Walt Disney World has many great restaurants that are very popular, and a few popular restaurants that aren’t so great. This list of overrated table service restaurants at Walt Disney World for 2024 takes a look at ones that are worse than their reputation or hype might suggest. (Updated December 20, 2023.)
It’s not easy to define what makes a restaurant overrated. In our view, Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) availability, pricing, and cuisine quality are big factors. Equally significant is uniqueness–if a particular restaurant brings nothing special to the table and is surpassed by similarly-situated counterparts that are less popular, cheaper, or serve better food, it’s more likely to be overrated.
The important thing to underscore is that “overrated” and “bad” are not synonyms. There are plenty of notorious restaurants at Walt Disney World with deservedly poor reputations. Those are just bad–not overrated. At least, that’s our perspective on what makes for an overrated Walt Disney World table service restaurant. Not all of the restaurants on this overrated list are universally beloved, but all of them aren’t as good as the consensus suggests.
Obviously, this is highly subjective and not even remotely scientific, but at least it comes with identifiable criteria considering restaurants overrated. Believe me, it was very difficult to resist my impulse to simply bash restaurants that I dislike. That’s one reason why this list was more difficult to put together than our Underrated Table Service Restaurants at Walt Disney World.
There are several restaurants at Walt Disney World that I do not like for one reason or another. While it’s tempting to pile on to Rainforest Cafe, Tutto Italia, Planet Hollywood, Rose & Crown, Paddlefish, or Crystal Palace (to name a few), I’m not sure it’s fair to call any of those overrated.
That would imply that the consensus on them is positive, and I just don’t think that’s true anymore. If anything, I might still be including a couple restaurants on this list that are no longer highly-hyped. Time has passed them by as Walt Disney World fans have moved on to greener pastures.
To that point, Be Our Guest Restaurant is not overrated over one decade after it debuted. For one thing, it is the place that Walt Disney World fans love to hate. It may have been overrated, but that’s not even remotely the case now. Advance Dining Reservations are much easier, and if you ask 100 random fans their opinion on Be Our Guest, you will get more than 50 negative responses and fewer than 25 positive ones.
If anything, Be Our Guest Restaurant is now underrated. There’s far more hate than hype for it, and people pile-on to an extreme degree that, in our opinion, is not warranted by the actual quality of the cuisine or atmosphere of the restaurant. But I know I’m not winning any friends with my defenses of Be Our Guest Restaurant, so I’ll just cut that short before I lose too many of you!
There are actually several restaurants that, contrary to popular Walt Disney World fan sentiment, are not overrated. So stay tuned for an “unpopular opinion” list of restaurants you (as a community, not you as the individual reader) think are overrated but actually are enjoyable for the ambiance, theme, or cuisine.
But even this explainer is now tangential to the topic of the post, so let’s cut to the chase and start listing some Walt Disney World’s table service restaurants that we think are overrated…
Beaches & Cream Soda Shop – This is one of two modestly priced meals we were on the fence about including, with the other being Plaza Restaurant. Both used to be recommended for having entrees at counter service prices, but are now an upwards of $20.
The difference, and why Plaza Restaurant escapes inclusion, is the competition. In Magic Kingdom, there are no good alternatives at or around that price point. You’ll spend less for something inferior or much more for something superior. By contrast, Beaches & Cream is surrounded by great dining at a range of price points. Even with that said, Beaches & Cream does have a couple of tasty entrees (and I’d happily remove the restaurant from this list if they’d just bring back the Patty Melt and Pork Belly Cuban Sandwich).
Then there’s the ice cream, which is literally just Edy’s. That’s right–the ice cream so many Walt Disney World fans absolutely adore could be purchased in bulk at Sam’s Club for like $5. Don’t get us wrong, the novelty shakes are a ton of fun, and we’re suckers for a No Way Jose or Kitchen Sink, but the hype is too much. There are superior scoop shops all around Walt Disney World, including a short walk away in Epcot’s France pavilion.
Chef Mickey’s (Dinner Only) – Chef Mickey’s is overrated for its dinner buffet–meaning it’s fine for breakfast. If you’re fine with quantity instead of quality, you should be fine. To be clear, that’s not quantity over quality–it’s instead of, as there’s no quality to speak of. The ingredients are cheap, dishes are bland and flavorless, and just generally low-quality. It’s among the worst food you’ll find anywhere at Walt Disney World–even by buffet standards–almost inexplicably bad. Adding insult to injury, it’s really expensive.
The normal breakfast buffet at Chef Mickey’s is a different experience. To be sure, it’s still not the pinnacle of the culinary arts, but it’s perfectly satisfactory. The kind of quantity over quality breakfast you’d expect from a buffet. Our memories of Chef Mickey’s at breakfast are fond; it’s generally a good experience that also costs less. Both meals are overpriced given the cuisine, but there’s something to be said for the experience of these characters in their culinary costumes before a day in Magic Kingdom.
Le Cellier Steakhouse – How the times change. A decade ago, this would have been a highly controversial pick. Then, Le Cellier was a great value on the Disney Dining Plan, while offering some excellent appetizers and good (albeit slightly over-buttered and over-salted) cuts of meat. It was almost impossible to land an Advance Dining Reservation at Le Cellier.
Over time, buzz increased and reservations became more difficult to land. Disney made changes to the Dining Plan and, eventually, to Le Cellier’s status at dinner. Finally, Le Cellier became a two-credit restaurant for lunch, too, making it a full-time Signature Restaurant. It also moved to a lunch/dinner menu, removing many cheaper options that were popular with those paying out of pocket.
By now, I think the perception of Le Cellier has soured with many Walt Disney World fans. Nevertheless, it remains a difficult ADR even as many steakhouses in or around Epcot have ample availability. On that basis, Le Cellier remains overrated despite not being as overrated as before. It’s still a good restaurant with some solid options, just not deserving of its enduring popularity or price points.
Chefs de France – Another World Showcase entry joins Le Cellier on the list of overrated restaurants. Although Chefs de France never had the same buzz as Le Cellier, it has had high price points and enjoyed popularity thanks to relatively approachable and crowd-pleasing cuisine.
The only problem? It’s overpriced, pedestrian, and like the fourth best dining option in the France pavilion. Actually, it’s the fifth best if there’s a festival happening that has a moderately-good menu–so pretty much always! It doesn’t help that the restaurant is always chaotic and there’s no atmosphere to speak of–it’s a get people in and out as quickly as possible kind of place that focuses on efficiency over experience.
This is probably going to be a controversial pick, but we just don’t think Chefs de France lives up to the hype, and we’ve had eerily similar meals from Costco’s premade bulk meals. (In fairness, those were very good, but frozen food shouldn’t compare to one of World Showcase’s most popular restaurants.)
Hollywood Brown Derby – There are two restaurants from Disney’s Hollywood Studios that we routinely see Walt Disney World fans call overrated: Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater and 50’s Prime Time Cafe. Neither of them made this list. This comes down to both not really being rated that highly (if so many people hate them, it’s tough to say they’re overrated) and, frankly, fans missing the point. Disney is best at atmosphere and theme, so if a restaurant excels at those things, it’s deserving of praise.
Instead, our first of two picks for overrated restaurants at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the Brown Derby. This is a tough one, and even as I write this, I’m ready for it to have a redemption arc. It pains me to see Brown Derby, a restaurant we once loved, on this list. However, our last couple of meals here have been bad. Low quality dishes poorly prepared in small portion sizes at astronomical prices.
It seems like Brown Derby’s reputation as the “fancy” restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has made it more popular and is resting on its laurels as a result. Regardless, we’d rather dine at any of the the table service restaurants at DHS–including the next entry–before overpaying for another mediocre meal at Brown Derby.
Toy Story Roundup Rodeo BBQ – Two years from now, Roundup Rodeo BBQ probably won’t make this list. But as of 2024, it still will due to having that new toy-restaurant smell. Reviews among Walt Disney World fans haven’t exactly been glowing, and word has already gotten out that Roundup Rodeo BBQ is not great.
There are a number of reasons Toy Story Land’s new restaurant doesn’t live up to the hype. For one, it’s not a character restaurant nor is it Pizza Planet–two things just about every Toy Story fan would’ve preferred. Beyond that, it’s essentially a windowless warehouse, with atmosphere that’s loud and chaotic (unsurprisingly, given the target audience).
On the food front, there’s both bad and good at Roundup Rodeo BBQ. Quality is generally about on par with Regal Eagle Smokehouse, a counter service restaurant at Epcot. Even with the good items, you’ll likely notice that Roundup Rodeo BBQ is more about quantity than quality. All in all, Roundup Rodeo BBQ is an enjoyable restaurant in Toy Story Land for families wanting a place to eat unlimited crowd-pleasing cuisine while immersed in characters from the movies, and having fun in the process. Anyone without young children should stay far away.
Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ – We’ve enjoyed every meal we’ve had at Homecomin.’ We’ve met Chef Art Smith there on several occasions, and he seems like a great guy who really cares about his guests and the quality of the food being served to them. From those experiences, I can understand why Homecomin’ routinely ranks as the #1 restaurant at Disney Springs in fan polls.
But c’mon. In a place with Jaleo, The Boathouse, Morimoto Asia, STK, and Raglan Road, it’s very difficult to crown a comfort food spot #1. There is just so much ambitious and envelope-pushing cuisine at Disney Springs, whereas Homecomin’ is serving up fried chicken, doughnuts, country fried steak, short rib, and other such specialties.
Don’t misinterpret this: Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ is very good for what it is, and we enjoy it! Again, “overrated” and “bad” are not synonyms. We’re not trying to troll or stir up controversy…we’re just saying that maybe Homecomin’ is not best-of-class and its legion of diehard fans make it out to be more than it actually is.
If this selection made you mad, you probably aren’t going to love our choice for this list’s final entry, either…
‘Ohana – Our most recent review of ‘Ohana encapsulates the emotional highs and lows of a meal at this beloved restaurant far better than a couple of paragraphs in this run-down. In a nutshell, ‘Ohana is a Walt Disney World institution for good reason–but that reason is not the food. It’s also not the prices. Or its ease of booking.
For many longtime Walt Disney World fans, revisiting ‘Ohana is an emotional experience evoking all sorts of nostalgia and fond memories. There’s also something to be said for the actual atmosphere, with the fireworks, views of Cinderella Castle, and Electrical Water Pageant. Then there’s the communal energy and vibe that yes, in fact, ‘Ohana does mean family.
Given all of that, we can hardly fault Walt Disney World fans who love ‘Ohana. We love ‘Ohana! However, our love for ‘Ohana is based more on the idea of the restaurant as it exists in our hearts and fond memories of past experiences. Trying to untangle that from today’s actual ‘Ohana experience is messy, but to the extent that we can, our perspective is that present-day ‘Ohana is overrated. If we were first-timers visiting Walt Disney World, booking ‘Ohana based on all of the recommendations, we’d leave scratching our heads, wondering what all the hype is about. Walt Disney World first-timers, eat at Sebastian’s Bistro instead of ‘Ohana. Trust us on that.
Which Walt Disney World table service restaurants would you consider overrated? 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!