Walt Disney World is home to literally countless dining options that include everything from grab-and-go snack counters to multi-course signature dining experiences that have earned prestigious awards.
With so many options to choose from, there are definitely menus and cuisines to please every Guest, as well as some locations that just tend to fall short. While each dining option has its own positives, some locations simply fall short for various reasons and can definitely be considered one-and-done experiences. From lacking atmosphere and limited menus to overrated locales and better options elsewhere, these restaurants can definitely be categorized as one and done for me.
Be Our Guest Restaurant – While Be Our Guest Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom is one of the most popular dining options in the Disney Park, it can also be considered to be very heavily overrated. The full-service restaurant brings Guests into the beautiful ballroom, West Wing, and portrait gallery from the Beast’s Castle, complete with opulent details and nods to the film. While the atmosphere and décor are undeniably beautiful, the food falls a little short for the hefty price. With a prix fixe menu of French-inspired classics, Guests can choose one appetizer, one entrée, and a trio of small desserts such as Herb-salted Pork Tenderloin, Maine Lobster Bisque, and Dark Chocolate Truffle for over sixty dollars a person. Be Our Guest was worth it for the experience once, but the food and price make it a one and done.
Tony’s Town Square Restaurant – Another one-and-done restaurant in the Magic Kingdom is Tony’s Town Square Restaurant right inside of the Park’s entrance. Modeled after Tony’s from Lady and the Tramp, the interior is charming with vaulted glass ceilings, airy lighting, and wrought iron seating, in addition to an outdoor porch that offers views of Main Street, U.S.A. The views of Main Street, U.S.A. almost make up for the menu, which focuses on Americanized Italian classics such as Caprese, Fettuccine Alfredo, Spaghetti, and Ravioli. While it is a nice view and the food is decent, Guests are much better off venturing to several other Italian eateries on the property, including Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria, Ravello, Topolino’s Terrace, and Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante for a more authentic meal.
Whispering Canyon Café – Disney’s Wilderness Lodge features several dining options, including the full-service Whispering Canyon Café that is open each day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The large, open-air dining room brings rustic charm, and the food is definitely plentiful and delicious, but the atmosphere makes it a one-and-done location. With a focus on hearty, Western-themed foods, including all-you-can-eat barbecue-focused skillets, the cuisine at Whispering Canyon Café is good for the cost and the variety. However, part of the experience of the restaurant is the act that the Cast Members put on where they are sassy and create all sorts of hijinks. For example, if a Guest asks for ketchup, they will get bottles and bottles of it from all over the restaurant. While the food is delicious, the show element of it can be a little tiring throughout a meal, making it a one-and-done option.
Chef Mickey’s – There are a wide variety of character dining experiences in Walt Disney World including the popular Chef Mickey’s in the main lobby of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The full-service restaurant is open each day for breakfast and dinner and serves up American classics on family-style platters. Guests are sure to enjoy the beauty of the Disney Resort’s lobby from the open-air dining area and the socially distanced character interactions; however, for the cost, the food is relatively plain and can be found at several locations across the property. Guests who are looking to enjoy a character meal can opt for much better cuisines and atmospheres at other locations, including Tusker House Restaurant, Cinderella’s Royal Table, and Toplinp’s Terrace.
Coral Reef Restaurant – Future World in EPCOT only features one full-service restaurant inside of The Seas with Nemo and Friends Pavilion. Coral Reef Restaurant brings Guests into a unique dining room where one whole wall features massive windows that frame the aquarium and many species that live in it. Open for lunch and dinner; Guests can enjoy a seafood-centric menu with options such as Lobster Bisque, Shrimp and Grits, and Seared Mahi Mahi while enjoying the views. While there is nothing particularly wrong with Coral Reef Restaurant, it is a one and done. There are simply so many other options throughout EPCOT that are much more enjoyable dining experiences.
Nine Dragons Restaurant – The same line of thinking can be applied to another restaurant in EPCOT’s World Showcase that is located in the China Pavilion. Nine Dragons Restaurant is open for dinner only and serves contemporary Chinese cuisine in a dining room with exquisite dark wood carvings and brightly colored seating and lighting. The menu options are all good, including Spicy Honey Crispy Chicken, Canton Pepper Beef, and Crispy Duck Fried Rice. Still, there are simply so many better options to enjoy throughout World Showcase. Guests looking to enjoy authentic Chinese cuisine still have the more convenient option of stopping by Lotus Blossom Café, a quick-service restaurant in the China Pavilion.
ABC Commissary – ABC Commissary in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is situated in Commissary Lane between the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. It is a quick-service location that is open for lunch and dinner. The location features an interior reminiscent of an art deco-styled studio commissary where stars might dine but are relatively lackluster and forgettable. ABC Commissary features a small menu of American favorites such as Shrimp Tacos, Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich, and Chicken Club Sandwich, all of which are decent. With a menu that is just okay and an atmosphere that is lacking, Guests have plenty of other amazing options to enjoy in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, such as BaseLine Tap House and The Hollywood Brown Derby.
Pizzafari – Another and done quick service location that can be passed over in favor of other better restaurants is Pizzafari in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The restaurant is located on Discovery Island and is visually beautiful, with five different dining rooms all featuring brightly colored woodwork and décor that showcase carved animal species. While the interior is undoubtedly beautiful, the menu leaves much to be desired with lunch and dinner options that focus on Americanized Italian cuisine, including a Sausage & Pepperoni Pizza, Chicken Parmesan Sandwich, and Caesar Salad. While the food isn’t bad, Guests can opt for much better dining options in Disney Park, including Flame Tree Barbecue and Yak & Yeti Restaurant.
T-REX – Disney Springs has no shortage of amazing dining experiences; however, there are a few that are definitely one and done. T-REX in the Marketplace area of Disney Springs is a full-service location open for lunch and dinner that serves up an extensive menu of American cuisine, including Mozzarella Sticks, Bronto Burger, Whiskey Salmon & Shrimp, and Fire-Roasted Rotisserie Chicken. The theming is definitely cool in that it highlights dinosaurs and prehistoric times, but an entire meal in the loud and busy restaurant can end in a headache from simply too much going on. Guests who are looking for wonderful cuisine with a more relaxing atmosphere have plenty of other options nearby.
Rainforest Café is another one and done restaurant that operates in two different locations in Walt Disney World. Rainforest Café can be found both in the Marketplace at Disney Springs and at the entrance of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Both restaurants are interesting in their jungle themes with large fish tanks and animatronic animals. Still, the menus are simple American classics that leave something to be desired, and the ambiance can become overwhelming. There are just so many other amazing dining options near both restaurants that the Rainforest Café can definitely be considered a one and done.