Editor’s note: This article has been updated with the most recent information.
Even surrounded by Disney magic, you’ve still got to eat.
At Walt Disney World, mealtime can range from quick burgers and fries to an entirely immersive experience that transports you across the globe — or even into space. It’s not uncommon to spend as much time strategizing about where to eat at Disney as which attractions to ride.
When you visit Disney World, you’ll need to think of dining in two separate categories: meals at regular restaurants that serve as a way to fuel up before getting back to the action, and meals at one-of-a-kind venues that also count as entertainment and a way to see characters or shows without crowds.
Once your kids know they can eat in space or that Mickey, Minnie or the princesses can join them for dinner, you may have to choose between a budget-friendly meal and creating lasting memories during a pretty pricey dining excursion.
However, not all Disney food — and dining experiences — are created equal. Here are the options worth fitting into your next Disney World vacation, whether you’re aiming for something affordable, upscale or full of special Disney moments.
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Best Disney restaurants
Best Disney World restaurant: Takumi-Tei
The best restaurant both in Epcot and at Disney World is Takumi-Tei. It wins for not only the quality of the food but the refined service, unique atmosphere and memorable experience that will leave you in disbelief that you are still in Central Florida.
There are only two options here, both of which are inspired by traditional omakase meals: a plant-based menu for $150 per person and one with meat for $250 per person. Children younger than 8 aren’t allowed, and both menus take between two and three hours to enjoy, so plan accordingly and savor your brief escape to Japan.
Best restaurant at Epcot for guests of all ages: Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria
Don’t worry, we aren’t going to only list restaurants that cost hundreds of dollars. While Takumi-Tei takes our top spot on this list, we’ll add another great Epcot option that is more affordable and welcomes all guests: Via Napoli.
In the heart of the Italy section of Epcot’s World Showcase, this long-standing favorite may have slipped a notch since reopening, but it still features legitimate Italian food that would pass muster in New York City’s Little Italy.
The prices are reasonable by Disney standards, with most entrees costing no more than $30. Pizzas are more expensive than you might hope (the large, shown below, was $44.50), but they’re good for sharing, as a large can serve a family of three or four. The Piccante Pizza with added pepperoni (which costs $24 to $50, depending on the size you pick) is a great choice.
Best restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: The Hollywood Brown Derby
This Hollywood Studios replica of the California icon has an air-conditioned dining room that’s an ideal lunchtime escape from the Florida heat.
Service here isn’t always fast, and the prices aren’t cheap, but it is a glorious way to fill up while getting a legitimate break from the park. The Cobb salad ($22) is great, and you can’t go wrong with the filet mignon served with horseradish cream and peppercorn sauce ($49).
Best restaurant at the Magic Kingdom: Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen
Unless what you’re after is an expensive character meal, there’s no better restaurant in the Magic Kingdom than Skipper Canteen. This claim is especially true if you enjoy both the Jungle Cruise ride and slightly more adventurous eating than stereotypical theme park fare like burgers and fries.
On the lunch and dinner menus, you’ll find dishes such as Falls Family Falafel ($11) and “Tastes like Chicken” Because it is! ($28), sweet chili-glazed fried chicken served with jasmine rice and seasonal vegetables. There’s also a sustainable fish course featuring Asian flavors for $32.
If you like spicy noodle dishes, Skipper Dan’s Dan Dan Noodles ($28), a noodle dish topped with crispy pork, vegetables and a spicy chili sauce, is unlike anything else you’ll find in the Magic Kingdom.
Best restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Tusker House Restaurant
This was a tough call, but we’ll give Tusker House the slight edge over Tiffins Restaurant, another Animal Kingdom favorite, as Tusker House gives you the chance to see characters in unique, cool costumes.
Tusker House currently has a set menu for its safari-themed character dining option. It’s a bit pricey at $59 per adult and $38 per child, plus taxes and tip, for lunch and dinner (or $45 per adult and $29 per child, excluding taxes and tip, for breakfast), but you get a lot of food — as in, far too much for one person.
Your meal comes with salad and bread plates (with hummus, coriander and mango chutneys) as starters; a large sampler of Moroccan-spiced beef, curry shrimp, spit-roasted herb chicken and marinated pork (plus sides) for your entree; and a dessert trio platter. The shrimp and rice dish was easily the best of the entrees, but the entire meal was tasty.
To accompany your meal, you can enjoy an assortment of cocktails (from safari-themed drinks such as a Tikiti Punch to traditional drinks like a Moscow mule), beers, wines and ciders for an extra cost.
Best quick-service meal: Satu’li Canteen
Quick service at its Disney-fied finest, this mess hall is next to Avatar Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom.
The fast-casual spot’s beef, chicken and fish bowls (which cost between $12.99 and $17.49 per bowl) make for a great lunch or dinner that’s quick, cheap and healthy. As an added bonus, there’s also a selection of wine and beer, should you wish to wind down after the Avatar experience.
If you save room for dessert, order the blueberry cream cheese mousse ($5.79). It’s easily a highlight of the entire menu.
Related: How to eat healthy at Disney World
Best fancy meal: Victoria & Albert’s
If you want to savor the best award-winning food at Disney World while celebrating a special occasion like a major anniversary, a milestone birthday or an epic celebration, head to the posh Victoria & Albert’s restaurant in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Just don’t expect to roll in straight from the parks, as this is an upscale venue with a strict dress code.
Children younger than 10 aren’t permitted here, and you should expect to spend several hundred dollars on a meal for two — surpassing $1,000 is common if you and your dining companion decide to include wine. Book the chef’s table to watch the kitchen team prepare your incredible meal.
Best lounge meal: Nomad Lounge
If you want a nice daytime break while at Animal Kingdom, there’s no better place than Nomad Lounge. In fact, it’s arguably worth a visit to the park on its own.
Located right before you enter Pandora — The World of Avatar, Nomad Lounge is the absolute best place for a snack if you like items that are a bit more worldly and flavorful. Though it can easily take an hour or more to have your turn come up on the walk-up waitlist, you’ll be rewarded handsomely once inside (or on the patio).
Nomad Lounge favorites include the bread service from the connected Tiffins Restaurant ($14), the sliders with amazing yucca fries ($15) and the churros ($9). The menu items are all shareable, so you and your group can try several things without filling up too much in the middle of the day.
Best street treats
While there are a bunch of excellent snacking options around the parks and resorts, if you’re looking for the best street treat at Disney World, there’s one that reigns supreme: the Dole Whip.
What’s Dole Whip? It’s a pineapple-flavored soft-serve concoction that you can add pineapple juice to … if you’re smart. On a hot day, this refreshing treat (which starts at $5.99 for a cup) is perfection.
At Disney World, you can get your Dole Whip just beyond the Magic Kingdom’s Magic Carpets of Aladdin at Aloha Isle. You can also find Dole Whip in Animal Kingdom at Tamu Tamu Refreshments — adding a shot of alcohol to the treat is an option here — and at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort just behind the main building as you head toward the pool.
If you want to change things up, Disney now offers some other flavors, including raspberry, strawberry, lime and mango. Of the newer flavors, we’re big fans of the coconut version, though you can never go wrong with the original.
Freshly baked cookies
If you’re a cookie person, the hottest thing on the Disney block is the half-pound cookies from Gideon’s Bakehouse in Disney Springs. These cookies are massive and decadent, and they come in a variety of craveable flavors.
On the regular menu, you’ll find the original chocolate chip cookie ($6) plus peanut butter crunch ($6), triple chocolate chip ($6) and a few other more exclusive, limited-time flavors that can and do sell out early in the day. A selection of cake slices, cookies dipped in chocolate and cold brews is available as well.
If you want one or more of these cookies (you can only purchase up to six at a time), plan on joining the virtual queue as soon as you get to Disney Springs by going to Gideon’s and adding your number to the list, as there’s often an hour or two of virtual waiting required before you need to wait 10 to 20 minutes in a physical line to get your goodies. The cutoff to get in the virtual queue is sometimes a few hours before closing, so you’ll want to join the line before 7 p.m. to have a good shot at cookie bliss.
If you ask us, the best food within Hollywood Studios’ Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is undoubtedly a grab-and-go wrap from Ronto Roasters.
There are two versions of the tasty Ronto Wrap (both around $13), which features grilled pork sausage wrapped in a warm pita. The breakfast version (the superior option) adds eggs and cheese, while the original comes with peppercorn sauce, roasted pork and slaw.
It isn’t always open, but if you’re hungry and see a line forming at the egg roll cart at the entrance to Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom, you’d be wise to join the queue.
Here, you can get two egg rolls in flavors such as pepperoni pizza, cheeseburger and buffalo chicken. That may sound a little weird, but each version tastes amazing. You’ll pay $9.50 for your choice of two egg rolls.
Best Disney character dining experiences
Best character meal at the Magic Kingdom: Cinderella’s Royal Table
This is an expensive meal, but it is well worth the high price tag, as you and your kids will get to dine in the castle with all their favorite Disney princesses.
Breakfast here is the cheaper option, costing $65 per adult and $39 per child. Lunch and dinner are a little more expensive at $79 for adults and $47 for kids, but during these service times, you’ll enjoy much better food selections, including braised chicken with fettuccine, a castle salad that combines romaine with Brussels sprouts, and a seasonal cheesecake.
Best character brunch: Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera
Cinderella has a run for her slipper in the top spot because Topolino’s Terrace offers an equally memorable character brunch at the top of Disney’s Riviera Resort with top-notch service, delicious food and some pretty famous characters in unforgettable costumes.
The breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace features a pastry basket, juice, coffee and an entree from a menu geared toward adults or kids. For adults, the selection includes smoked salmon, avocado toast, sour cream waffles and a wild mushroom scramble, all of which cost $45 each. Meanwhile, kids 9 and younger can choose from $29 options such as fruit and yogurt, Mickey waffle dippers and scrambled eggs.
The food is consistently tasty, but it’s the characters that really set this dining experience apart. Minnie, Mickey, Daisy and Donald don their finest Mediterranean outfits and are introduced with music that is very fun and unique to this spot.
Best character meal at Epcot: Garden Grill Restaurant
Located in Epcot’s Living with the Land Pavilion, the Garden Grill Restaurant doesn’t look all that interesting or impressive at first glance. In fact, for years, we just walked right past it. However, now that we’ve tried it, we suggest giving it a shot, especially if you’re after some relaxing time with classic characters.
Priced at $55 for adults and $36 for kids for lunch and dinner (or $42 for adults and $27 for kids for breakfast, which returns starting June 14), the all-you-care-to-enjoy Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Harvest Feast features a family-style platter with options like barbecue chicken, seasonal veggies, grilled beef, salad, macaroni and cheese, bread and more. The restaurant physically rotates, and at times, you can see scenes from the Living with the Land ride, which is where some of the ingredients may have been grown.
While the food here is solid, the characters steal the show. As you dine at your booth, Chip, Dale, Mickey and Pluto make regular visits.
Best character meal for tweens and teens: Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White
One of the newer character meals at Disney World is also one of the best.
Found at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (meaning you don’t need a park ticket to visit), the full three-course meal at Artist Point goes well beyond burgers and fries. Menu options include a shrimp cocktail starter, sustainably sourced fish with risotto and a truly amazing vegetarian dish with asparagus, leeks, arugula and gnocchi. Additionally, you’ll have four included desserts to choose from, ranging from a “poison” apple to a cookies and cream panna cotta with chocolate gems.
The main draw, though, is the meet-and-greet with the Evil Queen herself. Keep your eyes peeled for Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, too, as they’re known to wander around the dining room.
Best all-you-care-to-enjoy meal
If you’re looking to indulge while on vacation but don’t want to sit for a traditional character meal, then consider grabbing dinner at ‘Ohana. An all-you-care-to-enjoy venue at the iconic Polynesian Village Resort, ‘Ohana has been really popular for a long time … and for good reason.
At $59 for adults and $38 for kids, dinner at ‘Ohana is an investment in both calories and cash. However, it’s a must-do for any foodie, especially if you love the restaurant’s ‘Ohana noodles, signature bread, pork dumplings, bread pudding and more as much as we do.
Aim to time your meal around the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom so you can enjoy them from the dining room, which plays music set to the spectacle. Save time for a pre- or post-meal drink at Trader Sam’s for an epic (and delicious) evening outside the parks.
Pro tip: If you don’t want the whole ‘Ohana spread, you can get the noodles, pot stickers and bread pudding a la carte next to the restaurant at Tambu Lounge.
Best outdoor meals at Disney
A fantastic outdoor dining experience, this waterfront Disney Springs restaurant is an ideal spot to savor some fresh seafood.
Start your meal with the exceptional honey butter rolls (which are complimentary and worthy of the trip all on their own), then fill up on seafood dishes like crabcakes ($32.50), tuna poke ($19.75) and macaroni and cheese with shrimp and andouille ($25). If you’re not into seafood, don’t fret: The cheeseburger ($19) and Yacht Club club sandwich ($22), both of which come with tasty fries, are also hits.
Geyser Point Bar & Grill
Overlooking Bay Lake at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, the open-air Geyser Point lounge is a walk-in spot well worth visiting, even if there’s a wait to get in.
Menu items range from cheesy barbecue brisket with chips ($11) to chicken wings in a teriyaki glaze ($15) to a bison cheeseburger topped with bacon ($21). A mix of cocktails is available, too, should you wish to imbibe after a busy day in the parks.
Best dinner show
Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue
If you like laugh-until-your-belly-hurts kind of fun, this is the restaurant for you. If the laughing doesn’t make your belly ache, then the all-you-can-enjoy fried chicken and fixings will do the trick.
This dinner show at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort is a Disney classic and a ton of fun for kids and adults, as long as you like singing along to American classics and laughing at corny jokes. The strawberry shortcake and bottomless sangria, wine and beer are additional reasons why you should check out this lively venue.
While prices vary depending on where you sit, expect to pay $66 to $74 per adult and $39 to $44 per child.
Roundup Rodeo BBQ
If you are at Hollywood Studios and need a serious protein refuel with a side of childhood nostalgia, there’s one clear winner: Roundup Rodeo BBQ.
Disney World’s newest restaurant opened within Toy Story Land in the spring of 2023. It may not have character meet-and-greets or live entertainment (though there are voiceovers that occasionally yell that Andy is coming), but it’s a cute addition to the park and serves a ton of mouthwatering food.
For $45 per adult and $25 per kid, you get an all-you-care-to-eat selection of meats, appetizers and desserts. On top of the beef brisket, smoked ribs, pork sausage and barbecue chicken that come standard with the meat platter, you have your choice of four can’t-miss sides, such as macaroni and cheese, baked beans, loaded tater tots and fried pickles. As an added bonus, all tables get an order of homemade biscuits served with outrageously good sweet pepper jelly.
Space 220 Restaurant
A newer addition to Epcot, Space 220 virtually transports diners 220 miles above Earth for a meal in “space.”
While “dining in space,” you can enjoy items like the Starry Calamari, the Galactic Miso Salmon, the Gemini Burger and the Spaceghetti & Shrimp, all of which are options within the multicourse, prix fixe menu that costs $55 at lunch and $79 at dinner for adults, and $29 for kids at either service. Extras like sides, desserts and alcoholic beverages (all with space-appropriate names) are available as well.
Although the food is solid (albeit pricey), the highlight of the experience is the feeling of blasting off and then dining above Earth. As you eat, you’ll be able to spot ships and space tourists passing by the windows, an experience you won’t get anywhere else at Disney World.
If you can’t quite swing the high price or lack the time required for a multicourse meal, visit the lounge or bar to see if a walk-up spot or reservation is available. These high-demand options are a great way to get a taste of the experience for less.
Yak & Yeti Restaurant
Yak & Yeti is both a sit-down and quick-service venue in Animal Kingdom, with the quick-service window offering a stripped-down version of the menu available inside.
Though Yak & Yeti isn’t cheap, with main dishes starting at $21.49, the pan-Asian cuisine is quite good, making it one of our favorites at Animal Kingdom. The decor mimics what you’d expect to find while eating in a Nepalese market.
To keep your total check affordable, order one of the shareable plates like the ahi tuna nachos ($21.99). The portion size is plenty for two or more people.
Regal Eagle Smokehouse
Regal Eagle is a newer kid on Epcot’s block.
Nestled within the American Adventure Pavilion in the space that previously housed the Liberty Inn, the eatery features a variety of barbecue plates and draft beers. However, unlike the barbecue spot in Toy Story Land, this option only offers a la carte items, which makes a meal cheaper and easier to share.
Purists hailing from barbecue meccas like central Texas won’t necessarily fall in love with the fare, but the barbecue is good and it’s a solid value (especially by Disney standards) for families.
The Crystal Palace
On the way to Adventureland from Main Street U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom, this buffet restaurant offers good food and a few characters from the Hundred Acre Wood. Some even say the food at Crystal Palace is better than what’s available at Cinderella’s Royal Table.
Dishes you’ll find here include seasonal salads, fried chicken covered in gravy, shrimp Creole and a dessert platter. While alcoholic drinks cost extra, all of the buffet’s food is part of the set pricing of $59 per adult and $38 per child.
To save a little money, skip the lunch and dinner service in favor of breakfast, which costs $45 per adult and $29 per child. The morning buffet features numerous breakfast staples, including yogurt, eggs, biscuits and gravy, pancakes and various pastries.
Oga’s Cantina, the “Star Wars”-themed bar inside Hollywood Studios’ Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, is really light on actual food items. However, the experience is so over-the-top and unique we had to include it on this list.
You’re not really here for the food or even the quality of the drinks. Instead, you come to see DJ R-3X spin tunes and interact with the bartenders, who are in full costume and character. The vibe will turn even the most anti-“Star Wars” person into a smiling participant.
Make a reservation in advance if you want to visit, even if just for a drink, as this spot gets very busy. Try the Fuzzy Tauntaun ($18) for a fun sensation.
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant
Cool and atmospheric, this restaurant is on a less-traveled walkway in Hollywood Studios. You can dine in your own “car” while watching old movies. Better yet, let your kids have their own car so you can eat in relative peace.
The menu is a la carte, ranging from hamburgers to pasta to salads. It’s fairly easy to stay on budget here, as each entree costs $19 to $27.
The old movie clips shown aren’t likely to hold your kids’ attention, and the food isn’t always the star of the show, but it’s still a cool experience to try at least once, especially given how much the cast members really get into their roles.
Rose & Crown Dining Room
This Epcot take on British fare serves as a convenient spot to enjoy an authentic plate of fish and chips ($26) or bangers and mash ($23) without hopping across the pond.
If you can’t or don’t want to sit down, there’s a to-go counter next to Rose & Crown that’s often open to serve the classics to those on the run. But if you aren’t in a hurry, make a reservation at Rose & Crown and enjoy the ambiance while noshing on pub grub.
If you want an upscale Disney dinner that’s not quite as fancy (or expensive) as Victoria & Albert’s, try California Grill.
The check-in desk is on the second floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, but the actual dining room resides on the 15th floor. This elevated location — which enforces a dress code, though it’s not as strict as Victoria & Albert’s — gives patrons phenomenal views of the sunset and nightly fireworks at the Magic Kingdom and surrounding resorts.
Currently, California Grill is a multicourse dining experience that costs $89 for adults and $39 for kids. Expect fresh foods inspired by the Pacific coast, such as sushi and sashimi, goat cheese ravioli, oak-fired Angus filet and fire-roasted venison, on the menu.
Newer to Walt Disney World is Steakhouse 71, another dining venue inside the Contemporary Resort. This restaurant, which replaces The Wave, ties its menu and stories back to the roots of Walt Disney and the opening of Disney World in 1971.
Menu standouts here are the sea salt-dusted potato brioche ($12), the Stack Burger with elevated touches such as lemon aioli and a brioche bun ($21), the vegetable “Wellington” ($26), the signature chocolate cake that has 16 layers to match the 16 floors of the Contemporary ($11) and even the surprisingly delicious ambrosia ($8).
Our least-favorite Disney meals
Even with all the magical pixie dust at Disney World, there are misfires. While all of these may have their followings, for us, the food is either too common or bland, too off-the-beaten-path or just too overrun.
- Akershus Royal Banquet Hall: Character dining is a big part of the Disney experience. You might think you can save a few dollars by dining with the princesses at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot instead of at Cinderella’s Royal Table, but it’s a poor substitute (unless you need a bite near the “Frozen” ride in Norway). Although your favorite princesses will join you for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the food just isn’t on par with the other Disney eateries. That said, it’s an easier reservation to snag than Cinderella’s Royal Table, so keep it in your back pocket if you need a last-minute princess meal.
- Teppan Edo: This spot in the Japan Pavilion at Epcot is another letdown, especially compared to the spectacular Takumi-Tei. The food here is decent, but there’s not a lot of performance factor at this teppanyaki place. Frankly, we’ve seen better performances at a more reasonable price point in teppanyaki restaurants in strip malls closer to home. At Disney prices, there are better values for your hard-earned dollars, with themes you can’t easily recreate elsewhere.
- Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe: With a few exceptions, it’s hard to find great food in the Magic Kingdom, but you should avoid the worst of the worst, which has recently been Pecos Bill. The quick-service menu looks interesting, with a mix of rice bowls, nachos, fajitas and burgers, but in the end, the service can be curt and the food a bit disappointing (and borderline inedible).
- Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe: Another Magic Kingdom misfire is Cosmic Ray’s. The menu is very limited to theme park staples such as chicken fingers, burgers and fries, which would be OK in theory if that’s what you were after. In practice, Cosmic Rays can get very crowded and run very behind with orders … all for an average plate of stereotypical American fare. If you must eat here, mobile order well in advance.
Disney dining tips
- Make your reservation well in advance, up to 60 days from the start of your trip. You can cancel or modify it if you change your mind, but it’s good to have the option of being waited on in air conditioning. Services like Mouse Dining can help you keep an eye on availability if you don’t want to be constantly looking for a spot at one of your favorites.
- Book your Disney trip via an agent that specializes in Disney, such as our partners at Mouse Counselors, to get some professional help with snagging those hard-to-get dining reservations.
- When ordering from a counter-service restaurant, do so via the My Disney Experience app to avoid wasting time in line waiting to order.
- To rack up extra points, you can charge Disney meals to your room (using the app or your MagicBands) and then earn a bonus on all your in-park meals by paying at resort checkout with a card that gives you a bonus on travel. Paying with Disney gift cards you purchased at a discount is another great way to save a bit while dining at some of Disney World’s best restaurants.
- If you have an annual pass, you can often save 10%, so don’t forget to ask for a discount.
- If you pay for your Disney meal on the spot with a credit card, use one that gives you the best payout on dining. Most Disney World restaurants do code as dining charges, even within the parks. This means you can earn 4 points per dollar spent on dining at restaurants with the American Express® Gold Card or 3 points per dollar spent on dining with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, among other cards that are the best for dining.
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