Perhaps my favorite thing about Disney World is the food. Seriously! People think I’m nuts when I say that, but the food at Disney is much more than burgers and chicken nuggets: there are some incredible quick service counters and even better table service restaurants to eat at in Disney. In honor of our recent family Disney trip, I bring you my top five favorite Disney table service restaurants that every new guest just has to try!
Tips for Table Service Dining
I know, I know. Table service sounds expensive. But it doesn’t always have to be that way! Here are some of my tips:
- Dine at lunch! Lunch is usually easier for table service restaurants for a number of reasons. Not only do you have more options for times and locations, it allows you to have a break from the heat during the hottest times of the day. I really recommend lunchtime table service dining for this reason: get out of the sweltering sun and relax with a cool beverage in an air conditioned restaurant for an hour! Some of the table service restaurants also have lunch menus too, which can be cheaper. For example, Garden Grill can be up to $10 cheaper for lunch compared to dinner. Other restaurants with lunch menus include Biergarten Restaurant and Tutto Italia.
- Go splits-ys! My fiancé and I are always on a mission to try new things, and I would prefer to taste a number of different dishes than to eat one big plate of the same food. So usually when we dine at Disney we will split one or two appetizers and an entree. This helps save a bit of money, and also leaves some leftover room in our bellies for dessert at one of the kiosks around the parks, like a croissant donut, or a macaron!
- Make reservations in advance. Especially if you are going at a busy time of year! You can make reservations up to 6 months in advance, and so when we go for our annual Disney trip right after Christmas, I make our reservations as early as I can. If you can’t find a reservation at your preferred restaurant, try making one for lunch, or check back often because sometimes people will cancel their reservations and open up a spot. You can continue to check for reservations up to the day before you plan to dine: because there is a 24 hour rule for canceling reservations, sometimes reservations will open up the day before.
1. Cape May Cafe, Disney’s Beach Club Resort
All you can eat crab legs? You just can’t beat that. Which is why Cape May Cafe is by far one of our favorite meals of each trip. My fiancé’s family has made it a trip tradition, and we have every intention of continuing this tradition! It is a great place for new guests to try because of a couple of reasons. First it is a buffet style, which means there is going to be something for everyone. Although buffet styles usually aren’t my favorite, this one is pretty amazing: clams, shrimp, cornbread, different types of pasta, beef, and more. Second, this restaurant is off the beaten path from the typical park restaurants because it is at a resort. Don’t shy away from trying this restaurant regardless of which resort you are staying at, and be sure to check out the dessert bar!
2. Teppan Edo, Japan Pavilion, EPCOT
Teppan Edo might just be my favorite Disney table service restaurant, for reals. Not only is the food outstanding, but you get an amazing show with your meal. Teppan Edo has hibachi style meals, where you sit at a large table with 9 other people around a grill. You have a server and also a personal hibachi chef, who prepares your meals in front of you. Teppan Edo is a great option for lunch, and in fact it is a tradition for us to have lunch here on the day of our arrival for each of our Disney trips. I recommend you try it out for yourselves and maybe it will become one of your Disney traditions too! I would also recommend splitting an appetizer like some sushi or the assorted tempura – both are outstanding!
3. Chefs De France, France Pavilion, EPCOT
Looking to escape for a long and leisurely meal away in France? Look no further than Chefs De France! I love this restaurant because the moment you step inside, not only does it look like a beautiful French café, but you literally feel like you are in France. From the décor to the wine list to the servers, Chefs De France epitomizes what it is to have a relaxing French meal, and it is one of my favorite places to have lunch in EPCOT. The food is exceptional (try the lobster bisque paired with a Croque Monsieur) and they have a great list of wines and bubbly to choose from also.
Bonus: If you have it in the budget, try Monsieur Paul upstairs for a delightful experience for your palate!)
4. Be Our Guest, The Magic Kingdom
This restaurant is a “pseudo-table service restaurant” at lunch because you wait in line to order your food and then the servers will bring your order directly to your table. While I recommend trying the lunch time offerings, dinner is also available and is served as a regular table style meal. Regardless of which meal you go for, I had to include it on this list though because it is such a magical experience! Just walking up to the castle makes me feel like I’m in a Disney movie, and strolling around the dining hall makes me feel like the Beast may be just around any corner! The food is also definitely superior to the typical chicken fingers and burgers found elsewhere at the Magic Kingdom. For lunch, I would recommend the carved prime chuck roast beef sandwich or the croque monsieur.
5. The Hollywood Brown Derby, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Looking for the best burger you’ve ever had? Well I found it, at The Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It’s mainly because it is made from wagyu beef, which really can’t be beat. Then the beef patty is topped with gruyere cheese, pastrami, avocado, heirloom tomatoes, fried egg, and cognac-mustard aioli. Like I said, best burger ever. While you’re at it, make sure to pair it with their local greens tossed with champagne vinaigrette and a margarita flight! Or for a fancier meal, try the lamb two ways, with butternut squash risotto.
Now It’s Your Turn!
What is your recommendation to a first time Disney guest: what table service restaurant do they just have to eat at? Share with me by commenting below!