There’s a LOT more than meets the eye in Disney World restaurants!
Although obviously whimsical, delicious, and MAGICAL, you can also discover some unexpected secrets and surprises while dining in Disney World!
Sure, you’re bound to have an amazing time no matter where you’re eating (or what you’re snacking on), but since everyone loves a fun secret, let’s explore some Disney restaurant intel in each park!
Skipper Canteen Is FULL Of Oddities!
As soon as you enter this Adventureland restaurant in Magic Kingdom, keep an eye out for the portrait of Dr. Albert Falls. His name might ring a bell, especially if you’ve recently taken a trip on the Jungle Cruise! He’s the man for whom Schweitzer Falls is named (it IS the 8th Wonder of the World, after all!).
The Jungle Cruise references don’t stop there, though! Another one of our favorites is the crew bulletin board. Take a glance at the funny notes and newspaper clippings from the Skippers!
Speaking of those bookshelves you pass, be sure to take a look at the titles and authors! You’ll find references to Imagineers, attractions, and Disney history. There’s even a book titled “True Life Adventures” by W.E.D. — that’s right, Walter Elias Disney himself gets a shoutout!
There are animal details hidden in the carpets, the light fixture, the walls, and more. This place is a veritable treasure trove of funky fun things to discover! In case all the fun design factoids weren’t enough, Skipper Canteen also has a few secret menu items (hello Pork Satay Skewers!) that are yummy and super worth asking about! And, of course, the menu here is pretty solid too. This is absolutely one of the better sit-down options in Disney World’s original park.
Secret Enchantments At Be Our Guest
This hard-to-get-into Beauty & the Beast-inspired restaurant has more to discover inside its castle walls than French Onion Soup. Aside from housing the Enchanted Rose from the film, the West Wing holds a painting of Prince Adam (AKA, The Beast before he was transformed), which is torn just like in the movie.
Every once in a while, you’ll hear thunder and lighting will flash. Keep an eye on the painting when this happens because Prince Adam will transform into The Beast for a few moments!
Another fun thing to note is in the main ballroom. If you look out the “windows” of the Ballroom, you’ll see that snow is falling! But did you know that this is the exact same snow sequence you’ll see in the film?! Man, that’s an impressive level of detail, but what else do we expect from Disney??
Aloha Isle Is The Snack Hack Capital of Disney World
The iconic snack counter is constantly offering different flavors beyond the classic Pineapple, like Coconut and Raspberry! Not only that but you can (and should) hack it by mixing flavors together! This has resulted in some of our new favorite sweet flavors! Check what’s being swirled up on your visit and don’t be shy asking if you can have a special combo!
Tony’s Town Square is THE Parade Spot
Come parade time in Magic Kingdom, it’s vital that you secure the PERFECT spot to drink in the magical sights and merriment! Sure, you can just squat down on the side of Main Street, U.S.A. somewhere, but why not opt for more comfort? Tony’s Town Square has you covered!
So…Tony’s is NOT our favorite place for food in the park, but it does have one big thing in its corner: location! If you time your meal at Tony’s Town Square just right, it’s the ideal place to snag a prime seat for an afternoon parade viewing! Sit on the terrace to ensure a good view, though, since the indoor space makes it kinda hard to see.
You Don’t Need a Dining Reservation To Try The Grey Stuff
Want to try The Grey Stuff (we hear it’s delicious!😂) but can’t get into Be Our Guest? First of all, you’re not alone (it’s a hot ticket!). Secondly, there’s ANOTHER location where you can get the grey-colored cookies and cream mousse without the hassle AND without shelling out big bucks for a fancy meal!
Gaston’s Tavern added The Grey Stuff to its menu in cupcake form, making it MUCH easier to snag this iconic treat in a Counter Service setting!
Appetizers Make Great Entrees
Snacking and dining around EPCOT, undoubtedly a foodie mecca in Disney World, can REALLY add up in terms of money (and calories, but those don’t really count here), so it becomes pretty important to find ways to cut costs without sacrificing a flavorful experience.
You can do precisely that by having appetizers and sides as entrees, a technique that’s especially apt at places like Le Cellier, which is SUPER expensive, all things considered, and serves hearty portions of smaller items like Poutine. You can nab a hefty plate of poutine for $14-15 or other favorites like a big bowl of their Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup for $13.
This way you’ll get the FULL Canada experience at a fraction of the cost! This same technique applies to most restaurants around Disney World, but we find it especially useful in EPCOT. Just remember if you only order apps or dessert to still tip best you can — those servers were hoping you’d order a full meal!
Spice Road Table Serves Drinks To-Go
Drinking Around the World is a popular tradition (and/or fool’s errand, depending on how you do!) in EPCOT, but most folks stick to Counter Service spots and kiosks for their booze. But don’t overlook Spice Road Table!
The Morocco Pavilion mainstay is a Table Service restaurant (and a seriously underrated one at that!), so many thirsty passersby probably assume they only serve drinks for dine-in.
But surprise surprise, you can order cocktails to-go too! And they’re some of the best in the park! Just walk on in and you’ll be greeted by their lovely bar that can whip up a variety of tasty cocktails!
Eat At These Restaurants During Fireworks
With the long-awaited return of fireworks in the parks, it’s once again become crucial to snag a dining reservation someplace where you have great views of the nighttime shows! Most people instantly think of the classic fireworks in Magic Kingdom and some of the great locations to spy that nighttime eye-candy.
But in EPCOT, we’ve got two of the best spots. Book a dining reservation for the front patio at Rose and Crown or by an inside window at La Hacienda de San Angel, and you’ll be in for an explosive treat! Rose and Crown is about to offer their fireworks viewing package again as well, guaranteeing you great seats AND a great meal for the show!
What better way to finish a day at EPCOT and view the fireworks than with a stellar view and some chips and queso or fish and chips?!
Garden Grill Is The Best Restaurant For Characters
While lots of folks keep their dining and snacking reserves for World Showcase, if schmoozing with Disney characters is high priority for you, you’re gonna wanna book a table in Future World.
Garden Grill may not be the MOST known for its food, but with so many frequent characters sightings (like Mickey, Pluto, and Chip ’n’ Dale), coupled with the fact that the restaurant isn’t as crowded, this means it’s an ideal spot for face time with your faves! This is our FAVORITE pick for really good quality food (much of the produce is grown right in the Land Pavilion!) and LOADS of face time with characters!
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
This Gigantic Cookie Is One of The Best Bargains in Disney World
Disney isn’t exactly known for budget-friendly…anything. This is particularly true of its snacks, which tend to be quite pricey! Unless you’re snacking at The Trolley Car Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, apparently.
The Carrot Cake Cookie is one of our favorite sweets, not only because it’s delicious and HUGE, but because it’s a shockingly cheap $3.99! Considering how hefty and filling this thing is, it’s low-key one of the best bargains in the parks!
The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge is a Casual Alternative
One of the park’s most famous Table Service restaurants, The Hollywood Brown Derby can be difficult to get a reservation for, which is a bummer for anyone craving a classic Cobb Salad or Martini.
But fear not, because the more casual (and MUCH more accessible) al fresco lounge is here to save the day!
The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge actually offers a lot of the same staple cocktails, appetizers, and martinis that the restaurant is adored for. Yes, this includes that gotta-have-it Cobb Salad in a smaller size. Sadly, this offering is not available quite yet. The spot DOES serve drinks currently, mostly in a very to-go fashion with a few tables to stop at if you want to stay there for a moment. But prior to the closure, this spot was a walk-up dining location with drinks and small bites we LOVED.
Galaxy’s Edge is The Best Place to Eat With Dietary Restrictions
Apparently, other planets are super accommodating with dietary restrictions, because Galaxy’s Edge is one of the BEST places to eat if you have food aversions and allergies!
Ronto Roasters, for example, has entire portion of the menu dedicated to plant-based items and items for gluten allergies, egg allergies, fish/shellfish allergies, and milk allergies!
And speaking of milk, the Milk Stand doesn’t actually use dairy milk, making it a great option for anyone who is lactose intolerant! The blue and green milks are 100% plant-based and made from a soft frozen mix of coconut and rice milks.
No Tiffins Reservation, No Problem
Not only is the lounge more casual and relaxed (and easier to get into, by a long shot), but it’s got a lot of the same menu items. Honestly, we kinda PREFER Nomad Lounge over Tiffins!!
Plus, it’s always a good idea to snack and graze in Disney World lounges, rather than splurge on a full-blown meal! The drinks here are so flavorful and unique and the bites are sized just right to fuel you up enough to get on with your day without feeling weighed down.
Cheeseburger Pods Aren’t Just For Kids
Speaking of bites worth saving room for, the Cheeseburger Pods at Satu’li Canteen might sound like kids’ food, but they’re just as beloved by grown-ups!
For a while, Cheeseburger Pods were only on the kids’ menu at the casual Pandora restaurant, but they were recently(ish) added to the adult menu and they’re amazing! They’re SO good, we made our own recipe so you can make em at home!
Yes, You CAN Keep It Healthy in Disney World
The preconceived notion about Disney World snacks is that EVERYTHING is either covered in frosting, cheese, or chocolate, but it actually IS possible to keep it healthy for snack time! In Animal Kingdom, look no further than Harambe Fruit Market!
The kiosk offers a great option for healthy snacks, like refreshingly fresh fruit — ya know, for when you’ve had one too many Simba Pretzels. If you’re lucky, they’ll have corn on the cob on the menu too! Even neighboring Harambe Market serves us some shockingly fresh and healthy options if you’re looking for a more substantial bite.
Skip Table Service Desserts
A full-fledged meal at a Table Service restaurant isn’t gonna be cheap, but you can save a good chunk of change by skipping dessert in favor of something more casual!
If you still want to satisfy your sweet tooth after dinner at Tiffins, simply stroll to a place like Zuri’s Sweet Shop, which is LOADED with all kinds of fun, tasty, and affordable treats! And a tip for this tip — make sure you get a fresh treat from the bakery case, not a pre-packaged one, for the best in flavor and quality!
The next time you’re dining or snacking in Disney World, be on the lookout for these secrets because the Most Magical Place on Earth is FULL of them and stay tuned to DFB to learn about them ALL!
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Have you discovered any Disney World dining secrets of your own? Let us know in the comments!