LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — From meatloaf and mashed potatoes in a nostalgic ’50s-inspired eatery to a private table for two in a Grand Floridian kitchen, Walt Disney World restaurants are taking “eatertainment” to new heights.
Looking for more than a meal? While many Disney restaurants add a touch of theming, here some of spots, where the cuisine and décor add up to a fun dining experience.
- Be Our Guest Restaurant. In New Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom, the restaurant transports diners into the splendor, elegance and fairytale charm of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” with a setting right out of the classic animated feature film: the magnificent castle of the Beast, where guests dine in three richly appointed rooms that bring the story to life. Food is French-inspired, with quick service for lunch and table service for dinner. Reservations are accepted for lunch and dinner.)
- Biergarten Restaurant. In the Germany pavilion at Epcot World Showcase, the Biergarten features an oompah band in dirndls and lederhosen, long tables for convivial dining and a dance floor for guests to get up and join the fun. The expansive buffet is authentic German, with bratwurst, knackwurst, frankfurters, roasted pork, pork schnitzel, sauerbraten, rotisserie chicken, spätzle, potato dumplings and more. Lunch and dinner daily.
- Boma-Flavors of Africa. Wood-burning grills create sensational aromas from morning until night in this “marketplace” restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, with a half-dozen side-by-side cooking stations where curries, chutneys and other Indian and Asian influences add fabulous flavors to grilled fish, meats and vegetables on the African-inspired menu. Diners will find authentic soups, stews, tossed-to-order salads and other market-fresh fare, with cultural representatives from Africa serving as hosts and hostesses.
- California Grill. You’ll think you’re in San Francisco or L.A. in this upscale hot spot high atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The view is stupendous, the cuisine is extraordinary and the wines are outstanding. It’s hard to decide which is more fun: watching the energetic chefs in the open kitchen, or a sunset over Magic Kingdom.
- Cinderella’s Royal Table. There’s something really special about breakfast and lunch in Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom, with Cinderella and friends making the rounds to greet guests. And look for the Disney family coat of arms hanging over the lobby fireplace. (Dinner does not include princess characters, only Fairy Godmother.)
- Coral Reef Restaurant. Located in The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilion at Epcot, this is the only dining room in the world next to a 5.7-million-gallon aquarium. Diners are entertained by 5,000 inhabitants of the saltwater tank — barracuda, angelfish, sharks, dolphins, rays and even humans diving to feed the fish. The menu features fresh fish and shellfish — but none of the pavilion’s undersea inhabitants are on the menu.
- ESPN Club at Disney’s BoardWalk. The ultimate gathering spot for serious sports fans includes an interactive multimedia entertainment center, TV and radio broadcast facility, an arcade of interactive sporting games, and all-American favorites like burgers, wings, chili and barbecued pork. More than 100 TVs are in place throughout the restaurant — even the restrooms are equipped with TVs so you won’t miss out on your favorite sports action.
- Liberty Tree Tavern. In Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom just across the street from the iconic Hall of Presidents, a “Pilgrims’ Feast” is always on the menu, complete with dressing and cranberry sauce. Servers are dressed in Early American garb in surroundings reminiscent of Colonial Williamsburg. Dinner is an all-you-can-eat feast of turkey, pork, beef, mashed potatoes and other sides.
- Rainforest Café. Fluttering butterflies, tropical rain showers, talking banyan trees, live birds and animated gorillas bring the outdoors inside at Rainforest Café at Downtown Disney Marketplace and at the entrance to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Guests can sample a meal with tropical flair or a refreshing beverage at the Mushroom Juice and Coffee Bar.
- Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant. Flashy, 1950s-era cars, 1950s-era drive-in movies. This 250-seat restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios makes you believe it’s dark outside — fiber-optic stars twinkle overhead and the cars are lined up to face the giant drive-in movie screen. Outrageous sci-fi movie clips run continuously. Entrees include sandwiches, barbecued pork ribs and chef’s salad.
- T-Rex: A Prehistoric Family Adventure, A Place to Eat, Shop, Explore and Discover. Enter a world of prehistoric creatures at T-Rex: A Family Adventure at Downtown Disney Marketplace. The dinosaur-themed family eatery serves up pizzas, pastas, sea bass and more, and features life-sized animated dinosaurs that dwell among bubbling geysers, waterfalls and a fossil dig site.
- Victoria & Albert’s. With just 65 seats, this intimate dining room is the creme de la creme of Disney dining, located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. From the harpist playing near the front door to the Chef’s Table at the back of the kitchen, there’s no question that this is a special place. Menus change daily, but you’ll always find the heavenly dessert soufflés. Whatever you want, just ask. Chef Scott Hunnel will make it happen.
- 50’s Prime Time Cafe. The waiters holler for you to take your seat, and ask if you’ve washed your hands in this Disney’s Hollywood Studios restaurant. You’ll feel like you’re in a ’50s sitcom with Formica tables, pull-down lamps and knickknacks like grandma used to collect. Pot roast, chicken pot pie and meatloaf with mushroom gravy are standouts. And while the s’mores aren’t made over a campfire, they’ll take you back, nonetheless.