In planning my upcoming trip to Disney World, I made more dining reservations than I’ve ever made before. Where? And why? Read on below.
I should note that these are the places where I made reservations. I suspect one or more of these will be cancelled, because it’s not a long vacation and my stomach has limits. These are listed in order from top priority to lowest. (Sorry, Boma.)
I’ve heard so many great things about Sanaa! It is rumored to have interesting, delicious food for mostly reasonable prices. I’m particularly looking forward to the bread service, because a variety of bread with various sauces/toppings is pretty much my ideal meal. Also, you get to dine while watching animals on the “savannah” and it will allow me to explore the Animal Kingdom Lodge, which I’ve never seen. All in all, I’m deeming this a necessity. (Sample lovefest review.)
It’s hard to explain why I’ve been so obsessed with dining here, but I am. My last visit, I ate at Kona and peered into Ohana. The decor is a dated, but everyone looked happy. Mainly, I’m in it for the combination of skewers of meat and the Polynesian. I’m looking forward to stuffing myself after the marathon and then watching Wishes from the beach…perhaps in a hammock…and definitely with a drink!
All you can eat German food? You’ve got my interest! Add in large beers and German music and I’m sold. (I’m also persuaded by the love the Disney Hipsters have for this place.) Biergarten is stylized to look like the outdoors in a German village and it serves a variety of wurst, pretzel rolls, spaetzle, schnitzel, and a variety of cold salads. My stomach is ready! Also, we should have a big group, meaning we may not be forced to sit with other people.
50’s Prime Time Cafe
On my last trip, I ate at the bar at the Tune-In Lounge, which has the same menu and some of the ambiance of 50’s Prime Time. The Peanut Butter & Jelly Milkshake was, no joke, probably the best milkshake I’ve ever had. I will definitely be ordering that again. The food is less exciting, but I like the theme: dining in a family kitchen in the 50s, complete with tvs at the table and being scolded if you don’t eat your veggies. I’m definitely hoping to make it for a full meal and the full experience, but if I only make it back to Tune In for a shake (or four), that won’t be the end of the world.
This is on the list merely because it’s the best Italian option in Disney World. Tony’s in the Magic Kingdom is notoriously bad and people are torn as to whether Mama Melrose in Hollywood Studios is worth it. Via Napoli, however, seems to be universally enjoyed. That said, it’s menu is a pretty standard, upscale Italian menu. I’m looking for something carb-heavy and not too exotic for my last big meal before the marathon and this fits the bill.
This didn’t originally make the list, but I was thinking about where we could go for lunch while we’re at the Magic Kingdom. There are plenty of good counter service options (Columbia Harbour House being the best, in my opinion), but sometimes you just need to get away, out of the chaos of the parks, and eat lunch at a nearby resort. Whispering Canyon is a quick boat ride away at the Wilderness Lodge–another resort I’ve never explored–and the restaurant has a solid-looking menu and is known for (purposefully and humorously) sassy waitstaff. If we need to get away from the Magic Kingdom, we’ll head over here. If we don’t, I’ll save this for another trip.
We probably won’t make it to Boma, but I did make reservations one night as a backup. It’s located at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and reportedly one of the better buffets, but it’s still a buffet and the Lodge is not the most convenient location. I’d rather to Sanaa and I doubt we’ll make it over twice. Still, this review makes it seem pretty appealing.
Places I opted to skip this time:
Sci-Fi Dine In
I ate here during my last trip, and it was fantastic as a solo dinner, but there are other places I’d rather go before I try this again. The milkshakes are definitely good but 50s Prime Times’ PB&J shake is so much better.
I am intrigued by the view it affords of Wishes, but the menu is uninspiring and it just seems too overpriced. I’d rather eat at the Poly and watch Wishes from there. Or make friends with someone at Bay Lake Tower and watch it from the Top of the World Lounge (which would be amazing!).
Be Our Guest
I had lunch here the last time I visited and it was ok, but not worth the effort of waiting. I haven’t heard enough positive things about the dinner to make me try it again. Sure, the restaurant is gorgeous–although huge and loud, at least at lunch–but you don’t have to eat there to see that. I’m going for the standard use the restroom and then look around technique. Or the backup “my friends are inside waiting” technique, to facilitate exploring.
Tusker House and Other Character Dining
I was tempted by Tusker House, because it has the main characters and, theoretically, better than average character buffet food, but ultimately I decided to pass. We won’t have any kids in our group and, as much as I try, I still feel awkward at character meals without kids. I applaud anyone who can do it, but I can’t. And it’s not exactly the most affordable meal. You’re paying for the characters, not just the food. Plus, Animal Kingdom has solid counter service (Flame Tree BBQ, etc.) and Animal Kingdom Lodge (Sanaa, Boma, etc.) is only a quick hop away.