Lots of lines: lines of food; lines of people moving through said line to choose and pile food onto their plates. Welcome to the buffet! Love them, or hate them, buffets are one of the many dining styles available at Disney World’s parks and resorts.
You MIGHT be a Buffet Person If…
Is there anyone in your group with a large appetite? As the mom of an impending teenage son, I can’t begin to tell you how much food a teenager can consume. Seriously, where does it all go? Are you someone who wants to experiment with new flavors, but doesn’t want to commit to a full meal? Or, do you have a large family with different food preferences? Most buffets include something for even the pickiest of eaters. Any of the above could make you an excellent candidate for Team Buffet.
No discussion of a Disney buffet could be complete without mentioning characters! Buffets are fantastic opportunities for meeting and interacting with our friends. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and the cast of the Hundred Acre Wood are just some of the local celebs you could run into during a character dining reservation. Many times you have the opportunity to interact with them more than once.
Not all Disney buffets are character dining, and those that are, don’t always have characters at every meal. That said, if you choose a character dining experience, you cash in on meeting more than one character. When I say cash in, I mean it. Be warned; character dining is typically more expensive than its non-character counterpart. Yet, this could be worth the money to avoid standing in Florida’s long, hot, and humid lines for an encounter with each character.
You Might NOT be a Buffet Person If…
For those who desire a quiet atmosphere, a buffet may not be the right choice. A constant flow of people, conversations, and clanking plates creates a noise level that resonates through buffet restaurants. However, if this is your only issue with this style of restaurant, some of the noise could be reduced by selecting off-peak times to dine. Pro-Tip: This is a solid plan of attack for all of your meals.
Small appetites need not apply! In contrast to the always-eating teenager, paying the set price for anyone who grazes their way through the day can be costly. Plus, it has been argued by many in our community that the quality of food at most Disney buffets (and character meals in general) isn’t proportional to the price. Food for thought. Ha! See what I did there? Okay, moving on…
Are you on the shyer side? Does the thought of being interrupted during your meal to interact with a character make you cringe? If that’s the case, Disney buffets might not be for you. Depending on how busy the restaurant is, you could find yourself trying to engage awkwardly with a fuzzy character several times during your dining experience. If this sounds like something you would like to avoid, paying attention to the fine print when selecting dining reservations is crucial.
Here’s a quick round-up of the main buffet restaurants located around Disney World. While not buffet in the traditional sense, ‘Ohana at the Polynesian Resort, and Garden Grill in EPCOT, are “all-you-care-to-enjoy” restaurants. They both have character dining (‘Ohana only at breakfast) and therefore deserve honorable mentions. Those restaurants might also be worth checking out if plentiful plates are high on your priority list.
Buffets at Disney World:
- Cape May Cafe
- Chef Mickey’s
- Crystal Palace
- Tusker House Restaurant
- Boma – Flavors of Africa
- Hollywood and Vine
- Biergarten Restaurant
- 1900 Park Faire (currently unavailable)
Do you have a favorite buffet restaurant at Disney? What’s your favorite tip or trick for buffet dining?