JenSop: The Singing Traveler!

Idealist. Dreamer. Singer. Explorer.

Favorite Disney Dining Options!

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I wrote this article a little while back as a Facebook note on “Destination Mouse”, but with all the Disney planning going on, I thought it would be good to post it on my blog!  Enjoy!

Favorite Disney Restaurants!

For me, one of the highlights of a Disney trip is all the great restaurants you get to experience! I thought I’d share some of my favorites with all of you!

*I’ll also preface this by saying that on vacation in Disney, I tend to avoid burgers and fries like the plague. (But for the picky eaters, there’s plenty of burgers, fries, and chicken tenders, too.) So my favorites often reflect my interest in more unique dining experiences.

TABLE SERVICE RESTAURANTS (TS):

Resort TS Restaurants:

*Jiko – Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Signature Restaurant. Excellent meats, fish, and soups. African fusion cuisine, also serving authentic South African wines. I have never been disappointed by a meal at Jiko. Quite possibly the best restaurant at Disney.  (2 credits on the DDP.)
*Sanaa – Located at Animal Kingdom’s Kidani Village. Indian food, accompanied by great service! Flatbreads, curry dishes, and a Tandoor oven make for great meal selections! The decor is beautifully whimsical with giant windows that look out onto the Savannah so you can watch the animals go by while you dine.  (1 credit on the DDP.)
*California Grill – Perched atop the Contemporary Resort, this restaurant serves a great mix of American and Asian flavors. Another perk to dining here is getting to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from a sky-high view!  (2 credits on the DDP.)
*Yachtsman Steakhouse – tucked inside the Yacht Club Resort behind Epcot, this steakhouse serves up amazing steak and seafood.  (I really love the scallops dish!)  Their onion pull apart bread is my guilty pleasure, and the service is impeccable!  It’s definitely more of a refined restaurant, where folks tend to get a bit more dressed up.  (2 credits on the DDP)
*Ohana – Family style restaurant at the Polynesian Resort. Skewers of meat and shrimp are brought right to your table – eat all you like! Ohana also has my favorite mixed drink at Disney – the Lapu Lapu! It’s a VERY strong mixed drink served inside an actual pineapple. If you time your meal right, you can head out to the beach after dinner to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks while relaxing in the sand. This restaurant also has fun kids’ entertainment and activities for families.  (1 credit on the DDP.)

Park TS Restaurants:

*Le Cellier – One of Disney’s hardest to get reservations! This intimate steakhouse in Epcot’s Canada serves up great food with great service. Their signature meal is the filet mignon on mushroom risotto – so good! Their pretzel bread and bacon cheese soup are legendary.  (2 credits on the DDP.)
*Chefs de France – I love eating lunch at this restaurant in Epcot’s France. Their French Onion soup is probably the best I’ve ever had. Many authentic french dishes.  It’s a great lunch choice!  (1 credit on the DDP.)
*San Angel Inn – This restaurant in Epcot’s Mexico wins hands-down for best ambiance at a Disney restaurant. The inside of the Mexico pavilion is set up to look like a Mexican village market at night, the restaurant overlooking the river, while a pyramid and volcano rise in the distance.  (1 credit on the DDP.)
*Yak and Yeti – This Asian restaurant in the Animal Kingdom park has a great variety of flavors – many of their specialties are seafood dishes, tempura, sweet and sour, and my favorite fried wonton dessert!  (1 credit on the DDP.)

QUICK SERVICE DINING/COUNTER SERVICE DINING:

*Columbia Harbour House – located in the Magic Kingdom, this is the place I ALWAYS eat at in the Magic Kingdom. Good food – love the fish and chips and the Lighthouse Sandwich. The second floor has TONS of seating and is never crowded. Great place to take a break from the crowds.
*Yak and Yeti Counter Service – right next to the Table Service in Animal Kingdom Park. Good options like egg rolls, Sweet and Sour Chicken, and Kung Pao Beef.
*Tangierine Cafe – Yummy middle eastern food in Morocco in Epcot. The chicken and lamb shawarma platters come with hummus, Tabouleh, and couscous. They also have GREAT baklava for dessert!
*Katsura Grill (formerly Yakitori House) – Japanese food in World Showcase, Epcot. Sushi, Teriyaki, Tempura, and sukiyaki dishes.
*Boulangerie Patisserie – located in Epcot’s France. Yummy sandwiches and delicious french pastries!

SNACKS AND DRINKS:

*Dole Whip Pineapple Float – pineapple soft serve in pineapple juice (but you can also get other flavor combinations)- Magic Kingdom
*Grand Marnier orange slushie – yummy alcoholic deliciousness in France in Epcot
*Lapu Lapu – strong alcoholic drink served in a pineapple – Polynesians resort restaurants
*Rice Cream – rice pudding dish with strawberries – Norway in Epcot

CHARACTER DINING:

Now, since I don’t have kids, I generally don’t do the character dining experiences. But I do happen to know a thing or two about this fun option! (And I have experienced a couple with my young nieces.)  The most popular character meal is Cinderella’s Royal Table (CRT.) CRT is right inside Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom. Your table is visited by princesses galore, and many little girls get dressed up in their own princess dresses to go to this meal! CRT is a hard reservation to snag during busy times. Another princess meal option is Akershus in Epcot’s Norway. This meal has lots of princesses too, but only costs 1 TS credit on the meal plan. (CRT costs 2 TS credits.) It is also not as difficult to get a reservation here. Many kids enjoy Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort, as well. Mickey visits your table in his full Chef outfit, along with many other favorite Disney characters.  (But I don’t feel that the menu is an impressive.)  As to my favorite character Breakfast? 1900 Park Faire – hands down.  It’s in the Grand Floridian resort, and in addition to characters, the food is really good, PLUS there is a really nice expansive buffet to choose from.  (And it’s just 1 credit on the DDP!)

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Author: JenSop

One of my favorite quotes is, "If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough." I guess I've been a dreamer all my life - I set my sights high and then I try to reach the sky. Some might call me a naive idealist, but that's just the way I am. I believe in always taking the high road, I believe in true love, and I believe in treating people the way you want to be treated. If you put good out into the world, good will come back to you! Being the dreamer that I am, I pursued singing as my primary life's calling - I've got two degrees in classical voice under my belt, and I sing just about anything under the sun. I also love a good adventure. Over the past few years, I've done quite a bit of world traveling, and have even lived abroad for stretches at a time: mostly in Vienna (Austria) and Croatia. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and I became a travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations. (Seriously, I KNOW Disney - I've been going regularly since I was a little girl - and I LOVE it!) And with all my experience traveling and living in Europe, I'm becoming quite the specialist in that travel category as well. (And last year, I started working as a Tour Director in Central Europe!) As to the other juicy details of my life - I'm originally from Pennsylvania, I'm married to an awesome Croatian man named Miloš who is the BEST adventure partner a girl could ask for. (He's also an expert on knowing how to make me smile.) He's truly the love of my life! I've also had all kinds of other jobs along the way, besides singer and travel pro. (Which is pretty standard for those of us who went to school for music.) I've worked part time weekends as a Disney Princess look-alike for children's parties. I've been teaching for almost 20 years, and have lots of experience in retail and customer service. Oh, and I should also probably mention that I'm a huge Lord of the Rings/Star Trek nerd! :-) Let's all go along for an adventure, shall we?

6 thoughts on “Favorite Disney Dining Options!

  1. Jen! I love your blog! Just reading about all of those restaurants
    and DOLE WHIP makes me want to go back to Disney! (I think Disney World is the only place you can get Dole Whip. I wonder why. It’s great!)
    I have one year of teaching to go….and then it’s travel time, so stay tuned.
    I’m subscribing!
    :0)

    • Haha! Even with the cold weather, I could still go for a Dole Whip! SO refreshing! Thanks for the advice for adding the subscribe widget!
      And just let me know when you want to go somewhere – you know how to find me! I actually booked a retirement trip to Disney for a teacher who I know – she’s heading there in June with friends!

  2. Couldn’t find the subscribe button, so I came back to click on send me site updates.

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