Disney Restaurants You Must Try

Whether you’re a sophisticated foodie or a just a hungry vacationer that appreciates stupendous flavor, these Disney restaurant suggestions are sure to pique your appetite.

Before diving into our evaluations, here’s what you won’t find in this article:

  • Quick-service restaurants or food carts around the parks
  • Victoria and Albert’s – this luxury dining experience is definitely one of the most illustrious Disney restaurants, but we excluded it due to the exorbitant prices and the fact that children younger than 10 are not permitted
  • Every single restaurant on Disney property – we’re all about the best, or at least, what we consider the best. If you don’t agree with our picks, we’d love to read your opinion in the comments section toward the bottom of the page

Le Cellier Steakhouse

Located in the Canada Pavilion of Epcot, Le Cellier resembles exactly what it sounds like: the wine cellar of an elegant chateau. Rich wooden furniture, stone archways, and candle chandeliers add nicely to the refined décor.

Le Cellier is open for both lunch and dinner, but reservations are highly recommended for either as this is one of the most popular Disney restaurants.

Must-Try Appetizer: “Le Cellier” Seafood Salad ($17)

Must-Try Entrée: Dry-Aged Boneless Rib-Eye ($49)

Must-Try Dessert: Maple Crème Brûlée ($8)

Even though there are vegetarian options (House-made wild Mushroom Ravioli), this restaurant really specializes in steaks and seafood. If you’re not much a meat-eater, Le Cellier Steakhouse probably isn’t the best choice for you. Like most Disney restaurants, there is a children’s menu which includes pasta, chicken, salmon, and sirloin.

Click here for the full menu.

Visitors have said:

“One of the best meals I’ve ever eaten. Everything about this restaurant was amazing. The atmosphere was rustic and elegant. Every minute detail was thought through, from the subtle Canadian theme to how the menus lit up in case you have difficulty seeing in low lighting. Our server was excellent and extremely helpful with the menu. She took time to explain how every dish was prepared and gave her recommendations. We ordered two appetizers to share between the five of us- the cheese soup and classic poutine. The cheese soup was to die for! It was devoured within a minute of being placed on the table…. The steak was perfectly cooked and the risotto was the best I have ever had. The lamb and aged rib-eye were also excellent choices. Dessert was an amazing maple creme brule. Some of us also ordered the smokehouse chocolate bar, which was basically a fancy smore that actually smelled like a campfire. Everyone was so full but could not stop eating! We ate every last bite of the meal. The bill was very high ($350) but we paid with the Disney dining plan. It was easily worth the double credits. This is a meal that none of us will ever forget.” – posted on TripAdvisor

Jiko – The Cooking Place

Jiko features some of the most unique culinary offerings available at Disney. This is a great place to go if you want to experience spices and flavors that you won’t taste anywhere else. Jiko combines African, Indian, and Mediterranean cuisine into a delectable medley of gastronomic options.

Must-Try Appetizer: Crispy Duck “Bobotie” Roll ($12)

Must-Try Entrée: Spicy Botswana-style “Seswaa” Beef Short Rib ($46)

Must-Try Dessert: Ghanaian Chocolate and Kenyan Coffee Pot de Crème ($11)

Click here for the full menu.

Like the Animal Kingdom Lodge where Jiko is located, the atmosphere is generally pleasant and laid-back. Two wood-burning ovens and the golden savannah sunset wall give the restaurant an alluring ambiance, but we wouldn’t call it particularly unique.

Visitors have said:

“This is probably one of the best fine dining restaurants located within Disneyworld. Everything from the decor to the ambience to the service was outstanding. The extensive wine selection is 100% South African. The bottle we had was excellent. The food is delectable. I had the monkfish which was cooked to perfection. My wife’s short-ribs was mouth-watering and super tender. The cuisine is a blend of African, Asian fusion and they worked very well together. Prices are a little steep but well worth every penny.” – posted on TripAdvisor

California Grill

California Grill is our all-around favorite Disney restaurant. The food isn’t quite as extravagant as Victoria and Albert’s, but it definitely qualifies as fine dining. Disney cites the price at $30-$59.99 per adult meal, but that figure would be tough to meet if you’re interested in appetizers, drinks, and/or dessert. That being said, the prices are not unreasonable for the quality. It will all depend on your appetite but expect to pay $120-$150 for two adults.

California Grill has an impressive wine list that includes over 300 options, and there is also a hardy selection of craft beers and cocktails. The dinner menu is constantly in flux, taking advantage of seasonal specialties and innovative market-inspired cuisine. Below are some of our top picks:

Must-Try Appetizer: Sonomo Goat Cheese Ravioli ($15)

Must-Try Sushi: Spicy Kazan Roll ($26)

Must-Try Salad: Crispy Rock Shrimp Salad ($18)

Must-Try Entrée: Lamb Porterhouse ($49)

Must-Try Dessert: Warm Homemade Fritters ($12)

Click here for the full menu.

On the 15th floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort where California Grill is located, you’ll have a remarkable vantage from which you can view the lagoon, Cinderella Castle, and the Magic Kingdom Fireworks Spectacular. If you’re dining before or after the fireworks show your reservation entitles you to view the fireworks from the lounge or outside observation deck. We recommend eating around sunset, enjoying the gorgeous twilight view, and then returning for the fireworks.

This is a very popular Disney restaurant, so you will definitely want to make a reservation (up to 180 days in advance) for seating in the main dining area. If you’re comfortable eating at the bar, those seats are available on a first-come-first-served basis and reservations are not accepted.

Visitors have said:

“My husband and I booked this restaurant a few months in advance as we were celebrating our Honeymoon in Disney. Upon arrival at the Hotel, the California Grill checkin is on the 2nd floor and you are escorted up to the restaurant via elevator. From the moment we arrived they walked us to our table whilst explaining where the observations decks were for each park along with a brief description of the kitchen. The service was second to none and we didn’t feel at all rushed. The food was simply amazing, I highly recommend the bison! We were on the dining plan and it is certainly worth 2 credits. For anyone considering this restaurant, you won’t be disappointed!!”– posted on TripAdvisor

Be Our Guest Restaurant

Confession: We haven’t actually visited this restaurant yet, since it was recently added to Magic Kingdom as part of Fantasyland. However, it definitely makes our personal must-try list. The restaurant is located inside Beast’s Castle and the dining room resembles the ballroom scene straight from Beauty and the Beast. Archways, chandeliers, mosaics, and all of the elegance fit for a princess make this a must-see. Critics have given the cuisine rave reviews, so below are our first picks of what we hope to try.

Appetizer: Mussels Provençal ($12.99)

Entrée: Thyme-scented Pork Rack Chop ($23.99)

Desserts: The “Grey Stuff” (Chocolate Shell, Cookie Crème topped with Lumiere’s special “Grey Stuff”) ($4.19)

Click here for the full menu.

Be Our Guest offers quick-service dining for lunch, but we’re aiming for the full sit-down dinner experience in the evening. The prices are relatively moderate, ranging from about $15-$30 per adult.
If you’ve dined at Be Our Guest, be sure to let us know in the comments section below. We would love to hear more about this spectacular new restaurant.

Visitors have said:

“The best dining experience in Disney World. Lets begin with the decor, it is the Beast’s castle. A cast member calls your party’s name and lhuge castle doors are opened for you to enter,it is a very large restaurant with a few rooms that all have magic touches. The food was superb, my family ate the steak, scallops and shrimp, chicken and pork chops, all were delicious. The staff was wonderful and after dinner the Beast makes an appearance and you go to special area to take pictures. With the special touches in each room you feel like you are in the movie.” – posted on TripAdvisor

Flying Fish Café

All of these restaurants are “must-try,” but if you’re a seafood lover like we are, Flying Fish Café should be your first stop. Located at Disney’s BoardWalk, this lively themed restaurant features an open kitchen, beautiful murals, and stylish modern décor.

Wine connoisseurs rejoice! Flying Fish has an extravagant wine list to complement any of its artisanal cheeses or delectable entrees.

Must-Try Appetizer: Yellowfin Tuna Tartare and Crispy Tempura Tuna-Vegetable Sushi Roll ($18)
Must-Try Salad: Mozzarella di Bufala alla Caprese ($15)

Must-Try Entrée: Brioche-crusted Cool Water Rainbow Trout and Pan-roasted Bay Scallops ($34)

Must-Try Dessert: Pine Nut and Almond-crusted Ice Box Blood Orange-Mascarpone Cheesecake ($8)

Note that Flying Fish also has non-seafood options that include an Angus New York Strip Steak, and Ancho-Chicken, and these are great too! – posted on TripAdvisor

Additional Great Disney Restaurants

  • ‘Ohana – Disney’s Polynesian Resort
  • Monsieur Paul – France pavilion at Epcot
  • Chef Mickey’s – Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Citrico’s – Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
  • The Hollywood Brown Derby – Hollywood Studios

Think we’re missing something? Mention it in the comments section below!

Which is the Best Disney World Water Park?

In the left corner, the ski resort-themed Blizzard Beach, which opened in 1995.

In the right corner, the tropical Typhoon Lagoon, which opened in 1989.

Which one will triumph through eight rounds of scrutiny?

Round 1: Water Park Theming

Despite the waterslides and pools, Blizzard Beach maintains the appearance of a ski resort, complete with snow, boulders, evergreen trees, and a ski lift leading to the peak of the 90-foot-tall Mt. Gushmore. Holiday music adds to the ambiance.

Blizzard Beach water park

Typhoon Lagoon water park

Typhoon Lagoon resembles a more conventional water park with palm trees and beach themes, though unlike your average waterpark, in the center towers Mt. Mayday, a watershed mountain topped with a stranded shrimp boat.

Ding! Ding! Ding! Round 1 Scorecard:

This round was pretty even. The Blizzard Beach theme is definitely more unique, and also a bit more inclusive, but Typhoon Lagoon’s theme spurred our sense of adventure and summer fun. Let’s call this one a draw.

Round 2: Pools

Melt-Away Bay at Blizzard Beach water park

Blizzard Beach’s Melt-Away Bay is 1 acre of gently undulating waves flowing from the waterfalls that trickle down from Mt. Gushmore. Tubes are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. It’s a great place for relaxing, though finding a chair by the pool is a challenge.

Typhoon Lagoon on the other hand, is home to one of the world’s largest wave pools. The intensity varies from gentle waves to 6-foot swells, so this isn’t the place to fall asleep floating on your back! Tubes are not permitted, but you can get surfing lessons here, which we think is way cooler.Surf Pool at Typhoon Lagoon water park

Round 2 Scoreboard:

Typhoon Lagoon’s Surf Pool is truly a world-class attraction. This one is a unanimous decision in favor of Typhoon Lagoon.

Round 3: Classic Waterslides

Blizzard Beach is probably best known for Summit Plummet – one of the fastest and tallest free-falling waterslides in the world. Riders plunge 120 feet, reaching speeds of 55 mph before careening along the remainder of the 360-foot-long run. This one is intense, so make sure your bathing suit is tied tight!

If that’s a bit much for you and your crew, try Slush Gusher, a speed slide that propels riders to 50 mph. There is also Snow Stormers, a series of slides that offer a milder trip aboard toboggan mats. Similarly, Tobaggan Racers is a mild race between 8 contestants down a 250-foot-long shalom-style course.

Typhoon Lagoon Water park slideThe slides at Typhoon Lagoon do not require as much courage. Humunga Kowabunga is a series of three 214-foot slides that propel riders through caves and dark tunnels. Additionally, the three Storm Slides whisk riders through waterfalls and caves before dumping them in refreshing pools.

Round 3 Scorecard:

Blizzard beach dominates this round with Summit Plummet heavily contributing to the landslide.

Round 4: Inner Tube and Raft Waterslides

Double Dipper at Blizzard Beach water parkDownhill Double Dipper is another highlight of Blizzard Beach. These 2 side-by-side slides allow riders to race against a competitor and reach speeds up to 25 mph. Then there’s also Runoff Rapids, a series of 2 open slides and a single enclosed slide. Unfortunately, riders are required to carry their tubes up to the start of this ride, but the burden is definitely worth bearing.

At Typhoon Lagoon you can’t miss our personal favorite: Crush n’ Gusher water-coaster. This is the waterslide equivalent of a rollercoaster. Crush n’ Gusher’s water jets propel riders up hills as well as down steep drops.

There’s also Mayday Falls, which is the highest and longest ride at Typhoon Lagoon, but certainly not the most intense. Keelhaul Falls is another option, and this is definitely the most mild of all the tube slides.

Round 4 Scorecard:

Crush n’ Gusher blasts Typhoon lagoon to a clear win in this round.

Round 5: White-water Raft Rides

Teamboat Springs is another of Blizzard Beach’s world-class attractions. It is the world’s longest family white-water raft ride at 1,200 feet-long and accommodates up to 6 passengers at a time.

At Typhoon Lagoon the whole family can hop aboard Gangplank Falls where 4 riders tumble through water effects and rock formations for 300 feet.

Round 5 Scorecard:

There’s no denying it — Blizzard Beach is the obvious winner in this round.

Round 6: Lazy Rivers

At Blizzard Beach you’ll find Cross Country Creek which circles the park and carries riders into a very cool themed cave.

Cross Country Creek at Blizzard Beach water park
Castaway Creek at Typhoon Lagoon water park

Castaway Creek in Typhoon Lagoon is 2,000 feet-long and a bit more serene than its counterpart at Blizzard Beach.

Round 6 Scorecard:

Both lazy rivers are great places to relax, but Typhoon Lagoon’s Castaway Creek had more of the mellow experience we love while floating around the park.

Round 7: Children’s Attractions

Kiddie Slide at Blizzard Beach water parkSki Patrol Training Camp at Blizzard Beach is the prime spot for kids who aren’t ready for the more intense slides. It’s basically a super-cool water playground with a few tame slides and a pool. Also in this area is T-Bar, a zip line exclusively for children under 60 inches tall and an adjacent waterslide.Kiddie Pool at Blizzard Beach water park

 

For even younger Blizzard Beach visitors, Tike’s Peak is a water play area for children smaller than 4 feet tall.

Typhoon Lagoon’s options are more limited. Ketchakiddee Creek is also for children under 4 feet tall and includes mild slides, music, fountains, waterfalls, a shallow pool, and play area.

Round 7 Scorecard:

Blizzard Beach takes this round by a hair. T-Bar is what really secured the win. We would love to see an adult version of this ride.

Round 8: Unique Features

There aren’t many waterparks out there with a chair lift. This one-way trip to Mt. Gushmore is definitely the most unique aspect of Blizzard Beach, but be aware that the line can get very long.

Typhoon Lagoon’s Shark Reef is a very cool experience that we highly recommend. If you’re an avid snorkeler or diver, this might not be up to your standards. However, if you don’t have a lot of experience exploring coral-reef environments, this is your opportunity to swim with live sharks and tropical fish. We thought it was a lot of fun, but the water was very cold!

Round 8 Scorecard:

Although the chair lift is a nice touch on the wintry theme of Blizzard Beach, we think that Shark Reef is a lot more impressive, and a lot more fun.

The Best Disney World Water Park Final Decision:

TYPHOON LAGOON!

It was close. Really, really, REALLY close, but Typhoon Lagoon edged out Blizzard Beach in the final round.

Truthfully, both parks are fantastic. You and your family will have a great time at either park. At the end of vacation, it’s all about having fun and creating memories, and both parks will help you accomplish that mission.

TRIP TIP: If you’re planning to visit either of these water parks, we highly recommend entering the water park with a set gameplan. Which rides are you heading to first? The most popular ones are best to hit early, but the park will empty out later in the day. Keep in mind that Central Florida is prone to severe thunderstorms in the afternoon, especially during the summer. Prioritize the attractions that you are most interested in, and map your route ahead of time so that time isn’t wasted at the park. Here are some handy maps for reference:

Blizzard Beach Water Park
Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

Have you been to Blizzard Beach and/or Typhoon Lagoon? What do you think about our Splash Showdown? If there’s something you think we missed, or something you don’t quite agree with, let us know using the comments section below. We love to hear from readers!

5 Easy Ways to Save Money on a Disney Vacation

Here’s something that you probably already know: between park tickets, accommodations, and transportation costs, a Disney vacation can knock a few digits off your bank account balance. What you might not know is that a few small adjustments can easily reduce these costs.

Here are 5 easy ways to make your next trip to Disney less expensive, less stressful, and more enjoyable.

#1 – Visit Off-Season

Disney parks reach peak visitor attendance during the summer months. If you’re visiting Walt Disney World in Florida, summer is also the hottest and rainiest season. Standing in line for hours enduring high temperatures, humidity, and possibly rain is no fun. So, opt for a winter trip, when Disney guests typically enjoy moderate temperatures. Depending on the weeks you travel, airfares  and accommodations tend to be less expensive during winter months as well. Take advantage of sites like CheapOair, or Kayak, which can help you secure the lowest prices.

#2 – Eat Outside the Parks

Food prices in the parks can be expensive, and feeding the entire family three meals each day is not cheap. Save big money by having breakfast before leaving for the park and keeping snacks on hand. If you’re staying at a Disney Vacation Club villa, you’ll have a kitchen complete with a microwave, stove, and refrigerator. Take advantage of these. Preparing even one meal each day could save hundreds of dollars over the course of your vacation.

#3 – Arrive Prepared

There are certain things that you will DEFINITELY need while trekking through the Disney parks. Purchasing these items before arriving on disney property will save time and money.

  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottles
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Hat or visor
  • A small backpack, purse, or other convenient storage item
  • Raincoat or poncho

#4 – Bundle Tickets

Multi-day passes allow guests to purchase park tickets at a lower rate than single-day tickets. You can also add Park Hopper Options to visit multiple Disney properties in a single day. Check out the full pricing details for Walt Disney World in Florida by clicking here, or Disneyland in California here.

#5 – Purchase  Season Passes

If you live close enough to visit Disney theme parks multiple times over the course of a single year, or if you’re an avid Disney visitor, an annual pass may be a cost-saving option. Annual passes also provide discounts on dining on merchandise. Pricing details for annual passes at Walt Disney World are available here, or Disneyland in California here.