Six Amazing Reasons to Eat at Your Disney Resort
I know that you, as a Disney fan, are always looking for ways to improve your vacation experience. Today, I’d like to explain why the best meal that you can have during your Disney stay is the one at your hotel. Here are six reasons why you should eat at an official Disney resort.
During my most recent three Disney trips, I ate at our hotel as much as possible. Since one of the stays was at a monorail resort, I did expand my options a bit to include restaurants at the other two stops. But the premise remains the same. Over the years, I’ve become devout in my belief. I feel strongly that the best way to maximize your vacation while having a relaxing time is to eat where you’re staying.
The main reason why is convenience. Disney has centrally located most of its resort restaurants. You’ll find them at or near the hotel lobby. So, you’ll never have trouble finding them, and you can clean up any room issues at the front desk while you’re there.
For clarity, I’ll use an example with each of these reasons. I just stayed at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. While I was there, I scheduled my first meal at Beaches & Cream Restaurant, which I’ll review soon. By doing so, we were able to exit Magical Express, drop off some luggage, clear up a Magic Band issue at the front desk, and eat a meal.
That last point is crucial because we could cure our hangry-ness before spending any time in the park. If we’d gone to the World Showcase first, the combination of jet lag, a 3:30 a.m. start to the day, and an empty stomach might have ruined our first few magical hours at Epcot.
Plus, this meal came with one tangible benefit. Our hotel room was two floors above the restaurant. So, getting to and from the place was extremely convenient.
Disney benefits from keeping guests at the hotel. This tactic reduces crowd congestion at the parks while maximizing per-room revenue, an essential metric for company executives. So, Disney has stacked the deck with some delicious cuisine.
Many of the best restaurants at Walt Disney World reside at resorts. Examples include Boma, California Grill, ‘Ohana, Artist Point, Sebastian’s Bistro, Grand Floridian Café, Olivia’s, and Boatwright’s Dining Hall. I could go on for longer, but you get the point.
For my family, a visit to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort isn’t complete until we dine at Kona Café. We know that the cuisine there has proven consistent for many years now. So, we trust that we’ll eat well for a reasonable price at a place close to our hotel room. It’s an addictive combination.
Unique Character Meals
As a means of enticing guests to eat at the hotel, Disney’s added several character meals. The most recent one is Storybook Dining at Artist Point, but a few have been around for years. Chef Mickey’s is probably the most popular one. All of them are worth your time, though.
The character meal that I’ve experienced the most is Best Friends Breakfast featuring Lilo & Stitch. A meal at ‘Ohana is always exciting due to the course distributions. However, it’s that much better when Lilo & Stitch hug you during the meal.
The latest character meal that I did was Minnie’s Beach Bash Breakfast at Cape May Café. I quite like Disney’s all-you-care-to-enjoy (AYCE) meals, as I get to control the pace of my meal. During some Table Service dining experiences, you’re at the whimsy of the server. At a buffet, you load up a plate or two and then leave after you’re done.
Of course, you’ve never done at a character meal until you’ve hung out with your favorite Disney pals. And doing so at the place where you’re staying provides a unique opportunity. During our most recent character meal, we woke up, showered, and got dressed. Five minutes later, we were checking in at the restaurant. That sure beats waiting on a bus, monorail, or boat to get to a restaurant first thing in the morning.
Your perception of hotel restaurants is influenced by years of stays at mid-tier hotels. The eateries at these places are perfunctory at best, causing you to think of hotel food as little better than that at a cafeteria. Part of the problem stems from the cookie-cutter style of these places.
Disney’s different. I shouldn’t even have to say that, but I will anyway. The restaurants that you’ll find at the hotels feature the kind of immaculate theming that you’d expect from the Mouse. At Olivia’s, you’ll learn about a (fictional) woman who loves to cook for all the residents of her town.
At Whispering Canyon Café, a rustic setting will make you feel like you’re dining by a campfire. For those who love rooftop dining, Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood provides a direct line of sight to the most fabulous landmarks on the Disney campus.
Imagineers theme Disney resorts so that you never feel like you’ve left the Disney Bubble. That philosophy carries over to the hotel restaurants, too.
Many Disney resort restaurants have ample availability for meals. I’m not saying that this statement applies to every eatery, as places like Chef Mickey’s and brunch at California Grill are tough to book. But plenty of great meals are available with little to no need for Advanced Dining Reservations.
Why does this matter? You will sometimes find yourself without a plan for your next meal. There’s no need to leave your hotel to find a great place. You have them right where you are, the food’s great, and you can either grab-and-go or sit down for a lovely meal.
Do you know why you like cooking in your own kitchen? It feels like home. The same thought process applies to eating at the dining room table or your living room couch or wherever you usually eat at your house. And it also applies to your Disney hotel.
While you’re on vacation, your resort works as your home base during the trip. It’s where you keep your stuff, and it’s the place you go when you need a break from the parks or are ready to call it a day.
That comfort level extends to the hotel restaurants. When you dine at one of these places, you’re only a short walk away from your hotel room. It’s a much more relaxed environment than going to a park or Disney Springs. Don’t get me wrong. I like to eat at these places, too, but I’m a homebody. Eating at my home resort soothes me.