56 Must-Read Disney Dining Secrets from Disney Food Blog

Disney may be the Happiest Place on Earth, but nothing can wreck the happy faster than poor planning.

This is especially true when it comes to one of the most important parts of your trip — eating!

After decades of Disney dining, we’ve perfected some expert tips and advice to get the most out of  your Disney World visit.

Today, we’re sharing our 56 Must-Read Disney Dining Secrets to ensure that you have the magical visit of your dreams!

Top Disney Dining Secrets

Let’s get started!

1. Make dining reservations. Even if you don’t follow any other piece of advice, we can’t say this emphatically enough. To fully appreciate the truly entertaining and delicious array of Disney Dining offerings, you must make advanced dining reservations. If you wait until you arrive at Disney to make table service arrangements, you may miss out on many of your top picks because they will be booked.

Book Dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant 180 Days in Advance to Guarantee a Table

2. BYOP (Bring  Your Own Pepsi). Yep. Those of you who are die-hard Pepsi drinkers will be sad to note that any and all Disney establishments will not carry Pepsi products. It’s a Coke-only zone here! So either bring your own Pepsi, or plan to take a trip to a nearby gas station, convenience store, grocery store, or drug store to pick up your stash. You can also order it and have it delivered directly to your hotel from Garden Grocer.

No Pepsi Here.

3. Don’t miss the must-eat items! After years of eating Disney goodies, we here at Disney Food Blog have amassed quite a list of “must-eat” treats in Disney parks and resorts. Cult favorites like Dole Whip Floats, Zebra Domes, School Bread, and Mickey Bars are high priority when you’re visiting the Happiest Place on Earth. To read up on our favorites, head over to our Best Disney World Restaurants Page for some great “Best Of” posts like Best Cookie Snacks in Disney World, favorite Disney ice cold snacks, Disney’s best grilled cheese, and more! And if you’re headed to Disney World for the first time, you must read our Best Disney Restaurants for First-Timers article — very helpful!

Dole Whip Float! A Must-Eat snack for every Disney guest.

4. Make your reservations 180 days prior to your visit whenever possible. Nope — it’s not enough to just make reservations; you need to make them as early as possible. For most restaurants, that’s 180 days prior to the date you’re seeking. If you’re staying in a Disney hotel, you can book all of your reservations for up to 10 days beginning exactly 180 days before the first day of your trip.

5. Don’t pay for food you don’t want. One of my favorite Disney Dining tips is to be a squeaky wheel when you need to be. Disney is very good at customizing meals, and at counter-service restaurants, your customized meal might even save you some money! For example, [Read more…]

The Most Popular Disney World Restaurants (and Alternatives When They’re Full)

Many Disney guests agree that the most important Disney Dining Tips lists include one specific piece of advice:

Making Advance Dining Reservations is an absolute must when it comes to planning.

While many seasoned Disney travelers are aware of this, there are lots of folks who visit the parks and are stunned to find no tables available at their top restaurant choices. Don’t worry, it happens to all of us at one time or another…and we’ve got solutions for you!

Today, we’ve updated our list of the most popular Disney restaurants, and terrific alternatives if you can’t score a table at your coveted spot!

Let’s take a look at the most elusive restaurants to book these days…

Dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Scoring an advance dining reservation at Be Our Guest Restaurant for their table service dinner can be a daunting task.

Be Our Guest Restaurant Ballroom Dining Room

From the time that they first announced the restaurant’s soft opening until now, we have heard from many readers who haven’t been able to secure a spot at Magic Kingdom’s newest restaurant. Here are a couple of reasons why:

Newness: The biggest reason for this remains the novelty of the place. Be Our Guest and all of New Fantasyland is still the hottest ticket in Walt Disney World since its grand opening in December 2012.

Incredible, Immersive Themeing: The impeccable themeing means that stepping into Beast’s Castle is truly like climbing through a portal into Beauty and the Beast. You almost expect to look down and find your food animated!

The Grey Stuff — It’s Delicious!

Novelty: The French-inspired cuisine that’s served at Be Our Guest is unlike anything else available in all of Magic Kingdom. In addition, there is huge novelty surrounding the fact that you can now order beer and wine in the formerly dry Magic Kingdom (for dinner only).

So, what to do if you can’t [Read more…]

Disney Recipe: Hoop Dee Doo Revue Cornbread from Disney World

It’s no secret that I love Disney World’s Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue in Fort Wilderness. I mean, come on? What’s not to love?

All you can eat picnic food served in metal buckets; all you can drink beer, wine, and sangria; a show that’s been entertaining guests since Disney World first opened? It’s all good.

Napkin Twirling and other Audience Participation Will Occur

And they serve one of my very favorite foods. So we thought it would be fun to share a recipe that can bring home the awesome flavors and fun atmosphere of this fantastic spot: Hoop Dee Doo Cornbread!

Cornbread with a Ball of Butter

Let’s get to it!

Ingredients:
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon [Read more…]

Best Disney World Restaurants for First Time Disney Visitors

Everyday we receive lots of mail from you, our awesome DFB readers, asking for restaurant suggestions and recommendations. And while we certainly have our favorites, we know that you do, too!

So when a Disney first-time visitor recently asked what restaurants we would recommend for their upcoming trip, we couldn’t think of a better panel of experts to ask than YOU!

When I put the question out on the Disney Food Blog Facebook page, I was overwhelmed by the huge and immediate response that I got!

Let’s take a look at your recommendations for the restaurants first timers must experience on that inaugural Walt Disney World trip!

If you have other thoughts or ideas — or, better yet, stories of your favorite restaurants during a first-time visit — please share them with all of us in the comments section! More suggestions are always better!

Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

When it comes to first time Disney dining, the winning restaurant recommendation is, hands down, Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Many of you agree that anyone visiting the Happiest Place on Earth for the very first time MUST experience a buffet that includes lots of character interaction.

Chef Mickey’s is highly recommended by our DFB Readers!

But the suggestion is practical, too. Readers pointed out that a character dining experience offers terrific value for your Disney dollar, with an all-you-care-to-eat option. [Read more…]

More Great Disney Dining Tips from the Experts!

A while back, we polled Disney Food Blog readers — Disney fans who have been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt — on their top Disney Dining Tips.

Not surprisingly, the top tip mentioned was the advice to make Disney Dining Reservations, since you don’t want to be shut out of your favorites or from the most popular restaurants. So this time around we thought it would be fun to ask about their SECOND best Disney Dining Tips!

Read on to see what our Disney Food Blog twitter followers shared as their second best Disney dining tips, and be sure to share in the comments whether you agree or disagree! Share YOUR tips to help your fellow Disney lovers!

Enjoy Some Disney Snacks

We LURVE our Disney snacks around here! And so do our readers! Many of the tips we received were about the favorite classic pre- and post-meal goodies we all love to tuck into in the Parks.

While Brian C. had a unique, sweet option on the mind (“Try the beignets!”), Twitter pal Amber B. writes, “Do NOT skip the Schoolbread!” We can heartily agree!

Norway School Bread

Whether you prefer a sweet or salty treat, there are plenty of cupcakes, cookies and specialty pretzels to choose from.

And if you need a little help selecting the treat you’ll try first, make sure to download our DFB Mini-Guide to Epcot Snacks and our DFB Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks.

Eat at “Off Hours”

Disney vacationers cannot live on snacks alone, though—there are too many great Disney restaurants!

Several of our twitter friends recommended taking advantage of “off” meal times by enjoying a late breakfast/early lunch, or a late lunch/early dinner! This is when the restaurants are less likely to be packed with families sticking to the traditional meal times.

Coral Reef in Epcot is even more serene during non-traditional dining hours!

Paul B. tweets, “Off hours eating leads to taking advantage of shorter attraction lines during the normal meal times.”  So while everyone else is waiting in the lunch line, you’re able to hop onto Splash Mountain with a much shorter wait.

And when you are ready to enjoy your late lunch, not only will you have a quieter, more intimate meal, but you’re more likely to get a coveted window seat or other special seating area (like a car-booth at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater). Dining bonus!

Awesome convertible car booths at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater

Visit the Resorts for Meals

If you’re not able to take advantage [Read more…]

Best Disney World Restaurants for Fish Fry

With Lent on the horizon — and with a few questions from readers recently about where to get a great fish fry in Disney World — I knew that now would be the perfect time to check out the best places to find that golden battered goodness at the Happiest Place on Earth!

Let’s check out some of the best fried fish in Disney World

Best Disney World Restaurants for a Fish Fry

United Kingdom Pavilion in Epcot

You can’t go wrong for fish and chips in the delicacy’s home pavilion in Epcot.

Fish and Chips from Yorkshire County Fish Shop

Whether you take a load off at the Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room or grab some fried food to go from Yorkshire County Fish Shop, you’re in for a mild but authentic taste of one of England’s best exports.

While you’re there, enjoy a beer and a performance by The British Revolution or the Pub’s Hat Lady.

Cookes of Dublin and Raglan Road in Downtown Disney

If you find yourself in need of a fish fix while you’re “Downtown,” head over to the Pleasure Island District for two authentic and delicious options. The One & One at Cookes of Dublin is one of our favorites on property.

Cooked to order and served piping hot, the fish is flaky and tender.

Fish and Chips from Cooke’s of Dublin

But if you have the time for a slower meal, you may want to consider the famous beer battered fish and chips on the lunch menu at Raglan Road Irish Pub right next door.

Columbia Harbour House in Magic Kingdom

Here in Liberty Square, you can enjoy a counter service battered fish basket with broccoli, apples, or French fries at Columbia Harbour House counter service restaurant. The proportion of breading to fish is perfect, and the fish isn’t too oily.

Fried Chicken and Fish at Columbia Harbour House

Fried Chicken and Fish at Columbia Harbour House (photo from Kelly Amey via the DFB Flickr Group) 

Citricos at Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

For a slightly more upscale take on the English classic, take a monorail ride to the Grand Floridian and pull up a chair at Citricos. There, you should order the melt-in-your-mouth pan-fried Florida black grouper, which gets [Read more…]

Guest Review: Trail’s End Restaurant at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Join me in welcoming back guest author Julie B.!

She returns with a review of Trail’s End Restaurant in the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. The journey to this restaurant is part of the experience, right?!

Howdy folks! Even though we’re on vacation, sometimes you just want the comforts of a home-cooked meal. Trail’s End Restaurant at Fort Wilderness Campground brings all the happiness of home to its dinner buffet.

Remember, this spot is a little distant from some parks and resorts. You can reach Trail’s End at Fort Wilderness by taking a boat from Magic Kingdom, Contemporary Resort, or Wilderness Lodge; or by taking a bus from any park or Downtown Disney to Fort Wilderness. Note that if you take a bus, you’ll have to transfer to the Fort Wilderness internal bus system to get to Trail’s End. (DFB recommends taking a boat if possible — so much easier.)

Trail's End Sign

Atmosphere

Trail’s End is a cute little restaurant, featuring the theme of a cabin in the woods. It blends perfectly with the campground!

Welcome Mat

The walls are adorned with the best of the outdoors and the back country. Large wooden beams finish setting the scene for your meal in the wilderness.

Holiday Decor

Dining Room

On the lower level (just down a small half-flight of stairs), Trail’s End is also home to Crockett’s Tavern.

The bar is themed the same way as the restaurant and even features a [Read more…]

Guest Review: New Breakfast Offerings Come to Trail’s End at Fort Wilderness

Today, we bring you news of a fun update to one of our favorite spots in all of Walt Disney World — Trail’s End Restaurant at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground!

Thanks to DFB reader Stephanie for sharing with us a couple of new (and very welcome!) additions to the breakfast buffet at this much loved Fort Wilderness restaurant!

Normally, we stay at Port Orleans when we visit Walt Disney World, and we absolutely love heading over to Trail’s End for their breakfast buffet on our “no-park days.” But this weekend, we actually stayed in one of the Fort Wilderness cabins following the Wine and Dine Race weekend.

For breakfast, we took our rented golf cart over to this family-favorite spot.

We were thrilled to find two new items on their buffet, including a brand new Build Your Own Yogurt Parfait Station. I thought other DFB readers would enjoy seeing them as well!

Build Your Own Yogurt Parfait Bar

First, they have both Plain and Blueberry Yogurt in jelly jars ready to grab.

Yogurt in Jelly Jars

Next, they offer both a [Read more…]

Where to Get Waffles in Walt Disney World

We’ve gathered all kinds of waffle choices in order to bring this Waffle Gallery to you! Whether you’re hankering for a Belgian waffle with fruit topping, a waffle with powdered sugar, a Mickey shaped breakfast waffle, or even a waffle sandwich – we’ve got the deets on where to take care of your craving.

There are some really creative waffle creations in the mix, so be sure to add one or more of these waffle choices to your next Walt Disney World visit.

Giant Mickey Waffle

Yes, Disney World menus are ever-changing so always check the most recent menus prior to your visit. The waffles listed below are in alphabetical order based on how they’re listed on Walt Disney World menus.

Bananas Foster Waffles

Roaring Fork at the Wilderness Lodge is home to some comforting waffle creations on the regular and kid’s breakfast menus. You’ll find more to tempt you further down in this list. The Bananas Foster Waffles are covered with warm bananas in a buttered rum-flavored sauce. Plus, they are Mickey-shaped!

Bananas Foster Waffles

Belgian Waffle

  • A Belgian waffle with Maple Butter and Candied Pecan Topping is offered at the Whispering Canyon Cafe in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
  • Seasonal Fresh Fruit, Maple Syrup and Whipped Cream accompany the Belgian waffle offered at Wolfgang Puck Express, Downtown Disney Marketplace.

Belgian Waffle Sundae

Belgian Waffle Sundae

At the AMC Dine-In Theatre in Downtown Disney, a pair of warm Belgian waffles are infused with maple flavor, then topped with vanilla ice cream, drizzled in luscious caramel sauce and topped with a generous sprinkle of sweet and savory candied bacon. What a dessert!

Belgium Waffle

Disney Strawberry Shortcake Desserts

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE! Anyone who’s been to Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue at Fort Wilderness knows how historic this dessert is at Walt Disney World!

And, luckily, there are several versions to sample around the parks and resorts! Let’s take a peek at a few that we enjoy…

Strawberry Shortcake at Sunshine Seasons

Nestled on the lower level of the Land pavilion in Epcot, Sunshine Seasons is known for market-fresh eats.

One of the best desserts at Epcot (and also a great value) is the strawberry shortcake. Fresh strawberries, smooth whipped cream and gorgeous vanilla shortcake are layered together for a fresh and decadent treat.

Strawberry Shortcake at Sunshine Seasons

Strawberry Shortcake Sundae at Storybook Treats

UPDATE: Please note that as of June 2015, the Strawberry Shortcake Sundae is no longer being served at Storybook Treats. 

In the Magic Kingdom, Storybook Treats (formerly Mrs. Potts’) dishes up refreshing snacks, including the strawberry shortcake sundae, topped with vanilla soft-serve and [Read more…]