Any foodie heading to Walt Disney World Resort is in for quite the dining experience on vacation. From dining options at Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios to Disney Springs, there are so many awesome Disney dining details to consider as a food lover planning a Disney vacation. Quick-service grab-and-go foods and table service restaurants abound at Disney World. Some are famously difficult to snag an advanced dining reservation for (Ohana) and some are easy and yummy spots you can snag a meal at a moment’s notice (Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn).
Still, not all the restaurants you know and love are certified Disney dives. Did you know these Walt Disney World restaurants aren’t Disney-owned?!
Chefs de France
EPCOT World Showcase, France
If you are looking for a delicious French table service dining experience, you must check out Chefs de France. This authentic-feeling French bistro serves up classics like beef bourguignon and roast chicken in a beautiful atmosphere. Chefs de France is owned by restaurateur Jerome Bocuse. Even though the non-Disney owner may be a surprise, the great food isn’t — so snag an advance dining reservation for this eatery on your next vacation.
Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria
EPCOT World Showcase, Italy
Another delicious EPCOT World Showcase staple is Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria in the Italy Pavilion. This oven-fired pizza spot is a must for those craving a taste of Italy. But this loved pizzeria is not actually a Disney-owned spot. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that this Tuscan-inspired table service spot is owned by none other than Landry’s!
That’s right, you’ve heard of them. The Landry family of restaurants owns spots like The Chart House, Bubba Gump, Salt Grass Steak House, and Joe’s Crab Shack.
Animal Kingdom and Marketplace, Disney Springs
This “wild place to shop and eat” has been one of my family favorites for years. Who can resist the opportunity to dine in the jungle amongst trumpeting elephants and squealing monkeys – even if they are technically animatronic?! You can dine at Rainforest Café during a visit to Disney Springs Marketplace or during a Park day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where it is located at the front of the Park. I always snag a Ribs, Steak & Shrimp Trio when visiting for lunch on a Disney Springs shopping day. This restaurant is another Landry’s-owned spot!
Pro Tip: Check out Landry’s Select Club before your Disney vacation if you are planning on dining at Landry’s owned restaurants at Disney World. Depending on current promotions, you may get a welcome coupon, and you will rack up points for the dining dollars you spend on vacation at Landry’s restaurants and in the “real world”.
CityWorks Eatery & Pour House
West Side, Disney Springs
The Walt Disney Company dining scene does bar food well — but there are some other great non-Disney-owned spots to enjoy dips, burgers, and appetizers at Disney World. CityWorks Eatery & Pour House at Disney Springs is my go-to for sports bar vibes at Walt Disney World Resort. With a menu full of hard seltzers and beer and lots of juicy burgers, shareable appetizers and this is a must-try for small bites and afternoon snacks. CityWorks Eatery & Pour House is owned by Bottleneck Management Group and has locations in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, Wheeling, Illinois, and Frisco, Texas to name just a few. This is yet another Disney dining spot that has a loyalty program where you can rack up points on visits. You’ll also snag a $10 voucher off your first order when you sign up.
Pro Tip: Can’t find a reservation open at a Disney Springs restaurant? Check the OpenTable app to ensure non-Disney-owned restaurants on Disney property don’t have availability via a different reservation system. I’ve snagged a table at Cityworks Eatery & Pour House on Open Table when there were no available reservations on the Disney World website.
El Mercado de Coronado
Coronado Springs Resort
Have you ever eaten at a Palmas Restaurant Group-owned spot? Well — if you’ve dined at El Mercado de Coronado at Coronado Springs Resort, you actually have! This moderate resort quick-service dining spot is a Disney hotel staple for Guests that love Mexican-influenced dishes like nachos, unique flatbreads, and fresh salads. No need to snag a Disney dining reservation for this spot, just drop by on your way to any Disney Park and enjoy hot and ready food in a snap!
Shula’s Steak House
Disney Resort Guests staying at the Dolphin Hotel should not miss a trip to Shula’s Steakhouse. Themed after Miami Dolphins Coach Don Shula’s perfect season 1972 season, this spot delivers a high-impact dining experience with delicious menu items and great ambiance. The melt-in-your-mouth steak options make this a must-visit for beef lovers, and with over 450 wine menu options you are sure to find the perfect pairing.
Lucky for us, this restaurant is a beloved Disney staple, but not limited to Disney World. Because Shula’s Steakhouse is not Disney-owned, you’ll find it in locations like Chicago, Illinois, Naples, Florida, Richmond, Virginia, and Houston, Texas.
Walt Disney World dining is full of yummy food and plenty of surprises – like a diverse list of restaurant owners. Regardless of where you chow down, we bet your Disney dining experience will be top-notch!