DiningPlanning Your Dining

10 Places You Should Dine at Disney World and 10 Places You Shouldn’t

Dear DisneyLists.com Fan,

Have we told you how happy we are that you read our articles, and how much we appreciate you, and how wonderful you look today?! Ok, just keep all that in mind before you scroll down! Please know that we are sorry if any of your favorite restaurants hit our “shouldn’t” list. This is just our opinion so don’t let it be your only outlet for whether you do or do not try a restaurant. Disney World is always making improvements and we wouldn’t want you to skip out on one of these restaurants because of us. Ok, it’s now safe to read on fellow Disney fan!

Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, not all restaurants have reopened. Be sure to check the My Disney Experience app for up to date hours.


1 – SHOULD – La Hacienda de San Angel

Head with us to Epcot’s Mexican Pavilion situated beautifully around the World Showcase. If you enjoy Mexican food, we say you should dine at La Hacienda de San Angel. Situated perfectly next to the water, not only are the views during Epcot Forever remarkable but the food and service are top-notch.

1 – SHOULDN’T – San Angel Inn Restaurante

Just across the way, still in the Mexican Pavilion is the gorgeous Mayan ruins which houses San Angel Inn Restaurante. While we can’t say enough about the beauty you’ll see once inside, we’ve dined here multiple times over multiple years and have left disappointed each time. The service remains poor, the amount of food you get for the money doesn’t seem worth it, and the noise level is anything but intimate.

2 – SHOULD – Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant

Hollywood Studios is known for its memorable restaurants. Awesome theming, delicious food – we feel Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant is a should for any movie, burger, and milkshake lover. We especially give high marks for the memorable experience Sci-Fi Dine-In offers. Service is on point and the large menu and good food are favorites of ours.

2 – SHOULDN’T – ABC Commissary

Sharing the same building as Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater is the quick-service restaurant known as the ABC Commissary. While we can’t even begin to compare the Commissary with Sci-Fi, we will say, splurging on table service if possible at Hollywood Studios is worth it. If you are still planning to hit quick service, try another spot outside of ABC Commissary. The food and crowds are not enjoyable here.

3 – SHOULD – Columbia Harbour House

Now, here’s one quick-service restaurant we are putting on our should list! Columbia Harbour House located in Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square is a surprisingly superb quick service option. The food is different – but in a good way! Fish, shrimp, chicken, lobster rolls, fresh salads, New England clam chowder, kid’s mac, and cheese, and more – we love the variety on the menu. Don’t forget to check for extra seating upstairs and take advantage of Mobile Food and Beverage Ordering from your My Disney Experience App!

3 – SHOULDN’T – Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café

Another Magic Kingdom quick-service restaurant located in Tomorrowland is the extremely popular Cosmic Ray’s. Cosmic Ray’s has been a go-to for us for years, but we’ve finally discovered other quick-service locations are much better in taste and ease when fighting crowds. If you dine at Cosmic Ray’s, use the Mobile Ordering option!

Sonny Eclipse at Cosmic Ray’s

4 – SHOULD – ‘Ohana

‘Ohana is in our top five favorite places to eat on Disney World property. Located at the Polynesian Resort, ‘Ohana is the perfect large group, family, or intimate dining spot! Endless amounts of mouthwatering food, a great character breakfast, and stunning views of the Magic Kingdom fireworks – put ‘Ohana on your must-do list!

4 – SHOULDN’T – Kona Café

Kona Café, unfortunately, sits in the shadow of ‘Ohana at the Polynesian Resort. We’ve dined here multiple times simply for convenience and because it’s usually easy to grab a dining reservation unlike ‘Ohana. This is a red flag, however, as we have been extremely disappointed with the lack of service despite the decent food. Once they were out of clean forks to give us and it took them 20-minutes to clean one while our food sat in front of us. Just strange!

5 – SHOULD – Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria

If you want pizza, you’ll want to look no further than Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria located in Italy around Epcot’s World Showcase. Truly authentic Italian cooking with yummy pasta and pizzas coming straight out of the wood-burning ovens – it’s a delicious trip to Italy.

5 – SHOULDN’T – Pizzafari

Just because there is “pizza” in the restaurant name doesn’t mean you should bank on that restaurant for memorable Disney pizza. Pizzafari is a quick-service spot located in Animal Kingdom that obviously shouldn’t be compared to Via Napoli. But, we will say Animal Kingdom is loaded with fantastic quick-service spots and Pizzafari simply doesn’t need to be a go-to.

6 – SHOULD – Be Our Guest Restaurant (for Dinner)

No surprise here! There is a reason Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom is the coveted place to eat and extremely difficult to obtain reservations for. If you are able to snag a reservation, however, the dinner menu, drinks, and desserts will live up to all the hype… or at least they always have for us! But, keep in mind, we did say DINNER. Here’s why below…

6 – SHOULDN’T – Be Our Guest Restaurant (for Breakfast and Lunch)

Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, breakfast is no longer available and lunch is now table service. It is unclear whether this change is permanent or temporary. 

Breakfast and lunch at Be Our Guest are totally different experiences from dinner. The table service atmosphere you’ll get at dinner is instead a quick service for breakfast and lunch. It feels like a free-for-all as you can shuffle through the crowds to find a table. The food is overpriced and the whole romance of the Beast’s Castle goes right out the window.


7 – SHOULD – Cape May Café

Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, characters are not available at breakfast.

If you are looking for seafood and an excellent atmosphere, Cape May Café located at the Beach Club Resort is the perfect place for you! Cape May Café offers breakfast and dinner. Breakfast is your standard breakfast buffet with fun Disney Characters. No characters for dinner, but we still recommend the tasty seafood dinner buffet.

7 – SHOULDN’T – Coral Reef Restaurant

 The Coral Reef located in Epcot’s Future World is a favorite for many so don’t take our opinion to heart! We would, however, suggest that you look elsewhere if you are seeking that delicious seafood dish. Not only that, but keep in mind that there is only one wall of the aquarium. While the wall is huge and can be seen throughout the restaurant, if you aren’t seated right next to the wall the experience may not be as mind-blowing as some might suspect.

8 – SHOULD – Whispering Canyon Café

Whispering Canyon Café located at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort is a family favorite for ours. To put it plainly, Whispering Canyon Café is a fun place to “horse around”. The service is hilarious, the involvement with the kids is exceptional, and the food is downright delicious!

8 – SHOULDN’T – Rainforest Café

Rainforest Café has two locations within Disney World, at Disney Springs and Animal Kingdom theme park. The theming can be fun for kids and adults, but it still feels like a chain. It’s bulk menu, endless seating, and typical food just doesn’t exude Disney dining.

All You Care to Enjoy Skillet

9 – SHOULD – Planet Hollywood Observatory

We’re impressed with what Planet Hollywood Observatory offers at Disney Springs. With its’ newly refurbished interior and exterior, and professionally arranged menu – Planet Hollywood has kicked up the charm! From a well-reviewed full-service bar, to live entertainment, and cool Hollywood memorabilia, you can place this newly updated restaurant on your list to try!


While we typically love the quiet atmosphere BoardWalk offers over Disney Springs, we will say that dining at ESPN Club isn’t anything different from what you would experience at a chain restaurant back home. It’s an easy place to grab a meal but we feel the entertainment and food offered isn’t anything special.

10 – SHOULD – Satu’li Canteen

Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Satu’li Canteen is the quick-service restaurant located in Animal Kingdom’s Pandora – The World of Avatar. It’s an exceptional quick-service restaurant with interesting, light, and delicious food. Being the birthplace of Disney’s Mobile Ordering, the efficiency at Satu’li Canteen is remarkable.

10 – SHOULDN’T – Restaurantosaurus

Restaurantosaurus is a cute and humorous themed quick-service spot in Animal Kingdom’s DinoLand U.S.A. but the food is super basic. It’s quick service alright and reminds us of a lunchroom themed menu instead of the memorable Animal Kingdom cuisine available at other quick-service spots.

Alright, are we still friends? Hope so! We’d love to hear your “should” and “shouldn’t” spots.

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Mike & Jamie Sylvester

We are Disney nerds. Two kids at heart who love the magic and the memories of Walt Disney World! We follow all things Disney and have great experiences with being Annual Passholders, Disney Vacation Club Members, and RunDisney participants. We enjoy the vacations, day trips, weekend getaways and geek out over the planning of such events. From lodging to dining to Fastpasses we have a spreadsheet for every occasion. Mike’s frivolous Disney goal is to acquire as many MagicBands as possible while Jamie’s goal is to experience as many Disney desserts as possible. Usually there isn’t a day that passes without some discussion of the master plan of our next trip to the happiest place on earth. Most people think we’re normal – until they travel to Disney with us. We have been married for 13 years and are blessed with two children - our 8-year-old daughter and soon to be 2-year-old son. As a family we thoroughly enjoy the magic and the memories at Walt Disney World and are here to help others experience the magic as well.
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