FIRST… these are our personal favorites. Myself and my family have dined at A LOT of different Disney World restaurants and out of all of them, these are the ones that we try to visit every trip. I say this to make clear that these are not necessarily going to be the most popular choices out there. In fact, we have found that being popular doesn’t always translate into being good. Please keep that in mind when planning your own vacations and don’t be afraid to try something that maybe doesn’t have a lot of hype but certainly could surprise you.
These are in no particular order.
Hollywood & Vine
You were not expecting that were you? Hollywood & Vine can sometimes have the opposite of hype, in that it gets a bad rep. If you dined here 2+ years ago then I would have to agree with that bad rep but lately I have to give credit where credit is do. This place has made some great progress in turning itself around. It definitely has a bit more room for improvement but we’re pleased with what has changed so far.
When making H&V reservations we try to go for dinner and get the Fantasmic Dining Package. It’s a nice perk to have priority seating at Fantasmic with no additional charge. The food here is served buffet style and there’s a wide selection to choose from including fish, shrimp, turkey, chicken, roast beef, and a ton of differing sides like potatoes, vegetables, rice, etc. to choose from. The food is well seasoned so you can put away the salt and pepper shakers and it’s always cooked perfectly. It’s definitely a big change from the bland and boring selections of the past.
Of course the shining star (or stars) of this restaurant are the characters. H&V is a character buffet. If you go for Breakfast you can see Disney Jr. stars like Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First. If you go for lunch or dinner, the restaurant transforms into “Minnie’s Seasonal Dine”. My family and I have now been for every season and have seen the cute outfits of the characters change depending on the time of year. Minnie, Mickey, Goofy, Donald and Daisy all make their way around the dining room and provide amazing interactions at each table. My daughter argues this is actually her favorite restaurant and that’s why for families with kids I think it’s a must do.
Yak & Yeti
While not technically a “Disney” restaurant as it’s owned by an outside company, it’s still on Disney property so it deserves the attention. Yak & Yeti is by far the most unique restaurant we have tried and it keeps us coming back time and time again. If you have a family of adventurous eaters, this is the place for you. And if you have a picky 5 year old like we do, this is still the place for you!
Yak & Yeti features a menu full of Asian and Indian culinary treasures. Some of our favorites include the Firecracker Shrimp, Chicken Tikka Masala, Korean Beef, and the Kobe Burger. And for those picky kids at the table, they still have mac & cheese and corn dog nuggets. Adults, be sure to try one of their specialty alcoholic beverages, they’re amazing, the South Seas Travelers is my favorite.
There are two levels to this restaurant and both are beautifully decorated. It has a warm and comforting feeling inside. If you can, request a table by the windows either upstairs or downstairs so you can people watch at Animal Kingdom.
If you don’t know what the Tusker House is you have probably been living under a rock. It’s no surprise to see the Tusker House on many top 5 or 10 lists for best restaurants at Disney World and there’s good reason for that. Eating here is an experience. I say experience because being there is truly like being transported right to Africa between the décor and the food, all themed perfectly to the location.
To make it even better, it’s also a character meal. Mickey, Goofy, Donald and Daisy make their way around visiting tables and providing great interaction with all. They’re all dressed in their safari best and adorable as can be.
Like Yak & Yeti the food here is for the adventurous foodie though they arguably have the best macaroni & cheese on property. For real though, you have to try it. Most of the food is African style. There’s curry, falafel, and chutney. Delicious. Kids will enjoy the more American foods at the kids buffet… but everyone must try that mac & cheese.
My only complaint about Tusker is that it can get loud in there. So if you’re looking for a nice quiet spot to dine, this isn’t the place. I do have a great suggestion for you coming up though…
Tutto Italia tends to sit in the shadow of it’s cheaper and more popular neighbor restaurant, Via Napoli. It’s time however that it’s had a chance to shine. If you’re looking for a great date night restaurant or even just a quiet place to take the kids and unwind while enjoying some authentic Italian food, this is where you need to be.
The first time we went here it was because it was one of the only places that still had reservations available 2 weeks out from our trip. Now it’s a family favorite and must visit. Try the chicken parm and be sure to get a peach Bellini!
If you’re the type that likes dinner and show, without having to forfeit 2 table service credits, check out Biergarten. The food is German and buffet style. The atmosphere makes you feel like you’re at an outdoor Biergarten in Germany at night. It’s beautiful. Up on the stage is a German folk band that play tradition instruments and invite the kids to dance to polka. It’s a great time.
I’m part German myself and my mom made a lot of this food for dinner while I was growing up. Some things are just as good as moms like the potato salad and spaetzle. Other things fall a bit short but are still good.
My only warning with this restaurant is that you sit family style as in you may be sitting at a table with other families. This is part of the authentic experience and for some it’s thoroughly enjoyable but for others they don’t care for it. I say talk to your neighbors and clink some steins together with them. Have fun and enjoy the experience.
Please comment below with your favorite table service restaurant and be sure to tell me why your family loves it.