Throughout the Walt Disney World Resort, countless table service restaurants serve a wide array of cuisines, including everything from traditional American favorites to international delicacies, available to guests. As you sift through which Disney restaurants to enjoy, here are a few we mark as “one and done,”… leading us not to need to try them again.
Disney Restaurants Galore
With hundreds of Disney restaurants, several table service restaurants (restaurants that require a sit-down meal where reservations are recommended) have incredible menus and atmospheres, leading them to become must-dos. While there are plenty of popular table service restaurants, a handful of locations can be considered one-and-done.
Whether because of limited menus, lacking themes, or other various reasons, here are our picks from personal experience that we’d say are one-and-done table service restaurants at Walt Disney World Resort.
Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano
Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano is a table service restaurant in the Grand Avenue area of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, just steps away from Muppet*Vision 3D. This unique location brings the story of Mama Melrose to life, sharing how she left Italy for California as a girl and became well-known on the backlot for her fusion of classic Italian cooking and California cuisine.
Open daily for lunch and dinner, the interior of Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano features classic elements like red and white checkered tablecloths and quirky Hollywood memorabilia collected over the years.
The menu at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano features options including Crispy Calamari, Margherita Flatbread, Charred Strip Steak, Mama’s Italian Pasta, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Grilled Bone-In Pork Chop, and Shrimp Campanelle.
While there’s nothing particularly wrong with the restaurant, the reviews are lackluster in food and atmosphere. Guests are better off enjoying a meal there once and next time opting for The Hollywood Brown Derby or the 50’s Prime Time Café in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Seeking incredible Italian food on Disney property? Try Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria in EPCOT.
Be Our Guest Restaurant
There are several table service restaurants available to guests in the Magic Kingdom Park, including Be Our Guest Restaurant in Fantasyland.
This unique location offers guests the opportunity to step through the doors of the Beast’s Castle and into the enchantment of Beauty and the Beast for lunch and dinner each day. The interior of Be Our Guest Restaurant features three dining rooms, and guests can enjoy their meals in the Grand Ballroom, West Wing, or Castle Gallery.
Be Our Guest Restaurant features a prix-fixe menu of traditional French cuisine for both lunch and dinner, and guests can dine on options such as French Onion Soup, Escargot de Bourgogne, Herb-salted Pork Tenderloin, Center-cut Filet Mignon, and Poulet Rouge Chicken.
While the atmosphere and theme of Be Our Guest Restaurant are stunning, the high cost and limited options available on the prix-fixe menu make it a one-and-done table service location in the Magic Kingdom. We recommend trying Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen instead!
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant
Another table service restaurant available to guests in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant, which is considered one of the most uniquely themed table service locations at the Walt Disney World Resort.
The interior of the restaurant is themed to feel like a classic drive-in theater at nighttime, and Guests are invited to sit inside vintage cars facing a large screen that plays a medley of sci-fi clips and commercials on a loop.
The theming is absolutely immersive, and guests can even check out stars twinkling in the sky and the silhouette of nearby trees outside the drive-in.
The Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner and features a menu of American favorites, including Crispy Onion Rings, Sci-Fi Smoked Wings, Pork on Pork Burger Grilled Chicken Citrus Salad, Classic American Burger, and Drive-in BBQ Burger.
There’s no disputing that the immersive theming of the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant is amazing, but the restaurant can be considered a one-and-done for guests who don’t want to watch the same loop of sci-fi clips time and time again. We recommend that all Disney fans try Sci-Fi Dine-In at least once, but plan for it to likely rank into that one-and-done category after the first meal.
Okay, hear me out on this one!
‘Ohana is undoubtedly one of the most popular table service restaurants at the Walt Disney World Resort and can be found on the upper level of the Great Ceremonial House at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
The tropical and relaxing table service restaurant features a large open-air dining room with island décor and exposed wooden beams, and guests can even look out large windows at the lush grounds of the Disney Resort with Seven Seas Lagoon, the Magic Kingdom, and Cinderella Castle in the distance.
‘Ohana is open daily for lunch and dinner and serves up family-style feasts of American favorites for breakfast and island classics for dinner. While dinner is potentially worth the cost at ‘Ohana, breakfast can definitely be considered a one-and-done meal, as the set pricing per guest is relatively high for platters of items like scrambled eggs, bacon, Mickey Waffles, and fruit that can be enjoyed elsewhere for much cheaper.
Of course, the one thing breakfast does have going for it is the characters such as Lilo, Stitch, and friends. However, if your family isn’t a Lilo or Stitch fan, you may want to enjoy a quick-service breakfast at Disney’s Polynesian Resort instead.
It’s nice to enjoy the early morning light through the windows at ‘Ohana, but one and done for breakfast is enough. If you truly want to try ‘Ohana, make sure it is a dinner visit instead of a breakfast expense.
Whispering Canyon Café
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is a stunning Disney Resort on the shores of Bay Lake that focuses on bringing to life the rustic charm and sense of adventure found in the National Parks and lodges.
The Disney Resort is also home to the table service Whispering Canyon Café, a unique location that continues the rustic theming with wooden accents, scenes of cowboys and ranches, and earthy tones. Part of what makes the restaurant so unique are the Cast Members who work there, who take on a slightly sarcastic and deadpan tone intended to create a series of antics and unforgettable moments for guests dining there.
Whispering Canyon Café is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and features hearty menus of filling and decadent meals, including All-You-Care-To-Enjoy Signature Skillets and entrée options including Ham and Cheese Omelette, Chopped Bison Burger, ‘Burnt Ends’ Nachos, Cedar Plank Salmon, and Char-crusted New York Strip.
While there is no denying that the food at Whispering Canyon Café is delicious, sometimes the antics of the servers can get to be a little much, and the restaurant setting is a loud one for smaller parties. Give Whispering Canyon Cafe at least one try, but don’t be surprised if it hits your one-and-done list.
Disney’s Contemporary Resort is home to several table service restaurants including California Grill and Steakhouse 71, as well as Chef Mickey’s, which can be found in the heart of the Grand Canyon Concourse underneath the monorail beams and stunning Mary Blair Mural.
Chef Mickey’s features a large open-air dining room with brightly colored accents and sweeping views of the Disney Resort’s concourse that Guests can enjoy throughout their meals. One of the biggest draws for the restaurant is the opportunity to meet favorite characters decked out in their chef’s attire, including Mickey, Goofy, and Donald.
Chef Mickey’s is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and serves up a buffet of American favorites, including Slow-roasted Beef Brisket, Mickey Waffles, Citrus-poached Baby Shrimp, Potato Gnocchi, and Roasted Garlic Gratin Potatoes.
While meeting characters at a table service restaurant is always fun, Chef Mickey’s severely lacks theming and menu options. It’s honestly a pretty basic buffet experience.
Guests who have eaten there once are better off enjoying a character meal at other locations like the Crystal Palace, Cinderella’s Royal Table, or Hollywood & Vine or hopping the monorail to dine at a location at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
Tusker House Restaurant
The final table service restaurant at the Walt Disney World Resort that can be considered a one-and-done for Guests is Tusker House Restaurant in the Africa section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
This popular location welcomes guests into an African marketplace where beautiful theming and details can be found all around, truly making them feel as though they have traveled across the world to the village of Harambe.
Guests who dine at Tusker House Restaurant also have the unique opportunity of meeting Disney characters, including Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and other friends who are decked out in their safari gear and look as though they are about to head over to Kilimanjaro Safaris.
Tusker House Restaurant is open each day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and serves up a buffet of American and African cuisine, including items like Simba Waffles, Durban Chicken & Egg Curry, Spit-roasted Herb Chicken, Moroccan-spiced Beef, Cape Malay Green Curry Shrimp, and Berbere-marinated Pork.
While the theming and chance to meet favorite characters is fun at Tusker House Restaurant, the high preset prices for meals make this table service restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom a one-and-done experience.
As always, ensure your dining experience will be a success with a reservation 60 days in advance. Check out all of the Disney dining experiences available on Disney’s website.
What is your pick for a one-and-done table-service restaurant at Walt Disney World? Let us know in the comments!