Is food a high priority for your family at Disney World? Is it just a necessity to energize you between rides? Or do you fall somewhere in between?
Dining at Disney World can be as planned or unplanned as you want.
If you want to eat at the most popular Magic Kingdom restaurants like Cinderella’s Royal Table or nearby Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort, prepare to make your reservations 180 days in advance. Yes, reservations for all Disney World restaurants open a full six months ahead of time!
On the other hand, there are plenty of Magic Kingdom quick service restaurants that don’t require reservations so you can wing if when you’re there and save more time for attractions.
You’ll probably fall somewhere in between with a few table service reservations to enjoy some of the wonderfully-themed restaurants while eating unplanned quick service meals other times.
Last week, we reviewed the Epcot food scene with the Simple Epcot Food Guide for Your First Visit. This post is a primer on Magic Kingdom restaurants, giving you an overview of what to expect when dining at the park, the types of restaurants available, and even the best restaurants at nearby hotels.
Magic Kingdom Quick Service Restaurants
Quick service dining at Magic Kingdom is truly hit-or-miss. In fact, if my family expects to be eating two quick service meals on a Magic Kingdom day, we’ll often leave the park and go to one of the nearby hotels for one of our meals instead. I’ll talk about those in a bit…
On the plus side, Magic Kingdom offers a great hot dog spot at Casey’s Corner, Tex-Mex menu at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe, and seafood and chicken at Columbia Harbour House. With a large upstairs seating area, Columbia Harbour House is our favorite for a great quick service meal in a relatively quiet space with plenty of seating.
Be Our Guest, with its Beauty and the Beast-themed ballroom and West Wing dining rooms, is a popular favorite with some unique French cuisine offerings. Reservations are required despite offering quick service meals for breakfast and lunch. It is a table service restaurant with a pricier menu and character meeting with the Beast at dinnertime.
Magic Kingdom has a few typical quick service pizza and burger options. Pinocchio Village Haus is where you’ll find flatbread pizzas and Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe is the spot for fast food burgers. Tortuga Tavern is open seasonally and, even when open, Pecos Bill is right next door and always the better option with tastier food and a much larger menu.
Most of these quick service Magic Kingdom restaurants offer mobile ordering. Use it! You will save so much time by not standing in ordering lines. Just order your food from the My Disney Experience app on your phone.
Snacks at Magic Kingdom
Don’t settle for generic soft serve ice cream at Magic Kingdom! Get ice cream sundaes from the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor at the end of Main Street USA.
Of course, the most “Disney” cold treats are the non-dairy pineapple soft serve Dole Whip from Aloha Isle (use mobile ordering here, too!) and orange soft serve Citrus Swirl from Sunshine Tree Terrace. Storybook Treats is where you’ll find the popular lime softserve Peter Pan Float.
Excellent sweet treats are available at Cheshire Cafe (Cheshire Cat Tail pastries) beside the Mad Tea Party, Sleepy Hollow (Nutella waffles) in Liberty Square with a castle view, and Gaston’s Tavern (cinnamon rolls) tucked in the back corner of Fantasyland.
There is a Starbucks on Main Street USA named Main Street Bakery. From the outside, this Starbucks blends into the theming so you might not immediately recognize its as Starbucks. Inside, however, Main Street Bakery offers everything you’d expect from a Starbucks located in your city.
Character Dining at Magic Kingdom
Cinderella’s Royal Table is the restaurant in the castle and possibly the most difficult dining reservation to get at Disney World. Meet princesses during a table service meal. All dining reservations can be made 180 days in advance and, even then, Cinderella’s Royal Table fills up almost immediately. Want a princess character meal, but can’t get into Cinderella’s Royal Table? Try Akershus at Epcot instead.
The Crystal Palace offers buffet dining with Winnie the Pooh characters and is generally considered the better character dining option at Magic Kingdom for price, food, AND character interaction.
Magic Kingdom Table Service Restaurants
Unlike quick service restaurants where you order at a podium and bring your tray of food to a table of your choice, your group is seated by a host at table service restaurants and you will order from a menu or buffet. You may be able to show up to these restaurants without a reservation, plan on making reservations to guarantee a table.
Be Our Guest at dinner offers a table service menu of French cuisine in the Beast’s castle. If you can’t get a dinner reservation, try a quick service breakfast or lunch reservation.
The Plaza Restaurant is an inexpensive restaurant with American cuisine. It has the best burgers at Magic Kingdom as well as other sandwich offerings.
Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen offers the most adventurous menu at Magic Kingdom with African, Asian, and Latin cuisine, and a fun atmosphere where Jungle Cruise skippers are your servers. If you appreciate the pun-ny humor of Jungle Cruise skippers, you’ll love this place!
Liberty Tree Tavern offers New England-inspired cuisine in a colonial setting. Food is served from a menu for lunch and family-style platters for dinner.
The Diamond Horseshoe in Frontierland has Old West decor with country BBQ and chicken. Food is served from a menu for lunch and family-style platters for dinner.
Tony’s Town Square Restaurant serves Italian cuisine.
Table Service Dining at Nearby Hotels
Remember that you can visit hotels even if you are not a room guest. Disney World hotels offer fantastic dining options so consider the adjacent resorts.
I will include quick service in addition to table service because the Magic Kingdom area resorts have some of the best quick service restaurants of all the Disney hotels. Consider leaving Magic Kingdom for a quiet, uncrowded lunch or dinner break away from the park and then return.
All five of these resorts are a quick monorail or boat ride away from Magic Kingdom.
- Chef Mickey’s – buffet with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Donald Duck, and Goofy. If you can’t get a reservation, meet most of the characters at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom, which consistently gets much higher reviews for both food quality and character interaction.
- California Grill – fine/signature dining of American cuisine, seafood and sushi
- The Wave … of American Flavors – American cuisine, breakfast buffet and menu lunch and dinner
- Contempo Cafe – quick service in the Contemporary atrium, sandwiches, wraps, pizza, salads
Grand Floridian Resort
- 1900 Park Fare – character breakfast buffet with Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, The Mad Hatter, Tigger, and Winnie the Pooh; character dinner buffet dinner with Cinderella and the Prince
- Victoria & Albert’s – fine/signature dining, AAA Five Diamond Award restaurant, the finest dining experience at Disney World
- Citricos – fine/signature dining, American/Mediterranean cuisine
- Narcoossee’s – waterfront fine/signature dining, seafood and American cuisine
- Grand Floridian Cafe – American cuisine
- Gasparilla Island Grill – quick service with a variety of hot and cold sandwiches, pizza, and create your own salad
Polynesian Village Resort
- Ohana – Best Friends Breakfast family-style meal with Lilo, Stitch, Mickey, and Pluto; dinner is all-you-can-eat skewers of sweet and sour chicken, shrimp and steak, dumplings, and more
- Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show – live outdoor dinner show with hula dancing, drummers, and fire dancing
- Kona Cafe – American cuisine, sushi, poke, and Asian-inspired dishes
- Capt. Cook’s – quick service with famed banana-stuffed Tonga Toast for breakfast and flatbreads, American standards, and polynesian favorites for lunch and dinner including Thai coconut meatballs, pulled pork nachos, and Pan Asian noodles
- Story Book Dining at Artist Point – dinner-only entrees with Snow White, Dopey, Grumpy, and The Queen
- Whispering Canyon Cafe – family-style and menu entrees with a fun, Old Western atmosphere
- Geyser Point Bar & Grill – lakeside quick service dining serving burgers, sandwiches, and salads
- Roaring Fork – quick service American cuisine
- Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue – Frontier-style show by the Pioneer Hall Players with all-you-can-eat fried chicken, ribs, baked beans, and more
- Trail’s End Restaurant – breakfast and dinner buffets in a rustic setting, consistently regarded as one of the best buffet values on Disney property
Do you make food a priority at Disney World or are you just there to refuel between rides?