Where We Ate On Our Disney Vacation

If you’ve been following this blog, you know how much I love food! Today’s post is all about the sit-down restaurants we visited on our most recent Disney vacation. I hope you have a snack because this is a long post that will make your stomach growl!

Scheduling dining reservations at Disney World can be so stressful. Guests can make dining reservations 60 days in advance (and I highly recommend you do so!). We kept hearing different information about what time the reservations opened, so we were ready at 5:45 am with our laptop open in case they were available early. For us, the reservations opened at 6:00 am, even though the Disney website even says that dining availability “typically begins each day at approximately 5:45 AM.”

One thing to keep in mind is that if you’re staying at a Disney World resort, you can make your dining reservations for your whole trip when that first day opens up. For example, we were staying Tuesday through Sunday, so we were able to make advanced dining reservations for our whole trip starting 60 days from that Tuesday. Because of that, you’re more likely to get the restaurants you want later in your trip than on that first day.

Our first park day was Hollywood Studios, and I wanted a reservation at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater because my husband has never been. That wasn’t available, so our second choice was the Hollywood Brown Derby.

Our next park day was Wednesday at Magic Kingdom. We were able to snag one of the more difficult reservations at Cinderella’s Royal Table in the castle. Friday was at EPCOT, and we grabbed a reservation at San Angel Inn Restaurante in the Mexico pavilion. Saturday was at Animal Kingdom and we reserved a spot at Tiffins. I had heard some bad and/or mediocre reviews on some of these and was a bit concerned, but spoiler alert, we didn’t have a bad meal our whole trip!

Hollywood Brown Derby

I’ve never had a strong desire to eat at this restaurant, but my husband’s coworker had a good experience, so we figured we’d give it a go. Hollywood Studios doesn’t have a ton of sit-down restaurants that appeal to me and honestly, I’d be ok just snacking my way through the park.

To start, I ordered the margarita flight (I believe this is on the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge menu, but you can order it inside, too). The flight comes with a class, blood orange, and pomegranate margarita; all three were delicious, but the pomegranate was my favorite.

For my entree, I ordered the Braised Short Rib with Parsnip Purée, Spring Vegetable Succotash and Truffle Aïoli. It was delicious! The short ribs were so tender, and all the flavors went so well together. I would never order succotash because it just doesn’t sound appealing, but I ate every bite. John ordered the infamous Cobb Salad and added shrimp. He was disappointed that no one offered to toss it for him (even though he saw many other people getting that done) and felt just ‘meh’ about it. I’m not one to order a salad, so I thought it was weird to order 🙂

For dessert, I really wanted to try the 50th Celebration Baked Alaska. For some reason I thought it would be on fire (am I thinking of a different dessert?). I was really disappointed in this. It was rock hard, and I had to stab it to get a piece, which meant I was also trying not to send the whole thing flying across the table. Not great and do not recommend.

Cinderella’s Royal Table

I know a lot of adults find it odd to eat here without children, but we did and had a great time. We also weren’t the only couples here, so don’t feel awkward or weird about it. We had a small table near the window with a few views of Magic Kingdom.

Our waitress was lovely and really made the experience wonderful. She kept calling us ‘Princess’ and ‘Prince’ which did feel a bit weird, but we embraced it. This is a signature dining experience which means it’s a bit pricier – character dining hasn’t returned, making it less expensive than normal but it also means the princesses won’t be there for your dining.

Here, you get to choose an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert for $62 ($37 for kids). For appetizers, I ordered the Castle Salad (Romaine, Brussels Sprouts, Citrus, and Fennel with a Passion Fruit Vinaigrette) and John ordered the Steamed Mussels (Prince Edward Island Mussels, White Wine-Coconut Curry, Tomatoes and Cilantro served with Garlic Toast). The salad was light and refreshing (and I’m sure my body was like, yay green stuff! amidst all the sweets and treats). John enjoyed the mussels because they’re something he wouldn’t normally have.

For entrees, I picked the Magic Carpet Ride (Spiced-crusted Pork Tenderloin and Pork Belly with Curry Couscous, Glazed Rainbow Carrots, and a Peppercorn Flying Carpet). It was absolutely delicious! I loved the Middle-Eastern flavors and spices and could’ve eaten buckets of that couscous. John ordered the Sustainable Catch En Papillote (Marbled Potatoes, Chimichurri, and Seasonal Vegetables) and really liked the flavors.

For dessert, I ordered The Clock Strikes Twelve (Dark Chocolate Mousse with a Caramel and Crunchy Praline Center, served with Chocolate Sauce and Hazelnut Gelato). I’m not usually wild about mousse desserts, but this was so good, especially the hazelnut gelato! I have a massive sweet tooth, so this dessert hit the spot. John ordered the Jaq and Gus (Cheesecake with Seasonal Flavors and Garnishes). The cheesecake was good but was pretty basic.

San Angel Inn Restaurante

I listen to a lot of podcasts where people recap their Disney vacations, and this was one restaurant that someone said wasn’t even as good as their local Mexican restaurant. However, I had a fabulous meal here, and you really can’t beat the theming and atmosphere, especially when you’re trying to avoid the crowds and heat at EPCOT. I ate here as a kid and John wanted to check this off our list.

Make sure you ride the Gran Fiesta Tour when you’re in the pavilion!

Chips and salsa are not included, but you can order them for $6, and it also comes with cheese dip. We didn’t need this and ended up leaving a lot of it. I ordered the very popular La Cava Avocado (Tromba blanco tequila, melon liqueur, fresh avocado and lime juice, with hibiscus salt rim) just to be different and…it was different! This is not a sweet margarita that I would normally order, but it was good. John ordered the Black Magic (Created by Neil Patrick Harris. Ojo de Tigre mexcal, blackberry purée, black currant liqueur, lime and mint. Served frozen.). I didn’t care for it because it had a super smokey taste, but he liked it.

For entrees, I got the Enchiladas de Pollo (Corn Tortillas filled with Chipotle Chicken covered with Salsa Verde, Crema Mexicana, Cotija Cheese and Crispy Onion Straws atop Refried Beans served with Plantains topped with Crema Mexicana and Cotija Cheese). They arrived in a skillet and were SO GOOD! I could eat those plantains every single day of my life.

John must’ve been on a fish kick because he got the Pescado a La Veracruzana (Seared snapper atop potatoes with a cilantro-lime vinaigrette made with capers, olives, bell peppers, Spanish onions and tomatoes). He thought it was just ok

We didn’t order dessert because 1) we were so full and 2) there is so much food at EPCOT, especially during festivals that we had more than enough options to choose from outside.

Tiffins Restaurant

Tiffins is the signature dining restaurant at Animal Kingdom. We had a delicious meal, but I don’t think this restaurant is for everyone. If you’re not adventurous, I might avoid it.

To start our meal, we ordered the Honey-Chili Glazed Pork Belly (Chorizo and Cheese Biscuit, Soft-poached Egg, Tasso Gravy). If there is pork belly on the menu, I will order it. The bread service is the most popular appetizer, but we were really happy with our choice.

For beverages, I ordered the Lamu Libation (Starr African Rum, Cruzan Banana Rum, and Guava Purée with Orange, Lime, and Pineapple Juices topped with Gosling’s 151 Rum) and John got two drinks throughout the meal. I can’t remember his first choice, but his second was the Annapurna Zing (Bombay Sapphire Gin, Passion Fruit Purée, Mint, Simple Syrup, and Lime Juice topped with Ginger Beer and a glowing Lotus Flower).

The meal also came with bread and a unique, tasty sauce!

For entrees, I got the recommended Butter Chicken (Chickpea-Rice Croquette, English Peas, Young Squash, Pickled Onion) because the waiter said the sauce was the chef’s grandmother’s recipe. It was a great choice, and I really enjoyed the croquette…but could’ve done without the peas 🙂

John got the very scary-looking Whole-Fried Sustainable Fish (Coconut Fried Rice, Green and Red Curry, Thai Green Papaya Slaw, Peanuts). It was good, but I don’t care for my food looking back at me. John, on the other hand, said it was his favorite meal of the trip!

We also didn’t get dessert here because there are so many delicious food options around Animal Kingdom and nothing looked appealing on the menu.

Chef Mickey’s

This is another dining option that books quickly and is often considered more of a kid-based dining option. John wanted to try it, and I’m all for character dining!

We had a nice spot next to the window with a view of Magic Kingdom. This is currently family-style (which I prefer so much over a buffet). Our waitress brought out yogurt, fruit, and a basket of breads.

The sweet fritters were really delicious; the rolls were kind of tasteless and boring.

Then she brought a heaping serving of eggs, Mickey waffles, bacon, pork and chicken sausage, and brisket, a Mickey pancake, “loaded” potato cheese casserole, and banana bread French toast. 

And how can you not love a breakfast that comes with a Mickey hug??

Final Thoughts

Like I said earlier, we didn’t have a bad meal the whole trip. We like changing up what restaurants we visit and are always wanting to try new things, but I think most of these we would be willing to visit again. The only one I probably wouldn’t be very excited about is The Hollywood Brown Derby. 

What is your favorite restaurant to visit when at Disney World? Where should we go on our next trip? Let me know in the comments!

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