My Top 8 Most Underrated WDW Dining Locations

Cheeseburger Bao Bun from Satu’li Canteen

When it comes to planning a trip to the most magical place on earth, choosing where to eat is a big decision, and one that has to be made quite far in advance if you want to snag all the right places.

I love planning for advanced dining reservations (ADRs), and I’m always on the hunt for somewhere new and different to try; I like to believe that one day I’ll have eaten in every restaurant on Disney property, but I’ll always end up going back to my favourite spots, plus I doubt I’ll ever keep up with the expansion and addition of new eateries, but I can dream, hey?

And you don’t even need to be a total Disney buff to know of some of the most talked about dining locations of WDW; places like Be Our Guest and Cinderella’s Royal Table are so iconic that I defy anyone who wouldn’t want to take a trip to these magical places. But are they the best?

These are some of my favourite lesser-known dining options that you may want to visit on your next trip:

Table Service

Grand Floridian Cafe – over 1900 Park Fare

I must admit, when I used to think of a good place to eat in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, my mind always used to jump to 1900 Park Fare. I’ve never eaten there before myself, but I see lots of people going there all the time, although I have heard some mixed reviews. Instead, I’ve always opted for GFC, and I’ve had both breakfast and dinner there, both of which have blown me away.

Sure, you don’t have the character element that 1900 Park Fare gives, but the menu is absolutely flawless in my opinion, and if you’re not on the dining plan, its actually one of the most reasonably priced table service meals I’ve ever seen – our dinner there should have cost around $65 plus gratuity for the two of us (main and dessert), and when I had breakfast there it would have been only $41 for two of us.

Mickey’s Backyard BBQ – over Hoop de Doo Revue

Again, I’ve never actually done Hoop de Doo, but having had the BEST time at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ, I’m in no rush to switch. Both cost the same both in cash and dining credits, both are unlimited buffets which included beer and wine for over 21s, and both have musical entertainment but Mickey’s Backyard has the added bonus of character meets and the opportunity to get up and get involved in the dancing with Mickey and the gang, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a night of more fun on Disney property. I’ve got a full review here.

Skipper Canteen

I was actually really surprised by the lunch we had here back in November – I had booked it because I wanted to try somewhere new, and then when we looked at the menu both Matthew and I felt a little meh about the offerings, but when the food actually arrived it was amazing! Yes, its a Jungle Cruise themed restaurant so there’s puns flying everywhere, but its also got a real Joe Rohde vibe to the place and the cast members were all really lovey, plus it was pretty quiet when we went!

Tusker House

I feel like I rarely hear people talking about restaurants in Animal Kingdom, so this may not be as underrated as I think it is, but absolutely rate this place. Now I haven’t been since 2014, so there may have been some changes but my whole family were blown away by the food, which not only catered for my picky-eating cousins (who at the time went as young as 5) but also for the adventurous adults in the group. Its a buffet – bonus – and although we had no idea when we booked it, its also a character meal!

Quick Service

Flame Tree Barbecue

If you ever need to make your dining credits go further, or need good value for money on your meals while in Animal Kingdom, this is the place you need to go – one meal could easily feed 2-3 people with the portion sizes you get! Also, if you want a decent view of Rivers of Light without queuing or paying for the dinner packages, grab your food from here early on and head down to the seating area on the edge of the water. Sure, you’re a little further away from the main seats, but you still get a great view!

Satu’li Canteen

This may not be underrated exactly, but if you’ve heard that its good, then that’s wrong because its AMAZING. Hands down, this is probably the best quick service meal I have ever had.

Yak and Yeti Local Food Cafes

Last Animal Kingdom place, I promise! If you’re a fan of the table service restaurant, but maybe you aren’t on the dining plan, I’m gonna share a secret with you: the honey chicken that you get in the restaurant for $18.99 is identical to the quick service alternative at $10.99, its just in a plastic container rather than served on a proper plate. This is also a good place to grab breakfast if you’ve run to Expedition Everest at park opening rather than joining the 3 hour queue for Flights of Passage..

Pinocchio Village Haus

Now this may be out of date as I’ve heard rumours that PVH is changing/has changed its offering, but this was always one of my favourite places to grab lunch when in Magic Kingdom. The flatbreads make a wonderful alternative to the normal doughy pizza bases you get in most quick service places and there’s always a tonne of seating available, plus I like waving to the Its a Small World boats as they pass below the window!

What restaurants do you think don’t get enough attention?

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Bon Voyage Breakfast at Trattoria Al Forno

When Walt Disney World announced its newest character breakfast back at the start of the year, I’ll admit to a lot of squealing, followed by a desperate need to book it for our November trip.

It was a combination of a few of my favourite things: the Boardwalk, plus Flynn Rider and Rapunzel, plus adorable themed pastries = a very happy Lottie. Oh, and did I mention Ariel and Prince Eric come along for the adventure too?!

Once seated in the restaurant, each table gets a presented with a frying pan full of delicious breakfast pastries including chocolate braids, fruit-filled clam shells and mini muffins to start you off while you peruse the menu.

All of the menu options are either Tangled or Little Mermaid themed, from a tower of pancakes to a swimmer’s delight omelette; its certainly fancier food than your regular Disney breakfast, and its delicious! I personally couldn’t decide between the Tangled eggs or the Tangled pancake tower, so my server was wonderful enough to offer us the chance to get a half-size portion of the pancakes on the house as well as each of our choices, so I got to try them both!

The characters are announced as they enter the dining room – they come in individually, staggered by about 5-10 mins intervals, and they head to the far end of the restaurant first, and work their way back. As well as coming to everyone’s tables, there’s also a little procession that happens, where kids are invited to parade around the restaurant with the character while music plays, which is very sweet! We met Flynn first, followed by Rapunzel then Ariel and lastly Eric, but don’t be put off by the fact that they come up individually, the characters interact a lot with each other while making the rounds so often Flynn will call Rapunzel over to look at things etc, and in any case you can ask for group photos!

The meal counts as one table service credit on the dining plan, and if you’re paying out of pocket then you’re looking at about $38 per adult once tax has been added, and while its a little more than some other character breakfast options, itsΒ Γ  la carte rather than buffet and the food options are a bit nicer than some of your other options! For me, the real selling point is the ability to meet Flynn and Eric, who are rare meets otherwise, plus Tangled and The Little Mermaid are two of my favourite films anyway!

What’s your favourite place for breakfast in Walt Disney World?

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Be Our Guest – Which Meal Is Best?

Be Our Guest Restaurant is one of the most popular dining spots in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, and tomorrow actually marks 5 years since the Beast’s castle opened its doors to guests.

Situated in Fantasyland, the restaurant opens for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and each meal offers guests a different dining experience. I recently ticked breakfast off the list of meals I’ve had here, so now I’ve done the set, here’s the low-down on what each meal offers!

Breakfast

BOG is one of the three restaurants in Magic Kingdom that opens for breakfast at 8am, meaning that if you can get a reservation then you get early access to the park, and the perks that come with that AKA empty Main Street and castle photos! Now don’t let the word reservation fool you – while advanced reservations are usually for table service meals, breakfast is actually quick service, so a worthwhile use of a QS credit if you’re on the dining plan! That said, however, while you do visit a counter to pay for your meal, the food is brought directly to you at your table. And to add more magic to the experience, you can actually pre-order your food on the Walt Disney World website so that you don’t have to even worry about deciding what to eat on the day! As for the food..

This is the Croque Madame, which was one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had in WDW, but there are a few options from classic breakfast dishes to sweet options, and every table also gets a selection of fruit and assorted pastries to tuck into as well!

If you’re not on the dining plan, entrees are $25.

Lunch

Lunch is also a quick service meal, but as with breakfast its highly recommended that you get a reservation, but if you can’t snag one, try to get to the restaurant for when it opens and you stand a good chance of a minimal wait! Again, while being technically classified as a counter service, you order at a booth but the food is brought to you wherever you choose to sit, whether that’s in the West Wing, the Ballroom or the Gallery.

The menu is primarily sandwiches and salads, but there are some soup and other veggie options. I tend to stick to the Croque Monsieur, which is basically a ham and cheese toastie but it comes with a good helping of fries and definitely worth a quick service credit!

Entrees at lunch are all around the $17 mark.

Dinner

I did dinner for the first time here in February this year. Dinner is table service, and as such guests receive a bit more of a magical experience, including each party being given a Lumiere to light their way to the table. The restaurant is a little more packed in during dinner (or at least it felt like it the one time I was there!) so it can be a bit louder.

The food is also a lot fancier, which you’d certainly hope for with a table service meal. I really enjoyed the food – I mean when do I not? – but compared to other amazing meals I’ve had in WDW it was average, so personally I don’t think I’d do dinner here again if I wasn’t on the dining plan.

That said though, once you finish your meal you get to experience the other magical moment that having dinner here gets you, and that’s meeting the Beast himself!

Dinner entrees range from $22-36, appetizers are $10-15 and desserts are $5.

Good things to know

With it being such a popular destination, the restaurant can be pretty noisy, especially during the quick service mealtimes, but if you get breakfast early it can be quite quiet, depending on the time of year. The restaurant is also well set up with plenty of different table sizes, including big round tables that can fit a party of 10.

What I cannot fault about the restaurant in any way is the decor, so be sure to explore each of the three rooms of the restaurant, including seeing the Enchanted Rose in the West Wing! My favourite room is the Grand Ballroom, and I love watching the snow fall outside the window.

Whatever meal you choose, you’re in for a magical meal and its an absolute must for any Beauty and the Beast fans!

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Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show at Disneyland Paris

On our last trip to Disneyland Paris, the family and I decided to try something we’ve never done before, and as we were staying at Hotel Cheyenne and the cowboy feel was everywhere, we thought we’d give Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show a try!

We went to the earlier show, so arrived at about 6.15 and were presented with our seat tickets and cowboy hats before going through to the bar area, where a live band were performing country music favourites – even Goofy made a special appearance! When the show was about to begin, guests were invited to make their way into the show arena. We were in the red section, so we were sat on the left side of the arena, and as we had category 2 tickets we were seated in the third row, but the view was great so I don’t imagine you get it much better by paying the extra for category 1. The seating is done in a row of benches, and we were lucky to get in first so we were right on the end of the row, but there wasn’t any room to get passed people so other people were having to climb down into the seating, which was a bit of a faff.

The benches were laid with all the crockery ready to go, and there were several baskets of tortilla chips spread along the row, but it was a little unclear what the protocol for food was going to be so we weren’t sure if we should be diving in or saving ourselves. The servers came along with jugs of drinks, and the options were water, coke or beer and these options were unlimited as part of the meal, but if you wanted anything else you could go to the bar and order drinks separately.

Once the show started, the food also started being served, and first up there was a course of chilli with cornbread, then once that had been cleared away there was chicken, ribs, sausages and potato wedges, and the portion sizes were huge so we definitely weren’t left wanting! If you had any room left at the end of all that, dessert was an apple crumble with ice-cream and there was coffee available too.

The show itself was bizarre and excellent at the same time! It was a combination of cowboy stunts such as trick-roping and cow-hearding (yes, there were real cows involved) and also skits and sketches, plus more live music, oh, and I did I mention that Mickey and the gang were there?! As well as the real cowboys and performers, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and the chipmunks took part in the fun, they were dressed for the part too! The show also featured some native American scenes, so the whole frontier was represented.

The second half of the show was done as a sort of tournament; each colour section had cowboys and indians representing them as they took part in various contests, and the audience was encouraged to bang the benches, cutlery and plates while cheering on the contestants which was a lot of fun, and there were also a few opportunities for audience participation.

Overall, it was a fun evening, and I’m definitely glad we did it but I’m not sure if I’d rush to go back. The food was great and the show was entertaining but I imagine it would be the same every time and I think that the novelty would wear off quickly. On a side note, I also have no idea if there are any vegetarian options available as I didn’t see any alternatives dishes being served and about 80% of the food was meat, so worth bearing in mind if you are a veggie!

You do get to keep the hat though!

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Minnie’s Beach Bash Breakfast at Cape May Cafe


Something I love doing when planning Disney trips is finding new and different restaurants, especially those that don’t seem to be on the radar of most people, and when they’re little-known character meals, its even better!

Disney’s Beach Club Resort is my dream WDW resort, and when I discovered that they have their own character breakfast, hosted by Minnie Mouse, I knew it was somewhere to visit on my trip with Sarah. Cape May Cafe is located on the ground floor of Beach Club, and the restaurant fits in with the theme of the hotel perfectly, from the beach hut style canopies and cute seaside artwork.



The food is a classic Disney buffet breakfast, with hot options like sausages, bacon and eggs, assorted pastries and fruit options, cereals, yogurts and sweet goodies like Mickey waffles and pancakes. We planned our breakfast for the morning after I ran the Princess 10K, so I filled several plates – in the interest of re-fuelling, of course! I love making a buffet breakfast feel like multi-course meal, starting with savoury goodness and finishing with a dessert style final plate!


As the name suggests, of course Minnie makes the rounds to the tables, and she’s also joined by Donald and Goofy. They’re all set for a day at the seaside in the cutest beach outfits, and throughout the meal they stop for a little surfer dance number in the middle of the restaurant. All three of them spent a good amount of time at each table, and we had a great interaction with everyone.


If you’re looking for a character breakfast that’s a little different to the others available, I definitely recommend this, plus it means getting to spend a morning in the Boardwalk area, which is one of my favourite places in WDW! Because you can’t use the International Gateway at Epcot until the World Showcase opens at 11am, if you’re staying onsite you’re better off getting a bus to Hollywood Studios and then hopping on a boat to the resort, or going to Epcot and transferring to a Beach Club bus.

See you at the seaside!

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Mickey’s Backyard BBQ

Just to warn you, I’m about to start gushing because this was easily the best night of our trip.

I’d actually never heard of Mickey’s Backyard before, until one day while trying to decide on our ADRs for Feb, I was scrolling through the dining page of the WDW website, and suddenly it caught my eye. Sarah is a huge country music fan, and the thought of buffet food and dancing with Mickey and the gang had me hooked on the idea of it. Needless to say, it wasn’t a hard sell.

We got the bus from Magic Kingdom to Fort Wilderness and walked round to the Fort Wilderness Pavilion, taking in all the beauty of the campground. We had Category 1 seating, so after we checked in we were taken straight to our reserved spot on the communal bench tables, where we could leave our stuff and head up to meet Mickey and Minnie, and Chip, Dale and Goofy without any queues as it was before Category 2 were let into the pavilion.

We could go straight up to the buffet, where there was a spread of classic bbq food – burgers, hot dogs, ribs, pulled pork, chicken etc, as well as salads, corn bread, macaroni cheese, buns, and we filled our plates with as much as we good, and then grabbed drinks and got back to our table before the crowd of other guests descended, and it wasn’t long before the show kicked off.

The show was lead by Cyclone Sally and Tumbleweed Will who introduced the band and the characters and kicked off the singing and dancing. The evening was filled the music, and once we’d filled our stomachs with the INCREDIBLE food – at least two plates worth – we headed up to dance with the characters. It may have been a little hard to get to some of the characters with all those pesky kids in the way, but we still had the most fun!

At times, the music and dancing was paused and the floor cleared for a trick roper who performed incredible lasso tricks and displays, and also intervals to give the characters (and us!) a break from dancing in the heat – its a great job the pavilion is open air, because it gets quite warm on the dancefloor! In some of these breaks, Mickey and Minnie met by the entrance to the pavilion, and Chip, Dale and Goofy had a spot in the corner to meet, but the queues were always pretty long which is why we were lucky to get in early!

Dessert came in the form of chest freezers filled with premium Mickey bars, and there was also an open bar serving wine and beer for 21+ guests. The whole show lasted about 1.5-2 hours – probably the right length for some of the little kids as it meant everything was wrapped up by 8pm – and the music varied from country classics to Disney favourites, and Chip doing a full dance routine to Let It Go was possibly the highlight of the night for me. There were also group dances – the Cotton Eyed Joe, the macarena etc – and dances performed by the characters. I probably keep saying it, but it was all just so much fun!


The show used two of our Table Service credits, but it was 100% worth it, especially when the bill showed that it should have cost the two of us $144 in total if we’d paid out of pocket. I’d recommend it over any other dinner show and would easily do it again and again!

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Breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table

If you’re looking for somewhere totally magical to eat in the Magic Kingdom, does it really get any better than eating in Cinderella Castle itself? No. The answer is no.

Cinderella’s Royal Table is one of the few restaurants in MK that offers reservations prior to park opening, meaning early access to Main Street USA before the crowds descend, and for me that’s always worth the stress of those 180 day advanced dining reservations! Its a bit of a first-day tradition for me, and both Sarah and I were dying to eat breakfast with the princesses.

With the new welcome show, you’re not able to walk through the castle from Main Street, so its a little detour past Sleepy Hollow and round to the back of the castle from there. Once you’ve checked in for your meal, you enter the castle to be greeted by Cinderella herself in a grand entrance hall – psst, look out for Gus Gus and Jaq! Once you’ve had your photo and your party has been announced, you climb a spiral staircase up into the dining room and are escorted to your table.

I really loved the size of the dining room. I expected it to be much bigger, but its a perfect size to not feel enormous, but also not crowded, and it means that you’re never too far from the gorgeous stained glass window that looks out over Fantasyland. We were brought out a plate of beautiful pastries while we decided on what to choose from the menu, and the juice was constantly flowing so our glasses were never empty.

Over the course of the first 10-15 minutes of our meal, each princess was announced as they entered the restaurant, and we seemed to have a prime seat as we were the first table visited by almost every princess. We met Aurora, Snow White, Ariel and Jasmine, all of whom were so lovely and friendly, and didn’t rush our interactions at all. At points throughout the meal, there was also a wishing ceremony, for which we were each given a plastic wand to wave – I don’t know if they normally give wands to adults but our server David brought us one each anyway!

As well as the pastries, we each ordered the traditional breakfast, which was delicious but after a Mickey shaped blueberry muffin, I struggled to finish the whole plate. Being on the Disney Dining Plan, the meal was 2 table service credits, which was totally worth it for the food, the characters and the experience of dining in the castle – plus our wands of course! The cast members were also so sweet, which for me always makes any meal feel even better, and it was the perfect start to our trip.

We also just had to stop to use the restrooms on the way out just so we could say we’ve been to the loo in the castle, ha!

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