Posted by: wildflowerz | October 1, 2016

Disney Food, 2016 Update

I made this post quite a while ago after a friend asked about food at WDW.  Since we just did another trip, I figured I’d update it.

Here’s our family’s opinion on the restaurants we’ve tried at Disney World, organized by location.  If you’re new, Snacks just means that’s all you get there on the dining plan.  Counter Service means it’s like a regular fast food restaurant, usually where you order at a counter, get your food, and seat yourself.  Table Service is like a regular sit-down restaurant.  For easy reference, all the restaurants in GREEN are my recommendation.  The ones in RED are the ones to skip/avoid.  The rest are fine.  Here they are:

Magic Kingdom:

  • Aloha Isle (Snacks) – Home of the much lauded Dole Whip.  I can see how if you like Pineapple, you’d like these a lot.  I, however, do not like pineapple at all.  So, no thanks.  But they’re one of THE THINGS to get at MK, so if you like the pineapple, go for it.
  • Be Our Guest (Lunch/Counter Service):  We did this for lunch our past two times.  If you’re unfamiliar, BoG is Counter Service for Lunch at Table Service for Dinner.  It’s one of the only (the only?) place where you can make an ADR for a Counter Service Meal.  You can also go to the website up to a month ahead of time and place your food order.  I recommend you do make your food order ahead of time because the process to get in is much quicker.  When you arrive, you check in and you get a little plastic rose out in front of the castle.  You then head inside and give your rose to another person, who I guess checks you in again?  I’m not sure what the purpose of that or the rose is.   You pick your table and when you’re food is ready, they find you, using your MagicBands.  It’s pretty cool.  I usually get  the Turkey Sandwich.  Em got the Ham this time and loved it.  Chris had the Roast Beef Sandwich last time and the quiche this time.  We all liked them a lot.  I liked that I had the option of getting green beans with lunch (and they were yum too!).  We’ve had the Master’s Cupcake (it has “grey stuff” on top!), lemon, strawberry, and chocolate.  They are regular sized cupcakes with a generous amount of icing on top.  They were all very yum, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for the grey stuff unless you just want to say you’ve had it.  It just tastes like regular icing.
  • Be Our Guest (Dinner/Table Service):  We scored an ADR here on our 2014 trip.  We were seated in the West Wing, which I highly recommend, even though it’s forbidden.  😉  It’s a smaller room, but the rose under glass is there and it’s constantly “storming” outside, which makes for some neat effects.  I think I had the steak here last time.  Honestly, unless it was the trip we just got back from, I usually can’t remember what I had.  I do remember that we all really liked our meals a lot and would highly recommend it.  To get an ADR, you’ll need to get online the DAY your window opens up and even then it might not happen.  Good luck!
  • Cheshire Cafe (Snacks) – This is the place with the famed Cake Cups.  Or, it was.  I read all about the cake cups online for months and months before we went to Disney.  Everyone raved about them.  I LOVE cake, so it was high on my list of things to eat.  Know what?  They don’t have them any more.  The stuff left is your standard snacks, so nothing special.
  • Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe (Counter Service) – We’ve done lunch here three times, I think.  We usually end up there because they’ve got a big selection at lots of different windows to order from.  In the end, it’s your standard theme park food, so it’s nothing special.  Adequate and lots of indoor seating.
  • Gaston’s Tavern (Snacks) – We tried the popular LaFou’s Brew here on our last trip.  We weren’t impressed.  It tasted like an apple juice slushie.  Meh.
  • Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen (Table Service) – This is new and we were excited to try it.  The staff uses the same silly puns and deadpan that they do on the Jungle Cruise.  The decor is cool and exactly what you’d expect.  The food…  To start, you get Ethiopian bread.  It’s a dark brown bread and I didn’t like it by itself.  It comes with a fenugreek honey.  Okay, I heard “fenugreek” and had flashbacks to when I was breastfeeding and had to take that.  It’s not a pleasant memory.  I tried it, though, and it wasn’t good either.  So, Chris got the noodle bowl and said it was meh.  Em got “Tastes Like Chicken Because It Is.”  It was very tasty, but WAY too spicy for her.  Since it was, I had to switch with her.  I got the steak and it was pretty good, the little I got before I had to switch.  For dessert, Chris got the coconut bar.  Em and I got Kungaloosh! but without the coffee dust since neither of us likes it.  It was okay, but not special.  We won’t go back.  It wasn’t awful, but we didn’t love it, overall.
  • Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe (Counter Service) – I believe we had lunch here on our last trip.  It was surprisingly yum.  I believe I had a pulled pork sandwich.
  • Pinnochio Village Haus (Counter Service) – Em loves the pizza here.  I think we went here either our last trip or the one before.  I had some sort of super messy sandwich that was very yummy.
  • Sunshine Tree Terrace (Snacks) – The other part of the Dole Whip vs. Citrus Swirl war can be found here.  A Citrus Swirl is a mix of vanilla soft serve and orange slushie.  It tastes like a creamsicle.  It was okay, but the price to food ratio is VERY large and you’re not coming out on the better end of that deal.  I’d totally skip it.
  • Tony’s Town Square Restaurant (Table Service) – Okay, the table service restaurants at MK just don’t excite us.  Excepting Be Our Guest.  So, we decided to go out on a limb and try Tony’s once.  It wasn’t bad.  Chris and I both had the chicken parm.  We liked that the chicken came out still crispy and not soggy like usually chicken parm.  The sauce was just mediocre.  Overall, it was tasty, but nothing to write home about.  Olive Garden is better.  For dessert, I had the amaretto cheesecake.  It was very yum, but VERY tiny.  Chris had the chocolate cake and liked his.  Em had the kid’s chocolate cake and it was tiny and not nearly as good as Chris’s.

Epcot:

  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (Table Service): – We’ve only done this for breakfast.  Breakfast is breakfast in most places at WDW so there’s nothing really special about the food.  This is Norway’s restaurant, so there’s a lot of raw fish in addition to the regular breakfast stuff.  We’ve done this one twice when Em was younger because it’s a fabulous character breakfast with a bunch of princesses.  If you’re not into the character thing, skip it for breakfast.
  • Biergarten (Table Service) – This is in Germany.  We went there on our last trip.  Biergarten is a buffet restaurant and you’re seated family style, which we didn’t care for.  If you’re not sure what that is, it means you’ll probably be sitting at a table with a bunch of people you don’t know.  They do some cool dancing and music during the meal.  The food was okay.  Maybe we’re not huge fans of German food, but we didn’t love it.  It wasn’t bad, but not a favorite and we probably won’t go again.
  • Chefs de France (Table Service) – When Chris and I went on our very first trip to WDW when we were first married, this was our favorite place.  When we took Em for the first time, we went back and were disappointed.  It wasn’t bad, there was just nothing special about it.  I’m hearing good things again, though, so maybe we’ll try it again next time.
  • Karamell Kuche (Snacks) – I heard such good things about this place and it smelled AMAZING.  Em got a cookie with caramel in the middle.  I had a small taste and it wasn’t great.  There wasn’t a whole lot that I was willing to spend their prices (even with a snack credit) on.  But it did smell amazing.
  • La Cantina de San Angel (Counter Service) – We had this in 2015 I think.  Ug.  Okay, we LOVE Mexican food.  I mean, we eat it usually once a week.  So we figured we’d try it for counter service.  It was AWFUL.  Em had nachos and it was all cold.  Chris and I had tacos and they were bland and ug.
  • La Cava del Tequila (Drinks) – I wanted a margarita last trip.  We heard this place was fab.  Eh.  We’re not big drinkers.  Not for moral reasons, we just don’t really drink much.  I would have MUCH preferred a cheaper, frozen marg from the cart out front.  So that’s what we did this time and it was much tastier and more refreshing.
  • La Hacienda de San Angel (Table Service) – My opinion on this was is very dated.  Chris and I went here in 2001 or so.  It wasn’t good.  BUT, that was 14 years ago.  But we’re generally of the opinion that for table service, we want something we can’t get at home and Mexican is not that.
  • L’Artisan des Glaces (Snacks) – OMG yum.  They have an ice cream filled macaroon.  It’s SO GOOD.
  • Restaurant Marrakesh (Table Service) – Chris and I did this one on our first visit and then we went on our last visit before this one.  We love it.  We don’t have any Moroccoan/Turkish/Persian food near us, so we like visiting here when we go.  Also, there’s belly dancing.  🙂
  • Rose & Crown Dining Room (Table Service) – Okay, I love British stuff.  So, I like going here.  We went in 2014 and 2015.  Last time, I had bangers and mash.  Chris had steak and fish.  It was all super yum.  I had sticky toffee pudding for dessert and it was awesome.  Chris had the chocolate bread pudding.  It was okay, but nothing super fab.
  • Sunshine Seasons (Counter Service) – This place is in the pavilion with Soarin’ and Living with the Land.  It’s got a lot of different offerings and it’s not just your standard theme park fare.  Definitely recommend.
  • Tangierine Cafe (Counter Service) – Ew.  No, no, no.  The food Chris and I had was super cold and kind of revolting.  Em had a burger and (granted, she was 6 when we went, but) she cried when we made her eat it.  So, yeah.
  • Teppan Edo (Table Service) – The one time we used a travel agent, she couldn’t get us dinner at Ohana, so she subbed this instead, saying it was a lot alike.  It is not.  Don’t get me wrong, Teppan Edo is fine, but this is just a Japanese Steak House.  We have TONS of them at home, so why eat at one when you go on vacation?
  • Via Napoli (Table Service) – This place is new as of a few years ago.  We went there on our last trip and the one before that.  Em loves pizza.  This is supposed to be the “best pizza in the World.”  We’ve liked both meals we got there.  The second time, the service wasn’t great.  Chris got lasagne and it came out so early that he was finished eating before mine and Em’s food even got to our table.  And he’s not a SUPER fast eater.  We went again on our most recent trip.  We all got pizza and it was all super yum.  We all got the “Ugly, But Good” sundae and it was good, but it wasn’t until I was assessing the food plan later that I realized that the dessert was twice the price as anywhere else.  It was a $14 sundae.  It was a decent size, but it wasn’t worth $14.

Hollywood Studios:

  • ABC Commissary (Counter Service) – We’ve eaten lunch here several times, until we discovered Starring Rolls.  The line moves quickly, the selection is fine, and there’s tons of seating inside in the air conditioning.
  • Catalina Eddie’s/Fairfax Fare/Rosie’s All American (Counter Service) – These three are all stands right next to each other.  The food was fine, but nothing outstanding.  There’s plenty of seating and though it’s outside, it’s mostly covered.
  • Mama Melrose (Table Service) – We ate here our first two visits with Em.  The first time it was SO GOOD.  The last time, the food was okay and the service was horrible.  But there’s not a lot that draws us for food here at Hollywood Studios.  We might try this one again next time we go.  If I can drag Em away from Sci-Fi!
  • Pizza Planet (Counter Service) – Fair warning:  Chris and I ate here back in 2001.  It was the worst pizza I’ve ever had.  BUT it’s been 14 years, so…who knows how it’s changed.  **UPDATE:  It’s closed and being re-themed as a Muppets restaurant, which makes no sense.  I mean, PIZZA PLANET is a big part of Toy Story.  They’re changing it to something about Rizzo the Rat.  Um, no.
  • Sci-Fi Dine-In (Table Service) – Em loves this place.  We went here in 2014 and 2015.  It’s fine. It’s burgers and fries.  There’s nothing all that special about the food.  The one thing this one has going for it is that for drinks, you can get a milkshake and it’s part of the dining plan.  Yes, that means you can get your food with a milkshake to drink.  Then, you can also get a dessert.  The desserts here aren’t great, so I’d stick with a ice cream sundae.  The doughnut is fried too hard and the candy bar is just okay.
  • Starring Rolls (Counter Service) – OMG guys.  How have I not know about this sooner?  First off, the food selections are slim.  They’ve got a few sandwiches.  I had the turkey last time and ham this time.  Both were SO GOOD.   But here’s where this place really wins:  dessert.  This is the home of the Butterfinger cupcake.  It’s a chocolate cupcake with a gooey fudge center.  It’s topped with white icing with a thick, hard layer of crushed Butterfinger on top.  SO good.  And while I lie pb and choc, I’m not a huge Butterfinger fan.  Em got the pb & choc Darth Vader cupcake and declared it the best cupcake she’s ever had.  I think the Butterfinger might be my favorite Disney dessert.

Animal Kingdom:

  • Flame Tree Barbecue (Counter Service) – This is a decent counter service place.  There are tons of places to sit, but it’s small areas on a path.
  • Restaurantosaurus (Counter Service) – We went here our first trip with Em, so it’s been a while.  But I know how I said above that Em cried when we made her eat that burger from the counter service place in Morocco?  That happened here too.
  • Tamu Tamu Refreshments (Snacks) – This place has hand-made double chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches.  They’re huge and super yum.
  • Yak & Yeti Restaurant (Table Service) – This is my favorite restaurant for non-dessert in all of WDW.  And my second favorite for dessert!  We ate here in 2012 or 2013.  Then again in 2015 and again in 2016.  I LOVEthe ribs.  They’re in hoison sauce and the last time I had them, they came with chicken fried rice and asian slaw.  This past time, they came with fries and kimchi slaw.  Loved it all.  YUM!  For dessert, I was skeptical, but had heard the Mango Pie was very good.  I’m not a huge mango fan, but guys.  It was so good.  It is my second favorite dessert.  SO good.

Disney Springs:

  • Bongos Cuban Cafe (Table Service) – Chris and I went here in 2001 and it was awful.  Obviously, that was forever ago, but ug.
  • D-Luxe Burger (Counter Service) – This place was tasty.  Chris got the Diablo burger (mixture of sausage and beef), Em got a standard cheeseburger, and I got the Cluck burger.  They were all super tasty.  Em called her’s AMAZING.  With a lot of DS places, you get a side OR dessert.  This place only had a cheeseburger macaroon.  We got fries instead.
  • Earl of Sandwich (Counter Service) – I’d heard this place was fabulous.  I thought it was okay.  I had the buffalo chicken wrap.  I was tired of turkey and there wasn’t a lot else I was interested in.  You can get a side or a dessert here, so you actually get less food here than other places.  The cupcakes here were REALLY good, though.
  • Planet Hollywood (Table Service) – Chris and I ate here back when we first came in 2001.  The best I can remember is that it was fine.  But they were all over the place, so we usually just skip this one.
  • Raglan Road (Table Service) – We ate here in 2014 and it was my favorite dessert.  We missed it in 2015, so we went in 2016 and ended up there just for dessert that time.  First, the entertainment is great.  There are dancers and awesome musicians.  For the food, I had bangers and mash.  It was good!  Em said her burger was burned though.  But where this restaurant really excels is the bread and butter pudding.  It’s really good, but ended up not as good as I remembered it.  It’s still my 3rd favorite dessert at WDW.
  • Rainforest Cafe (Table Service) – We’ve been here several times.  I’ve not a huge salad person, but they have the best Asian chicken salad.  For a bit we decided not to do it because it’s a chain, but there’s not one anywhere near us at home.
  • T-REX (Table Service) – We went here in 2014 and it was yummy.  The theming here is very good with the rooms all looking completely different.
  • Wolfgang Puck Express (Counter Service) – We ate here for lunch in 2015.  In 2016, we did dinner.    It was tasty!  We all had pizzas the first time and they were good.  Em got the giant brownie for dessert and it was awful.  It was dry and not nearly sweet enough.  Chris and I both got cheesecake.  It was tasty, but nothing special.  This past time, Chris got ravioli and Em got Mac & Cheese and they both liked them.  I had the Chinois Chicken Salad and it was very yum.  We were having dessert at Raglan, so we just got cookies for dessert.  They were tasty, but not a good use of the DDP.

WDW Resorts:

  • Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge (Table Service) – We tried this place in 2015.  It’s a buffet and they have LOTS of stuff.  The chicken was kind of dry, but everything else I had was yummy.  Chris said this was absolutely his favorite place of the entire trip.  Em liked it okay.
  • Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue at Fort Wilderness (Table Service x2) – I thought this was going to be super cheesy and dumb.  It was super cheesy, but it was also really funny.  I’m not sure I’d want to do it again, but was fun and we’re definitely glad we did it.  First off, before we’d done Spirit of Aloha (SoA), I saw advice on getting there early, because there’s a bit of a walk.  So, I tried looking for HDD to see what the deal was getting there and could find nothing.  So, I’ll tell you.  Fort Wilderness is huge and has cabins and campsites.  They have their own buses because everything is so spread out.  And each of those buses have lots of stops.  When you get to Fort Wilderness (we drove), you park and get on a bus that will take you to the area where HDD is (consequently it’s the same area as Mickey’s Backyard BBQ if you’re doing that.).  So you need to plan ahead.  We got there with 5 minutes to spare.  I’d plan at LEAST 20 minutes once you get to Fort Wilderness.  Now, on to the actual show.  It’s inside and air conditioned, as opposed to Spirit of Aloha, which is outside.  It’s also much smaller.  It wasn’t sold out when we went, so the tables on the main floor weren’t even all full, much less the balcony upstairs.  You get cornbread (the sweet, yummy kind…not the dry kind my family had growing up) and salad.  Both were yummy.  For your meal, you get unlimited fried chicken and ribs (both yum), along with corn, baked beans, (both fine), and mashed potatoes (good, but kind of runny).  For dessert, it’s strawberry shortcake.  Yummy, but actually kind of small.  SoA and HDD are, I think, the only places where you can get alcohol on the dining plan, and it’s unlimited.  HDD is Yeunling for beer, a white and a red wine, and a white and a red sangria.  I didn’t care for either sangria, so I switched back to Diet Coke.  I’m not sure we’d do this again, but we definitely would recommend it at least once.
  • Kona at Polynesian (Table Service) – We’d eaten at both Ohana and Spirit of Aloha at the Polynesian, so we tried this one this time.  We made our reservation late for us (8pm) and it still took them 20 minutes or so to seat us.  And we were SO hungry.  The decor looked like it hadn’t been updated in ages and was kind of boring.  The food was good.  Em and I got noodles and they were SUPER yum.  Chris got a steak and he loved it.  Along with the Lapu Lapu.  The desserts were pretty yummy too.  However, this felt like eating in a mall food court since there’s no wall to the hotel.  I’m not sure if it was good enough that we would do it again, but it was tasty.
  • Ohana at Polynesian (Table Service) – We first did this one for breakfast.  They have a yummy juice that no one else has.  Other than that, it’s breakfast.  But at Ohana, that’s a character meal.  It was Lilo, Stitch, Mickey, and Goofy.  Lilo never made it to our table.  Another trip, we tried Ohana for dinner.  It’s more like a brazilian barbecue.  They come around to your table constantly with 4-5 different types of meat.  It was super yummy. And there’s a yum bread pudding for dessert.  Em didn’t like it but Chris and I LOVED it.
  • Pop Century (Counter Service & Snacks) – We usually stay at Pop for a variety of reasons, but when we have extra counter service credits, we have breakfast here.  It’s fine. Nothing spectacular, but fine.  You should try to always use your credits NOT on breakfast because you get more for your money that way.  But sometimes it’s not possible.  I will say that on our last morning, we had a bunch of snack credits to use and Em got their tie-dye cheesecake (Yes, at breakfast.  Shut up, we’re on vacation!) and it was SUPER yum.  It’s got a red velvet crust.  Em got one of those cookie ice cream sandwiches.  They’re HUGE and just a snack credit.
  • Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Villas (Table Service) – We went for this one in 2014.  It’s more Indian-type food, which I usually don’t like.  And I won’t say this was my favorite, but it was pretty good.  This is also the restaurant where you want to go for lunch or a really early dinner so you can see the animals.  They’re RIGHT OUTSIDE your window!
  • Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at Polynesian (Table Service x 2) – We did this for the first time in 2014.  We liked it so much we did it again in 2015.  There are two shows.  There’s a 5:30ish and an 8:15pm.  The later one’s better to see the fire part, but there are logistics problems.  You finish at around 10pm.  But unless MK or EP is open late, you’re going to be stuck getting a bus to Downtown Disney, then finding your bus to your hotel.  And it’s a MADHOUSE.  The actual show is cute.  It’s got plenty of songs your recognize, along with a bunch of dances from different countries.  The dancers are HOT, both the men and the women.  The food is pretty yum.  It’s all you can eat and this is the only place I know of where there’s select alcohol that’s all you can drink.  That includes 2 types of beer, a wine, and a sangria.
  • The Wave…of American Flavors at Contemporary (Table Service) – We picked this the time before last because it’s advertised as having more healthy choices.  Perhaps I read it wrong, because it’s not so much healthy, but more organic and locally sourced.  Don’t get me wrong, that’s good, but at that point it wasn’t what I was looking for.  I don’t really remember what we had, but Chris LOVED it.  Em liked it too.  I think I liked it, but I can’t remember a whole lot about it.
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