Is there anything better in the world than eating at a Walt Disney World restaurant? Maybe the actual Disney vacation but I’m not sure what else! Where can you expect the best table service at Disney World?
But with so many options to choose from, I thought I’d narrow down some of my favorites, and top suggested, to get you started on your reservation list before you head on down to the most magical (food) place on earth.
Seriously, are you hungry for some info about where to eat at Walt Disney World?
Let’s feed your curiosity and reward you with some great suggestions.
This is a rundown of the 11 best places for table service at Disney World, both inside the four theme parks and at the resort’s hotels. It does include the BoardWalk district behind Epcot (which, technically, is part of the BoardWalk Inn), but does not include the many restaurants at Disney Springs (the dining, retail, and entertainment area formerly known as Downtown Disney).
Fear not, however; I plan to create a separate list of the best places to eat at the gargantuan Disney Springs.
What is table service?
Having table service at Disney World is a treat. By “table service,” I mean restaurants at which guests are seated at a table and served by a waitperson.
Buffet-service restaurants (and there are some great ones) are not included on the list. For the resort’s table-service restaurants in general, and especially for the more popular eateries listed here, Disney World dining reservations are highly recommended.
You may be surprised to learn about the extraordinary dining experiences available at Disney World. It’s certainly possible to find burgers, pizza, popcorn, and more pedestrian fare throughout the parks. But, there is a diverse array of restaurants catering to virtually every price point and palate—including some highly sophisticated options.
With the expert help of Lyn Dowling—a long-time reporter on Walt Disney World and a current restaurant reviewer for Florida Today—I narrowed down the resort’s huge collection of table-service restaurants to the 11 top choices listed here.
If you are seeking a lighter meal and/or a lower bill, Disney World has some great quick-service restaurants. If you want to meet Mickey Mouse or other friends during your meal, Disney World has many character dining opportunities. Since you’re on vacation, and diets typically get tossed aside, you’ll want to save room for the resort’s delicious snacks and desserts.
The pure fact that it’s almost impossible to get a reservation at this pick should be one of the biggest indicators of how amazing Be Our Guest is. Whether you’re looking for a romantic night out or you’re going with the whole crew, I put this high on the list not just because the food is delightful, but because it’s hard to find a better environment than our favorite Beast’s “humble” abode.
Spend an evening with Beast in his ballroom (my personal favorite), the West Wing (opt for this if you are a fan of a spooktacular time), or Belle’s room (this has a sweet statue of the two of them).
For lunch, we suggest the Croque Monsieur and for dinner, we suggest the Strip Steak. Don’t forget to grab a picture after your dinner with Beast! He’s happy to accommodate all of his guests.
Our favorite Disney table service restaurants are the ones that offer an exceptional experience along with excellent food. California Grill made it onto this list for just that! Sitting at the top of The Contemporary Hotel is this beautiful and modern dining experience that offers amazing options for food and one of the best views in all of Disney property.
During the Magic Kingdom firework show, you are able to go out on the balcony and watch the fireworks in the middle of your meal! Want to try this place out but don’t want to break the bank? I suggest making a later reservation and just opt for dessert. OR you can try their sushi. It’s absolutely delicious and not crazy expensive.
It’s somewhat ironic, yet fitting, that California Grill is included among the best restaurants at Walt Disney World: ironic, in the sense that it’s a restaurant in Florida that celebrates California cuisine; fitting in that Walt Disney World takes its inspiration from California’s Disneyland.
Consider starting your meal with mouth-watering flatbreads, which are a house specialty. Baked in a brick oven, they feature toppings such as mozzarella di bufala and pork pate. Sushi is also available as an appetizer. Entrees range from Georges Bank scallops with potato gnocchi and smoked pork to oak-fired filet of beef. The wine list features California varieties.
Located atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the California Grill offers spectacular views. Plan your meal so that you could enjoy after-dinner drinks on the restaurant’s outside balcony and watch the Magic Kingdom’s nightly fireworks display. The synchronized soundtrack is piped into the balcony’s speakers.
Cost: High ($35 to $60)
Attire: Resort casual
Food: California fusion
Gorgeous surroundings with pan-Asian cuisine… Ahhh the foodie in me wants to get in the car and head straight to the Animal Kingdom before I even finish this sentence.
BUT in the name of getting my readers information, I will continue. If you plan on spending any time at Animal Kingdom, take a break from the heat and your exploring and head on over to this fan favorite. Take some time and explore the details and history of this special eatery. You may find the back-story is worth the meal itself.
Another special tip: If you don’t have a reservation, go ahead and hang out in the lounge/bar area. They offer a full menu, and you can try some exotic drinks as well!
Okay, when I say this is once in a lifetime, I really mean it. This is one of those places you go for a ten year anniversary or that oh so the special first night of your honeymoon.
With impeccable service and even better food, I couldn’t help but include Victoria and Albert’s on this list. You’ll love the Victorian style elegance that fits right along with the gorgeous Grand Floridian itself and if you’re really feeling generous go ahead and book the Chef’s Table Dinner for you and your friends. This is a ten-course meal that takes place with the chef and his team. You’ll have arguably the best food you’ve ever eaten paired with some of the best wine in the country.
As I said, it’s a once in a lifetime experience. I wouldn’t suggest taking your little ones to this option though.
How exclusive is Victoria and Albert’s? Children under ten are not permitted in the dining room. Need I remind you that this unusual restriction is being imposed at, of all places, Disney World? There’s a reason why the fine dining restaurant racks up award after award and generates ecstatic reviews. The food is remarkable, the décor is swanky (abetted by a harpist for an extra-special touch), and the service is impeccable.
Dishes on the constantly changing menu might include exotic fare, such as octopus “a la Plancha” with black garlic aioli or Colorado bison with caraway seed vinaigrette. For an even more exclusive experience, guests can book an intimate dinner at the Chef’s Table and take a culinary journey through as many as 13 courses with the restaurant’s chef de cuisine.
Of course, the extraordinary restaurant comes with extraordinarily high prices. However, it is worth it to splurge on Victoria and Albert’s, especially if you would be celebrating a special occasion during your Disney World visit.
Cost: Very High (Over $60 per adult)
Food: Continental cuisine
Fish and chips and a gorgeous and perfect view of Illuminations? Yes, please. Every time I’ll say yes to this amazing table service restaurant. If you get a chance to stay a little longer in the United Kingdom Pavilion, I suggest staying long enough that you can grab a bite to eat at The Rose and Crown…and ask for a seat on the patio if weather permits. Even if you’re not going when Illuminations will be going on, this is still a gorgeous view of World Showcase.
Dinner and a show is always the way to go. Spring for this for your whole family, and they’ll be thanking you for the rest of the trip. Even though the food is great (I’m talking authentic Polynesian here) we put this on our list for an even better reason.
The show is AMAZING. Flame-throwing, hula dancing, and sweet songs will all leave you with a big smile on your face every time.
Cruise on up to this sweet option in Hollywood Studios and you won’t regret it. Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater has to be one of the most creative options you can choose from on all of Disney property.
We love the classic American style food, “dark sky”, and cheesy horror flicks playing on the massive screen in front of us.
Honestly, if you’re not fully convinced you’re in a 1950s drive-in theater by the time your meal is over, I don’t think any Disney magic will ever win you over. Don’t forget to try a milkshake before you leave too!
Okay, for my sakes, please try this place and let me know just how much you laughed when you went.
The food is delicious, and the staff is an absolute riot at this restaurant sitting right inside the always-beautiful Wilderness Lodge Resort. I’m talking perfectly made western style food and a crazy fun environment.
Go for the all-you-care-to-eat-skillet and eat until your little Cowboy’s heart is content. Yum! Oh and don’t forget to ask for ketchup… you’ll thank us later.
When you have a hankering for a perfectly cooked steak or chop, this is the place to go at Disney World. The meat is aged and cut on site, the dishes are consistently tasty, and the service is first-class.
Choices include a 32-oz porterhouse for two, a Kansa City strip steak, and a Black Angus filet mignon. Steakhouse-style starters include a Waldorf wedge salad, jumbo shrimp cocktail, and fried calamari.
There are entree options besides steak, including a live lobster served steamed or Thermidor style (which makes sense given that the Yachtsman is located at Disney’s New England-themed Yacht Club Resort).
It’s a bit under-the-radar and underrated. But according to Dowling, Yachtsman Steakhouse is one of the places that Florida locals in the know seek out to mark birthdays, anniversaries, and other special events.
Cost: High ($35 to $60 per adult)
Food: Steakhouse and American cuisine
Probably the most exotic (and among the most expensive) fare to be found on the Walt Disney World resort is at Jiko – The Cooking Place. It takes its inspiration from Africa. Drawing from the enormous continent, the menu reflects lots of variety.
Depending on the season, choices might include seared maize pudding with chakalaka (a spicy South African relish), Swahili curry shrimp with coconut rice, or seared ostrich fillet with spiced chickpeas. This is about as far removed from a theme park cheeseburger as you could get. And it’s all delicious.
Be sure to peruse Jiko’s overwhelming selection of South African wines. Also consider the specialty teas menu, which features African blends. They provide a great after-dinner interlude before exploring the animals grazing on the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s savannah.
Cost: High ($35 to $60 per adult)
Attire: Resort casual
Food: African cuisine
When you’re on such a fun yet tiring vacation like Disney, it’s nice to have a sit down dinner here and there. Table service restaurants at Disney are some of the most expensive places to eat so it’s important that when you pick, you’re being selective and doing your research. Disney World is diverse and cultural in their dining selection and has some of the world’s best chefs on property. Of the top picks listed, which place sticks out to you the most?