Disney World has a massive list of dining locations and if you are going for the first time, the huge list can seem daunting as you try to decide which ones to make reservations for. Here is my list of the best Disney World restaurants for first-timers.
Best Disney Restaurants for First-Timers
Chef Mickey’s is the quintessential restaurant for your first trip and I would even say for your first day.
Chef Mickey’s is a great choice because:
- It’s a Mickey Mouse Welcome. It is a great big welcome to Disney World from Mickey Mouse himself. Chef Mickey’s is a character dining meal that serves traditional American cuisine in a buffet. The other characters you meet at Chef Mickey’s Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto.
- It’s Outside of a Park. A lot of times guests choose not to pay for a park day on the first day of their vacation because of the time they get in, being tired from travel or wanting to get settled into their room. Since Chef Mickey’s is at a resort, no park ticket is needed.
- Chef Mickey’s is located at the Contemporary Resort. The location allows you to see and ride Disney’s world-famous Monorail which runs right through the resort. It’s fun to watch the monorail go by while you dine. If you did want to pop over to the Magic Kingdom, it is a short walk or monorail ride over.
2. Be Our Guest
Be Our Guest is located in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom. This restaurant serves a quick-service (fast food) breakfast and lunch and a signature dinner where you meet the Beast.
Be Our Guest is a great choice for first time Disney guests because:
- Amazing Theming. If you want to feel as if you have stepped into the animated classic Beauty and the Beast, this place is perfect! I would say it is the best-themed dining location on property. The West Wing is just magical with the thunder and lightning effects, plus beautiful rose! The ballroom is so beautiful as well.
- Delicious Food. Whether you are dining for a quick-service breakfast or lunch or enjoying the Prix-Fixe dinner the food is delicious. Don’t believe me, ask the dishes, lol! You can even try the Grey Stuff.
- Grey Stuff. The Grey Stuff is a chocolate mousse you can try at all of the meals, it comes on a cupcake if you are eating breakfast or lunch.
Be Our Guest Tip: If you are on the Disney Dining Plan, the quick service meals are a great value as they are very expensive out of pocket.
O’hana is located at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. While the character breakfast is nice, I think the star meal is the dinner.
- Perfect Welcome to Disney. O’hanas is another perfect welcome to Disney World. If dining for breakfast you, get to meet Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Lilo, and Stitch. My favorite meal though is dinner. The food is amazing and served family-style.
- Fireworks view if timed right. If you time your reservation around the Magic Kingdom fireworks, you get to enjoy the fireworks from your table. You can nicely request a table with a view if that is important to you. Even without the fireworks, you get a gorgeous view of the Magic Kingdom!
- Lapu Lapu & Bread Pudding. Nothing says vacation like drinking a drink from a pineapple, enjoy a Lapu Lapu here and the amazing bread pudding!
Whispering Canyon is located at Wilderness Lodge and is a quick boat ride from the Magic Kingdom. This restaurant is a reader favorite because of the fun antics and great food!
- Get Ready for a Wild Time. If you are ok with a little craziness during your meal, Whispering Canyon is a great choice. The servers make this place awesome. Along with the fun antics with the servers, there is a kids roundup where they get on hobby horses and gallop around the restaurant.
- Bottomless Shakes. In addition to the delicious unlimited barbecue platters served family-style, you also can order bottomless shakes! There are also individual ala carte items to order, but the platters are so good!
If all your favorites are booked, this place is one you can book last minute.
50’s Prime Time Cafe is a retro-themed restaurant serving tried and true family favorites!
- Mind Your Manners. Everyone is family at this place and they want you to mind your manners. Depending on how much you play along, the experience is really fun! They will remind you to wash your hands, eat your veggies, and even remind you to take your elbows off the table.
- Yummy Food. The best dishes are the fried chicken and the meatloaf, though everything is good!
6. Via Napoli
If you are looking for the best pizza on property, then Via Napoli in Epcot is the best choice! Via Napoli is a casual pizzeria in the Italy pavilion at Epcot, featuring a selection of classical Neapolitan pizzas, ranging from pizza Bianca, Quattro stagioni, piccante, Ortolano and a traditional Margherita.
Boma is located at the Animal Kingdom Lodge- Jambo House. It is a short bus ride from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. If you are looking for more adventurous food options and the introduction to 2 of Disney’s favorite foods, then this is the place for you!
Boma is an African centered buffet. Not to worry though, there are plenty of American food options as well to keep even picky eaters happy. At dinner, watch chefs prepare grilled seafood, roasted meats, vegetarian specialties, fresh salads and house-baked pastries in the onstage kitchen. Try the famous Jungle Juice (POG Juice) and Zebra Domes!
8. Tusker House
Tusker House is located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It is Donald’s Safari Character meal with flavors from Africa. There are also plenty of American based choices as well. You get to meet Donald, Daisy, Mickey Mouse, and Goofy. The food and character interactions are great!
Disney’s California Grill is located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The food here is amazing and the atmosphere is a little bit more grownup but it is still a family place. If you are celebrating an anniversary or honeymoon I would book here at least one night. If you get a reservation anytime in the evening you can set out onto a private deck and watch the Happily Ever After Fireworks.
While there are a couple of choices for a Disney Princess character meal (including one inside of Cinderella Castle), so far my favorite is the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast at Trattoria as Forno. This restaurant is located at Disney’s Boardwalk. You get to meet Rapunzel and Flynn as well as Ariel and Prince Eric. You can only see Flynn Rider and Prince Eric here unless they show up at a ticketed party.
The breakfast is ala carte with a shared pastry plate for your table. The food and the interactions are great!