NOTE: As of this writing, several of the dining locations listed are currently unavailable and have yet to reopen. You can check out our list of the restaurants and other dining locations currently opened and closed in Disney World here. As always, we encourage you to follow along with our newsletter as well as the blog for all the latest Disney World dining news!
When it comes to dining at Disney World, there are countless options to choose from. But if we were to ask you to name your FAVORITE hotel in terms of restaurants, we think most of our readers would be quick to name their top pick.
We recently polled our readers and followers on Instagram to find out which Disney World Resort hotel YOU thought had the best dining. Here are your top picks!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
One of the most popular hotels we received votes in favor of from our followers was Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, and that didn’t surprise us one bit. Animal Kingdom Lodge certainly has some of the best dining options across ALL of the Disney World hotels! It’s totally worth the trek on your next vacation (it’s easiest to hop on a bus on your Animal Kingdom day to check it out!).
Starting off, let’s talk about Jiko. It has yet to reopen as of this writing, but you can bet that we’ll be frequenting this signature restaurant as soon as it does. This restaurant has a stellar menu of African wines to pair with their equally wonderful menu. Jiko also ranks fairly high amongst the more romantic date night options in Disney World, and yes, we would totally make a trip there just for their killer Macaroni and Cheese.
A more causal option at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is Boma! Unfortunately Boma remains closed as of this writing, but this fan-favorite buffet spot will be sure to bounce right back once it reopens (I mean, we’ll gladly make a trip to Boma just for their Zebra Domes! These creamy, chocolatey bites are worth the trip!).
One of the restaurants at Animal Kingdom Lodge that IS available right now is Sanaa! You’ll find this at the Kidani Village portion of Animal Kingdom Lodge. Apart from having one of the most unique menus in a Disney World hotel (we can go on and on about how amazing their Bread Service is), Sanaa is a wonderful option for the views alone! You can gaze out over the resort’s savanna as you dine — perfect for kids AND adults! Just be sure to book your reservation at a time where the sun will still be out so you can actually see the animals before it gets dark — opt for lunch instead of dinner here!
There’s a reason we put Animal Kingdom Lodge at the top of our roundup for the hotels our followers selected as their favorite Disney World resorts from a dining perspective. Animal Kingdom Lodge scores A’s across the board, and you truly cannot go wrong with any of your dining options here.
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Next up is one of THE most popular responses we received: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. This hotel ranks high among many guests for various reasons, dining options being one of those many!
One of the most beloved restaurants by many long-time guests at the Polynesian, if not in all of Disney World, is ‘Ohana. From its memorable character breakfast to its iconic all you care to eat meat-filled dinner service, there’s a reason why a reservation here can be hard to come by. Our fingers are crossed ever-so-tightly that this restaurant reopens soon (it has remained closed since the parks and resorts reopened)!
One of the restaurants that IS available right now at the Polynesian is Kona Cafe with its iconic Tonga Toast (you can also find it sliiiightly cheaper at the hotel’s fast food option, Capt. Cook’s!). Seriously, every time we mention the Tonga Toast, we immediately start to plan when we can make a trip over to Kona Cafe again to order it!
Something about this crisp, fried bread stuffed with banana and dredged in cinnamon sugar GETS US. If you want to come by later in the day, the menu is a mix of classics with a tropical twist. You can also score some great sushi here!
A more casual option to check out is Tambu Lounge. Tambu is connected on to ‘Ohana and, while Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto remains closed, it’s the resident watering hole for the resort (short of the two pool bars!). While we patiently wait for ‘Ohana to reopen, we can order a version of their Bread Pudding from Tambu Lounge (actually, at nearby Kona Cafe too!). Wash it down with their signature (and STRONG!) Lapu Lapu beverage served in a whole hollowed-out pineapple and you’ll have just enjoyed a quintessential Polynesian food-drink combo.
And for all you Dole Whip fans, head outside to check out Pineapple Lanai! Pineapple Lanai is distinct in that you can order your Dole Whip in various flavors that change often, and you can even get it served with a Rum Floater!
Speaking of options for the 21 and older crowd, we couldn’t talk about the Polynesian without mentioning Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto again. The sister (or brother?) location to Disneyland’s Enchanted Tiki Bar, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto features the same iconic adult beverages with its ultra-legendary tiki theming. It’s still closed as of this writing, but once it reopens, you can be sure that we’ll be one of the first ones in line!
The Polynesian certainly offers a ton of variety to its guests when it comes to dining. Some of our all-time favorite dishes can be found here, so be sure to set some time aside on your next Disney World vacation to visit and see what the hype is all about!
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Let’s move along the Monorail route and chat about the dining options at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Like the Polynesian, we weren’t all that surprised to see that many of our followers voted for the Grand Floridian when it came to its restaurants. Some of the most highly rated restaurants in Disney World can be found here, and some are even considered amongst the top restaurants in the entire state of Florida!
Let’s start with the white-gloved elephant in the room: Victoria & Albert’s. This restaurant is, in a word, luxury. Each guest is treated to a personalized Degustation Menu that is discussed and planned out prior to your arrival. The vibe here is totally top-notch. From the limited seating to the live harpist to their whole MENU of Water listings, you’re unlikely to encounter many other restaurants in the world with this attention to detail and full embrace of everything that is fine dining.
For the ULTIMATE dining experience (as if it wasn’t ultimate enough dining in one of Victoria & Albert’s two dining rooms), there’s the Chef’s Table. This exclusive table (they only sit one party each evening!) gives guests full access to the chefs in the kitchen — you’re literally feet from the action! It’s pricey though — it comes down to $350 a person, and that doesn’t even include wine pairings!
If you want to take it a step down from Victoria & Albert’s in terms of “fanciness” but you still want to experience some top-quality Disney World dining, you can check out Citricos! They even offer a private seating option, much like Victoria & Albert’s, if you’re looking for an extra-special night on the town.
As if two signature restaurants weren’t enough for one resort, the Grand Floridian is also home to Narcoossee’s. Unlike the two restaurants mentioned above, Narcoossee’s IS currently open and available for guests as of this writing. This restaurant is right up any seafood fan’s alley, and it has the gorgeous waterfront views to match! If you’re going to invest a TON of money in dining at Disney World, there could be better options out there, but as of this writing, this will be your go-to signature option at Grand Floridian.
For the more casual fare, there’s Grand Floridian Cafe. While many might first think of Victoria & Albert’s or Narcoossee’s when it comes to Grand Floridian dining, we have to give a shout out to this much more approachable and family-friendly spot. It makes for the perfect relaxing break in the middle of your Magic Kingdom day if you’re looking for a lunch option! Plus, it’s typically not too hard to grab a last-minute reservation here.
For counter service offerings, Gasparilla Island Grill is going to be your go-to option at the Grand Floridian. This is also one of our favorite spots to snag seasonal pastries and desserts!
You don’t have to shell out the hundreds of dollars that it costs to spend the night at the Grand Floridian to enjoy its food — every guest is welcomed to dine at any of the resort’s restaurants! Just be aware that an evening at some of these restaurants (in particular Victoria & Albert’s) will come with a strict dress code.
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Literally steps away from Magic Kingdom (or a short Monorail ride) is Disney’s Contemporary Resort, another top pick from our followers when it comes to resort hotels with the best dining options. Where the Contemporary shines is its ability to have dining options for virtually any kind of Disney World guest, ranging from families with young kids to couples looking for a romantic date night.
Starting at the top of our list is California Grill, which sits atop the Contemporary. Fifteen floors above Disney World, this is the ultimate “dinner with a view.” This restaurant consistently stays on many family’s must-do list when vacationing in Disney World, and we can totally see why! California Grill can be hit-or-miss in our experience, but lately this iconic dining spot has proven to us why it’s so beloved by so many.
This spot is consistently a guest favorite due to the killer view. When fireworks are happening in Magic Kingdom, each night guests get a prime view from their tables or from the large observation deck outside.
If you can’t snag a reservation at California Grill, or you’re just looking for a more relaxed vibe, check out California Grill Lounge! Without a reservation, you can dine on the same menu as California Grill. Just keep in mind that this is first-come, first-served and there’s not a ton of seating available, so you may want to add in some time to your schedule if you want a seat! Keep in mind for both California Grill options, regardless of when you dine that evening, if you save your receipt, you’ll be allowed on the viewing terrace to see fireworks!
If there are any hidden gems at the Contemporary, it’s got to be The Wave. This somewhat unassuming restaurant features great menus for both breakfast and dinner. If you’re looking for an early morning sit-down meal before your Magic Kingdom day and you aren’t feeling the character restaurants, look no further than The Wave.
For a quick bite to eat, head to Contempo Cafe! In addition to a great menu, this spot in the heart of the Contemporary has some of our favorite desserts, including the Peanut Butter Pie. This location often has a lot of great seasonal treats, especially inventive cupcakes!
Guests also enjoy Chef Mickey’s for the opportunity to see a lot of the Fab 5 in one fell swoop. While the restaurant can get loud and the food is good but not GREAT for a pretty steep price tag, it’s a fun, lively atmosphere for any family vacation. This is a Disney World dining rite of passage for many.
With so many options at the Grand Floridian, the Polynesian, and the Contemporary, it’s no wonder so many guests opt to leave Magic Kingdom to find a stellar breakfast, lunch, or dinner! But there’s more where that came from!
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort
Disney World’s deluxe hotels may stand out for their dining options, but those Moderate Resorts are also serious contenders! We have gladly gone out of our way to visit Disney’s Port Orleans Resort just for its food! This makes us all the more sad that these sister resorts (French Quarter and Riverside) are STILL closed as of this writing. Come on, Disney! We want our Mickey Beignets!
Let’s talk about those Mickey Beignets for a hot sec. Across Disney World, Scat Cat Club’s Cafe is the ONLY place where you’ll find these delectable desserts in the shape of a Mickey head (they even have specialty beignets in a variety of seasonal flavors!).
In addition to Mickey Beignets, you can also find BOOZY beignets for the adults. Other options here include sit down restaurants like Boatwright’s and fast food options like Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory. They even have a casual spot to grab a drink at either of the lively pool bars or Scat Cat’s Club (Disney has yet to announce what entertainment, if any, will be offered once the resorts reopen).
We miss Port Orleans dearly and we look forward to learning more about its reopening timeline!
Disney’s Riviera Resort
Last but certainly not least, Disney’s Riviera Resort got a lot of love from our followers when we asked which resort hotel they thought had the best dining! The Riviera is Disney World’s newest resort hotel, having just opened in December of 2019.
The resort instantly won over many Disney fan’s hearts, in large part thanks to Topolino Terrace. This rooftop restaurant features a unique character breakfast experience as well as a stellar signature dinner menu, (sorry, no characters at dinner!). Topolino’s is a great alternative to Chef Mickey’s if your little one wants to see the characters but YOU want a quality plate of food. Plus those evening views combined with their dinner menu make this a great pick for a romantic night out.
Your more casual dining option at Disney’s Riviera Resort will be Primo Piatto. This quick service dining location also includes Grab-and-Go options if you’re really in a rush, but you can also slow down and enjoy their breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu there. (Pre-closure, they were one of few fast food spots to plate your meal if eating there on real plates with real metal cutlery!)
If you’re looking for something on-the-go, stop by Le Petit Cafe! This coffee shop offers tasty drinks as well as delicious and unique pastries. In the evening, it transforms into a wine bar.
And let’s not forget about their wonderful “pool bar,” Bar Riva. We say pool bar with air quotes because this is more like a small upscale open-air patio dining option. The food here is really unique and quite good and the drinks are hand-crafted and not the same as you’ll find on a zillion other Disney World bar menus!
Disney’s Riviera Resort is a short ride on the Skyliner away from both EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, so consider hopping over on one of those park days to try these spots out for yourself!
No matter which Disney World Resort hotel you stay in, you’ll have a number of dining options at your disposal. But when it comes to our followers on Instagram, these were the hotels that stuck out the most! Whether you’re looking for a hotel on your next stay that has great dining options or you want to skip a meal in the parks and instead dine at the hotels, we hope this gave you a few new options to consider!