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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!

    3 Replies
    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 <http://www.allearsnet.com/din/dining.htm> 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 also...you 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.

              1. I went to Disneyworld about three years ago with my fiance (then-boyfriend). We read through a lot of reviews (you can search on Chowhound), but across the board, we weren't that impressed -- the restaurants all cater to the mass market American taste (for example, Jiko's, which we were really looking forward to but only had the slightest of African influence in most of their offerings. Good South African wine list, though). California Grill in the Contemporary Resort was fine, but since we live in California it wasn't anything different or special. The restaurant at the Moroccan pavilion at Epcot was also fine. Definitely avoid Bongo's, the food was dry, tasteless, and overpriced for what you get -- there's much better Cuban food in the area. I guess it's a matter of experience and expectations -- if you haven't tried much international food you'll probably enjoy the various international restaurants since they're very safe introductions, but if you eat ethnic food often, then wandering away from the tourist centers would be best.

                1. We hit Disney 1 - 2 times a year and really look for good food.
                  Agree with Le Cellier in Canada at Epcot.
                  Also like California Grille and Jiko a lot.
                  But my favorite is probably Artist's Point at the Wilderness Lodge. Great food, great Northwest wines (Washington State, Oregon etc..)
                  Todd English's Blue Zoo in the Swan and Dolphin was good too but we only had apps.

                  19 Replies
                  1. re: meginAB

                    I've never been to Artist's Point but I have a friend who works there and really raves about everything. It's definitely on my list of places to go.

                    1. re: katygirl

                      We will at arrive at Wilderness Lodge in exactly two weeks! I am so excited. Our ADRs (Advanced Dining Reservations- Very important!) are: Artist's Point/dinner, Le Cellier/dinner, Mama Melrose/dinner, Crystal Palace/dinner, Whispering Canyon Cafe/breakfast, Boma/breakfast, Cape May/dinner.

                      Make sure you make your reservations 180 days out, or as soon as possible. You cannot walk-up to table service anymore, you 'might' get lucky but you cannot rely on it.

                      1. re: Becca Porter

                        We get to Wilderness Lodge Oct 11 and can't wait either.
                        Have been watching for Food and Wine Festival Reviews.
                        Eating at Artist's Point, Whispering Canyon, Germany in Epcot, Mama in Magic Kingdom and who knows what else!

                        1. re: meginAB

                          Awesome! If you happen to see the four of us, (Check my profile pic- I'll be less tan/skinny and I won't be wearing the hat :), say hi!

                          We have a blond DD8 and a blond DS4.

                          We are going to MNSSHP on the 11th. I believe we do the Childs Club/Artist Point on the 12th.


                      2. re: katygirl

                        Get the mushroom soup. They use porcinis (I think) to create a smokey mushooom "bacon" garnish that you cannot tell from the real deal.


                        1. re: Bob Mervine

                          I have to second the Artist Point. We have dined there at least 10 times over the past 7 or 8 years and have never ever been disappointed. Many other restaurants at Disney get more publicity but time and time again, we find that Artist Point is among the best of the best at Disney World.

                          I also have to highly recommend Citrico's at the Grand Floridian. Service always top notch and the braised veal shank is one of the best braised meat dishes I have ever had. In fact, we have dined here at least 6 or 7 times and I have never ordered anything else.

                          1. re: Bob Mervine

                            The venison spring rolls are a very tasty and interesting appetizer that I have always enjoyed with a Ketel One martini at the Artist Point.

                            1. re: Bob Mervine

                              Bob, I'll confess I came searching for your opinion on this subject because I know you have one. In fact, I know I've read it on this board, but I can't find it after about 30 minutes of searching. I'm going to the Epcot Food & Wine Festival on Sunday, and, in fact, am [probably] running the Race for the Taste that morning. I'm looking for a place to take my parents the night before that is 1) on Disney property, and 2) not in a park. I'm considering right now Fulton's Crab House, the Flying Fish Cafe, the Kona Cafe, and the Portobello Yacht Club. I haven't been to any of them and would appreciate an opinion I trust. What do you think?

                              1. re: blondie23

                                fultons is not great, flying fish gets good reviews, jiko is very solid

                                1. re: blondie23

                                  It's all on the board, just not all in the same place.

                                  Fulton's is fresh, expensive, crowded and doesn't take reservations. I'd pass.
                                  Flying Fish would be my 1st choice. with the caveat of not having eaten the new chef's food and it's noisier than most with tons of kids. Of your four picks it's my selection.
                                  Kona Cafe, nothing extraordinary.
                                  Portobello Yacht Club is 2nd choice. Average to above average Italian, new chef, but menu is formulaic and it shouldn't matter.

                                  Just for fun consider; Raglan Road, Blue Zoo at the Dolphin, Citrico's at Grand Floridian and Jiko. Dined there toight and, while it's lost the magic that Chef Anette gave it, it is still one of the more unique Central Florida restaurants.


                                  1. re: Bob Mervine

                                    I agree (almost) with Bob. Being an avid Disney diner, I would put Citrico's at #1. Flying Fish would be #2 (they have a very innovative menu). I do think you will fond more kids at FF than at Citrico's. Having recently dined at Jiko, I would strongly consider that one too - if just for the tamarind braised short rib (and request dining in the wine room as it is much more quiet).

                                    Never dined at Raglan Road or Blue Zoo (re: Blue Zoo - I can eat any time at several of Todd English's restaurants in my area and can vouch that they are all very very good).

                                    1. re: RandyL

                                      The tamarind short ribs are off the menu at Jiko and been replaced by a coffee-dusted version of the same dish.


                                      1. re: Bob Mervine

                                        I fell in love with that short rib dish - wonder how the coffee-dusted version is. Have you tried it yet?

                                        1. re: RandyL

                                          No, we didn't. One of the people in our party asked about it. the server suggested the filet instead. Same with the lamb shank, which is also on the menu in a diiffferent form. They steered us toward the pork tenderloin.

                                          Capital Grill has a similarly prepared steak - with Kona coffee dusting -- that I found to be far too sweet for my taste.


                                    2. re: Bob Mervine

                                      Fulton's took a reservation for me, and
                                      I have a discount through my annual pass. I'll switch to Flying Fish if you still think it's that much better, though.

                                      1. re: blondie23

                                        It's less a question of better or worse than what you are looking for.

                                        Fulton's menu, by and large, is straight forward classic preparation of fresh seafood, housed in a building shaped like a riverboat.

                                        Flying Fish is a themed restaurant -- the name represents one of the Coney Island roller coasters -- and the menu is seafood based, also fresh, but prepared in a more innovative style.

                                        Mom and Dad might prefer the more classic style and the unusual setting. That's your call.


                                      2. re: Bob Mervine

                                        I forgot raglan road. Usually pub food is pretty forgetable, but that is the best pub food that I've ever had by far. The colcannon is worth the trip alone.

                                        1. re: chrisinroch

                                          Just visited Raglan this past wk and had drinks outside. Service was terrible. Slow and indifferent, with folks around us complaining also. Did not eat.

                                          1. re: chrisinroch

                                            Yep, they cut off the food service outside sometimes when the kitchen can't keep up and the wait staff gets disgruntled because they make no money outside. It is pretty good food and the service is usally decent.

                              2. California Grill at the top of the Contemporary Hotel is always very nice!

                                1. Just there, had a terrific meal at jiko, no problem getting in without res. Winelist is really nice and the food was perfectly prepared and really flavorful. Loved the lamb patis, the couscous with lamb shank, braised short ribs. Great meal, great after meal scene outside

                                  1. Our favorites (make reservations whenever possible):

                                    Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge
                                    California Grill with a window seat during the fireworks
                                    Wolfgang Puck at Downtown Disney
                                    Blue Zoo at the Dolphin Hotel
                                    Raglan Road at Pleasure Island (Irish place, try the Heaven On Earth: Guiness honey glazed baby back ribs, aptly named as they are to die for)
                                    House of Blues gospel brunch is a good cajun brunch and really entertaining (we have been twice and find it more fun than Hoop-Dee-Do Review, for a meal show)

                                    Not our favorites:

                                    Rainforest Cafe at Downtown Disney
                                    Bongos at Downtown Disney

                                    1. The Yachtsman Steakhouse in the Disney Yacht and Beach Club Resort - one of the best meals of my life, believe it or not. Everything was first class. Very very good steak, chicken, desserts.

                                      1. just back from a week at wdw. four adults and four kids (8, 8, 7, and 6) on the disney dining plan. here is our food rundown:

                                        saturday night - downtown disney - bongos. no reservations. hour+ wait. $40 for four beers and four sprites. ear splittingly loud inside from the band. decent appetizer platter. entrees were average. overpriced (the one place we ate that did not participate in the dining plan).

                                        sunday lunch - magic kingdom - el pirata y el perico. good fast food mexican across from pirates of the caribbean.

                                        sunday dinner - epcot - le cellier @ the canada pavilion. very good. enjoyed the apps (buffalo moz/tomatoes and spicy chicken and chipotle sausage over creamy polenta) and nice steaks (porcini dusted filets) and a great creamed spinach gratinee.

                                        monday lunch - magic kingdom - cosmic rays. counter service burgers, chicken fingers and dogs in the big cafeteria in tomorrowland. nothing great, but it served its purpose.

                                        monday dinner - 1900 park fare at the grand floridian. princess character meal. buffet. average at best. but my wife liked the carved prime rib.

                                        tuesday lunch - disney studios - toy story planet pizza. just ok but the kids were happy.

                                        tuesday dinner - 'ohana at the polynesian - family style dinner. simple salad and hawaiian bread followed by sides of broccoli, pot stickers (good), potatoes, sweet & sour wings, followed by churrasseria style servings of beef (ok), pork (dry), turkey (good), and shrimp (good), and a bread pudding ala mode with bananas foster sauce. fun atmosphere with fun activities for the kids, but i would try somewhere else next time.

                                        wednesday lunch - epcot - cantina de san angel - counter service tacos, nachos, and churros. ok. no beef tacos - only chicken. dos equis on draft.

                                        wednesday dinner - animal kingdom lodge - boma. buffet of african food. all of the food was pretty good and interesting. three of the five soups were out of this world (lentil & sausage, seafood chowder with israeli cous cous, and chicken coconut curry). not big on buffets, but i would go back.

                                        thursday lunch - epcot. snacked our way half way around the pavilions. good pot stickers and egg rolls at china. good gelato at italy. mediocre sweet pretzel at norway. big salty pretzels in germany. plus: dos equis at mexico, carlsburg in norway, tsing tao in china, becks at germany, peroni at italy.

                                        thursday dinner - camp wilderness. hoop de doo review. i was pleasantly surprised for not expecting much. family style table service. good salad & bread. fried chicken was good. the ribs were way better than i expected. the country style baked beans were some of the best i have ever had (smokey and not overly sweet). strawberry shortcake for dinner. plus unlimited pitchers of beer and sangria. and the dinner show was pretty good, too.

                                        friday breakfast - animal kingdom - tusker house. mickey/donald/goofy/daisy character meal. another buffet, but it was pretty broad and pretty good. decent corned beef hash and carved ham.

                                        friday lunch - animal kingdom - flame tree barbecue. counter service. fair pulled pork sandwich and bbq ribs.

                                        friday dinner - pop century cafeteria - late night pizza. decent. all of our breakfasts except for friday were at pop and the food was decent - waffles, pancakes, fruit, eggs, etc.

                                        overall, a decent week of chow and the dining plan was worth it.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: xman887

                                          My husband and I were in Disney in early April and stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We went to Boma for dinner one night and for breakfast one morning and we were very happy with it. The food was unexpectedly good for a buffet and the atmosphere was perfect for families with small children. We'll certainly return.