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The TL;DR Guide to Dining at Walt Disney World Parks

Everything you need to know about every single one of the parks

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Walt Disney World has poured a huge amount of effort into upping its food game in the last few years, moving beyond standard theme-park fare to offer a dizzying array of dishes served at hundreds of restaurants.

It's no secret that most of the best restaurants on the property are located in the resorts and hotels, but odds are pretty good you'll wind up eating at least a couple of meals each day in the parks. (And in the case of Epcot's World Pavilion, you should make sure to eat at least a few meals there.) Here's our highly opinionated guide to the best, worst, and weirdest of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom:

Table Of Contents (all h2's added automatically)

MAGIC KINGDOM

The fantasy quotient is high in the Magic Kingdom, but the dining situation is dire. Though it's the most iconic, most-visited, and most-crowded of the four parks — not to mention home to some of Walt Disney World’s most wonderful and iconic foods, like the turkey leg, the Dole Whip, and the Citrus Swirl — it’s the worst park overall for general dining. Only one restaurant (the perennially packed Be Our Guest) serves alcohol, and then only at dinnertime, and most of the casual cafes and full service restaurants cater to their most important demographic: families with small children who want something fast, hot, and filling. Burgers, dogs, chicken fingers, and sad pastas abound.

What it lacks in decent restaurants it makes up in snacks: Magic Kingdom is a sweet-lover's dream. Make sure to try all the candies, cookies, Mickey-shaped confections, waffle-nutella sandwiches, and fancy popcorn your heart desires. The Starbucks on Main Street — the only place in the park to get a decent cup of coffee — tends to have a long line, but it moves quickly.

Best bet for breakfast
Sleepy Hollow for Mickey waffles and waffle sandwiches, otherwise the Starbucks inside Main Street Bakery or a turkey leg at Tortuga Tavern.

Best bet for lunch
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café for better-than-average rotisserie chicken and terrific chili-cheese fries; Columbia Harbor House for a surprisingly decent lobster roll

Best bet for dinner
Be Our Guest, or eat dinner elsewhere and come back — most nights, the Magic Kingdom stays open until midnight

Snacks
Plaza Ice Cream Parlor: Made-to-order ice cream sandwich with your choice of ice cream flavor
Aloha Isle: Dole Whip or Dole Whip float
Sunshine Tree Terrace: Citrus Swirl
Casey’s Corner: Corn dog nuggets
Prince Eric’s Village Market: Fresh fruit

Character breakfastsThe Crystal Palace (Winnie the Pooh and pals), or Cinderella’s Royal Table (princesses, bien sûr)

Skip it
Main Street Confectionery is full of Mickey-shaped candies and treats. None of them are very good, but the Mickey-shaped macaron is particularly awful.
Tomorrowland Terrace usually has short lines and plenty of seating. And, well, there’s a reason for that.

Germany pavilion, Epcot World Showcase

EPCOT

Epcot is undoubtedly Disney World's weirdest park, dedicated in equal parts to a bland, corporate-sponsored celebration of technological innovation (Future World), and an architecturally extraordinary parade of interactive pavilions celebrating eleven different countries (the World Showcase). Future World is fairly pedestrian as far as food goes, with the exception of Living With the Land, which is (seriously) an educational ride about farming (and actually pretty great). Our advice? Skip eating in Future World, unless you're so hungry you can't walk another four hundred yards over to the World Showcase. There, you'll find arguably the densest collection of culinary riches in the entire Disney World complex, from white-tablecloth French haute cuisine to Japanese fast food curry rice. It's also the booziest slice of Disney: each pavilion offers wide selections of their theme country's wine, beer, and spirits. (Getting a drink at each pavilion is such a common challenge that it even has a name: Drinking Around the World. You can buy the official t-shirt.)

Most of the country pavilions are masterpieces of place-creation: Stand in the right spot in Italy, Morocco, or France, and you could swear you were really there. (That each pavilion is staffed almost entirely by actual citizens of their countries doesn't hurt.) At some countries — particularly China, Japan, Mexico, and Morocco — the food's not going to be up to the meticulous authenticity standards you'd expect at a serious restaurant back home. But it's still all pretty great.

Best bet for breakfast
Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie in the France pavilion is the only non-Princess Dining option open for breakfast

Best bet for lunch
Tangierine Cafe in Morocco for shawarma, Katsura Grill in Japan for curry rice, the Yorkshire County Fish Shop in the UK for fish and chips (the takeaway window, not the eat-in pub — they use Vietnamese catfish, rather than the pub's cod, just as tasty for half the price), Via Napoli in Italy for Neapolitan-style pizza whose dough is rumored to be made with water imported from Italy.

Best bet for dinner
Monsieur Paul in France (best without kids, it's very soigné), Le Cellier Steakhouse in Canada

Snacks
Refreshment Port: Croissant doughnut (ahem) with or without ice cream
Kringla Bakeri og Kafe, Norway: Lefse, "Viking mousse"
Sommerfest, Germany: Just-fried potato chips dusted with paprika, soft pretzel with mustard
L'Artisan des Glaces, France: House-made ice cream in a fresh waffle cone
Kabuki Cafe, Japan: Kakigori (shaved ice topped with fruit syrup and condensed milk)

Character breakfasts
The Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Norway is the princess breakfast to end all princess breakfasts. Good luck getting a reservation.

Skip it
Club Cool, in Future World, is a tasting room where you can try Coca-cola products from around the world. Sounds neat, but it's always mobbed with sugar-high kids pounding free soda, and the flavors aren't that interesting.
Liberty Inn, the restaurant in the America pavilion in Future World, is an embarrassment. You've got the whole rest of the park to eat chicken fingers in.

The Hollywood Brown Derby, Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios

Like the Southern California scene it's modeled on, Hollywood Studios has booze, and plenty of it. You can get some serious cocktails at the 50's Prime Time Cafe (our pick for the best overall restaurant in all the parks), or a margarita at a standalone bar like High Octane Refreshments, or a frozen coke with a shot of rum at a street side stand like Peevy's.

As for food, the bar is a little lower. The Hollywood Brown Derby is the park's flagship restaurant, but the food itself tends to be both expensive and disappointing (with the exception of its two signature items, the cobb salad and the grapefruit cake). Instead, try 50's Prime Time Cafe, where the retro menu focuses on comfort- and soul-food classics and there's a black-and-white TV at every table, or the Sci Fi Drive In for one of the coolest restaurant experiences in the park. Try a hot dog at Dockside Diner if you just need something quick.

Starbucks is your best coffee option.

Drinks options:
Tune-In Lounge, the bar at the 50's Prime Time Cafe
Peevy's Polar Pipeline, a stand serving frozen slushes that you can spike from a selection of liquors

Best bet for breakfast
The Starbucks inside Trolley Car Café

Best bet for lunch
Woody’s Lunch Box for childhood comfort food like hot sandwiches, grilled cheese and “totchos”

Best bet for dinner
50's Prime Time Café

Character breakfasts
Hollywood and Vine's buffet breakfast features new Disney characters: Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Handy Manny, Doc McStuffins, and Sofia the First

Snacks
Anaheim Produce: grapes, bananas, hummus with pretzels

Skip It:
The Hollywood Brown Derby has all the looks of an old-Hollywood classic, but the overall experience — pricey, overwrought, and not that great — is the opposite of glam.

Asia, Disney's Animal Kingdom

ANIMAL KINGDOM

Disney's ode to conservation serves to fill in some notable holes in the map of the world painted by Epcot's World Showcase, with two of its main themed areas dedicated to Africa (largely inspired by Kenya and Tanzania) and Asia (drawing inspiration from Nepal, India, Indonesia, and Thailand). The food, while adapted to appeal to a more general American palate, makes an impressive attempt to incorporate authentic ingredients and flavors. The other theme areas serve a range of standard American amusement park fare.

The best overall option is Harambe Market, an open-air food court in Africa with a range of street food-inspired choices. If you really need the air conditioning, Yak & Yeti's hit-or-miss menu is a mishmosh of Indian and Southeast Asian dishes, but in a dining room gorgeous enough to make up for it. The "pineapple-whip" at Tamu-Tamu refreshments sounds like it's Dole Whip, but really is more like a sorbet. (You can get it topped with dark rum — even better.) The restaurant calling itself Creature Comforts is actually a Starbucks.

Drinks options:
Dawa Bar has a surprisingly sophisticated drinks list
Yak & Yeti Quality Beverages is a walk-up counter with decent beers, including Safari Amber — a custom brew made by Anheuser-Busch specifically for Animal Kingdom that tastes like a slightly more citrusy riff on Michelob Amberbock

Best bet for breakfast
Tusker House's character breakfast buffet, or the Starbucks inside Creature Comforts

Best bet for lunch
Harambe Market

Best bet for dinner
Opt for Tiffins, the high-end restaurant within the park that remains one of Disney’s best.

Character breakfasts
Tusker House, attended by safari-clad versions of Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Donald

Snacks
Harambe Fruit Market: fresh fruit
The Smiling Crocodile: healthy salads like quinoa-beet-edamame
Tamu-Tamu Refreshments: Pineapple whip soft-serve
Trilo-Bites: Buffalo chicken nachos

Special Diets
Terra Treats is designed for visitors with food restrictions, selling only a selection of snacks that are vegan, gluten-free, and/or dairy-free, including gluten-free Omission beer and vegan baked goods from Babycakes.

Skip It
Rainforest Cafe — if you really need to hit up this non-Disney-affiliated chain, there's another one at Disney Springs

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