Dining at Walt Disney World can be one of the most exciting, and sometimes the most overwhelming, experiences on property. There are some restaurants that are worth facing crowds of guests and potential lines on top of advanced reservations, because the dining experience is just that amazing. But there are other times you just want a great meal away from the crowds, maybe even without a reservation. And there are plenty of places you can find just that. Here are some of our favorite restaurants for avoiding the crowds at Walt Disney World.
If this hidden gem isn’t on your radar, it should be! Restaurant Marrakesh is tucked away in the Morocco Pavilion at Walt Disney World’s Epcot. With a ton of seating, it’s never crowded, and as a bonus, you’ll be treated to gorgeous tile mosaics and Moroccan architecture, belly dancing and music, and savory eats. Be sure to spend some time enjoy the alleys of this stunning pavilion before you leave!
The hike from wherever you’re staying to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is worth it to dine at Sanaa, in Kidani Village. Lunchtime is probably the best time for a visit, although the restaurant is rarely busy, so you can’t go wrong. Service is great here, helped by the fact that cast members don’t have crowds to serve. While you dine, you can gaze out on the savanna, and watch animals wander by, perhaps in search of lunch of their own! You can be as adventurous as you want here, and try some fabulous new delicacies, or play it safe with some tried-and-true favorites.
7. Tony’s Town Square Restaurant
We recently discovered Tony’s Town Square, perfectly situated just inside the entrance to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, and we wish we’d discovered it sooner! It boasts wonderful Main Street USA views (ask for a patio table), and the Italian cuisine is delectable. To top it off, we’ve never found this restaurant to be busy, and it’s a great option if you need a last-minute reservation or walk-in!
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6. Yak & Yeti Restaurant
There’s nothing we don’t love about Yak & Yeti Restaurant in Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. The richly themed, ornate Nepalese décor is eye-catching (wherever your table is, make sure you wander around and admire the atmosphere on both floors), and some of our favorite food in Animal Kingdom can be found here (Fried Wontons, we’re looking at you!). We also love the fact that somehow, this restaurant is seldom crowded. We’ve even walked in without reservations.
5. Maya Grill
If you haven’t stayed at Disney’s Coronado Springs, you likely don’t realize this gem of a restaurant exists. Maya Grill offers up Mexican favorites, but also throws in dishes you might find in a steakhouse in America. Budding archaeologists will love the Mayan décor – you’ll feel like you’re dining in an ancient pyramid! While Maya Grill is only open for dinner and reservations are required, this is a peaceful oasis that was nearly deserted when we dined, so you may be able to walk right in and grab a seat, like we did. Try the Queso Fundido – you’ll be glad you did!
4. Nine Dragons
Head to the China Pavilion at Walt Disney World’s Epcot if you’re looking to avoid the crowds at mealtime. Nine Dragons offers dishes from different regions of China, and it looks gorgeous, inside and out. The interior is ornately designed, with lanterns, wood carvings, and glass artwork featuring dragons. While you’re waiting for your food to arrive, you can practice writing Chinese characters using your placemat. We love the value for the money here, and the fact that we can usually walk in without a reservation, and still be seated.
3. Biergarten Restaurant
Get your polka on at the Biergarten Restaurant in the Germany Pavilion at Walt Disney World’s Epcot! This is another restaurant that is rarely crowded, so it’s a great place to avoid the chaos of a day at Walt Disney World. You’ll sit at communal tables, and enjoy a hearty buffet that features Bavarian favorites like pork schnitzel and apple strudel. As part of the Oktoberfest vibe, you can even show off your moves on the dance floor or just relax and listen to the band while enjoying a German beer flight.
2. Rainforest Café
Animal Kingdom’s Rainforest Café (there’s also a sister restaurant in Disney Springs) is the place to be if you’re looking for a dining adventure. Of course, there are Rainforest Cafes throughout America and Canada, which could be why we haven’t found this restaurant to be busy on a typical day. We love the fun jungle theming, and the regular thunderstorms! This restaurant makes a great introduction to Animal Kingdom, and it’s conveniently located right at the entrance of the park. Your safari awaits!
1. Ale and Compass
We tried the Ale and Compass at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort on a recent Walt Disney World trip, and were not disappointed. We visited for lunch, so we can’t speak to the dinner crowds, but at mid-day, we were practically the only ones in the restaurant. It’s not as fancy as the nearby Yachtsman Steakhouse, but the understated nautical décor will still make you feel like you’re at a upscale New England resort. And the food is simply excellent. The Truffle Fries with shallot mayo were probably the best fries we’ve ever tasted!