We all know life has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic entered our lives. Even at Walt Disney World, those changes have been felt – and while we’re happy that the most magical place on Earth has reopened, it’s still not quite business as usual.
Most of the table service restaurants that Guests flock to in WDW Resort Hotels have reopened, thankfully (Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Boma – Flavors of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, for example).
But there are still some noteworthy eateries that remain closed. Here are some restaurants in Disney Resort Hotels that we wish would reopen already.
Victoria & Albert’s
There are quite a few restaurants that remain closed at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – but then, Disney’s flagship Resort boasted more restaurants than the average Disney Resort, to begin with.
With lots of other offerings to choose from, we’re not too upset that Garden View Tea Room, with its peaceful pool and garden views and Downton Abbey-esque stylings (I’ll take my tea in the garden room today, Carson, if you please) is still unavailable. Nor do we protest the continued closure of 1900 Park Fare, once the perfect place for Cinderella-wannabes to enjoy a buffet while hearing the Stepsisters talk smack.
But the continued closure of Victoria & Albert’s, arguably the most elite restaurant on Walt Disney World property, with exceptional food that’s racked up a dizzying array of accolades and an ambiance so exclusive that kids under 10 aren’t welcome, raises eyebrows. Come back already, legendary Victoria & Albert’s!
Technically it’s not inside Disney’s BoardWalk Resort, but it’s steps away on Disney’s BoardWalk, so we’re including Flying Fish on our list.
Flying Fish received a makeover in recent years, so it now boasts a more elegant, upscale vibe, while whimsical touches remain (a stream of beautiful glass fish swim overhead).
The food here is described by Disney as “contemporary American”, which to us translates as “artistically presented and mouth-watering”. Whatever you order, it’ll arrive looking beautiful, and it’ll taste great, too. Plus, it’s always fun watching those master chefs hard at work creating your food in the open kitchen! We’re ready for Flying Fish to return now, please.
Jiko – The Cooking Place
Guests staying at or visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge have some fabulous dining options to choose from like Sanaa and Boma – Flavors of Africa, so we probably shouldn’t complain. But what about Jiko – The Cooking Place, in Jambo House?
When it’s open, Jiko offers tantalizing African, Mediterranean, and Indian cuisine, with vegan and vegetarian options that won’t make you feel like an afterthought. The restaurant is also home to the biggest collection of South African wines of any restaurant on the continent!
The perma-sunset, wood-burning ovens, and whimsical metal birds flying overhead make this an incredibly inviting spot for a meal. We think it’s time for a return.
Top of the World Lounge
Disney Vacation Club Members are the only Guests who are affected by the continued closure of the Top of the World Lounge at Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort since access is limited to DVC Members.
Top of the World Lounge is located on Bay Lake Tower’s 16th floor, giving it unparalleled views of Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park. It’s also one of the sweetest spots on WDW property from which to view fireworks at Magic Kingdom.
Until this exclusive lounge reopens, DVC members can always take in the views – and excellent food – at California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort instead.
Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show
If you’ve ever watched a fire dancer perform, you know how mesmerizing this art form is. Unfortunately, Guests hoping to catch some fire dancing, hula dancing, or drumming at Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show are, for the time being, out of luck.
Spirit of Aloha normally takes place at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, at Luau Cove’s theater. It’s an all-you-can-eat affair, featuring a feast of savory island favorites like pulled pork, fresh-cut fruit, roasted chicken, and pineapple guava cake that you can enjoy while watching the traditional luau.
Sadly, Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show remains unavailable for the moment.
Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue
This one’s sadly not much of a surprise, since not all entertainment offerings have returned to Walt Disney World. Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, at Pioneer Hall in Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, is an eatery-slash-performance we wish would return.
Closed since the Theme Parks shut down, this riotous dinner show features the Pioneer Hall Players at their wacky best. Singing, dancing, and vaudeville hilarity? Check. The best part of Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is the interactive nature of the show – Guests are encouraged to sing, clap and stomp their feet right along with the performers.
The food here is the epitome of down-home comfort food. All-you-can-eat fried chicken, baked beans, cornbread, smoked ribs, strawberry shortcake – it’s all here! Or it will be, once Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue reopens.
With around 90 table service restaurants and over 200 overall eateries in Walt Disney World, it’s pretty impressive that most of these establishments have already reopened to Guests. Still, there are several that we really wish would hurry up and become available! Here’s hoping that 2022 will bring even more restaurant reopenings to WDW Resort Hotels.