Disney is truly a food lover’s dream. Between the excellent snacks and the hundreds of quick service and table service dining options, it’s impossible to try it all in one go – plus, if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, those credits are sacred! You have to really pick and chose the best of the best to try.
Thankfully, we’ve sampled a good number of restaurants at WDW for you, and here are some I highly recommend – and some that are just “meh” and I recommend you skip.
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To Try: Biergarten Restaurant
Biergarten is like a traditional German beer house right in the middle of Epcot! Amazing German food and fun polka music make this a truly unique and fun dinner event, and the shocking part is not many people seem to know about it! We had an excellent time when we went, and if you have young kids they’ll love dancing out on the main floor to the traditional music. The buffet has everything from sausage to sauerkraut, and adults will find the perfect German beer to accompany their meal on the menu. You’ll be so full you might just need to head back to the hotel and call it a night after trying all the delicious samplings!
To Skip: Tony’s Town Square Restaurant
Tony’s used to be great. It was one of my favorite restaurants in the Kingdom growing up and I begged my parents to eat there every trip. In recent years, though, the food quality has gone downhill. Picky eaters don’t have much to chose from besides spaghetti and meatballs, and it tries too hard to be fancy. It’s based on the restaurant from Lady and the Tramp, however unless you knew that going in you might not even notice. The decor is nice but doesn’t pay homage to its origins nearly enough. Simply put, it’s just not worth it anymore. Maybe they can breathe a second life into this restaurant by at LEAST redoing the menu, but it would be nice for them to play up the Lady and the Tramp angle a bit more.
I will always have the memory of the time we got so cold in Tony’s that we had to use tablecloths as blankets. Hopefully they’ve turned the air down since we last went…
To Try: 50’s Prime Time Cafe
A lot of people turn up their nose at this one, but if you have kids, you HAVE to check this place out. The food is all comfort food, which may not excite foodies looking for more elegant dishes, but the cast members are what MAKE this restaurant an experience. The decor reminds you of the classic kitchens of 50’s sitcoms like I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show, and the waiters will harass you to mind your manners, keep your elbows off the table, and eat your vegetables. If you don’t, you might find yourself in the corner – no, really, they sent my sister to the corner one time!
If you don’t have kids or preteens in your group, don’t worry – the waiter won’t give you nearly as hard of a time as the other parties, and it’s all in good fun. They know when enough is enough and never push the boundaries as to how “mean” they can be. If you’re SUPER sensitive, I wouldn’t suggest this restaurant, but if you’re a good sport, you have to check it out! Their PB&J shakes are delicious as well!
Fun story – we had an AMAZING cast member as our waiter the first time we went in 2006. In 2010 when we went back, our waiter sat down and started his bit, only for us to realize it was the SAME waiter from 2006! That made for some fun, unique conversations after the fact as he started to rib on us for not visiting him more often! I’m sure Uncle Tim has since retired, but he really made the magic for us.
To Skip: Sci-Fi Dine In Theater
The concept of this restaurant is super cute – your tables look like CARS, and you’re facing an old fashioned drive in movie screen that plays old fashioned movie trailers as you eat. However, the food was very lackluster last time we went (I do see they have updated the menu since, so take that with a grain of salt) and when we went, it was pretty empty – which made the restaurant feel kind of eerie. It feels more like eating in a warehouse than a drive in. The trailers loop after a while as well and soon you’re rewatching the same thing over and over again. There are sooo many better options at Hollywood Studios that make this one a no-brainer to skip.
To Try: Akerhaus
Epcot really does not get enough credit when it comes to their dining options. Akerhaus is located in the Norway pavilion and offers traditional Norwegian faire, as well as American kids meals for picky eaters. The best part of this restaurant, though? The Disney Princesses, of course! If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to Cinderella’s Table, this is definitely it. You’re visited by at least 4 princesses AND a princess photo op as soon as you check in for your dining experience. I was hesitant to try it because I’ve never had Norwegian food before, but it was delicious and the samplings were all sooo good! The decor is lovely as well, making you feel like you’re really in a medieval castle! This restaurant is a must for any little princess in your party.
To Skip: Be Our Guest Restaurant
I’m just gonna come out and say it – Be Our Guest is overrated. The breakfast and dinner are lackluster, and with the Dining Plan credits having gone up for dinner, it’s just not worth the hassle. The Croque Monsieur is great for lunch, and it’s fun to say you’ve tried “The Grey Stuff” but unless you have kids, don’t kill yourself trying to get a reservation here. I can live without having a grilled ham and cheese sandwich.
Even with a reservation you’re waiting a while to get to the front to put in your order, and finding a seat during lunch is always a hassle. It’s far too crowded and doesn’t feel like the exquisite dining experience Disney makes it out to be. The castle decor is NICE, but not as amazing as some people make it out to be. Plus, in order to even have a SHOT at getting a reservation, you need to be up in the wee hours of the morning the day you’re able to book reservations. Otherwise, forget it.
So to sum up – if you have kids, try it once, but there are plenty of other dining options with characters if you can’t get a reservation. Otherwise, save yourself the trouble and skip this one.
To Try: Coral Reef Restaurant
If you’re a big seafood junkie, this restaurant is DEFINITELY for you. Located in the Living Seas area of Epcot, the main feature of this restaurant is the giant saltwater tank taking up an entire wall of the restaurant. No matter WHAT area of the restaurant you’re sitting in, you’ll be able to watch the fish, turtles, even some sharks swimming around as you enjoy your meal. The selection at this restaurant is great, and encourages you to be adventurous. The crab dip is one of our favorites! The food really does live up to the hype here, plus it’s relaxing and spread out, making it feel more intimate and elegant. Definitely one of my favorites!
To Skip: Plaza Inn
This one REALLY pains me to put it on this list, because when it comes to breakfast buffets, I’m not at all picky – but that’s all it is. A buffet. There are a LOT of buffet options in Disney, and out of all of them that we’ve tried, this one has made us wait the longest to be seated and is usually the most crowded. Which is a shame, because I LOVE me some Winnie the Pooh and friends! It was enjoyable and if you have extra dining credits, go for it – but if not, there are other options available, such as Chef Mickey’s or Hollywood and Vine.
Plus, my mother will never forgive Eeyore for the time he spilled water on me when I was 3. Thankfully we do not hold such a grudge.
(PS – a few people have asked me what ears my sister is wearing in the pic above. They’re Ursula themed ears that are unfortunately not in circulation anymore but these Maleficient ears are pretty close!)
What are some of your MUST DO restaurants and some that you’ll never try again? Do you think I’m simply mad with some of my recommendations? Drop a comment below!