Whether it’s your first visit to Walt Disney World or your millionth, there is too much to see and do around the parks and resorts to fit everything into one trip. If you’ve been researching for your next vacation, you’ve probably started to realize that blogs and Disney fans consider pretty much everything a must-do. You won’t have time to do all of these things, but you should definitely try to do the things that make Disney, Disney. I will be starting a series of the essentials you should prioritize to get the full Disney magic experience. First, eat at one or more of these restaurants to get the truly unique dining experiences Disney World has to offer:
The longest-running dinner show in the country over at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground has had longevity and success for a reason. It’s genuinely fun entertainment that brings guests on stage for some improvised laughs and a memorable experience. Not to mention, the limitless alcohol and fried chicken make this a parent’s dream, while the whole family can enjoy one of the funniest performances on Disney property. The imaginative entertainment, amazing guest interactions and unforgettable food make Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue a truly Disney restaurant, and a must-do for families looking for a magical dinner.
This storied and historic character meal is beloved by many lifelong Disney visitors who have fond memories of their first meal at Chef Mickey’s as a kid. There’s nothing like being able to eat at a buffet with the Fab Five (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and Donald). Your kids will always remember eating Mickey waffles while waving their napkins with Mickey and friends, and the whole restaurant. When I was little, I asked my parents every trip if we could go to Chef Mickey’s. I always thought Mickey was back in the kitchen cooking and that I was eating food from Mickey Mouse himself. There’s just something grand or larger than life about it. Even though it isn’t the best overall character buffet on property, Chef Mickey’s just has that Disney magic that you can’t quite put your finger on. It is a magical start to the day to eat breakfast at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and watch the monorail pass overhead while you eat with the legendary Disney characters.
One of the best themed restaurants in the world, 50’s Prime Time Café at Disney’s Hollywood Studios transports guests to a 1950’s American household. Families can sit at kitchen countertops watching I Love Lucy re-runs — in old cars, at a diner-themed booth or in a living room — and enjoy homemade-style comfort food like fried chicken, meat loaf and chicken pot pie. Waiters and waitresses are make-believe family members that jokingly scold you for not finishing your food or leaving your elbows on the table. This fun and imaginative Imagineering embodies the unique theming and interactive experiences Walt Disney World strives to give its guests. Eat here if you want some home cooking and one of the funniest meals of your life.
There are barely any restaurants in the world, if any, that are more immersive than Magic Kingdom’s Be Our Guest. While some restaurants can have fun theming, few make you feel like you’ve jumped into a movie like this one does. As you cross the bridge to Beast’s castle and through the hall of suits of armor, you enter the Grand Ballroom and see one of the greatest sights in Disney World. You truly feel like you are eating in the same ballroom as the iconic Belle and Beast dance from the film. This restaurant can give your family a truly unforgettable experience.
There’s nothing like being able to go home and tell your friends and family that you ate inside Cinderella Castle, one of the most iconic buildings in the world. Even though the food is decent, watching your little daughters interact with Disney princesses inside a beautifully decorated castle is a magical experience that the family will not soon forget.