I think I'm looking for a list/recommendations

You know when you book your trip a year out - then even though you have all the time in the world (so it seems) you can’t stop researching. Now that our accommodations are settled, I’ve moved on to obsessing about ADRs. Well, not obsessing exactly. I’m just trying to gather a list of locations so I can present it to my DH and DS. Last visit they had no CLUE how ADRs worked. This time they are far more aware of the importance.

Since we’re so far out, our trip isn’t until 9/2017, I’m just gathering info. Isn’t there a list somewhere of…I don’t want to say places not to miss…but I guess places everyone loves. We already have a few musts that we set before we even left last time - Victoria & Alberts (new), Jiko (repeat), Sci-Fi (new - we want to do shakes), Liberty Tree (new - it was closed last time so we missed it) Tusker House (repeat maybe).

We really want to have a good time and eat good food. So is there a list or something? We are there for 10 days, 12 if you count travel days. So we have a lot of time to be gluttons. I know lists are opinions, but really, I’d like to know where I should focus my ADR attention.

Didn’t I read somewhere something about smores and a dinner show or something? And Be Our Guest, is it worth it? And dinner and fireworks - what am I looking for here? Is there such a thing? I think when I was researching last time I saw something. I should’ve kept better notes!

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You can browse the dining category here to look for recommendations, but it might be easier to just get some new opinions. Things change more often than you’d expect, so a new list is always useful. I’m going to pour myself a cup of tea and then I’ll come back and write a list of my favorites for you.

Ok. I’m back. Here are my opinions. I love interesting food, but even though I’m an adventurous eater, I’m not particularly snobby about things. A well prepared burger is just as good as a authentic curry or sushi, in my opinion. However, I don’t like loud, chaotic places or bland food.

Magic Kingdom
Be Our Guest - I was not impressed with dinner. Breakfast and lunch were better.
Crystal Palace - excellent food at breakfast, can get chaotic later in the day
Liberty Tree Tavern - I prefer the lunch menu

Magic Kingdom Resort area
So many options!
Hoop De Doo Review is a favorite with a lot of people.
I’ve heard Citricos and Narcoossees are just as good as California Grill.

I prefer snacking and trying things at CS places over making ADRs. I often find the world showcase restaurants not quite as authentic as I expect. Other people will have better suggestions.
Spice Road Table was surprisingly good, especially on the patio while watching Illuminations.
I think Garden Grill is also very good.

Hollywood Studios
Sci Fi is my only favorite here. I have not ever enjoyed a meal at Hollywood Brown Derby.

Epcot & Hollywood Studios Area Resorts
The lounges that serve food but don’t require ADRs are great, particularly Crews Cup and Bluezoo Lounge.
Flying Fish is one of the best signature restaurants on property.

Animal Kingdom
Yak & Yeti, Tiffins and Tusker House are all great.

Animal Kingdom Resorts
Every restaurant is excellent - Sanaa, Jiko, Boma

I hope this helps!


I’ve been researching for a few months now for my upcoming trip. I’m not a pro by any means, but I can try to offer some advice. For Dinner and fireworks, I’ve read that California Grill for Wishes is highly regarded. If you plan on that, make your adr, arrive a little early, and let the person seating you that you’d like to wait for a table where you can view the fireworks. Several similar options at Epcot for Illuminations. I think the Mexican place with the patio on the water is one of the hottest tables for Illuminations, but there are several others. Quick web search for “best restaurant to watch wishes,” or, “best restaurant to watch Illuminations” will surely start you off on the right track. Several blogs also list these out, and will probably be included in your search results. We’ll be going with a 7 yr old boy who will have no problem falling asleep inside a restaurant after 9pm, so I didn’t have to research these options too much. There are also the “dessert parties” which you can filter a search for right on the MDE site.

As for nice restaurants, that was another thing I didn’t have to worry too much about. Staying at The Swan, and planned about half of our meals there. At the parks, we’ll mostly be doing cs/snacks. The one I’m really looking forward to is Flame Tree in AK.

You are talking about one of my favorite topics! Here is a Link to my recent trip report. It includes photos and comments about Tiffins, HBD, and Morimoto’s lunch. Are you going to Disney Springs? I would add Raglan Road to the list of my favorite restaurants.

In MK I enjoy LTT for lunch. I do not think the food at BOG is great, but everyone should do it once. It is beautiful and I prefer dinner only because. The Beast is there.

Jiko is one of my favorite restaurants but I have been struggling with where it compare to Tiffins. I think I included my comparison in my report and on my next trip I am returning to Tiffins (but I may have to return to Jiko on the trip after that).


For what it’s worth, here are my picks, with no budget concerns.

I agree with @SallyEppcot & @PrincipalTinker re: the Animal Kingdom Lodge restaurants. They, along with Spice Road Table, are all great. I was just theorizing with DH yesterday that although these places have what is perceived as exotic menus, they actually have a broader appeal because of the variety of flavors and ingredients on offer. As opposed to going to, say, a place that is strictly a steak house which would offer a limited menu and be expected to make it taste better than any steak you could cook for yourself.

Hoop dee doo revue has become one of our “must do’s”. It is wonderful on many levels.

California Grill is my pick for food & view of fireworks. There are 2 viewing platforms so don’t worry about having a window seat.

At HS, we prefer 50’s Prime Time over Sci-Fi. We like Sci-Fi but mainly for the theming.

I made an ADR for Flying Fish for our upcoming trip. Can’t wait to try it. It’s getting excellent reviews. We’ve eaten at Trattoria al Forno and that was very very good.

The Wave at the Contemporary doesn’t get a lot of love but they have an excellent breakfast buffet.

BOG…having eaten there for lunch & breakfast, I’m pretty much all set with that place. I still can’t get over how disorganized it is. The kiosks confuse guests. The CMs all seem like it’s their first day. We preordered breakfast and it was still a cluster jam. And the beverage stations…could not be set up more poorly. Maybe the dinner experience is, pardon the pun, like night and day.

Liberty Tree Tavern…love it.

Tusker House…love it.

Biergarten, Rose & Crown, Le Cellier, Coral Reef…love.
Akershus breakfast…love.

Raglan Road for sure. Haven’t been to the Boathouse but that place gets great reviews.

Those are all table service.
Some of my favorite counter service are:
Columbia Harbour House
Flame Tree BBQ
Tangierine Cafe
Les Halles
La Cantina
Katsura Grill

I hope that wasn’t too rambling!


Great question!! I took notes for my trip in 2017 as well. As this is my first trip since 1979 when the top dining spots were Top of The World (now California Grill) and the Luau at Polynesian Resort, I have a whole “world” of dining to explore.

Definitely Ragland Road…a great combination of food, drinks and entertainment…and then there is Ger’s Bread & Butter Pudding…:grinning:


I recommend looking at wdwprep. She has lots of articles that are list-style, i.e. best character dining, best special dining, etc etc. http://wdwprepschool.com/category/Dining-guides/ Disney Food Blog is good, too. http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/2013/03/26/best-disney-world-restaurants-for-first-time-disney-visitors/

Then you can see what types of dining experiences fit your family and get more specific feedback. For example, we are going for experience dining such as characters or special things happening during meals, rather than high end food. So our choices were things such as: Does Sci Fi sound more fun for our kids or 50’s Prime Time? The princesses at Akershus or CRT? MBYBBQ or HDDR? When you get to this point is when I found Touring Plans to be more helpful https://touringplans.com/walt-disney-world/dining

Happy Planning (and since we’re talking dining, Happy Drooling/Craving!)

Disneytouristblog.com also has some really great dining reviews. I like them because they are thorough and help me get an idea of whether I would like the restaurant regardless of what the reviewer actually decided. My favorites include:

CP at around 10:30 or so. The breakfast food is good, and they usually put the lunch buffet out by the end of the visit, so best of both! And I have a soft spot in my heart for Pooh & co. Last time we got a table near a front window and could watch the Disney world go by and see what was happening on the castle stage. Really wonderful.

BoG lunch. I thought the food was good. And I love the ambiance in there. It was such a nice, cool dark break from the heat of the day.

GG - good family style food, good characters, and we love rotating through lwtl scenes

Sanaa - go before dark and ask to sit by a window. Eat great food and see the animals fo by

Yak & yetis- great Asian fusion food. And the restaurant is really lovely. Landry’s card can get you priority seating even without an ADR

50s prime time - my kids love this place. They also have good milkshakes (family faves are the PB&J and strawberry) and I liked the stuffed Pork chop

1909 park fare breakfast - good buffet, great characters

Places on my list to try:
Ohana (breakfast &/or dinner)
CRT (eating in the castle would be cool, and dd4 is princess crazy right now)
California grill (want to do the Sunday brunch esp, and apparently you can return to view wishes from the patio if you keep your dining receipt)
Spice Road

I very well could’ve written this! For us, food is part of the experience when we travel. We have an edict…if we can eat there at home, we don’t eat there when we travel. It mostly keeps us out of the national chains. It stems from the time we were visiting family and they were all excited to take us to dinner at their favorite restaurant. We were excited too, we were in a really foodie place and thinking…oh, this is going to be good…we went to Applebee’s. Nothing against Applebee’s, but if I want it, any day of the week I can get it.

I don’t mind paying for good food. But it has got to be good. Nothing I hate more than paying a premium for mediocre. Thankfully I’m already Disney price adjusted since we frequent DL. I know what to expect if pay 8ish dollars for a DL burger.

I LOVE that you said “not impressed” with BOG dinner. I very much appreciate that. There are SO many other dinner options. I was thinking breakfast.

I was kind of stumped at the world showcase. We’re in SoCal, with all the international pockets we have, it’s kind of like Epcot and authentic just about anything can be had in 30 minutes or so. DH and I’d had it at the parks about lunchtime on Thursday and were wandering DTD for something to eat. Somehow we ended up at Tortilla Jo’s. We each took a bite at the same time and it was almost comical. It wasn’t bad, I mean it was fine. I just don’t know what we were expecting/thinking, but, we knew, two blocks in ANY direction and for 1/3 of the cost we would’ve had a better meal. Live and learn.

Hollywood Studios
We tried to get into Sci-Fi last time. I thought I saw somewhere you could usually walk in if you were just going to order shakes or something. But when we walked up, they said they weren’t seating anyone without an ADR.

Your list did help lots! Thank you for your time and opinions!

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See, I didn’t even know the names of the fireworks/night shows. I actually don’t think we’ve watched a parade in 18 years.

I remember seeing the dessert parties when I was researching our first trip. But since we were so short on time, we couldn’t get into any of them.

Thanks PrincipalTinker! I’ll be heading over to your trip report. We will be going to Disney Springs. We had a pretty good breakfast at Raglan Road on the day we left last time. I really wanted to try the black pudding - but they put cinnamon (I’m allergic) in it so it was a no go for me.

And this reminds me - I’d really like to do a brunch buffet. The Embassy Suites by us used to do a huge spread for Sunday Brunch, you didn’t order from a menu, you got up and went to all the different stations…pasta, omelette, waffle, carving…anything like that at WDW?

I was thinking BOG for breakfast - but since Beast is out for dinner, I’ll have to ask the boys. We do put our heads down and focus on the food when the characters come around. But we do like to watch them interact around the room.

I think LTT is definitely going to be a lunch spot.

I’ve not heard of Tiffins, and I do really have a soft spot for Jiko. The food was excellent, and the staff…back to my allergy, I knew pretty much ANY of the AK eateries could be an issue. But the waitress went and got the chef, and this was a VERY BAD experience for us at 50’s Prime Time. But this time, he actually made me something just slightly off menu. We kind of created a dish together. That experience alone firmly places Jiko forever in my heart. Plus the food was really REALLY good.

Yay! You’re going to have so much fun researching options and narrowing down your choices.

I think Jiko has the best appetizers- the wild boar app is my favorite food anywhere- and Jiko has better desserts but the entrees at Tiffins are amazing. I never thought I would pick a restaurant over Jiko but at least today I say that Tiffins entrees gives Tiffins the edge.

I might agree with this. I think we shared more in/around AK than we did anywhere else because everything was just so different.

I think Hoop dee doo is probably going on the must list. I’ve been seeing it come up a lot.

I’ll be looking at the others that you mentioned. Thank you!

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We’re going in 2017 too. Glad to know I’m not the only one plotting and planning this far in advance.

My husband had been to WDW in the early 80’s. When we went last year he said it felt like he hadn’t ever been there because it had changed so much.

How did I miss this??? Probably because we were there for breakfast. I really want to see the show there and now I have another reason to go.

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This is a good idea. I think I might have gotten a little overwhelmed over at wdwprep. There is SO MUCH info there. But I like the thought of narrowing down by categorical experience.

I just caught a cold (yesterday). So today looking at menus nothing really sounds good. But some things do, and those go on the list to for sure dig into later.

I was last there in 1979. Stayed at the Polynesian Resort. I’m sure that I too will feel like I and going for the fist time.