I think food and dining may be the most debated issue at Walt Disney World . . . even more than best resorts. You often hear accolades for the best restaurants, but there are some underrated restaurants that are due more credit than they are given. Whether it is for the food, the atmosphere, the location or the value, here are my top 8 underrated restaurants at Walt Disney World:
8. Wolfgang Puck Express, Disney Springs
Wolfgang Puck Express in the Marketplace area has been a staple at Disney Springs for years. With the newer quick service eateries popping up in Disney Springs it seems like the value of this restaurant may be getting overlooked. While the pizzas are my favorite items on the menu, you can find a number of items to satisfy all of your cravings from Butternut Squash Soup, to great salads, to rotisserie chicken and salmon. The price points of the entrees are a bit higher than some quick service, but for the quality of the food it is worth it. Plus, you don’t need a reservation and service is usually pretty fast.
7. Restaurantosaurus, Animal Kingdom
I pick this restaurant more for the atmosphere than anything else. It is often overlooked in Animal Kingdom (& legitimately so) for counterparts like Flame Tree Barbecue that is popular for its tasty meats. Restaurantosaurus will serve up family friendly quick service fare like hot dogs, burgers and grilled chicken sandwiches, but you can also find a nice salad on the menu. The huge interior seating is great for hot Florida weather and I think it would be hard not to find a seat in here. The lines aren’t usually too long either. Once you are there please take some time to look around—the theming is what draws me to this place. It is the cafeteria for the paleontology students working at the local fossil digs—along with the gym, mechanics garage and more. It is really amazing all of the thought that went into decorating this place.
6. Restaurant Marrakesh, Epcot
It is really hard to get attention as a restaurant in the World Showcase with so many fantastic places that get so much attention on social media and forums. Restaurant Marrakesh serves up some great ethnic dishes so it is sometimes deemed as too risky for families who might have particular tastes. But, you don’t need to worry, the kids menu has a burger and chicken nuggets. And the adult menu items may not be as exotic as they seem. I think it is a nice blend of being able to try something very different along with the comfort of knowing Disney is only going to push the envelope so far knowing their clientele. Plus, there is some great live entertainment offered. Because it is less popular you may be able to get a last minute reservation here.
5. Sanaa, Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas
This is another one that I think is overlooked or underrated due to its cuisine and its location. The location in Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas is a little difficult to get to, but once you are there it is so worth it. A beautiful view from the restaurant and you can take time to walk around the resort, and over to Animal Kingdom Lodge as well—one of the most striking resorts in Walt Disney World in my opinion. Here you will find reasonably priced entrees with an Indian and African flair, but nothing too far outside of your comfort zone. Again, another great place to experience a more exotic cuisine than you may be accustomed to at home. And the bread service is a must do.
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4. Cape May Café Breakfast, Beach Club Resort
As far as underrated character meals go, this one is it. Often it is very easy to get a reservation because people don’t know about it or the location is not ideal. Competing with other resort character meals like Chef Mickey’s or 1900 Park Fare, this is often the last one people think about. We have done this one several times and have enjoyed everything about it. The food was very fresh and quite good. The character interaction was outstanding (maybe the best at any “fur” character meal I’ve had). And as far as location, schedule this for your Epcot day and you can walk right into the park once you’ve finished dining. Please note that Cape May Café is only a character meal at breakfast.
3. Nine Dragons, Epcot
This restaurant is often maligned by critics. And for a while it may have deserved the reputation. Like Restaurant Marrakesh it is dealing with tough competition from World Showcase favorites like Via Napoli, Le Cellier and Les Chefs de France. Nine Dragons has another strike against it as well in that most people can get really good Chinese at home for a very reasonable price. But I feel like the restaurant is making a nice turn around. They have a very reasonably priced Prix Fixe menu allowing a choice of a soup, an entrée, and a dessert. The location is very nice offering some great views of the beautiful Chinese pavilion. And when you are hungry for lunch after touring Future World all morning you don’t have to go halfway around the World (Showcase) to get there.
2. The Wave, Contemporary Resort
I feel like the Wave is one of the underrated restaurants that you don’t hear too much about. The location is really nice at the Contemporary because you can get to and from the Magic Kingdom quickly and easily. And they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The entrees here are all made with very fresh, local and sustainable ingredients and are combined into delicious dishes. The menu does change, so don’t get too attached to a favorite.
1. Trail’s End, Fort Wilderness
Trail’s End has a very definite following, but I think there is a high percentage of Walt Disney World guests who don’t even know it is there. Breakfast and Dinner is available and the buffet prices for each make it one of the most reasonably priced meals on Walt Disney World property. Fort Wilderness can be a challenge to get to, but if you are at the Magic Kingdom it is a peaceful boat ride away. The All American dinner menu is a crowd pleaser with ribs, fried chicken, salads, chili, roasted meats and desserts like fruit cobbler.
What is your favorite “underrated” restaurant at Walt Disney World?