Disney World Dining Grows Up

If you spent time at Disney World as a child, you probably recall Disney dining consisting largely of churros and frozen bananas. You were probably happy to get most of your meals from snack carts, so that you could get back in line for Pirates Of The Caribbean as quickly as possible.

More Dining Options

Now that you’re an adult, you may want a bit more from your Disney World vacation. A churro here and there is still a must, but you probably want to spice up your vacation dining with something a bit more formal and a bit more extravagant. Fortunately, sprinkled amid the plethora of counter service fast food stations, the Disney dining scene has some great options for the adult palette.

Pick a Country; Pick a Pavilion

Many of the best choices for fine or exotic dining can be found at the pavilions of Epcot‘s World Showcase. Each of the eleven country pavilions has a variety of dining experiences; some are counter service while some are quality restaurants.

Teppan Edo in the Japan Pavilion, while not officially a dinner show, provides both great food and great entertainment as the chefs cook your food teppan yaki style right in front of you.

Dining at Teppan Edo is almost a dinner show unto itself.
Dining at Teppan Edo is almost a dinner show unto itself.

It’s no surprise that France Pavilion offers some great choices for fine dining. Bistro de Paris is a cozy and romantic restaurant, with an extensive wine list and creative entrees. It’s the most popular restaurant at Epcot for reservations, so you may want to take advantage of the 180 days that Disney permits for advance reservations.

Le Cellier Steakhouse is the pride of Canada Pavilion, offering a variety of steak and seafood selections in an intimate setting.

The San Angel Inn at Mexico Pavilion is based on a restaurant in Mexico City, and a backdrop of faux Mayan ruins and a marketplace hanging with glowing lanterns makes this one of the most enjoyable dining settings at Epcot.

Resort Dining

Epcot isn’t the only destination for adult foodies looking for a special vacation experience. Several of Walt Disney World’s deluxe resort hotels also offer exceptional dining locations.

Victoria and Albert’s Restaurant at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa offers the most elegant dining experience to be found at Disney World. With a 6-course prix fixe menu that changes daily, guests will always enjoy a meal that is both excellent and unique.

Though not quite as upscale as Victoria and Albert’s, Citricos at the Grand Floridian is still well worth your time. The cuisine fuses Mediterranean and American food into a special flavor experience.

Artist Point at Wilderness Lodge combines rustic charm with a quiet elegance, serving a Pacific Northwest style menu featuring steak, game and seafood.

Artist Point is an elegant setting for fine dining.
Artist Point is an elegant setting for fine dining.

California Grill is the top dining destination at the Contemporary Resort, featuring fresh California-inspired cuisine, sushi, and more, all with a stunning view of Magic Kingdom. This restaurant a fantastic place for watching the nighttime Wishes spectacular.

The stunning Animal Kingdom Lodge has its own shining dining star in the form of Jiko – The Cooking Place. Food inspired by the cuisines of India, the Mediterranean, and Africa is served in the glowing colors of an African sunset.

The twin hotels at the Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin Resort also have a couple of exceptional offerings. Il Mulino at the Swan is a cousin to the Greenwich Village Il Mulino that has topped the New York Zagat guide for years. Todd English’s bluezoo is a creation of the television celebrity chef, serving sophisticated cuisine in a chic blue-lit ambiance.