Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? One of my favorite things to do is think about where I’m going to eat each day. My absolute favorite place to dine at Disney is in World Showcase in Epcot. This is a great way to experience different world cultures. Not only can you enjoy food you may not get at home, but you will be served by cast members from the respective countries. Disney allows you to make dining reservations as early as six months out from your vacation. Call 407-WDW-DINE to book your reservations.
1. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – If your family includes young girls, or you yourself want to meet the Disney Princesses, this is the place to be! Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served here in the Norway pavilion. Most likely characters: Belle, Jasmine, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Mary Poppins, and Ariel. Breakfast is served family-style, with the usual eggs, bacon/sausage, potatoes, Mickey waffles, along with some Norwegian items. Lunch and dinner include a “Taste of Norway”, with some of the finest Scandinavian seafood, imported cheeses, cured and sliced meats, and a vast selection of salads and fruits. Several entrees are offered. The food is quite good, although there are several items most Americans would not regularly eat. Character interaction is timely and friendly.
2. Biergarten – Lunch and Dinner are served in this festive German atmosphere, also featuring regular entertainment by a German “oompah band”. Tables are large, and you may be seated with other groups. Both cold and hot buffet items are available, such as green salads, pasta salads, and potato salads, bratwurst, pork, and Spatzle. This is a hidden gem at Epcot. The food is good and the atmosphere is fun.
3. Teppan Edo – Dinner and a show?!? You get both at this fun restaurant in Japan. Seats surround the Teppan grills where seafood, beef, chicken, vegetables, and rice are prepared. The tables fit 8 so if your party is smaller, you will be seated with others. The chef can be quite entertaining as he prepares your food with theatrical chopping and knife-flipping. The food choices are fresh and tasty.
4. Via Napoli – For years, Disney World suffered with few good options for pizza. That is no longer the case! This beautiful restaurant in the Italy pavilion serves arguably the best pizza I’ve ever tasted. Three wood-fired, open-faced ovens grill your pizza to melted perfection! My favorite is the Quattro Formaggi (four cheese) pizza. Additional toppings are offered, as well as other Italian entrees, such as pastas, seafood, and chicken. Beware! This restaurant can be noisy!
5. Le Cellier – Long the most difficult dining reservation to secure in all of Disney World, this Canadian steakhouse serves prime beef, chicken, and salmon. Le Cellier is also famous for their cheddar cheese soup and pretzel bread. My favorite dish is the Filet Mignon, served fork-tender. Disney’s recent price changes have made this location more expensive, but easier to secure a reservation.
6. San Angel Inn – I included this restaurant in Mexico not for the food, which is good, if not necessarily great, but rather for the atmosphere. Picture yourself eating outdoors, after dark, in a fiesta setting, next to a beautiful flowing river. Across the river is an active volcano, which flares every few minutes. A mariachi band occasionally entertains diners. Entrees include Carne Asada, Chile Relleno, and traditional Mexican items. Tip: After your meal, take a boat ride down that very same river in the Gran Fiesta Tour.
7. Coral Reef – Like San Angel Inn, Coral Reef is most popular for the atmosphere. One entire wall of the restaurant is floor-to-ceiling windows, offer a breathtaking view into the Seas with Nemo and Friends aquarium in Epcot’s Future World, making this a unique dining experience. In ironic fashion, seafood is served here! Trout, salmon, Mahi Mahi, and other non-seafood items are included on the menu. I have found the menu to be adult-oriented, but your your kids will find something to eat while they enjoy the view.