Ten Walt Disney World Restaurants to Try This Year
With so many changes underfoot at Walt Disney World, you may have trouble keeping up with what’s available.
Even now, some popular Walt Disney World restaurants remain closed or operating at limited capacity. For example, you cannot dine at Columbia Harbour House, ‘Ohana, or Casey’s Corner.
Meanwhile, Chef Mickey’s only hosts guests for breakfast, and most other character breakfasts aren’t even available. I miss you, Bon Voyage Breakfast and Best Friends Breakfast!
These changes represent a unique opportunity for Disney vacationers, though. You can and should go outside your comfort zone to dine at some new places.
Here are ten Walt Disney World restaurants to try this year!
Here’s a great example of why I’m making this list. ABC Commissary qualifies as one of the biggest winners among the in-park restaurants.
You probably perceive this place as a burgers and nuggets joint. After all, that’s been the baseline here for many years.
However, Disney has reset the menu over the past 12 months. Now, you’ll discover some shockingly high-end menu items like Shrimp Tacos and a Curry Rice Bowl with Shrimp.
The plant-based California Burger always feels right at home with the theme of a TV studio food counter.
Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo
When you visit Batuu, you want the most refined flavors at Black Spire Outpost. At Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, that means Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo.
This place operates as an indoor/outdoor counter service restaurant with ample seating, at least right now. A year ago at this time, I would felt differently, as the popularity of Star Wars Land led to crowding issues.
Currently, you can utilize Mobile Ordering to grab a seat that looks kinda like a drum. Actually, Disney won’t let you sit down until your order is ready, but you get the point.
This highly detailed restaurant mimics a Black Spire hangout for busy workers. They sit down and grab a bite to eat while they’re loading cargo for their next destination.
Even the cuisine highlights the theme. The menu disguises pot roast, pork ribs, and chicken as local creatures called Kaadu and Tip-Yips.
This place makes eating food. It’s the perfect spot to hang out when you need a break on Batuu!
I could list 10 restaurants at Disney Springs alone. In fact, I may do that at some point. However, I’m only picking one at the moment, and I cannot suggest the one I’d prefer.
Even during the pandemic, Art Smith’s Homecomin’ remains a seemingly impossible Advanced Dining Reservation to book. I’ve tried unsuccessfully for four straight trips.
However, I’ve fallen in love with another restaurant here, a stylish place called The Edison.
This restaurant had already proven wildly popular in Los Angeles, and Disney convinced The Patina Restaurant Group that build a new venue in Orlando.
At The Edison, steampunk sensibilities imbue all parts of the restaurant. You’ll find weird cartoons playing on the walls and quirky performers juggling and tumbling on stage.
These shows aren’t as frequent during the pandemic, but you’ll still find some.
As for the menu, the conceit is that science drives all the presentations, making some of your orders glow, melt, and/or smoke in front of you.
Feel free to dress up in your steampunk best here! You probably won’t be the only one!
Flame Tree Barbecue
For many years, Disney fans have agreed on one point. The parks could do better with their barbecue offerings. However, one place’s savory offerings are so good that they singlehandedly make up for it.
Still, people remain loyal to Flame Tree Barbecue, a place that will warm your heart with the way it stacks a pile of beef or chicken on a hamburger bun. Oh, and the St. Louis Rib Dinner is terrific, too!
Okay, you don’t need to know anything about this place to guess the menu. Yes, it’s a fish joint, but that undersells Flying Fish dramatically.
Disney veterans – and I mean the ones who eat at the parks every day – treasure this place.
You should understand that Flying Fish qualifies as a Signature Dining experience, which means it’ll cost more than the other places on this list. Also, you must abide by the modest dress code here.
“Men must wear khakis, slacks or dress shorts and collared shirts. Jeans may be worn if in good condition. Sport coats are optional.”
Sometimes, I love getting dressed up and having a nice meal at Disney, and I’ve had recent success at Flying Fish. It’s not in my regular rotation, but it’s the perfect place to experiment with other eateries unavailable.
Grand Floridian Café
I’ve enjoyed watching other people join my evangelist crusade for Grand Floridian Café.
Several mainstays on the hotel monorail loop haven’t reopened due to the pandemic and the general downturn in traffic.
During this unprecedented lull, folks are trying out some suggestions that people like me have championed for years.
Not coincidentally, Grand Floridian Café has enjoyed a renaissance as guests either discover for the first time or remember the restaurant’s greatness.
However, the dishes will surprise you, as they’re closely aligned with comfort food. Yes, the chefs here use high-end ingredients, but one of the most popular dishes is Buttermilk-fried Chicken.
Also, you can eat breakfast for lunch at Grand Floridian Café, something I’ve done on several occasions. It feels decadent!
La Hacienda de San Angel
Sometimes, you just want to sit by World Showcase Lagoon and sip margaritas while the sun goes down.
The surprise here is that I’m talking about an indoor restaurant here. While La Hacienda de San Angel features windows overlooking the lagoon, it’s a comfortable place to escape the heat by eating inside.
The cuisine at this Mexico pavilion restaurant includes many of the dishes you’d expect. Enchiladas, tacos, and chicken dishes populate the menu, and they’re all high in spice count.
Meanwhile, the margarita menu offers nine selections currently. The one you want is the signature San Angel Inn Margarita, which marries orange liqueur with several fruity flavors. It’s sweet but strong.
The Plaza Restaurant – flexibility
Some restaurants on this list don’t come with a glowing reputation, which I think is unfortunate.
For example, people tend to take The Plaza Restaurant for granted, dismissing it as an ice cream joint with a terrific location.
Right now, the ice cream parlor portion isn’t even open. So, you can take this opportunity to try out the entrees here instead. They’ll surprise you, as this place serves high-quality comfort food.
No, the cuisine cannot match the next restaurant on this list, but it’s not a competition.
Also, The Plaza Restaurant possesses an inimitable advantage. It includes indoor and outdoor seating, both of which provide dazzling views of Cinderella Castle.
That amenity alone justifies giving The Plaza Restaurant a chance!
Have you ever had bread service while a bunch of animals watched you eat? No, I’m not talking about your household pets.
This restaurant serves the tastiest African cuisine impossible and throws in an Indian bread service to boot. Once you try this meal once, you will want it again and again.
I’ve had Disney podcasters tell me that the bread service justifies a trip to Kidani Village for them, even when they’re not staying at the resort. It’s that delicious!
As for the animals, the restaurant’s seating includes several spots with upfront views of the savannahs. It’s dinner and a show!
I love all the places on this list, but sometimes I want the freshest ingredients. In that category, nothing tops Sunshine Seasons.
This Quick Service restaurant uses foods that cast members produce at The Land pavilion! Yes, you can watch something grow on Living with the Land.
Then, you can exit the ride and walk 50 steps to Sunshine Seasons. There, you can sample some of the ingredients you just studied from the boat!
You’ll find salmon and salad dishes here that will make your mouth water. Also, there’s a vegetarian Whole Wheat Pita that will delight your tastebuds while you eat healthily!
As you can see, the current situation provides you with a rare opportunity to go outside your comfort zone and discover some new favorite places to eat.