The Best Restaurants Disney Has Yet to Reopen
Unfortunately, some places remain unavailable, though. Some, like Tangierine Café, face uncertain futures.
The others simply haven’t returned yet due to lack of staffing and/or demand.
We miss all these places and are hopeful their returns lurk just around the corner. Here are the best seven Walt Disney World restaurants yet to reopen.
1900 Park Fare
Character meals have gradually returned at Disney theme parks, but they haven’t come back at the pace I would have expected.
Disney’s new business mantra prioritizes high-profit operations to improve revenue margins.
Since character meals charge more for the same food, these seem like they fit the mold for Disney’s current regime.
Alas, one of Disney’s best character meals remains unavailable.
Typically, 1900 Park Fare serves breakfast and dinner at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. And it serves two different character meals.
You’ll meet Mary Poppins and characters from Alice in Wonderland and Winnie the Pooh at breakfast.
Then, at dinner, Cinderella serves as the hostess alongside Prince Charming…but it’s her wicked stepsisters who provide all the entertainment!
They roam the dinner tables, talking smack about the guests. It’s the kind of Disney villainy we all love, but it’s in short supply right now. We need it back!
Some of what I just said applies here as well. Akershus resides by Frozen Ever After and served a purpose early in the pandemic.
Disney used this space as a Relaxation Station, a place where people could sit down and remove their masks in a socially distant environment.
Obviously, the parks haven’t had those for a while. For whatever reason, Akershus hasn’t reopened, though.
The explanation involves two factors. One is that Disney hasn’t brought back live entertainment at all the old places yet.
The Great Resignation has created staffing shortages, especially among live entertainers. They’re still a little salty with Disney about the 2020 layoffs.
Simultaneously, Disney hasn’t needed as many restaurants due to the Park Pass strategy.
Theme park attendance still hasn’t fully recovered, although it’s getting closer.
Until we reach pre-pandemic numbers, Disney doesn’t need all its restaurants. That’s a hidden reason why all these places haven’t returned.
Okay, this one isn’t everyone’s favorite, but I happen to love it. I should mention that I’m a massive sports fan.
You should see my Atlanta Braves World Championship gear. My place looks like a Fanatics.com warehouse.
Similarly, my wife and I celebrate March Madness’ opening weekend like it’s the 12 Days of Christmas.
So, ESPN Club is definitely my wheelhouse, as it features sports bar food (read: stuff that’s terrible for you) and dozens of HDTVs.
My version of The Good Place would look a lot like this. Since everything at Disney’s BoardWalk has reopened, this place needs to return!
Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue
Remember what I just said about live performers?
Yeah, this one came with a bad look for Disney. We’re talking about a show that has run nightly performances dating back to 1974.
In fact, not much has changed with the show since then! We have a different dessert, but that’s about it.
Otherwise, Hoop-Dee-Doo remains bottomless buckets of ribs and fried chicken along with tons of fixins.
Plus, the proverbial dinner and show philosophy applies here as much as anywhere in the world.
Disney believes that Hoop-Dee-Doo has offered more performances than any live show in history. It’s a big deal, and that’s why its continued absence feels so wrong.
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground simply isn’t the same without its musical revue! So this one should be the highest priority, Disney!
Disney has stocked its restaurants with many celebrity chefs. However, the first of them was unquestionably Paul Bocuse.
For many years, Bocuse held the title of the best French chef ever. And French cuisine is somewhat popular, you know.
Being the best French chef is like being the greatest New York Yankees. It matters.
When Disney plotted the France pavilion at EPCOT, it knew it needed a legend to serve the food.
Park officials deemed the hiring of Paul Bocuse as a massive coup, which it was. Initially, he worked on Chefs de France.
The New York Times estimated that this place pulls in $30 million in revenue annually for Disney.
Understandably, Disney wanted another Paul Bocuse eatery, and that’s how we got Monsieur Paul. That’s the restaurant that costs more.
Disney figured that if people would pay the price for Chefs de France, they’d go even higher for an upscale version…and they were right!
Bocuse stacked the deck by bringing in his son, Jerome, to operate both restaurants.
These places serve the most authentic French cuisine in the south, and Monsieur Paul is the superior place.
Spirit of Aloha
Much of what I said about Hoop-Dee-Doo applies here as well, only I like Spirit of Aloha better.
What can I say? I’m an obsessive fan of all things Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
My family has enjoyed countless unforgettable evenings in the back part of the resort where Spirit of Aloha resides.
This show combines the cuisine of ‘Ohana with a story that feels straight off the Disney Channel. It’s cheesy and ridiculous and oh so much fun.
Plus, I can stuff my face with noodles and wings while I watch people fire-walk and twirl flaming batons. It’s a grrrrreat show.
Victoria & Albert’s
I mean, I HAVE to mention this one.
Victoria & Albert’s embodies Walt Disney World’s unique approach to theme park food.
Most parks take a “cheeseburgers and nuggets” approach to dining.
Disney wants guests to stay for 5+ nights. So, it uses high-quality cuisine as an added enticement.
Victoria & Albert’s has literally won awards for its meals, which are inarguably the best in Florida.
Since this is also a high-profit dining option, I’m also surprised by its prolonged absence.
Honorable Mention: ‘Ohana Breakfast
Finally, I want to mention one restaurant that has reopened…but not the way I’d like.
Longtime readers know of my family’s fondness for the Best Friends Breakfast at ‘Ohana, the one with Lilo, Stitch, and Mickey Mouse.
‘Ohana has reopened and IS serving breakfast. But, unfortunately, it’s not the character meal that means so much to so many of us.
Out of everything I’ve listed here, THIS is the meal experience that my family misses the most.
We’re suckers for character meals, which makes ‘Ohana, 1900 Park Fare, and Akershus the absences that cause us the most frustration and disappointment.