At Walt Disney World, nearly everything qualifies as a breakfast. Hot dogs are slung by 10 a.m., last night’s desserts double as sugary morning fare, and the Dole Whip stand opens earlier than your usual workday begins. Truly, there are no rules.
But while the options are boundless, sitting down to a full meal of eggs, bacon, and toast here can be a merciless catch-22: You either cannibalize your early-morning park time (precious hours when ride lines are shorter than usual) with dining, or forego the serious sustenance required for the long day ahead.
There are, in fact, some fantastic eye-openers on the property, but you’ll have to know where to find them. Which is why we’ve highlighted the best breakfast tacos to scarf on the run, specialty foods worth taking a break for, and when you should just rely on the emergency granola bars in your backpack.
Desperate for caffeine? The most obvious options are called out below, but refer to Eater’s comprehensive guide to coffee and tea across the property for info on where to get hopped up throughout the day.
With an updated park entry procedure, having a reservation no longer gets you into the park as early as it used to. Character dining options are either the Crystal Palace buffet with Winnie The Pooh & Friends (don’t knock it, Eeyore is a delight) or the iconic Cinderella’s Royal Table, with tableside princess visits inside the castle’s upper towers. The only other sit-down options are Plaza Restaurant, which just introduced breakfast, and Be Our Guest (more on that below).
Signature morning sweets include Cheshire Café’s eponymous “cat tail,” a pink and purple icing-drizzled Danish log, and the warm jumbo cinnamon roll at Gaston’s Tavern; both are fine, not great. If you prefer to start the day with a macaroni-and-cheese-topped hot dog, you’re in luck, because Cosmic Ray’s, Lunching Pad, and Casey’s Corner all start serving lunch fare bright ’n’ early at 10 a.m — with the frozen pineapple favorite, Dole Whip, up for grabs as early as 9 a.m.
Top Pick: Sleepy Hollow, whose freshly made sweet and savory waffle sandwiches hit the spot, unless you indulge in a Mickey-shaped one instead. (Late risers, take note: the ham, egg, and cheese waffle sammy is served ’till noon.)
Avoid: Be Our Guest. The hottest ticket in town is a travesty at breakfast time, when a chaotic pre-order format ruins its delightful Beauty and the Beast-themed interiors. The food isn’t terrible and comes out lightning quick, but it remains a pricey breakfast that’s not entirely worth it.
Coffee: The Main Street Bakery (halfway down the main drag, right-hand side) hides the park’s very own Starbucks, while a Joffrey’s Revive stand in Tomorrowland (by Space Mountain) serves solid coffee without the long lines.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Morning options are tough to come by inside this timeless take on Tinseltown, with most quick-service locations opening early with lunchtime foods in busy months, but grab-and-go eats, such as the whoopie pie-like carrot cake cookie, at the Trolley Car Café Starbucks are a reliable choice. That is, if you’re not eating omelets and Mickey waffles with familiar Disney Junior faces at Hollywood & Vine, the only spot in the park offering character dining.
Top Pick: Woody’s Lunch Box in Toy Story Land. The strange delights at this quick-service stand are worth stopping for, particularly the indulgent scrambled-egg bowl with smoked brisket, gravy-smothered tater tots, and a s’mores French toast breakfast sandwich with graham-crusted brioche. It’s less sweet than it sounds, and you can even use Disney’s mobile-ordering service to skip the line.
Avoid: ...eating lunch fare at 10 a.m. It won’t end well.
Coffee: Starbucks is located within the Trolley Car Café (at end of the entrance’s central stretch, right-hand side), but a Joffrey’s Coffee stand is conveniently lurking at the entrance of Toy Story Land.
Epcot’s World Showcase is the place to chow down on international cuisine within themed pavilions during the day, but only Mexico, Norway, and France are open pre-11 a.m. If you’re back there — most likely for a morning ride on Frozen Ever After — there are sweet Scandinavian pastries and a salmon-and-egg bagel at Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe.
You won’t totally destroy your plans by sitting down for breakfast, so munch on a family-sized platter of hearty staples with Chip ’n’ Dale, Pluto, and Mickey Mouse at Garden Grill or with a bevy of princesses at Norway’s part-buffet, part-restaurant Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, the park’s two character dining locations. If you’re just putzing around Future World between morning Fastpass reservations and need a quick bite, Sunshine Seasons, with its souffle, croissant egg sandwich, and healthy options like a tofu wrap and overnight oats, is your best bet.
Top Pick: Les Halles Boulangerie in the World Showcase’s France pavilion for a tempting bakery case of croissants and chocolate-filled pastries, along with ham- and cheese-stuffed croissants, quiches, and croque monsieurs.
Avoid: Waiting until World Showcase opens at 11 a.m. Have a little something, even if it’s a piece of fruit — you’ll want to pace yourself once the real eating begins.
Coffee: Here, Starbucks is called Fountain View; walk past Spaceship Earth and it’ll be on your right-hand side, across from the fountain. Can’t wait? There are Joffrey’s Coffee kiosks beneath the monorail station, over by Test Track, and within the World Showcase.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Given that your morning plans likely include waiting for the immensely popular Avatar: Flight of Passage ride, skip the sad pastries sold at pop-up stands nearby and send a family member to retrieve French toast sticks, sausage-and-egg biscuits, or sweet pineapple lumpia from Pandora’s nearby Pongu Pongu stand. (The line now snakes through an outdoor walkway between Pandora and Africa, alleviating any difficulty of shimmying through a proper queue to find them — a big Disney no-no.)
Your only true sit-down options are Tusker House, a character breakfast buffet with good food and a few African options (mealie pap, beef bobotie) or, gulp, Rainforest Cafe, so opt for the former if you’re inclined. It’s got the core characters — Mickey, Daisy, Donald, and Goofy — and some of the best grub, too.
Top Pick: Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe. The quick-service counter in Asia has an array of made-to-order sunrise sandwiches — bacon and egg on challah toast, sausage and egg on an English muffin — as well as a breakfast burrito and tacos, all served with herbed hash-brown bites.
Avoid: Kusafiri Coffee Shop, the kiosk in Africa whose oversized Mickey-shaped cinnamon roll is not as good as Instagram would have you believe.
Coffee: Creature Comforts houses the park’s Starbucks (take the left at the park’s emblematic Tree of Life; it’ll be on your left-hand side), but if you’re headed toward DinoLand U.S.A., Isle of Java is more convenient.
Around the Resort
All Disney Resort hotels offer breakfast, but only some are worth changing your plans for:
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort: Kona Cafe offers loco moco and macadamia-nut pancakes, but is most famously known for the cinnamon sugar-crusted, banana-stuffed sourdough loaf that is Tonga Toast. Reservations can be tough to nab, so you can also grab the toast to go (sans strawberry compote) at Capt. Cook’s.
Disney’s Yacht Club: Ale & Compass offers one of the best breakfast buffets in the park (they’ve even got whitefish salad!) as a small upcharge to its selection of inventive entrees that are, for the time being at least, priced competitively.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: Sanaa’s limited but substantial breakfast menu, paired with up-close views of animals, makes it a top choice time and time again.
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn: If you’re looking to give your kids some princess magic and yourself a table-service breakfast (poached eggs with fennel sausage; sopressata-stuffed breakfast calzone) far superior to the character buffets, Trattoria al Forno is the spot.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa: 1900 Park Fare is the ol’ standard when it comes to character dining, but Grand Floridian Cafe not-so-secretly has one of the best breakfast menus (and calmest atmospheres) on property.
Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort: Fuel is the ideal lobby pit-stop, with a full espresso bar, egg sandwiches, and endless packaged snacks ideal for scarfing while waiting for the Magic Kingdom bus.
Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort: Ravello not only has a superior breakfast buffet, but hosts character dining a couple days a week, giving you quality time with Goofy, Mickey, and Minnie alongside a gourmet spread of charcuterie, house-made granola, and eggs made to order.
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort: The perk of staying at a Disney hotel that recently underwent renovations is an updated quick-service menu that almost always includes unexpected surprises. Enjoy breakfast Cubans, coconut waffles, and a chorizo tostones Benedict at Centertown Market or try the cream cheese-guava French toast and yucca hash at the hotel’s Spyglass Grille.
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort — French Quarter: Load up on breakfast po’ boys, baguette French toast, breakfast shrimp and grits bowls, and beignets from the quick-service counters at Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory.
Disney’s Art of Animation: Long heralded as the best quick-service food of all value-tier hotels, Landscape of Flavors delivers a strong and varied bounty, with breakfast sandwiches on naan bread, challah French toast, and vegan seitan scrambles.