Discover these Hidden Gems of Disney Dining!
We often discuss the hidden gems at Walt Disney World. Usually, we’re referencing the attractions with short waits but staggering ride quality.
Today, I’d like to take a different approach. Not everything underrated at Walt Disney World involves attractions.
Some of the quiet stars of a Disney vacation are the places where you eat. Here are nine hidden gems of Walt Disney World dining.
Disney has earned its reputation as a mecca for foodies. Many of the high-quality restaurants here are among the best in Orlando.
In fact, Victoria & Albert’s is legitimately on the shortlist of best dining experiences in North America.
You shouldn’t let the existence of such places force you away from your standard theme park habits, though.
When we visit the parks, we want comfort food. That’s what we learned to eat when we were young and visited parks and carnivals for the first time.
Disney officials know this. It’s not coincidental that one of the first restaurants you’ll see at Magic Kingdom is Casey’s Corner, a hot dog joint!
For some reason, people tend to walk past this restaurant to dine in other themed lands, but there’s no need!
The hot dogs and baseball theming here work perfectly to set the mood for your Magic Kingdom visit!
People often talk about something good being hidden in plain sight. I don’t think there’s a more apt description for Contempo Café.
The Grand Canyon Concourse at Disney’s Contemporary Resort seems like the hot spot for the entire resort monorail area.
When guests exit the monorail here, they have three shops, two restaurants, and a lounge area in plain sight.
Contempo Café sometimes gets the short end of the stick because it’s “just a Quick Service joint” to many fans.
In reality, this restaurant is oh so much better than its reputation. Cast members have determined a way to entice guests to visit.
They place decadent cupcakes on display by the elevator area. When tourists notice the fragrant smell, they have no idea about the source…but it’s Contempo Café!
The desserts here are the gold standard in the Magic Kingdom area, which is reason enough to eat here!
The Garden Grill Restaurant
This character dining experience checks off several boxes for Disney fans.
You get to meet Chip ‘n’ Dale, two of Disney’s most recognizable animals.
Mickey Mouse joins them, and that’s even the best part! He’s wearing a delightful farmer’s outfit!
Also, the restaurant rotates slowly, which changes the backdrop while you’re eating. That’s significant because Garden Grill resides at Living with the Land.
You’ll notice different parts of the attraction while you eat! You can study the various stages or people-watch the boat riders as they sail by.
Then, there’s the cuisine, which is a hearty feast of family-style dining. Due to the insular, circular nature of the restaurant, you don’t need to do anything here.
Once you sit down, cast members will bring everything to you, and the characters will come to your table. It’s an inimitable dining experience.
Geyser Point Bar & Grill
Hidden gems are places that get lost in the shuffle a bit. That definition absolutely applies to Geyser Point, a place hidden in the woods.
A few years ago, management expanded to the campus at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
This restaurant came into being as a spot by the water of Bay Lake. This serene setting makes the place feel like it’s in an entirely different locale.
You’ll forget you’re five minutes away from Magic Kingdom due to the majestic scenery.
Disney also did two other clever things here. Geyser Point functions as a sports bar since it has several televisions. It also features a hidden feature.
This restaurant is open space until inclement weather strikes. Then, it lowers its hidden walls and becomes an indoor eatery instead. So, you’re covered in any weather.
As for the food, Disney fanatics know that this place sells a bison burger and other unique menu items. TripAdvisor ranks it as a top 100 restaurant overall in Orlando.
The Grand Floridian Café
Like Contempo Café, the competition hurts Grand Floridian Café. The hotel lobby distracts guests, while the other exquisite restaurants and bars draw more attention.
I mean, when you walk on the second floor of the lobby and notice the Beauty and the Beast theme at the bar, you want to eat and drink there!
More attentive guests will earn a massive reward by trying Grand Floridian Café, though.
This Table Service restaurant serves one of the best brunches on the Disney campus.
Also, this place shares ingredients with the other Grand Floridian restaurants…including Victoria & Albert’s!
Yes, you’re eating components that cost ten times as much in a restaurant in the same building!
Grand Floridian embodies discount dining at its finest!
Disney’s Old Key West Resort isn’t a hot spot for Disney foot traffic. You pretty much have to stay here to know what the hotel offers.
However, longtime Disney fans are acutely aware of a marvelous, homey restaurant here.
Olivia’s resides right beside the hotel lobby. The theming at the restaurant embraces the communal nature of this resort.
Olivia isn’t a professional chef. Instead, she’s a caring neighbor who loves to cook.
So, she invites people to eat in her home, wherein she serves the best chicken dish at Disney!
Olivia’s counts as one of those places that the Disney experts know well. You’ll notice us exchanging knowing nods at the mere mention of Olivia’s. It’s gooood.
You haven’t heard much about Steakhouse 71 since it’s new. Also, it faces the same struggles as the previous eatery here, The Wave… of American Flavors.
For whatever reason, people don’t look for restaurants on the first floor of the Contemporary. So, these two dynamic meal services have gotten lost in the shuffle.
Disney loyalists enthused about The Wave for years, and I was definitely one of them. So we all held our breath when Disney announced Steakhouse 71.
Remarkably, the new steakhouse is, if anything, even better than The Wave! Plus, it has steak! Oh, and you simply must try the Steakhouse 71 Chocolate Cake!
Three Bridges Bar & Grill
Like Old Key West, Disney’s Coronado Springs isn’t a destination resort at Walt Disney World. So you’ll have no reason to visit unless you’re staying here.
For this reason, few people are aware of the water-locked restaurant that steals the hearts of foodies everywhere.
The atmospheric waterfront dining will soothe you while you dine on delectable cuisine.
At Three Bridges, the most popular dish is likely the Steak Frites. However, the various Poke Bowls are quite well-reviewed as well.
Please be aware that this restaurant is only open for dinner, though. That’s another reason why it’s a hidden gem.
Yak & Yeti
I’m the opposite of a foodie. I eat to live rather than live to eat. So, high-end restaurants with exotic cuisine have never done much for me.
Yak & Yeti has proven the notable exception. These days, when I’m dining at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I’m picking one of only two places.
The first is Satu’li Canteen, which I’ve raved about enough for a while. Yak & Yeti is the other, as it delivers one of the most consistently excellent dining experiences in Orlando.
The international cuisine available here rivals anything at the World Showcase, and you’ll know this before you’ve finished your appetizers.
My family often orders three apps for the five people at the table. It’s rare that we’re not fighting over the last few bites. The food is that good!
As a reminder, if you plan to dine at Yak & Yeti, you should sign up for Landry’s Select Club.
You’ll pay $25 but receive a $25 gift card immediately. Plus, you’ll gain near-instant seating and world-class service during your meal!