest place on earth just got happier.
9. Biscuits and Sausage Gravy
If this isn’t one of the best downhome comfort foods around, I’m not sure what is. A classic favorite, you can find this breakfast-y meal at many of the Disney Resorts (like Chef Mickey’s and 1900 Park Fare) as well as some of the theme parks breakfast buffets (like The Crystal Palace and Hollywood and Vine). But the best in our opinion—the one just like what Grandma used to make—is the biscuits and gravy at The Whispering Canyon Café located inside The Wilderness Lodge Resort. This restaurant offers up a ton of yummy breakfast options so make sure you save room on your plate for the stick-to-your-ribs meal of fluffy biscuits with a healthy ladle of hearty sausage gravy on top.
8. Waffles and Fried Chicken
Haven’t you heard? Waffles are all the rage at Walt Disney World! These delicious treats can be found all over Disney property and are incorporated into our favorite breakfasts, lunches, dinners and desserts! We’ve all heard of the legendary Mickey waffles (a favorite for VERY good reason!) but did you know that you can mosey on over to Sleepy Hollow Refreshments in the Magic Kingdom and order a sweet and spicy chicken and waffle sandwich? That’s some serious southern comfort right there! Inside a folded fluffy and yet crunchy waffle, you will find a generous portion of crispy chicken, perfectly flavored with its sweet and spicy infusion. They’ll finish off your sandwich with some arugula and coleslaw, rounding the whole meal out with added tasty crunch. I don’t know what’s more comforting—eating the satisfying dish itself, or getting to gaze upon Cinderella’s Castle while you do it. Either way, it’s a winner-winner-chicken-dinner (or lunch, for that matter).
7. Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes
If you’re a meat and potatoes kind of person, then you’ll find some exceptional comfort in this dish at The 50s Prime Time Café located inside Hollywood Studios. You can eat salads and quinoa and crunch raw veggies with the best of them, but sometimes you just gotta give into those cravings and satisfy your appetite with a big slab of beef. This restaurant actually uses a beef and pork blend and finishes the cut with a tasty tomato glaze. Roasted garlic mashed potatoes round out this hearty dish making every bite just that much more like home. Bring your appetite here as the servings are impressive, and don’t forget to eat those green beans on your plate or else your delightfully snarky server will give you a brisk talkin’ to.
6. Macaroni and Cheese
I’m not sure I’ve ever met a mac and cheese I didn’t like. I mean, truly, how could you mess this comfort food favorite up? And don’t pretend that you don’t reach over, fork in hand, just to “test the temperature” when your child gets served their favorite dish while eating out at a restaurant. For all of you that have had the pleasure of frequenting the Disney World property, you know this dish pops up on practically every restaurant menu. This doesn’t make choosing just one dish out of the hundreds of options easy, but if I had to shine the spotlight on just ONE, then I’d steer your salivating taste buds on over to Jiko’s at Animal Kingdom Lodge. This favorite is so beloved that you can find the exact recipe floating all over various Disney blogs as people who’ve tasted the creamy and gratifying side accompaniment are eager to recreate it at home. They use Quattro Fromage (4-cheese blend of asiago, provolone, fontina, and gruyere cheeses) and along with the rest of the milk, butter and flour ingredients, they call it a Mornay Sauce. This cheesy sauce perfectly settles into all the nooks and crannies of the elbow pasta, making each bite an indulgent reward. A quick glance at the current dinner menu reveals that it is no longer mentioned as the side dish to their popular filet mignon, but many a patron has commented and said that you can still order this delicious extra with a simple request to your server.
5. Chicken Pot Pie
Soon after having my first child, dozens of casseroles and lasagnas began pouring in from my gracious friends, eager to lend a helping hand to my “new mommy” status. While I greatly enjoyed the break from having to cook dinner and welcomed any and every meal, I practically wept with joy when one of my friends showed up on my doorstep with a chicken pot pie, still steaming with freshness. The crust was homemade, flaky and buttery, the chicken and veggies were perfectly cooked and portioned in a hearty way throughout center, nestled inside the tastiest and creamiest gravy. I was in heaven. I sat with the entire pie in my lap the following day with just a fork, indulging in the leftovers and allowing the food to comfort my bleary-eyed, sleepless and worn-out self. Magic is what that food is. Pure magic. Several places on Disney property offer this wonderful meal and I was having a hard time narrowing it down to just one. There really isn’t a true “winner” among the three that I will mention, as they all provide that nostalgic satisfaction. At the 50s Prime Time Café in Hollywood Studios you can order Grandma’s Chicken Pot Pie which comes in the form of a bowl of creamy chicken and veggie gravy with a lovely puff pastry resting on top. At the Columbia Harbour House in the Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland you can order up their Chicken Pot Pie, which is served sans the flaky top crust, instead giving you an immediate view of the chunks of chicken resting within the rich gravy. It is certainly delicious, even without the top crust! Another favorite is the Chicken and Field Mushroom Pie at Cookes of Dublin located inside Downtown Disney (attached to Raglan Road). This dish is an unusual, yet amazingly delicious, take on the traditional chicken pot pie, adding in large chunks of leeks, mushrooms and potatoes along with the pieces of chicken. Another definite favorite, for sure!
4. Spaghetti and Meatballs
It’s no secret, everyone loves this Italian favorite. Find me someone who doesn’t enjoy a nice hearty plate of spaghetti and meatballs and I’ll be shocked. What’s not to love about pasta, marinara sauce and tasty, perfectly seasoned meatballs (not to mention the parmesan cheese traditionally sprinkled on top)? There is a tug of war struggle between two teams claiming the best spaghetti and meatballs on Disney property. One side insists it’s found on the menu at Via Napoli inside the Italy pavilion at Epcot, the other side claims the best of the best is at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano located inside Hollywood Studios. Either way, if you order up this traditional comfort food classic at one of these locations you can’t go wrong.
3. Fish and Chips
There is great hoopla surrounding the Rose and Crown’s Fish and Chips for good reason. You don’t have to sit inside a restaurant to order up this wonderfully comforting dish of fried fish and French fries. But be prepared to wait in line at the quick service counter located inside Epcot’s United Kingdom pavilion as this dish is one of the most popular items on Disney property. If it’s fried and fresh and crispy and salty, you know it’s going to be sinfully good. Nope, there’s nothing healthy about it but after a long day at the parks there is just something “right” about biting into one of these hot and fresh, crunchy fish strips. Go ahead, order this dish and make your tummy smile.
2. Loaded French Fries
Speaking of French fries, who isn’t hopelessly addicted to these fried strips of potato perfection? I know I am and get a hankering for them quite often as I go about my day. Disney is well aware of the French fry frenzy and set up a wonderful new waffle fry station with the most unique and mouthwatering toppings available. At the Golden Oak Outpost located inside Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom you can order a plate of waffle fries with creative toppings that can actually make this comfort food snack a meal. Back in the day at this unassuming quick service counter, they used to serve McDonald’s French fries and I always walked right on by, because, really, McDonald’s fries just seemed awfully “un-Disney” to me. But that was then, and the “now” is waffle fry heaven. Available on this menu are Brown Gravy and Cheese Waffle Fries, BLT Waffle Fries (topped with Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and Ranch Dressing), Barbeque Pork Waffle Fries, Tex-Mex Waffle Fries, and even Sweet Potato Nuggets. If that doesn’t make your mouth drool just a little, I can’t help you. With all those options guaranteed to satisfy your French fry craving, this stop is really a no-brainer.
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1. Pie a ‘la Mode
Sometimes when we are in need of comforting fix, a little sweetness goes a long way! Pies are among the most comforting desserts, found on practically every holiday table spread. Golden, flaky crusts holding sweet fillings of various creations, served warm with a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream—it just doesn’t get much better than that. At Disney you can find a different and yummy pie for every day of the week but the standout favorites are found at The Whispering Canyon Café inside The Wilderness Lodge and at Boatright’s Dining Hall inside Port Orleans Riverside Resort. At The Whispering Canyon Café you can order the Apple-Caramel Pie, which is nothing short of spectacular. The cinnamon flavored apples, the crunchy and sweet streusel, the caramel sauce drizzled on top and the bites of ice cream with each forkful of pie will have you already planning your next trip to Disney just for this dessert alone. You will not regret ordering this, I promise! On the menu at Boatright’s Dining Hall you can order another classic favorite, the pecan pie. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven up to the attendant’s gate at the entrance and told them I was there for my dinner reservations at this restaurant only to be told that I must order the pecan pie. It’s been a staple on their menu for quite a long time now, as patrons are always coming back again and again to indulge in this comfort food favorite. Though this pie doesn’t traditionally come with a scoop of ice cream, I’ve never once been turned down when I’ve requested my pie a ’la mode. That’s part of the Disney magic for you. They make things happen.