The Best Shady Spots to Eat and Drink in Disney
Catching some rays and working on a tan should be the official Merriam- Webster definition of ‘summer vacation’. Whenever I plan a beach or outdoor vacation in the summer, I obsessively check the forecast before I go, hoping for clear skies and unobstructed sunshine. When I’m planning a Walt Disney World summer vacation, I obsessively check the weather to see if the thermometer will ever dip below 90. I hate the winter so I will never complain about sunshine and heat, but that doesn’t mean I don’t seek refugee from that Central Florida heat on hot days!
I’m live up north, so my outdoor time is strictly limited to a mere 4 months each year- if I’m lucky- so whenever I hit the Walt Disney World theme parks and Resorts, the last thought in my mind is spending time inside! While I could stay outside in the direct sunlight all day long, my family and friends who join me on my visits prefer air conditioning and frequent shade breaks. Being the great, accommodating friend that I am, I came up with a little compromise: meals, snacks, drinks, and relaxation time are to be enjoyed al fresco…as long as we are shaded. These are my tried and true favorite shady spots to enjoy a drink, a snack, or full meal in the parks!
- Drink- Epcot is the place to go if you want to spend an afternoon strolling the world sampling 21+ appropriate beverages- that’s common knowledge. One of my favorite spots to grab a drink in the middle of the day is a the Rose and Crown Pub. Inside, you can order a draught, a cocktail, or a shot straight up, but one step into the always-crowded pub is enough to send even the most avid beer drinker packing. Don’t worry, just tell the bartender you want your drink to go and you can take it outside and sit along the water at one of the many umbrella tables!
- Snack- Norwegian School Bread and the Cinnamon/nut loaf from the Norway Pavilion are famous snacks for one simple reason: they’re delicious. Pick up one (or both!) of these snacks on your next visit and enjoy them under the adjacent covered patio.
- Meal- Let’s go to Mexico! The quick serve restaurant located in the Mexico pavilion has some of the best quick service food property-wide…seriously. The chicken is always seasoned well and juicy, the greens in the salad always fresh, and the rice and beans are better here than at most signature restaurants! The best part about it is that the outdoor seating is plentiful, and completely covered.
- Snack- Since alcoholic beverages aren’t sold inside Magic Kingdom, let’s skip right to the snack! When you see the cast member pulling your Dole Whip from the machine after standing in line for an eternity, that cold ice cream-like treat will feel like the holy grail in your hand! Once you leave the line and look for a spot to sit….there aren’t any! You won’t even see a table in the direct sunlight. Instead, opt for the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor where you can dig into your sundae in the shade of one of the many umbrella tables right outside. Oh, did I mention the view? Two words: Cinderella Castle.
- Meal- Pinocchio’s Village Haus in Fantasyland is a quick serve restaurant with a menu that even the pickiest of eaters will find something to order. My favorite part of the restaurant is that you can sit downstairs and overlook it’s a small world, you can sit upstairs and look out over Fantasyland, and you can sit outside! There are shaded tables outside the restaurant perfect for soaking in the magic of Fantasyland while you enjoy your food.
- Drink- New isn’t always best, but in this case it sure is! The Baseline Tap House at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is my new go-to spot for happy hour! I wish I liked beer because I know I would love choosing from the list of draughts and creating my own beer flight! I’m not asking for pity though, as their wine and snacks are clearly more than enough to keep me coming back!
- Snack- Take a stroll over to Hollywood Boulevard and stop into Sweet Spells. This villainous sweets shop is bustling from park open to park close and if you stop in at the right time, you might be treated to the sight (and scent) of a Cast Member hard at work dipping different sweets in melted chocolate! Right outside are both a partially covered patio and umbrella tables with seating.
- Meal- For lunch or a quick dinner, Backlot Express is always my choice when I’m visiting Hollywood! Featuring Star Wars themed menu items like a Galactic Chicken Salad and Dark Side Chicken and Waffles, the vast menu offers something for every palette from the health-conscious to the adventurous!
- Drink- Before Pandora, the narrow walkway that leads to Tiffins was never populated. After Pandora, that very same walkway is never un Unfortunately for Tiffins, the hurried crowds still hustle right past the restaurant in hot pursuit of the Flight of Passage queue…but a relaxing, cocktail awaits you on the connected veranda of Nomad Lounge.
- Snack- If you haven’t already, you must try the double chocolate cookie ice cream sandwich in Harambe. This one really doesn’t need more of an intro; the only thing you need to know is that there are shaded tables no more than 20 paces away.
- Meal- Over in Asia is where you’ll find the quick serve restaurant with the biggest selection of shaded tables: Yak and Yeti. Asian-inspired food served in adorable little takeout boxes is best enjoyed while relaxed in the shade with good company- even if that company is a monkey! Do you prefer to sip a beer overlooking World Showcase Lagoon, or does a hand-scooped ice cream cone sound like more your style? Let us know in the comments below!
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Special thanks to Maria Salerno for writing this article: Hiya pal! I am a NYC-based writer/musician thrilled to be bringing you all things Disney! I’m a WDW Annual Passholder, so you can find me in the parks regularly throughout the year. In addition to being a Disney Parks loving girl, I’m also a Disney toy and merchandise collector, a runDisney enthusiast, and Disney music and movie aficionado. You can follow me on Instagram: NYCtoAP and find me on YouTube: NYCtoAP. Thanks for reading, hope to see ya real soon!