Best Disney World Restaurants: Top Ten {Tuesday}

My vacations always center around food. Oh, I love a good adventure, or a nice relaxing afternoon at the pool. But really? I’m wondering where in the world I’m going to eat my next meal. So, when Disney had their Dining Plan for FREE (when you bought tickets & booked a hotel), we HAD to do it. Free Disney Dining is AMAZING. Each person gets ONE SNACK (that’s like a Mickey Mouse ice cream or a slab of fudge or a box of popcorn) and ONE COUNTER SERVICE (that’s like a hambuger, bbq or chicken fingers) and ONE TABLE SERVICE (that’s like a character meal or a fancy shmancy meal at a resort).

In a nutshell: WE ATE TILL WE COULD EAT NO MORE.

In fact, we ate so much I know we had one table service left over and probably 2 counter service and (are you ready for this?) 26 snacks left over. There was nothing we could do about the meals. But, the snacks? Well, on our last day I stopped at the nearest candy shoppe and bought 26 pieces of fudge. Yup, $109 worth of fudge. The guys in the store thought I was hysterical. (Or weird, one). I neatly packed it all in a cooler and planned to serve it at Asa’s party. (I mean, how cool would that be? Disney World FUDGE driven in just for the party?!) Alas, my cooler leaked and soaked all the fudge. *sniff*

Now. Where was I? Oh yes, the FOOD! We ate so many yummy meals. And for any of you thinking about Disney, especially with the Dining Plan, here are my suggestions for the…

BEST DISNEY WORLD RESTAURANTS

(Ok, the best ones we ate at!):

1. Kouzzina by Cat Cora {at the Boardwalk}

I ate here for breakfast with my Disney Moms. So, I didn’t know what to expect for dinner. First of all, the service at Disney is just outstanding. Waiters don’t run by and tap their foot while you order. They stop and make faces at your crying kids (who me?), they give details on every single entree and never say, “Oh, I’ve never had it.” {<—ugh! I hate that!} So, just sitting down at Kouzzina and talking to our waiter was like a vacation.

disney world boardwalk

I took our server’s suggestion and had the Seafood Stew. This is something I would never order although I love seafood. It had lots of tails, shells and stuff in it. And oh, my dear lord, it was divine. I was clapping when it arrived. Clapping.

Les had a pork tbone and loved it so much that we made a late night reservation to go back later in the week (and I got the Greek Lasagna with cinnamon. Comfort food like you ain’t never had!)

disney world boardwalk

The dessert was this delicious chocolate lava cake that had me using my finger to wipe up every single morsel.

disney world restaurant

But Asa liked the doughnuts best!

2. Liberty Tree Tavern {at Magic Kingdom}

magic kingdom restaurant

This restaurant is right next to the Liberty Tree and the Liberty Bell in Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom. If you haven’t guessed it’s theme and decor, well…maybe you should pick up a copy of US History somewhere. Anywhoo, I just love walking into a restaurant when you’re in one of the parks. It’s like walking into another world–away from the hustle and bustle from the crowd, there’s a whole fun adventure in dining waiting for you!

We sat in the Betsy Ross’ room and had some typical American meals–pot roast and turkey dinner. But really? The thing that made our trip there yummy? Our dessert, the ooey gooey toffee cake:

disney world restaurant

Seriously. The Mickey Mouse sprinkles did it for the kids. But I loved it because of the toffee and chocolate.

3. Contempo Cafe {at the Contemporary Resort}

This is a quick service meal but we really liked it. We got so tired of the Quick Service meals at our hotel (All Star Movies) and when we took a ride on the monorail, we figured the Contempo would be a good one to try. (Mainly because you order on computer screens and that’s just fun.)

disney world restaurant

I got a mahi sandwich with slaw. I took it off the bun and it ate it with the dressing and slaw. It was delish.

disney world restaurant

Les had a flatbread pizza. We both ate it and loved it!

The kids had something that I don’t remember. BUT I do remember dessert: I got a cherry filled chocolate cupcake (same one from my Moms Panel training) and the kids got a dirt and gummy worm brownie. They thought it was the most entertaining and delicious thing they’d ever eaten.

disney world restaurant

4. Hoop Dee Doo {at Pioneer Hall in Fort Wilderness}

disney world restaurant

Oh, Hoop Dee Doo how I love you! This actually takes 2 of your Table Service credits but I think it’s worth it. This is a dinner show–but it’s interactive and hilarious and heart-warming and just–oh! I love it. You’ll be singing “Hoop Dee Doo! Hoop Dee Doo!” for days.

disney world restaurant

Oh, and the food’s not bad either: salad, cornbread, baked beans, fried chicken, ribs and strawberry shortcake for dessert!

Photobucket

5. Via Napoli {in Italy at Epcot}

disney world restaurant

This is one of the newest restaurants at Disney. I love new places. (Mainly because the bathrooms are clean.) This restaurant is not only clean, it’s be-a-u-tiful. The pizzas are wood-fired in the most adorable ovens ever. And look at my pizza:

disney world restaurant

And desserts?! Les had some kind of fruity ice cream soda

disney world restaurant

the kids had an ice cream sandwich

disney world restaurant

and I had FRIED RICOTTA BALLS…

disney world restaurant

Seriously. We loved every bit of it. Asa liked it so much he licked his plate.

disney world restaurant

6. Sanaa {at Kidani Village at Animal Kingdom Lodge}

I was totally excited to eat at this restaurant because I’d never been to the Kidani Village (the newer section of Animal Kingdom Lodge) AND because Boma (the other Animal Kingdom Lodge restaurant) is one of my favorite meals ever.

disney world restaurant{my husband. he hates it when I take his picture.}

The decor is just amazing {they own the largest collection of African art in the country!} and the view is ANIMALS. Like zebras and giraffes. It’s just breathtaking.

disney world restaurant

We actually spent a little extra money here because I so wanted the appetizer (table service on the Dining Plan includes a drink, entree and dessert). It was 3 different flatbreads and 3 toppings/dips like hummus. I seriously could have just eaten that and been happy.

I ended up getting tandoori chicken while Les got the shrimp, scallops and sustainable fish. They have a great dessert sampler which included Chai-pudding-something-or-the-other and 2 others. The chai was my fave.

7. Akershus {at Norway in Epcot}

disney world restaurant

This was a Character Meal with the PRINCESSES! Lydia was dressed in her princess best and when we arrived we were swept to a photo opp with Belle from Beauty and the Beast! When we got to our table four other princesses arrived to speak with us–Snow White, Cinderella, Ariel and Sleeping Beauty. I think I may do a whole post on this because Lydia was literally in princess-heaven.

Now, the food. I liked the way they did this meal. It’s part-buffet, part hot-food-to-the-table. But no menu! So, as soon as you get to the table, they take your drink order and off you go to the buffet for fruit, pastries and cheese. Then a few minutes later your waiter arrives with a hot skillet full of sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs and some yummy cheese potato hashbrowns.

A big plus here is that we got a complimentary photo (rather, photos…about 5 copies) of the picture of Lydia and Belle. It was a special gift “to Lydia from Belle” and she loved it!

8. 50′s Prime Time Cafe {at Disney’s Hollywood Studios}

50's prime time cafe
{photo has been pixelated to protect you from my tired vacation eyes, my horrific vacation hair and my no makeup vacation face}

This is one of my favorite themed restaurants. The first time I went I was in awe of the waiters because–well, because they yelled at me. They made me set my own table and introduced me to everyone else in the room because we were “family”! I think, though, that you have to provoke some of the waiters. When we were there this time, it was super busy and we were so tired that I think the waitress just did her best to be a good waitress. (And she was!)

disney world restaurant

I got the chicken pot pie. But the best part was the s’mores. Seriously. I’m not even going to tell you how much I ate of this thing.

9. Whispering Canyon {at Wilderness Lodge}

disney world restaurant
{that is a giant mason jar full of coke!}

This is another restaurant where the waiters like to be provoked. We didn’t do much provoking because we were there to see some of our bestest friends from Orlando. However, our waitress literally threw our napkins and straws at us. And brought us more food than we could ever eat in 2 lifetimes. Look at this all-you-can-eat yumminess:

disney world restaurant

10. Cape May Cafe {at the Beach Club Resort}

disney world restaurant

This is a yummy seafood buffet. SEAFOOD. BUFFET. We ate more crab legs than I’ve ever seen in my life. And then had saltwater taffy for dessert. How great is that?

cape may cafe

And Lydia liked it, too. I don’t think she’s ever been to a buffet. She thought it was magical. Plus, you could write on the paper tablecloth. So, that was pretty special.

Other restaurants we ate at: Columbia House, Flame Tree Barbecue, Tusker House, Yak & Yeti Counter Service, Earl of Sandwich, Sunshine Seasons, Wolfgang Puck, Wolfgang Puck Express, 1900 Park Faire

Hungry yet?!

Want more Disney? See my most magical posts on earth!

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Wanna join our Top Ten {Tuesday} fun? Don’t be intimidated by my long-windedness! Your list can be about whatever you’d like and however long you like—as long as there are 10 of ‘em! Just WRITE a great post, then LINK back to me so others can play, PASTE the url to your post below and then start LOVIN’ on the rest of the participants by clicking, reading, commenting, stumbling, tweeting and liking their posts!

THANK YOU for all the participation and tweets and LOVE for the last 2 weeks! I wasn’t even here and we had the BIGGEST link up ever last week! Thank you for making Top Ten {Tuesday} so fun!

I am NOT a Disney employee. All thoughts are mine. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Disney Company. And if you are a Disneyphile, please don’t check my facts on this post. I may be a Disney Moms Panelist but I’m not perfect!

Comments

  1. OH MY STARS! That spread looked nothing short of magical.

    I want to go back, desperately!

  2. So, you really don’t worry about possibly puking all that up on the rides in the park? Because me, if I ate all that, would probably like to sit myself safely in my room and wait for the food coma. :) (and I’d *love* every minute of it!)

    Two things I laughed out loud at: your husband, not wanting his picture taken, and you with your pixelated face. You are too funny! :)

  3. Oh how I wish I’d had this list before we went to Disney last November! Although, we did manage to hit the Princess Dinner at Epcot and the Wilderness Lodge restaurant — I agree both were really good! Also, we loved the Ohana Breakfast at the Polynesian!

  4. Lucious food photos. So sorry about the lost fudge. That would make me cry.

  5. Wow, that’s some great food!!!

  6. Oh my goodness! Did you guys gain like 30 pounds each?? What an amazing spread of food!!! I haven’t been to Disney in about 20 years — but clearly I’ve been missing out! :)

  7. I could write a whole post back to you in this comment – I’ll try and restrain myself. First, the fudge? So sad. So very sad. You get an “A” for effort though.
    Second I have a secret, and it’s that I totally want to go to Disney JUST TO EAT. I got obsessed with Disney recipes a few years ago and went through a stage where we ate Disney-knock off food for months. And third, I want to eat a salad out of a Hoop Dee Doo bucket. Bad. OK one more. Fourth, the flatbread dips – I see pesto, chutney, and what the heck is that other one? Red pepper hummus? Looks amazing…

  8. Hey Jen–I tried clicking on your link, but it took me the Top Ten Tuesday home link. You might want to repost! You wouldn’t want everyone to miss your great post!

  9. Amanda–thanks for sharing all these great pics. I can’t WAIT until my kids are old enough for us to go and enjoy! You guys ate like KINGS! (And yes, by the time I scrolled the bottom, my stomach was GROWLING!)

  10. This is a great list! My sister and her family are going to Disney World this month, so I am going to send her this list!

    God bless!

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  11. okay, those desserts look AMAZING!

  12. Oh goodness me this looks amazing! I simply must go to Disney World now. And now… off to raid the fridge! Hungry indeed!!

  13. Yum! I think it’s time for a Disney trip!

  14. It’s been at least 7 years since I went to Disney, but your post made me smile really big! We love the food at Norway and the 50s Diner. My personal favorite was Morocco in Epcot though–still some of the best food I’ve ever had. Oh, Disney!!

    Crossing fingers, my parents are taking us there next summer. Can’t wait to experience it with kiddos!

  15. Oh that all looks sooooo delicious!!

  16. It all looks so good! When we went to DisneyWorld (years and years ago, it seems) we ate at Pizza Planet. I swear, it was the world’s best pizza! Glad you ahd a good trip.

    • DISNEY CUTS Disney is obviously srinamltnieg its Magical Express program to keep it in line with many airlines current non-carry on no-free baggage policies. If consumers ares not clear in their demand for free space for all items, it’s a sure bet that corporate will start levying fees for additional tags after the first. This is not acceptable. Put DVC on notice that those other tags are wanted then decide or not you need them as you pack when it is a problem. Disney advertising promos need to be more than just extended. With this nation in a deep recession (take a look at the U. S. dollar value worldwide), if course it wants to drum up business and keep cash flowing in. Most people don’t realize that half of projected items come from in park sales of merchandise and food. Perhaps, if Disney cut its ticket prices or extended park hopping as a courtesy it might generate more revenue. Many evenings I would love to dine in Epcot but don’t have the desire to put out extra money for the multiple-park feature so I go instead to local restaurants outside the World. There are a lot of places out there with great selections and bargain prices. Furthermore, with the whole resort complex merchandising so many pricey tee shirts to the exclusion of many items it formerly stocked, I check out nearby discount department stores for my memorabilia. I think companies get back as much as they give, don’t you? I’m surprised that Disney did not implement this strategy and promote the DVC in major cities earlier. After all, the biggest share of DVC owners live in the metropolitan area surrounding New York. Disney is big in NYC right now. Check out and see how many plays it has running. It’s Time Square Disney Store is thriving and it has plans to expand its interests in the area. People on vacation don’t always want to give up time to check out a timeshare which, no matter what Disney chooses to call itself, is exactly what it is. Every American knows just how tight money is. Necessities like food, shelter, clothing, and transportation come before discretionary items like any vacation or even day trip. Of course it has to balance its budget. Of course it has to red line non-essential spending. Nevertheless it must deliver a product that the public perceives is worth putting dollars out for.Personally when it cuts hours I understand BUT I then change my spending to come into line with the changes. One way is by going into parks less frequently, eating meals there, and spending less time and, accordingly, money in the stores. If I spent a day in each park before, I bulk up now and do a couple. After closing, I go outside Disney and eat there. It’s a no-brainer compare McDonald Disney to the greater Orlando area. That is the cheap end. It’s the same relative price comparison as the kind of food service improves. I also stop locally on the way in and figure out what souvenirs if any I’m getting, put that money aside, then get it before going home. That strategy keeps things out of the and helps my wallet too.

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  17. I kinda want to go to Disney World just for the food now…. :)

  18. Looks like fun and some good eats! I felt like I was on vacation alittle when reading it.

  19. It all looks very good!

  20. WOWIE!! That looks A-mAzing!!!!

    I’m looking forward to my very first disney adventure with my kiddos one day now even MORE!

  21. Ok, I’m now both hungry AND stuffed at the same time after reading this post!!! Looks like you guys ate some ah-maz-ing food.

  22. Yum Yum Yum!! That looked so awesome!! And your kids are sooo stinkin’ cute :o)

  23. Seriously, the coolest party!!! I’m so stealing your ideas for when Charlie is a little older!!

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