Most people wouldn't believe it, but these days I think the favorite part of our family trips to Disney World for me is the catering and dining experiences we enjoy while we're there. The last few years we've gone with a group of friends we've had varied, lovely, and unexpected experiences, like italian catering showcasing their rich banquet catering varieties unlike what one would normally visualize when thinking italian food for example. Our meals shared together are some of our favorite times shared as a group, and a great opportunity to make long-lasting memories.
The other magical thing about dining at Disney is that if you have food allergies, this place delivers on keeping your experience as fantastic as everyone else's. You just have to give them notice and be prepared to be flexible. The "notice" is nothing more than letting them know when you make your dining reservations that you have a guest with food allergies in your group. And if you hadn't thought of it, you SHOULD DEFINITELY make reservations for your sit down meals as far out as possible, 180 days is the earliest you can make it. Don't wait until the last minute.
Over the last few years our family has tried the majority of dining options within the park. We've always done the Disney Dining Plan. This gives each of us a snack a day (drink, ice cream, fruit, pretzel, etc.), a quick service (QS) meal (think of it as Disney fast food), and a sit down service. Below are some of our experiences and thoughts about where to eat in each park.
Magic Kingdom Dining Options
- Crystal PalaceÂ - buffet with characters (obviously good variety for kids)
- Liberty Tree Tavern - served family style, great food. We had roast beef, roasted turkey, ham, pork loin and it's all fantastic
- Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe (QS) - variety of sandwich options for chicken, burgers, dogs, bar-b-que and more. A wide variety of gluten free options available if you let them know you need it.
- Casey's Corner (QS) - Casey at the Bat themed dining. Great hot dogs and corn dogs, Cracker Jacks. Good toppings bar including nacho cheese for great cheese fries!
- Golden Oak Outpost (QS) - good place for an angus burger and toppings
- Main Street Bakery - you can get huge pastries and donuts here that count as a snack. A good option to grab a snack that will feel like a good breakfast to get you started to enjoy Extra Magic Hours at the Magic Kingdom.
- Aloha Isle - all you need to know is get the "Pineapple Whip". Only served at Disney World, Disney Land and the Dole Plantation in Hawaii.
EPCOT Dining Options
- Teppan Edo - Japanese steakhouse Teppan-yaki. Great food, great service. Our friend who grew up in Japan felt "at home" when we dined here. Time your reservations to be able to watch Illuminations fireworks display.
- Tutto Italia Ristorante - excellent Italian, great atmosphere
- San Angel Inn - good food, time reservations so you're seated on deck for Illuminations fireworks show.
- Biergarten - great buffet and dinner show, my son really liked it. Lots of German food options to try and explore.
- Akershus Royal Banquet Hall - my wife and daugther tried this for the first time this year. Character dining with the princesses, food was not as expected, but go here for the atmosphere and the Princesses, not the food.
- Coral Reef Restaurant - dining hall is located below large aquarium tanks at Under the Seas exhibit. Variety of good selections of seafood entrees.
- Restaurant Merrakesh - if you enjoy Moroccan food, I enjoyed this meal. Was not a favorite of the rest of my family.
- Misc. - so many different options to try a bite here and there. Explore! Be adventurous! If you go in September and October, even more options as part of the Food & Wine Festival at EPCOT
Animal Kingdom Dining Options
- Flame Tree Barbeque (QS) - we almost always have a meal here during our visit. Great BBQ ribs, chicken and other meal options.
- Restaurantosaurus (QS) - the place for burgers, a good salad, shrimp po-boy. Toppings bar and drink refills help refuel you up for the day.
- Yak & Yeti - a variety of Pan-Asian dining options including BBQ ribs. I thought it was good. Rest or our group probably won't return, but I think it was mainly due to out-of-the-ordinary bad service.
Hollywood Studios Dining Options
- 50's Prime Time Cafe - old school, American fare, the atmosphere is great. Like stepping back in time and sharing a meal at the kitchen of one of your favorite old TV show kitchens. Really have fun interacting with servers. Get the PB&J milkshake. Food isn't amazing, but it's good and hearty and no trip really feels complete now without a meal here.
- Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater - food isn't too spectactular. Atmosphere is eating inside of booths shaped like old cars and watching tv show and movie clips on the ceiling and walls like you're at a drive-in theater
Disney World Resort Options
- Beach Club Resort /Â Cape May Seafood Buffet - do it every year! all you can eat crab legs! Great clam chowder, peel 'n eat shrimp and more. Did I mention all-you-can-eat crab legs? Nuff' said!
- Polynesian Resort / OhanaÂ Breakfast - we do it every year. Ask for Tina Marie as your server if you can. Breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausages, potatoes, fresh fruit, Belgian waffles and more. The orange, guava, mango juice is fantastic!
- Wilderness Lodge / Whispering Canyon -Â great breakfast, lunch and dinners (all you can eat skillets) lots of fun with the kids. Be sure and ask for extra ketchup
- Wilderness Lodge / Artist Point - Signature Dining - not on dining plan but a fantastic meal
- Wilderness Lodge / Roaring Forks (QS) - a variety of good options all day. I had great deli sandwiches and panninis. Flat bread pizzas also had good reviews. Good pasta and burgers. If you're staying at this resort, get the mug that gives you free refills for your entire stay. Then you can save drinks and snacks that come with your meals for breakfast items and treats in the room after hours.
- Fort Wilderness Campground / Hoop-Dee-Do Musical Revue - a western themed musical review show, served with fantastic fried chicken, corn on the cob, sweet tea and other great food.
- Fort Wilderness Campground / Trail's End Restaurant - buffet style American fare. Good home-cooked style food in a rustic themed environment
- Animal Kingdom Lodge / Boma - friends had a meal there. Sounded delicious. Good breakfast and dinner buffets. Think we'll be adding this to our list of future reservation
- Contemporary Resort /Â Chef Mickey's - breakfast buffet with characters. Not my family's favorite, but I enjoyed it. The birds flying around that flew in from the Monorail openings were a big distraction to eating.
- Contemporary Resort / California Grill - (Takes two sit-down service reservations on meal plan) Upscale, very nice restaurant. Great sushi! Be sure to schedule for fireworks at Disney you can go out on roof and catch the fireworks in the middle of your dinner. Ask for Walter to be your server. Best service I've ever had anywhere!
- Coronado Springs /Â Pepper Grill (QS) - good food court for quick service, but not convenient to get to from your room if you're not close to main building. Huge variety of options though, make it worth while.
- Coronado Springs /Â Maya Grill - nice sit down dinner with Mexican flair. Delicious flan dessert