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Travel The Very Best Things to Eat and Drink at Disney World

00:35  06 april  2022
00:35  06 april  2022 Source:   thrillist.com

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  The Very Best Things to Eat and Drink at Disney World © Courtesy of Walt Disney World When you think of dining at Walt Disney World, what springs to mind? Mickey-shaped waffles and churros? Hot dogs and fries? Turkey legs?! Don’t get us wrong—you can (and should!) still pig out on all of those things at Disney World. But we're here to tell you that dining in the House of Mouse goes far, far beyond kiddie grub.

Consider yourself a foodie? You’ve got your pick of five-star, full-course dinners across Walt Disney World parks, resorts, and Disney Springs. If you’re into craft beers, the Mouse has got your back. Always wanted to try the grey stuff from Beauty and the Beast? Can confirm: “It’s delicious!” And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not eat with a wisecracking Jungle Cruise skipper in the Magic Kingdom, or enjoy a cocktail on another planet?

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As quickly as you can chant “bibbidi-bobbidi-boo,” whisk yourself over to one of Disney World's best restaurants.   The Very Best Things to Eat and Drink at Disney World © Courtesy of Walt Disney World

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The best places to eat in Magic Kingdom

Be Our Guest

Beauty and a feast, in a palatial dining room

You’ll recognize Be Our Guest from Beauty and the Beast—it’s modeled on the Beast’s castle, complete with a trashed West Wing and a wilting rose. Here we have a rare hybrid, offering quick service lunch in addition to full-on sit-down dinner service. Pro tip: Book in advance or risk becoming one of the sorry-looking groups snaking out the door and across the bridge waiting for a table and a serving of French onion soup. And make sure you try the legendary grey stuff while you’re there—the grey-frosted cupcake is much, much better than it looks.   The Very Best Things to Eat and Drink at Disney World © Courtesy of Walt Disney World

Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen

Tropical cuisine in a pun-derful exploration-themed setting

As one skipper led us to our table, she promised to show us three of the restaurant’s highlights. “There they are!” she said, pointing up at a trio of twinkling chandeliers. Luckily, the food is as good as the jokes are bad. If you’re into spice, the Perkins Thai noodles won’t disappoint, and true Jungle Cruise nerds will delight in the safari-inspired chocolate kungaloosh for dessert. The restaurant is directly opposite the Jungle Cruise ride, so it’s easy to find even with the worst case of sealegs.

Aloha Isle

A Disney must-try: Sweet and summery Dole Whip

This is where you can get Disney's venerated Dole Whip—enough said. And if you don’t know what a Dole Whip is, why are you still reading this? Get thee to Aloha Isle, friend.   The Very Best Things to Eat and Drink at Disney World © iceninejon/Flickr

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The best places to eat in Animal Kingdom

Flame Tree Barbecue

Meat feasts with views of Expedition Everest

Considering Disney World is deep down south, deliciously dirty barbecue is strangely hard to come by. Take a walk on the smoky side with this outdoor BBQ quick-serve, and gorge on pulled pork sandwiches and ribs, glorious ribs. Grab a table looking out onto Expedition Everest’s summit, and watch out for the scavenging local birds who might, understandably, try and pick off your meal.

Nomad Lounge

Take your taste buds on a sensory safari

When it comes to dining in Disney World, EPCOT and Disney Springs get a lot of the spotlight as the foodie meccas, but Animal Kingdom is low-key incredible. In fact, two of the best, most unique restaurants in Disney World are Tiffins and its casual adjoining offshoot, Nomad Lounge. Considering its similar menu to Tiffins, its huge riverside terrace, and the fact that it’s far easier to get into, Nomad Lounge is our go-to.

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The vibe feels like a chic glamping trip on an African safari, especially if you’re sitting outside on the breezy, couch-clad balcony, sipping a Night Monkey (dark rum, guava puree, coffee syrup, cilantro, and lime juice) or a Tempting Tigress (bourbon, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, tamarind syrup, and lime juice). Pair ‘em with tasty snacks like Impossible sliders with thick-cut yucca fries, or the signature Tiffins Bread Service, a combo of pomegranate Foccacia, crispy papadams, and herb-studded pita, served with red pepper hummus, coriander yogurt, and ginger-pear chutney.   The Very Best Things to Eat and Drink at Disney World © Todd Anderson/Walt Disney World Company

The best places to eat in EPCOT

Space 220

Just a casual tasting menu 220 miles out in space

Clearly, Disney World has already conquered planet Earth and is now fixated on space, because another one of its newer, flashier restaurants is this extraterrestrial dining experience in EPCOT’s Future World.

A ride/restaurant hybrid, guests start their “journey” by boarding an elevator that creates the illusion of rising 220 miles up into space, before boarding a ship for a prix fixe lunch or dinner. After walking down a hallway that feels straight off the Death Star, the dining room affords panoramic views of space, the stars, astronauts floating by, and Earth down below.

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Dining here is a two-course affair for lunch and three-courser for dinner, with dishes that skew zany, colorful, and cheeky like Neptune Tartare (tuna with mango coulis), Blue Moon Cauliflower (tempura-fried with blue cheese dust), and Big Bang Burrata with sunflower seed romesco and grilled artichoke hearts. The drinks are just as trippy: take for example the Atmospritz, topped with a cotton candy “cloud,” and the Big Bang Tang garnished with astronaut ice cream.   The Very Best Things to Eat and Drink at Disney World © Courtesy of Walt Disney World

Coral Reef Restaurant

Seafood under the sea (kind of)

Enjoy shrimp cocktail, lobster bisque, seared mahi-mahi, and more with panoramic underwater views of the SeaBase aquarium—and don’t feel too guilty, because none of the 4,000 animals who call the aquarium home are on the menu. If you’re lucky, you might catch a scuba-diving Mickey amongst his aquatic friends, and ‘90s kids might recognize the restaurant from episodes of Full House and Boy Meets World.

Biergarten Restaurant

Bavarian beer hall for wurst and pretzels

The World Showcase moves on to Germany with this cavernous Bavarian hall celebrating all things lederhosen, wurst, and beer. You might not think you’re an all-you-can-eat buffet sort of person, but these sausages and nudel gratin will change all that. And besides, where else can you order a beer that’s literally the size of your head? All the while, the in-house oompah band teaches you to zicke-zacke-zicke-zacke-hoy-hoy-hoy like a native. Prost!   The Very Best Things to Eat and Drink at Disney World © Courtesy of Walt Disney World

La Cava del Tequila

Because it’s basically a mezcal speakeasy inside a Mayan pyramid

The closest thing to a speakeasy that Disney World's got, La Cava del Tequila is a tiny agave lounge hidden away inside the Mayan pyramid in EPCOT’s Mexico Pavilion. Bedecked with colorful Day of the Dead vibes, and stocked with more than 200 tequilas and mezcals, these are some of the most legit margaritas in Disney World. Embark on a tequila-sipping flight, order a mezcal Negroni, or get a little adventurous with an avocado margarita or The Wild One, a mango-passion fruit variation with a black ant salt rim.

Chefs de France

French fare in a Parisian brasserie

This is Disney’s best impression of Paris, with views of the World Showcase promenade and a laid-back brasserie vibe. It’s the place to put an end to your onion soup craving or escargots curiosity, and there’s a boeuf bourguignon that won’t take “non” for an answer too. Finish up with a classic tarte au chocolat, then hit up the new Ratatouille ride around the corner for your bonus dessert.   The Very Best Things to Eat and Drink at Disney World © Courtesy of Walt Disney World

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The best places to eat in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Oga’s Cantina

Cocktails in a galaxy far, far away

The hottest bar in Disney World is quite literally outta this world—on the planet of Batuu, to be precise. The buzziest (read: hardest to get a reservation for) spot in Galaxy’s Edge, the brand new Star Wars-themed area of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Oga’s Cantina is an intergalactic party emceed by DJ R-3X, a droid pilot who diehards might remember from the nearby Star Tours ride.

Apparently now “Rex” is retired and spinning tunes in a raucous, cave-like cantina where bounty hunters, smugglers, and rogue traders (i.e. Disney World guests) sip exotic tipples that fizz and bubble and tingle and come garnished with sugar cookies. Try the Fuzzy Tauntaun, a zesty medley of peach vodka, peach Schnapps, tangerine-orange juice, cane sugar, and “tingling foam” that’ll make your lips feel like you just kissed a droid.   The Very Best Things to Eat and Drink at Disney World © Courtesy of Walt Disney World

BaseLine Taphouse

Californian craft beers and charcuterie

California is king at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and BaseLine Taphouse continues the theme with a range of craft beers from the Golden State, like Stone, Golden Road, North Coast, and Sierra Nevada. Pair your poison with plates of select cheeses and charcuterie, or a beer cheese-dipped soft pretzel. Edison bulbs and Underwood typewriters make this the hipster-est joint in town.   The Very Best Things to Eat and Drink at Disney World © HarshLight/Flickr

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant

Drive-in movie theater-inspired diner

The spirit of sci-fi B-movies lives on at this drive-in theater homage. Take your seat in a classic ‘50s convertible and settle in to watch black-and-white science fiction under the (ceiling-painted) stars. The menu fits the occasion with diner-style milkshakes and bun-bursting signature burgers. (They do decent pasta, too, but that’s not really in the spirit, is it?) Themed cocktails and Florida craft beers round out the experience.   The Very Best Things to Eat and Drink at Disney World © Courtesy of Walt Disney World

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The best places to eat in Disney Springs

Gideon’s Bakehouse

The longest line in Disney World isn’t for a ride, it’s for cookies

After originating as a tiny cookie counter in Orlando’s East End Market and amassing the kind of cult-like fandom usually reserved for Minnie Ears, this quasi-gothic bakery set up shop with an ornate, Victorian-style cafe in the heart of Disney Springs in January 2021—and now, it’s the hottest ticket in Disney World.

The half-pound cookies, heaped with chocolate chips, salted pistachios, and coffee cake crumbs, are so in-demand that they command hours-long waits via a virtual queue. That’s right: the only way to get your hands on one of these hefty cookies—or one of their equally mammoth cake slices—is to add your name to a waitlist and wander around Disney Springs, sometimes for several hours, awaiting that fateful text.

Waiting longer to eat a cookie than to ride Rise of the Resistance might seem absurd, but these buttery behemoths are worth it. Plus, there are plenty of bars in Disney Springs that'll help you kill time and lull you into the sense that what you’re doing is totally normal.   The Very Best Things to Eat and Drink at Disney World © Courtesy of Wine Bar George/Walt Disney World

Wine Bar George

Charcuterie, cheese, and wines you can’t (normally) afford

The brainchild of George Miliotes, one of about 250 master sommeliers in the entire world, offers something unique: one-ounce pours of wines priced at up to $3,000 a bottle. How is this possible? A device called a Coravin, which preserves the integrity of the cork with a surgical-grade needle and extracts the wine using argon gas.

This nifty innovation allows Wine Bar George to serve an international selection of fine wines, including the “Most Outstanding” list, where you’ll find that three-grand bottle. Order the sinfully-delicious charcuterie plate and mac & cheese balls to go with your pours, then stop by the takeout window for a gorgeously-frosted rosé sugar cookie.

Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’

Comfort food fresh from the farm

Art Smith was once Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef, which tells you all you need to know about the quality of this Southern barbecue and chicken joint. Newcomers should prioritize the restaurant’s signature dish, a monumental mound of fried chicken and mashed potatoes (or, since calories don’t count in Disney World, order the fried chicken and doughnuts), along with moonshine cocktails, served ice-cold in copper mule mugs.   The Very Best Things to Eat and Drink at Disney World © Courtesy of Walt Disney World

The best Disney World Resort hotel restaurants

‘Ohana

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Family-focused Hawaiian house of fun

As we learned in Lilo & Stitch, “‘ohana” is the Hawaiian word for family—so it’s no surprise that this themed restaurant in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort was created with kiddos in mind. But this is still one of the most beloved dining destinations in Disney World, and not just for its Cinderella Castle views overlooking Seven Seas Lagoon. The restaurant offers hearty all-you-can-eat breakfast and dinner spreads, with plates like honey-coriander chicken wings, pork dumplings, and lo mein-like noodles. Save room for the caramel-soaked bread pudding—you’ll need it.

Enchanted Rose

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

The only thing missing from Beauty and the Beast was espresso martinis

If Disney princesses sipped cocktails (maybe they do after the credits roll!), then Belle would be on the espresso martini train. How do we know? Because the dainty vanilla-kissed version served at this Beauty and the Beast-themed lounge in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is damn near perfect, and we have to assume it’s a recipe from Mrs. Potts herself.

Along with other well-balanced cocktails, like the gin- and elderflower-based Floral Bitter Beauty and the Island Rose scented with rose water, grapefruit, and Orgeat, these are some of the most sophisticated sips on the property, served in a quiet, elegant space with just the right amount of theming (the gold chandelier over the main bar is a nod to Belle’s iconic ball gown) without clobbering you over the head with Lumiere references. To eat, there’s a small selection of snacks, like cheese plates, brisket sliders, and crab mac & cheese.   The Very Best Things to Eat and Drink at Disney World © Courtesy of Disney Parks

Storybook Dining at Artist Point

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort

Rustic elegance and National Park vibes

Even diehard Disney fanatics occasionally suffer from theme burnout, and that’s where Artist Point—a sophisticated, high-ceilinged dining room nestled in Wilderness Lodge—comes in. OK, so it’s based on the Pacific Northwest while also being subtly Snow White-themed, but it’s gimmick-free and nails the region’s understated elegance. The herb chicken with cauliflower puree and roasted vegetables is the pro choice, and fear not: the “Poison Apple” dessert, made with dark chocolate-apple mousse, won’t put you in a coma.   The Very Best Things to Eat and Drink at Disney World © Frank Phillips/flickr

California Grill

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Special occasion spot for sushi and fireworks

For a flagship restaurant in Disney’s Contemporary Resort, California Grill looks a little dated, especially compared to the far more “contemporary” Steakhouse 71 downstairs, but there’s nothing fusty about its New American and Japanese menu. It’s famous for sushi, but the Floridian grouper with cashew chutney and green curry-coconut nage is even better. You can watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks, and place bets on whether the next guy to get down on one knee will get a “Yes!” or a “Isn’t it time for dessert?”   The Very Best Things to Eat and Drink at Disney World © Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Kid-free secret tiki bar

This hidden tiki bar and Jungle Cruise offshoot is hands-down the most kids-free place in Disney past 8 pm, when only guests over 21 years of age are allowed in. Prepare for a wackadoo evening of sarcastic bartenders, loose hippos, angry gods, and sneakily-sinking barstools. Be prepared to sing for your Polynesian Pearl, too…Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Lisette Voytko is a journalist living in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has been published by The Video Game History Foundation, Museum Hack, Task & Purpose, xoJane, and Femsplain. You can find her at lisettevoytko.com, on Twitter, and on Instagram.

Matt Kirouac is a travel writer with a passion for national parks, Disney, and food. He's the co-founder and co-host of Hello Ranger, a national parks community blog, podcast, and app. Follow him on IG @mattkirouacofficial.

It’s a changed world after all: 9 things you must know if you’re heading to Disney World .
Once you have enough Walt Disney World vacations under your belt, you start to understand the rules of the game. Ride strategy: check. Avoid crazy peak weeks: check. Make dining reservations months in advance: check. Or, at least, that all used to be true. After the parks reopened following the COVID-19 closure in 2020, Walt …Or, at least, that all used to be true.

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