As a Disney World fan specializing in food, one of the questions I’m most asked is, “What are the best restaurants in Disney World?”
The honest answer to that question is that all of the restaurants in Disney World are unique, and my personal favorite restaurants could very easily be someone else’s bottom of the barrel. It all depends on who you are and what kind of food, service, and level of formality you’re looking for. That said, there are several restaurants in Disney World that stand out for specific objectives.
Best Disney World Restaurant for Kids
If you’re headed to Disney World with a kiddo in tow and can only eat at one restaurant, I recommend getting a reservation at Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary Resort Hotel. Just one monorail stop away from the Magic Kingdom (and actually within walking distance — takes about 10 minutes), Chef Mickey’s is the only restaurant where your child can meet all “fab five” characters: Mickey, Goofy, Donald, Minnie, and Pluto. This is called a “character meal” at Disney World, and this means the characters visit each table at the restaurant, sign autographs, and take photos with kids and families. It’s a great way to save time waiting in lines for character autographs in the parks, and a good opportunity to take an air-conditioned break away from the Orlando heat.
Chef Mickey’s is a buffet for breakfast and dinner. Occassionally the restaurant will serve lunch. Call 407-WDW-DINE for more information and reservations.
Best Disney World Restaurant for an Adult Meal
People are often shocked at what a dining destination Disney World has become. Touting the only AAA 5-diamond restaurant in Orlando, along with several highly acclaimed, award-winning fine dining establishments, Disney and its chefs are a force in the gourmet world.
So if you want to celebrate an engagement, anniversary, birthday, or wedding at Disney with your loved one, they have several top-notch spots from which to choose. The most highly rated is Victoria and Albert’s Restaurant at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Located on the other side of the Magic Kingdom from the Contemporary, the Grand Floridian is Disney World’s most expensive hotel and offers the perfect setting for the top-rated restaurant in Orlando.
Victoria and Albert’s does not allow children under 10 years of age in its dining room, and the restaurant has only two seatings each night, which means you’re expected to take your time and truly enjoy your meal. A market-inspired menu that changes every evening results in an exclusive experience for you and your guests.
Want to get even more exclusive? Victoria and Albert’s also offers reservations for its chef’s table. Often completely booked up six months to a year in advance, this $170 seating ($240 with wine pairings) means the Chef will prepare a meal specifically to your party’s tastes and desires. A truly incredible evening. Call 407-WDW-DINE to book either the main dining room or the chef’s table — six months in advance for the chef’s table, and no less than three months in advance for the main dining room.
Best Disney World Counter-Service Restaurant
Sometimes you just don’t have time to sit back, relax, and take an hour for your meal. Disney World is a busy place, and if you only have a day or two to see all the attractions, your best bet is to snag some counter-service eats.
In Disney Speak, “counter-service,” or “quick-service,” means fast food. And there are a LOT of fast food options in Disney World. That said, not all counter-service is equal, and a favorite spot to grab a bite is Sunshine Seasons food court in the Epcot theme park. Located in The Land pavilion in Epcot’s Future World, Sunshine Seasons has an option for everyone. With stations for grilled items, soups and salads, asian meals, and sandwiches, this is one of the few counter-service restaurants with some very healthy options. Of course, there’s also a bakery at Sunshine Seasons, just to ensure you’re not completely fat-free on your Disney Vacation!
These are just a few of my favorite dining options in Disney World, but with hundreds of restaurants and kiosks offering good eats, I can assure you there are many more that are just as delicious. Have a great trip to Disney World, and Bon Appetit!
AJ is the webmaster of www.DisneyFoodBlog.com and has been learning about — and testing! — Disney World food for many years. For more Best Disney Restaurant recommendations, visit the Best Disney World Restaurants series index. DisneyFoodBlog.com is a great source for all of the latest Disney Dining News.