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Sep 22, 2007 10:09 PM

disney dining?

i know this might be an oxymoron, but here it goes.

does anyone have any suggestions for dining at disneyworld? this will be my first time at the property. (i have been to disneyland many many many times)

we will be an all adult group... and want to try to have at least one decent dinner on site if possible. alternative to that would be to eat at one of the resort hotels so we could take the monorail or something.

thanks in advance!


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      1. Yes, that is a great website. You can also see the menus. But I have to give a big Thumbs up the La Cellier Steakhouse in Epcot/Canada. Excellent! Way above the typical steakhouse fair. Have fun!

        1. re: chocchipcookie

          The most interesting meal that I've had in all my time at disney was Jiko over at the animal kingdom lodge. Had a great meal at Victoria and Alberts also. My brother at at the cuban place bongos and said it was pretty weak.

          1. re: chocchipcookie

            I've been very disapointed in food quality at Le Clellier. I know it has become extremely popular, especially with the dining plan members.

            1. re: herbert1

              We ate there last week and absolutely loved it. They even had an gas problem and were having to cook everything on a grill, or use their cold dishes. We had strip steaks with mushroom risotto, cheddar cheese soup, and their bread sticks.

              Followed by creme brule, chocolate 'moose', and the kids ice cream sundae.

              Perhaps it was because of all the bad meals before it, but we loved the meal. The risotto and the soup was especially good.

        2. Being a first timer to WDW and a Disneyland familiar, you need to readjust your thinking a bit.

          WDW is HUGE. It covers 43 square miles and there are four theme parks situated miles from each other, a dozen resort hotels, a campground and a large retail and entertainment center called Downtown Disney.

          There are many other promising dining experiences in Orlando, from specialty cuisines, one-offs, mom and pops and holes in the wall as well as serious dining. Many of those restaurants, however, are situated 30-45 minutes from Disney -- each way -- so you have to ask how important that is to you.

          I think what you are asking is where to eat inside the theme parks. Only one park does not serve alcohol -- the Magic Kingdom -- and all have, more or less, some sort of fine(er) dining (I don't consider Rainforest Cafe in that category).

          There are upscale restauants in a number of the resort hotels. In fact, in my opinion, a couple of them are among the city's best. There are also some chowhound-worthy restaurants in downtown Disney.

          You don't mention where you are staying. That is important because, if it's a Disney hotel, you have access to the Disney Dining Plan which can offer some advantages.
          Also, depending on when you are here, the Epcot Food & Wune Festival starts next weekend and runs for about 6 weeks. It'll provide much enjoyable in park eating and drinking there.

          Two simple suggestions first, and then we'll talk.
          Go to <> and read . That will define in much better terms what you are dealing with and offer dozens of leads to the better places, as well as explain things like the Disney Dining Plan.
          Secondly, search this board for "disney dining" and read a few of the more recent threads. Good chowhound info there,

          Once you have a better sense of what you want to know, come back and we'll all help.


          1. Coco,

            My son is in the marching band at the high school and we have competitions at Disney(Dizzy) World every year. The adults usually want a good meal...some suggestions would be: Epcot- Mexican Restaurant in Mexico is pretty good nice atmosphere but pricey, In France the not so fancy restaurant and for coffee and a pastry the pastry shop with seating outside is nice. Nothing really at the Magic Kingdom....Downtown Disney has some good places...a seafood place, Bongos, I enjoy the salads at Wolfgang pucks...The Resorts have some nice dining options can check those out online or when you get there.

            Have a great time!

            5 Replies
            1. re: Lu612


              Of all you mention, Bongo;'s would be my only disagreement. The food is so far removed from Cuban food as to be unrecognizable.
              Bongo's does make a good mojito, however

              Although my last two visits to Wolfgang's have left me puzzled.
              Rumor is that Wolfgang dropped in unannounced a couple of months ago and went on such a tear, it took a call from Bob Iger to stop him from pulling his name off the restaurant.


              1. re: Bob Mervine

                Bob, sorry to hear that about Bongo's...I've been to the one here in Miami several times I have to say I've never been to the one in Disney just thought it would be good.

                Wolfgang's here at the Sawgrass Mills closed so maybe that's it...I had a salad there in May and it was packed...and the food was good..but in Florida things change overnight sometimes.


                1. re: Lu612

                  The original in Miami was/is called Lario's and was started by Gloria Estefan's husband or brother. When they cut the deal to open at Downtown Disney, they couldn't use Lario's here because someone else owned the name, so they changed it to Bongo's.

                  The food was never good, never authentic, but for the vast majority of tourists eating there it was still too authentic and pricey. So they dumbed it down further. It's pretty much a cash cow -- only Cuban restaurant (besides Columbia) in the Disney area -- and the owners pay no attention and count the cash Disney leave behind.

                  Wolf decided to get out of the fast casual concepts he started a decade ago to focus on really original high concept cuisine. He cut a deal with Larry Levy to run all of his stores like the one at Disney and the one you mention. Levy, in turn, sold out to Compass Management, a huge British high-volume worldwide company and they have dumped on every one of his restaurants in order to raise profits and reduce costs. This is the result.


                2. re: Bob Mervine


                  We hadn't eaten at Wolfgang's in a while, but stopped in for a cocktail and some sushi before La Nouba a couple months back. We sat at the sushi bar and it was fine. Still nothing over the top, but packed.

                  My husband and I just made last minute reservations at the Hyatt Grand Cypress for our 5th wedding anniversary. He isn't as much of a foodie as I am so unfortunately the Epcot food & wine festival events are out…for this weekend. I've seen you mention the California Grill (Contemporary Resort) and Hemmingway’s (Grand Cypress)...would you still recommend both? Also, didn't see mention of the Sushi Bar on the Hyatt G.C.'s website - do you know if it is that still there and wonderful?

                  Thanks for all the wonderful information that you post!

                  1. re: amsquires

                    You are sincerely welcome.

                    I think as long as Fuji-san, Wolfgang's original sushi chef is there, the sushi component will be fine -- if you can get in.

                    I'm hesitant to be too specific about California Grill. I have not eaten the (relatively) new chef's food there, although I enjoyed it at Flying Fish. I've heard all good things about it, however.
                    The toll that the Disney Dining Plan is taking on all their fine dining restaurants is telling, and frankly, the hassle of getting a reservation and making the trek -- when compared to walking down the hallway at the Grand Cypress to Hemmingway's -- would make this one an easy choice for me.

                    As for other GC restaurants, don't overlook La Coquina for their chef's table dinner on the weekends and for the city's most fabulous Sunday brunch.
                    Plus there's a new restaurant called Nine18 that replaced the Black Swan with lighter, more contemporary fare -- and lower prices -- that just opened on Sept. 18 that might be worth a try.
                    To my knowledge the lobby sushi bar is still up and running, unless the chef is either on vacation or sick. In fact, they had ordered more equioment for him. Check with the concierge.

                    I'm supposed to be out there Friday for a tasting, but my schedule is not looking like it will acommodate the event. But, if so, I'm the heavyset guy with tthe pony tail !


              2. it's hard to follow what Bob M's input as there isn't really anyone around here who's info is better or more well informed. A quicky suggestion is Animal Kingdom Lodge. Check out the 2 that are there, although Jiko might be more of what you are looking for. The monorail doesn't go there, but the bus ride is well worth it.