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Food at Disney

I hate to say it, but I think the food at the Magic Kingdom is downright bad. We are taking our kids back this year and will be going to Epcot for the first time. Please tell me the food it better. Any suggestions?

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  1. I think that the MK has the worst food of the 4 Disney Parks. Try the threads below for some suggestions...
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/629786
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/794173

    1. Epcot is so much better. There are a few ways to approach the food options here.

      Dine in with reservations World Showcase. The restaurants around the world showcase are very decent. Our family loves the Beir Garten in Germany. It's a buffet and it's good, not super foodie but great for kids and the show they put on is awesome.

      I'm sure other ChowHounders have their favorites.

      It's been a while since I've been to the others and I've heard wonderful things about Via Napoli in Italy.

      Another way to approach it is eating at the quick stop places. It's less expensive but not quite the same experience or foodie pleasure than the larger restaurants. This is good option if you don't want to spend much money on food, or you just want something quick.

      Another fun thing I like to do is make it an activity, snacks, drinks, desserts and food items around the world. You'd have to do some research to find out what is available but there is plenty to eat.

      1. We were just at Epcot a few weeks ago and I enjoyed my meals very much. We started in Mexico at the first cantina that you come across, simply because we were hungry and the lines were reasonable. I ordered the chicken tacos, which featured 3 tacos on corn tortillas with pico de gallo, cilantro, & lime and was served with chips. My husband tried the beef tacos and SIL ordered the nachos. Guac was ordered to share. Those of us who'd been to Mexico enjoyed the tacos more than those who didn't. I enjoyed both meats, but the beef was slightly better than the chicken.
        The nachos were similar to Taco Bell with the cheese sauce and ground beef. Not that there's anything wrong with that- we enjoyed it- but it was a different style than the tacos. The guac was good and even better after we squeezed a hint of the lime on it.

        Snacks were from France- the patisserie had very well made desserts and coffee at reasonable prices. We tried the chocolate cake and chocolate croissants. Both delicious.

        Dinner was in Italy- I believe the restaurant was called Via Natale. We put our names in earlier in the day and were thankful that we had. This was one of the best meals of the week. We shared the arancini (risotto balls) which were amazing. The server came back to find us scooping the remaining sauce off the plates with our forks- it was that good. We shared a large pepperoni pizza. This was outstanding. Slightly well done, chewy crust... amazing marinara, fresh mozzarella, and crispy little pieces of pepperoni. We ate it all and loved every minute of it. Service was wonderful and our 7pm reservation allotted us plenty of time before the light show.

        I hope this helps!

        2 Replies
        1. re: jessicheese

          Epcot has some very good food if you know where to look. I just wrote an article about the best cheap eats (http://bit.ly/xaEWEG) and found that Norway far and away has the best fast food. The little place at France has good quiches too, and the Morrocco fast foodery has a great sampler platter. In the Future World section, the cafeteria-style Seasons in the Land pavilion has excellent full meals for about $10. When it comes to sit-down, I'd suggest either of the France restaurants, Norway if you aren't pestered by princesses, Le Cellier in Canada if you're simply meat-and-potatoes folks. Also, Via Napoli in Italy has very good pizza and pasta in a casual setting. The other Italian restaurant was closed for renovations, last I heard.

          www.RonaGindin.com

          1. re: Rona Gindin

            thanks! just what i was looking for!

        2. mostly i get a dole whip..a must have snack
          or turkey legs at MK....

          1 Reply
          1. re: srsone

            Me, too. One of those turkey legs can feed a family of three. Trust me, I've done it.

          2. Yes, the food at MK is pretty awful. I actually just wrote a blog post about the inedible food at Pinocchio Village Haus.

            Epcot on the other hand has very good options. World Showcase has a large variety of very decent food. Many people love Le Cellier in the Canada pavilion. It's a steak house and advance dining reservations fill up quickly. I like the Rose & Crown for pub food, Bistro de Paris for special occasion dining, Biergarten for the show, Marrakech for the atmosphere, and La Cava del Tequila for drinks.

            There are great snacks to be had throughout the park - you have to try the school bread at the bakery in the Norway pavilion!

            The only places I avoid eating are Nine Dragons (though I've heard some better reviews lately), Teppan Edo, and Tokyo Dining.

            Enjoy your trip!

            MouseChow
            www.mousechow.com

            1. Just came back from Magic Kingdom today, and must agree...but...

              If you go to Sleepy Hollow (quick counter service) in Liberty Square, they do have some amazing new waffle sandwiches: sweet and spicy chicken waffle, nutella and fresh fruit, and a ham and proscuitto tomato cheese waffle. Tried all of them with some friends...surprisingly good lunch

              http://tastychomps.com

              1 Reply
              1. re: pdpredtide

                Ooooh, nice! Sounds like a good alternative to Columbia Harbor House!

                www.mousechow.com

              2. Epcot is actually a fun place to eat--you can eat and drink around the world. Although this may be more difficult with kids...
                I do agree that Germany, while not the best food, makes up for it with it's showmanship. At least it is a buffet with many tasty options for adults (various sausages, krautes, potatoes, good beer, etc). Plus it is pretty "kid friendly."
                We used to love eating al fresco at the Italian restaurant, but they are in the process of totally redoing it and now have the Via Napoli (I think it's called) that seems more cafeteria like, although I've never eaten there. We usually just sip Italian margaritas or bellinis and eat gelato and Italian chocolates at some of the cafe tables.
                The UK has very tasty fish and chips that you can eat pond-side, but I don't know about the sit-down restaurant.
                We are partial to France. We have been to both restaurants and have had good experiences with the food. However, the upper-scale Bistro de Paris took way too long... about 2.5 hours for dinner. The food was very good though. Make reservations for this one.
                Next time we go back I hope to try the food at the Garden Grill in the Land pavillion. This menu does not look too impressive, but it sources many of its produce from the on-premises gardens that you can actually ride through and tour up close.

                Have you thought about eating at a Disney Resort? The Resorts have really stepped up with some of their restaurant choices.

                4 Replies
                1. re: G8ornurse

                  Thanks for the heads up on Bistro de Paris...made reservations!

                  1. re: G8ornurse

                    thank you for this. Very cool. I've never eaten at the Garden Grill but when you think about it, that point about on premises grown food is interesting.

                    I've heard before that Bistro de Paris is ran by Paul Bocuse Son, - need to try that.

                    When making reservations for these restaurants we've also noticed that you still have to wait some. Once we waited 20 minutes for a table at the beirgarten but I suspect it is because we are a large group that takes up the whole table. but still come on.

                    1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                      Disney is tough with larger groups. If you have more than 5 people you are actually make 2 reservations so it does tend to take a bit longer. However, we have even waited with a reservation for just 2 of us.
                      Bistro is definitely some of the best Disney food I've had in the park. Nice wine selection too. If you get a table by the window you can even see the fireworks show since the restaurant is upstairs.
                      If you are willing to spend upwards of the price of admission to the park for a meal may I also recommend Victoria & Albert's in the Grand Floridian Resort. Fantastic dining experience and a well put-together chef's tasting menu; but pricey. You might forget you're in the land of the mouse. Definitely an adult only experience... Memorable dinner and worth the price.

                    2. re: G8ornurse

                      Via Napoli is certainly NOT cafeteria like. It is probably in our top three after a week of Deluxe dining.

                    3. Just came back from my first trip to Disney in 20+ years. It was the first trip for my wife and 2 kids (age 6 and 8). And as much as this trip was about the kids having fun, it was also about some good food for me and my wife. Below is my recap of the highs and lows of our Disney dining - - - I’m only reporting on the places we made reservations - - - not the places we just grabbed something in the park.
                      This post is a bit lengthy, but if you are planning a trip in the near future, it is worth a read.

                      Sat 3/24
                      We arrived early afternoon so our only reservation on Day 1 was a 7:30 dinner at California Grill in our hotel (the Contemporary). This was our first meal, and our best meal. Fish was very good, including their marinated sashimi appetizer. We were on the Deluxe dining plan and we took full advantage of it - - - appetizers, dinner, and desserts for everyone. If we went back again, we would probably make 2 reservations here.
                      Dining Plan Cost: 2 meals per person
                      Meal Grade: A
                      (Note: all notes/grades above and below relate to the adult meals. The kids meals were pretty lame and boring. Not much selection and not much thought or creativity put into the preparation. Kids Menus were pretty much a C- across the board. As part of the deluxe dining plan, our kids could not order from the regular menu - - - they could only order off the kids menu. The kids menu at Centro in Fairfield seems top notch compared to the dining plan options in Disney.)

                      Sun
                      In Hollywood Studios, so we booked both Lunch (Brown Derby) and Dinner (Sci-Fi Theater).
                      Brown Derby was probably my 2nd favorite of the trip. A well-thought flight of champagne to go along with our appetizers helped as well.
                      Dining Plan Cost: 2 meals per person
                      Meal Grade: A

                      Sci-Fi was a cool concept for the kids - - - sitting in convertible “cars” while watching a drive in movie. Menu was drive-in theme: burgers, shakes, hot dogs etc.
                      Dining Plan Cost: 1 meal per person
                      Meal Grade: C (but the theme/setting was cool for kids so I would still recommend)

                      Mon
                      Kouzzina, by Cat Cora
                      (on Boardwalk)
                      This was my wife’s favorite restaurant of our visit, and prob my 3rd. The menu is heavily Greek inspired with lots of interesting options. She had a riff on lasagna and it got better and better with each bit. Also had a very nice Greek wine list (flights, glasses, and bottles).
                      Dining Plan Cost: 1 meal per person
                      Meal Grade: A

                      Tue
                      In Epcot so had booked both lunch (Coral Reef) and dinner (Via Napoli).
                      Coral Reef lunch was set in a restaurant with a huge aquarium window. We had a table only 10 feet from the aquarium so we had great looks at the sharks, turtles, etc. Menu was heavily seafood inspired, but wasn’t that great. As good as the fish was at Calif Grille and Brown Derby, this was a clear cut below.
                      Dining Plan Cost: 1 meal per person
                      Meal Grade: B- (similar to Sci-Fi Theater, the concept here was cool for kids).

                      Via Napoli: In “Italy”, their high end restaurant was closed for renovations. Via Napoli was open and plays the role of casual, pizza place. Menu basically consisted of pizza, chicken parm, and spag & meatballs. Not much else. Pizza was actually pretty good and best of all, kids could order from the whole menu so they were able to get real appetizers and a good pizza.
                      Dining Plan Cost: 1 meal per person
                      Meal Grade: B+ (not fine dining; grade is pizza only)

                      Wed
                      Chef Mickey’s (Breakfast in Contemporary)
                      This is the breakfast buffet where Disney characters come around to your table for pictures. Typical buffet food – scrambled eggs, waffles, sausage, etc. Bonus: they have Krispy Kreme glazed donut holes. The attraction here is obviously the characters, not the food. This is worth doing if your kids want to see the characters - - - much easier than waiting in lines in the parks to meet them. And they only do a breakfast and dinner seating for this - - - both buffet style. I can live with a buffet breakfast; but not a buffet dinner.
                      Dining Plan Cost: 2 meals per person
                      Meal Grade: B (grade for breakfast buffet)

                      Citricos (Dinner)
                      Citricos had a setting (in the Grand Floridian) and menu that was very similar to Calif Grille - - - but the preparation was just a shade lower, though still very good. I’d put this 4th on the list of meals we had. And they actually made a pork tenderloin on the kids menu that was very tender and one of the best items my son got.
                      Dining Plan Cost: 2 meals per person
                      Meal Grade: A-

                      Thr
                      Kona Café (Breakfast) in Polynesian Resort
                      Prob my best breakfast of the trip. This was a full menu - - - no buffet - - - so everything was prepared to order. My blueberry pancakes were very solid as was everything. Being on the monorail, this was an easy ride for us to get breakfast.
                      Dining Plan Cost: 1 meal per person
                      Meal Grade: B+ (for breakfast)

                      House of Blues (Dinner) in Downtown Disney
                      Food here was a combination of ups and downs. A few appetizers were just so so. My strip steak was thin, a little overcooked, and a bit under-seasoned. But we also had the single most flavorful dish of the entire trip here - - - a meatball slider appetizer that was more Mexican spiced than Italian. Really tender and flavorful. Also had a good kids menu and kids were allowed to order appetizers off the full menu.
                      Dining Plan Cost: 1 meal per person
                      Meal Grade: B-

                      Other Notes:
                      We also had 2 breakfasts and 1 lunch at the Wave in our hotel (Contemporary). Nothing fancy but no complaints either. Lunch is menu dining; breakfast is a combo of buffet + menu options. I wouldn’t go out of my way eat here, but it was convenient and quick.
                      Dining Plan Cost: 1 meal per person
                      Meal Grade: B-

                      On our last night (Thur) we also had a Dessert Party at the Tommorrowland Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom. This is a 9pm seating with a buffet of desserts. Desserts looked awesome, but weren’t the most flavorful. But the allure of this is the terrace seating that gives you a prime view of the electric parade (9 pm), the castle light show (around 9:45), and the fireworks (10 pm). Seating is very limited for this event (maybe 20 – 25 tables total) and there is only 1 seating per night for the fireworks show.
                      Dining Plan Cost: not on dining plan; $25 per person
                      Dessert Grade: B- (but completely worth it for the uncrowded terrace views of the night shows)

                      I made most of my reservations online about 6 – 8 weeks prior to visiting. There were very limited timeslots for some places above as they do accept reservations 3+ months in advance. The only reservation I wanted but could not get was the princess breakfast in the Disney castle. I checked online every day for an opening for 2 months but couldn’t get anything. It’s buffet style and I’ve heard the food isn’t that great (especially if you go the dinner seating) but this would have brought most of the princesses right to our table for pictures, etc. I’ve heard that reservations for this book up 4 – 6 months in advance.

                      Dining Plan Note: The week we went, the basic dining plan was included in our Contemporary hotel package. This would have entailed 1 sit down meal per person per day plus 2 other “counter service / buffet” options. And for the 1 sit down, you could not get an appetizer as part of the plan; it came with dinner and dessert; you could pay extra for an app if you wanted. We ended up upgrading to the Deluxe dining for a few reasons:
                       We didn’t want counter/buffet meals for the bulk of our dining options.
                       Deluxe dining came with an app, entre, and dessert for all meals, and included 3 sit down meals per day as opposed to 1 (and you could opt to have a buffet or take-out option instead of sit down too).
                       Many of the restaurants we picked “cost” 2 meals per person instead of 1. If we stuck with the basic plan we would have exhausted our dining limits in the first 3 days.
                      On the downside, both plans excluded tip and alcohol. And the tip adds up quickly. They calculate the bill in total so you can see what to tip on; at places like Calif Grille and Citricos the dinners (with a bottle of wine) were $200+. The food was “free” under the Deluxe plan of course, but you still end paying tip on the full $200 plus any alcohol that was ordered. So even on the Deluxe dining plan, we were still dropping $50 - $100 per sit down. It cost us $500 to upgrade from the basic to deluxe dining plan, so it still saved us money on the food, but you still walk out of each meal paying part of a bill.

                      All in all, a great trip for the kids and food that exceeded expectations (for the most part) for me and my wife.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: foleyd7

                        very cool. glad you had a great time. Thanks for the trip report. Not everyone does that but we enjoy hearing about people's experiences.

                        1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                          Kudos for taking the time for a great report.

                        2. re: foleyd7

                          Thanks for the detailed trip report!

                          1. re: foleyd7

                            awesome!

                          2. Hands down the best quick service spot in all of disney is the Tangerine Cafe in Morrocco. The lamb platter is AMAZING and the food is much healthier than typical park fare.

                            1. Let's review..going to Disneyworld next week....wooo hooooo

                              Dole Whips...check
                              Chocolate croissants...check
                              Sleepy Hollow for waffle, fruit and nutella....check
                              Bistro de Paris....check

                              What am I missing?
                              Disney Chick

                              1. I would tend to agree... However as srsone mentioned the turkey leg and the dole whip are cant miss! Also, the food at Cosmic Ray's is pretty good for the counter service fare. The cool thing about Magic Kingdom is you are a monorail or boat ride away from some incredible dining at The Contemporary (California Grill), The Polynesian (Ohana's) and the Grand Floridian (Citricos and Victoria & Alberts).

                                1. A dish from our meal at Victoria & Alberts. The finest meal of my life! So far...

                                   
                                  1. Everyone says to book a restaurant at Disney World so your not waiting 2-3 hours..
                                    Booked Bistro de Paris on Epcot lake a week ahead with no problems..easy peasy

                                    I hear the food is fantastic...Anyone been lately?

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Beach Chick

                                      It was so stinking hot and humid at Disney World that the last thing I wanted to do after 10 hours in a Bikram style setting is to dine at a lovely French bistro at Epcot...I did cancel and they were gracious but we did hit up the dole whips.
                                      Showered, hit up room service at the resort and called it a day.

                                      1. re: Beach Chick

                                        Oh I know what you mean. We had some really hot humid weather, last weekend, this week.

                                        Maybe snacks and cold desserts and fruit are the best option.

                                        France has a movie theater with one of those large panoramic screen that shows a movie about France's beautiful country side. I think it's 15-20 minutes long. It's like Soarin' without the ride.

                                        but It is super cold AC in there and a great way to cool off.

                                    2. Quick update on food in the MK -
                                      As is mentioned already in this thread, the new waffle sandwiches at Sleepy Hollow are quite good. I had the one with prosciutto, swiss, and arugula and it was yummy. My friend had the nutella, strawberry, banana and it was also good.

                                      There is an excellent sandwich in the Columbia Harbor House - hummus and broccoli slaw on whole grain bread. Really very tasty and you don't feel gross afterward.

                                      But the biggest news is the opening of the Be Our Guest restaurant in New Fantasyland. It's tough to get reservations right now for dinner, but it's Quick Service for lunch so you can just walk right up. I'm hearing some very encouraging reports but haven't been yet. I'll be going for lunch in a couple of weeks, so will report back.

                                      There is also Gaston's Tavern in New Fantasyland. I tried the Le Fou's brew and am not a fan, but I could see that it would be refreshing on a hot day. It's basically frozen apple juice with some mango flavored marshmallow topping. They also have a pork shank that looks really good, but I haven't tried it.

                                      So a few bright spots in the food wasteland at MK!

                                      MouseChow
                                      www.mousechow.com