Dining at Walt Disney World is a pastime on par with a spin on the teacups or barreling down Splash Mountain. And there is no better place to indulge in this pastime than at the various restaurants of WDW’s deluxe resorts, which range from intimate, old-fashioned diners to extravagant, award-worthy experiences. The following are a few of our favorite deluxe dining destinations.
1. Victoria & Albert’s – Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
This opulent Victorian-themed restaurant is the gold standard on Disney property. So if you’re planning on dining here, make sure to pack the appropriate attire; dinner jackets and dress slacks for men, a smart pantsuit, or an elegant cocktail dress for the ladies. This multiple award-winning eateries (including AAA’s Five Diamond Award 20 years running) offers up a seven-course dinner that begins with Alaskan king crab served with caviar and ends with a dessert of Trinitario chocolate mousse and avocado gelato. In between, guests will also enjoy Nantucket scallops, Manchester quail, and Texas boar while having the option to add on enhancements that include an international caviar tasting or Miyazaki Japanese beef, all while basking in this refined setting.
2. Cape May Café – Beach Club Resort
This bright and beachy buffet is offered in the lobby of the Beach Club and features one of the WDW resort’s signature character experiences. Minnie’s Beach Bash Breakfast invites guests to dine on one of the most comprehensive breakfast buffets on the property – which includes everything from sliced meats and fresh fruit to Mickey waffles and sparkling mimosas – while awaiting costumed characters such as Minnie, Goofy, and Donald Duck to make the rounds for photo ops. In the evening, the space offers a seafood buffet (minus the characters) that includes carving stations and a wide selection of fresh water-found favorites.
3. Whispering Canyon Café – Wilderness Lodge
Meals at this frontier-style eatery are served with a side of sass, courtesy of the playfully ornery wait staff. It isn’t just the food that draws visitors to this popular dining spot, it’s the experience. From rounding up the young’uns for a galloping hobby horse stampede to raining handfuls of straws onto your table, there’s hardly ever a dull moment in this ironically-named spot. Nestled in the lobby of the stylishly-rustic Wilderness Lodge and providing views of the surrounding forest area, Whispering Canyon serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and features such popular menu items as bottomless skillets and decadent apple pie slices. And for anyone who’d rather opt out of the antics, a simple flip of your drink coaster will signal to your server that you’d rather remain an observer to the goings-on.
4. California Grill – Contemporary Resort
Come for the views, stay for the food. That may not be the motto of this gourmet dining experience, but it certainly could be. From its perch atop the Contemporary, guests are treated to a bird’s eye view of the Magic Kingdom as they enjoy Brunch at the Top or a Celebration at the Top, during which guests can sample small plates and cocktails while enjoying a unique perspective of the park’s nightly fireworks spectacle. The dinner menu offers everything from seafood and steak to artisanal pizzas and pork tenderloin, which can be paired with a wide selection of fine wines and spirits. Like Victoria & Albert’s, there is also a dress code for dining here, though it is a bit more lenient.
5. ‘Ohana – Polynesian Village Resort
At the Best Friends Breakfast, diners will have an opportunity to meet Lilo & Stitch while feasting on a buffet that offers a taste of the islands, including Hawaiian-style ham served with pineapple compote as well as pineapple-coconut breakfast bread. Come nightfall, the costumed characters are replaced with family-friendly activities, such as coconut races and Hula dance parties, while the Polynesian cuisine includes a selection of mouth-watering skewers and stir-fried veggies.
6. Flying Fish Café – BoardWalk Inn
This crown jewel of seafood restaurants is appropriately located on Disney’s BoardWalk and is the go-to destination for anyone with a hankering for aquatic appetizers or entrées. Start off with a lobster bisque or snow crab croquette before moving on to the swordfish or potato-wrapped red snapper, all prepared in the open kitchen of this beautifully-appointed space. Beef and chicken entrées are also available for those who don’t wish to venture too far from the mainland, while Kahlua and chocolate-centric cocktails provide a welcome alternative to the standard adult beverages.
7. Beaches & Cream Soda Shop – Beach Club Resort
An intimate soda shop located just outside the lobby of the Beach Club Resort, this throwback to American yesteryear is too much fun to leave off this list. Its colorful décor and jukebox ditties serve as a backdrop to some of the finest diner fare on property, including grilled cheese sandwiches, Reubens, and chili cheese tots. But the real conquest here is the kitchen sink, which buries scoops of chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, cookies & cream, and mint chocolate chip ice cream beneath a mountain of assorted toppings and comes served in a stainless steel sink that serves up to four guests.
8. Jiko – Animal Kingdom Lodge
A pair of rounded red ovens serve as the centerpiece of this African-inspired restaurant that also incorporates Indian and Mediterranean cuisine into its upscale menu. Edible works of art – like the Botswana-style short ribs and Moroccan lamb shank – are served up in a setting featuring warm, earthy tones meant to mimic an African sunset as guests enjoy panoramic views of animals grazing on the savanna just outside. The Wanyama Safari excursion takes guests out amongst the animals before retiring to the restaurant to enjoy a multi-course meal of authentic African-inspired dishes.