There are a lot of entertaining and amusing restaurants at Walt Disney World, with great interactive elements, characters, or immersive themes. This post takes a look at the most fun (or funnest, if you’d prefer) dining options in Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Disney Springs, and the resort hotels.
This was originally intended to be a top 10 list of the ‘most merry’ restaurants at Walt Disney World, but I got a bit carried away and ended up with 12. (Let’s just say a few of them are tied for #10!) Even then, I had to cut myself off. There are several snubs that I would’ve liked to include, but had to stop somewhere.
One thing that is worth “disclosing” here is that this list emphasizes things like theme, atmosphere, story, character interactions, hijinks, and other environmental components of Walt Disney World’s restaurants. It does not place significant weight on cuisine-quality.
The advantage that Walt Disney World restaurants have over their real-world dining counterparts is their settings and atmosphere. Meticulously-designed and Imagineered venues, or with show components that surpass anything you’ll find elsewhere in Orlando (or beyond).
Reasonable minds may differ on whether more weight should be given to deliciousness since these are, after all, restaurants. If cuisine-quality is your paramount or sole concern, we’d direct you instead to our Top 10 Table Service Restaurants at Walt Disney World List. (For what it’s worth, we enjoy the food at all of these restaurants. Many lean heavily on comfort cuisine, but a few are slightly more ambitious.)
With that said, here are our picks for the most fun restaurants at Walt Disney World, in no particular order…
Minnie’s Seasonal Dine – Held at Hollywood & Vine in DHS, Minnie’s Seasonal Dine doesn’t have the best setting, but the buffet is solid and the costumes are excellent. Most significantly, the character interactions here are second to none–we don’t know what it is about this place, but it must be a great place to work, because the characters are given the freedom to goof around with guests and have a good time.
Raglan Road – The OG of Disney Springs dining from back in the day when it was still Downtown Disney, Raglan Road has been neglected by many fans with so many great new options opening. We’ve revisited Raglan Road a few times in the last couple of years, and it absolutely holds up. (Except for brunch. You can safely skip that!)
For dinner, Raglan Road is every bit as delicious as it always has been, and the atmosphere remains as jovial and welcoming as ever. The food is good, but none of it makes Raglan Road destination dining. (Save for the Bread & Butter Pudding, which is a top 5 Walt Disney World dessert). The setting is like something straight out of World Showcase at Epcot, with authenticity right down to the wood on the bar that gives the restaurant added allure.
With that said, the big appeal of Raglan Road is its free live entertainment. There are multiple stages in and outside the restaurant where entertainers sing, dance, and perform authentic Irish music. They’re incredibly talented, and make the restaurant a raucous good time. They also make Raglan Road incredibly loud, which is perfect for late in your trip when you’re tired of talking to your family (seriously, it’s not possible once the acts take the stage) and just want to decompress and enjoy the show–and food. All of this puts Raglan Road right up there as one of the best restaurants at Disney Springs.
Garden Grill – In terms of cuisine, Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Harvest Feast doesn’t quite compete with newer character meals at Walt Disney World. Nevertheless, the all-you-can-eat fare is both approachable and crowd-pleasing, and it’s sourcing some of the items from Epcot greenhouses is an interesting angle.
More importantly, Garden Grill is a winner thanks to its rotating dining room with views into the Living with the Land boat ride, unique character costumes, and memorable interactions. All of this makes it a really enjoyable experience and that plus above-average food makes it an overall winner.
Whispering Canyon Cafe – This is all about hilarity and hijinks, which make it a hoot. The waiters and waitresses gently pick on guests and the interactions between patrons and Cast Members drive the experience. This gives Whispering Canyon Cafe a different dynamic than most restaurants at Walt Disney World, and one that is pretty much universally fun for kids and extroverts. You can research prompts that will typically cause a reaction from the wait staff, but you’ll stumble upon these naturally during the course of a meal.
Speaking of which, Whispering Canyon Cafe also has some excellent American favorites, including some spectacular all-you-can-eat skillets. On top of that, the open-air venue overlooking the lobby of Wilderness Lodge is delightful and a dose of serenity on top of an otherwise silly affair. Whispering Canyon Cafe is not for everyone (something that probably could be said about all of these restaurants, but is doubly true here) but if it “clicks” for your family, this is bound to be one of your favorite/best/most memorable experiences in all of Walt Disney World.
Tusker House – When it comes to cuisine, Tusker House is the best character meal at Walt Disney World. Located in Animal Kingdom (the park, not the lodge), this is similar to Boma, but with a better balance of adventurous African foods and crowd-pleasing favorites.
On top of that, Tusker House has some of the best character outfits for the Donald’s Safari meals, and the value for money offered here is much better than many other character meals. The themed design and atmosphere are also really cool, with Tusker House themed to a colorful street marketplace in Harambe. Tusker House really offers something for everyone.
Biergarten – Every restaurant in the World Showcase at Epcot offers something different. Somehow, Biergarten is the best for families with kids and for couples who want to “eat, drink, and be merry.” Offering authentic German food, Biergarten’s buffet is pretty good in our experience, but it’s far from the culinary pinnacle of World Showcase.
Themed to be a nighttime Bavarian Village, Biergarten celebrates Oktoberfest year round. Musicians perform traditional German songs and encourage guests to come to the dance floor to join in the fun. We especially love Biergarten at Christmas-time, when there are decorations and special musical numbers.
The Boathouse — Food-wise, this is one of the best restaurants in all of Walt Disney World, with an expansive menu with great options at a variety of price-points. From that perspective alone, it’s a solid choice for anyone who gave a side-eye to our notation above that this list doesn’t emphasize cuisine.
Great food doesn’t make for a fun restaurant, though. Just one that’s fun for your taste buds. On top of the exceptional cuisine, the Boathouse has excellent energy. It’s hard to define this, but there’s just always something happening here, especially in the main dining rooms and the dock. You can catch harbormaster flag ceremonies throughout the day, musical performances every evening, and a variety of other stuff you won’t find at other Walt Disney World restaurants.
One such example of “other stuff’ is the Boathouse’s huge fleet of classic watercraft including exotic amphicars, water taxi, and myriad other boats. These are docked, but also out and about in the lake behind the restaurant. (Speaking of which, a waterside table is a fantastic way to enjoy a fabulous Florida sunset!) Elements of the interior design are all over the place with an eclectic mix of kitsch and refinement. It’s an interesting vibe, for sure. (When we’re in the mood for a more laid back meal, we opt to eat out on the Dock Bar, rather than the main dining rooms.)
‘Ohana — Perhaps this is an unpopular opinion, but we think ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is overrated when it comes to the meal served. Don’t get us wrong, it’s still a ton of fun (hence its inclusion on this list), but it’s inching into the territory occupied by Le Cellier several years ago thanks to numerous price increases coupled with food quality cuts.
However, as discussed in our most recent ‘Ohana review, so many longtime Walt Disney World fans–us included–have tremendous amounts of nostalgia for the restaurant for good reason. It is the source of long-lasting memories and an experience that is, above all else, a good time.
‘Ohana perfectly marries a convivial atmosphere with a relaxed, no-cares given meal on the isles. It’s the essence of being in “vacation mode” with no worries. You disconnect from society and connect with fellow visitors for communal fun. Few, if any, other Walt Disney World restaurants accomplish a vacation vibe as pitch-perfectly as ‘Ohana.
Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue – This eccentric 2-hour dinner show is a non-stop dose of dancing, singing, and zany comedy. Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is a quintessential Walt Disney World experience that every die-hard Walt Disney World fan should do at least once. It’s impossible to describe what makes Hoop-Dee-Doo so great, but the mix of high-spirited music-and-comedy accompanied by a fantastic feast should sum it up pretty well.
While the hokey humor won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue has something for nearly everyone. The performers are incredibly talented, the audience engagement gives it a great energy, and it’s a good meal of comfort food favorites. Anyone who is a regular reader of this blog and can tolerate the cheesy “jokes” here will find something to enjoy in this rousing show. If you don’t like Hoop-Dee-Doo, that’s on you for not having a sense of humor. You should work on that.
50’s Prime Time Cafe — Here you’re dining in Mom’s house, which is a lot like the set of a mid-century sitcom. You’re also eating by Mom’s rules. If you put your elbows on the table or slouch, expect to be reprimanded! Expect your other relatives to drop by with quick-witted commentary. Bonus points are awarded for joining the clean plate club.
Mom will, however, let you watch TV during your meal, and many classic sitcoms from the 1950s play on televisions at certain tables. The servers are sharp and have a comedic edge that makes the meal fun and funny, and the setting is really cool, too. On top of that, the food is generally pretty tasty and crowd-pleasing. 50’s Prime Time Cafe specializes in comfort food, with the highlight of the menu being the milkshakes. Even when we aren’t dining here, we sometimes stop at the Tune-In Lounge to grab a quick milkshake!
Whether your idea of a good time is great view, clowning around with character, enjoying airy atmosphere, chic costumes, eating good steak for breakfast, or saying long names, Breakfast à la Art with Mickey & Friends (etc.) offers something for you. It’s a really well-rounded character dining experience, and is truly fun for the whole family. Seriously–out of all the character meals we recommend, this is the one about which we get the most positive feedback. Even those who were skeptical of the price (usually) end up saying Breakfast à la Art (etc. etc.) was worth it.
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater — The dining area is a classic drive-in movie theater at night, complete with a large screen showing classic sci-fi B-movies from the 1950s. To complete the experience, the tables are classic 1950s cars. Another layer is piled on top of this, as the whole drive-in area is actually a Hollywood set, making guests the star of whatever sci-fi B-movie is being filmed at the drive-in. Well…probably not the stars so much as extras, but no one really notices this added layer, anyway.
There’s also a story element between Cast Members and guests at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant. The server is your car hop, the guest in the front left seat is driver, while others are passengers or hitch-hikers, depending on the party mix in the vehicle. When it comes time for the bill, you might be asked to pay a ticket (for speeding or parking) or chip in for gas money. None of this is as over-the-top as 50’s Prime Time Cafe, but it’s fun.
Then there’s the menu, which is also quite fun–so long as you’re into very “burger-forward” options. The signature blend of beef is fantastic, as is the double pork burger. They’re arguably a bit overpriced and overly indulgent, but on-theme for the venue. Thanks to its unique mix of themed design, atmospheric setting, amusing interactions, and comforting cuisine, you’re bound to have a fantastically fun experience. I’d actually go a step further, calling Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant one of the exemplars of Walt Disney World dining!
Many real world restaurants can surpass Walt Disney World on cuisine quality, but they cannot match the transportive themes, exceptional entertainment, absorbing atmosphere, and Cast Members found at so many of the restaurants on this list. Above all else, they are FUN, plain and simple. Every first timer to Walt Disney World should book an ADR or two at some of these restaurants. Actually, same goes for lifelong fans–these are all good reminders of what the Disney Magic is all about!
Which restaurants do you find to be the most fun ones at Walt Disney World? Any of your favorites that we snubbed on this list? Thoughts on our perspective that Disney does themed design and entertainment better than most real world restaurants, but those usually beat Disney when it comes to food? Can you have a great dining experience with only a so-so meal, or is cuisine quality paramount to your enjoyment of a restaurant? Do you agree or disagree with our list? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!