More than 17 million people vacation at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom each year, and that magic—and those long lines—can work up an appetite.
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When hunger strikes on your next visit, don’t turn to the nearest food cart or restaurant. It’s worth seeking out certain restaurants at Disney World and Disneyland that will satisfy kids and adults alike and enhance your experience. Waking up to the Princess Breakfast of French toast stuffed with caramel apple and drizzled in caramel at Cinderella’s Castle or sampling piri-piri chicken and South African wines at Jiko restaurant can be as memorable as laying eyes on Mickey for the first time.
We have you covered whatever you’re craving, from great to-go snacks (a jumbo turkey leg) to a celebrity chef’s Mediterranean restaurant on Disney’s BoardWalk.
Jiko, Animal Kingdom Lodge,
The Animal Kingdom Lodge is designed to represent a wildlife reserve with the sprawling African landscape as its backdrop, and Jiko (“the cooking place”) is the resort’s flagship restaurant. African, Indian, and Mediterranean influences turn up in both the design (a flock of soaring birdlike light fixtures, for instance) and the cooking. Twin wood-burning ovens turn out dishes like piri-piri chicken or oak-grilled filet mignon, while the award-winning wine list features one of the largest selections of South African wines in North America.
Enchanted Tiki Room,
The Tiki Juice Bar’s Dole Whip Float is so popular that it could be its own Disney character. This treat starts off with fresh-made, ice-cold pineapple juice, followed by a generous portion of creamy pineapple nondairy/vegan soft-serve (also available in the less traditional vanilla or orange soft-serve). Disney World visitors can get their fix at Aloha Island in the Magic Kingdom.
Flying Fish Café,
Disney’s BoardWalk complex brings together restaurants, bars, and souvenir shops, with great people- (and character-) watching. Among the hubbub, look for the flashing neon sign that encourages diners to enter the Flying Fish Café, inspired by Coney. The famous Cyclone roller coaster is reflected in hand-painted murals and the wavy-shaped booth backs. Keep your eye on the cloud-painted ceiling as the stars twinkle. If you reserve a seat at the chef’s counter, you can watch the action firsthand as the chefs prepare signature dishes like the potato-wrapped red snapper and the char-crusted New York strip steak.
Rose & Crown,
England World Showcase, Epcot
With rich woods, etched glass, and old-time photos, the Rose & Crown simulates a British pub experience—especially if you order a round of the fish and chips. An oversize piece of fresh cod (hand battered and deep fried) is served in an English newspaper with English chips. Wash it down with a Half and Half: half Harp Lager, half Guinness. Patio tables deliver one of the best fireworks views in Epcot.
Cinderella’s Royal Table,
Dreams come true daily for kids who get to have breakfast with princesses at Cinderella's Royal Table, atop the iconic castle in the Magic Kingdom. Cinderella (the hostess, naturally) guides you up a red-carpeted spiral staircase to a themed restaurant overlooking the park. Cinderella and all her princess friends glide through the castle’s dining room, making a personal appearance at each table. Little princesses will enjoy French toast sticks and scrambled eggs while parents can indulge in lobster and crab crêpes or a vegetarian-inspired baked quiche.
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Beaches & Cream Soda Shop,
Yacht Club Resort, Disney World
Across the lake from the bright lights of Disney’s BoardWalk, Beaches & Cream Soda Shop has a Wurlitzer jukebox, red vinyl booths, and a full-service vintage dining counter. Grab a few friends and order the Kitchen Sink, literally. A real metal kitchen sink is filled with this sundae of scoops of vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, coffee, and mint chocolate chip ice cream. Every topping on offer is poured on, as is an entire can of whipped cream.
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant,
Within a Hollywood-style soundstage, Sci-Fi embraces the drive-in concept, complete with convertible cars as tables, a 50-foot movie screen, and a carhop. Enjoy the vintage black-and-white horror movies while chowing down on the famous house-smoked St. Louis-style pork ribs or the vegetarian shepherd’s pie. Wash it all down with an Oreo cookie milk shake or the Magical Star Cocktail, a mixture of exotic fruits and coconut rum in a souvenir glow cube.
Kouzzina by Cat Cora,
Iron Chef Cat Cora’s Mediterranean restaurant opened in 2009 on Disney’s BoardWalk and has become one of the hottest reservations on the Disney property for both park guests and locals. Dishes inspired by her family’s recipes include the saganaki, a Greek cheese with lemon and oregano, flamed to a golden brown tableside; the pasticio (Greek lasagna); and traditional whole fish. Save room for the loukoumades, Greek donuts drizzled with honey and cinnamon.
50’s Prime Time Café,
Vinyl chairs, Formica tables, and checked floors are a clear giveaway that you’re at the 50’s Prime Time Café. Pull up a seat, as the sassy servers here are all-too-eager to put you in your place. Whether you avoid a good chop busting or not, we suggest you order Aunt Liz’s Golden Fried Chicken or Mom’s Old-Fashioned Pot Roast. Any dish here requires a Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake as a sidekick. But please, above all, mind your manners.
Liberty Tree Tavern,
Dine like a founding father at Liberty Tree Tavern, a colonial inn-style restaurant whose six themed rooms each commemorate a notable American, from George Washington to Betsy Ross. The patriotism also comes through in dishes like Patriot’s Platter, a full Thanksgiving Day-style feast available year round. The all-you-can-eat family meal consists of roasted turkey breast, carved beef and sliced pork with mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables, herb bread stuffing, and macaroni and cheese.
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