So it’s your first time to the most magical place on Earth.
Hotel is booked.
Park tickets are bought.
Disney bucket list is made.
And your bags are packed.
The only thing left is the food – and honestly, it’s probably the most important part of your trip.
(Okay well maybe for me mainly because food is never an afterthought. It’s the first thing I worry about. I wish you could’ve seen my first ever Disney food bucket list. It was epic.)
So let’s get back on track.
Having the best possible food and dining experience at Disney World can either make or break your trip.
The last thing you’d want to do is go to the worst restaurant, eating average food.
Or worse, you can end up going to an okay restaurant only to realize on your last day that there was an even better, must-see, restaurant that you completely missed out on.
But don’t worry, I got you covered! Below, you’ll find the best Disney World restaurants for first time visitors. Some are iconic, some are popular, and some are hidden gems.
So with that being said, let’s get started.
Best Disney Restaurants For First Time Visitors
Here are the best restaurants restaurants for first timers, listed in no particular order. Just make sure to go to at least 2 of them. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
(Just make sure to make an advanced dining reservation to ensure that you get a table at the best times.)
If you read any other Disney blogs or looked up the best Disney World restaurants on Trip Advisor or Yelp, chances are you heard about this fantastic restaurant called ‘Ohana.
This Hawaiian-themed all-you-can eat buffet restaurant is unlike any other you’ll find at Disney. Unlike most buffets, the food is actually brought to you on skewers.
From grilled shrimp and chicken, to steak, pot stickers, chicken, wings, and more, the food at ‘Ohana will leave you breathless (not only because it’s delicious but because you’ll probably end of eating way too much that it becomes impossible to breathe. Trust me!)
And oh yeah, did I mention that they have this dessert called Pineapple Bread Pudding. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried this.
Although it’s pretty difficult to get a reservation, there are some ways to help you snag one of those coveted time-slots.
What to get: Come for dinner. Although breakfast does include characters such as Mickey Mouse, Lilo and Stitch, and Pluto, the quality of food is nowhere near what it is for dinner.
Location: Polynesian Resort
Bona is considered one of the best buffets in Disney World. But there is a twist. Instead of your typical American food, you’ll actually be able to experience delicious African fare from across the continent. It truly is a unique experience in such a beautiful setting.
Breakfast has more traditional breakfast foods that you’re probably used to while dinner has more unique offerings.
Give it a shot!
What to get: Get the zebra domes from the dessert section.
Location: Animal Kingdom Lodge
Be Our Guest
Remember that scene in Beauty and Beast when Lumier started singing and all that delicious food started to come out. Well just picture that scene in restaurant form.
Be Our Guest is a beautiful restaurant with delicious food and desserts but an even better setting.
Plus the menu is so different during breakfast lunch and dinner that you will have to go 3 times just to experience all the delicacies that they have to offer.
Just remember though, this place fill up fast so be sure to make reservations for dinner as soon as possible.
What to get: Try the grey stuff, it’s delicious (seriously!)
Location: Magic Kingdom
This is possibly the most popular character dining experience in all of Disney World and for good reason.
At Chef Mickey’s you’ll be able to dine with the Fab Five – Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto.
It’s an incredible experience
Location: Contemporary Resort
Yak & Yeti
Yak and Yeti is one of the more underrated restaurants at Disney World. But it’s a place where you must eat whenever you come to Animal Kingdom Park. At Yak and Yeti, you can experience pan-Asain cuisine in a Nepalese style restaurant.
Plus, wait times usually don’t seem that bad here so there’s always a great chance to eat there even at the last minute.
And as one of the few table service restaurants available at Animal Kingdom, this is a good way to get some air conditioning while also enjoying some delicious eats.
Plus, you can even save some money with this hack!
You’ll truly love this place.
What to get: Fried Wontons Dessert (fantastic) and the Baby Back Ribs. Yeah you can find ribs or bbq at Flame Tree Barbecue at this park too, but the ribs just tasted so much better here.
Location: Animal Kingdom Park
Dine inside a wine cellar at a Canadian chateau feasting on exquisite steak and seafood options. Plus, the poutine is equally as delicious.
This is honestly one of the better steakhouses and the only one located inside a Disney World park.
What to get: Maple Creme Brûlée
Location: Epcot – Canada Pavilion
If there’s one thing that separates California Grill from the rest of the Disney World restaurants, it’s the fact that you can dine while enjoying the Enchantment fireworks display at Magic Kingdom.
It’s truly a remarkable restaurant where the views steal the show.
Location: Contemporary Resort
Dine with Pooh and some of his pals at this Victoria era themed buffet restaurant.
The characters truly make this a great dining experience.
Just remember to come for the characters and not so much the food since there are better options out there.
Location: Magic Kingdom
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant
Where else can you eat in classic cars while watching old school sci-fi films? This place is literally like a 50’s drive-in theater just with delicious foods.
It truly feels like you’re having a picnic under the stars.
What to Get: Build your own Angus Chuck Burger and a milkshake.
Location: Hollywood Studios
50’s Prime Time Cafe
This restaurant is literally like stepping into a time machine and being transported back to the 50’s. From retro kitchen and dining areas to delicious classic American comfort food you’ll be taken back to the bygone era.
It’s just a fun restaurant with delicious food.
What to get: Aunt Liz’s Golden Fried Chicken and the Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake.
Location: Hollywood Studios
Beaches and Cream Soda Shop
At Beaches and Cream you’ll find your typical burger and sandwich options, commonly found at most soda fountain type restaurants.
However, the one thing that separates this place from all the other Disney restaurants are it’s ice cream sundaes and desserts. And let me tell you, they are INCREDIBLE.
Plus the food ain’t bad either.
What to get: No Way Jose or Kitchen Sink
Location: Beach Club Resort
Whenever I picture German food, the first things that comes to mind is bratwurst, sausages, and strudel. At Biergarten, you’ll find just that and then some.
Here, you’ll be able to celebrate Oktoberfest all year long with authentic German cuisine in a communal dining environment.
Plus, you’ll even have some fun live German entertainment which makes this such a fun experience for the whole family or all your friends.
Location: Epcot – Germany Pavilion
Trails End Restaurant
If you love all you can eat ribs, fried chicken, beef brisket, and strawberry shortcake, this is your buffet. It took me years to finally try this place out and boy oh boy was I in for a treat. This buffet isn’t all fancy like the ones at Boma or 1900 Park Fare, but the quality of food and wild western atmosphere makes this a fantastic dinner experience.
What to get: Come for the dinner buffet and stuff your face in barbecue ribs and fried chicken.
Location: Fort Wilderness Lodge
1900 Park Fare
This is hands down one of the best character meals you’ll experience at Disney World. And better, you can experience 2 completely different character meals at 1900 Park Fare.
For breakfast, you’ll dine with Alice in Wonderland, Tigger, Winnie the Pooh, Mary Poppins, and The Mad Hatter. And for dinner you can dine with Cinderella, the Evil Stepmother, the Evil Step Sisters, the Fairy Godmother, and of course, Prince Charming.
It’s an extremely fun experience that you’ll remember for a lifetime.
What to get: Come for the dinner buffet. It’s so much fun, especially if you have teen boys, husbands, or guys in your group.
Location: Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
Liberty Tree Tavern
Now I’m going to be straight with you. The only reason you need to come to this colonial style restaurant is for the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake.
Yeah the traditional New England-inspired fare is pretty good to, but man, that dessert is too good to miss out on.
What to get: Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake (only available for lunch)
Location: Magic Kingdom
Although not a restaurant, this super popular bakery is well-worth a visit.
Gideon’s sells what are widely consider the best cookies in Florida but in my opinion, where they shine are their cakes.
But most people go for their massive cookies that are jam-packed with toppings and chocolate chips.
What to get: Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake and a seasonal or special edition cookie.
Location: Disney Springs
Hopefully you get to experience one of these amazing Disney World restaurants that are perfect for first timers during your visit.
And for more delicious restaurant recommendations and tasty Disney food photos, be sure to follow me on Instagram.
Hi, Adam! Thank you so much for putting this list together. Restaurant choices have been plaguing me since I began planning my first trip, so this is very helpful.
I have been to 8 of the restaurants listed and some of them multiple times – I agree that they are a MUST!!! I was disappointed that Tusker House at Animal Kingdom was not included in the list! It is a favorite of my entire family and we can’t imagine not starting our day at Animal Kingdom without first having the Character Breakfast there! I hope to return to WDW soon to try those on the list that we haven’t yet enjoyed!
Thank you so, so much for all of the details! Planning a short trip at the tail end of a work conference and looking forward to the food, for sure! Are there any new restaurants since this post that you would add?
Great list!! Be Our Guest is one of our absolute favorites – We go a few times a year and it never disappoints! I can’t wait to try Ohana though! Thanks for sharing!
So glad to see Yak and Yeti on the list! It’s fantastic, and you’re right- totally underrated!
We ate at Beaches and Cream on our second trip to Disney, and it’s a place we haven’t been to since. It was terrible. You start out in a really small, cramped restaurant. That’s why reservations are so hard to get there. It’s not because the food is so great, it’s because there’s only eight tables in it.
But the food is bad. Really bad.I had a turkey sandwich, and the meat was inedible. I left without eating more than two bites. The meat was really chewy.
My granddaughter got the kids’ meal chicken tenders, and her food was cold. Not merely warm. It was cold. We would have asked for another plate with hot ones, but the server never returned to our table until it was time to pay the check.
There’s a take-out line for ice cream. So if you have to have ice cream from this place, just get that and skip the meal.
We ate at Be Our Guest and it was wonderful. We ate at the Canadian restaurant and it was a terrible experience the tables were so close together every time someone passed I got bumped. While eating a employee moved the scooter I rented at Disney and it took my husband more than 30 minutes to get it out, & it was storming so we all got soaked. My husband refused to go back
another really good find in spot is Tony’s in the Magic Kingdom