BUT many of our favorite restaurants are found at the over 20 Disney World resort hotels! Today, we’re going to tell you about the best meals you can get without ever leaving your resort.
Let’s get started!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is home to some pretty epic food — it’s certainly one of our favorite Disney World resorts for a good meal. While we enjoy both the guest-favorite buffet, Boma, and the hidden gem counter-service spot, The Mara, today we’re taking you over to Jiko and Sanaa.
Jiko…The Cooking Place
Jiko is located in the Jambo House section of Animal Kingdom Lodge and offers a signature dining experience for dinner. “Signature Dining” = expensive and two credits on the Disney Dining Plan, buuuuut it also means high-end service and thoughtful, seasonally-inspired eats.
The menu at Jiko changes regularly, reflecting the seasonality of the ingredients and creativity of the chefs. The drink menu offers cocktails taking their inspiration (at least in name) from Africa and a wine list consisting of wine representing several regions of the African continent.
A standout for us (and a favorite of many Disney guests) is undoubtedly the Oak-Grilled Filet Mignon. Its sides have varied over the years, but the ORIGINAL side with this dish was mac and cheese! Now, it’s sometimes still served with a fancied-up Bobotie Mac and Cheese, but we always ask for a side of the kid’s Mac and Cheese instead — for old time’s sake. YOU can do the same. It happens so often that the servers sometimes even remind guests that it’s still an option. If you typically enjoy filet, you’ve gotta try it at Jiko.
The Elk and Wild Boar are also excellent if they happen to be in the menu when you’re there.
We should note that Jiko can be hit-or-miss now and then, but we still enjoy the slightly adventurous food and stunning atmosphere. The service here has often been exceptional as well.
Sanaa is perhaps our favorite restaurant at Animal Kingdom Lodge, and you’ll find it in the Kidani Village section of the resort. You can dine here for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and it costs one table service credit on the Disney Dining Plan.
What makes this restaurant so special is its view of the resort’s Sunset Savanna. While you’re enjoying a delicious meal, you just might spot a zebra or giraffe grazing outside. Because of this view, we highly recommend dining here for lunch instead of dinner. At lunchtime, you’ll have a much better chance of spotting the beautiful animals. At dinner it’s pretty much…dark. 😉 And the only animals you’ll see are the reflections of yourself in the big floor to ceiling windows.
On the drink menu, you’ll find a variety of cocktails and beers, including the Safari Amber and the Malawi Mango Margarita, which just so happens to be one of our favorite Disney margaritas.
Favorites on the food menu include the absolutely wonderful (but NOT complimentary) Indian-Style Bread Service (SO MANY dipping choices!!) and the Potjie Inspired with Butter Chicken. Sanaa does have some adventurous options on the menu, but it has some more accessible items too, like the Kenya Coffee Barbecue Sandwich.
Seriously, we dream of that Butter Chicken. SO. GOOD.
Sanaa is a bit off the beaten path if you aren’t staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge, but we think it’s worth the trip if you’re having a non-park day to try it out and to explore all the beautiful African art around the resort.
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
If you want a truly iconic meal with a fantastic view, look no further than California Grill, which is perched atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The restaurant offers dinner every day as well as brunch on Sundays. Reservations are HIGHLY recommended, but you can also dine in the restaurant’s lounge and order from the full menu.
California Grill’s menu changes seasonally, but you’ll always find a selection of flatbreads, sushi, meats, and seafood on the menu. The beverage menu is chock full of more than 300 wines, and over 50 wines are available by the glass. If you’re in the mood for a delicious cocktail, we’ve enjoyed the Passion Fruit Margarita.
On the main menu, the flatbreads tend to appeal to us the most, and we typically enjoy the Oak Fired Filet as well.
Perhaps the most popular reason for dining at California Grill is for its wonderful view of Magic Kingdom’s fireworks. If you time your meal right, you can either view the show from the restaurant’s windows or you can head out onto their viewing platform. Don’t worry if you can only get a reservation earlier in the evening — if you show your receipt, you’ll be able to come back for fireworks viewing.
While the consistency has gone down a smidge since Chef Piasecki left, we still think California Grill is a great destination for a special occasion or date night. If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, this meal will cost you two meal credits, but in our opinion, you get a lot of bang for your buck with this meal.
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue
Did you know the United States’ longest-running dinner show is in Disney World??? You can find it at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort! Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is located in Pioneer Hall and assures guests a rollicking good time.
Hoop-Dee-Doo offers an all-you-care-to-enjoy meal, and that includes unlimited beer, wine, and sangria for guests who are 21 and older.
What will you be dining on during your 2-hour dinner show? Fried chicken, BBQ pork ribs, salad, baked beans, cornbread, and strawberry shortcake, of course! You also may get a seasonal vegetable as well.
We LOVE the cornbread and strawberry shortcake, so be sure to save some room!
Now, we do need to chat a bit about Hoop-Dee-Doo’s category seating. You have your choice of being seated in Category One, Two, or Three when you make your Advance Dining Reservation (prepaid in full, tax and gratuity included). Category One is floor seating right by the stage. Categories Two and Three are either farther back from the stage on the floor, or upstairs.
We highly recommend choosing Category One or Two for an optimal viewing experience. We chose Category Three in the past, and we were facing a wall instead of the show. 🙁
Yes, you’re stool swivels, but…not the same.
If you’re looking for a truly unique dining experience, be sure to check out Hoop-Dee-Doo. Just note that it can be a bit pricey, and it will cost you two table service credits if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan. Well worth it, in our opinion, for a fun evening of laughs and good grub!
Trail’s End Restaurant
If you’re looking for similar food to Hoop Dee Doo without paying for the pricey dinner show, head on over to Trail’s End Restaurant!
Trail’s End currently operates as a buffet for breakfast and lunch every day over there at Fort Wilderness, and it offers brunch on the weekend. It serves much of the same food you’ll get at Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue! During dinner, you’ll find things like ribs, fried chicken, pasta, shrimp, and fruit cobbler, while breakfast offers items like Mickey waffles, KILLER cinnamon rolls, yogurt parfaits, breakfast hash, and more.
The great thing about this meal is that it’s one of the least expensive buffets on Disney World property. We highly recommend this place for a low-key escape from the busy park crowds.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
From Citricos and Narcoossee’s to 1900 Park Fare, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is home to a plethora of popular (and yummy!) restaurants. But our personal must-do dining spots are Grand Floridian Cafe and Victoria & Albert’s.
Grand Floridian Cafe
Grand Floridian Cafe has been an underrated favorite of ours for quite a while. You can dine here for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and it’ll cost you one credit on the Disney Dining Plan.
This place does comfort food exceptionally well. If you’re in the mood for breakfast, look no further than the rich and decadent Floridian Pancakes. We’re not exaggerating when we say they’re totally epic!! These will fill you up for the majority of the day!!
You also can’t go wrong with the Buttermilk-fried Chicken and Waffle, which we used to order as a hack, but it’s now on the permanent menu!
The chicken itself is delicious and SUPER crunchy thanks to the cornflake breading, and the waffle is golden and toasty. But the Sriracha Honey drizzle is what really sets this meal over the top.
For a more savory meal, we love the Lobster Thermidor Burger, which is available on the menu all day long.
This is a seven-ounce Artisanal Burger Patty with Lobster-Parmesan Thermidor Sauce. It comes on a Seared Brioche Bun and is served with the Cafe’s Signature Seasoned French Fries. This thing is absolutely delicious and a MUST in our opinion!
Victoria & Albert’s
If you’re looking for a truly elegant dining experience, you’ll want to try Victoria & Albert’s. Serving 8-12 courses over 2+ hours, Disney’s Victoria and Albert’s Restaurant is one of the most exclusive dining experiences in Florida.
And with its AAA five-diamond rating, it’s also one of the three most critically acclaimed restaurants in Florida.
Our personal favorite way to experience Victoria & Albert’s is by sitting at the Chef’s Table. In our opinion, this provides a more intimate setting, allowing guests to really interact with the chefs. Your food tastes even better when you’ve seen firsthand the passion that goes into preparing it.
While the Chef’s Degustation menu is pre-set, you’ll find a super extensive beverage menu, including — if you can believe it — $120 Svalbardi Polar Iceberg Water.
It probably goes without saying that dining at Victoria & Albert’s will cost you a nice chunk of change. The Chef’s Table costs $235 per guest (Disney Dining Plan credits are not accepted here), and an optional wine pairing costs $150 per guest. Despite its high price tag, it is a truly unique experience and worth doing at least once if you can swing it.
Disney’s Old Key West Resort
At Disney’s Old Key West Resort, you can find one of our favorite hidden gems — Olivia’s Cafe. This out-of-the-way restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Though Old Key West is a Disney Vacation Club resort, all guests are welcome.
Olivia’s specialties include seafood and home-style eats with Florida Keys accents. One of our favorite things on the lunch and dinner menu is the Southernmost Buttermilk Chicken. The gravy alone makes this meal worth ordering!
A unique (and yummy!) offering on the breakfast menu is the Sombrero Beach Omelet, which comes with Olivia’s delicious breakfast potatoes.
You really can’t go wrong with a nice meal at Olivia’s Cafe! And if you’re staying at OKW, you’ve got to make time for Olivia’s.
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
The Twilight Feast
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is home to several standout locations, including ‘Ohana, Kona Cafe, and Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. While we love going to these spots, sometimes at the end of a long Disney day, we just want to eat in the comfort of our resort room. That’s where the Polynesian Twilight Feast comes into play!
If you’re staying at the Poly, you can enjoy ‘Ohana’s tasty cuisine from your room’s balcony…or, why not??, in bed. Could it get any better?? The Polynesian Twilight Feast is listed on the in-room dining menu for $60 and features all the same menu items you’d get at ‘Ohana.
Maybe you’re thinking the $60 price tag seems a little high, and we totally get that. But two people can easily share a Twilight Feast serving meant for one person. The picture below displays the serving for ONE PERSON (though the diet cokes were extra) — it’s a lot of food, you guys!
And don’t worry, you’ll still get to enjoy the delicious ‘Ohana Bread Pudding as part of your meal! (Ice Cream sold separately.)
As much fun as we have dining at ‘Ohana there’s something to be said about getting cozy and tucking in to your meal in the privacy of your room!
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort — French Quarter
Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory
For a delicious and reasonably-priced meal, we recommend Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory, which you’ll find over at Port Orleans Resort — French Quarter. This counter-service location serves New Orleans fare in a laid-back and festive atmosphere.
If you visit Sassagoula during lunch or dinner, we recommend the Jambalaya, which is a traditional Louisiana rice dish featuring chicken and andouille sausage. We love the strong flavors and seasonings in this dish, and we find ourselves getting it almost every time we dine at Sassagoula. (FYI it comes with some yummy cornbread, too!)
Definitely, don’t skip a Mickey Praline for dessert! This creamy, sweet New Orleans treat is even better with Mickey ears, if you ask us!!
If you’re visiting during breakfast (or anytime, really), you’ve gotta try the Mickey Beignets. These are fluffy, sweet, and snack credit-eligible!
These are the same beignet recipe from Sassagoula Floatworks, but with a kick! Beignets get kicked up with individual pipettes of your choice of Bailey’s, Khalua, Rumchata or SECRET MENU Godiva Chocolate Liquor (or mix and match flavors!) For our full review click HERE!
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Storybook Dining at Artist Point with Snow White
Storybook Dining at Artist Point with Snow White is a relatively new character meal at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Artist Point previously offered a signature dinner, but the restaurant has since been transformed.
The restaurant currently offers a prix fixe dinner (for one credit on the Disney Dining Plan), during which you can meet Snow White, Dopey, and Grumpy, and snap a photo with the Evil Queen herself!
The prix fixe dinner for Storybook Dining at Artist Point offers guests their choice of an individually plated entree, along with shared appetizers and desserts for the table, with each course offering items themed to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
During our visit, we especially enjoyed the Royal Prime Rib Roast and A Stroll Through Nature, which is a vegetarian gnocchi option. But all of the dishes we ordered were excellent.
Storybook Dining at Artist Point also offers some intriguing beverages themed to the beloved film, like The Smoking Mirror and the non-alcoholic Transformation Lemonade.
And don’t forget the special surprise at the end!
We had hot and cold experiences at Artist Point before the transformation, but the new Storybook Dining option knocks it out of the park! We really love this experience.
Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts
Beaches & Cream
Last but certainly not least on our list is the cult-favorite Beaches & Cream, which is located at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. This old-fashioned soda shop serves a variety of ice cream treats and diner favorites and we enjoy the food every time we visit!
Our absolute favorite meal to order is the Grilled Cheese and Tomato Bisque. That sandwich has a delicious combo of six types of cheese, and it’s easily one of our favorite grilled cheese options on property!!
On the dessert side of things, our favorite option is the No Way Jose. This huge sundae is filled with chocolate and vanilla ice cream, generous pours of both hot fudge and peanut butter sauce, peanut butter and chocolate chips, whipped cream, and a cherry. No matter how many times we go to Beaches & Cream, we always love it.
Now, we must note that at the time of this post, Beaches & Cream is temporarily closed for refurbishment. Thankfully, there is a temporary satellite location next door at Ariel’s, but we are anxiously awaiting Beaches & Cream’s reopening!
(Don’t worry; you can still get the No Way Jose!)
Well, friends, that wraps up our list of some of our favorite meals you can eat WITHOUT leaving your resort hotel! Thanks for joining us through this culinary journey. 🙂 Do you have any other restaurants to add to our list? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!
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What’s your favorite Disney World resort restaurant? Let us know in the comments!