We get it, picking a restaurant to visit in Disney World is SO HARD. There are so many choices!! And as a first-timer, it can be suuuuper overwhelming.
Don’t worry, DFB to the rescue! We put out a poll on Facebook asking which Disney World restaurant first-timers should ALWAYS try on their first visit. You, our readers, all had SO many good recommendations (we love the passion in our fellow Disney-lovers!). We went through each response and narrowed down the spots with the most shout-outs, and put them all in one easy list!
Let’s see which restaurants made the cut!
Cinderella’s Royal Table
There is nothing more iconic than Cinderella Castle, and few things are as special as dining inside the castle at Cinderella’s Royal Table!
Once you walk up the winding stone staircase to the dining room, and see the plush tapestries and killer view through the stained glass window, you will truly feel like royalty!
There is a prix-fixe menu that includes an appetizer, entree, and dessert for $62 per adult or $37 per child 3-9 years old, plus tax and 18% gratuity. Several non-alcoholic beverages are included in that price, and beer and wine is available for an additional cost! The menu has classic dishes such as soup, salad, beef tenderloin, chicken breast, and a fish of the day.
They also have beautiful desserts! The Clock Strikes Twelve chocolate mousse would look great on your Instagram story.
Typically, this is the prime spot to meet several of your favorite Disney princesses. But currently, the princesses are no longer doing meet and greets here (although Cinderella may make an appearance from a distance!). Having the chance to see each princess was a huge draw of this restaurant (especially since the food has been hit-or-miss in the past), but if your upcoming trip is your only chance to dine here, we still recommend booking a table!
Be Our Guest
Another dining experience fit for royalty can be found at Be Our Guest in Fantasyland!
The enchanting inside of this restaurant will transport you right into the Beauty and the Beast movie! There are three separate dining rooms that provide a completely immersive experience.
Similar to Cinderella’s Royal Table, Be Our Guest offers a pre-fixe menu for $62 per adult and $37 per child. The menu is French-inspired and features classic dishes such as ratatouille and French-onion soup!
Follow Lumiere’s advice and order the Grey Stuff! Trust us, it’s delicious.
As of now, the restaurant is no longer offering breakfast or quick service lunch. But on our latest visit, they were actually taking limited same-day reservations! And, we found a huge (literally, HUGE) surprise; the Beast himself! He was wandering the restaurant every 30 minutes to wave at the diners. This is a big deal if you have any Beauty and the Beast fans in your party!
The atmosphere of this restaurant alone makes it a must-see for any new visitor!
Liberty Tree Tavern
If you aren’t looking to splurge on a meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table or Be Our Guest, we highly recommend the understated but beloved Liberty Tree Tavern! Here, it’s Thanksgiving everyday!
The atmosphere of this space is more subtle than other Disney restaurants, but is still just as detailed. Each dining room is inspired by a famous historical figure. We are totally getting Hamilton vibes (minus the dramatic singing, although the costumes will look familiar!).
Right now, the All-You-Care-to-Enjoy Bill of Fare is the only option available for $39 per adult and $21 per child. It is a LOT of food!
Your meal starts with the Declaration Salad, then the Patriot’s Platter (this comes with roasted turkey breast, pot roast, oven-roasted pork, mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables, herb stuffing, and house-made macaroni and cheese), and finally the Ooey-Gooey Toffee Cake!
If you are a Thanksgiving lover, this meal will be right up your alley. Three different kinds of carbs??? Who would say no to that (definitely not us!!). Plus, the Toffee Cake is one of our favorite desserts on property! Seriously, this thing is the bomb.
Come to Liberty Tree Tavern for the comfort food and cozy environment, and stay for the DREAMY dessert (excuse us while we wipe the drool off of our keyboard…). You will definitely need a nap after this meal.
San Angel Inn
Located inside the beautiful Mexico Pyramid in World Showcase, San Angel Inn lets you dine next to a Mexican riverside at twilight!
The food here has been inconsistent in the past, but seems to get better and better based on our most recent visits. Plus, we are a BIG fan of the new social distancing protocols at this location!
The menu consists of classic Mexican dishes, such as guacamole, queso fundido, and tacos.
There is also a large selection of signature drinks and hand-crafted margaritas. If you are a fan of the next-door La Cava Del Tequila, you’ll recognize several of the margaritas from that menu. Be warned, the margaritas here are STRONG.
The atmosphere is dark and romantic, and the food will please any Mexican-food lover. Make sure to hop on the Gran Fiesta Tour once you leave!
Garden Grill Restaurant
One of the most mentioned restaurants on our post was the Garden Grill, located on the top floor of the Land pavilion at EPCOT.
This is a hidden character dining gem! You can meet several of your favorite classic characters, such as Mickey, Pluto, Chip, and Dale. Mickey is ready for a day’s work on the farm!
While you’re seated, you may get a funny feeling that your surroundings are changing. Don’t worry, you aren’t going crazy! The restaurant slowly rotates throughout your meal, and provides an awesome view of scenes from Living with the Land!
The all-you-can-eat meal is served family-style, meaning everything comes to your table to be shared with the group. You’ll get to nosh on a beautiful garden salad, sliced turkey breast, grilled beef with chimichurri, creamy mashed potatoes, green beans, herb and leek stuffing, and macaroni and cheese.
We love the goldfish topper on the mac and cheese. Cheese on cheese? Yes please!
Make sure to save room for the Berry Short Cake dessert!
Garden Grill is open for lunch and dinner, and has previously offered a breakfast as well; we hope they will bring it back! It is a great option for a character meal away from the hustle and bustle of a constantly changing EPCOT!
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant
If you love pigging out in front of the TV, this restaurant is for you!
The Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant is a one-of-a-kind, iconic restaurant in Hollywood Studios that will transport you back in time. Each party is seated in their own retro car to enjoy their meal in. The ultimate social-distance dining!
The large screen plays everything from cartoon shorts, to drive-in theater ads for popcorn and soda, to old-school movie trailers (we personally love the ad for a kitchen from the future!).
The menu features several fun appetizer options, like fried pickles and smoked seafood dip. For the entree’s, the burgers (and onion rings!) take center stage! There is also options of a salad, sandwich, and a few pastas.
We recommend ordering a milkshake to wash down your burger! Is there a more iconic drive-in meal?
This spot is charming, nostalgic, and just downright fun. It’s unlike any other dining experience in Disney World! We highly recommend for first time visitors. Just beware of the blob….
Yak and Yeti Restaurant
Another restaurant that was mentioned several times on our post is the Yak and Yeti at Animal Kingdom!
You’ll find this spot tucked away between Asia and Africa, and once you step inside you’ll be transported to an beautifully ornate Nepal inn designed to provide shelter for weary travelers from Mount Everest.
We highly recommend ordering the wok-fried green beans; they are super popular around DFB!
There aren’t many table service options at Animal Kingdom, and we think Yak and Yeti is a must-visit based on the interesting yet familar menu and beautiful Asian artifacts. We’ve found the food here to be consistent and delicious on all of our trips!
Some of our favorite restaurants are hidden in the Disney resorts, and we highly recommend making the trek to visit these!
Sanaa is a beautiful restaurant tucked away in the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Kidani Village, serving a fusion of African and Indian cuisine. The food here is unique, but pickier eaters will still find something they enjoy on the menu!
A big draw of this restaurant is your dining companions: the animals on Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Sunset Savanna! The restaurant has big windows that provides beautiful views of the various African animals that call the savanna home.
The menu has changed a bit since it’s reopening, but the customizable Potjie Inspired meal has stuck around! You get a choice of butter chicken, seafood curry, or braised beef, paired with a vegetable and served with basmati rice. Other entrees are available such as grilled New York strip, biryani rice with chicken or shrimp, or the seasonal sustainable fish.
But do not, we repeat DO. NOT., leave Sanaa without ordering the Indian-style bread service! This appetizer (or full meal, if you want to just eat bread for dinner, which we totally do) has a choice of five breads between traditional naan, garlic-ginger naan, spiced naan, onion kulcha, or paneer paratha, and is served with NINE accompaniments! There’s cucumber raita, roasted red pepper hummus, mango chutney, tomato-date jam, tamarind chutney, coriander chutney, garlic pickle, red chile Sambal, and spicy jalapeño-lime pickle. That is a LOT for $18! We cannot recommend this enough. The flavor of each dip is absolutely addictive!
Sanaa is a great lunch or dinner option for delicious food with a view you can’t get anywhere else. And we repeat, GET THE BREAD SERVICE.
Whispering Canyon Cafe
If you like a hearty meal with a side of antics, then the Whispering Canyon Cafe is for you!
This rootin’ tootin’ good time spot is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! You can order all-you-care-to-enjoy skillets, or a la carte items such as omelettes during breakfast, sandwiches during lunch, and steak or salmon during dinner. The lunch skillet includes maple-chipotle barbecued pork ribs, barbecued pulled pork, citrus-herb chicken, smashed potatoes, buttered corn, charred carrots, roasted peppers, and sauteed green beans.
There is even a plant-based skillet option for lunch or dinner!
One of the most memorable features of Whispering Canyon is the sassy servers, who love to poke fun at the guests! In the past we’ve witnessed servers drop off gallon sized drinks on your table, as well as WAY too much ketchup! Unfortunately, the fun antics are not quite as intense as they have been, so for now you’ll have to settle for some light heckling.
It’s disappointing that the overall experience has been altered, but the large portions, tasty food, and the promise of more shenanigans returning in the future is enough to warrant booking a table!
And if you are looking to visit for breakfast, the restaurant recently added Mickey-shaped eggs. It’s the Mickey-shaped eat we never knew we needed!
You can fill up on skillets and so much more during breakfast!
By far, the restaurant with the most votes in our poll is ‘Ohana, at the Polynesian Village Resort!
Featuring Hawaiian-style “churrascaria”-type service, you can indulge in an all-you-can-eat feast of grilled meats, Hawaiian specialty sides (hello, delicious honey-coriander chicken wings!), and the AMAZING ‘Ohana Bread Pudding for dessert.
It’s no secret that we are major stans of the mix of pineapple bread, ice cream, and banana caramel sauce. And who wouldn’t be, look at all that caramel!!
The availability of this dessert depends on the day, so we’d recommend calling ahead to see if it’s available. No official opening date for ‘Ohana has been announced, so fingers crossed that it’s soon!
We’ve only scratched the surface of the amazing dining options at Disney, but this list is a great place to start! Follow DFB for all of the dining tips and tricks for your next Disney trip!
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Which Disney Park restaurant would you recommend to a first-timer? Let us know in the comments!