So it’s your first trip to Walt Disney World – first off, CONGRATULATIONS! Welcome to the club, future Disney addict. Welcome to a life of holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and school breaks, all spent at the Mouse’s Kingdom. I promise, you’ll love it. So you have your hotel, airfare, and tickets all bought – now it’s time to think about the most important part of the trip – the food. (Just kidding, food’s only the second most important part of the trip. The parks are a little more important.) It’s time to start booking your dining reservations, and if you’ve read anything else on our blog, you know that you need to book them early so you can get what you want. But what to book? It’s your first trip, you don’t have any favorites yet, and there are SOOOOOO many choices. Today, we’re making our list of top picks for first timers, to help narrow down the options for you a little!
1. Be Our Guest, Lunch Reservation
This restaurant has the quintessential Disney ‘it’ factor. The restaurant is inside a re-creation of Beast’s Castle, and at lunch, the two dining rooms that are open are the perfectly themed ballroom from the Beauty and the Beast dance scene, and the West Wing. The theming in this restaurant is some of Disney’s best, and is an experience everyone should have. We recommend lunch instead of dinner because prices are lower, but the food is still good. Don’t forget to try a cupcake – we recommend the Master’s Cupcake. It’s topped with the grey stuff, which is delicious (if you don’t believe us you can ask the dishes!)
2. Boma, Dinner Reservation
Boma is widely regarded as the best buffet on Disney property. The restaurant is at The Animal Kingdom Lodge, a beautiful Deluxe Resort (which honestly is an experience just to visit), and has amazing African inspired food. The food is exotic enough to please foodies, but tame enough that even the pickiest of eaters will find something they love. Plus, this is one of the only places you can find one of Disney’s most iconic desserts – Zebra Domes. (You aren’t allowed to bring Tupperware to take Zebra Domes home with you. Not that we’ve tried or anything.)
3. Le Chefs De France, Dinner Reservation
You would be remiss to go to Disney World without eating a meal in World Showcase. We recommend eating at our favorite pavilion, France. France has two restaurants, a very expensive (and phenomenal) restaurant named Monsieur Paul, and a lower priced, still good restaurant named Chefs De France. For the price points, French ambiance, and fact that most people like French food, we recommend having your World Showcase meal be at Le Chefs De France on your first trip.
4. The California Grill, Dinner Reservation
Going to do one fancy schmancy meal while you’re in Disney? We think it should be at The California Grill. This hard to get reservation is worth it if you can snag a table. The restaurant sits high atop the Contemporary Hotel, with beautiful views from floor to ceiling windows of Bay Lake, and The Magic Kingdom. Later in the evening, you can step out onto their observation deck for a view of the nightly fireworks show.
5. The Crystal Palace, Lunch Reservation
If you’re only going to do one character meal, we recommend it be The Crystal Palace. The Crystal Palace does what all character meals SHOULD do, and they DON’T all do – marry good friend, good ambiance, and great character interactions. The stars of the meal are the friends of the Hundred Acre Woods, who all come around to meet you. The food at The Crystal Palace is fantastic, and you feel like you’re eating inside a beautifully lit, greenhouse.
6. The Sci-Fi Dine In, Lunch Reservation
The Sci-Fi Dine In is one of the coolest restaurants on property. You won’t write home about the food, but you will be telling people about the experience. Your table is in an old fashioned convertible, while watching clips from old movies, under the stars. It’s everyone’s sock-hop, 1950s, greased lightning dreams come true.
We know that everyone has different restaurants that they recommend for a first timer’s trip (so please, don’t throw things at us if our list differs from yours!), but we hope our list helps take some of the guess work out of making your dining reservations.