Hello! Welcome back. With more than 20 resort hotels on the 45 square miles that is Disney World, there are so many different dining experiences to choose from! From incredible character meals, to more laid back casual meals, to signature fine dining, the sky’s the limit! We have dined at so many places outside the parks, and it’s truly a nice break from the hustle and bustle. Here we go…
I can’t really say there are any that we don’t like, but we do have a few favorites we go to time and time again.
1. Chef Mickey’s at The Contemporary Resort. There’s no better way to get the undivided attention of the Fab Five! Whether Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy or Pluto is the apple of your eye, they will all circle the restaurant, coming right to your table to have a quick (silent hand gestured) chat and take some amazing photos with everyone at your table. It’s just a hop, skip and a jump away from Magic Kingdom. Whether you choose the quick walk, or a speedy ride on the monorail, you can expect to get there in about 10 minutes, although there are times when it’s actually faster to walk there. Trying to find these guys in the parks, and waiting in the long lines can be a real pain, so when we feel we must visit them, which is usually every time we visit, we head over to Chef Mickey’s for a late dinner. We like to go then for several reasons – two of them being: we can escape Magic Kingdom before all the craziness ensues with all the resort guests trying to catch their buses after Wishes. And the other – when you dine around 9pm, the restaurant is not very crowded, which allows the characters to spend more time at your table interacting, the food has been replenished a short while earlier, and your server will not have as many tables, so they can give you more attention as well. So you’re sure to be satisfied with the over all experience. The food here is done buffet style, which my family loves because there’s so much variety that everyone is sure to find something they will enjoy. And, the nice thing about a buffet is that you can place your drink order and head over for food immediately. The food here is tasty. Carved meats, lots of sides, a kids station of course with all their regular faves including pizza and chicken nuggets, as well as Mickey Mac n Cheese – which you’ll see lots of moms and dads eating as well. “this plate is for my kid, honest” or “I’m just finishing their plate because I don’t want it to go to waste”. Uh-huh, sure. The desserts are your typical offerings – an ice cream bar, cookies, a few cakes – all in bite size mini portions which are nice for the tiny humans in your party. And, the piece de resistance – and my fave dessert at Chef Mickey’s – Mickey Domes! They are basically an Oreo bottom, topped with a dome of chocolate mousse, and covered in chocolate, with chocolate ears. Right up my alley – chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate! But, I’m a sucker for anything with chocolate Mickey ears.
2. Cape May Cafe at The Beach Club is where you will find Goofy, Minnie, Chip and Dale all decked out for the beach, ready to storm Stormalong Bay right after breakfast. We love to go here for an early breakfast and then hop the boat over to Hollywood Studios. Again, your typical buffet style meal. You’ll find everything you’d want for breakfast – pastries, fruit, eggs, omelets, lots of meats, pancakes, and of course no Disney breakfast is complete with our a Mickey waffle, or three. The service here is great, and I love the feel of the Beach Club.
3. 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian. For breakfast, you’ll be dining along side Alice, The Mad Hatter, Pooh, and Tigger. Again, your typical breakfast buffet offerings. The food is hot and fresh, service is great. And Alice and her crazy dude in the green hat are two of my favorite characters. Whether you’r celebrating a Merry Unbirthday, or the real thing, these guys are sure to start your day with some fun, and a little mischief.
4. O’Hana at The Polynesian Resort. We really love this place! O’Hana means family, and that’s just what you get here for breakfast, a great family style meal. Whether it’s a nice hearty platter of eggs, meats, and pastries you desire, or those ever popular Mickey waffles, you’re sure to satisfy that inner Disney piggy at O’Hana. And, they start you off with some amazing breads to boot! We love the conga line led by Mickey, Pluto, Lilo and Stitch! They also come to your table of course, and give you that individual attention – which is why you came there in the first place!
2. Non-Character Meals
At the Beach Club, you will find the ever-popular Beaches n Cream. It’s a 50’s style soda fountain restaurant. Serving up great burgers and sandwiches, as well as the best ice cream and milkshakes you’ll find at the World. But be prepared – because they do not take reservations, the wait can be long, and the place is not very big. The major attraction is a dessert called the Kitchen Sink, 8 scoops of ice cream with every topping in the house. It’s not for the faint of heart, and I wouldn’t attempt it with less than 4 people at your table!
At the Caribbean Beach Resort, you can find some amazing island fare at their table service restaurant, Shutters. The menu offerings include things like habanero brown sugar glazed chicken wings, Chorizo black bean soup, and Trinidad roast chicken. There are also many American dishes as well for those not so adventurous eaters. Caribbean Beach is our favorite resort, and when we want to leave the parks a little early, but still have room for a big meal, this is where we go. Then we work off all those calories with pool playtime and a quick soak in the hot tubs before taking that beautiful lake side stroll back to our pirate room to drift away to dream land in our own pirate ship complete with a mattress. No Swabbing the deck required!
The Kona Cafe at the Polynesian Resort is a nice little eatery just next to O’Hana. If you’re looking for a table service place for breakfast when the craziness of a character meal might not be a good fit – Kona Cafe is the place to be. Because of it’s more quiet atmosphere, it’s a great place for solo diners. Kona is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But I’ve only been for breakfast. Kona can be pretty booked up during certain times of the year, so I highly recommend advanced reservations. One of the tastiest, and most unusual dishes you can indulge in is the Tonga Toast. Tonga Toast is banana stuffed sourdough bread, rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with Strawberry Compote and your choice of ham, bacon, or sausage. While it could be deemed more dessert than breakfast, it’s nice to start the day with a sugar high when you’re headed for a long trek through the parks.
These are just a few of my favorites for non park dining options. We could be here all day if I chose to talk about all of them. For those of you who have yet to visit these restaurants, I highly recommend giving them a try!
Thanks for joining me, and as always…