Table Service Meals at the Walt Disney World Theme Parks Ranked in Order

By Dave Shute

OVERVIEW: TABLE SERVICE MEALS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

This site’s recommended dining venues  are in the basic itinerary and are listed at the bottom of this page.

They were selected based on how well-loved they are by families, kid-pleasing menus, how effectively they achieve their show intent, value for money, and convenience.

If you cannot follow these recommendations, use one of two tools.

The thumbnail (click to open; when open, click again once or twice to enlarge) ranks the table service meals at the theme parks on the basis of both kid appeal and adult appeal.  Use this to balance kid vs. adult desires.

Or, for options ranked in order, see the list that comes next. These restaurants are ranked based on comparison of guest reviews from a number of printed and online sources.  The sources do not generally agree, but they often do agree on a relative order—e.g. The Plaza at the Magic Kingdom is almost always rated lower than the Liberty Tree Tavern is. Any remaining lack of agreement is resolved based on my own family’s experience.

Additionally the table service restaurants are coded as follows:

  • Bold means especially delightful atmosphere/visual appeal for kids
  • Italic means relatively dull for kids
  • Strike-thru means new or recently renovated/re-conceived, with slender data so far
  • (C) means character meals available

DISNEY WORLD THEME PARK DINING RANKED IN ORDER

MAGIC KINGDOM

  1. Be Our Guest
  2. Cinderella’s Royal Table (C), Menu changes often
  3. The Crystal PalaceThe Crystal Palace (C), Buffet
  4. Liberty Tree Tavern
  5. The Plaza, Diner-style food
  6. Tony’s Town Square, Italian

ANIMAL KINGDOM

  1. Yak and Yeti
  2. Tusker House (C)
  3. Rainforest Cafe

HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

  1. Hollywood Brown Derby, American
  2. 50s Prime Time Café, American
  3. Mama Melrose, Italian
  4. Sci-Fi Dine in Theater, American
  5. Hollywood and Vine (C), American Buffet

EPCOT

  1. Tokyo Dining Japanese
  2. Biergarten German
  3. Le Cellier Steakhouse
  4. Akershus (C) Norwegian and American
  5. Teppan Edo Japanese, Chefs artfully chop at table
  6. Monsieur Paul’s French
  7. Les Chefs de France French
  8. Garden Grill (C) American
  9. Restaurant Marrakesh Moroccan
  10. Rose & Crown British
  11. Via Napoli Pizza/Italian
  12. Tutto Italiano Italian
  13. San Angel Inn Mexican
  14. La Hacienda de San AngelMexican
  15. Coral Reef Seafood
  16. The Nine Dragons Chinese

COMPLETE LIST OF DISNEY WORLD DINING SITES IN THE BASIC ITINERARY

Crystal PalaceMagic Kingdom:

  • Cinderella’s Royal Table (Character Meal)
  • Pecos Bill Café
  • Crystal Palace (Character Meal)
  • Dole Whip at Aloha Isle (Snack)

Hollywood Studios:

  • Backlot Express
  • Sci-Fi Diner (Snack)

Epcot:

  • Akershus Banquet (Character Meal)
  • Sunshine Season Food Fair
  • San Angel Inn
  • Boulangerie Patisserie (Snack)

Animal Kingdom:

  • Flame Tree Barbecue

Resorts:

  • Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue (Fort Wilderness, Dinner Show)
  • Chef Mickey'sChef Mickey’s (Contemporary, Character Meal)
  • Beaches and Cream (Beach Club, Snack)
  • Dole Whip at Captain Cook’s (Polynesian, Snack)
  • Plus your hotel’s counter service and your hotel room!

Downtown Disney:

  • House of Blues Gospel Brunch
  • Rainforest Café

MORE ON WALT DISNEY WORLD DINING

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20 comments

1 Alicia { 06.10.11 at 12:07 am }

Do you need dinner reservation for all of the dinning in restaurants at Disney World or just for character dinners?

2 Dave { 06.10.11 at 6:28 am }

Hi Alicia! Yes you really do, for all the table service restaurants, if you want to be assured that you get a table. Walk-ups are possible at less busy times of the year, but it’s rare that you ccan get a walk-up table without hours of waiting at any of the better-liked options.

3 Christine { 10.11.11 at 12:51 pm }

Both restaurants with a strike though it were wonderful! We visited both restaurants in mid Septmeber with the dining plan for 2011. Via Napoli was wonderful. If you like Italian food and Sangria (LOL) this is the place to go. 12 of us enjoyed our dinner and dessert was great! La Hacienda was great but be sure to like Maxican food. The desserts are wonderful! For the kids inform them there are no hard tacos here…only soft….my kids found they like the soft better!

4 Dave { 10.11.11 at 1:11 pm }

Thanks Christine!

5 Sarah { 11.22.12 at 9:45 pm }

So I’m a little confused! We are going December 7th to the 16th and on the 10th we are going to sea world. I guess what I’m wondering is we only have a 5 day pass for wdw? Is that going to be enough and can we still get in the parks to eat on the off days or are we then stuck eating at our hotel?

I love your site thanks for all the work you have put into it!!!

6 Dave { 11.23.12 at 3:28 pm }

Hi Sarah, I may nit understand what you are asking…but you can’t eat in a park unless you have a valid ticket to enter the park.

7 Sarah { 11.24.12 at 12:30 pm }

You totally understood :) thank you! So for the days we don’t go to the parks what are our eating options? Is downtown Disney open without a valid ticket? I ask because we are staying in the art of animation hotel but only have a 5 day pass because we are also doing sea world.

Again thanks so much for your help
Sarah

8 Dave { 11.24.12 at 2:32 pm }

Sarah, AofA has a great food court, and you can also go to restaurants at other WDW hotels–expensive, but more fun than DTD. E.g. you can take the bus to MK, not enter the park, and from the entry area to MK take a monorail to 3 hotels or a boat to tow more. See this for where I recommend eating: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/ and also see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/dining-alternatives/table-service-meals-at-the-resorts-ranked-in-order/

9 Cathy { 04.11.13 at 10:14 pm }

Can we go to SciFi at Hollywood for snack or dessert only? Or can we split meals? No dining plan. One will be in power chair…would it be worth it to eat at table? We have five in our party. Thanks.

10 Dave { 04.12.13 at 8:04 am }

Cathy, you can, if it is not too busy…and yes, you can split meals!

11 Krista { 05.21.13 at 8:42 pm }

I am planning our family’s first Disney trip with with my husband and boys aged 5 and 2 . I know that you highly recommend Cinderella’s Royal Table for character dining, but I am wondering if my boys will feel “overly princessed.” Would I be better to choose one or the other: Akershus Banquet or Cinderella’s Royal Table, or is the atmosphere so awesome that it’s worth doing both. Thanks so much…I can’t believe how many hours I have put into this Dec. 13 trip already…delighted to have found your site!

12 Dave { 05.22.13 at 6:28 am }

Hi Krista and I’m glad the site is helping! I think that a. one princess mela is plenty but that b. picking which is tricky. My itineraries are for kids 8 and older, and so have a lot of EPcot time. For kids that age, a morning at Epcot is plenty. Doing Akershus for lunch would then work. Akershus has a much less spectacular setting, but also a less “girly” setting and is much less expensive. So I’d go with it.

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13 Brandi { 07.18.13 at 4:05 pm }

Hi! I’m trying to decide on the dining plans. My husband and I went two other times and got the deluxe dining, 3 meals 2 snacks, and had extra at the end of our stay. This time we have a son, who will be turning 5 during our vacation … looking into the regular dining plan, 1 table, 1 quick… is there a list somewhere showing all restaurants broken down into if they are table service or quick service? I want to do one character dining with him too. Im assuming breakfast will be the cheapest meal to buy since we wont have enough to eat 3 meals a day… just trying to figure out if thats the best plan for us based on which restaurants are in which category… and if it would be better to do the deluxe plan again or not… thoughts? Thanks!!

14 Dave { 07.18.13 at 4:31 pm }

Brandi, this brochure lists both: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/media/wdw_nextgen/CoreCatalog/WaltDisneyWorld/en_us/PDF/2013Dining.pdf

You will save money on the regular dining plan, and–other than snack credits–won’t walk away with unused meal credits.

I’m a big fan of a quick breakfast in your room from supplies you’ve bought in the gift shop and food court, so that you can hit the parks quickly without having to get up too early!

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15 Alasdair Blain { 10.23.13 at 4:19 pm }

Hi, Great website – we’ve been to WDW three times and planning a fourth. Just discovered you! Looks like we’ll be getting the Dining PLan thrown in, which we’re very happy about. BUT, several favourites aren’t listed in the 2014 plan which were in 2013. Examples are both Rainforest Cafes and many of the Epcot table service places including San Angel. Is this just a contract renewal thing, or are they going to be excluded forever?

16 Dave { 10.24.13 at 7:24 am }

Alasdair, it’s a contract renewal thing that happens every year! I’d expect all to be in by early 2014…

Was this even remotely helpful?

Well then mosey on over to the home page, and like it on Facebook or pin it on Pinterest!

17 Rita { 03.07.14 at 2:44 pm }

Dave,
What a great site!
Can you suggest a good itinerary for 1 day in Magic Kingdom April 4th (we know, bad timing) but it’s our twin’s 7th b-day and we also have a 4 yr old. Our goal would be rides & experience. Not so much for character signage. We have lunch booked @ plaza for 1:30pm.
Thank you in advance for your suggestions.

18 Dave { 03.08.14 at 7:23 am }

Hi Rita, and thanks!! I don’t have one, but see Josh’s here: http://www.easywdw.com/cheatsheets/mk_cheat_sheet_fastpass_plus_v2.pdf

19 Amanda { 03.29.14 at 9:38 am }

Hi Dave,
We are planning our first visit to WDW in April 2015. We (my husband, my 5 year old son and myself) are all pretty plain, picky eaters. We are typically burger & fries, chicken strip & fries, pizza, etc type people. We have been told by several friends that have traveled to WDW that we might be better off not getting a dining package since the food we eat tends to be on the cheaper side. What are your thoughts on this?

20 Dave { 03.31.14 at 7:35 am }

Amanda, the dining package rarely saves much money–if any–so yes, skip it!

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