Guest Review: Holiday Island Dinner Buffet at Magic Kingdom’s Tortuga Tavern

During the busy holiday season, Walt Disney World accommodates famished guests with unique dining experiences. Guest reviewer @MealTrip, takes us to Tortuga Tavern’s Island Dinner Buffet in the Magic Kingdom! Book your meal online or at 407-WDW-DINE.


During the holiday season, through January 4th, the dining area that is normally utilized for Tortuga Tavern counter service dining is trying out something new. From 5pm until 9pm they’re hosting a dining event called the “Island Dinner Buffet.”


Tortuga Tavern is normally a walk-up, counter service Mexican food location, just across the street from the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. I was curious as to how they would frame out the rather open, free-seating area so passers by would not inadvertently sit down and join the buffet. The solution… planted palm trees.

Potted palm trees keep the area private

Potted palm trees keep the area private

Many, many planted palm trees tucked into every nook and cranny, between every garbage can and bench, which all added to the Island theme quite nicely — and surprisingly, did provide separation from the main walk way.

The entrance to the event is over by what is usually the walk-up counter. Because this is not the normal configuration of the space, payment for your meal happens at one of the restaurant’s normal registers before you are seated. This is a bit different for a Disney restaurant, but not unusual for a buffet.

Covered registers

Covered registers

There appears to be seating for around 350 guests at any given time, and before we get into the food, I picked up a great tip from one of the managers. There are at least 50 seats that are kept out of the booking system every day… until 24 hours before the next day’s meal. This is because some of the seating can be considered “not covered.” If they’re expecting inclement weather (i.e. rain or cold), they will not release those seats to the booking system.

Outdoor tables and tables with umbrellas

Outdoor tables and tables with umbrellas

So if you would like to go to the Island Dinner Buffet, and it looks like it’s completely booked up… fear not… unless it’s raining or exceptionally cold out, they may just have a bunch of extra seats that won’t hit the booking system until the day before you want to go. Because that’s pretty short notice in Disney-Speak, that may also mean there’s a chance that you can score a seat without any reservations at all.

Seating at Tortuga

Seating at Tortuga

This is great news for Disney Dining Plan guests with one table service dining credit and no [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: June 17, 2012

Um…what an AWESOME WEEK!

Cars Land and Buena Vista Street became a reality in Disney California Adventure over in Disneyland Resort, Heather — our intrepid columnist and resident Awesome Spice — risked life and limb to get hundreds of photos and try dozens of menu items for some rad reviews (and there are more to come, my darlings; SO many more to come!), I got the chance to interview Chef Marianne Hunnel about the big doin’s happening at this year’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival (more on that tomorrow!), and…my big brother got married!!

I should totally buy a lottery ticket…

While I’m off doing that, why don’t you read up on the latest:

Disney Food News

Disney foodiness this week…!

We’ve got more food news (including Father’s Day dining at Orlando’s Downtown Disney and the D23 Sip & Scream Event…plus LOTS more) on our Disney Food News Pin Board, where Disney Food News is updated on a regular basis!

Dad’s Day Sale on the Disney Food Blog Guide to Walt Disney World Dining

In honor of great dads (including my very own “AJ’s Dad,” who’s friggin’ awesome), we’re finally having a sale on our 2012 edition of the Disney Food Blog Guide to Walt Disney World Dining e-Book. (I know — it’s been forever, right? Sorry about that.)

This week only, use code “DAD” to get 20% off this 300-page, fully portable e-Book. (FYI — It looks smokin’ on your iPad!)

SO, snap up the book and DON’T MISS ANYTHING for your next Disney World trip! Especially not the sweet money-saving tips!

On to the Round-Up

Eating (and Drinking) Around the World visits the new Sundowner Celebration at the Animal Kingdom.

Main Street Gazette noshes on the Chilled Summer Roll at the Animal Kingdom.

Walt Disney World for Grown-Ups stops by the pool bars at the Grand Floridian resort.

A Wedding Cake Blog shares an awesome Star Wars inspired Groom’s Cake!

AllEars.Net spots a “hidden Mickey” at Epcot’s Teppan Edo!

Disney by Mark dines at Le Cellier Steakhouse in Epcot’s Canada pavilion.

Running at Disney visits the new Tutto Gusto wine bar in Epcot!

Disneyland had an awesome feature of the Head Chef over at Jolly Holiday Bakery in Disneyland a while back! I’ll be reviewing a couple of items here in the next week or two!