It’s always fun discovering new restaurants at Walt Disney World, and Coral Reef is a restaurant we recently tried for the first time. It immediately became one of our favorites, and if you have any budding mermaids or marine biologists in your party, we’re sure they’ll feel the same way!
Chances are that unless you have a reservation at Coral Reef, you’ll never even see it – it’s not exactly in a spot you’ll walk by as you go through the park. It’s tucked away in a lovely, quiet corner in Future World at Walt Disney World’s Epcot, and you’ll have to search for it! This is rare for Disney World, and we thought the seclusion – and the idea of discovering a hidden spot that remains unknown to many guests – enhanced our experience.
7. Panoramic Aquarium
The focal point of Coral Reef is an impressively enormous wall-to-wall aquarium, one of the biggest of its kind in the world (it holds enough water to fill over 50 Olympic swimming pools!). It’s actually the same aquarium you’ll see at The Seas with Nemo and Friends, so we’d recommend visiting The Seas first, and then dining at Coral Reef for a completely different view. It’s so massive, you’ll truly feel like you’re dining under the sea!
Coral Reef was ingeniously designed to add to the underwater effect created by the aquarium. You’ll have a view of the water – and the creatures that call it home – from any table, even if you’re not right at a window. The restaurant has a wave motif that enhances the watery effect, and everywhere you turn, you’ll see faux sandstone, blues and greens, coral reef patterns, mosaics that look like beach glass, and even light fixtures made to resemble shells.
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5. 4000 Sea Creatures
Disney tells us there are more than 4000 creatures in The Seas, and even if you only spot a fraction of these, it’ll be well worth the experience. There are rays, sea turtles, several species of sharks, brightly colored fish – and the odd scuba diver! There are too many species to mention here, including one very unique-looking fish I had to Google while eating (it’s a bowmouth guitarfish, and has become my new favorite fish – keep an eye out for it to swim by!).
4. Thanksgiving Dinner
Many guests aren’t aware of this, but several restaurants in Walt Disney World offer special Thanksgiving feasts. Coral Reef is one of these restaurants. If you’re dining on Thanksgiving Day (for either lunch or dinner), you can book a Thanksgiving feast with all of your family and friends. We can’t think of a more memorable way to celebrate Thanksgiving!
3. Delectable Dishes
Coral Reef specializes in gourmet dishes, specifically ocean-fresh offerings, from around the world. You can indulge in charbroiled octopus, crispy calamari, seafood scampi and crab cakes. Or choose a more familiar dish with grits, oven-roasted chicken, or steak. Kids will find many of their favorite go-to dishes here as well. There are allergy-friendly menus available upon request.
2. Desserts and Drinks
You may find more than one dessert on Coral Reef’s menu to entice you. The citrus bread pudding (with candied pecans, salted caramel gelato, and whiskey sauce) caught our attention – we haven’t seen another dessert like this anywhere else on property. Other yummy offerings include a key lime tart, Chocolate Wave, Turtle cheesecake, and even a no-sugar-added dessert option for those with dietary restrictions. Alcoholic beverages are likewise varied, and delicious, from Pina Colava to the Magical Star Cocktail.
1. Warm Reception
We were impressed with Coral Reef’s expansive reception area. If you arrive and need to wait for your reservation, you’ll have abundant – and comfortable – space to do so! This is always important to us, as even with reservations, sometimes in Walt Disney World you may have to wait for your table to be ready. We also enjoyed the complimentary lemon water while we waited. There are several spacious booths at Coral Reef for larger parties, and it’s great to know a party of any size will be comfortable while waiting to be seated.