Eight Disney Restaurants I Hope Come Back Soon
I just returned from Walt Disney World, and everything was terrific.
Disney provides precisely the escape I need from the real world during the pandemic.
Still, my trip wasn’t perfect. I spent much of my time feeling acutely aware of some stuff that hasn’t reopened yet.
Here are eight restaurants and dining experiences I sorely miss.
Virtually every restaurant I mention here is one I recently visited. I merely couldn’t eat there.
For example, Akershus has stayed “open” at its ideal location. This building resides right beside the line for Frozen Ever After.
During our trip, the wait-times for Frozen Ever After were comically low.
The moment I reached Walt Disney World, I sat at Beaches & Cream and did a doubletake. My Disney Experience indicated 20 minutes!
I warned my wife that the times would increase before we finished our meal. Nope! They went down!
In fact, they started only a few feet away from Akershus, which stung a bit.
Several cast members stood in the doorframe to one of my favorite restaurants. They were monitoring what has become a Relaxation Station.
Yes, you can sit at a table inside Akershus. You just cannot eat there. It’s torture. I miss my gjetost!
Anytime you walk down Main Street, U.S.A., you expect to hear some piano music playing.
Casey’s Corner famously features a pianist who performs live shows throughout the day.
Alas, no music rings out right now, as Casey’s Corner has yet to reopen.
Cast members have explained that the tight nature of the counter area precludes social distancing.
Yes, you couldn’t have anyone ring up an order because they’d risk the health of co-workers.
While My Disney Experience’s Mobile Ordering feature would address at least part of the problem, park officials have chosen a different tactic.
Part of the space at Casey’s Corner goes to the Emporium instead. Disney asks guests to enter near here, with the restaurant closure reducing crowds.
I feel like the ballgame has been canceled when I walk past Casey’s.
Yes, before the comments fly in, Chef Mickey’s has reopened…partially.
You can eat breakfast here, and Disney even restored character meals recently. So, you can interact with the Fab Five, albeit socially distanced.
Still, when I spent a few nights at Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, I remained acutely aware of the problem.
Chef Mickey’s counts as a dinner restaurant for my family. It’s a place where we’ve celebrated birthdays and anniversaries on several occasions.
I want to eat here at night when I can enjoy the views of Magic Kingdom and EPCOT.
That’s impossible at the moment, as Chef Mickey’s closes for the entire day at noon.
I look forward to the day when Chef Mickey’s operates from the break of dawn until after the fireworks. I miss it.
Columbia Harbour House
This most recent trip seemed especially weird when I got in line for Peter Pan’s Flight.
Currently, the line queue for this Fantasyland attraction cuts straight through the middle of…Columbia Harbour House. It’s actually kinda wild.
I think I noticed more restaurant features during these waits than I ever had before.
I mean, think about the place. Columbia Harbour House is wildly popular, forcing you to push to the front of the restaurant when you want to eat.
The registers and pick-up areas sit in the same tight space. So, you’re usually trying to grab your food without incident.
With the restaurant closed, the line queue takes you throughout an otherwise empty eatery.
The current situation qualifies as your best opportunity to appreciate the colonial theming at the hotel eatery.
Still, we missed the food. Yes, Tomorrowland Terrace serves many of the same menu items.
Unfortunately, that place only operates on weekends at the moment, which didn’t help us for most of our Magic Kingdom visits.
We lamented the lack of good yet inexpensive seafood at the park.
Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue
I thought of this one when my party dined at Whispering Canyon Café.
The rustic nature of that restaurant mimics the longstanding cuisine at Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.
In fact, when the cornbread arrived at our table, it was all either of us could think about.
That “bread” doesn’t differ much from lemon poundcake, making it a decadent pre-meal treat.
Also, the modified nature of Whispering Canyon Café has switched it into an oddly quiet, intimate dining experience.
Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue brims with energy that’s somewhat lacking at Whispering Canyon Café thus far. I missed that kinetic vibe.
We dined at Capt. Cook’s a disproportionate amount this trip, eating breakfast twice and dinner once.
As folks who try every place we can, that’s exceptionally unusual, at least in theory.
However, there’s one meal that we embrace whenever we stay at or near Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
To my wife, breakfast at ‘Ohana IS our Disney vacation. As a Lilo & Stitch superfan, she schedules Best Friends Breakfast multiple times per trip.
We spent multiple nights at the Polynesian, and she legitimately looked forlorn each time we walked past the restaurant at the Great Ceremonial House.
Most people were gloomy about the lack of the monorail station. She was near tears that she couldn’t dine at ‘Ohana.
Spirit of Aloha
Much of what I said about Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue applies here. Also, some of the ‘Ohana stuff applies.
We love dinner and a show, at least at Walt Disney World. We’ve watched Spirit of Aloha several times over the past five years.
Obviously, Disney cannot operate a live performance like Spirit of Aloha during the pandemic. I fully understand that.
Still, Capt. Cook’s serves some of the same cuisines from the show, as does Kona Café.
So, the specter of Spirit of Aloha cast a shadow on several of our meals.
A strange situation has occurred at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. A handful of restaurants remain closed, which has led to sellouts at popular ones.
For example, we ordinarily dine at Yak & Yeti every trip, but that wasn’t possible this time. It had booked up before our 60-day window ever opened.
Part of the reason why involves Tusker House, the character meal in Africa/Harambe Village.
Tucked away in the back of Dawa Bar, it’s one of the park’s hidden gems.
Infrequent guests don’t know about it, but the regulars dine there often.
Tusker House’s absence on this trip meant that we couldn’t fill our faces with delectable African cuisine, which is plenty bad enough.
As a form of piling on, its absence increased attendance at other restaurants to the point that we couldn’t dine anywhere else for a sit-down meal. That’s doubly cruel.
I recognize that all these places will return soon, just as I know Disney’s doing the best that it can in impossible circumstances.
When all these restaurants come back, I’ll appreciate them that much more, too.