If you’ve been following along with me for a while, you’ll know that we’re big Disney people. So it’s really not a surprise that a lot of the questions I get from readers and friends are Disney-related. And a lot of THOSE questions are food-related! I’m happy to answer all questions Disney, but I especially the ones related to trip tips and food, so let’s talk food today!
How We Plan Our Disney Meals
Meals are actually the first thing we do in the trip-planning process. We take a look at the days we’re going to be on the trip and look to make reservations at our favorite spots. We also try to include one new spot on every trip – and truthfully, there are so many place at Disney that there’s always a new-to-us one to try.
Usually we do dinners first, making sure we have at least one night at home and one grown ups dinner. Then we’ll plan to have a couple reserved lunches (depending on how long we’re visiting). We try to have a fair balance of “lunch on the go” and sit down lunches because the boys are often WAY too excited about being at the park to sit for too long of a lunch.
Then we’ll let the availability of reservations drive what park we’ll go to on any given day, our FastPasses, etc.
Disney Lunches We Love
On our last couple of trips, we’ve planned more nights in, so lunches have been the time to try something new! Here are my current top picks from each park:
This is, hands down, our favorite spot to eat at Animal Kingdom and maybe my favorite Disney lunch spot of all. It’s an outdoor “market” setup in the Africa area of Animal Kingdom. You order up at the counter and their food is super fresh tasting and flavorful. They do change the menu occasionally and it is always good. When we first tried it, they had a Chicken Tikka Masala that was incredible, Beef Gyros and this black eyed pea slaw that I always looked forward to. This past trip I got a chicken bowl with fresh salsa and jasmine rice. The boys always get corn dogs and fruit.
Another great benefit of this one is that they have booze. Clint always grabs a beer and I really like their sangria (it’s red and not too sweet), and we end up walking to our next ride or activity with those in hand!
There’s also a bakery right across from the restaurant with excellent frosted cookies, so we usually head there right afterward too!
Liberty Tree Tavern
This is one of our favorite lunch spots in the Magic Kingdom and you must have a reservation for it – and they fill up fast! It’s in Liberty Square (near the Haunted Mansion) and serves traditional American fare, and when they call to seat you at your table they’d say something like “Now seating, from the State of Michigan, the Rand Family!”
When you go with a bigger group, I highly recommend ordering the family style meal where you get roasted turkey, pot roast, mac and cheese, stuffing, green beans, and the most delicious sticky toffee pudding dessert. Last time we went, it was just us and the boys so we ordered a la carte. The boys did macaroni and cheese (because they’re exciting like that), Clint got a lobster roll and I got a burger with aioli, LOBSTER, tomato, lettuce and candied bacon – let’s just say that was amazing and I was very happy.
We just tried this one for the first time in October and really enjoyed it! This is in the Japan Pavilion at Epcot and I’d say you probably need reservations for this one too. It’s a hibachi style restaurant where they cook in front of you on the flat top grille. We picked it because we thought the boys would think it was cool and it definitely kept their attention – and it was a pretty quick lunch spot!
The food was better than I expected here, so I was happily surprised. I feel like all of the other hibachi-style restaurants I’ve gone to have upset my stomach but the food here felt really clean, fresh and not too oily at all. Clint got salmon, I got a filet and shrimp and the boys got chicken (although Jackson ate most of Clint’s salmon).
The Hollywood Brown Derby
In Disney Studios, this is THE restaurant you want to go to. If your kids will sit nicely and quietly through lunch, eat inside. They also now have an outdoor patio where you can get sliders, charcuterie boards and mini-Cobb salads.
And good wine, they have good wine.
The best thing here is the Cobb Salad. They’re known for it and it’s chopped super fine and is so good! I also love their grapefruit cake, it’s light and airy and again, goes with wine.
For the Kids: Hollywood & Vine
This is one of the best character lunches if your kids are into Disney Junior. The characters come out, there are songs, lots of time for autographs and they love it.
Hollywood and Vine also has one of the best buffets I’ve been to at Disney. It’s a gourmet buffet, and they have a spot for the usual kids stuff (which always goes over well). They also have a great dessert bar with lots of baked treats and soft serve ice cream.
So those are my favorites from each park – at least at the moment! Do you have a favorite Disney dining spot? Leave me a comment and do tell!