**Updated 2020 post on Disney World Resort Restaurants ***
Recently, I wrote a post about my favorite Disneyland resort restaurants. It was such a hit, I had people asking me to do the same for Walt Disney World resort restaurants. There are so many great places to eat in Disney World that I decided to break the post into my top five favorite places to dine in the resorts, and then another post with my top five favorite restaurants in the theme parks. Also, keep in mind these are all sit down or “table service” restaurants in this particular review. Enjoy!
1.) Trails End Dinner Buffet
Trail’s End is one of those places I always knew existed but knew it didn’t get a lot of hype. Luckily, I went out on a limb and booked it, in an effort to try something new. This place is now a must go-to for my family and a hidden gem among Disney World resort restaurants! It’s a good old fashioned country buffet with all the comfort foods you could imagine. Not to mention, the price point is great for a Disney buffet since there are no characters. For sweet tea drinkers: this is the real deal. It’s the only place on Disney property that makes tried and true “homemade” sweet tea. They have everything from pizza, to fried chicken, to mac and cheese, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes, and cornbread. For dessert, there is red velvet cake, banana pudding, and soft-serve ice cream with toppings like gummy bears and hot fudge, as well as some other southern favorites. You won’t leave here hungry and the servers are very friendly. Also a great place for a birthday celebration! They will have the whole restaurant help wish you a good one and will bring out a special dessert (in our experience).
*Please note there is NO PARKING at the restaurant. You have to park at the front of Fort Wilderness and take an internal bus to the back. We like to eat here on Magic Kingdom day and take the boat to Fort Wilderness from the park. They also have a full bar for those wondering! Another plus, they have a nice playground right outside of the restaurant that Emma Kate loves to play on after we eat. They also have rocking chairs on the big front porch. So relaxing!
This has been a long time favorite of mine at the Grand Floridian. Beautiful, elegant, and delicious are a few words I would use to describe Citricos. It has my favorite steak, as well as a great drink menu. The sweeping views of the grounds are relaxing, and the open kitchen is fun to watch. It is a great “fancier” meal while not being stuffy. It is on the second floor of the Grand Floridian, so you can stand at the railing and listen to the orchestra or pianist at night while you wait for your table, or grand a drink in the nearby lounge. So romantic!
Tip: Ask for a table by the window for beautiful views! We like to dine here earlier in the evening/while it’s still daylight so we can see out.
3.) California Grill
Situated on the top floor of the Contemporary, California Grill is the place to be when the sun goes down to watch the fireworks show. There is even a private viewing deck outside for diners to visit. If you love sushi, you have to try the food here. I personally don’t eat sushi, but the husband loves this restaurant, and I enjoy the steak. It has a fun lively atmosphere, with wall to wall windows looking out over Bay Lake. It can get a little loud, but the food and views make up for it. If you dine before the fireworks begin, all you have to do is show your receipt at the desk and they will let you back up to view the fireworks.
*Check-in for the restaurant is not on the top floor, please follow directional signs to check in.
4.) Ohana Dinner
This place is pure fun, and we always leave so full! Ohana serves food family-style at the Polynesian resort. They bring a huge portion of different menu items in big bowls or platters, and you can eat as much as you want. For the meats, food is brought around on giant skewers and then pieces are put onto your plate. The noodles are to die for, as are the views of the lake and castle. Be sure to save room for dessert, the bread pudding is delicious! For those with little Mouseketeers, there are fun games going on during meal times, and celebrations like birthdays and anniversaries are always acknowledged with your “cousins”.
Stay for fireworks (music piped in) or walk down to the beach for a great view after dinner.
5.) Cape May Café Breakfast
Cape May is a character buffet (at breakfast only) at the Beach Club resort and serves your standard breakfast fare, but plenty of it! I love that the characters come around to your table for photos, and really seem to take time with you, even if you are a “big kid” like me. The restaurant is beautiful and open, and the food is plentiful. Emma Kate loves the waffle toppings bar (I mean chocolate syrup and candy, yes please!). It’s a great way to start your day before heading off to the parks.
Tip: We like to eat here on EPCOT day and just walk over to the park after we eat. I have seen Minnie, Goofy, and Donald in their adorable beach gear here.
RELATED: Tips for an Adults Only Disney Trip
QOTD: What are your favorite Disney World resort restaurants?
Erica @ For the Sake of Cake says
The only place I’ve been to on this list is California Grill, and the food was great! Have you ever eaten at Kona Cafe in the Polynesian? I was there for the first time during Disney Princess and I’ll definitely be going back!
Yes, we have been to Kona. I think that is the place where she get the Konga Toast, which is like eating a dessert for your meal.
I have had breakfast there but not dinner!
Kelly H Russo says
We love Yachtsmen Steakhouse and have never had a bad meal there.
That would be on my top 5 as well. I love the Ribeye there.
We love it too, I just didn’t want to have too many signatures on my list lol!
and Im FINALLY GOING 🙂
You are going to have a blast!
SO glad Ohana dinner made the list! Definitely my favorite 🙂
We ate at ‘Ohana for a character breakfast during Wine and Dine weekend. It was my 2 year old’s first trip to Disney, and the breakfast was the first time her, my husband, and I had ever had a character breakfast (and I’m a Central Florida native and have been going to Disney all of my life). We will be making a return trip to ‘Ohana because the food was good, the characters come to each table for interaction/pictures (Mickey, Pluto, Lilo and Stitch), and they have pog juice, which was the first time we’d found pog outside of our honeymoon in Hawaii 4.5 years ago.
Karen :0) says
Trails End was so much fun!! Definitely a must-do again! Love Ohana…yum!! :0)
Mindy @ Road Runner Girl says
I’ve never eaten at any of the restaurants at the resorts…only the ones inside the parks. These all sound amazing!!!
From that list, I’ve only eaten at California Grill, but it was really good. The family’s home resort is the Boardwalk, so if we eat on property, it’s usually there.
I’ve been to the California Grill once and we had a great experience. I’ve never even heard of Citricos or Captain May Cafe-isn’t that funny? I mean I’ve been to DW a LOT. But I guess I went when my son was younger and it’s a whole different experience with young kids. Love the Ohana and the Kona, we use to stay at the Polynesian so ate there often. Is the Trail’s End Buffet the one where the waitress act ‘rude’ and do things like bring you 10 bottles of ketchup if you ask for one? If so we’ve been there a few times too. Sometimes you start posting about DW and it makes me want to hop on a plane and go down there-like at this very minute!!
I think the one you are talking about is Wispering Canyon Cafe at Wilderness lodge; though i dont think they are rude, just goofy. If you ask for “a little more” drink, they bring you a tiny cup or if you drink a lot they bring a HUGE mason jar.
Trail’s end is at the campground, near Hoopty Doopty Review (sp?)
Krysten Siba Bishop (@darwinianfail) says
Your post make me want to go to Disney so badly!! Must get down there for a race asap!
Citricos and Ohana are high on our list to get reservations for when we are there in January! The only one we’ve been to on this list is California Grill which was great!
you must try those!
I’m going to Disney in a month so this was a perfect post for me to read! I’m eating at Ohana I know for sure already, but I’ll have to check out the rest!
Kierston @candyfit says
I have no idea!!! Thanks for sharing these!
Angie @ Big Bear's Wife says
Ohana! One of my favorites! We’ll be at Disney in less than a month and we are staying at the Grand Floridian, so I’ll be sure to check out the restaurants there and the ones at the Contemporary!
my favorite! Love the Grand. I will be there next week!
Kristen @ The Smith Summary says
When we were there in January for Marathon Weekend we had lunch at Trails End since we had taken our girls to see the horses – it was SO good! And our after-race celebration was at O’Hana on Sunday night – I figured I had earned every bite!
Ohana is one of my favorite places. I have only been for breakfast, but we are going back in october for the tower of terror 10 miler and we booked it for dinner!! I can’t wait!
Liz @SouthernCharm says
I have not been to any of these places … I guess that means this girl has to get back to Disney!!
yes! SO many good places
I’ve been to Ohana for breakfast, but I definitely want to have dinner there! Right now my favorite dinner location at a resort is Boma.
Erin @RunandLaughThruLife says
I LOVE Ohana!! I remember going there as a kid and loved the hula hoop competition. Last time I was at Disney we did the Spirit of Aloha dinner show which was amazing!! My brother was picked to get up on stage to dance.. so hilarious.. I will keep that video for later blackmail use…
haha good idea!
I haven’t gotten to explore a ton inside of the resorts yet! I’m on it though 😉
Love Trails End! A recent (as in for the past two years, ha) favorite is Boma at AKL.
I like Boma breakfast!
We ate at Sanaa in Animal Kingdom Lodge-Kidani Village last summer and loved it! Would recommend it for something non-traditional, as it’s African cuisine with Indian flavors.
I ate there in Feb it was good!
Rob Zakrzewski says
Have you been to Landscape of Flavors at Art of Animation yet? The selection is amazing and thw prices are pretty reasonable.
I haven’t been to a whole lot of restaurants in resorts at WDW, but currently my new favorite is Boma…ate there in January after the full…yum
Kristina @ Blog About Running says
Citricos has been my absolute favorite for over a decade. Their menu never gets old and is always delicious. Even the bread they bring pre-meal is seriously just so good.
My parents rave about Victoria & Albert’s also in the Grand Floridian. It’s definitely out of my price range for a typical meal on vacation, but they say the service and food absolutely meets the five star standard.
I hear ya, Love citricos! Hubby wants to do V and A’s so badly but I am such a picky eater and it’s so expensive!
Citricos is one of our must haves on every trip. We also really enjoy an evening at Bongos. We like The Wave (stay at Bay Lake Tower) but prefer the bar over the dining room. What are your thoughts on Narcoossee’s?
Narcoossees used to be my all time fave. It’s still top ten, but they got a new chef and it’s not quite as good as it used to be but still good!
Nicole G says
This makes me so jazzed for my first trip to Disney World! Can’t wait to getting into the planning more!
Carissa @Fit2Flex says
Fave resort restaurant…hmmmm..I like Kona at the Poly because it’s not too expensive and they have a great chocolate lava cake!
Love lava cake!
Definitely +1 for California Grill If you are looking for a good alternative, I would also recommend The Flying Fish Cafe. You’ll find the same wine list and great seafood. And for the very special occasion, Victoria & Albert’s should be at the top of any list.
Love flying fish too but didn’t want to have all signature places in my top 5. ;0)
Beth Barbara says
These are my top five as well-although I’d have to add Sci-Fi at Hollywood Studios as well. I could eat sushi morning, day and night-and the sushi at California Grill is amazing. And I would say the bread pudding at O’hana’s is one of my most favorite desserts in all of Disney World!
these were just favorite resort restaurants I will do another one for parks 🙂
Uggggh we had reservations at Trail’s End after the marathon this past January but canceled them and went to Crystal Palace instead so our friends wouldn’t have to leave MK. I regretted it then (Crystal Palace was fine, but not worth the price) and now I regret it more!
We haven’t been to many sit down restaurants at Disney, but the Cantina at Epcot has never been a bad choice.
LOL be sure to go to trails end next time!
The Wave at the Contemporary is probably my favorite. I feel like it’s such a good kept secret, never busy but the food is all fresh, organic and amazing (especially their bread!).
HI, I HAVE A QUESTION. WE ARE PLANNING OUR FIRST TRIP TO DW THIS SUMMER & I WAS WONDERING THE PRICE RANGE AT THE RESTAURANTS, WE ARE DEBATING ON GETTING THE PACKAGE WITH MEAL PLAN WHICH IS $100. PER PERSON FOR THREE MEALS A DAY OR JUST PAYING AS WE’RE THERE, ANY FEED BACK WOULD BE APPRECIATED. THANKS IN ADVANCE =) 2014
If you google “disney menus” you can find exact prices. I would be able to help you more if you book your trip with me 🙂