In this post, we will take a look at the best in park table service restaurants WDW has to offer. As I mentioned in our Top 11 Table Service Restaurants at Walt Disney World Hotels post, most of the best dining options in WDW are either at Disney hotels or Disney Springs. That being said, there are still some very solid in park dining options.
Typically, in park restaurants offer better theming, but the food quality tends to slip a bit. Most of these restaurants offer food in the “pretty good – good” range, with a few exceptions you will read about below. With that being said, lets look at our top 11 in park table service restaurants at Walt Disney World.
11. San Angel Inn
The highlight of San Angel Inn is its atmosphere. Located inside the Mexican pavilion temple at Epcot, the restaurant offers one of the prettiest settings of any WDW restaurant. You sit under an eternal night sky, watching the boats from Grand Fiesta Tour sail by with a volcano off in the distance. Its really beautiful. The only downside is the restaurant does place tables very close together with takes away from the romance a bit.
We’ve heard many mixed reviews on the food offered here, which suggests inconsistency from the kitchen. For what its worth, we have never had a problem with the food here and always found it to be on the good – really good side.
The restaurant offers more traditional Mexican dishes, as opposed to the Americanized “tex-mex” so don’t go here expecting to order tacos and burritos. Stand out dishes for us have been the Carne Asade and the Chicken with Mole sauce.
10. Coral Reef
Coral Reef is another restaurant that seems to suffer from the occasional off day in the kitchen. We have had meals that were out of this world here, and also that left a lot to be desired. This is a bit disappointing as the restaurant has one of the coolest themes on property.
Located inside the Seas pavilion, an entire wall running the full length of the restaurant is made up of the giant (for lack of a better word) ocean tank inside the pavilion. You can see all kinds of sea creatures (sharks, rays, turtles, etc..) swimming around while you dine. Its a really cool setting.
The Chocolate Wave is one of the better in park desserts as well. Catch Coral Reef on a day when the kitchen is on and its tough to beat.
9. Biergarten Restaurant
The 2nd of the World Showcase restaurants to make the list, Biergarten is (not surprisingly) located inside the Germany pavilion. The food is solid for a buffet and offers all sorts of items that you won’t find anywhere else on property.
The restaurant has a very fun atmosphere with a polka band playing as sort of the master of ceremonies. They play (you guessed it) polka music and guests of all ages are invited up to dance along if they so choose. Occasionally they will lead in a restaurant wide toast as well which is fun.
One thing to note here is that, in German tradition, the restaurant is family style seating. This means you will be seated with other families (assuming you don’t have a 12 person party) so if you are shy and don’t like meeting new people, this may not be the best place for you.
8. Be Our Guest (Dinner)
Here we are to the most hyped restaurant in all of WDW. Be Our Guest is the single toughest reservation to get on property as everyone and their mothers wants the chance to dine inside Beast’s Castle.
Unfortunately, the amount of hype is a bit overblown and work the involved getting a reservation doesn’t always pay off. The problems with this restaurant most likely stem from it being a quick serve experience for breakfast and dinner.
Most people probably book here thinking they want to dine in the ballroom from the iconic scene in the movie. Ironically, this is the worst room in the restaurant to be seated. Its very loud and frankly feels a bit like a cafeteria. We much prefer either the West Wing or the Music Box room.
That being said, its certainly not bad. The food is very good (the Grey Stuff is in fact delicious) and the theming is great of course, it’s something about the overall experience just falls a bit flat to us. If it weren’t the most popular restaurant in all of WDW then we probably wouldn’t be so hard it, but for the hype we expect better.
7. Jungle Cruise Skipper Canteen
The Skipper Canteen is our personal favorite restaurant inside of The Magic Kingdom. The menu is on the unique side and we’ve found the food to be very good most of the time.
The real highlight of the restaurant though is the incredibly fun theming. We could spend a great deal of time just walking around the restaurant soaking up the details. There are many references to the Jungle Cruise of course, as well as S.E.A. and the Adventurers Club.
The servers also stay in full Jungle Cruise Skipper character leading to a ton of corny, yet lovable jokes.
6. Via Napoli
Via Napoli is located in the Italy pavilion of World Showcase. It by far offers the best pizza of any in park restaurant (not that there is much competition). Other than that, the restaurant offers above average Italian fare at moderate prices.
Highlights for us have been the fried calamari, the Fettuccine Napoli and the Gelato Frizzante dessert. They also have very good chicken parmesan.
The only thing which brings this restaurant down a bit is that its all food that is very easy to find outside of WDW, at higher prices than it would be else ware. Still, its always good and a place we find ourselves visiting often when at WDW.
5. Sci-Fi Dine in Theater Restaurant
Sci-Fi Dine in Theater at Hollywood Studios is a real gem.
The restaurant offers top notch fun theming and solid food, all at prices comparable to the more expensive counter service restaurants in the parks.
Sitting in a “car” under a night sky and watching old sci-fi films on the big screen is always great fun. Its something that is uniquely Disney and a true highlight of Hollywood Studios.
4. Tusker House
Tusker House is the best in park character dining option.
As you may have guessed from our previous post, we love pretty much all the dining offered at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Well, the excellent dining there carries into the parks here and it does not disappoint.
Located in the Africa section of Animal Kingdom, Tusker house is similar to Boma in that its a very good buffet, with lots of unique options. The bonus here is that you get to meet many of your favorite “classic” Disney characters as well. Meals typically include interactions with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Daisy, all in their safari outfits.
3. Monsieur Paul
With the top 3 restaurants on this list, we are finally getting into the territory which can rival some of the best Disney restaurants outside of the parks.
Monsieur Paul is a “signature restaurant” located on the second floor above “Chefs De France” in World Showcase’s France Pavilion. (Chefs De France is very good too and would have made this list, but we didn’t want to include two restaurants from the same pavilion.)
The restaurant offers a romantic setting, wonderful service and fantastic food. If you time things right and request a table near the window, it can provide a great view of Illuminations as well.
If Tusker House is the Boma of in park dining, then Tiffins is the Jiko. A newer addition to the Disney dining lineup, Tiffins offers a great menu, amazing theming and absolutely delicious food.
Each of the three dining rooms inside the restaurant offer different and unique details, all of which are a home run when it comes to theme. The menu offers many different items you won’t find anywhere else on property and everything we’ve ever tried from it has been excellent.
The service is exceptional as well, as is to be expected from a Disney “signature restaurant.” The menu isn’t cheap but the quality lives up to the prices. If you want to view Rivers of Light, you can actually come out quite a bit ahead here in terms of value when doing the ROL dining package.
1. Hollywood Brown Derby
If I was to be completely unbiased, Tiffins is probably the best in park restaurant in WDW. However, this list is my personal opinion and nostalgia has led me to allow the Hollywood Brown Derby inside DHS to edge it out.
Our very favorite show in WDW is Fantasmic and we have many fond memories of having a great meal at the Brown Derby then heading of and using our dining package ticket for Fantasmic.
The food at Brown Derby is out of this world, the service is top notch and the atmosphere is great as well. We’ve never had a meal here that we haven’t loved. Much like the ROL package at Tiffins, the Fantasmic package at Hollywood Brown Derby can offer a great value if you were planning on ordering the more expensive menu items anyway,
Honorable Mention: Cinderella’s Royal Table
Another super popular and tough to get reservation at Magic Kingdom is Cinderella’s Royal Table.
This is a princess character meal inside Cinderella castle which is obviously the main selling point here. We have done it twice ourselves and its definitely cool. The reason it just missed this list is that for the price, the food quality is not that great and you do feel a bit rushed through the meal as they try to keep a high turnover rate going.
That being said, if you are taking a once in a lifetime trip, we absolutely recommend going for it. Its a totally unique Disney experience and one that we will never forget. All of the princesses are great and its a really fun atmosphere. Between this, or the princess dining in Norway at Epcot, we would recommend this every time.