I Cannot Overstate How Terrible These Disney World Restaurants Are (So Here’s Where to Eat Instead)

We eat at Disney World restaurants ALL. THE. TIME.

Regal Eagle Full Spread

We’ve been to every spot around property, and we’ve developed some pretty solid opinions about which ones are the best. But outside of our team, our readers have some pretty strong opinions as well! Today we’re sharing with you the list of restaurants our readers think are HORRIBLE…and where they think you should go instead!

Magic Kingdom

To Avoid — Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe

Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe may be the busiest quick service restaurant in Magic Kingdom, but that doesn’t mean people like it! We’ve heard plenty of complaints about the food over the years.

Full spread from Cosmic Ray’s

An Aussie’s review of Cosmic Ray’s here. Food is very underwhelming and tasteless. In general generic American food is awful in most places and this is no exception. Chicken is tasteless, burgers are bland and the bread is very sweet and inedible for non-Americans not used to highly preserved bread, it’s like having a cake around a bland meat patty.”

“Ah…Cosmic Ray’s…I think back fondly to the days where each of the food court-style “Bays” where you placed your order had different types of cuisine to choose from. It’s much simplified now with each Bay offering the same typical American theme park food – hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken strips, and those delicious Disney French fries. Nothing stellar about the food, and picky eaters will be happy, but what gives this restaurant a bit of an edge is the legendary Sonny Eclipse animatronic who serenades you while you dine. If you are an old-school Disney or animatronic fan, definitely hit this place up for some chili cheese fries and one of Sonny’s sets. Great way to cool off!”

Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe Restaurant

Rating: 6.88 / 10 Recommended By: 79%
Menus: Lunch/Dinner
Services: Quick Service

Try Instead — Columbia Harbour House

If you want something with a better rating, try Columbia Harbour House! This seafood spot is a bit quieter, and the food is generally more well-liked.

Columbia Harbour House

Great value! There is lots of food for an affordable price and lots of seating in an air-conditioned spot for those hot days.”

My fav restaurant of MK. The food is fresh, good, and different from any other location. It’s also pretty affordable for healthy meals.”

Columbia Harbour House Restaurant

Rating: 8.63 / 10 Recommended By: 97%
Menus: Lunch/Dinner
Services: Quick Service

To Avoid — Tony’s Town Square Restaurant

Tony’s Town Square Restaurant has long been disliked by fans, though it has seen some marked improvement with recent menu updates. Keep in mind that most of these reviews are not from the past few months, and that opinions may change as more people return to this spot.

Tortellini al Forno

I had to give this spot a try for my solo birthday trip last week (November 2022) even after reading the reviews about the subpar food. I have simple tastes and prefer what others would consider bland entrees, so I figured I might actually like the food. Boy was I wrong.”

The last time I ate at Tony’s was in 2016, so things may have changed since then. That being said, there was nothing about the food that would encourage me to eat here again. Very basic Italian food, not a lot of flavor, and not worth the price tag. I would much rather try a different (new to me) restaurant, as I only travel to WDW every couple years.”

Tony's Town Square Restaurant

Rating: 7.11 / 10 Recommended By: 75%
Menus: Lunch/Dinner, Children's Lunch/Dinner
Services: Table Service

Try Instead — Liberty Tree Tavern

However, if you’re not willing to take the risk on Tony’s, you can choose the safe option — Liberty Tree Tavern. This Liberty Square spot serves a Thanksgiving-inspired menu and is beloved by many.

Liberty Tree Tavern spread

“One of the most consistently great restaurants in Disney World. All of the food at this restaurant is great. The staff are wonderful and the theming is cool.”

This is the absolute best restaurant in WDW PERIOD. The food is delicious, the portions are enormous, the service is amazing and friendly. We have eaten there several times and will book this for every visit to the Magic Kingdom.”

Liberty Tree Tavern Restaurant

Rating: 8.36 / 10 Recommended By: 94%
Menus: Children's Lunch/Dinner, Lunch/Dinner
Services: Table Service

EPCOT

To Avoid — Lotus Blossom

The main quick service option in the China Pavilion at EPCOT is Lotus Blossom, which serves pretty basic fast food versions of Chinese fare. The main complaints revolve around the menu here, which includes quite a few things you could get at your local Chinese restaurant back home.

Orange Chicken Combo

Boring and unoriginal food. It’s fine if you are starving or have picky eaters that want average Chinese food. I’ve had 10 times better food at the Chinese restaurants by my house.”

A good quick service stop while drinking around the world. It’s not super authentic; definitely leans toward American Chinese food. Nothing here you can’t get outside of the park.”

Lotus Blossom Cafe Restaurant

Rating: 6.43 / 10 Recommended By: 78%
Menus: Lunch/Dinner
Services: Quick Service

Try Instead — Yorkshire County Fish Shop

Even though it has a pretty small menu, Yorkshire County Fish Shop has been a popular choice for a snack stop in the World Showcase. There’s just something about a fresh basket of fish and chips!

Yorkshire County Fish Shop

“Really liked this one. My wife and I had been walking around Epcot all morning and really didn’t want a full sit-down type meal. This one hit the spot! The fish & chips are fantastic and the portion is HUGE. My wife and I both shared 1 portion and it filled both of us up…not too much and not too little…just perfect. Definitely recommend if you want a quick bite.”

The best Fish and Chips. It was amazing. Fish and chips is one of my favorite meals and I’ve had it any many places. This was definitely on of my favorites.”

Yorkshire County Fish Shop Restaurant

Rating: 8.57 / 10 Recommended By: 93%
Menus: Lunch/Dinner
Services: Quick Service

To Avoid — Coral Reef Restaurant

It’s generally agreed upon that the worst table service spot in EPCOT is Coral Reef Restaurant. This seafood restaurant lets you dine in front of a giant aquarium, and even though the vibes are cool, the food is lackluster.

Coral Reef Dining Room

Food was mediocre, atmosphere a bit tired, but the fish tank makes up for it.”

I could not believe the poor quality of the meal I was served at the Coral Reef this past May. A simple grilled salmon was over cooked and tasteless! My daughter’s shrimp and “creamy” grits weren’t much better. I should have sent it back but didn’t want to cause a fuss at the beginning of our vacation. Never again!”

Coral Reef Restaurant Restaurant

Rating: 6.96 / 10 Recommended By: 71%
Menus: Lunch/Dinner, Children's Lunch/Dinner
Services: Table Service

Try Instead — Teppan Edo

If you want something more likely to please, try Teppan Edo instead. This hibachi-style restaurant serves Japanese fare and even though it’s similar to many other hibachi spots, people tend to like it.

Teppan Edo

I realize that everyone’s experience at this restaurant may be different, but for us it was amazing! Our party of 6 had a table to ourselves. Our server and chef, Riko and Masayoshi, were very fun and engaging – Riko even gave us an origami memento for our first visit. The food was excellent – my wife said the salmon was the best she’s ever had, and I enjoyed the shrimp. My kids loved the steak and the sushi. It was easily our best dining experience during our 5-day trip to Disney World. We can hardly wait to go back to Teppan Edo again!”

Such an enjoyable experience every time at Teppan Edo. Not only do you get amazing food cooked fresh in front of you, but a fun and entertaining show to watch while you wait. Servers are friendly and helpful, the food is delicious and every time you visit you get a new chef and new experience.”

Teppan Edo Restaurant

Rating: 8.67 / 10 Recommended By: 94%
Menus: Lunch/Dinner, Children's Lunch/Dinner
Services: Table Service

Hollywood Studios

To Avoid — Backlot Express

Heading over to Hollywood Studios, we’re going to tell you to avoid Backlot Express. The menu is pretty bland and the food itself is nothing to write home about.

Backlot Express

Everyone tells you to come here for the Wookiee cookie… I’m going to say skip it! It was huge and had nothing great in the way of flavors. I had to store it in my backpack because it was so huge and by the time I got back to it is was a mess. The food here is normal park fare and it gets very busy.”

It’s your typical theme park food. Nothing crazy. The Wookiee cookie is the standout dish and is really good. Everything else is just ok, but there is food for picky eaters.”

Backlot Express Restaurant

Rating: 7.04 / 10 Recommended By: 83%
Menus: Lunch/Dinner
Services: Quick Service

Try Instead — Docking Bay 7

If you’re on that side of the park, we instead recommend heading into Galaxy’s Edge to dine at Docking Bay 7. Some of their dishes are pretty interesting and have a cool space theme!

Docking Bay 7 Spread

The food is good for a good price but the real treat is the theming! It’s a great atmosphere for quick service.”

Of all the quick service places I ate on my trip, Docking Bay 7 is the one I would most likely return to. I felt immersed in the atmosphere of Galaxy’s Edge while dining here, and really enjoyed everything I ordered. I am very serious about being immersed. I found myself really feeling like I was in a galaxy far far away. Of all the parks and all the lands in the parks, I found myself having the easiest time suppressing my disbelief and buying into the story that was being told while I sat eating at Docking Bay 7. And I am not a Star Wars fan.”

Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo WDW Restaurant

Rating: 8.61 / 10 Recommended By: 94%
Menus: Lunch/Dinner
Services: Quick Service

To Avoid — Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant

There are some fun themed table service spots in Hollywood Studios, and while Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant falls on that list with its unique drive-in movie atmosphere, it’s the menu where this place falls short. It’s mostly made up of basic American fare that you can find for better elsewhere.

Sci-Fi Dine-In

This might just be my experience but me and my friend went here as a party of two and we got put behind a family and it was so uncomfortable. Also, the seats are so little — like for reference me and my friend are not big by any means (5’0 and 5’5) and our legs were like squashed into the car. It wasn’t that big of a deal but just be expecting that because we weren’t but that’s on us for not researching. Anyway, in my opinion, the food wasn’t that good and it tasted cheap for the expensive price we had to pay. It probably wouldn’t have been that bad if the server wasn’t rude. I know sometimes it gets busy but it wasn’t even busy in there. I wouldn’t personally recommend but if you have a party big enough to fill the 3 rows of the car (2 each) and don’t mind being squished in then I’d say try it out.”

I was so sad about the experience we had at this place! It was my favorite as a kid so I went in with really high expectations. To start, when we were seated at our table it was filthy. It had clearly not been wiped down from the last people who sat there. Our server was very friendly, but was obviously stretched way too thin with his workload. (A lot of places are dealing with staffing issues it’s totally understandable.) Because of that though, it took a long time for us to be waited on. The whole point of going to this restaurant is the atmosphere and it was extremely underwhelming. The short clips playing on the big screen were being played on a very quiet volume to where we couldn’t hear anything. Also, it was a loop of the same few clips over and over again. It was also extremely awkward to share the same car with another couple seated in front of us. The burgers and fries were decent, but nothing memorable. I am still giving a 6/10 for the nostalgia of this place. I wouldn’t eat here again though.”

Sci Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant

Rating: 7.27 / 10 Recommended By: 81%
Menus: Lunch/Dinner, Children's Lunch/Dinner
Services: Table Service

Try Instead — 50s Prime Time Cafe

For a restaurant where you’ll have a bit more privacy and possibly a lot more fun, head to 50s Prime Time Cafe! Here, the servers treat you like you’re family…literally. You dine in Mom’s kitchen and your waiters are your cousins, ready to nag you for not eating your veggies.

Food from 50s Prime Time Cafe

This place is great!! Feels like eating in Grandma’s house. The fried chicken is amazing and you won’t be leaving hungry.”

I love the theming of this restaurant. It feels like you’re in the 50s eating at your grandma’s house. The waiters are like your family and treat you like so. It’s so funny! You definitely go here for the experience. The food is pretty good, but not exceptional”

'50s Prime Time Cafe Restaurant

Rating: 8.17 / 10 Recommended By: 87%
Menus: Lunch/Dinner, Children's Lunch/Dinner
Services: Table Service

Animal Kingdom

To Avoid — Pizzafari

Last but not least, let’s talk about our skippable Animal Kingdom choices, including Pizzafari! This spot serves the much-hated “puffy” pizza and a few other entrees that aren’t too notable.

Pizzafari Spread

I don’t like Pizzafari. Their pizzas are puffy and doughy, and the theming is outdated. The best part I can say is there are good drinks there (fountain sodas lol) and the prime location to Pandora. Otherwise, this is a waste to go to and should probably be demolished.”

Eh, it’s okay. Probably a safe bet for parties with picky eaters but if you’re an adventurous eater, then definitely skip this place. The pizza is basically just Tombstone frozen pizzas so it’s nothing special. The family dinner is also overrated, unless again, you have picky eaters in the family. It is one of the only lunchtime quick service spots with indoor seating, though. So if it’s a hot day it’s a good place to catch some AC while you eat.”

Pizzafari Restaurant

Rating: 6.37 / 10 Recommended By: 67%
Menus: Lunch/Dinner
Services: Quick Service

Try Instead — Satu’li Canteen

If you want some delicious eats that are customizable, we recommend heading to Satu’li Canteen in Pandora instead! This spot serves build-your-own bowls as well as the iconic cheeseburger pods.

Satu’li Canteen

One of the best quick service restaurants. Cheeseburger pods are one of my favorite foods in all of Disney. Even if that’s not your thing though, there are so many options. There are plenty of Vegan or allergen-friendly options. The food is really good all around!”

The theming is amazing here and the quality of the food is great for the price you pay. there are a lot of good protein options here which is really refreshing after days in the park.”

Satu'li Canteen Restaurant

Rating: 8.99 / 10 Recommended By: 95%
Menus: Lunch/Dinner
Services: Quick Service

To Avoid — Rainforest Cafe

For table service spots, we’re DEFINITELY going to tell you to skip Rainforest Cafe! This chain restaurant has a location at Animal Kingdom and while the atmosphere is fun, the food is definitely not great.

Rainforest Cafe

Food took too long to be served. The waiter did not make sure we had refills on drinks. Heard an employee was sick, coughing, and just spreading what he had to the customers. Pretty bad that a family restaurant does not allow their employees to call off when they are sick.”

This restaurant was such a disappointment! It is conveniently located at the front of the park so that was one thing we appreciated. The atmosphere is fun with all the different animatronic animals (although they are clearly not up to Disney standards making them a bit underwhelming.) The food was the real issue here as well as the alcoholic beverages. The coconut shrimp tasted like it was straight from a frozen meal. My boyfriend’s cheeseburger was also low quality. The mixed drinks are super sugary sweet and way overpriced because of the souvenir glass they come in. (Which, apparently you can opt not to buy but our server did not inform us of that.) Save your money and opt for another dining option.”

Rainforest Cafe Restaurant

Rating: 4.91 / 10 Recommended By: 47%
Menus: Children's Breakfast, Breakfast, Children's Lunch/Dinner, Lunch/Dinner
Services: Table Service

Try Instead — Nomad Lounge

In place of Rainforest Cafe, we highly recommend Nomad Lounge. This is one of our favorite spots in Disney World for a relaxing meal and the food is top-notch.

Delicious meal

Cast Members are extremely attentive and knowledgable. Cocktails are very creative and refreshing. If you are intimidated by the cocktail menu just let the cast member know what you enjoy in a drink and they will steer you in the right direction. The Mocktail menu is inventive, a great option non-alcoholic drinkers. The tuna poke bowl is a light midday snack to enjoy with your beverage.”

This is one of our favorite places to eat and drink on property. Cocktails are inventive and consistently good, service is great and the food is wonderful as it comes from the Tiffins kitchen. The view and setting are relaxing. It’s perfect.”

Nomad Lounge Restaurant

Rating: 9.23 / 10 Recommended By: 97%
Menus: Pub/Lounge, Children's Lunch/Dinner
Services: Bar/Lounge

So there you have it — our recommendations for where to eat (and where not to eat) in the Disney World parks! Stay tuned to AllEars for more dining news and tips.

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3 Replies to “I Cannot Overstate How Terrible These Disney World Restaurants Are (So Here’s Where to Eat Instead)”

  1. Strange that you say to avoid a restaurant because it is no different than any Chinese restaurant back home yet recommend a hibachi restaurant that I found to be no different than any one back home..

    Ps – I kind of like the puffy pizza…

  2. Up until my visit a few weeks ago, I would have agreed with your Liberty Tree Tavern recommendation. However, my most recent visit was a plate of flavorless pork, super salty pot roast and what seemed to be like thick sliced deli meat turkey. The rolls seemed like packaged rolls with melted butter brushed on them. The dessert was still spot on however. I’m so disappointed.

  3. Rainforest cafe in Animal Kingdom was hands down the worst restaurant I’ve ever been to. The food was HORRID. And all I could think of was the amount of dust in that room and do they ever clean it off the plastic leaves. Even the volcano cake was bad, for both kids and adults. How can you go wrong with chicolate cake? The fish tacos I ordered were inedible. Kids get tiny dishes. Skip it it’s the wrost tourist trap ever.