The Best Disney World Resort Restaurants – Quick Service
Ample Hills includes to-go pints!
There are more than two dozen hotels inside Disney World, from the budget-priced All-Star Music Resort, to the flagship Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. And for this survey, we got enough responses from the Swan and Dolphin to include them too. We didn’t get enough survey responses for the Four Seasons or Shades of Green, so those restaurants aren’t included here.
We’ll follow the same format as before and start with quick service restaurants. As before, restaurants shown in greendid significantly better than average, while those in reddid significantly worse.
I’m back with more results from our recent Disney World dining survey. Today we’re looking at your top-rated Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios restaurants. (Here are the best Magic Kingdom restaurants, and here are Epcot’s best restaurants.) Like those earlier posts, today’s analysis is based on more than 122,000 Disney World dining surveys we received in 2016.
The Best Animal Kingdom Restaurants
Let’s start with the park’s quick-service restaurants. As before, restaurants in green are significantly better than average, while restaurants in red are significantly worse than average:
This is a review of Red Rose Taverne, a new restaurant at Disneyland which opened to promote the 2017 film, Beauty and the Beast. It temporarily replaces the Pinocchio-themed Village Haus Restaurant. Red Rose Taverne brings some new decor, and thankfully a much improved menu. First, lets take a look at the menu:
Red Rose Taverne Menu
When I saw this menu it struck me at how packed with unique items it is. A Cauli-Flower sandwich? Poutine pizza? I never expected to see items like this at a quick service theme park restaurant. In the last couple of years Disneyland’s menus have become a bit bland and uninteresting, but Red Rose Taverne seems to have a perfect balance for those looking for items like basic hamburgers, and others looking for something slightly more adventurous.
Watch our video review on the Red Rose Taverne menu.
Are you excited about the upcoming all new character meal that’s slated to debut at Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk on April 2? The new breakfast option called Bon Voyage Breakfast, will feature some of your favorite Disney couples – Rapuzel and Flynn Rider from Tangled and Ariel and Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid.
The breakfast menu will include items with an Italian inspiration with names that are fitting of the characters who are hosting the meal.
Breakfast will begin with your choice of either a mixed berry parfait or fresh fruit salad and a frying pan of pastries featuring braided breakfast bread and clam shell pastries.
With so many changes in the works for Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Boulder Ridge Villas, it was inevitable we’d see a new dining hotspot for the resort’s guests. The latest addition to the resort’s great slate of restaurants, Geyser Point Bar & Grill, recently opened while construction crews add finishing touches to the new lakeside villas and pool area. Functioning as a hybrid quick service location and outdoor bar for the neighboring quiet pool, Geyser Point is currently the main quick serve dining location for the resort while Trout Pass Pool Bar and Roaring Fork undergo refurbishment.
I dropped in for lunch on opening day to get a look at the new menus and location, and at first glance, Geyser Point really wowed me. The location is spectacular – set right on the edge of Bay Lake (adjacent to Trout Pass and the geyser walkway), the covered (with an actual roof!) cushy seating area surrounds a central bar, with a quick service window and accompanying drink refill station on one exterior edge. The open-air seating area features built-in fans and heaters, useful for both of Florida’s seasons (the two-week winter and then summer), as well as pull-down shade screens on all sides that will protect guests from inclement weather.
This place is pretty versatile – you can order quick food to-go, or stay a while and have your food delivered to you in the seating area (on real plates with real silverware – a true luxury at Walt Disney World quick service locations). If bar/lounge food is more your speed, you can take a seat and one of the roaming cocktail servers will come to take your order from the separate bar menu. Once you’re done with your meal (either quick food or bar menu food), Cast Members will come clear your table for you.
Quick service food options are pretty traditional fare – sandwiches and salads, but the menu emphasizes seafood options (crab cakes and grilled salmon) uncommon at many other resort quick service locations. Even the burger comes with a slightly-elevated option – you can grab the standard beef burger common around Walt Disney World, but you can also opt for a bison burger. The menu is definitely a little more adventurous than the resort’s other quick service location, Roaring Fork (which serves solid, simple sandwiches, flatbreads, and salads).
If you’ve been to Disney Springs in recent months, you’ve probably noticed the large-scale renovations going on with the classic Empress Lilly stationary steamship, formerly home to Fulton’s Crab House. The seafood eatery closed this past April to make way for an updated restaurant. This month, though, we finally get to enjoy this new restaurant in a familiar home, now called Paddlefish. With an updated menu and all-new décor inside and out, I was pretty excited to give Paddlefish a try and see how it compares in the now highly competitive Disney Springs dining arena.
Reservations are now open for booking for meals starting February 20th; in the meantime, the restaurant is working on a solely walk-up only basis. I was able to snag a table right away midweek for an early dinner, ready to sample from the extensive dinner menu. Be warned: lunch and dinner are not the same menus here (as is common at many Disney Springs restaurants like neighboring Boathouse, Homecoming, and Frontera Cocina), and they even have a special Sunday brunch menu, so check out TouringPlans’ menu pages to see which meal fits your budget and appetite the best. Disney Dining Plan is accepted here, as well as Tables in Wonderland, Annual Passholder, and DVC Member discounts.
There aren’t a lot of restaurants that scare me. Even with a newly revamped menu, though, Planet Hollywood Observatory kind of scared me. I had been to the old restaurant a few times prior to the recent transition, and never had a remarkable meal, on par with reader surveys that rank Planet Hollywood as the least-liked restaurant in Walt Disney World. I knew, though, that for a recent lunch visit, I’d have to approach the new Planet Hollywood with an open mind, with hopes that things had improved.
First impressions of the new interior: it’s a bit boring now, far less tacky and kitschy than before. Much of the Hollywood memorabilia has been relegated to the stairwells and corners, with lots of brick and projections now taking center stage on the walls. It’s also very, very loud now, especially once the restaurant is jam-packed with guests. To take advantage of the nice day outside, and steer away from the noise, my party requested an outdoor deck table, overlooking Disney Springs. We were still treated to a mid-meal blast of “Afternoon Delight” from the neighboring speakers (an experience, I assure you), but it was much tamer, noise-wise, outside.
If you’re not following TouringPlans on YouTube, you’re missing out. Case in point – on a recent trip to Tokyo Disneyland, our own fearless eater, Guy Selga, made some great videos for you of some of the best (and most unusual) food at Tokyo Disneyland. From hamburgers on a chocolate bun with cream cheese and strawberry to all manner of churros – Guy tried it all with the help of our good friends at the Disney Tourist Blog.
Big changes are taking place at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge! That includes the creation of a brand new quick service walk up window that will be opening on February 13. Geyser Point Bar & Grill will be an open-air pool bar located along the water’s edge of the resort and it will feature cedar beams and natural stone, perfectly reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest that the resort so fabulously replicates.
Guests will be able to enjoy an artisanal beverage courtesy of the Pacific Northwest, as well as small plates such as Shrimp on a Wire with Miso-Lime Vinaigrette, Togarashi, Shishito Peppers, and Chili-Aïolili; a Bison Burger with Tillamook Cheddar; House-smoked Salmon BLT with Lemon-Caper Mayonnaise; Grilled Portobello, Zucchini, Roasted Red Peppers, Tomato, and Multi-Grain Salad with Goat Cheese; Chocolate Brownie Mousse with Caramel Popcorn and Toasted Meringue; and a house-made seasonal pie.
Due to the opening of this new dining establishment, two other locations will be closing for refurbishment on February 13. Roaring Fork and Trout Pass Pool Bar will see updates and fresh looks that will debut later this year. During the closures, Guests will be able to get quick breakfast, lunch, or dinner option at the new Geyser Point Bar & Grill. In addition, Territory Lounge will be offering a continental-style breakfast including coffees, pastries, and a yogurt parfait.
Stay tuned to the blog for further updates about Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
Can you feel the love in the air? It’s not just because Valentine’s Day is quickly coming up. No….it’s because today Disney announced that an all-new character breakfast will be debuting this spring at Trattoria al Forno.
This table service restaurant located at Disney’s BoardWalk will feature a great way to start your day with a fun meal that not only includes some of your favorite Disney Princesses, but also their Princes, as well! Characters will include Rapunzel and Flynn from Tangled and Ariel and Eric from The Little Mermaid.
Not much else is known about this new dining opportunity. Stay tuned to the blog for further information about this great breakfast option.