Walt Disney World is home to a variety of restaurants at its theme parks, resorts, and Disney Springs. Guests can dine at restaurants that range from quick and casual meals to formal and themed experiences.
Unfortunately, some of those restaurants may fall into a “one-and-done” category. They’re great to experience, but maybe just once. As always, opinions will vary and you may think our list is a bunch of nonsense. Let us know in the comments.
Be Our Guest – Magic Kingdom
Be Our Guest is the restaurant equivalent of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction at the Magic Kingdom. There’s a lot of hype, it’s hard to get in, and the experience is relatively underwhelming. We’ll elaborate.
Be Our Guest used to be a great dining location when it had quick-service options for breakfast and lunch. When that ended and the restaurant adopted a prix fixe menu exclusively, the value proposition dropped significantly. Adult guests currently pay $62 per person and children are $37 per person. That’s a steep price for a meal that many guests describe as hit or miss.
To be fair, Be Our Guest does have some fun theming. The West Wing is particularly neat as long as you don’t mind dim lighting. However, that’s not enough to justify the price and the hassle to get a reservation.
Space 220 – EPCOT
Space 220 is one of the most difficult dining reservations to book at EPCOT. The restaurant’s views into space have generated a ton of buzz, but is Space 220 worth your time and money with so many great restaurants at EPCOT? We’re not so sure.
Space 220 also follows the prix fixe menu system, with adults costing $55 at lunch and $79 at dinner. The unique cocktails, which are certainly interesting concoctions, are not included. We recommend checking out the Space 220 Lounge as an easier, more affordable option for guests wanting to visit space. It’s less of a commitment if you end up not being a fan.
Overall, the Space 220 theming (arriving in space, looking out the windows) is great and reminds us of vintage EPCOT. The food and drinks were fairly forgettable in terms of flavor which, combined with the price, makes it hard to justify repeat visits.
Cinderella’s Royal Table – Magic Kingdom
Eating inside Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom is an unforgettable experience. There’s nothing quite like stepping inside one of the icons of Walt Disney World and Disney as a whole. So, why is the restaurant on this list?
Honestly, we enjoyed breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table quite a bit. Breakfast ($42 for adults, $27 for children) isn’t too bad of a deal in terms of Disney prices. We would definitely do breakfast again. But lunch and dinner? Probably not. The prix fixe menu paired with items of uneven quality make it difficult to recommend Cinderella’s Royal Table beyond its unbeatable location. You’re in the Castle!
We’d recommend eating at the very underrated Skipper Canteen for lunch or dinner despite the fact it doesn’t pack the same emotional punch as Cinderella Castle.
Chef Mickey’s – Disney’s Contemporary Resort
It’s difficult to evaluate character dining at Walt Disney World. The overall enjoyment and value will vary greatly depending on how you feel about meeting characters. We can, however, evaluate food quality and the overall atmosphere.
Chef Mickey’s is not the place to go for a quiet, peaceful meal. It’s quite the opposite and it’s important to be ready for that. That alone could be a dealbreaker for some, but for most it’s the unpredictable food. Sometimes it’s perfectly good. Other times it’s bland and a bit dried out.
We’re all for the type of craziness that’s found at Chef Mickey’s, but for us it’s a one-and-done reservation.
Crystal Palace – Magic Kingdom
Crystal Palace has the potential to be awesome. It really does. The setting is unique and the characters (Winnie the Pooh and friends!) are fun. Unfortunately, the buffet falls a bit flat and the premium paid to see characters doesn’t always pan out. If you miss one of the characters making their rounds, you may have to wait a long time before they return. Bad timing by us meant a 45-minute wait to see the star, Winnie the Pooh, before we could continue our day.
The food itself is fairly basic. Breakfast (when offered) was the usual Disney breakfast items (we do love the Mickey waffles) and other buffets around property offer a wider, higher-quality selection. Check out the breakfast buffet at Boma inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge if you want a great dining experience. Lunch and dinner are a similar story, though this is more representative of the overall weak table-service lineup at the Magic Kingdom.
Rainforest Café – Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Honestly, we wouldn’t recommend Rainforest Café over the other dining options in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. There’s some real winners just inside the gates. But, we admit Rainforest Café can be an experience, and some guests (especially kids) will love the theming and animatronics.
That said, Rainforest Café at Disney’s Animal Kingdom doesn’t offer anything unique that can’t be found at any other Rainforest Café around the country. There’s also the very similar T-REX down in Disney Springs. We’d recommend spending time at Yak and Yeti or even at some of the great quick-service locations (Satu’li Canteen) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom instead.