Good morning, Internet! Perhaps you know me as your local shambling monster. Perhaps it’s, “Oh, hey, that creepy chick is looking in our windows again” or “Oh. It’s her. Get the RAID.” Either way, I’m here to drop some knowledge in a way that’d make Mr. T proud.
(And for those of you embryos out there who don’t know who Mr. T is, first I pity you, fools, and offer this sliver of my childhood for you to mock. And really, it’s deserving of the mockery. Why did anyone ever think dressing that way was cool? WHY?)
Onto the meat of the post. I go to Disney far more than most people I know. Probably ten times in so many years? Maybe a dozen in fifteen, I don’t know. There’s a bit of a stigma with this, I know, in that people who’ve never been assume it’s a bunch of dancing rats and cartoons, but there’s a lot more to do there than surround yourself in the kiddie fun. I wouldn’t keep going if that was its only calling as children terrify me. They’re small and brilliant and steal your food. They also wear sneakers that light-up when they walk. Untrustworthy, all of them.
Anyway, as there are many parts to a Disney Orlando vacation, I’m going to only discuss a single facet today – otherwise you’d never leave and that’d be awkward. This is my blog, people. Get the hell of my lawn.
Everyone likes food. Food is delicious and should be enjoyed three times a day. It helps you live and stuff. So I’ll talk here about Disney fooding I’ve enjoyed (or would like to enjoy in some cases) for all of you looking to head to King Rodent’s Mecca of Fun. Other posts will cover attractions and hotels and stuff, but not this one. This one is all about making your inner fat kid squeal with delight.
First and foremost, I highly recommend making reservations online in advance for these places as this is the busiest tourist destination in the world, and generally, if you’re going to Disney, you’re not getting a table for one. Bigger parties are harder to seat. Also, if you let fate decide where you eat, you will be stuck in the restaurants no one else wanted. No, that’s not a TERRIBLE thing because Disney is still awesome and even their bad is better than most other places’ good, but if you’re gonna go, why not go to the awesomest of the awesome? Eh? Eh?
(Also: Disney is LOADED with quick eats places – hot dogs, burgers, etc — if you’re not looking to drop a lot of cash on your dining. I’m not really touching on them because they all serve relatively similar drive-through style food. I’m going for sit-down restaurants only. Kay? Kay.)
Without further ado, LET’S DO THIS!
THE PRE-PAID EATS:
Certain Disney places require you to pay for the dining experience up front – as in when you go to make a reservation, your credit card will be charged on the spot. It ensures you don’t flake out because there are tons of people that’d like to take your place if you don’t show and if you’ve dropped 60 bucks a head already, you’re less likely to be a no-showing tool.
Cinderella’s Royal Table
You eat inside of Cinderella’s Castle and meet all the princesses. Personally, not my bag – I don’t really care much for character meetings because I’m a quasi-functioning adult WHO IS TOTALLY MATURE ALL THE TIME. However, youz guyz with sproglings will rarely find all the Disney princesses together elsewhere, so take advantage if you have little princess wanna-bes. They do breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The Luau at the Polynesian Resort
I’ve never been before, though the trip I’m going on next week, I am fixing that! I’ve heard from numerous people this is a fantastic time. Fire throwing and chicks in coconut bras and pork and fruity drinks and, and, and NNNNNNF. Something worth noting is the Polynesian is closest to the Magic Kingdom, so if you’re on the Disney bus line and looking to get there, take the bus to MK then find the Polynesian stop.
The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue
This show takes place at Disney’s Fort Wilderness resort. And really, there’s nothing I can say about it that this YouTube video doesn’t cover. The internet cheats sometimes, I swear.
MAGIC KINGDOM EATS:
Be Our Guest Restaurant
The only regret I have about my latest Disney adventure is I can’t check out their new hotness, the Beauty and the Beast themed ballroom restaurant Be Our Guest. It looks amazing, the ordering process looks like a lot of fun, and even with my absolutely insane early booking, OTHER PEOPLE WERE FASTER. For those of you looking to go to Disney and who are doing your proper early research, best of luck and I hate you a little. (Also, I can totally console myself with Gaston’s Tavern, a quick-eats place that’s also new and serves GIGANTIC PIECES OF PORK.)
Liberty Tree Tavern
I have a soft spot for this place. The food is super home-style Americana but that means wholesome and delicious and WHO DOESN’T LOVE APPLE CRISP? This place is centrally located in Liberty Square and it does have characters that wander the restaurant, all of them dressed like pilgrims and frontier people. Donald Duck in a feather and a loincloth – WOO! It’s one of the easier places to get into with characters, actually, so that’s good for you breeder types. The rest of us can just longingly stare at Mickey while we shovel mashed potatoes into our maws.
HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS EATS:
Hollywood and Vine
Hollywood and Vine is pretty much standard buffet-style food. However, it’s got something going for it other places doesn’t and that’s pre-seating for Hollywood Studios’ water and light show, Fantasmic. There’s really nothing fancy going on here, but the preferred seating really does make it worthwhile to stop by. Also, the only other restaurant to offer this is The Brown Derby and I’ll be honest, when Dave and I ate there we weren’t impressed. The food was not worth the Derby’s price tag. So H&V it is. It’s decent enough and will get you into the Fantasmic sweet seats.
Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater
You eat in cars. Staring at a drive-in screen. Seriously, I don’t need to say anything else.
50′s Prime Time Cafe
You remember those shows like Leave it to Beaver? Where June’s walking around this ultra-glammed 50′s kitchen serving egg salad? That’s what you get here. Each room is another 50′s kitchen, the vignettes all decorated to give it that old timey ambiance. The food’s good, your standard fried chicken and meatloaf kinda thing, and the serving staff are . . . well. They’re Mom and Dad. From the 50′s. If you don’t eat your vegetables, they will give you shit for it (and quite possibly pick up your fork and attempt to feed you.)
ANIMAL KINGDOM EATS:
The Rainforest Cafe
I’ve eaten elsewhere in Animal Kingdom and I always come back to the Rainforest Cafe not because the food will blow you away, but because you can’t beat the experience of having all the lights go out, fake rain starting, and a stampede of elephants trumpeting your way. You don’t notice how many animatronic animals there are inside the walls and over your head until one of these “storms” happens and the restaurant around you comes alive. It’s colorful, it’s bright, and like many of the Disney restaurants, a show along with your dinner.
DOWNTOWN DISNEY EATS:
Downtown Disney is basically the nighttime hangout spot if you’re sick of the hoopla of the parks or your hotel pool. (This rarely happens with me, but I still enjoy Downtown Disney all the same.) The whole place is restaurants and shops, so there’s a lot of things to do and see. I’m not going to make a list here just because it’s preeeetty much a lot of generic stuff? Planet Hollywood, House of Blues. There’s a Rainforest Cafe located here (second location), a Wolfgang Puck’s. Fulton’s Crabhouse is good if you like seafood, though it’s expensive. Bongos is a bit of a weird call for me because, while the first and second times I ate there it was a delight, the last time it was horrid. Like, the food was simply terrible. I’m not sure I’d return there because of it.
So, here’s the big one. Epcot. Mostly thanks to the World Showcase having a restaurant in every country and a lot of them being REALLY, REALLY GOOD. I’ve eaten at most of them, and here’s where I’d send you:
The Biegarten Restaurant
So if you like polka, this is the place to be! Well, polka and long tables that seat you with strangers, which I don’t love, but it’s all in the flavor of the country. You can get really good stuff here at a reasonable price, including BEER and SCHNITZEL and SAUSAGE and LEDERHOSEN. But don’t eat the lederhosen. Not so delicious. I recall the strudel being scrumptious, too, but if you’re gonna do dessert in Epcot, you go to . . .
Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie
France! You just . . . go here. It’s a french pastry shop and you will walk inside, take a whiff, and want to roll in the deliciousness they have behind their counters. Every trip, I make a stop and get a sampling of sweets and every year I purr like a fat li’l kitty cat afterward. It is SO worth your time.
San Angel Inn Restaurant
Like Mexican? Go eat in Mexico! The coolest part about this place is it’s a faux-Aztec temple, so the look of it is amazing. The food’s solid, though pricey, but the fare is really good if you’re into that whole burrito thing. Which, you know, I am. Lots of traditional dishes (all of the chefs in the showcase hail from the represented countries) so you get a chance to try some stuff you might not get at home.
Also Because Sombreros Happen.
Japan, oh Japan. There’s a quick eats place in Japan I’d actually avoid – I tried it last time we were there and was largely unimpressed – but the traditional Japanese steakhouse? YES, PLEASE. Dinner and a show! The chefs come to your table and prepare your meal right in front of you. Like most of the Epcot restaurants, this is on the pricier side, but well worth it. Also note that this place is ALWAYS booked fast. If you want this experience, reserve early.
Tutto Italia Ristorante
Italy. No brainer, really. Last time I went to Disney with the crew, we couldn’t get into Teppan Edo so we ended up here sort of by accident. And yeah, I guess you can get Italian food any old place at home, but I can guarantee it doesn’t taste like this. By the time the five of us were done eating, we had to be rolled out the door. Delicious. Expensive! But well worth the cost. (Tip: a lot of the countries in Epcot are on the Disney meal plan? So the cost might not matter so much if you went for the inclusive meal package. You’d get a ton of value out of that package if you could swing by Epcot for dinner every night, I swear.) Also, Italy has wine. So much wine.