Eating Through Disney World: 2012 Edition

Before our first trip to Disney World last year, my eyes would just sort of glaze over when I saw a blog post about people’s trips to the happiest place on earth. They all seemed so detailed, and so complicated. And it all sounded like a foreign language to me, having not been to Disney World since I was 8 years old.

So if your eyes are glazing over at the idea of this post, please click on, I won’t take it personally. This is detailed and overkill unless you are actively planning your own trip But I am putting this post out there because now that we’ve become one of “those” families and we are planning our second trip to Disney World I love to read this kind of thing when other people share.

Sit-Down Meals requiring Reservations:

  • The Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom: loved it. Family buffet with Winnie the Pooh characters. The kids really like buffets and we all really like characters. Food was good and the atmosphere is relaxed and family oriented (teeming with kids). Even with a reservation we had to wait a while, but that seems to be the case at all the restaurants.IMG_0478
  • Akershus in Epcot: Princess meal in Norway. Loved it. We split our group and did girls-only for this meal. The food was really very very good. The appetizer course was buffet and then the meal was served at your table. Princesses worked through the room and we got to see each one and take pictures. My girls loved it, I loved it, food was really good. the only downside is that it’s kind of pricey. (and a long wait, even with reservations)IMG_6286
  • Biergarten in Epcot: A buffet meal without characters, we were so pleasantly surprised by this one. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that we liked this so much as we love love German food and beer. The food was really good and the kids ate their weight in pretzel rolls (which luckily you can wrap up and take with you if they’re already on your plate). The restaurant is set up like an outdoor festival and is dark and cool and you sit at long tables facing a stage and dance floor. Throughout the meal an oopma band plays and some of the kids went down and danced. One of our favorites and one we’ll definitely visit again.IMG_6505
  • Tusker House in Animal Kingdom: It was nice to be able to see Mickey and friends, but otherwise we weren’t as crazy about this one. Maybe it’s because we weren’t enamored with Animal Kingdom as a whole, but it was our least favorite restaurant. The tables were divided into different rooms and you had to go back into the main room for the buffet, so it wasn’t laid out as nicely as others. I’m sure the food was fine, but nothing stands out to me as being memorable. Another long wait (with reservation), I don’t know that we’d go back.IMG_0587
  • Citricos in the Grand Floridian: Fancy, pricey, delicious. We did this for a date night to celebrate our 10th anniversary. The food was excellent. We really had a wonderful meal, but holy cow was it expensive. It may stand as our most expensive dinner ever. While it was a lovely meal when we are already spending a ton of money for this trip we can’t justify triple digit meals.
  • IMG_054150’s Prime Time Cafe: The theme was cute, but only meh for the kids. The food was fine. Loooong wait (even with reservations). Probably wouldn’t go back.IMG_0495

Surprise Quick Service Favorites:

  • Columbia Harbor House, Magic Kingdom: lobster rolls, clam chowder and when we needed a place to eat at a random non-meal time, it wasn’t crowded.
  • Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe, Norway, Epcot: panini sandwiches, super yummy on the way out of the park one evening.
  • Yorkshire County Fish Shop, United Kingdom, Epcot: Fish and chips. Really good. They were the perfect dinner to eat standing up while watching the Illuminations show and drinking beer from the stroller cup holders.

Disney Dining Plan: We decided not to go with the prepaid dining plan, and just pay as we go. For us, we researched the menus of the restaurants, selected items we were likely to pick and priced out what it would cost both with and without the dining plan. For our family the dining plan was not a significant savings. It also includes dessert and sodas at every meal and we don’t drink soda and do not always want to order dessert. It seems like the dining plan would offer some convenience, but you still have to tip and pay for alcoholic drinks on top of the meal, so you’re still getting out your wallet and dealing with a check. For us, not worth it.

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