Who doesn’t love a relaxing picnic? Even better, who doesn’t love a picnic at the Most Magical Place on Earth? Walt Disney World has an overwhelming number of table-service restaurants and counter service spots, but sometimes it makes sense to save money and time and bring in a simple picnic lunch. The possibilities are endless for food choices, and popular items include deli wraps, cold chicken, tuna salad, and the all-time favorite, peanut butter and jelly. Toss it all in a soft-sided cooler with some snacks, drinks, and ice packs, and you’re ready to go! If you’re wondering where you should enjoy your delicious meal, there are quite a few shady spots in all of the parks that are perfect for a picnic. Keep in mind that it’s good etiquette to not use tables intended for paying restaurant guests during busy times of the day. Here are my favorite spots to enjoy a delicious picnic meal while soaking in the Disney magic!
1. Adventureland, Magic Kingdom
Wind your way through Adventureland to the Pirates of the Caribbean Plaza. The Tortuga Terrace counter service restaurant is only open seasonally, so oftentimes there are plenty of tables available on the covered patio. This makes a great spot to enjoy your picnic meal and watch the young pirates and mermaids emerging from the Pirates League boutique.
2. Frontierland, Magic Kingdom
The savory popcorn and smoked turkey-leg scents wafting down the path through Frontierland make it a fantastic place to enjoy a hand-packed lunch. I love finding a table outside of the Pecos Bill restaurant, because there is usually a great character meet-and-greet in the vicinity, or some fun Wild West entertainment to watch while we eat.
3. World Showcase, Epcot
Stroll through the World Showcase area in Epcot to the Italy Pavilion, and grab a stylish seat at the wrought-iron tables in the plaza. Enjoy the music and the lovely views while unpacking your picnic, and don’t forget to grab a glass of wine while you’re there!
4. Africa, Disney’s Animal Kingdom
The lively music and savory scents are a good signal that you’ve arrived at the village of Harambe in the Africa section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I love lingering in this area to listen to the music and watch the dancers! Head over to the Harambe Market and grab a table under the covered pavilion area opposite the food stands. It’s a great place to cool off, enjoy your picnic, and take in the sights and sounds of Harambe!
5. Discovery Island, Disney’s Animal Kingdom
If you are in the Discovery Island area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, take your picnic meal over to the tables near the Flame Tree BBQ counter-service restaurant. Wind your way down the path to the waterway, and there are colorful pavilions and shady tables among the trees. I think the best tables are by the water, but there are plenty of good seats elsewhere too. Keep in mind that finding a spot during an off-peak time will make for a quieter meal, as this place is very popular at meal times. The tables are right across the water from Expedition Everest, and it’s a lot of fun to watch and hear the riders zipping down the mountain!
6. Sunset Ranch Market, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Stroll along the Sunset Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and you’ll find a lineup of cozy stands serving up counter-service meals and snacks, like Anaheim Produce and Rosie’s All-American Café. It’s also a great place to find a table and relax with your picnic goodies.
7. Former Starring Rolls area, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
While I greatly miss the Starring Rolls Café (located near Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge) and the delicious treats that were sold inside of it, there is a lovely patio area with seats in this location. It’s a great spot to enjoy your meal and watch the hustle and bustle of the park.
8. Marketplace Stage, Disney Springs
Save your money for shopping and bring a packed lunch to Disney Springs. When there isn’t a performance going on, the Marketplace Stage makes for a fantastic location to enjoy a meal and gain some energy for more shopping!
9. Marketplace, Disney Springs
Grab a table opposite the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop to spread out your picnic fare, and then find something sweet at Ghirardelli’s for dessert. It’s impossible to resist the chocolaty scents wafting out of this place!