Disney dining is a hot topic among vacationers. Sought after reservations are planned months in advance, menus are scoured, and pictures are researched. In a lot of searches, you will see the same restaurants mentioned over and over. Not only are (some) of these Disney World restaurants overrated, but a lot are near impossible to get into, especially for a last minute trip.
In my experience, resort dining is often overlooked but is some of the best food on Disney property. Also, these places have been known to take last minute reservations and walk ups. Check out my list below of five of my favorite hidden gem restaurants at Walt Disney World and Disney Springs:
Name: Trails End Buffet
Location: Fort Wilderness Campground
This buffet truly is “hidden” in the woods on Disney property. You cannot park directly at the restaurant, and instead must either park at check-in and take an internal bus, or take a boat. The best way to describe this place is “comfort food”. As a born and raised southerner, I consider myself an expert on sweet tea. So far, Trail’s End has hands down, the best sweet tea, on Disney property. Also, since it’s not a character buffet, the price is very reasonable for an all you can eat.
It’s usually pretty quiet, and we love sitting on the porch in the rocking chairs before or after our meal just soaking in vacation. There is also a nice playground right out back that we take Emma Kate to after we eat to shake all her sillies out from sitting down! If you want to relax, this is a great place to go!
Name: Kona Cafe
Location: Polynesian Village Resort
Kona Café is right next door to the ever-popular Ohana. On several occasions, I have been able to walk up without a reservation to Kona, even at prime dinner time. On the second floor of the lobby, Kona has a fun colorful open atmosphere, with a great menu. Since it’s on the monorail loop, you could even leave the Magic Kingdom, go eat, then go back to the part without wasting a lot of time. This is also where you can get the famous Tonga Toast for breakfast as well as delicious coffee. If you are a sushi lover you will want to check this out as well!
Name: The Polite Pig
Location: Disney Springs
We ate here for the first time last summer and I was so impressed! If you love meat, this is the place to go. Bobby and I split a huge platter and were SO full after! As southerners, we know good BBQ, and this is it. They also had great seasonal drinks to choose from. They had indoor and outdoor dining, and the food came out fast!
This is another place I consider quiet and relaxing. We love getting a table by the window for breakfast or lunch, and enjoy the bright light that comes in through the tall windows of the restaurant. Off by itself in the back of the lobby, it’s away from the hustle and bustle of check in, and 1900 Park Fare. You can easily hop on the monorail or a boat to the Magic Kingdom, so it’s prime location is a huge draw in my opinion.
Location: Disney Springs
There are several reasons I love Splitsville, one being the birthday cake martini (not on the menu anymore but they still make it for me!) Another great plus to this place is that it has a HUGE menu, so I’m certain you will find something for everyone here. Also, you can eat WHILE you bowl, which is pretty awesome and unique. My favorite is to ask to eat outside on the balcony and people watch.
It has great views of Disney Springs, especially at sunset. Not to mention, since there is no admission to get into Disney Springs, you don’t have to have a park ticket to eat here. I have also walked up and been seated immediately many times. Be sure to order the cheese fries and the nachos!
They also have sushi, a huge drink menu, and yummy desserts. So many options! They will also sometimes have live music playing outside downstairs.
This is one of those places we go back to over and over again. Family favorite!
Name: The Wave
Location: Contemporary Resort
Another restaurant I picked in part to it’s great location. Just one stop after leaving the Magic Kingdom, this cool place off the lobby of the Contemporary has a very chill vibe. The drink menu is fun, and the options are plentiful. After you eat, simply walk the path back to the Magic Kingdom, or hop on the monorail to the TTC and go to EPCOT or back to the Magic Kingdom. So many options!
QOTD: What is your favorite often overlooked Disney restaurant?