Great Restaurant Choices for First Time Visitors at Walt Disney World

Cp Tigger

While I was recently writing about which rides attractions are “must-do’s” for first time visitors to Walt Disney World – I got to thinking about just how HUNGRY one might get while touring the Disney Parks – and the sheer volume of WDW dining options can be intimidating – and knowing where to start can be tricky. But fear not – as I have compiled this list of theme park restaurant choices perfect for first time WDW travelers:

Tusker House: A day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom wouldn’t be complete without this character meal featuring Donald and friends – who dress up in safari outfits and roam the dining room for hugs, autographs, and photo ops! Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served here buffet-style – with a wide assortment of fresh, delicious options like bobotie (think an egg-y quiche type dish with beef and spices – it’s out of this world!), carved meats, salads, and plenty of mouth-watering desserts too. I recommend you start your day here and then you will have a nice full stomach that will energize you for a day full of animal fun!

50’s Prime Time Café: “Comfort foods like mom made!” are the name of the game at this popular Hollywood Studios restaurant – where you’ll find items like pot roast, fried chicken, meatloaf and pork chops on the menu, as well as a delicious peanut butter and jelly milkshake on the dessert menu. The décor definitely has a “retro” feel to it – that “All-American 50’s” theme is in effect big time here, but the real “entertainment” here is the wait staff – who want to make sure you are minding your manners – so you better be on your best behavior and make sure you eat all your veggies and keep your elbows off the table – or else you might get a stern talking to!

San Angel Inn: Dine on authentic Mexican dishes and drinks while enjoying the beautiful atmosphere inside the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase. The inside of the pavilion is always a bustling, busy place – with the marketplace area and then the open restaurant area – it’s a really nice place to escape the heat and relax while enjoying a delicious lunch or dinner. With menu items like chicken enchiladas, tortilla soup, chicken mole, and fresh fish – plus tons of delicious drink options (tequila and margaritas anyone?) – this really is a “must-do!” Check out my full review of lunch here over on the Disney Food Blog

Sunshine Seasons: This quick service spot located in Epcot’s Future World serves up breakfast, lunch, dinner and plenty of snacks – all full of fresh ingredients (some of which are even grown in the Land greenhouses!). Some of my personal favorites include the Asian station – where I can get delicious Mongolian Beef or sweet and sour chicken, and the Rotisserie chicken is always a winner here. It’s a great place to grab a quick bite, and a lot of the choices are on the healthier side (lots of veggies here!) – so you can feel good about what you are feeding your family! Oh plus – if you eat a healthy lunch, then you can splurge on dessert – whoopie pies, cheesecake, cookies, and the famous strawberry shortcake are all on the menu

Be Our Guest: This is the Magic Kingdom’s newest addition to their dining lineup – the Beast’s castle is home to this restaurant that serves up French classics for lunch and dinner. Lunch is considered a quick service meal with menu items like vegetable quiche and a classic Croque Monsieur, while dinner is a table service meal where you can order steak, lamb, or raratoullie. Oh – and don’t forget to try the Grey Stuff – its delicious! TIP – if you want to have lunch here, then arrive before the restaurant opens. Seriously – that line can get brutal! And take some time to wander around the various dining rooms, the theming and décor is spectacular!

Casey’s Corner: This little baseball themed hot dog place may seem like not much at first glance – but there are a few reasons why you will want to stop here for a bite. The first being its location – what could be better than enjoying a hot dog while enjoying the view of the afternoon parade as it makes its way down Main Street? Second, the menu may not be large or fancy – but what they do, they do it well – hot dogs (including fancy versions like BBQ slaw dog and chili cheese dog), corn dog nuggets, fries – they are all cooked to perfection here and can really hit the spot after a long day of Park touring

Crystal Palace: Located in the Magic Kingdom, this spot serves up a delicious buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – with amazingly delicious items like made to order omelets and Pooh’s Breakfast Lasagna in the morning, and assorted carved meats, fresh salads and a great dessert selection for lunch and dinner. But the highlight here is the character lineup – Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet work the room at all three meals, and they are a delight for kids and adults to meet. I have had nothing but delicious food and great service here, and have been coming back for more since I was a kid

You will definitely want to try to book the table service meals in advance – as they tend to be pretty popular. As for the counter service locations, I recommend eating at an “off” time (aka, don’t try and get lunch right at noon – as most places will be swamped!)

Stay tuned here on Chip and Co next week – when I will talk about the MANY more restaurant options at the Disney World Resort Hotels that are great for your first visit to the Happiest Place On Earth!


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