Best Restaurants for Thanksgiving and Christmas in Walt Disney World

Will you be celebrating Thanksgiving or Christmas in Walt Disney World?

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Lucky you! What a fun way to spend the holiday season — with so much to be thankful for in such a cool place!

As you can imagine, the crowds tend to swell at Disney during holiday weeks like Thanksgiving and Christmas as lots of Disney fans choose to celebrate their holiday there. And Disney answers the call with tons of Thanksgiving spirit throughout many of their restaurants.

Whether you’re looking for a traditional meal, a gourmet twist on familiar favorites, or something that’s a complete departure from established customs, you’ll find lots of options for celebrating these special food days. Let’s check out a few of our favorites.

The Traditional: Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom

We all know it’s true. When you’re craving Thanksgiving dinner at Disney, there’s one spot you can always count on to deliver: Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square.

Liberty Tree Tavern Entrance

Liberty Tree Tavern Entrance

And we’re not just talking about on Thanksgiving Day, or merely around Thanksgiving. You’ll find the traditional feast on the lunch and dinner menu, every day of the year. [Read more…]

Review: Dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

It’s time to make another visit to Be Our Guest Restaurant! And this time, we’re dining in Beast’s Castle for dinner. Yay!

While I’ve had several opportunities to enjoy lunch at Be Our Guest, a dinner advance dining reservation is always a little tougher to get. Dinner here is currently the most difficult Disney World restaurant reservation to snag, requiring hopefuls to book at exactly six months out or take their chances with walk-up availability or cancellations.

That said, once you’ve been to Be Our Guest for dinner, there’s really not all that much reason to go back. See, the menu and actual dining experience at this must-do restaurant haven’t changed all that much since our very first, Eat All the Food, multi day experience when the restaurant opened in 2012.

But during my recent Epcot Food and Wine pilgrimage, I decided pretty last minute to attend a Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party one night. And it just happened to be the night Disney decided to open up Be Our Guest to dinner reservations during the party. I was able to grab a dinner reservation for 10PM, but was actually able to go early and be seated around 8:30PM. Most likely this was because not many people knew the restaurant was open, so walk-ups were fewer.

So let’s head on into the Beast’s castle for dinner at Be Our Guest!

Don't miss out on Be Our Guest!

Don’t miss out on Be Our Guest!

Atmosphere

Before we dig in, let’s take a look around. Because if you haven’t dined at Be Our Guest, you should know that this restaurant is nearly as much an attraction as it is a place to dine.

When you arrive, check in at the “podium” to the left of the walkway to the castle.

 

Be Our Guest Restaurant Check-In Area

Be Our Guest Restaurant Check-In Area

There are three dining rooms at Be Our Guest (more about those later), and you can request your favorite at check-in. It’s not guaranteed, but they’ll do their best to seat you there.

When your name is called or your buzzer goes off, you’ll be directed down the main walkway into the Beast’s Castle. Be sure to take in all of the detail along the way.

Be Our Guest Entrance

Be Our Guest Entrance

Be Our Guest Gargoiyle

Be Our Guest Gargoiyle

Gargoyle Light Post and Waterfall

Gargoyle Light Post and Waterfall

Guests familiar with the film Beauty and the Beast will recognize the stunning recreation of many elements of Beast’s Castle as they make their way to the main entrance.

Don't be late for dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant!

Don’t be late for dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant!

The feeling is eery, austere in places, and beautiful throughout. As you enter through heavy wooden doors, you’re greeted by one of Be Our Guest’s most famous elements — the gorgeous Beauty and the Beast mosaic.

Mosaic of Beauty and the Beast

Mosaic of Beauty and the Beast

At this point, you’ll check in with another cast member at another podium (FYI, they’ll be using some French pleasantries since you are now in France) and may need to wait a few minutes before you’re taken back to your table.

That’s OK, though, because there’s even more to take in! To your left, you’ll see a gallery flanked by suits of armor. Pay attention; they’re enchanted of course, so they’re whispering to one another. [Read more…]

Review: Jiko — A Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

On a recent trip to Walt Disney World, I made it a mission to revisit one of my favorite restaurants, Jiko.

The restaurant is your top-of-the-line, signature dining option at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort, and I’ve been a big fan of the spot since my very first visit.

With a combination of wonderful ambiance, exotic flavors, and a killer wine list, it’s sure to please any adventurous food lover, and it always surprises me that it tends to fly a little under the radar. This may be because the food is a bit less mainstream, or because the restaurant is a hike to get to.

As regular readers know, though — no matter how much I like a restaurant, I insist on visiting and reviewing them time and again to make sure that I can still recommend them. Fortunately, that’s nearly always a pleasure to do.

Come with me as we take a look around and see what’s new at Jiko.

Atmosphere

If you’re looking for Jiko, head down from the main lobby of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, past Victoria Falls Lounge, until you get to the bottom floor. Boma is below Victoria Falls, and then you can access The Mara and the resort’s pool here as well. Jiko is to the right.

Jiko Sign

Jiko Sign

Enter the refined space, and you see immediately that wine is given a place of prominence here. Jiko boasts the largest collection of African wines outside of the African continent. If you’re a wine lover, you’ll want to check out their suggested pairings. [Read more…]

Review: New Menu at Liberty Tree Tavern at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Editor’s Note: The Patriot’s Platter is now available as a lunch, all-you-care-to-enjoy option. Also, the Platter now includes Turkey Breast, Sliced Prime Rib, and Carved Pork Roast once more, as of late October 2016.

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! It’s time to head back to one of our favorite spots — Liberty Tree Tavern!

Ah, how we love thee, Liberty Tree. Located in Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square, there are plenty of reasons why this park original is still one of our favorites. First of all, although we can embrace and even enjoy change (within moderation ;-) ), Liberty Tree Tavern has literally been around since the beginning. And that makes it a shoe-in for a spot in some of our collective earliest memories. A show of hands out there — how many of you recollect this Colonial-inspired dining room as one of your first Disney meals?

But then, it keeps us coming back as grown-ups for delicious comfort food! The a la carte menu served at lunch features one of DFB’s Favorite Burgers, the Angus Chuck Cheeseburger! And who could possibly resist the Pilgrims Feast at lunch? Because Thanksgiving Dinner served all year ’round is A-OK with me!

Recently, we learned of updates here (what?!?!) to the dinner menu. And while I don’t usually need an excuse to make an advance dining reservation at Liberty Tree, I figured it was the perfect reason to visit.

Join us to see what’s new — and what remains the same — when you dine at Liberty Tree Tavern for dinner!

Liberty Tree Tavern Entrance

Liberty Tree Tavern Entrance

Atmosphere

To step into Liberty Tree Tavern is to step back in time. The restaurant offers seating in six different rooms (none of that modern open floor plan stuff here).

Seating and View

Seating and View

Of course, an argument could be made that the throwback nostalgia here is part Colonial, part 1970s. But you know what? We’re totally fine with it. While some rooms offer paneling a plenty…

Decor

Seating and Wood Paneling Decor

Others are awash in white. Still, ample wood accents and parquet floors lend warmth and a feeling of antiquity. [Read more…]