Last week I wrote about the best theme park restaurants for first timer travelers to WDW, all of which offer delicious meals that are great to grab while you’re at the Disney Parks – but there’s a whole other side to Disney Dining – so I invite you to step outside the Parks and head to one of these amazing WDW Resort Restaurants:
Boma: Head over to Disney’s beautiful Animal Kingdom Lodge for some authentic African cuisine. Not sure what “African Cuisine” entails? Well, here’s what you can expect at this bountiful buffet-style meal: fresh carved meats and fish, an assortment of soups and fresh salads, hummus and pitas, plenty of bobotie (a delicious quiche-like dish with spiced beef and lamb), and a large dessert selection too. The atmosphere is pretty amazing too – the restaurant looks out over the resort’s savannah area – where you can watch the animals graze – an animal lover’s dream come true! I recommend you spend some extra time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge if you can – there are animal experts on hand to answer all your questions, and there’s a great bar and gift shop in the Resort lobby too – it’s a great place to visit (and to stay, too!)
Landscape of Flavors: Ok, so chances are pretty good that you won’t be frequenting this food-court style counter service restaurant unless you happen to be staying at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – but if you get the chance, I highly recommend you grab a meal here (and if you’re staying here, which I also highly recommend, then grab a bunch of meals here!). Disney really tried some new and inventive things here – a gelato station, Mongolian grill station, different burger and sandwich options, and more – and their creativity has paid off in a big way – the food is fresh and well prepared, and everything I have had there has been super tasty – from the breakfast “burgers” to the freshly made naan bread to the smoothies – it’s all delicious and a definite change from typical “Theme Park food”
Beaches and Cream: You’ll find this little gem over at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, a soda shop straight out of the 1950’s – serving up burgers, salads, sandwiches, and of course – ICE CREAM – which is really the main attraction here. Classic banana splits, old-fashioned and specialty sundaes (like the No Way Jose – a peanut butter and hot fudge concoction that is to die for!), and the infamous Kitchen Sink are all on the menu – and you’ll definitely want to save room for the dessert here!
Chef Mickey’s: Take a monorail ride from the to Disney’s Contemporary Resort, where you can dine with the Mouse himself – in fact the Fab 5 is all here for breakfast and dinner – Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto circulate the dining room (in their chef’s gear!) for hugs, autographs, and photos. Kids (and adults) will love getting to interact with the characters, and since it’s a buffet-style meal, you can help yourself to as much food as you want! Breakfast offers a pretty standard assortment of Mickey waffles, eggs, potatoes, and fruit, and dinner includes Mickey shaped ravioli, carved meats, salads, and a kids station featuring Mickey mac and cheese and pizza. The food here is not gourmet by any means – but the buffet will please the picky eaters in your family, and there’s a make your own ice cream sundae bar for dessert – every kids dream come true!
Citricos: Another stop on the Magic Kingdom monorail route is Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort – a beautiful sprawling complex with a grand, Victorian air that is worth coming early for so you can take a stroll around the lushly landscaped grounds. This Resort is home to Citricos – a Mediterranean themed restaurant where you can dine in elegance and style on dishes like braised veal shank, wild striped bass, and oak-fired filet of beef. They have an award-winning wine list where you’re bound to find the perfect vino to pair with your meal, but don’t worry about bringing the kids here – as they have a kid’s menu too. You have to dress up a bit (basically the rules are no tank tops, cut offs, hats, or bathing suits, and anything else goes – but khakis for men and capris and a nice shirt for women seem to be the norm), but its worth it to experience all that this fine restaurant has to offer – and if you time it right, you can even catch a pretty good view of the Magic Kingdom’s nightly fireworks!
‘Ohana: Disney’s Polynesian Resort is a great place to stay – with its tropical theme and relaxed atmosphere, and they also have some pretty great places to eat there too! ‘Ohana is one of WDW’s more popular dining spots – they serve up breakfast and dinner “family style” – meaning not only do you get served as much food as you can handle, but they treat you like ‘family’ too – since “’Ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind – or forgotten” – a famous line from Disney’s Lilo and Stitch that they take pretty seriously here! Breakfast comes complete with eggs, Mickey waffles, Hawaiian sweet breads, biscuits, fruit, sausage, bacon – and CHARACTERS – that’s right – Lilo, Stitch, Mickey and friends are on hand for hugs and photos, and what’s great about the “family style” setting is that the food is brought to you – no need to get up 10 times to go to the buffet and risk missing those precious moments with the characters. Dinner is not a character meal, but offers delicious grilled meats (shrimp, beef, chicken, and pork) along with noodles and veggies, and chicken wings and potstickers for appetizers. The food here was SO amazing – and the atmosphere was great too, a perfect place to unwind after a long day of touring the Parks
Whispering Canyon Café: Just take the boat over from the Magic Kingdom to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort and you’ll have found the perfect place to take the kids for a fun meal! They serve up breakfast, lunch and dinner daily – and the menu is full of hearty styles fit for a hungry cowboy or cowgirl – from house made banana bread French toast and an all-you-care-to-enjoy breakfast skillet filled with eggs, potatoes, biscuits and sausage gravy on the morning menu, and then in the evening the skillet is still on the menu, but includes pulled pork and roast chicken, baked beans and mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob. Not in the mood for sharing a giant skillet? Then dig into entrees of steak, fish, and meatloaf – and make sure you order a milkshake here (they’re bottomless!). The best part about this restaurant is the atmosphere – the servers like to play little tricks on you, like bringing you 20 bottles of ketchup when you ask for some, and engaging you and your kids in pony races. It’s a loud, fun place to eat – and a must-do for first time visitors to WDW!
There are a LOT of Disney Dining options to choose from out there – so hopefully this list will help you first time visitors narrow it down and pick some fun and yummy places to eat!
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