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What’s The Best Walt Disney World Park for Dining?

There is so much to love about the parks of Walt Disney World.

What's the Best Disney World Park for Dining?

The rides and attractions. The sense of history — both in the parks, and the memories that we’ve all made in them. The incredible themeing that greets you at every turn.

But of course, what do we love the most? The FOOD!

I’m serious about eating when I’m in Disney parks. And I know you are, too! But which Disney World park is the best when it comes time for eating?

This is a question I get asked a LOT; and it’s always tough to make a choice. Sure — Epcot has the largest number of fantastic restaurants, but there are some snacks that can’t be beat in Magic Kingdom; and the other parks offer some not-to-be-missed items, too.

There are some seriously awesome, edible reasons to visit each park — and I’m going to share some of my favorites with you today!

Get ready, because I want to hear your point of view, too! What’s your favorite Walt Disney World Park for Dining…and why?

Magic Kingdom

Eating your way through Magic Kingdom seems to me to be one part fantasy food, and one part pure nostalgia. It would be hard to imagine not carving our a few days on my menu for some of my favorite stops here!

Nutella and Fruit Waffle Sandwich at Sleep Hollow

For brunch or lunch, I can never pass up the chance to have a Waffle Sandwich at Sleepy Hollow Refreshments. Choose from Nutella (!!!) and Fruit, Spicy Chicken, or Ham, Prosciutto, and Swiss.

Seriously delicious — and enormous. I like to get two and split them among friends for a little variety.

Spicy Chicken Waffle Sandwich

We can’t go very far in this conversation though without discussing Dole Whips! Sure, you can get them at one Disney place outside of a park — Captain Cook’s at the Polynesian. But if you’ve come that close to Cinderella Castle, why not just come all the way? Smooth, sweet, and refreshing, this is one of the only food items I buy on EVERY visit.

The Classic Dole Whip Float!

Of course, you can’t forget the element of fantasy; and Be Our Guest Restaurant in New Fantasyland has fairy tale qualities in spades.

Walk into Beast’s Castle for a sumptuous, French cuisine-inspired lunch or dinner here, and you’ll swear you’ve stepped into animation yourself!

Braised Pork -- Coq au Vin at Be Our Guest Restaurant -- for LUNCH!

Of course, you can’t forget the table-service options here! Delve into Disney history with a visit to Cinderella’s Royal Table in the castle itself; or party with Pooh and his friends at Crystal Palace! And you all know I can’t pass by Liberty Tree Tavern without heading in for some Ooey Gooey Toffee cake!

So many choices; so little time… .

Epcot

But the prize for Disney food paradise could easily go to Epcot, yes? The sheer variety of offerings, throughout World Showcase especially, makes this a tough contender to beat.

Pastries at Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in Epcot's France

Just think about having breakfast in the heart of Paris at Boulangerie Patisserie Les Halles.

Then stroll around a bit, grab a FastPass for Soarin’, and head back for some of the World’s best pizza at Via Napoli.

Quattro Fromaggi Pizza from Via Napoli

Stop into La Cava del Tequila for a handcrafted margarita and some chips and queso before enjoying dinner with a view of Illuminations at the Rose and Crown!

Chips and queso at Cava del Tequila

And don’t even get me started on the awesomeness that is Sunshine Seasons at the Land pavilion.

As if this weren’t enough, you have the Epcot Food and Wine Festival each Fall. This mammoth event draws Disney and food fans from all over for six weeks of culinary and beverage demos, special events, and amazing Marketplace Booths.

Mushroom Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce at the Canada Food and Wine Festival Booth

VERY tough to beat Epcot when it comes to food… .

Hollywood Studios

It may be tempting to overlook Hollywood Studios as a serious player in this race. But then, you remember the fantastic themed restaurants…and, of course, the cupcakes.

More than any other park, the Studios is the playground to run to when you’re in need of a big ole’ dose of sugar, cake-style. Starring Rolls Cafe has its share of cupcake legends, like the Butterfinger Cupcake (be still my beating heart) and the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake.

Butterfinger Cupcake at Starring Rolls Cafe in Disney's Hollywood Studios

Add to these the Carrot Cake Cookie at Writer’s Stop, and Hollywood Studios cements the vote for some of the best sweet snacks anywhere.

But don’t forget some of the best super-themed restaurants around — Sci-Fi Dine-In and 50s Prime Time Cafe!

Sci-Fi Atmosphere

Head to Sci-Fi Dine-In for classic and so-bad-they’re-funny B movies playing on a loop on the drive-in screen. Dine under the “stars” in a convertible, or at picnic tables in the back.

Can’t decide between a hamburger and a hotdog? You don’t have to if you choose the enormous All-American Picnic Burger — which combines both into one amazing sandwich!

Picnic Burger

But if you’d like to feel like an extra in a mid-century sitcom, then 50s Prime Time Cafe is the place you want to be! You’ll swear you’ve stumbled into your Aunt Mabel’s kitchen here.

Go ahead — I dare you to look around and NOT find something that you remember from your grandmother’s house on the shelves! And with well-prepared comfort foods like Aunt Liz’s Golden Fried Chicken, the smells and tastes of childhood are there, too.

Aunt Liz's Golden Fried chicken

But be sure to eat all your veggies! Or face the consequences from the ever-so-helpful staff. :-)

Animal Kingdom

But we can’t forget about Animal Kingdom! This exotic park has managed to carve out a special niche all its own.

It seems to be a study in extremes. The two things that I think of when I think food at Animal Kingdom are vegetarian…and barbecue.

In recent years, stands like the Bradley Falls Kiosk have begun offering delicious, beautiful, and filling vegetarian options. The Asian Noodle Salad and Summer Rolls easily make for a complete meal! And the chilled Edamame is the perfect healthy pick-me-up for strolling through the park.

Asian Noodle Salad at Bradley Falls Kiosk

Fruit abounds too, with a Lychee Fruit Salad in a pineapple bowl! (You can find a similar salad, sans lychee, at Tamu Tamu Refreshments.)

Harambe Fruit Market also features fruit, freshly prepared and ready to eat. It’s a great alternative to heavier options.

Lychee Fruit Bowl at Bradley Falls Kiosk

And speaking of heavier, where do you go when you want terrific barbecue at Walt Disney World? Why, Flame Tree Barbecue, of course!

Barbecued Chicken and Ribs at Flame Tree Barbecue

With smoked specialties that are prepared on the premises, beautiful seating areas, and a slightly-disturbing-yet-cheerful circle of life thing goin’ on, you can’t go wrong at this popular counter service spot. And seeing all those lions on the savanna does make one feel like a bit of a carnivore…

Another must-do at Animal Kingdom is a stop by Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery for something sweet. Now, I’m not saying that a trip to Animal Kingdom without an Elephant Cupcake is impossible. But I’m not planning to find out anytime soon, personally.

White Chocolate Elephant Cupcake from Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery

And don’t forget to swing by Harambe Popcorn for a cup of Jungle Juice!

Now It’s Your Turn!

What is your favorite park for dining in Walt Disney World? Which of the four parks — or even Downtown Disney! — gets your special attention when it comes time to plan meals and advance dining reservations? Where would you rather eat than ride?

Join in on the conversation by leaving a comment below telling us all about your favorite!

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36 Comments

  1. Willy S says:

    Thanks for all the great ideas! Will definitely be trying these out the next time I’m there.

  2. jimR says:

    One of my all time favorites is Liberty Tree Tavern in the Magic kingdom where it is Thanksgiving dinner every day. While it is a prefixed menu, (just like mom’s at Thanksgiving) because of it the service is fast. Plus if something is your favorite, you can ask for more. It also is one of the best kept secrets still and while other in the park are full, Liberty Tree Tavern is the last to book and getting in on a cancelation is a real possibility.

  3. Chrissy O says:

    Counter service wise, I’m going to have the give the edge to Magic Kingdom only because it seems like I always fail to make all my favorites during each week-long vacation, especially with the addition of Be Our Guest lunch (try the pork!). Fav MK food: don’t knock me for saying I love the fish and chicken finger combo at Columbia Harbour House!

    Epcot gets second, although first in food quality. It would have been first had I been happier with the revamps of the Cantina and Patisserie :(. I love grab n go from Seasons market (cous cous, hummus, pita) and the orange chicken from Lotus Blossom.

    Studios is my favorite park, with the worst food options. C’mon, Disney, we need some excitement here! Still, Starring Rolls is a gem, and if the bun is fresh, the BBQ pork and coleslaw hot dog can really hit the spot.

    Although I was pleasantly surprised by the new offerings at Tamu Tamu, for the best of Animal Kingdom, the real winner is at Animal Kingdom Lodge. If you haven’t tried the African stew and chicken flatbread, you are truly missing out on something amazing. Love Mara soooo much!

    P.S. I always stay at Caribbean Beach Resort, and their turkey BLT is outstanding!

  4. Christina H. says:

    I’ve never noticed the creepy circle of life decor before at AK! And I’ve been there upwards of 20 times! The “do not feed the animals” text is what always catches my eye… (especially when you see children and parents doing it anyway!)

    Magic Kingdom and Epcot definitely hold top spots for me, but like you said, I don’t think I could go a trip without a Dole whip. (Or hitting up Cosmic Ray’s for lunch…that condiment bar!!)

    I guess I have target spots that I HAVE to hit on each visit, so I don’t think I could ever choose just one park. Even when I’ve only done 3 or 4 day vacations, I always manage to hit each park and Downtown Disney at least once! Wolfgang Puck Express and Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop are must stop spots!

  5. lebeau says:

    This is the most one-side question of all times. Epcot was built around dining. It is one of the park’s primary selling points. Epcot could take on all of the other parks combined.

  6. Tiffani says:

    definitely Epcot, Epcot has every kind of food you could ask for.

  7. Jeff G says:

    When our family goes it seems we all have different favs in each park. In MK our quick service is Paco Bill and our oldest daughter loves her dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern. In EPCOT it’s not a visit until I hit Yorkshire County Fish Shop while my wife wants her meal at Tutto Italia. Over at Hollywood Studios Staring Rolls gets our vote for sweets, Pizza Planet of quick service and it’s over to Hollywood and Vine for dinner. And finally. At AK it’s at Tusker House for the best breakfast on the property (In our eyes). heading down for the Food and Wine Fest for the first time hoping to find some new favs.

  8. Jan says:

    I have to give the edge to Epcot when it comes to park dining. There’s good eats in every park, but the variety and quality of the food at Epcot is the best IMO. Especially during the Food and Wine Festival. If I didn’t love the other parks so much I could go to Epcot every day during F&W just to sample the festival booths’ offerings.

  9. Joshua says:

    Maybe I’m biased because my annual trip falls during the Food & Wine festival, but even without the fantastic kiosks my vote has to go to EPCOT. They offer excellence in both table and counter service, as well as the best variety of any of the parks.

    EPCOT4LIFE

  10. Joni says:

    I think EPCOT has most of my favorites.
    Le Celier – Mushroom Risoto filet – and maple crem brulee
    Teppan Edo – Steak and Shrimp combo, yum
    Chefs De France- French Onion soup!!
    MK
    Liberty Tree Tavern – Pot Roast is THE best
    Can’t forget the Citrus Swirl
    HS
    SCI FI and picnic Burger
    AK
    Usually go to the Rain Forest or Flame Tree
    Love the Frozen Chai Tea
    DTN
    Wolfgang puck express – Meatloaf
    Earl Of Sandwitch – Full Montegue
    Resorts
    AK Saana, High tea at Garden View Lounge, GF Cafe- Grand Sandwitch, OKW Olivia’s Best Breakfast potatoes ever.

  11. Hannah says:

    I’m going to have to say Epcot is my favorite park to dine in. Every restaurant I’ve been to in Epcot has been superb. La Hacienda de San Angel was one of my favorite places to eat and it had a great view of illuminations. The park I wasn’t really impressed with food wise was Hollywood Studios. All we could find for lunch were mediocre sandwhiches, nothing special. Anyways, Epcot is by far my favorite park to dine at.

  12. Kristen says:

    Gotta give it to Epcot – but I do love them all! I’d be interested in an article about the best resorts for dining. That would be a really long one though :)

  13. Robert says:

    Epcot dominates this. So many great places and so many great choices. Epcot is food. After that it gets kind of even. Although the SciFi and 50s prime time are very unique at the Studios add that to the Brown Derby and you got some great options. MK and AK have some good offerings as well.

  14. Mary says:

    EPCOT! There are so many great sit downs like Via Napoli, LeCellier, Tutto Italia. We love Tutto Gusto as well. I feel the CS options are the best as well.

  15. frank kaczmarek says:

    Of course, it would be EPCOT. To dine anywhere in the world, in 1 park, is a beautiful thing. BUT, my favorite all around park is Hollywood Studios.

  16. Heather says:

    I’d have to give a slight edge to EPCOT just based on places I haven’t like which in all the places I’ve been at EPCOT 2 haven’t been obsessively loved and that’s not even including the Food and Wine festival. I do like things from other parks (like the dole whip float and the BBQ at Flame Tree) and there’s also things other places that while I have never had them they never fail to make me drool (waffle sandwiches) I have to say that EPCOT is pretty consistently a winner.

  17. Essie says:

    Geeze, AJ, this is a tough question (especially since it gets my mouth watering!). I’ll give Best Honors to the MK for QS due to the BOG lunch and CHH (and I love my CP breakfast). But for TS I give Best Honors to EPCOT (with a definite nod to the Norwegian Bakery and the Land for their QS). In EPCOT you have the Filet at LeCellier, Coral Reef, Teppan Edo for shrimp and steak, Rose & Crown, and others. It’s a wonderful selection. I also love the DHS 50′s Prime Time and Sci Fi, but that’s 50% food and 50% fun (and of course the wonderful cupcakes at DHS)! AK’s Y&Y is also an Awesome TS experience, but it’s alone with their bakery’s cupcakes, so, my final decision:
    MK for QS and EPCOT for TS.

  18. Gary says:

    Interesting that you (and other commentators) left out Hollywood Studios’ Hollywood Brown Derby. Although I think that Epcot is head and shoulders above all of the other theme parks in terms of quality and selection, the Brown Derby is a fantastic restaurant. Sure, the Cobb salad put it on the map, but there are som many great appetizers and entrees there that it squarely fits into the top 5 of my favorite Disney them park restaurants (together with Bistro de Paris/Monsieur Paul, San Angel Inn, Le Cellier and Via Napoli.

  19. Carrie says:

    My fiancé and I are spending part of our January honeymoon at Disney World and I think we are going to spend the whole time eating! I have a list of things I absolutely HAVE to eat. In the Magic Kingdom I have to have a Mickey pretzel with cheese, an ice cream cookie sandwich, and a Mickey ice cream bar because it’s just more magical eating it by the castle! I usually have to do Pizza Planet at Hollywood Studios, and this time I want to try a carrot cake cookie because they sound fantastic. Flame Tree BBQ is an Animal Kingdom must, but I don’t really have go-to in Epcot. Of course Downtown Disney is all about the cookie bottom sundae at Ghirardelli!

  20. Mike Venere says:

    No brainer……this is not even close!!!
    EPCOT!!!

    I can understand how some can give the Quick Service medal to MK….especially traveling with kids. But you can do Epcot for a month and never have the same meal!!

  21. Novi says:

    Epcot is the only park my family eats dinner in… Its either Downtown Disney, a resort, or Epcot. I eat least in Animal Kingdom because the very new vegetarian options still don’t look too wonderful. We don’t even eat lunch there.

  22. Shanna S says:

    Epcot, even with out Food and Wine (and a world with the F&WF would be a sad sad thing) I think it has the most choices with the most variety. With exceptional sit down places, counter service and snack options it really has the most across the board appeal.

    MK would be next in my book and not just for Dole Whip (Though really I am pretty sure I could eat nothing but Dole Whip. Mickey Bars and School Bread for a whole vacation and be completely happy, tummy ache and all!) They have fun restaurant choices, decent counter services with a little variety and a ton of yummy and tempting snacks.

    AK would have to be third, not because they are so great but because DHS is that bad! AK does have some fun snacks and I love Flame Tree. However I always feel like I am floundering to find somewhere to eat here. We didn’t like Yak and Yeti, I can get Rainforest at home. Tusker house is good but a little crazy (or a little creepy and dead if you have a 5pm dinner) I love the Elephant cupcake and the fresh fruit options here for snacks.

    DHS is last and definitely least as far as food goes. There are okay sit down places but the counter service is dismal at best. I never go here over a meal time with out an ADR. There are some yummy snacks options.

  23. Galloping Gourmand says:

    Overall I don’t think many people would argue against Epcot being, overall, the best place for food based simply on the sheer variety available. It’s lacking in one key area: Breakfast. The selections are very limited. 2 quick service, one sit down. For a park of it’s size this is a sorry state of affairs.

  24. Stacy says:

    Epcot all the way!

  25. Anne Shannon says:

    I would say, for me, Epcot wins for both counter and table dining within park just because of the large number and variety of options. Also, Epcot is definitely the most fun park for me to grab some yummy food and do a little people watching and shopping.

  26. daffystardust says:

    If you make your ADRs ahead of time, your one day at Hollywood Studios can be pretty great in the eats department.
    - grab a little something on the way in at Starring Rolls.
    - have lunch at 50s Prime Time (the meatloaf is very tasty!)
    - catch a milkshake snack and the great theming at Sci-Fi Dine-In
    - then indulge in a fancy dinner at the Brown Derby
    Multiple days at DHS would reveal the thin selection there, but if (like most visitors) you’re only going to spend one day in this park, the above line-up competes well with anything you could come up with for one day at any of the other parks.

  27. Connie Smith says:

    Here are my faves (that I can remember off the top of my head). these are the dishes that are on my “must have” list everytime I go: Lobster omlette at Olivia’s Cafe (OKW), The Crab Cake Eggs Benedict that used to be at Captain’s Grille (Yacht Club) but is now at Boatwright’s (Port Orleans). The Grapefruit Cake at Hollywood Brown Derby. The wings at ESPN Club (Boardwalk). The Fish N Chips at Raglan Road (DTD). Anything at Fulton’s Crab House (DTD) after the sun has set and the lights of DTD are reflecting on the water. The warm bread w/roasted garlic (and anything else) at Portabello (DTD). I love the Biergarten in Epcot – sooo much fun! I can’t resist Boulangerie Patisserie in Epcot. Bread Pudding at House of Blues (DTD). But I can’t do Disney right if I don’t have breakfast with Mickey and the gang at Chef Mickey’s (Contemporary). This is so much fun at any age because, let’s face it, we’re all ablut 6 years old once we pass through the gates. There’s my list.

  28. Patricia says:

    Hasn’t Disney did a wonderful job of giving us variety for dining? Yes, food is expensive at Disney, but they have clearly worked hard recently to improve the quality of our dining experiences.

    While Epcot is my clear favorite for food, like everyone else, I have some necessary stops in each park for every trip. Sometimes it is very hard to choose between an old favorite and trying something new!

    Kristen mentioned it briefly, but in talking about dining in the parks, we did not even touch on the many places to eat at the resorts.

    There are so many ways and places to enjoy Disney dining. I can’t wait for October!

  29. Paul S. says:

    Without a doubt, if I’m planning to take the time and enjoy a delicious meal that requires setting a reservation, it’s definitely the Magic Kingdom. I’ve got two favorite places there, the Liberty Tree Tavern for lunch (definitely that meal time!) and the Crystal Palace, which is a wonderful buffet with meats cooked perfectly, simply prepared veggies and desserts galore. When I go to the Liberty Tree Tavern for lunch, there’s one thing I want: the pot roast. I’ve been hooked on that meal since I first stayed on Disney property in 1992. When it’s a quick meal, have another two favorites: FlameTree Barbecue at Animal Kingdom and Sunshine Seasons at EPCOT. Both are some of the most economical meals at WDW and quite filling. Just celebrated my 51st birthday at Animal Kingdom and had my birthday meal at FlameTree. The place and food is still a wonderful way to celebrate.

  30. Kelly D says:

    Thank you Gary! While I am not generally impressed by the food at HS, I had one of my best WDW meals ever last December in the Brown Derby. The food was top notch, wine list interesting, and the atmosphere exuded adult, Old Hollywood glamour.

    Obviously, though, Epcot is rightfully winning this war. I think a more interesting debate would be where would you NOT be happy eating in Epcot…I am having trouble even thinking of one spot…

  31. Scott from Solon, OH says:

    While you highlighted many of the amazing quicker and sweeter fare around the parks, as an adult traveling solo, another several articles might focus on the utterly spectacular cuisine that might break the bank for a family with kids who might not enjoy all that is available…… this is without heading out into the hotels–gems in their own right.

  32. Scott from Solon, OH says:

    Sorry, props for the fun and informative article! Like the parks, it’s impossible to do it all in a limited amount of time. I’ve been a Passholder for years and there’s always something new, delicious and exciting as I journey down from Ohio! Keep up the great work….

  33. prttynpnk says:

    I have to vote with Epcot, for massive variety of flavors and tastes. Im a little sad that a mention of Studios doesn’t have the Derby- no love for a little nostalgic noshing? sometimes lunch there is the only reason we go into the park at non-stormtrooper times!

  34. Ashley says:

    Are the spring rolls still offered in DAK? We were at Bradley Falls a few weeks back and they weren’t offered. I haven’t been able to track them down anywhere else in the park. Hope I’m just not looking in the right place because those were my go-to DAK snack. A.J., help!!

  35. Ashley says:

    To build off of my last post, I think I’m the oddball here and might say that Animal Kingdom is up there in dining options for me. Hear me out:
    - Flame Tree
    - Asia: Bradley Falls (Asian noodle salad, edamame, and spring rolls [RIP?]), Yak and Yet (lettuce wraps),
    - Africa:Harambe fruit market (jalapeno cheese pretzels, fresh fruit, cheese and fruit plate), Dawa Bar!! (Safari Amber, mojitos, Lost on Safari), Tamu Tamu (fruit bowls, curried chicken salad, turkey sandwiches)
    - Discovery Island: Pizzafari (actually has a delicious breakfast sandwich [great for taking advantage of cooler early morning hours, when the animals are all really active]).
    To be honest, DAK has the most ‘refreshing,’ light options- ones that I often look forward to and seem to fit with the natural environment the park promotes.

    Hollywood Studios has SO MANY great options at the Brown Derby alone (the least of which, in my opinion, is the filet), Prime Time has killer fried chicken and a PB&J milkshake, Starring Rolls and Writer’s Stop offer up delicious baked goods, and even Backlot Express has some decent sandwiches (like the pressed grilled veggie sammie). They also had bread cones for a bit, although those are gone now.

    Epcot is always a winner, but it seems I like items that are not fan favorites, such as:
    -Scotch egg from Rose and Crown
    -Vegetarian platter from Tangierine Cafe
    -Via Napoli (well, that’s a fan fave)
    - Queso fundito from La Hacienda
    - Garden Grill!!

    And to further put me out in left field, my least favorite park for dining is Magic Kingdom. Besides BOG, the counter service options are mostly fried or burgers, and forget about grabbing a ‘late night’ counter service meal- Cosmic Rays (yuck!) or Peco’s Bills (not so great) are the only options. Casey’s is the saving grace, but those hot dogs and corn dog nuggets can sit heavy on your tummy as a late dinner. I do like Columbia Harbour House (the tuna sandwich) but that seems to close fairly early. Liberty Square Market has nice snack options, but again, no late hours there. Often MK is the park that’s open the latest, and I find the dining options to be severely lacking.

    Ok, that’s all. Thanks for reading! :) Now I’m hungry…

  36. Julie says:

    I must have another PB & jelly shake from 50′s prime time diner. You can find the other food at other restaurants but no where have I come close to that shake.

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