My Favorite Places to Eat at Magic Kingdom
Generally, when I create “Best of Disney” lists, I try to factor in general opinions and often defer to them over my own.
Lately, I’ve taken a different approach, though. Everyone’s Disney experience is personal to them.
So, I’m gradually revealing the things I love about the various parks.
Today, I’ll share my favorite places to eat at Magic Kingdom.
Please understand that I’m not saying these are the best places for everyone.
They are merely the options that work the best for me and mine.
So, if you see me dining at a restaurant, here’s where I’ll be.
Be Our Guest Restaurant
When I describe Be Our Guest to people, I tend to lose them quickly.
My explanation focuses on one small part of the dining experience, something many never even notice.
When you dine in The Grand Ballroom near the windows, you can watch the snowfall. This can be your view for the entire meal:
We discovered this by accident the first time we ate here, and I’ll never forget the magic of the moment.
Sure, we’ve eaten in The Rose Gallery and West Wing as well, having a lovely time with each one.
Still, that memory of the snowfall imprinted on me. It was the perfect dining experience.
You’ll notice I’ve made no mention of the food, which is exquisite.
That’s something I should point out about my preferred Magic Kingdom locations.
As a super-taster, I don’t always have the greatest luck at restaurants.
So, I’m more about the experience than the meal…although the Grey Stuff never fails to impress.
Bring it back to Gaston’s Tavern, you cowards!!!
(No, the cupcake doesn’t count.)
Would you like to see some of my 2021 World Champion Atlanta Braves merchandise?
Oh yeah. I’m that guy. Baseball matters to me, which means I’m decidedly pro-hot dog.
So, even when I don’t eat at Casey’s Corner, I wistfully look at the place as I walk by it.
In terms of bang for the buck, Casey’s Corner delivers the best meal of anything on this list, too….as long as you like hot dogs.
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café
If you haven’t figured it out, I’m a shameless tourist, even by shameless tourist standards.
Give me all things kitschy. I feel this way because no matter what Disney, Universal, or anybody else says, cheeseburgers mostly taste the same.
So, if I’m gonna eat a disappointing, overpriced cheeseburger, I might as well do it at Krusty Burger or Cosmic Ray’s.
At Magic Kingdom, I can watch Sonny Eclipse perform the same ridiculous show that I’ve loved for decades now.
Honestly, I’ve had some bad experiences here.
On one occasion, I was somehow served a nearly liquid cheeseburger. That still boggles my mind.
But I don’t care because Sonny Eclipse.
When I eat at Disney, I want an alien Audio-Animatronic singing in the background. I’m that kind of tourist.
Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen
As a super fan of Jungle Cruise, I am always up for the ridiculous script here.
However, a few years ago, this restaurant became important to me for different reasons.
My poor brother literally left the hospital and traveled to Disney the following day. He was NOT canceling that trip.
As you’d expect, the early days were rough on him, as he had no business being there.
By the end, he was feeling much better, as Disney magic has that effect on people.
When we got to our Skipper Canteen reservation that day, I wasn’t hungry, and their new menu wasn’t working for me.
Don’t worry! That was probably like six menus ago for them. They seem to update constantly.
Anyway, I didn’t eat my food, but we were on the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan at the time.
So, everyone had apps, entrees, and desserts.
Over the next hour, I watched in bemusement as my brother rediscovered his love of food.
Everything he ate that day was the best thing he ever tasted.
Whenever I walk past Skipper Canteen, I think of that meal and my family.
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Restaurant
Here’s a place I’m listing for the food. Specifically, it’s the Churros.
I mean, have you ever looked at the menu for this place? They know.
This Quick Service restaurant leads with its desserts.
Contrast that with other Disney menus to appreciate how unusual it is.
Disney could change the name to We Sell Churros Here, and people would forget the theming of Frontierland altogether.
They’d hear the siren song of the mini-churros and walk straight to the restaurant.
PS: the doughnut holes are also fabulous.
Pinocchio Village Haus
Here’s another example of a place where I eat for the ambiance.
When you see me at Village Haus, I’m either eating pizza or chicken nuggets.
The menu here isn’t sexy, but the food is surprisingly good in my experience.
Still, I eat here because of the view of It’s a Small World you’ll get at a select few tables.
When I enter Pinocchio Village Haus, I’ll scope out the place to tell whether I’m in luck.
While I never cancel a Mobile Order or anything like that when the good tables aren’t available, I do feel disappointed.
I want to watch the joy on children’s faces as they take the little boat ride at It’s a Small World.
The Plaza Restaurant
As I write this, I realize that foodies and Magic Kingdom diehards are probably aghast at what they are reading.
No, I didn’t choose Columbia Harbour House, Cheshire Café, or even Cinderella’s Royal Table.
Don’t get me wrong. I like all three quite a bit.
In fact, I ate lunch on my tenth anniversary at Cinderella’s Royal Table and expect to do the same for my 20th.
Still, these are my favorites, and the reality is that The Plaza Restaurant includes an x-factor.
You can sit at an outside table here and watch Cinderella Castle’s courtyard while you eat.
This spot quietly provides one of the best views for people-watching at Walt Disney World…and the ice cream here is phenomenal!
Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant
I think it’s clear by now that I care about the memories almost as much as the food when dining.
My favorite one of those circles back to childhood, and it’s one of the strongest memories I have from that age.
Dad took off in search of food, while Mom, who was exhausted at the time, convinced her children to stare at Cinderella Castle.
As we stood on Main Street, U.S.A., Dad gradually came back into view, grinning as widely as I can ever recall.
The man had just discovered the best fries he’d eaten in his entire life, and they were somehow life-affirming for him at that moment.
Dad happily shared them with Mom, who thought they were…fine.
As the youngest, I waited my turn to try these magical fries, which I found tasty but not, like, McDonald’s-level good, the top of the scale for any child.
Still, whenever I even hear the name Tomorrowland Terrace, I’m instantly transported back to childhood and see my father’s broad smile.
These are the parks of the Disney vacation experience that are inimitable and eternal.
My father has been dead for nearly ten years now, but there are two spots at Walt Disney World where I always feel him with me.
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Feature Photo: Disney