There’s a BIG Disney problem that no one wants to face. Unfortunately, this problem can be very common so you very well may find yourself struggling with it while planning your next trip.
What is it you ask? Well, you may have visited a fantastic Disney World restaurant during your last trip and absolutely fallen in love with it. It might become one of those “we have to eat there every trip” type places. Or maybe you’ve read one of our reviews of a restaurant and it’s on your MUST-do list. But, you sit down to make your reservations 60 days in advance and…nothing. Nada. Zilch. You can find reservations at other spots but NOT the one you wanted. Or maybe it’s quite the opposite — maybe you love that one restaurant but you’re wanting to be a little adventurous (look at you!) and try a place that is somewhat similar but still different enough to offer a unique experience. WHAT TO DO?! Well, if the popular spot you were hoping to eat at was Homecomin’ by Chef Art Smith, we’ve got you covered. If you like Homecomin’, there’s an underrated Disney World restaurant you might want to check out during your next trip.
The popularity of Disney Springs restaurants can sometimes make reservations at popular places there (like Homecomin’ and others) harder to secure. Many Disney World Resort hotel restaurants, however, are often overlooked. Not only can it be easier to find reservations at many of these places, but many of them also serve delicious food worth trying! If you love Homecomin’ at Disney Springs, here’s why you might want to visit the Grand Floridian Cafe at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa the next time you visit Disney World.
Breaking Down the Restaurants
Homecomin’ by Chef Art Smith: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine
Homecomin’ by Chef Art Smith is a table service restaurant located in Disney Springs. It is technically in The Landing area. It features Southern and Floridian cuisine served “farm-to-fork,” all of which are inspired by local Florida agriculture. Homecomin’ is led by celebrity Chef Art Smith. Homecomin’ is known for Chef Art’s Famous Fried Chicken, the signature Hummingbird Cake, moonshine, and more Southern delights.
Grand Floridian Cafe
The Grand Floridian Cafe is located inside Disney’s Grand Floridian Hotel & Spa, which is a short Monorail ride or walk from Magic Kingdom. This table service restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with brunch foods available for breakfast and lunch. They’re especially known for their chicken and waffles with hot honey and lobster-topped burger.
Ever hear a TON of people talk about the Grand Floridian Cafe? For whatever reason, this spot can often fly under the radar. Because it is not on everyone’s must-get lists, it can be a lot easier to snag a reservation here than at Homecomin’ at times. And as a bonus, it’s not that difficult to get to from Magic Kingdom!
Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ is reminiscent of the Florida vernacular style of architecture, which is based on building with local needs in mind with locally sourced materials. According to the City of Palm Bay, Florida’s style guide, the style generally includes “pastel colors, porches, and multi-pitched roof lines, elements originally developed in response to Florida’s climate.”
Inside, Homecomin’ has a farmhouse, minimalist style of decor, with industrial details and farm-to-table themed artwork. The whole place is a true celebration of Florida’s agriculture — from the past to the present and future. It’s meant to feel like you’re comin’ (note the missing letter “g”) back home to Florida, with a focus on the more rural, agricultural, and southern aspect of it.
Homecomin’ also has an enclosed patio for “outdoor” seating…
…or you can visit the open-air patio at the connected Shine Bar & Social.
In contrast, Grand Floridian Cafe has Victorian-style decor like the rest of Grand Floridian Resort. You’ll notice this style through the details throughout the restaurant, like the warm lighting, florals, and more ornate furnishings.
You actually walk through the main lobby of the Grand Floridian to get to Grand Floridan Cafe, which is a beautiful space that totally sets the mood for the experience. (You’re not walking into a fast food restaurant here — you can sense a level of elegance!)
Inside the cafe, there is indoor seating, with a mix of tables and booths.
You may also find some outdoor seating on the covered patio. In the past, we’ve seen Grand Floridian Cafe provide outdoor seating here. Those then went away. But in 2020, Disney pulled out the outdoor tables again. During your visit, these tables may not be available. Be sure to check and see what things are like during your trip.
Both restaurants have very different styles of decor, but you get a beautiful atmosphere either way, as well as table service and indoor and (potentially) outdoor seating. Both restaurants are also relatively casual and don’t feel overly fancy or stuffy. Though Grand Floridian Cafe is definitely on the more elevated side, it still has a relaxing and overall casual vibe. Now let’s get into the important stuff — the food!
Both Homecomin’ and Grand Floridian Cafe feature moderately priced menus.
Entrees at Homecomin’ are based on Southern-style comfort food. You’ll find dishes like Art’s Famous Chicken for $32, Country Fried Steak for $27, and Fried Catfish for $24. Entrees generally range from $19 to $37.
Art’s Famous Fried Chicken is one of our favorites, with buttermilk-brined fried chicken served with mashed potatoes and a cheddar drop biscuit. These are truly a MUST. We’ve had these many a time and we can’t resist getting them over and over again (and you shouldn’t resist either!).
Speaking of Cheddar Drop Biscuits, you can order them as a side dish for $7 and you won’t regret this either. We have described them in the past as little bites of heaven, and we stand by that description! They are AMAZING, with deliciously warm cheddar cheese melted into each one. Other sides are priced between $6 to $8.
Homecomin’ also has sandwich dishes priced at $18 to $19, like the Fried Chicken Sandwich or The Cuban Sandwich.
Desserts at Homecomin’ range from $9 to $13, with the famous Hummingbird Cake straight from Chef Art’s cookbook. And yes, it is as good as you’d want and hope for it to be — from the sweetness to the pineapple flavor, it’s a must get.
Let’s move on to Grand Floridian Cafe, where you can get brunch foods for breakfast AND lunch. For dinner, there are some additional and different menu items.
This soup isn’t typically on the menu here, but we’ve found that it may be available (as a SECRET menu item)! Strawberry Soup may sound a bit weird but it’s delicious! It’s not overly sweet, and it’s super refreshing and SO good on a hot day. Again, if it’s not officially you will have to ask your server for it, and it might not always be available so just keep that in mind.
Other appetizers range from $8 to $16.
For breakfast and lunch entrees, the Buttermilk-fried Chicken and Waffle is a standout for $26. Entrees are priced between $16 to $28 and include a range of breakfast and brunch dishes.
The Buttermilk-fried Chicken and Waffle comes with a hand-breaded chicken breast, a malted waffle, and a sriracha-honey drizzle for $26. It’s a little breakfast, a little lunch, a little heat, and a whole LOTTA YUM.
Another standout item at the Grand Floridian Cafe (on the lunch, breakfast, and dinner menus) is the Lobster ‘Thermidor’ Burger, which comes with an artisanal 7-oz burger and lobster-parmesan Thermidor sauce on a seared brioche bun served with their signature seasoned fries for $25. It’s a beauty. Truly the sauce is something we could just drink or eat alone with a spoon!
Desserts at Grand Floridian Cafe are between $8 and $10, with the special 50th Anniversary Vintage Minnie’s Brown Betty Profiterole now on the menu.
The pricing of Homecomin’ and Grand Floridian is pretty comparable. Both spots have moderate prices with items at both lower prices and some higher prices (but no $62 entrees or things like that). Both spots offer some good Southern cooking with things like fried chicken.
And they both have some more unique dishes like the Lobster Thermidor Burger at Grand Floridian Cafe or the cheddar biscuits at Homecomin’. And don’t forget, the Grand Floridian Cafe is a short Monorail trip or a walk from Magic Kingdom, which might fit into your plans better than Homecomin’.
So why might you like Grand Floridian Cafe if you like Homecomin’? For starters, both of these dining options offer some classic dishes (including some with that southern flair like fried chicken) at relatively comparable and moderate prices. Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ is in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Disney Springs, and its reputation makes it a popular spot any time of the day. Grand Floridian Café is a little more off the beaten path and ensconces guests in a quiet Victorian retreat from the crowds and noise.
Homecomin’ offers a variety of unique yet familiar dishes and access to moonshine cocktails that are sure to wet your whistle, while Grand Floridian Café boasts a smaller but satisfying menu with classic eats and some unique things like that Strawberry Soup.
Both restaurants also have a touch of Florida in them — Grand Floridian Cafe being inspired by the more classic Florida, Homecomin’ being inspired by the more agricultural focus of old Florida — but still Florida nonetheless! You’ll find Florida/southern-inspired things on both like Florida Key Lime Pie at Grand Floridian Cafe or things like hush puppies and shrimp & grits at Homecomin’.
But it’s (generally) easier to get a reservation for Grand Floridian Café over Homecomin’. So if you’re looking for an easier reservation AND delicious, fresh food, Grand Floridian Café might be worth trying. So next time you find yourself craving some casual dining in Disney World, consider taking a trip to the Grand Floridian Cafe! Keep reading DFB for all your Disney World restaurant news and tips!
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Have you eaten at both of these restaurants? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!