The Best Walt Disney World Restaurants (according to us)

PicCollageThe Runs in Tutus team has been on dozens of Disney vacations, and one thing we know for sure is that your Disney Dining experiences can really make or break your Disney vacation. There is nothing worse than being hungry in Disney World and realizing you have to wait in line for an hour to eat, and even if you do plan ahead and make reservations, all Disney restaurants are definitely not created equal.

We’ve always been the kind of group that plans our dining reservations well in advance, and as a result we’ve tried a number of the most popular restaurants. So without further adieu, may we present the best Walt Disney World Restaurants as determined by each tutu wearing food critic on the Runs in Tutus team. These are all table service restaurants in the price range of $15-$30 per adult.

Christine’s Pick:
San Angel Inn Restaurante, Epcot World Showcase

Mexico

Christine and Mom at dinner!

This restaurant is located inside the Mexico pavilion at the Epcot World Showcase. The ambiance is spectacular and it feels like you are dining during twilight in 17th century Mexico overlooking the Mayan ruins. You can also get a glimpse of the boats entering the ride in the pavilion (Gran Fiesta Tour starring the Three Caballeros.) The service is wonderful, the food is delicious and there are vegetarian options, which is a plus for us because Amanda and Melanie are vegetarians. You may have to ask the server to bring a vegetarian menu because there are options that may not be listed on the regular menu. Added bonus to this restaurant is it’s located inside, so you’ll have a chance to cool off in the air conditioning or find shelter from the rain. Reservations are strongly recommended.

mexico2

The meal is extra magical if you find Donald Duck standing outside in a sombrero afterwards!

Melanie’s Pick:
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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Photo courtesy of Disney.com

This restaurant is extremely unique with its 50’s drive-in theater setup. The tables look like adorable little cars and the lights are dimmed down low so it feels like nighttime. There’s a big movie screen that shows retro sci-fi clips while you munch on tasty classics like Fried Dill Pickles and an All American Burger. The vegetarian options at this place are amazing: Veggie Burgers, Vegetarian Sheppard’s Pie, etc. The restaurant is also calm and quiet because kids are occupied by watching the movies. It’s indoors with good air conditioning, which is always nice on a hot summer day. For adults, there are even sci-fi themed cocktails with glow-in-the-dark ice cubes! We usually make a reservation for this restaurant. If you really want to get one of the car style tables, you will definitely need a reservation. Sometimes the picnic style tables in the back don’t have quite as long of a wait if you go during off peak times.

Amanda’s Pick:
Sanaa, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas, Kidani Village

animalkingdomlodgeWe went to this restaurant one year to celebrate Melanie’s birthday and it was so magical! The food is a fusion of African and Indian, and the restaurant overlooks the animals roaming in the Sunset Savanna – zebras, giraffes, birds and more. It is absolutely beautiful. There are meal options for everyone, and we really enjoyed the unique choices and flavors on the menu. The service was impeccable, and we received the best rendition of “Happy Birthday” at this restaurant – complete with drums and a little African flair! The restaurant is a bit of a pain to get to if you aren’t staying in the Animal Kingdom Resort Area, but it is well worth the trek. After your meal, you can enjoy the view outside and get a closer view of the animals by the campfire. Reservations are recommended and usually aren’t too difficult to get. You definitely want to make your reservation for a time of day when the sun is out, otherwise you will miss the spectacular view. animalkingdomlodge2

While these three restaurants take the lead for now, we did have some very close contenders including Chefs de France, The Hollywood Brown Derby and Liberty Tree Tavern. If you’re running the Wine & Dine Half Marathon in November, you’ll definitely want to look into reservations now so that you can get into some of the good ones. Do you have a favorite Walt Disney World Restaurant that isn’t listed here? We’d love the hear about it and try it out.

Bon appetit, Princesses!

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