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Beginner’s Guide to Disney World Dining

March 25, 2022

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I'm Amanda — Your Disney-Specialized Travel Agent. I'm here to worry about the details so that you can maximize your memories and minimize your stress.

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Fun fact: there are over TWO HUNDRED places to eat at Disney World. The good news? You certainly won’t go hungry. The bad news? Even with that many places, if you don’t plan ahead, you’re going to find yourself overwhelmed and hangry. Never a good combination. Hence, this beginner’s guide to Disney World dining.

In general, there are 4 types of places to get food at Disney World, and all of these are spread throughout the parks, hotels, and Disney Springs. Some require advanced reservations, some require mobile ordering, and some you can just walk up to.

Note: At the time of posting this guide, Disney is still operating “post-pandemic” meaning that some restaurants are operating differently, or not at all. Please double check your choices for most up to date information on the Disney website.

In this guide, I’ll be walking you through everything you need to know in order to make the best food choices for your vacation. After you’ve made those decisions, you might also want to check out my blog post: Beginner’s Guide to a Disney Vacation, for help on making all of the important decisions as you plan your trip!

Not sure where to begin when planning out your meals for Disney? This beginner's guide to Disney World dining will share all you need to know

Full-Service Restaurants

If you’re looking for a sit-down meal where you’re seated, waited on, and served at your table, you’re going to want to make sure you look into full-service restaurants. There are 90 of these on-site, and all of them require advanced dining reservations (be prepared to get on your My Disney Experience account at 6:00 am EST 60 days before check-in to snag these – the popular reservations book up QUICKLY. Personally, I think this right here is a top reason to hire a travel agent – so they can get up early for you!)

Full-service restaurants come in many shapes and sizes – fine/signature dining, themed dining, character dining, casual dining, and even buffets (which technically, I’d argue against being called “Full-Service” but Disney does what Disney does).

It would take many blog posts to give you a run-down of all 90 full-service restaurants, but here’s a list of some of the top-rated ones inside of the parks to give you a starting point for this guide to Disney World dining:

  • Liberty Tree Tavern (Liberty Square, Magic Kingdom)
  • Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen (Adventureland, Magic Kingdom)
  • Teppan Edo (Japan, EPCOT)
  • Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria (Italy, EPCOT)
  • Rose & Crown Dining Room (United Kingdom, EPCOT)
  • Spice Road Table (Morocco, EPCOT)
  • Garden Grill Restaurant (The Land, EPCOT)
  • Yak & Yeti Restaurant (Asia, Animal Kingdom)
  • Tusker House Restaurant (Africa, Animal Kingdom)
  • Hollywood Brown Derby (Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood Studios)

Highly-Rated Restaurants Outside the Park Gates Include:

  • Boma – Flavors of Africa (Animal Kingdom Lodge & Villas – Jambo House)
  • California Grill (Contemporary Resort)
  • Flying Fish (BoardWalk)
  • Jaleo by Jose Andres (West Side, Disney Springs)
  • Jiko — The Cooking Place (Animal Kingdom Lodge & Villas – Jambo House)
  • Kimonos (Swan Hotel)
  • Narcoossee’s (Grand Floridian Resort)
  • Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant (The Landing, Disney Springs)
  • Sanaa (Animal Kingdom Lodge & Village – Kidani Village)
  • Shula’s Steak House (Dolphin Hotel)
  • Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera (Riviera Resort)
  • Victoria & Albert’s (Grand Floridian Resort)
  • Wine Bar George (The Landing, Disney Springs)
Not sure where to begin when planning out your meals for Disney? This beginner's guide to Disney World dining will share all you need to know

Quick Service

Second stop for this beginner’s guide to Disney World dining? Quick Service meals. Wanting a smaller meal, less time spent eating, and less money spent? Counter service will be your move. Food courts, fast casual, and counter service are all categories Disney uses to denote quick service restaurants.

No advanced reservations are required for quick service, but many of these places now offer mobile ordering, with new locations for mobile ordering being added constantly. You can place your order from your My Disney Experience app at any point for the future – we like to put our orders in once we are in our first line of the day and set it for around 11:00 or 11:30 pick-up.

When you decide where you want to eat, I highly recommend checking to see if you can mobile order your meal ASAP. I can’t find anything online that says mobile ordering is “required” if it’s available, but we also have run into cast members turning away people (at Cosmic Ray’s) if they hadn’t put in a mobile order.

Budget Tip: You can use Disney giftcards to pay for your meals when you mobile order! See my post Planning a Trip to Disney on a Budget for more budgeting tips!

While most counter service places sell your typical theme park food, you will find some that go above and beyond. For example, in Germany at EPCOT, you can find bratwurst at Sommerfest? and Columbia Harbour House in Magic Kingdom is a favorite of mine for it’s fried shrimp.

Similar to the full-service restaurants, there’s not time or space for me to review every quick service restaurant in this blog post, but here are some of the top-rated ones inside of the parks:

  • Columbia Harbour House (Liberty Square, Magic Kingdom)
  • Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café (Frontierland, Magic Kingdom)
  • Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie (France, EPCOT)
  • Kringla Bakeri og Kafe (Norway)
  • Tangierine Café (Morocco)
  • Satu’li Canteen (Pandora, Animal Kingdom)
  • Flame Tree Barbecue (Discovery Island, Animal Kingdom)
  • Harambe Market (Africa, Animal Kingdom)
  • Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo (Galaxy’s Edge, Hollywood Studios)

And some of the top-rated quick service restaurants outside of the parks:

  • Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza (Town Center, Disney Springs)
  • The Polite Pig (Town Center, Disney Springs)
  • Capt. Cook’s (Polynesian Village Resort)
  • The Mara (Animal Kingdom Lodge)
  • Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory (Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter)
  • Primo Piatto (Riviera Resort)
Not sure where to begin when planning out your meals for Disney? This beginner's guide to Disney World dining will share all you need to know

Lounges

Looking for a place to sit back, grab a quick drink, and maybe a small snack? You’re going to want to check out a lounge. Keep in mind that most of these have very little by way of food, and while most won’t need a reservation, some will so plan ahead!

Top rated lounges at Disney World:

  • Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Terrace (Polynesian Village Resort)
  • La Cava del Tequila (Mexico, EPCOT)
  • Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar (Disney Springs)
  • Territory Lounge (Wilderness Lodge)
  • Oga’s Cantina (Galaxy’s Edge, Hollywood Studios)
  • Space 220 Lounge (World Discovery, EPCOT)

Vendors

Any place that’s not selling meals, but are “carts” selling snacks or one-off items would be considered a vendor. Most of these sell things like popcorn, ice cream, churros, and drinks, but EPCOT has a plethora of vendor stalls in the World Showcase with ever-changing menus based off of whatever the current festival is.

If you’re just looking for a snack, or you’re trying to eat/drink around the world, vendors are a quick and easy way to fill your belly.

A Note on Disney Dining Plans: currently Disney isn’t offering their dining plans, but rumor has it that it will be back at some point. Who knows what that will look like, but in the past you would essentially prepay for all of your food through the dining plans – giving your trip more of an all-inclusive vibe. Historically, it didn’t really save you money, but if you enjoy not having to think about cost while you’re ordering/eating on vacation, it does save you a lot of peace of mind to have already paid for your meals ahead of time.

And that’s a wrap! A quick beginner’s guide to Disney World dining, including some of the top rated places to check out when creating your dining plans. If you still have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below and I’ll help you out. And if you’re gearing up to plan your next magical escape, be sure to check out my Beginner’s Guide to Planning a Disney Vacation blog post!

Not sure where to begin when planning out your meals for Disney? This beginner's guide to Disney World dining will share all you need to know

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