Flying Fish

Disney Dining Experiences Worth Splurging On

Brooke Schuldt

By Brooke Schuldt, Aug 15, 2016

WDWMAGIC Contributor

Whether you are planning your first trip to Walt Disney World, or a super fan that comes back every year, one of your first thoughts besides where you are going to stay and what you are going to FastPass+ is where you are going to eat. There are an insane amount of dining options on property, ranging in size, theme, cuisine, and price. In true Disney fashion, every restaurant is an opportunity to tap into your imagination and take you somewhere spectacular, like a royal ball, a grandmother’s house from 1950, or even an intergalactic lounge.

There is only one problem. Like most things at Walt Disney World, dining isn’t cheap. While it would be a dream come true to eat at every single restaurant on property, the budget only allows for a couple sit down meals during your stay.

Here are some of our favorite places to splurge on a meal at Disney. Whether the menu is out of this world, the entertainment is unbeatable, or the vibe is infectious, these should be first on your list of places to spend a little extra cash while on vacation.

Flying Fish

Flying Fish details and menu

Flying Fish Wagyu Beef

After a day of exploring Epcot or a night at the Coney Island-inspired Disney Boardwalk, nothing hits the spot quite like a meal from Flying Fish. The high-energy restaurant serves up some of the best steaks on property, along with seafood and pasta entrees, an extensive salad and appetizer menu, and decadent desserts like house-made sorbets and the restaurant’s special Caramelized Banana Napoleon. Everything on the menu changes every season, as well as their 6-course pre fixe Chef’s Tasting menu. In addition to their energetic and social atmosphere, the decor is a delightful combination of art deco and nautical influences, making Flying Fish a great place to go with or without the kids. Make sure to take note of their dress code, which encourages guests to avoid dressing too casually.

Read our in-depth review of the new Flying Fish.

Cinderella’s Royal Table

Cinderella's Royal Table details and menu

If you are traveling with any princess fans, Cinderella’s Royal Table should be at the top of your dining to-do list. Not only is the location convenient (right in the middle of Magic Kingdom), but no kid will protest eating with Cinderella in her castle. The interior feels like something out of a storybook, featuring lavish table settings, medieval flags and decorations, and stain glass windows overlooking the park. You can enjoy a sit down meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner here, with entrees including American breakfast dishes like French toast and steak and eggs, elegantly prepared dinner entrees like gnocchi and pork loin, and an extensive kids menu featuring classics like chicken nuggets or unique options like turkey pot pie. If you’re looking to make your castle dining experience even more memorable, there are different add-ons you can pre-purchase for your meal, including merchandise signed by Cinderella, princess costumes for kids, special desserts, and a proposal package for those looking to celebrate their engagement.

Biergarten Restaurant

Biergarten details and menu

Biergarten

Biergarten a buffet-style restaurant in Epcot’s Germany pavilion, and probably one of the most underrated eateries in the park. Similar to the Mexico pavilion, this restaurant is located inside a building shaped like an old German house and the interior is painted and decorated to look like you’re dining in an authentic German town square. Whether you make a reservation in advance or snag a table at the last minute, everyone gets to know other diners pretty well at Biergarten, because all of the seating is communal table style. While servers will bring you beer and drinks, you’ll be serving yourself at the buffet line which consists of beer cheese soup, schnitzel, frikadellen, and other traditional dishes. In addition to the cozy and welcoming atmosphere, authentic German performers take the main stage to perform festive polka music for anyone looking to cut a rug on the dance floor located in the center of the restaurant. Biergarten is a great place to eat for anyone who has energetic kids, enjoys socializing, or loves polka music.

‘Ohana

'Ohana details and menu

If you’re looking for a fun dining experience that won’t bore your older kids, make a reservation for a character dining breakfast or an authentic Hawaiian dinner at ‘Ohana. In the morning, ‘Ohana welcomes guests into their topical-themed dining area, complete with tiki statues, wood and teal cushioned furniture, and island decor. Besides the usual characters that one can find at any character dining experience, guests can also get autographs and photos with Lilo & Stitch, the unofficial mascots of ‘Ohana. The breakfast feast is served family-style, so delicious dishes like pua’a, hua paka, and classic Mickey shaped waffles will be brought to you.

As if by magic, the atmosphere changes for the dinner rush, replacing Disney characters with a more authentic Hawaiian dining experience. Kids can enjoy island inspired games like coconut races, hula hoop contests, and island music dance parties while parents can enjoy feasting on Polynesian-style entrees. Though the menu may not be extensive, every meal is beautifully prepared and delicious, whether is be on a skewer like their sweet and sour pork loin skewers, or their stir-fried vegetables and various appetizers. Don’t fill up too much on skewers, though, because the ‘Ohana bread pudding is the stuff of legend and simply cannot be missed.

Narcoossee’s

Narcoossee's details and menu

Narcoosee's

Some people may know Narcoossee’s as the eatery at the Grand Floridian that the voice on the monorail is always talking about, while others know it as an award winning seafood restaurant with some of the best views of the castle available on property. Regardless, Narcoossee’s is a can’t miss spot for anyone looking to drop a little extra cash on a Disney dining experience. One step inside feels like you are going on a romantic coastal getaway, with the decor opting to be more sophisticated and subdued with wooden furniture, blue tablecloths, and small candles on every table. Make sure to reserve your spot in advance and ask for a waterfront table, because their location on the shores of Bay Lake allow them to have great views of the Electrical Water Pageant every night. It also has a beautiful view of Cinderella’s Castle, so you can watch the nighttime fireworks without any crowds. You can even hear the Wishes music over the restaurant's soundsystem so that you get the full experience, as well as the holiday soundtracks for any special holiday fireworks. If you aren’t too distracted by all of the fireworks and entertainment to eat, there is an extensive menu of seafood entrees and appetizers to enjoy, like steamed Maine lobster and pan-seared scallops. Don’t worry if you are traveling with any picky eaters, because there are a variety of meat and pasta entrees as well. Narcoossee’s should be at the top of everyone’s Disney dining bucket list.

Tusker House Restaurant

Tusker House details and menu

Tusker House buffet

Disney’s Animal Kingdom doesn’t offer too many great sit down dining options yet, but we would go so far as to say that Tusker House Restaurant is one of the best places to eat on property, especially for brunch. The vibe is very relaxed, which is the perfect way to start a day at the parks that will no doubt be packed with rides, shows, and excitement from morning til night. For an even more relaxing experience, or for anyone who tends to wake up on the earlier side, ask about making a reservation before the park opens. This allows you to not have to fight too many crowds to get to the restaurant, as DAK tends to be more crowded in the morning. Only open for character dining breakfast and regular family-style lunch, the Tusker House has a menu that aims to combine beloved American breakfast and lunch dishes and classic African cuisine, like the beef bobotie and the spicy corned beef hash.

1900 Park Fare

1900 Park Fare details and menu

1900 Park Fare is a great way to start off your Magic Kingdom day, with the option of a buffet-style breakfast alongside some of your favorite characters, a Wonderland Tea Party in the afternoon, or Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner buffet hosted by Cinderella herself. The whimsical decor in this Grand Floridian cafe, along with the various themed dining options for kids, makes 1900 Park Fare a great place to dine for guests looking to eat a fancier meal in an environment that is still kid-friendly. The character breakfast is buffet style, serving classic American breakfast foods and giving guests the opportunity to meet some rarely seen Disney characters, like Mary Poppins, Alice, and the Mad Hatter, as well as some Winnie the Pooh friends. The Wonderland Tea Party is an hour long event for kids ages 4-12, where they can enjoy decorating cupcakes, sipping tea, as well as games and stories led by cast members. The dinner menu, as part of the Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner, is buffet style with a combination of national and international dishes. Various storybook princes and princesses, hosted by Cinderella and Prince Charming, help to celebrate the royal dinner by making special appearances.

Chef Mickey’s

Chef Mickey's details and menu

Chef Mickey's

Everyone who visits Walt Disney World should eat breakfast at Chef Mickey’s at least once during their stay. One of the most well-known character breakfast spots on property, Chef Mickey’s is right underneath the monorail stop inside the Contemporary Resort and offers a vibe that is fun and family friendly. All of your favorite classic Disney characters, along with Chef Mickey in his chef costume, are available for autographs and pictures. There is also a special photo area where your family can pose with Mickey and his giant silverware that may very well be the place where your next holiday card photo is taken. There is also a dinner option for evening diners, and both breakfast and dinner are served buffet style featuring classic American dishes as well as some dishes that are inspired by a variety of other cultural influences. The fun atmosphere combined with the close proximity to the monorail make Chef Mickey’s a great place to start or end your day at Magic Kingdom.

Brooke Schuldt

Brooke Schuldt

Brooke Schuldt is a former Kilimanjaro Safaris cast member and current freelance writer and web producer in New York City. Her Disney obsessions are EPCOT's Food & Wine Festival, The Great Movie Ride, and funky Disney Parks mugs. When she's not day dreaming about Walt Disney World, you can find her brainstorming new articles, making plans to travel the world, or binging on beauty podcasts. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter, or visit her website.
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