Sometimes, I get so caught up in running around the theme parks at Walt Disney World that I forget to eat. However, once I force myself to actually slow down and seek sustenance, I love treating myself to some of the amazing appetizers found around Disney- inside and outside the theme parks! If I’m not hungry enough for a full meal, or I want to save my appetite for a late dinner reservation, appetizers are definitely the way to go. But, like everything at Disney, there are hundreds of items to choose from! Luckily, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite appetizers, and though I couldn’t include everything, I think this list will satisfy several various flavor palettes!
8- S.E.A. Shu Mai- Skipper Canteen, Magic Kingdom
Ever since the Jungle Navigation Co., Ltd. Skipper Canteen opened in Adventureland (back in 2015), I’ve been in love with this restaurant. I’ve always had a good experience with both the food and the servers. Even though the menu has been through a few changes, the one staple for me has been the S.E.A. Shu Mai as an appetizer. These are dumplings, which our server told us were favorites of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers (that’s what the S.E.A. stands for). The dumplings are filled with pork, shrimp, edamame beans, and spices, and are wrapped and steamed. The whole menu is inspired by Asian, South American, and African dishes, and you really can’t go wrong no matter what you choose to eat here!
7- Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup- Le Cellier, Epcot
Le Cellier, located in the Canada Pavilion at Epcot, is known for its amazing steak. It’s a Signature Dining location, which means reservations are necessary, and the menu is pricey. But the food is totally worth it- especially the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup, one of the best appetizers I’ve ever had! Served with pretzel bread, the soup is rich, creamy, and mixed with Moosehead Beer and covered with Nueske’s Applewood-Smoked Bacon. I actually found it quite tangy the first time I tried it! The soup is very popular with guests, so much so that they often offer it during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival at the Canada Booth. No matter which way you get it, make sure to enjoy and savor every bite (or slurp)!
6- Beer-battered Onion Rings- 50’s Prime Time Cafe, Hollywood Studios
If you’re looking for comfort food, 50’s Prime Time Café has you covered. The theming of this restaurant is top-notch- you are made to feel as though you are dining in a family living room during the 1950s, and your servers play the part by reminding you to eat your vegetables and to leave your elbows off the table (you’ll probably want to clean your plate, too). Aside from the antics, the meals here are great quality. The beer-battered onion rings served with horseradish sauce are my favorite appetizer, and I can’t recommend it enough! You’ll want to save room for the entrees as well, which include traditional meatloaf, pork chops, pot roast, and fried chicken. Comfort food for the win!
5- Church Lady Deviled Eggs- Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’, Disney Springs
Since it opened, Homecomin’ has been one of my favorite additions to Disney Springs. Every item on the menu is so flavorful, and the vibe feels really relaxed. This restaurant boasts many great Southern-inspired appetizers, but my favorite has to be the Church Lady Deviled Eggs, with bacon on top. They are served in a ceramic egg carton, and are so creamy that they literally felt as though they were melting in my mouth (I know that’s a such a cliché thing to say, but in this case, it was true)! Make sure to stop here the next time you’re in Disney Springs, and save some room for the fried chicken as well!
4- Sticky Wings- Kona Café, Disney’s Polynesian Resort
Kona Café is located in Disney’s Polynesian Resort, and in my opinion, has some of the best food on property. For breakfast, they serve the famous Tonga Toast, and for sushi, the Volcano Roll is one of my favorites. When coming for dinner, however, I always opt for the Sticky Wings as an appetizer. They are called sticky wings for a reason- you’ll need plenty of napkins when chowing down on these! But they are delicious; the chicken wings are soaked in a honey marinated dressing and are covered with sesame seeds and mustard sauce. The dish is enough for two people to share, and it makes an excellent substitute for a full meal if you’re not outrageously hungry. This appetizer is definitely a must-do if you’re a true Disney foodie!
3- Guacamole and Chips- Frontera Cocina, Disney Springs
Eating tortilla chips with salsa is a staple at most Mexican restaurants, but Frontera Cocina in Disney Springs takes it to the next level. You can get traditional chips with a smoky chipotle, herb-filled salsa Verde, or you can treat yourself to one of their many varieties of guacamole. I enjoyed the simple Guacamole & Chips (which also comes with salsa Verde), but you can also choose Verde Guacamole (which comes with roasted poblanos, tomatillo, pepitas, cilantro, and onions) Bacon Guacamole (Verde guacamole mixed with Nueske bacon), or Mango Guacamole (Verde guacamole mixed with fresh mango and tangy-spicy Tajin). All of these choices are fantastic and will give you that authentic Mexican flavor.
2- Bacon and Eggs- The Wave, Disney’s Contemporary Resort
It may sound like a breakfast dish, but the Bacon and Eggs appetizer at The Wave, found at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, is the perfect accompaniment to dinner. This restaurant is truly a hidden gem, as it’s tucked into a corner on the first floor of the resort. However, once you find it and step through the lighted tunnel, you’ll find a modern and relatively cozy eatery that is safe from the hustle and bustle of the theme parks. To enhance the experience, definitely try the Bacon and Eggs appetizer- the dish is served with Maple-lacquered Pork Belly with a Lake Meadow Naturals Perfect Egg and Tillamook Smoked Cheddar Grits. It’s a perfect take on the classic breakfast favorite, and the perfect egg is actually a sous vide egg that takes on a more custard-like consistency. I’ve heard a lot of people rave about this appetizer, so I know I’m not alone in salivating over it!
1- Indian-Style Bread Service- Sanaa, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
My best friend in high school was from Bangladesh, and I always loved getting invited over to her house for dinner. Since then, nothing has genuinely compared to those home-cooked Indian meals, but the freshly baked naan bread served at Sanaa comes close. This Indian-style Bread Service comes with five different flavors of naan bread and is served with nine dipping sauces that vary from the savory Roasted Red Pepper Hummus to the sweet Mango Chutney (and some are just a little bit spicy, like the Red Chile Sambal). Of course, the view at Sanaa doesn’t hurt either- the restaurant has tables that face the savannah at Animal Kingdom Lodge, and diners get stunning views of the animals and birds that call the resort their home.
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