Let’s face it: Disney World is the most magical place on Earth, where bountiful memories are made each time you vacation there. Where else could you find elegant princesses waltzing the streets with Mickey and Minnie Mouse and a nightly firework extravaganza at every park?
The magic of Disney World extends to its restaurants too, where a multitude of restaurants are sure to offer a more than memorable dining experience. Does dining with your favorite Disney World characters and/or princesses sound appealing to you? Are you looking for an unforgettable dining experience that the whole family would enjoy?
Fear not, because Disney World has it all! In this article, I will be sharing what I believe to be the seven most memorable dining experiences, and ultimately the best places to eat at Disney World.
Let’s first begin with the very popular Be Our Guest restaurant.
Be Our Guest: A Fairytale Becomes Reality
Once upon a time, very friendly enchanted objects served princess Belle an extravagant meal in Beasts’ castle. I know that when I was a child, I wanted that to happen to me. Now, at the Magic Kingdom, it can! Instead of enchanted objects though, you will be taken care of by the very friendly waitstaff. The service here is wonderful, as you will get your meals quickly and the staff will do anything they can to ensure that you and your family will have a pleasant experience.
Located in Fantasyland behind Cinderella’s castle lies a large rock formation with a miniature version of the castle from the film Beauty and the Beast at the top. No one would guess that a restaurant lies beneath it, but as soon as you step through the entrance, you are met with a surreal view. Since Beauty and the Beast was set in France, Be Our Guest Restaurant serves mainly French cuisine with some American inspired dishes. Elegance decorates every corner of this restaurant, and the dining rooms are identical to rooms that are depicted in the movie. There are three possible rooms where your table may be.
The Ballroom Dining Room is the largest and most breathtaking. It is the room where Belle and the Beast dance in during the famous song “Beauty and the Beast” in the 1991 film. The West Wing Dining Room is a smaller, dark dining area, where guests are seated in the West Wing where the notorious rose is kept. The Rose Gallery Dining Room is also a smaller room, but has a collection of paintings of Belle, the Beast, and some of the enchanted objects aligning the walls. All three dining rooms are spectacular, so if you had your heart set on one area of the restaurant but are placed in another, your experience will be a positive one no matter what. Bon appétit!
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater: A Blast from the Past
There are several attractions that should be on your must-do list at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, like Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Toy Story Mania, and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. I would suggest that you consider adding another item to your list: dining at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant. Travel back in time to the 1950s and enjoy your American style meal in front of a large movie screen. Instead of being seated at a typical dining table, you have three options for seating:
You can dine in a replica of a convertible from that time period in booth-style seating, a rectangular table with front and rear bumpers of a convertible at either end, or at a picnic table in the back of the dining room. The overall ambiance of this restaurant is very unique and one that people enjoy! Sit under a depiction of a starry night sky while watching amusing cartoons and film clips from popular sci-fi movies during the 1950s and 1960s.
No matter what age group you fall under, you are sure to be engaged and entertained. Most waiters/waitresses act as carhops while wearing roller skates to get around. The staff members provide friendly and quick service, which is a major benefit in any sit-down restaurant. The Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant is a memorable dining experience that will delight the whole family!
Cinderella’s Royal Table
When guests enter the Magic Kingdom, the first thing they see while walking down Mainstreet U.S.A. is the legendary Cinderella’s Castle. Every child, and probably most adults, would love to explore inside the castle. Even though Disney World does not offer any tours (which would be incredible if they did), there is a restaurant that occupies one section of the castle. At Cinderella’s Royal Table Restaurant, you are seated in a dining room fit for a family of royalty.
The lavish décor and architecture add to the already elegant atmosphere. You are eating in a Disney princess’ castle, after all! Children are encouraged to dress up for this magical meal in their princess gowns; not only will they look like a princess, they will also feel like one. In terms of the food, American cuisine is prepared during their breakfast, lunch, and dinner hours, offering classic dishes that even picky eaters will enjoy.
Make sure to get your picture taken with Cinderella before making your way up to the dining room. You also will have the opportunity to take pictures and visit with some of the other Disney princesses while you are in the castle. This is a great option for a family with younger children, one that they will never forget. For more information pertaining to Cinderella’s Royal Table, check out Touring Plan’s article on this restaurant.
Boma: An African Cuisine Smorgasbord
Unlike the other restaurants listed above, Boma of Africa is located within Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort. As soon as you make your way to the waiting area, you are immediately hit with the mesmerizing aroma flowing from the kitchen. Choose from a large spread of African and American-inspired cuisine served buffet style. The food at Boma is incredible and will surely be a crowd-pleaser! You have so many options to choose from: Delicious proteins, mouthwatering soup selections, food options that younger children might enjoy, delicious salads and vegetarian specialities, fulfilling side dishes, and heavenly desserts. And the best part? It is an all-you-can-eat meal, so no one will be leaving this restaurant feeling hungry!
Boma features a uniquely themed atmosphere that reflects what an African marketplace may look like. If you direct your gaze upward, you will notice drapes of decorative rugs covering the majority of the ceiling, further alluding to the central theme. The staff members are very reliable and are quick to clear any unwanted plates, leaving you room to add new dishes. After your meal, make your way upstairs into the main lobby and then outside to view some grazing animals. You are your family will fall in love with the cuisine and atmosphere at Boma, so be sure to dine here! If you would like to learn more about this restaurant, the Disney Website offers a wide range of information that will be of use to you.
Chef Mickey’s: A Character Dining Wonderland
Chef Mickey’s Restaurant is a classic choice for character dining at Disney World. This restaurant needs to be on your list of places to eat, especially if you have children. Located within Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Chef Mickey’s offers a variety of American cuisine food selections all served at a buffet. Since this restaurant is quite popular, there are two buffet lines with the same food, so you don’t have to worry about waiting in line for a long time! Some dinner favorites include Glazed Salmon, Roasted Chicken, Pot Roast, Pasta Selections, and the Chef’s Carving Station. What makes this restaurant stand out from other dining options is the enjoyable character dining entertainment. Several Disney characters will go around to visit each table, so have your autograph books and cameras ready!
Some familiar faces you can expect to see are Minnie and Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto, and Goofy. At one point during the course of your meal, a “celebration” will take place, where upbeat music is played, and guests are encouraged to swing their napkins up high in the air. Chef Mickey’s is sure to put anyone in a positive mood! Plus, since Disney’s Contemporary Resort is located along the monorail line, getting to the Magic Kingdom before or after your meal is a piece of cake. Everyone will enjoy their time while dining at Chef Mickey’s, so be sure to make a reservation during your next vacation.
Biergarten: An Oktoberfest Celebration
Make your way down to Epcot’s World Showcase for this restaurant. Biergarten Restaurant is located in the Germany pavilion and is a great option for dining in terms of food and entertainment. Traditional German dishes that one would see during Oktoberfest are served in the buffet area. The food selections are hearty and delicious, so you will be leaving fully satisfied! Some options are as follows:
2. Spaetzle (a soft and delicious egg noodle)
3. Schnitzel (a thin fried meat, usually chicken or veal)
4. Traditional Sausages
5. Frikadellen (pan-fried meatballs)
As you enter the dining room, you will notice that the restaurant is themed, with replicated German houses aligning the walls. There is also a stage that is intended to be the main focal point of the restaurant. Every 30 minutes or so, a Bavarian band will entertain you by singing classic German songs and by inviting guests to the dance floor. This experience is truly unforgettable! The hosts and waiters/waitresses are very friendly and are dressed in costumes that resemble Oktoberfest clothes. The ambiance is spot on and I highly recommend coming here! You and your family will have a great experience and will want to come dine at Biergarten Restaurant on your next vacation.
San Angel Inn: An Intimate Haven
San Angel Inn Restaurante is also located at Epcot in the World Showcase area, except this time, you have to travel to the Mexico pavilion. As you enter the Mayan pyramid, San Angel Inn Restaurante is towards the back. Disney is notorious for having themed and unique restaurants, and this one is no different. Dine in a romantic setting, and if you’re lucky or willing to wait, you could get a table overlooking a stream of water, which is part of the boat ride La Gran Fiesta.
A smaller illuminated Mayan pyramid can be seen while dining, acting as a dramatic centerpiece. The dimly lit restaurant gives a sense of intimacy to the already romantic atmosphere, making this a perfect dining experience for couples. In terms of the food, you might have guessed that the cuisine focuses on classic Mexican flavors, since you are dining at the Mexico pavilion! I will include some meal choices from the menu in the list below:
Salmón A la Parrilla (served with Mixed Greens, Red Onion, Baby Corn, and Jicama in an Avocado Vinaigrette)
Pollo a Las Rajas (served with Roasted Garlic Potatoes with Onions, Corn, Red Peppers, and a Poblano Cream Sauce topped with Queso Fresco)
Tacos de Costillas de Carne (served with Poblano Peppers, Onions served with Guacamole, Beans, Rice, and Corn Tortillas with Salsa Verde)
Carne Asada Tampiqueña (New York Strip served with Enchilada, Chipotle Rice, Cheese Mole, Black Beans, Onions, Guacamole, and Rajas Poblano)
There are several over meal options available on the menu. In terms of the service quality, the staff is very hospitable and will cater to anything you may need, which makes the dining experience more enjoyable. After you finish your meal, embark on La Gran Fiesta Tour boat ride, featuring The Three Caballeros, or shop for merchandise. One store houses glass blown sculptures, amazingly delicate works of art that make for perfect souvenirs. Another store is dedicated to clothing and jewelry. The remaining carts sell trinkets such as Sombreros, Dia De Los Muertos skulls and jewelry boxes, maracas, and so on. Even after your dining experience, you will be entertained by the authentic souvenirs.
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