If there were ever two topics I had to choose as my areas of expertise, it would seriously be Disney and food. I have eaten my way around Walt Disney World to the tune of over 300 pounds, and I’ve eaten my way back down by 150 pounds, so I’ve pretty much tasted and sampled everything there is Disney to eat.
There are some Walt Disney World dining experiences that my family absolutely loves – and I think you’ll be surprised to find that even with three daughters, our favorites don’t tend to be the character meals. Our vacations at Walt Disney World are often just as much about reconnecting with each other as they are about reconnecting with our favorite Mouse. Here’s where we enjoy eating the most:
Afternoon Tea – Garden View Lounge at the Grand Floridian
Having all daughters, it seems like a no brainer that we’d eventually have to do tea. You might be surprised to learn, however, that this tea is not only a favorite meal of my husband’s, but my decidedly anti-tea father-in-law can’t wait to go back, either! You’ll find numerous dining options here – everything from an a la carte light afternoon tea to the full, fit for British royalty, how dare you still have room for dinner after this high tea experience.
For the littlest teetotaler, you’ll find Mrs. Potts tea – a variety of kid friendly sandwiches (and if they don’t like a particular variety, you’ll find they are very willing to accommodate a picky eater with all of one type of sandwich or another), chocolate milk (served in a tea pot, of course!), and pastries or strawberries. It’s a big hit with our littlest tea lover.
The adult offerings almost rival that which you will find at Harrod’s in London – although with a much more reasonable price tag. We never leave the table hungry, and we always leave the table happy. We’ve enjoyed at least an hour long meal together where we’re talking, laughing, and telling stories – the same as we did when I was a kid at my Irish grandmother’s table for afternoon tea at her house. I love this experience.
Teppan Edo – EPCOT
We have never shied away from taking our kids to eat someplace that didn’t offer burgers, fries, and chicken nuggets. Thankfully, you’ll find quite a few options at Walt Disney World to take your children where they can veer off the beaten path that leads them to fast food type of choices and right to where good food can be fun – even if it doesn’t come with a toy!
The kids are so fascinated and entertained by the chef – not to mention sitting at the grown up table (aka grill) – that they hardly notice there are veggies being tossed in with the chicken or shrimp! I love taking the kids here and watching them enjoy eating a little healthier and enjoying it even more than if we’d stopped for a burger.
The restaurant is not quite as conducive to conversation as some other options, but it’s fun for me to just sit and watch the kids spellbound by the chef. I’d like to see that creepy looking Burger King catch a shrimp shell in his crown.
Restaurant Marrakesh – EPCOT
Seriously, I don’t know why this restaurant gets such a bad rap. I can almost always call and get a dining reservation for this restaurant – even if I’m calling at 4:59 on Christmas Eve for dinner at 5:00 with a Candlelight Processional dinner package. Why is that?
Here’s one reason I love this place – you can sample pretty much everything on the menu! It can be hard, especially with kids, to go eat at a restaurant with unfamiliar cuisine. At Restaurant Marrakesh, there are several “sampler” type options that allow you to get a taste of several delicious menu items on one plate. That way, if there is something your kids don’t like, you haven’t ordered them a whole entrée of it, and now have to grab a turkey leg somewhere because they didn’t eat dinner.
My girls also enjoy the music and the belly dancing. The atmosphere is fun, it keeps the children entertained, and they never make you feel rushed, so you can sit and wait for the belly dancer at pretty much any time you decide to dine.
And the food – well, I really can’t say I’ve ever had anything I didn’t love. I’m a big soup fan, especially since my gastric bypass surgery, and I love the Harira soup. Packed with proteins in a delicate tomatoey broth, it’s a favorite even in the summer. The kids could eat bastilla – a pastry wrapped portion of chicken or seafood – until they collapsed – and the chicken variety (sprinkled lightly with cinnamon and powdered sugar) is almost like getting dinner and dessert on the same plate!
These are just a few of our favorite Disney Dining Experiences. We have had so many through the years, that it’s hard to pinpoint so few. I hope these are meals you may not have tried before that you’d be encouraged to try now!