It's time for a new series!
We've just wrapped up the Winter in Las Vegas Series detailing our annual visit to Las Vegas. Right at the beginning of April, when the snow was just starting to melt in Boston and temperatures were still plenty cold, Bryan and I took a quick extended weekend trip to Disney World. It had been ten years (!) since we had last gone (time flies, because it really doesn't feel that long ago), so we were due for a visit.
In fact, I'd been wanting to visit Disney World for some time now.
A couple years ago I became interested in revisiting Disney World when I heard about a new restaurant called Be Our Guest that opened in the Magical Kingdom. Disney had built a brand new castle modeled off of Beauty and the Beast, and inside was a traditional French restaurant. The interior looked just like the Beast's home in the movie, down to the West Wing, Grand Ballroom, and more. Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my favorite Disney movies, so I really wanted to visit after seeing photos of the main dining room.
I called ahead to secure a dinner reservation months in advance (they fill up, quickly, especially dinners). Unfortunately, something came up and we had to cancel our Orlando trip (and my coveted reservation) two years ago.
Fast forward to last month.
When Bryan told me about a business trip in Orlando, I jumped at the chance to go with him. The first thing I did was try to get that Be Our Guest reservation. Though at first I could only get an 8AM breakfast reservation on a Monday (yes, I was calling kind of late), a Sunday evening cancellation appeared a few days later, and I grabbed it!
It was a short trip, but it was really fun. We're both Disney fans, so we knew we would enjoy hitting the various parks bright and early every morning. The food however, was an unknown. I had no idea what food would be like in Disney World. Would it be the typical mediocre stuff you get at an amusement park, or would it be better?
I'm happy to report that food in and around Disney World is surprisingly good, with some excellent options scattered around. Here's a peek at some of the great food we enjoyed!
The Epcot Center World Showcase is one of the most fun places to get food. I won't go into too much detail here, but in one afternoon you can visit many countries and enjoy authentic food from all over the world.
Stop in France for artisanal ice cream inside a toasted brioche bun (sooooo good).
Or swing by Germany for beer and Mexico for an Al Pastor taco. In fact, most countries in the World Showcase offer local beers, and the selection is pretty diverse and fun!
Walk for another 5-10 minutes to Italy and you'll find seriously authentic (and excellent!) Neapolitan pizza fired in an ultra hot wood-burning oven.
There's Greek, Turkish, Moroccan, and other Mediterranean influences . . .
Leave Epcot, and you can still pretend that you are in Hollywood in the early 1930's dining at an iconic Hollywood restaurant frequented by the stars.
At night, there are some surprisingly great dining options in the area, like this swanky seafood restaurant inside the Dolphin Resort on Disney Property.
The South African restaurant right outside Animal Kingdom boasts the largest South African wine list in the nation as well as really excellent South African food.
Trying all these different dips was one of my favorite parts of the meal.
All in all, Bryan and I were pleasantly surprised by the variety of food options in and around the parks. We were expecting to be stuck eating mediocre fast food lunches and ho-hum dinners. Instead, food was surprisingly interesting and enjoyable, especially from the restaurants around the Disney resorts and the different "countries" at Epcot Center.
Stay tuned the next couple of weeks as I share with you some more detailed posts from some of our favorite and most interesting meals at Disney!
Disclaimer: For this weekend getaway to Orlando, I received one-day park hopper media passes to visit the park. I also did not pay for the meal at the restaurant inside the Dolphin Resort. I paid for everything else, including my flights, hotel, and all other meals and park tickets.