Dining at Walt Disney World ® - The Definitive Guide

Make every minute & every dollar of your Disney vacation count!

Dining at Walt Disney World ® should be a magical experience, but when choosing from over 300 on property dining choices, it can be overwhelming. That is why “Dining at Walt Disney World ® – The Definitive Guide “ was created

Inside these pages you will find in-depth advice including:

  • Detailed descriptions of every Disney dining venue
  • Understanding and receiving the best value from the Disney Dining Plan
  • How to snag hard-to-get dining reservations
  • Saving time and money while dining
  • What are the “must do ” character meals?
  • Disney Dining.com exclusive Picks and Tips

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The China Pavilion in Epcot is one that you won’t want to miss as you explore the World Showcase in Disney’s Epcot.  From delicious foods to a new, advanced film there is so much to see and do while visiting the China Pavilion.





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1. Temple of Heaven





When first arriving, make sure to take in the beautiful triple arched ceremonial gate.  This is known as the Temple of Heaven and is a small replica of the one from Beijing.  The detailed and ascetic architecture is something to marvel at.  Take time to look at the 12 pillars representing the months of the Chinese calendar each uniquely designed.









2. Meeting Mulan





In the China Pavilion, guests are able to meet Mulan.  This currently is the only place guests can meet the fierce warrior on a typical park day.  This is an engaging and entertaining meet and greet that takes place in a beautiful setting allowing for some amazing pictures.  Make sure to check My Disney Experience app to see what times Mulan is meeting during your vacation.









3. Replica of the Terracotta Army





Travel inside the temple to see the Tomb Warriors.  This exhibit has statues that are modeled after the real ones from 210 BC and were discovered in 1974 by farmers.  Each unique soldier has a different sculpted face.  Pictures of the real version can also be found in this museum area.  A truly special experience that one can find in the China Pavilion.











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4. Delicious Food





Don’t forget to grab some food while exploring the China Pavilion.  There are three main options to choose from.  If looking for a sit-down meal, consider trying Nine Dragons.  For a quicker meal, Lotus Blossom Cafe offers some great meal options.  For a quick snack, think about an egg roll or spring roll from Lotus Blossom or visit Joy of Tea which offers not only tea, but slushies and ice cream.









5. Wondrous China





The newest entertainment in the China Pavilion is Wondrous China.  This new circle vision 360 film is replacing Reflections of China.  The new film will be a journey across the country featuring amazing sights of China.  In the film, new locations, new scenes as well as new music will all move audience members.  This is a great spot to get out of the sun, rain and relax a little.





6. Jeweled Dragon Acrobats





As you are enjoying the sites and food of the China Pavilion, make sure to catch the Jeweled Dragon Acrobats.  This show is performed throughout the day depending on the weather.  Men and women join together to create epic stunts in this unique acrobatic show.  Grab a snack and enjoy the talent of those in the show.









7. Shop





The China Pavilion offers two great shopping options.  House of Good Fortune and the Good Fortune Gifts provide guests with a unique shopping experience.  House of Good Fortune is one of the largest shops in the World Showcase offering a variety of goods from clothing to teapots.  Even if you aren’t wanting to buy something, check out the specialty items you didn’t think you’d find in a theme park.





8. Whispering Willows Gallery





Another
item that guests can find in the China Pavilion is a gallery focused on Shanghai
Disney.  Here you can find drawings, photos and artwork displaying the six
themed lands, two hotels and Disneytown that make up the groundbreaking
resort.  Disney Imagineers took great care to make sure Chinese culture
was seen throughout the park.  Guests can
see how this was done in this special display.





9. Gardens





Finally, when visiting the China Pavilion, take time to enjoy the gardens.  Throughout the pavilion, guests can find quiet, beautiful areas to relax and enjoy their surroundings.









The China
Pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase has so much to offer guests.  During
your next trip, take time to slow down and enjoy this beautiful pavilion and
all it has to offer.


- Exploring Epcot’s China Pavilion in Walt Disney World


More and more often, we are seeing restaurants open in Disney Springs sporting the name of a celebrity chef. While the idea of this does seem a bit tacky to some, we have yet to be disappointed by one of these celebrity chef eateries. In fact, we’ve quite enjoyed every one we’ve tried. Frontera Cocina by Rick Bayless is no exception to this rule. This tasty, modern Mexican food joint is a wonderful choice for anyone visiting Disney Springs, and we highly recommend it to anyone in the mood for tacos or tequila. Here are some great reasons we know you’ll love Fronter Cocina as much as we do.







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1. Interesting Decor





For the most part, the design choices in this
restaurant are minimalist and sleek. However, there are eye-catching details
placed here and there throughout that really add to the place. The light
fixtures, for instance, are quite interesting, as are the various pieces of
tequila bottle decor found throughout the building. The pops of color keep
things fun and add even more character to the dining area.





2. Plenty of Seating





In addition to interesting decor, you can also
expect to find plenty of seating in this restaurant. This is awesome because it
means shorter wait times and more available reservation slots. It also means
big parties can be accomodated, something not all restaurants on Disney
property can claim.





3. Open Kitchen





When looking around the dining area, you’ll likely notice right away that the designers went with an open-kitchen floor plan. This is something we really love. The open kitchen means you can see everything that goes on in the cooking area, and really get a feel for what the chefs are doing to create the lovely meals served here. The bustling atmosphere of the kitchen carries over into the dining room, and creates an energetic vibe that is sure to leave you feeling invigorated.







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4. Lovely View





Prefer to sit outside? You’ll be happy to
learn that this eatery boasts a small patio. While the decor on the patio is
quite simple, the view is wonderful. You see, this patio sits right next to the
water. This feature is loved by many regulars, and if you enjoy watching the
world go by as you dine, you’ll love it too!





5. Walk-Up Window





Besides a lovely view, you’ll also find a
walk-up window out on the patio of this restaurant. This window allows those in
search of a quick and easy meal to order tacos, which come out quickly but are
still just as hot and delicious as they would come out had you taken a table.
While the walk-up window menu is limited, this is definitely the way to go if
you wish to eat on the fly.





6. Awesome Drinks





The mixed drinks at this eatery are both unusual and delicious. The restaurant worked in partnership with La Cava del Tequila to create their cocktail menu, and it definitely shows. The most popular and well-loved drink on the menu is the La Cava Avocado Margarita. This margarita actually includes avocado and is surprisingly delicious. That said, almost any mixed drink you choose is sure to be both interesting and tasty, making drinking at Frontera Cocina a super fun experience.









7. Yummy Eats





Of course, you can’t fill up on alcohol alone. Therefore, food will be in order. Fortunately, there is plenty to choose from at this wonderful eatery. The menu here tends to change often. This is great because it means there’s always something new to try, and everything served here is worth trying. The fresh ingredients really make a difference, and the fact that there are gluten-free and vegan options is awesome.





8. Delicious Desserts





Finally there is dessert. No meal is complete
without a good dessert, and Frontera Cocina doesn’t disappoint in this
department. The Buñuelitos dessert is described as “crispy
flour tortillas, cajeta caramel mousse, red wine drizzle with raw sugar &
Mexican cinnamon, dark chocolate shavings, mezcal cranberries, roasted
almonds.” Obviously, this is incredible, and could easily carry the entire
dessert menu on its own. However, the Ancho Chile Chocolate Cake is somehow
just as good, as is the Coconut Lime Cuatro Leches. Of course, you’ll want to pair whichever
dessert you choose with a cup of Mexican Natural Coffee. This will offset the
sweet and give you a boost of energy to finish your shopping.





Clearly, Fronter Cocina is one Disney Springs
Restaurant you shouldn’t miss. Why not make your reservation right away to be
sure you get in during your next trip to Disney World? You’ll be glad you did!


- Top Reasons You’ll Love Frontera Cocina at Walt Disney World


La Cava del Tequila is a specialized tequila bar located in the Mexico Pavilion at Disney’s Epcot.  Opening in 2009 and bringing the tradition and heritage of tequila making to Disney, this is a one of a kind experience guests can have while visiting Walt Disney World.  Here are eight things you will love about La Cava del Tequila.







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8.  Cozy and Hidden





One of the great aspects of La Cava del Tequila is that not everyone knows about it.  Located inside the temple at the Mexico Pavilion, many day guests aren’t aware of this hidden gem.  It has a warm and welcoming atmosphere that invites guests to come and enjoy the drinks and snacks.  Using the idea of a warm and inviting cellar of a hacienda, La Cava del Tequila uses glowing lights, rich leather seats and worn walls to bring to life a laid back and relaxing atmosphere.









7.  Chips and Guacamole





Although this one seems
simple, you won’t want to miss out on this snack.  Take time to enjoy some
chips and guacamole while taking in the scene and enjoying a drink.





6.  Queso con Jalapeño





Wanting something a little spicier, try the queso con jalapeno.  This warm cheese dip served with chips is a perfect companion to a nice drink.







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5.  Endless Options





With around 200 different varieties of the agave juice in numerous different styles and price ranges, guests will be amazed at the choices they have when it comes to drink selections.  If you are a tequila drinker, you will love all of the choices found at La Cava del Tequila.  Don’t be fooled by the fact you are in a theme park, there are high end tequila options here even some that are made specifically for La Cava del Tequila.









4.  Flights





If you can’t decide what tequila you want, you will love the fact that flights are offered.  Choose to have three different styles or brands of tequila for your flight selection.  This is an excellent way to try different tequila options.  They do have a few preset flight suggestions on their menus such as the La Cava del Tequila Flight, Premium Tequila Flight and the Mezcal and Agave Flights.  Each of these range from $23 to $45 in price.









3.  Black Magic Margarita





The newest margarita to
be added to La Cava del Tequila’s menu was created by Neil Patrick
Harris.    This new delicious margarita has a combination of Mezcal,
blackberry puree, Cassis liqueur, lime and mint and is served to guests frozen.





2.  Margaritas for Days





If you are looking for
more than a traditional margarita, you will find it here at La Cava del
Tequila.  Not only are they constantly updating their menu options with
new margaritas such as the Black Magic Margarita, they also have a variety of
fun options that seem to constantly be on the menu.  Some top choices are
the Wild Passion Fruit, Cucumber and Jalapeno margaritas.  For a unique option, consider the Minty
Pineapple Margarita.  This specialty
drink comes with black ant salt on the rim.  Are you brave enough to try
it?





1. Tradition





Finally, the last thing
you will love about La Cava del Tequila is the tradition and history behind
it.  The cast members that work here have a passion for the history and
culture of tequila making.  As you enjoy
your drinks and snacks, take time to talk with the servers.  They will
have stories to share and are experts in the drinks they are serving.  It is a great way to learn while also
relaxing and having a fun time.





The next time you are
visiting Epcot, take some time to sneak over to the Mexico Pavilion to check
out this hidden gem.  La Cava del Tequila won’t disappoint.  


- Top Reasons We Love La Cava del Tequila at Walt Disney World


The eleven pavilions in Epcot’s World Showcase are some of the most popular places that guests explore to enjoy attractions, entertainment, dining, shopping, and more. Each pavilion is completely immersive and makes guests feel as though they have traveled across the globe thanks to beautiful architecture, details that bring history and culture to life, and amazing Cast Members from those countries. Of the eleven pavilions, a favorite of many guests is the Canada Pavilion which features an incredible combination of details, beauty, culture, history, and more to immerse guests in all that Canada has to offer. Here are some of the things that make the Canada Pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase so amazing.







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1. Le Cellier Steakhouse





One of the most popular spots in all of the Canada Pavilion is a signature dining location that serves up classic steakhouse favorites paired with Canadian flavors and ingredients. Le Cellier Steakhouse is open daily for lunch and dinner and features one of the smallest dining rooms in Epcot which creates the feel of dining in a cozy wine cellar. Guests can enjoy the intimate setting of low vaulted ceilings accented with warm wood beams and beautiful chandeliers to create a welcoming and immersive environment. The menu at Le Cellier Steakhouse focuses heavily on steakhouse classics such as the Le Cellier Filet Mignon, Char-Crusted USDA Prime Rib-Eye Steak, and USDA Prime New York Strip Steak in addition to a wide array of other options. Some unique menu offerings inspired by the flavors of Canada include the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup, Artisan Cheese Plate, Maple Sweet Potato Casserole, and various poutiness including the Le Cellier Signature Poutine and Lobster Poutine. With delicious cuisine and a cozy environment, it is wonder why so many guests love dining at Le Cellier Steakhouse!





Le Cellier




2. Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360





The Canada Pavilion is also home to one attraction which invites guests to enjoy Circle-Vision technology and experience all of the beauty and splendor that Canada has to offer. Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360 officially opened in January 2020 and brings guests into a rustic theater with many wooden accents where they stand and enjoy the amazing technology of Circle-Vision on screens surrounding them throughout the entire theater. Narrated by Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara, the film showcases the different provinces of Canada and the natural and man-made wonders that lie in each. Paired with a beautiful score by Andrew Lockington and the favorite song “Canada (You’re A Lifetime Journey)” the film highlights the unique beauty of Canada and its people through stunning scenes and video.





“Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360”






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3. Trading Post and Northwest Mercantile





Guests who are exploring the Canada Pavilion ca check out a duo of charming shops that sell various merchandise celebrating all things Canada. Trading Post and Northwest Mercantile draw upon the rustic western regions of Canada with wooden accents and cozy lighting and guests who peruse the locations can purchase a variety of items. The two stores feature clothing, maple syrup, cookies and candies, stuffed animals, mugs, blankets, hats, accessories, soaps and more. A small counter serving up select beer, wine, and beverages can also be found in Northwest Mercantile, making it a great location to stop for a drink to sip and savor while exploring the rest of the pavilion.





4. Victoria Gardens





While some areas of the Canada Pavilion are always bustling with guests, there is a nice quiet spot where guests can take in some natural beauty. The winding pathway leading to Le Cellier Steakhouse works its way through Victoria Gardens which pays homage to many beautiful gardens in the Canadian province of Victoria. The gardens feature a small pond and gurgling creek, flowerbeds, rolling hills, and plenty of picturesque and serene spots to simple pause and enjoy. During the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, Victoria Gardens also receives a gorgeous refresher with vibrant and extensive flower beds blanketing the rolling hills across from the pond. This is a great spot to stop and enjoy while exploring the Canada Pavilion!









5. KidCot Fun Stop





A fun location for kids and kids at heart to enjoy can be accessed either through the exit of Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360 or via the winding path through Victoria Gardens that leads down towards Le Cellier Steakhouse. KidCot Fun Stops are located throughout Epcot and each location features a fun coloring activity for children to enjoy while learning a little bit about the country that they are in. The Canada Pavilion’s KidCot Fun Stop features a small seating area and table top where Cast Members can help guests color a small card and learn a little bit about Canadian culture in the process. This fun activity is a great way to spend some time in the Canada Pavilion and those who enjoy it should be sure to stop by the other KidCot locations throughout Epcot!









6. Entertainment at Canada Mill Stage





Between the Canada Pavilion and the UK Pavilion is a rustic themed stage that features a wide array of entertainment throughout each day in World Showcase. The Canada Mill Stage features mainly musical acts that share some of the culture and history of Canada and guests can comfortably seat in nearby benches to enjoy each performance. Some popular acts that perform regularly on the Canada Mill Stage include Alberta Bound who play Canadian songs ranging from traditional fiddling to popular hits, Blueberry Grass Band who perform Canadian hits combined with impressive  acts from former Cirque du Soleil artists, and Bodh’aktan who combine various styles such as Celtic and punk to form amazing sounds.





7. Popcorn in Canada





A final great spot to stop while exploring the Canada Pavilion is a small snack cart that offers a delicious classic with a Canadian twist. The Popcorn in Canada stand serves up regular popcorn as well as Maple Popcorn for a salty and sweet combination that guests love. Guests can also order up various non-alcoholic options as well as Canadian beers including Moosehead, La Fin Du Monde, Blanche de Chambly, and Unibroue Autre Chose Peach IPA as well as cocktails such as the Ottawa Apple and Crown Royal Whisky.


- Exploring Epcot’s Canada Pavilion at Walt Disney World


How many times have you seen a family walking around Walt Disney World escorted by the Guest Services cast members in the plaid vests and wondered—who is that?  Is that a celebrity?  I mean who doesn’t want to feel like a VIP or a celebrity . . . whether it is your first visit to Walt Disney World or your 81st.  A shout out to Walt Disney World’s amazing Cast Members who make everyone visiting the parks and resorts feel special and magical, it is safe to say that everyone comes away from their vacation feeling like they’ve been treated royally.  But, there are some experiences you can add to your vacation that will make you feel like a celebrity.  Here are 8 of those VIP experiences at Walt Disney World:







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8.  Wild Africa Trek





The Wild Africa Trek is a one-of-a-kind experience at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.  For this special tour you go on a walking tour through the Gorilla Falls Trails and the Kilimanjaro Safari attraction with a guide.  You will learn so much about all the African Animals on the attractions, but the experiences you have are what make this so unforgettable—and really make you feel like you are getting the celebrity treatment.   You will feed the Hippos, cross the rope bridges over the Nile Crocodiles, have a special safari truck that stops to view animals, and enjoy an amazing snack meal in the hut overlooking the savanna.  It is a breathtaking experience, and one that I highly recommend adding to your Animal Kingdom itinerary.









7.  After Hours Events





One of my favorite times to experience the parks is at night—the glow of all the lights make them even more magical.  And the best nighttime hours to spend in the parks are part of the After Hours events.  These require a separate ticket purchase (not to be confused with Evening Extra Magic Hours that are complimentary for Disney resort guests), and allow in a limited number of people to the park.  Currently Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom offer After Hours events, and Hollywood Studios has had them in the past.  During these special events you can expect virtually no lines, and very short wait times on attractions.  You also get all the bottled drinks (soft drinks and water) that you want, along with popcorn and ice cream novelties.  I’ve done the After Hours event twice at Magic Kingdom and once at Hollywood Studios, and my favorite thing about the event is that you can walk around and no one else may be in sight depending on where you are in the park. It almost feels a little strange like you aren’t supposed to be there, but it is such a celebrity feeling like you’ve rented out the park for yourself and your closest 1000 friends (give or take).  In the summer months Typhoon Lagoon waterpark offers a great after-hours events, H20 Glow Nights.  This psychedelic nighttime party gives you great access to the parks slides and attractions, and a fun party atmosphere.









6.  Backstage Magic Tour





While I love all of the guided tours I’ve taken at Walt Disney World, the Backstage Magic Tour takes the cake—and it really makes you feel like a celebrity VIP.  The Backstage Magic tour is guided by two Adventures by Disney guides, so you know right off the bat you are going to be treated to exclusive access, wonderful storytelling, and lots of Disney magic!  The tour itself could change based on access and availability, but on my recent experience we went backstage at the American Adventure, visited Creative Costuming & Central shops where they repair ride vehicles and audio-animatronics, we saw how Rivers of Light is produced, explored the famed Utilidoors at Magic Kingdom, and we were dined on a delicious lunch at the signature restaurant, Tiffins at Animal Kingdom.  It is a 7 hour tour, but the time flies by, and you leave with such a great appreciation for all that goes in to operating Walt Disney World Resort, as well as all of the imaginative details that the Imagineers, Designers, and Creative Cast Members put into making our vacations an immersive experience.







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5.  Ride in a Minnie Van





Walt Disney World resort offers many complimentary transportation options to get you from your resort to the parks, waterparks, and Disney Springs.  Buses, monorails, boats, and gondolas are all waiting to whisk you away to your destination for the day.  But, if you want to step it up a notch, and feel like a real celebrity, hire a “Minnie Van” to take you where you need to go. These adorable red and white polka dot cars are driven by Disney Cast Members, but you use the Lyft app to “call” one for pick up.  The Minnie Vans are immaculately clean, have soundtracks playing geared to where you are, have knowledgeable drivers, and they have special access to some locations that other ride shares do not.  Each time I use one I feel like a VIP.









4.  Concierge Level





The deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World are a great experience for your resort stay, but if you want to feel like a true celebrity, book a concierge or club level room at one of these resorts.  For a nightly premium you will gain access to several perks that regular rooms do not get.  There is a Club Lounge that provides food and drink throughout the day.  Breakfast might include pastries and a couple of hot dishes, snacks throughout the day, and heavy hors d’oeuvres in the evening, with soft drinks, beer, wine, cordials depending on the time of day.  It is so convenient, and sometimes decadent feeling, just to walk down and grab a snack, or pick something up on your way back in from the parks.  And I’ve been known to make a meal out of the evening offerings.  You also have access to the amazing concierge staff who can assist you with various things during your vacation as needed, and prior to your trip you have the option to purchase extra FastPasses if you are staying Club Level.  You even start out your trip as a VIP, normally you are escorted up to the lounge to a private area to check in.  You even have to use your Magic Band on the elevator to access the exclusive club floor.









3.  Fireworks Cruise





Watching one of Walt Disney World’s Fireworks shows is the perfect ending to an evening in the parks.  But, if you want to do it like a celebrity, consider booking a fireworks cruise.  At Epcot you depart from the Yacht Club marina, take a tour around Crescent Lake and the canal down toward Hollywood Studios before tying up under the France/UK bridge in the World Showcase Lagoon to watch the show so close you can feel it.  At Magic Kingdom you can charter a pontoon boat from any of the deluxe marinas that will set anchor out in front of the train station and pipe in the music to enjoy the show.  There are even ways to plus this experience by decorating the boat, or ordering food to be on board (every cruise includes drinks and snacks, but you can add actual food if you want).  Or, the next level is to charter the Grand One Yacht from the Grand Floridian to watch the fireworks in absolute luxury.  You should plan on making reservations for the cruises 180 days in advance, but they don’t always open the booking that early.









2.  The Chef’s Table at Victoria & Alberts





There are now several signature restaurants that offer a chef’s table experience, but the cream of the crop is Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian resort.  If you are a foodie, this VIP experience is the must-do for you, and it will truly make you feel like a celebrity.  The meal is served at the kitchen and the chef caters the multi-course meal to your tastes—while at the same time challenging you to try new foods and presentations.  You can also add an option wine pairing.  The Chef’s Table at Victoria & Albert’s is a tough reservation to get, but if you can it is a culinary experience of a lifetime.









1.  Private VIP Tour





The ultimate way to feel like a celebrity is to experience
the parks like one—hiring a private VIP guide for the day.  With a guide you are picked up at your resort
and backdoored into the parks (you have a private bag check and ticket scan,
and you are greeted with snacks and drinks). 
Once you are in the parks your VIP guide will take you wherever you wish
utilizing the FastPass line for every attraction that offers it.  While you tour the park they tell you trivia
and point out details.  Your guide could
assist with dining or get you VIP viewing for evening fireworks shows. And, you
can park hop (if you have an eligible ticket). 
I was able to experience the VIP Tour with my travel agency at a
conference, and it was the most relaxing and easy-going day in the parks, yet
we still rode so many attractions we lost count.  And, yes, I did wonder if people were looking
at us and trying to figure out if we were legit celebrities.





What are your favorite ways to feel like a VIP or a
celebrity when you visit Walt Disney World?


- Top VIP Experiences to Make you Feel Like a Celebrity at Walt Disney World