- I worked at Disney World, and I've been visiting and eating at the parks my whole life.
- I love dining with characters at Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom and Garden Grill in Epcot.
- They're expensive, but California Grill, Be Our Guest, and Ohana are great for special occasions.
As someone who's been going to Disney World my whole life and even worked there for two years, I love trying all the amazing dining experiences across the property.
Now I live in the Orlando area and often venture to the parks and resorts for meals.
After spending way too much money on my food adventures, I've compiled a list of my favorite restaurants at Disney World.
Crystal Palace makes me feel like a kid again
Crystal Palace is located right off Main Street USA in Magic Kingdom, and it has large windows that provide beautiful views of Cinderella Castle.
The food is an all-you-can-eat buffet. I've gone for both breakfast and dinner and enjoyed it each time.
During your meal, Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger, and Piglet go table to table to meet everyone.
It's so pure seeing everyone meet their favorite childhood characters. They even invite the kids to prance around the restaurant in a parade.
Character dining is currently unavailable due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions.
Whispering Canyon Cafe is so much fun for a steal of a price
Whispering Canyon Cafe in the Wilderness Lodge serves affordable comfort food like skillets, burgers, pulled pork, loaded nachos, and so much more.
On top of the amazing food, the servers are absolutely hilarious and will have you cackling the entire time. I don't want to give away too much, but if you decide to go, you should definitely ask for the ketchup for a surprise.
The experience has been different every time I've gone, which always makes me want to go back.
Chef Art Smith's Homecomin' is by far my favorite restaurant at Disney Springs
The food and drinks at Chef Art Smith's Homecomin' are out of this world — especially if you're looking for classic Southern-style cooking.
It serves biscuits and gravy, chicken and dumplings, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and so many variations of the best fried chicken I've ever had (I'm not exaggerating).
There are also several different flavors of moonshine on the menu.
California Grill is expensive, but it's worth the splurge at least once
I had the best dining experience of my life at California Grill.
I've only gone once because it's very expensive, so I don't recommend making it a regular occurrence if you're on a budget. But the service, cuisine, and experience are incredible.
The restaurant is on the very top floor of the Contemporary Resort and has floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the Seven Seas Lagoon and Magic Kingdom.
My favorite part is that if you go to dinner around the time of the Magic Kingdom fireworks show, you can watch it while you enjoy your meal. You can also go out on the balcony for a better view.
This was a once-in-a-lifetime meal, and I think every Disney fan should experience it at least once.
I have actual dreams about the food at Ohana
I always have a craving for the food at Ohana, especially the noodles. It's one of the more expensive restaurants on this list, but I'm confident it's worth the price.
The restaurant is located in the Polynesian Resort and serves all-you-can-eat, family-style fare for breakfast and dinner.
There are three courses at dinner, starting with an appetizer of mixed-green salad and bread. The main course includes chicken wings, pork dumplings, and a noodle skillet with beef and shrimp. And for dessert, you can enjoy the restaurant's famous bread pudding à la mode.
The Polynesian is my favorite resort on the property, so I love the environment of Ohana. There are live singers walking around playing the ukulele and floor-to-ceiling windows that offer gorgeous views of Magic Kingdom.
Sci-Fi Dine-in transports you to a 1950s drive-in theater
Sci-Fi Dine-in at Hollywood Studios is unlike anything I've ever experienced.
You sit in a car facing a huge screen showing scenes from different black-and-white sci-fi movies.
The food isn't top-of-the-line, but it's a good moderately priced meal, with menu items like onion rings, chicken fingers, burgers, and pasta.
There are also a wide variety of specialty milkshakes.
I've dined at Grand Floridian Cafe for breakfast, lunch, and dinner — it's all delicious
I've been to the Grand Floridian Cafe for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, and every time I've loved what I've gotten.
I recommend the French onion soup, lobster burger, omelet, and brioche French toast. And I love the free biscuits with orange butter that come with every meal.
It's also a great bang for your buck. The restaurant is located inside the Grand Floridian Resort, one of the deluxe resorts on the property. But the restaurant's prices are fairly affordable considering the expensive environment.
Be Our Guest transports me into my favorite Disney movie
Growing up, I was always the biggest "Beauty and the Beast" fan, so naturally, when Disney opened Be Our Guest, it quickly became one of my favorite restaurants.
It's another pricey spot, so it's best to save for special occasions, but it's worth it for me.
The restaurant transports you right into the movie. The main dining area is modeled after the ballroom at the Beast's castle. There's also a "West Wing" room with the iconic red rose.
At dinner, you also have the opportunity to meet the Beast, which is fun since the character doesn't appear often otherwise.
Dinner is a three-course, prix-fixe menu with a selection of appetizers, entrées, and desserts. It even serves "the gray stuff" from the movie for dessert, which is definitely delicious.
The Beast has halted posing for photos with guests amid coronavirus pandemic restrictions, but he does come into each dining room.
Ale and Compass serves my favorite breakfast at Disney World
Ale and Compass is located in the Yacht Club Resort, and every time I've eaten there, I've been blown away by how great the food is.
The salted-caramel-apple French toast is by far my favorite breakfast dish on property. And for dinner, I love the shrimp pasta, half chicken, and Angus strip steak.
Each meal leaves me wanting to come back to try more. I know that I'll never be disappointed by a dish served here.
I love meeting characters while dining at Garden Grill
Garden Grill at Epcot provides views of the ride Living With the Land ride and character dining with Mickey, Chip, and Dale. It's always fun because you never know what to expect from those chipmunks.
The food is served family-style and it's all-you-can-eat. It's similar to a Thanksgiving feast, with turkey, gravy, beef, mashed potatoes, stuffing, mac and cheese, salad, and a berry shortcake.
I love the food, and it will get you stuffed at a decent price.
Character dining is currently modified at Garden Grill due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions.
You can watch your food being cooked at Teppen Edo
Teppen Edo, located in the Japan Pavilion at Epcot, serves mouth-wateringly good food.
The chefs prepare the Japanese-inspired cuisine right in front of you.
You can choose between steak, chicken, seafood, and vegan options served with noodles or rice. There are also different sides, including sushi and an array of vegetables.
The food is out-of-this-world good and the chefs keep you entertained the whole time.
Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is my all-time favorite restaurant at Disney World
I saved the best for last. Hoop-Dee-Doo is my all-time favorite dining experience at Disney World because of its food, show, energy, and location.
The dinner theater is located at Fort Wilderness campgrounds and serves an all-you-can-eat, family-style meal with three different courses. My favorite parts of the meal are the fried chicken, mac and cheese, strawberry shortcake, and endless sweet tea and sangria.
While you eat, there's a musical show happening all around you that involves heavy crowd participation. It's super entertaining, and I'm always left laughing until my stomach hurts.
The show was shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic, but Disney recently announced that it's reopening later this month.