Disney A to Z: Disney is a...Diner's Delight )Part 2
Now that we have discussed the important snacks, the treats with souvenirs and the best of the quick-services offerings in Part 1, let’s discuss some real dining — table service meals!
First and foremost of course is character dining. If there is one dining experience that you want to treat your family to during a Walt Disney World vacation, a meal with the characters is it.
Whether you decide to enjoy breakfast with Mickey and his gang at the Contemporary’s Chef Mickey's or dinner with Chip and Dale at Epcot’s Garden Grill, you can’t go wrong with these traditional family-style meals. These are especially great options if you have big eaters since these are all-you-can-eat. My “kids” are big fans of both of these, so we try and reserve one during each of our visits. Personally, I like the family-style aspect (as opposed to buffet) that Disney has always offered with Garden Grill and now offers at Chef Mickey, as well as other restaurants, as the food looks and tastes much more freshly prepared.
Of course, I can not leave out the one meal that most every little girl has on her Disney Wish List and that is dining in the castle at Cinderella’s Royal Table. From the moment each little “princess” and “prince” is escorted up the magical elevator to the moment they emerge back outside the walls of the castle, they are greeted and welcomed by Cinderella and her friends as members of the Disney Royal Court. This dining experience is a dream come true for so many little guests. And then they grow up and return to the magic of the castle with their little princess and prince to relive the dream all over again. Yes, it mainly appeals to the princesses, but the princes do enjoy it as well -- especially when they can sneak a chocolate crown off their sister’s cupcake and eat it. My 19 year old princess still reminds her 21 year old brother of that 12 years later.
There are plenty of other character dining opportunities available as well, such as my personal favorite, Topolino's, with artist Mickey and the gang. And don't forget a visit with Snow White, the seven dwarfs and the wicked witch herself at Storybook Dining at Artist Point inside Disney's Wilderness Lodge. Eeyore would say its a bother, but I must mention Pooh and his friendly bunch at Magic Kingdom's Crystal Palace. And the list continues.
It's clear that the characters like to eat, and love to have guests join them for these festive meals. Although, as I mentioned earlier, the character meals are still limited and modified, there are changes and new re-openings announced weekly, so your favorite one might be ready just in time for your visit.
Last, but definitely not least, are the remaining table service and signature dining options that are scattered all throughout the parks, resorts, and Disney Springs. Did you know there are over 80 sit-down restaurants to choose from. That is quite a lot of food!
Guests will be enticed by fun-themed table-service options such as Hollywood Studios' 50's Prime Time Café where you are seated right in mom's kitchen for a hearty portion of meat loaf or fried chicken. (Just be sure to keep your elbows off the table.) Or, head a little further back in the park and venture into a blast in the past as you enjoy a drive-in dining experience at SCI-FI Diner.
If you desire something a little more refined, you can head over to Epcot and select from a variety of culturally-inspired finer dining experiences. Being a steak lover, I tend to head over to Le Cellier Steakhouse in Canada. This intimate restaurant is a tucked away gem that serves a delicious steak and amazing poutine.
And, of course, for that once in a lifetime special indulgence there are a few dining establishments that top the list for both unforgettable experience as well as price. The most well known on property is probably the Grand Floridan's Victoria and Albert's with a complete 7- or 10-course meal. This will set you back a pretty penny, but positive reviews are over the top so well worth a visit. Make sure to bring appropriate attire as its one of the few restaurants on property that has a dress code.
Ok, so after all that you probably can agree with me that Disney is a Diner's Delight. It would take a very long time to indulge in all the tasty offers that I've touched on here, and believe me there are plenty I've left out. Even if you were to experience them all, Disney is constantly changing, upgrading, and adding new dining experiences, so this list may well be different next year.
As a last thought, I did say I would share my thoughts on the MOBILE-ORDERING that is required for most quick-service currently. Guess what?? There are a few of those table service restaurants that offer TO-GO ordering on the mobile app as well! GAME CHANGER! And when you mobile order from these restaurants, you don't just get a brown paper bag with your food tossed in it. Oh no, you get a very nice package with your menu items plus all your sides, condiments and utensils neatly prepared for you. Grab your to-go meal and find a beautiful spot to enjoy. I've shared before, but will share again. Our go-to breakfast on Epcot day is the blueberry-bacon pancakes from Ale and Compass at the Yacht Club. We mobile order and enjoy in the Ale and Compass lounge or outside at the table.
Currently, the TO-GO option is also available at The Wave (The Contemporary), Sanaa (AKL), Trattoria al Forno (Boardwalk) as well as a few others around the resorts. This list is changing periodically, so just check during your visit for updates. It's definitely a dining options that allows you a little more flexibility while enjoying some finer dining.
Contact your Diserella Travel Consultant today and let's talk about how we can create a plan to enjoy all that Disney has to offer.
About the Author:
Pamela has been visiting the Walt Disney World parks for over 30 years, first as a child herself and most recently with her granddaughter.
Contact her today to start planning your magical vacation.