New Eats at Disney World Resort
Trader Sam's Grog Grotto
Disney's Polynesian Village Resort
At Trader Sam's you are invited to explore a mysterious yet inviting tropical oasis. The lounge, modeled after the themed lounge at Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California, serves tiki-style cocktails and food with a Polynesian flair. Set to open spring 2015.
African dishes with a street-inspired spin are the hallmark of Harambe Marketplace, a quick-service food option with walk-up windows. Shady spaces to eat, coveted on those hot Orlando days, surround the marketplace – a definite bonus. Opening spring 2015.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
You may think Starbucks isn't a big addition, but this is Disney – so think again. The new coffee hotspot, named the Trolley Car Café, lets you sip your favorite Starbucks latte all while immersed in a throwback trolley-car-themed atmosphere along Hollywood Boulevard. For coffee lovers in need of caffeine, it's a must-stop. Open February 2015.
STK, The Boathouse, Morimoto Asia
Three new restaurants open at Downtown Disney in 2015 as it continues its transformation into Disney Springs. All will be located at The Landing, the first phase of the project. STK, a modern steakhouse with a chic vibe, does not have an opening date yet. However, The Boathouse, an extravagant lakeside eatery, will open spring 2015. Then, this summer, look forward to the fusion creations of Chef Morimoto at Morimoto Asia.
Best Places to Eat at Disney World
Princess Pick: Cinderella's Royal Table
Price: $$$ ($30-59 per adult)
When to Go: Breakfast
Raise your hand if you want to explore Cinderella's Castle. (I do! I do!) With reservations at Cinderella's Royal Table you can not only dine with the princess and her friends, but be surrounded by a fairytale setting straight out of a storybook. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available, but breakfast is the best time to go. Why? Because you start your day at the heart of the park with a true pinch-me moment. Reservations are required and can be made 180 days in advance. Make yours as soon as you have your vacation dates set to ensure an invite.
“Edited to add: Cinderella’s Royal Table is closed for renovations as of the first week of February, but according to Walt Disney World, they expect to re-open it in early spring."
Character Choice: Crystal Palace Buffet
Reservations: Phone: (407) 939-3463
Price: $$$ ($36 to $59.99 per person)
When to Go: Lunch
You can't beat Chef Mickey's Breakfast at Disney's Contemporary Resort. But, if you are inside the Magic Kingdom a nice second choice is the Crystal Palace Buffet. Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and friends will greet you during your meal. It's a memorable character meet-and-greet meal with easy-to-get reservations and much less hassle than Chef Mickey's Breakfast. Reservations are not required but are recommended.
Best Kept Secret: Tusker House Restaurant
Reservations: (407) 939-3463
Price: $$$ ($30 to $59.99 per adult)
When to Go: Lunch (characters do not appear during dinner)
Many visitors have no idea you can have lunch with Safari Donald Duck and friends at the Animal Kingdom. The interactive lunch, set in an open-air market, combines laughs and photos with Disney characters with an all-you-can-eat buffet. The above-average buffet food is made better by unique African dishes. Reservations are not required but are recommended.
Most Wanted Reservation: Be Our Guest Restaurant
Reservations: (407) 939-3463
Price: $ ($14.99 and under per adult – Lunch), $$ ($15 to $29.99 per adult – Dinner)
When to Go: Lunch and Dinner
Dinner reservations for Be Our Guest Restaurant are currently the hardest to acquire, and for good reason. Stunning in its recreation of Beast's Castle (from Beauty and the Beast), snow falls on the Alps outside three movie-scene themed dining rooms. It's a transportive experience, especially if you're a super fan of the movie like I am. Make reservations as far as 180 days in advance. If you can't score dinner reservations, opt for the quick-service lunch. There will be lines for the French fare, but they are worth it.
Kid-Friendly Seafood Selection: Coral Reef
Reservations: (407) 560-7864
Price: $$ ($15 to $29.99 per adult)
When to Go: Dinner
Kids can turn their nose up at seafood, but at Coral Reef everyone will be happy. The menu lets the little ones order their favorites like mac ‘n cheese, while parents can dine on seared Mahi Mahi. The wrap-around aquariums are as attention-keeping as they are scenic, so fidgety kids will keep busy. Reservations are accepted, I recommend booking at least one week in advance.
I hope this takes some of the work out of planning the culinary side of your next Walt Disney World trip. Happy eating!
Ashley Dickey is Reserve Orlando's travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.