Given Walt Disney World’s reputation as a magical theme park for the young — and young at heart — gourmands might overlook it as a world-class dining destination. But whether you seek delicious dining inside the Disney parks or look to indulge nearby sans Mickey Mouse, Orlando’s surprising culinary hub will sate your craving.
FEAST AT THE PARKS
The fantastic dining options in Walt Disney World will knock your Minnie ears off.
EPCOT Theme Park
Venture on a trip around the world at EPCOT as you country hop through The World Showcase. Savor unique dishes from six continents during the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival (through November 19). Kick off your foodie journey in France with La Passion Martini, a slushy cocktail that features vodka, Grey Goose Le Citron and cranberry and passion fruit juices. Don’t leave without grabbing freshly pressed brioche ice cream sandwiches at L’Artisan de Glaces, a pretzel from Germany’s Bavarian-inspired village or a perfectly spiced delicacy like the piri piri skewered shrimp with citrus-scented couscous at the Kenya kiosk.
But no matter when you plan to visit, your experience is not complete without a trip South of the Border to the Mexico pavilion for La Cava del Tequila’s world-famous avocado margarita. For a romantic meal “under the stars,” try San Angel Inn Restaurante for standby Mexican dishes like carne asada.
For a family dining experience like no other, book a table at Coral Reef Restaurant. You’ll feel like you’re 20,000 leagues under the sea as you dine alongside one of the largest man-made ocean environments in the world. Try succulent seafood dishes as you watch sharks, fish and large turtles swim by.
Hollywood Studios immerses you in your favorite films, including the Star Wars franchise. Not only can you journey to a galaxy far, far away via the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area’s thrill rides, but you can also dine like a member of the Resistance in restaurants like Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo. Nibble on the Batuuan beef and crispy topato stir-fry, which raises the standards on fast-casual fare. Don’t miss a visit to Oga’s Cantina, inspired by the series’ infamous watering holes and their eclectic clientele. Sip a Jedi Mind Trick cocktail, a fun concoction of Ketel One Botanical Grapefruit and Rose Vodka, John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum and various fruit juices.
Magic Kingdom Theme Park
Of course, a visit to the Magic Kingdom is a must on any Disney trip. Cinderella Castle may be one of the world’s most recognizable landmarks, but few have dined inside at Cinderella’s Royal Table. If you can’t squeeze in a reservation by the stroke of midnight, Be Our Guest Restaurant, located in Beast’s enchanted castle, provides a great alternative for princess enthusiasts.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
Before heading out on a safari in Animal Kingdom, fuel up at Tusker House Restaurant. Mingle with your favorite Disney characters as you enjoy a family-style feast of comforting classics like Mickey and Simba waffles alongside dishes influenced by African flavors.
When your feet grow tired or the kids start to melt down, take a reprieve from the park. Just a quick jaunt away, these picks allow you to recharge your batteries, so you can maximize the day’s fun.
A quick gondola ride from EPCOT and Hollywood Studios, Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera offers respite and some of the most magnificent views in Disney World. Kids will love Breakfast à la Art with Mickey & Friends, while grown-ups will revel in formal dining experiences with expert wine pairings and handmade pastas.
For a midday EPCOT break, take a walk from the World Showcase to Amare. Its Mediterranean cuisine stands firmly among some of the best with light yet satisfying salads, charred octopus and gourmet pizzas. You’re in for a treat.
Take a relaxing boat ride from the Magic Kingdom to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Soak in the serenity at Geyser Point Bar & Grill, which overlooks Bay Lake. Adults can unwind with a Magical Beacon Cocktail (a mix of gin, blue curaçao, berry, orgeat, lemon, hibiscus and grenadine) along with a hearty bison cheeseburger.
INDULGE OUTSIDE THE PARKS
Whether you’ve had your fill of Disney magic or find yourself in the nearby area looking for a delicious meal, Orlando delivers many memorable dining experiences for all ages.
Visit Capa, a Forbes Travel Guide Recommended restaurant, set high atop Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort. The Spanish-influenced steakhouse offers a jaw-dropping yet laid-back ambiance well-suited for tapa tasting. The menu encourages sharing small plates of everything from fresh seafood to cured meats to prime cuts. Oenophiles will appreciate the impressive wine list. Pro tip: snag a table on the patio to enjoy the nightly fireworks from great heights.
If you choose to stay at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes or just want to stop by, head to the lively Highball & Harvest for bar games, live music and food sourced from local farms and the resort’s own garden.
While on the property, make time to pop over to Four-Star Knife & Spoon, an upscale steakhouse with a contemporary Florida vibe helmed by Top Chef alum John Tesar. Another tempting option is Primo, where chef Melissa Kelly spotlights classic dishes inspired by Italy’s coastal regions, like the grilled octopus or pappardelle Bolognese, and a carefully crafted wine list.
And finally, after nearly two years of being closed due to the pandemic, the opulent Five-Star Victoria & Albert’s reopened this summer. Located in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, it is the crown jewel of Disney World’s fine dining. Dress to impress, order the chef’s indulgent tasting menu and get ready for some delicious Disney magic.