A few months ago, we ranked all the table service restaurants at Disney Resort Hotels, and some of you… disagreed.
So in the interests of DEMOCRACY, we’ve decided to turn to you, our loyal readers, to find out what you think are the best Table Service restaurants at the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels!
So, a few quick words before we begin our gustatory journey. We based these rankings specifically from the dinner or lunch/dinner ratings because breakfast is a separate category. We’ll cover breakfast in a different article, so stay tuned!
Next, several restaurants don’t have enough reviews to make the list, so we just don’t know where they stand! We’ll list those at the end, along with a link to their review page. Right, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way… onward to culinary adventure!
This restaurant seems to go through waves of feast and famine. Many guests love the sassy servers and refillable milkshakes, but the food doesn’t seem to impress. Several guests called out the meat as being rubbery, with one recent reviewer saying “It’s like a poorly managed Applebee’s”. Harsh. Many guests also claim that the level of interactivity varies wildly from location to location, making some trips a major disappointment.
We call Chef Mickey’s a Disney rite of passage, and one of the most iconic character meals at the resort, and it is.
For breakfast. Specifically for breakfast. When it comes to dinner, Chef Mickey’s fails to impress. The big critique? The price doesn’t fit the quality of your meal; you’re paying for the characters and getting an average buffet as a bonus. This makes sense for some, but there are so many other character meals and buffets at Disney that offer a better selection at a lower price that Chef Mickey’s just doesn’t make sense. Plus, many of our readers have lamented a decline in quality and cleanliness over the years.
Our readers enjoy this place, especially the characters. Lady Tremaine and the Step Sisters are widely considered a highlight of the experience… and also sound like a girl group.
…Okay, okay. Geez. Some people can’t take a joke.
The main complaint here is size. This isn’t the largest venue in the world, so you might find yourself waiting a while to be seated. Also, like all buffets, the quality of food can vary depending on when you arrive. Sometimes it’s great, sometimes it’s not, such is life. However, and this reveals a potential flaw in our rankings, there seems to have been a controversial menu change in 2013 that led to a wave of negative reviews.
Is it fair that this place should suffer for an old misstep? No, but the only way to rectify it is for you go leave more up-to-date reviews! Go! Let your voice be heard!
I have friends who love this place to pieces, so it’s with sincere apologies that I report… our readers just don’t like it that much. Or, rather, you don’t like the new Flying Fish that much. In 2016, the restaurant underwent a major refurbishment, which came with a menu change. The result was that many people’s favorite options were cut from the menu, but prices remained high. This isn’t a recipe for happy reviews. While readers without a long history with the Flying Fish have consistently praised its quality, it still gets docked points for its high prices and people longing for what was lost.
There’s one consistent message in the most recent reviews for this restaurant: “It used to be great.” A pivot in the past few years to a focus on sea food, sushi, and duck has left fans of other Polynesian options high and dry.
When it comes to breakfast, this place is top tier. For dinner, things are a bit hit or miss. Of the various Italian table service options at the resort, Trattoria is definitely trending toward the bottom, with guests citing poor food quality, high prices, and small portions hurting its performance. With a name like Trattoria al Forno, you expect an authentic Italian experience. When it fails to deliver, well… guests can’t help but be disappointed.
Our readers agree; if you love shrimp and crab legs, this is a must-do. It’s all you can eat, and the seafood quality is usually top-notch. If you don’t like seafood… ehh. Unfortunately, aside from some deserts and side dishes, this place has little to offer outside of seafood.
So here’s the deal; you don’t go to Beaches and Cream for dinner. Since the reopening, guests have panned the food, the atmosphere, and the prices. However, the ice cream is the main attraction here. The most glowing reviews of this popular spot come from the snack window, where guests love the monstrous ice cream sundaes, chili and onion rings, and grilled cheese sandwiches.
This place is legendary; not just for its food, but for THIS:
The California Grill is one of the best spots outside of the park to see Magic Kingdom’s fireworks, making it a coveted dinner spot. The food is also consistently rated well, though some guests are unhappy with the price. The biggest critique? Other guests. Many reviews have slammed this location for not enforcing the stated dress code, leading to sloppy looking diners and ill-behaved children. Now, to be fair… this isn’t exactly the restaurant’s fault. A huge portion of the restaurant’s clientele are guests coming from the Magic Kingdom who want to see the fireworks and may not have time to change from their park clothes. Very few places at Disney World enforce a formal dress code, so I can understand the pressure for California Grill to relax theirs. Still, reviews are reviews. If you think it’s unfair, leave your own review to counter it.
While this isn’t the best spot at the Grand Floridian, its convenient location by the monorail and reputation for last-minute reservations make it a popular choice. The food is widely praised, especially for guests with special dietary needs and preferences. The relaxed atmosphere is also a huge plus. If you’re looking for a low-key table service treat after a day in the Kingdom, this place is worth a stop.
We were shocked this one was so far down, especially since we ranked it number one on our list! Part of the difference is that we’re only looking at dinner (leaving out the excellent breakfast service). But the other factor? Its reputation. This place is known for being one of the best, so when someone has a subpar experience they’re going to make their displeasure known. So while most reviews praise the atmosphere and delicious food, critiques over crowds, noise, and speed of service do frequently pop up. We personally don’t critique places too heavily on crowds (I mean… it’s Disney World, so crowds are to be expected?), but we understand your concerns.
If you’re a fan of down home barbecue, Trail’s End is one of the best places you can go. All-you-can-eat brisket, corn muffins, and some of the best fried chicken you can find at Disney. The main complaints seem to be the fact that it’s so far out of the way: Fort Wilderness isn’t easily accessible except by bus or Minnie Van. Not to mention the fact that this can get pricey for large groups.
11: TIE : Artist Point – Wilderness Lodge and Olivia’s Cafe – Old Key West: 8.25
It’s our first (and only) tie!
Artist Point has only been a character dining experience for a short time, so we’ve got a smaller pool of reviews than we do for Olivia’s Café. However, guests love the decor and character experience. Plus, the food has gotten some pretty rave reviews. This might be the best character dinner on our list.
Olivia’s has received praise for its authentic atmosphere, with guests frequently praising the prime rib. However, we simply don’t have any reviews from the past two years! Maybe you could rectify that?
An excellent themed restaurant with some fantastic southern food. Shrimp and grits, crayfish, and prime rib are all popular choices on the menu here, with only minor complaints. In all honesty, the only reason it’s ranked this low could be because one reader left a positive review with zero stars. Whoops!
This is one of the most popular buffets at the resort, with a wide variety of food, excellent service, and a blend of African and Western foods. No matter what your tastes are, you’ll find something here. Plus those Zebra domes…
Guests love the atmosphere of this place, with high-quality steak and seafood being icing on the proverbial citrus flavored cake.
Sanaa is one of the top ranked restaurants for adventurous eaters, offering bold African and Indian flavors in a beautiful environment. While picky eaters may not like it (and others might not find it adventurous enough), it’s definitely a must visit in our opinion.
From high adventure to familiar classics, guest love the farm fresh food here, comparing it to some signature experiences. The proximity to the Magic Kingdom is also a major plus.
5: Ale and Compass – Yacht Club: 8.75
If you’re looking for an understated surf and turf dinner, this is one of the best options at Yacht Club. While it isn’t on the same level as the Yachtsman Steakhouse, guests agree this place is definitely worth the cost. We haven’t had incredible experiences here, however, so this ranking came as a bit of a surprise!
Like Grand Floridian Café, this is a great spot for a last-minute reservation. In all honesty, the only reason why this place isn’t more popular is that not many people have heard about it. A restaurant that offers signature food at table service prices, all without a reservation? Sign me up!
One of the most popular table service restaurants on property, period. Our readers love this place, with praise for the food across the board. Be sure to try the Wanyama Safari; a family style meal with a Savannah’s worth of African flavors.
Our readers agree: if you want a steak, you go to Yachtsman. The beautiful atmosphere is a huge plus, but it’s the meat that’s the main attraction. Guests drool over the cuts of beef served here, and the wine selection is a huge plus.
We were surprised to see this at number one, but 35 readers agreed; this is the best signature meal at Disney World. Not only is the surf and turf praised across the board, but the view of the fireworks means that Narcoossee’s combines the best elements of many other restaurants on this list. If only it was easier to spell… .
What is your favorite meal at the Walt Disney World resorts? Let us know in the comments below (and make sure to leave a review!).
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