Tag Archives | Theme Park Restaurants

Disney Character Dining Options

There are plenty of fun places to eat in Orlando, including options to meet your favorite Disney characters for a meal. Chef Mickey’s, Cinderella’s Royal Table, and The Crystal Palace are just a few of Walt Disney World’s character dining options. You can call 407-WDW-DINE up to 180 days prior to arrival to make your Advanced Dining Reservations. I would definitely recommend reservations because these restaurants are so popular.

Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort has a fantastic breakfast or dinner buffet, with lively environment. The character interaction is great, and includes Mickey, Goofy, Chip & Dale, Pluto, and sometimes Donald. There is also a “Make Your Own Ice Cream Sundae” station that everyone loves. Cinderella fans shouldn’t miss lunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table. They do a fun chanting ceremony where each section has their own little chant and they do the wishing ceremony. All kids are given a light-up wishing star for the wishing ceremony. The boys are also given a knight’s sword and girls a magic wand. The characters interaction is great. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Fairy God Mother, Belle, and Snow White all come to your table for pictures and chat. For Winnie the Pooh fans, Crystal Palace is a great buffet to enjoy. Located on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom, Crystal Palace features Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Eyeore for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All of these restaurants are a fabulous addition to your visit to the Magic Kingdom!

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is a beautiful place to visit, and features both the Garden View Tea Room and 1900 Park Fare restaurants. 1900 Park Fare is very amusing and features different characters at their breakfast and lunch buffets. Breakfast includes Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, Mad Hatter (a hoot!), Pooh, Tigger, and during “high season” Pinocchio & Geppetto. Dinner features Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine, and the silly Step-sisters. Garden View Tea Room serves afternoon tea in grand British tradition during My Disney Girl’s Perfectly Princess Tea Party. Your hostess will entertain the princesses with storytelling and songs and Princess Aurora will join in all the fun. Your little Prince or Princess will also enjoy a keepsake gift.

The Epcot Park features Akershus Royal Banquet Hall at the Norway Pavilion and the Garden Grill Restaurant at The Land Pavilion. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall serves American and Norwegian buffet favorites, providing a Disney Princess Storybook Dining experience in a medieval castle-themed restaurant. The Disney Princesses and friends visit the tables for autographs and photo opps. The Garden Grill Restaurant is a rotating restaurant that lets you enjoy the Living with the Land attraction, and even uses food from the Land greenhouse. Enjoy family-style dinners with Mickey, Pluto, and Chip ‘n’ Dale characters.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios offers a family buffet dinner at Hollywood & Vine, the “Cafeteria to the Stars”. The breakfast and lunch buffets both feature characters Handy Manny, June, and Leo. Best for younger kids.

Animal Kingdom features Tusker House Restaurant, a fabulous, African-themed restaurant which only includes characters at the breakfast buffet. They include Donald and Daisy Duck, as well as Goofy and Mickey.

There are also character dining opportunities at the Disney’s Beach Club Resort’s Cape May Café and Garden Grove at WDW Swan Resort. Disney’s Polynesian Resort has ‘Ohana, with Lilo and Stitch and a Polynesian influence.

Of course, these are great to visit while you’re a guest in WDW parks, but, even if you aren’t visiting the parks, you can still dine in any of the enchanting Disney Resort restaurants (the theme parks require park admission).

Spotlight: T-Rex Restaurant at Downtown Disney

Disney sure knows how to create a memorable experience!  You’ll feel like you’ve gone back to the dinosaur era when you dine at the popular T-Rex at Downtown Disney. This Orlando family restaurant serves a variety of American fare for lunch and dinner, and even has its own Dino-store so you can bring home souvenirs for the family.   You’ll find “gifts fit for any paleontologist” and even Build-A-Dino® By Build-A-Bear Workshop®!

The dinosaur theme is great fun, and was created by the same people behind the Rainforest Café.  The life-size animatronic creatures include dinosaurs such as stegosaurus, triceratops, woolly mammoths, and the famous namesake, the T-Rex.  And, there are many other wondrous creatures within this elaborate décor that includes geysers, jungle greenery, and even massive flames spewing from the Kitchen of Fire!

The food features a great variety of dishes for all, from ‘prehistoric’ pizzas, Brachiosaurus Bruschetta, Giganotosaurus Burger, along with many other sandwich, steak, and seafood dishes.  There’s a kid’s menu, and if you have any special dietary needs or allergies, they are happy to accommodate you; just let them know when making your reservation, which can be made up to 180 days in advance.

Make sure you check out the interactive T-REX experience in the Paleo Zone.  This is one of the few restaurants where you can even get learn something – a pre-history lesson watching their Paleo Screens.  There’s also an opportunity to go on an archaeological Discovery Dig or pan for treasures in Discovery Creek.

At T-REX, you can eat, shop, explore and discover!

$$-$$$, casual dress, American cuisine, reservations recommended 407-828-8739, full bar, open for lunch and dinner
LOCATION: Downtown Disney Marketplace
ADDRESS: 1800 East Buena Vista Drive,Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830 – (407) 828-8739
Service Type: Full Service
Price Range: entrees from $15-$35.99

Universal Studios: Restaurant/Dining Options

Universal Studios Orlando

There are over 50 restaurants at the Universal Orlando Resort complex!  One of the newest is the rustic tavern, Three Broomsticks, the official restaurant of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (at Islands of Adventure).  This is where you can dine on authentic British food and try the famous (non-alcoholic) Butterbeer.  Also served here are fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, turkey legs, fresh veggies, and more.  At the back of the Three Broomsticks tavern, is where you’ll find the Hog’s Head Pub, where adults can sample a great selection of beers, as well as wine, spirits, and mixed drinks.

Also located in Islands of Adventure are Café 4, Circus McGurkus Café Stoo-pendous, and Mythos Restaurant. Mythos Restaurant was named the world’s best theme park restaurant for six years running.  The unique exterior of towering rock formations with carved ancient figures, and cascading waterfalls set the mood for this dining experience.  Inside, you’ll enjoy the cavernous interior and an outdoor seating area with a spectacular view of the park’s sea and islands.  The gourmet cuisine includes blueberry and pistachio crusted grilled pork, cedar planked Bay of Fundy salmon, gourmet hamburgers and imported pasta. Mouth-watering desserts and a full wine list are also available, as well as a separate children’s menu.  A full-service lunch is served daily.
Price Range: From $10 to $18
Reservations accepted: Call Universal’s Islands of Adventure Reservations at 407-224-4012.

Universal Studios has many in-park restaurants as well, including Lombard’s Seafood Grille, Finnegan’s Bar and Grill, Mel’s Drive-in, Louie’s Italian Restaurant and more.  Lombard’s Seafood Grill is a casually elegant full-service restaurant serving fresh seafood, pasta, and more.  The décor includes a huge saltwater aquarium in the center of the dining room.  Along with the specialty items like New England Clam Chowder, Bay Shrimp Cobb Salad, Seafood Marinara, you’ll also find appetizers, sandwiches, pasta, and scrumptious desserts.  There is a children’s menu available, as well as wine and cocktails.  Full service lunch and dinner are served daily.  Reservations accepted: Call Universal Studios Reservations at (407) 224-3613.

Universal CityWalk boasts more great restaurants.  Here, you’ll find the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., NASCAR Sports Grille, Hard Rock Café, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, Emeril’s Restaurant Orlando, and more!  The popular Emeril’s features Creole-based gourmet creations including Roasted Texas Redfish with Homemade Andouille Crust, Fingerling Potato-Cremini Mushroom Hash, Creole Meunière Sauce and Candied Pecan Relish and  Grilled Angus Filet Mignon Au Poivre – Garlic Creamed Yukon Gold Potatoes, Roasted Cremini Mushrooms and a Burgundy-Herb Reduction.  (A second Emeril’s Universal Orlando location, Emeril’s Tchoup Chop, is located in the Royal Pacific Resort)
Hours: Lunch 11:30am-3pm daily, Dinner Sun-Thurs. 5:00pm – 10:00pm, Dinner Fri & Sat. 5:00pm – 10:30pm
Price Range: entrees from $21 to $42
Reservations are suggested: Call (407) 224-2424

Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville provides a laid-back atmosphere with indoor or outdoor seating, live music nightly, and a “Parakeet Beach” area for the little ones to enjoy.  The décor was inspired by Buffet’s favorite waterfront concerts, and its 3 bars were themed to Buffet fans.  The Volcano Bar is a fan favorite, complete with a giant exploding volcano that erupts periodically. Guess what is erupts with?  Margaritas, of course! Along with the many varieties of margaritas and frozen concoctions, the menu features a combination of Caribbean and Key West cuisine.  Offerings include Conch Fritters, Jamaica Mistaica Wings, Corn and Crab Chowder, Bayou Shrimp Pasta, Jimmy’s Jammin’ Jambalaya, Calypso Mahi Mahi, Key Lime Pie, and the ever popular Cheeseburger in Paradise®.
Click here for menu.
Hours: 11:30am – 2:00am
Service Type: Full Service
Price Range: entrees from $10 to $25
Participating Movie and Meal Deal Location: Yes

Regardless of where you choose to dine while visiting Universal Studios, we’d like to hear about your experience – please write a comment below!