When you plan a trip to a Disney resort, what and where you’re going to eat probably isn’t the first thing that crosses your mind. You have other things to plan! Which rides you’re going to ride first, which characters you want to take pictures, which areas of the parks you want to check out – who even has time to think of food? Waiting until you’re at the park to decide on where you and your family will dine is a big mistake, though, because you might end up just grabbing a slice of pizza out of convenience when, with a little bit of planning, you can be dining on delicious, interesting cuisine! You’d be surprised at how many diverse and wonderful eating options Disney provides for its guests. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the restaurants you’re going to want to definitely check out as you and your family enjoys your magical time together, either at one of Disney World’s many parks, Disneyland, or Disney’s California Adventure.
Tusker House Restaurant – Disney World, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Africa
A trip to the Animal Kingdom at Disney World would be incomplete without a stop at Tusker House Restaurant; after all, it’s not every day that you can get a taste of authentic African cuisine. This vibrant eatery boasts a number of delicious entrees, like peri-peri marinated baked salmon and Cape Malay curry chicken. The restaurant abounds with African-inspired furnishings and decorations, like intricate woven tapestries hanging from the walls and ceilings. Children will love the opportunity to interact and dine with Safari Mickey, Safari Donald, and the rest of their crew. Reservations are accepted, as are certain dining plans.
Ariel’s Grotto – Disneyland, Paradise Pier, Disney’s California Adventure
There’s really no place else to go for delicious seafood in Disney’s California Adventure, and not many other places that can compare in the Magic Kingdom across the way. You absolutely need to try Disney’s version of surf n’ turf, which features grilled lobster tail and oak-smoked, honey-whiskey barbecue tri-trip. Disney Princess characters like Cinderella and Belle love to stop by for pictures, and the restaurant offers a lovely view of World of Color, California Adventure’s spectacular light show, which you can take advantage of with their World of Color Dining Package. Reservations are highly recommended.
Garden Grill – Disney World, The Land Pavilion, Epcot
This restaurant is worth eating at solely for the dining experience. First, there’s a ride that’s paired along with the restaurant called Living with the Land. It teaches guests about sustainable agricultural methods and the future of food production and technology. Second, the dining room itself slowly rotates as you dine, giving you ever-changing views of different agricultural and natural scenes, like a farmhouse and a rainforest. Third, the food is delicious – and plentiful! Enjoy healthy vegetables and produce grown right there in Living with the Land’s own greenhouse. Chip ‘n’ Dale and other woodland critters will stop by and visit while you feast on healthy, tasty fare. Reservations are highly recommended.
River Belle Terrace – Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, New Orleans Square
If you’ve never had a chance to visit the American South, you have been missing out on some of the most delicious and iconic food American culture has to offer. Not to worry, though, since River Belle Terrace offers some of the best Southern cooking you can find outside of the South. With pulled pork, brisket, fried chicken, cornbread, and other hearty fare on offer, you’ll get a taste of the down-home cooking places like New Orleans have become famous for. There are also lovely views of the Rivers of America and Tom Sawyer Island to be enjoyed while you dine.
Be Our Guest Restaurant – Disney World, Magic Kingdom, Fantasyland
This is probably another restaurant where the experience is just as interesting as the food. Located in Beast’s castle, the restaurant recreates the interior of the castle from the animated classic Beauty and the Beast. Choose from three gorgeous dining room experiences: The Grand Ballroom, The West Wing, and The Castle Gallery. Each of them offer the same menu with delicious French-inspired dishes, like layered ratatouille or braised pork à la coq a vin, and opportunities to interact with the Beast, Belle, and their subjects. Reservations for dinner are highly recommended, since dinner is a table-service affair, but you can drop by for lunch or breakfast for a more casual, self-serve dining experience.
These restaurants are just the tip of the culinary iceberg, and Disney has so many more eateries and restaurants just waiting for you to check out. Like we mentioned before, you’re going to want to plan out which ones you’ll eat at, just like you’re going to want to plan out the rest of your visit. Why not give yourself an edge and request of one Disney’s FREE Disney Parks vacation planning videos? They are chock-full of valuable information for planning your trip, covering attractions, accommodations, rides, and, yes, even restaurants and dining options.
The videos include a complete tour of the 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, and 20+ resort hotels at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, a tour of the Disneyland Resort in California, including 2 theme parks and 3 resort hotels, and tips on affordable ways to play and stay during your Disney vacation. They are absolutely free, and a great way to get the ball rolling on planning your family’s vacation. They make a great keepsake, too, since the DVDs are personalized with your family’s name on them. Fun, and useful too, they’ll put a little dose of magic in planning the vacation of a lifetime!