When Walt Disney World’s restaurants began reopening after closing in response to the COVID pandemic, many offered limited menus, modified character dining, and an overall “lesser” experience than what we were used to!
Despite some restaurants taking a bit longer to return to pre-closure operations, we were pleasantly surprised by a number of other dining spots that were actually BETTER when they reopened!
Here are seven Disney World restaurants that were BETTER when they reopened than when they closed in March of 2020.
ABC Commissary – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Quick Service dining in Hollywood Studios can be tricky sometimes, so we were thrilled when we visited ABC Commissary for the first time since the park reopened back in the summer of 2020. This Quick Service spot came a LONG way from what it used to be, with a brand-new menu including Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Shrimp Tacos!
Hollywood & Vine – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
One of the restaurants that has improved in big ways, especially when it came to character dining, is Hollywood and Vine! This Table Service restaurant used to offer a character buffet, and while the food here was always decent, we didn’t truly appreciate how good of a spot this was until it converted to family style. You can still find their seasonal character offerings like Minnie’s Halloween Dine,– but from a safe distance!
Tomorrowland Terrace – Magic Kingdom
When Tomorrowland Terrace reopened at Magic Kingdom (following its time as a Relaxation Station), we were surprised to see that it featured the menu from Columbia Harbour House! The beloved Quick Service dining spot in Liberty Square was being utilized as queue space for Peter Pan’s Flight and thus could not reopen right away! Recently, however, Columbia Harbour House reopened, which means we may have to say good bye to this tasty menu at Tomorrowland Terrace.
Chef Mickey’s – Disney’s Contemporary Resort
While we miss traditional character dining, we wouldn’t be lying if we confessed we’ve been pretty impressed by Chef Mickey’s in the past year. In a lot of ways, we kind of prefer the new family-style menu over the traditional buffet — food AND characters come to us? Sold! Even if the characters are still only from a distance, we’ve enjoyed our visits here for both breakfast and dinner.
Trattoria al Forno – Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn is another restaurant that benefitted from some of the changes made to character dining. Currently, there are no characters available at this location, but that came with a silver lining! The cost of a morning meal here went down considerably sans characters, making this hidden gem of a restaurant a pretty great bargain!
Citricos – Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
This next restaurant improved in a different way since reopening! While the food at Citricos was largely the same, we found that the decor was WAY better when we visited this year than when we last saw it before the closures. This Signature restaurant at the Grand Floridan has been re-themed after Mary Poppins Returns, but the theming is quite subtle and overall very lovely!
Rosie’s All-American Cafe – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
If we were to give an award to the park with the most improved food overall since the closures, it would likely go to Hollywood Studios! This park was the only one with several dining locations included on this list, and now we’re singing the praises of Rosie’s All-American Cafe! The menu is still going to be for the most part your traditional burgers and fries, but over the past few visits we’ve been reminded more of why we should stop here for lunch instead of why we shouldn’t.
Where is your favorite place to eat in Disney World? Let us know in the comments!
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