There are many factors that go into determining “favorite” Disney World restaurants. You could consider the type of cuisine, atmosphere, location, cost, dress code, etc. in terms of ranking. All of these are important to consider when selecting dining options for your family, but be open-minded. We have never experienced a BAD restaurant choice at Disney. Some of the meal items or service could have been better in some situations, but there are no restaurants that we would never go back to. This is a really hard list to put together as there are many different experiences and dining options to choose from, but I tried to do my best!
Here are my family’s top 10 favorite WDW restaurants. We are a family of four with 2 young boys (and my husband is a bit of a picky eater at times….) and these are regularly repeated dining experiences for our family:
10. Be Our Guest
The convenience of dining in Magic Kingdom is a major perk here. The atmosphere is beautiful and pleasing for all ages. The cost is a bit more effective for tighter budgets than Cinderella’s Royal Table. Using My Disney Experience to pre-select breakfast and lunch options is also a convenient feature. At dinner you might just get to meet the Beast, himself! This one would probably rank a little higher if reservations weren’t so difficult to get for this location. Don’t forget…. try the grey stuff! In case you didn’t know, it’s delicious!
9. Chef Mickey’s
This is another extremely popular location where reservations must be booked in advance, but it is easy to see why! You get to meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto* at this experience without the lines. They come right to your table so you can relax and enjoy your dinner. This is great fun for adults and children. (My husband and I just might be guilty of eating here on a few occasions on kid-free trips.) The food is delicious and better than your average buffet-style food. The location is still relatively convenient, being located inside the Contemporary Resort on the monorail path.
8. The Garden Grill
If you haven’t dined here, you must try this one out. The restaurant is only open for dinner located in Epcot, and it is phenomenal! They grow and farm much of the food used to prepare the meal right there at The Land pavilion. The homemade butter they make is to die for. We have to stop ourselves in order to save room for the rest of the meal (and you will want to save room). This is another character dining experience with Chip, Dale, Mickey and Pluto*. The meal is served family style, and is still “All You Care to Enjoy” (which can be bad and good!). This is one you may want to have a light lunch beforehand! The seating at the restaurant rotates, so your view changes as you dine and enjoy the character experiences. It is worth the trip!
7. Yak & Yeti
This delightful spot is housed in Asia within Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The theming for this restaurant is amazing. Take time to look around the waiting area and the different rooms of the restaurant, along with the upstairs and downstairs seating. We have tried just about everything on the menu, including the quick service option for this restaurant, and we have enjoyed everything. The egg rolls and pot stickers are heavenly at this place, and my husband has a hard time picking anything besides the Bourbon Chicken when we go!
6. Coral Reef
This is another Epcot restaurant within the Seas with Nemo & Friends area. Our kids (and us adults) love looking at the fish in the huge tank that spans the entire dining room. You see sharks, beautiful coral, colorful fish and even huge sea turtles. We were lucky enough to see a sea turtle go to the surface while we were there and boy is he big! Some of the dining staff has been there for several years. We have had the same waiter the last few times we have gone and he is amazing. I love the Seared Mahi Mahi at this location, and you will definitely want to save room for dessert. The Baileys and Jack Daniel’s Mousse is in our top 10 of favorite Disney desserts.
5. Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater
Now we take a trip over to the Studios for this location. This is a truly unique experience where you sit in “cars” at the “drive-in” to enjoy your meal. Our kids love the experience and still talk about it from past visits. Disney did another great job with theming at this location, including the roller skaters that you may see as you go back to the 1950’s. The New York Strip Steak is the staple for the hubs and me. The blue cheese butter than they put on it is amazing (of course you can ask for it without if that isn’t your thing), and proves that this is not just a burger joint like you might assume from the atmosphere. The cocktails here are also amazing and lots of them have glow cubes in them so they light up in the dim environment.
This is a huge family hit for everyone in our family. We love Disney Springs time for the shopping, people watching, relaxation and this dining location fits into our Disney Springs experience perfectly! The restaurant has a lot of energy and fun with a “meteor shower” every 15-20 minutes. The ice room is amazing and fun to sit in, and really there is no bad area in the house for a good view. The menu is huge with a lot of options, and the alcoholic selections are delicious with a keep the glass option for a souvenir. You could dine on appetizers or try one of the entrees. We have done both, and left full and very happy. The nachos are a favorite for our family and are HUGE!
3. Crystal Palace
We have dined at this restaurant countless times and keep coming back for more. Located off of Main Street in Magic Kingdom, the restaurant is stunning. This restaurant is absolutely beautiful for all seasons and we’re always in awe and feel grand when we walk through the doors. The food is delicious with lots of offerings for all taste buds on the buffet. I don’t know what they do to their potatoes, but they are AMAZING! This is another character experience where you meet Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore*. So we might be guilty of enjoying this location without the kids, too… and LOVED it! There is something so warm and friendly about the Winnie the Pooh characters and the beautiful atmosphere. When you add the convenience of the location, this is a big winner for us!
2. Teppan Edo
This is a restaurant that we make sure we visit every single trip we take, as well as many weekends we visit. We have always had amazing service and incredible food in the 15+ times that we have enjoyed this restaurant over the years. Located in the World’s Showcase in Epcot at the Japan pavilion, you are immersed in Japanese culture from the moment you walk in. The servers bow to you and are some of the most hospitable. We make sure to talk to the servers and learn about their background and listen to their stories. (I recommend doing that all over the World Showcase. We have met great people and learned interesting facts.) The meal is cooked hibachi style and is a show in itself. It’s great for all ages and most importantly, delicious. Try the ginger cake or green tea cheesecake after your meal. We weren’t sure by the description, but after trying them we were hooked!
We love the Polynesian Resort in general and there are other great dining options and experiences to have at this resort, but our favorite restaurant of all at WDW is definitely Ohana. This restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner, and both meals steal the spot for our favorite. The meals are served family style (after all, Ohana does mean “family”) and your “cousins” do a wonderful job of explaining the dishes and bringing you everything that you need. The breads at breakfast, along with the juice are real treats. I don’t even know how to pick a favorite at dinner, as everything is so delicious and endless food. We have to force ourselves to stop munching on the appetizers to save room for the main course, which is served from skewers to the table. For dinner, try to schedule your dining time while Happily Ever After will be going on at Magic Kingdom. You have a beautiful view from the restaurant and they play the music in the restaurant so you can enjoy the show. I can’t say enough good things about this restaurant, but if you haven’t been, you should put that on your Disney “to do” list.
There are many other wonderful Disney restaurants, and I recommend that you give them a try. The resort restaurants are often overlooked for the convenience factor, but they also have delicious food and impeccable theming. Disney dining is an experience in itself and something else to look forward to on your next vacation. Just remember that advanced dining reservations are strongly recommended for all table service restaurants so book your dining as close to the booking window (starting 180 days before the first day of your trip) so that you don’t miss out on these popular locations and decrease your wait time so you can get back out and enjoy the parks!
*Characters are subject to change without notice.