Dining at Walt Disney World is always a memorable experience. While the food is delicious, the atmosphere at each restaurant is what takes dining to a whole new immersive level. From quick service to fine dining, Imagineers and restaurant designers have put a great deal of effort into the feel of where you eat. Some of the Disney World restaurants have such great decor and atmosphere that we decided to make a list of the top 10 best themed Disney World restaurants:
10. Tusker House
Over in Animal Kingdom, nestled in Africa is an outdoor marketplace, moved indoors. The Tusker House Restaurant is a buffet that centers around an African marketplace with each dining room filled with furnishings and decorations that have made their way inside from the Harambe village. Colorful fabric drapes across the ceiling and fill the space with a brightness that is inviting and relaxing.
9. San Angel Inn Restaurante
In the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot, the San Angel Inn Restaurante is modeled after a 17th century hacienda (large estate or plantation). Your eyes are drawn to the central Mayan Pyramid which glows in the midst of the perpetual twilight inside. The rest of the decorations are a classic Mexican-colonial style. Guests who are seated near the rear of the restaurant will get to watch the boats of the Gran Fiesta Tour floating by.
8. Cinderella’s Royal Table
Inside Cinderella’s Castle is a royal banquet hall. After climbing the spiral staircase, you are greeted by massive stone archways and vaulted ceilings. Suits of armor, family crests and stunning gothic-style windows all combine to create the perfect atmosphere of a stone palace. Dining with a royal princess takes your experience beyond theming and instantly creates a lifelong memory.
7. Coral Reef Restaurant
Who wouldn’t want to dine with a front row view of the largest inland saltwater aquarium ever built? At the Coral Reef Restaurant in Epcot, you have the opportunity to dine next to massive panoramic windows that are the gateway to over 4000 sea creatures. Spot the sharks and sea turtles as they glide by, or pick out your favorite tropical fish. In the midst of the coral reef, there are so many creatures to watch and the habitat has been designed for the comfort of all the species co-existing in the underwater environment.
6. Biergarten Restaurant
Still in Epcot, the Germany Pavilion houses the Biergarten Restaurant, a buffet of traditional German fare. The interior is modeled after a Bavarian village with the facades of buildings wrapped around the perimeter of the restaurant. The architecture transports you to a classic Oktoberfest atmosphere complete with an oompah band and dancing for you to watch, or join in.
5. Rainforest Cafe
There are actually two Rainforest Cafe locations for you to visit when you’re at Disney. The first is in Disney Springs and the second is just outside Animal Kingdom. In both, you are surrounded by a jungle atmosphere as soon as you walk in the door. Trees, vines and rock formations are the backdrop to a host of animated animals throughout the restaurant. The sound of rain and thunder fills the air, as does a gentle mist from cascading waterfalls. Be sure to check out the aquariums filled with tropical fish as well.
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For prehistoric dining, T-Rex at Disney Springs is full of dinosaurs, wooly mammoths and other creatures to satisfy your Jurassic appetite. The life-sized animatronic dinosaurs fill the restaurant and that includes a 15 foot tall T-Rex (hence the name). Tables are situated in between boulders and cliffs and you might even dine face to face with one of the dinosaurs hiding in the bushes. Every 20 minutes or so, you will also get to experience a meteor shower with a low rumbling and “explosions”. Search for fossils hidden in the rock or head to the bar area for a drink with a massive octopus hanging overhead.
3. Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater
At Hollywood Studios, visit the drive-in at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant. Classic Short Films in classic science fiction play throughout your meal as you dine in a car-shaped booth or table. It’s always nighttime here with the twinkling of the stars completing the incredibly retro atmosphere. Attacking aliens, mummies and rampaging robots adorn the screen in a sci-fi spectacular so enjoy the all-American cuisine and enjoy your trip back to the glory days of drive-in movie theaters.
2. Be Our Guest
Over in Magic Kingdom, in the heart of the Beast’s castle, is the Be Our Guest Restaurant. As far as theming goes, it’s hard to beat the atmosphere here. Stay close to the candles as you enter the castle through the massive doors. You can dine in any one of the three dining rooms within the restaurant. The Castle Gallery houses Belle’s library and you get a glimpse of Belle and Beast figures dancing. The West Wing is slightly darker and full of mystery with the enchanted rose being the focal point. The Grand Ballroom is magnificent with a beautiful fresco-style painting across the entirety of the ceiling. At the far end of the ballroom are the-floor-to ceiling windows with snow softly falling outside. The visual detail in Be Our Guest is incredible and you truly feel transported straight into the movie.
1. 50’s Prime Time Café
The 50’s Prime Time Café has the complete theming package. The interior is designed to look like a classic 50’s kitchen with all of the usual kitschy things you’d find inside. Some of the tables have black and white TVs for you to watch prime-time shows from the era. The vinyl chairs and Formica tables are a perfect match for the brightly colored walls and decorations. What sets this restaurant apart from the others are the servers. They are not your typical servers, they are your mom, aunt, uncle or cousins and they are adamant that proper table manners are used at all times. The servers are where the theming goes beyond the decor and becomes experiential. They will scold you for having your elbows on the table and make sure you finish your vegetables or you may have to stand in the corner.
What is your favorite themed restaurant at Disney World? Let us know in the comments!