The Walt Disney World resort complex offers quite an array of fine dining options. Taste is personal, and I am sure if you ask 100 Disney foodies you will get 100 different opinions on what the best restaurants are, and what menu choices are not to be missed.
But what about theme and imagineering? After all, this is Disney World we are talking about. The parks are known for incredible theming, but so too are some of the restaurants. In this article I want to share with you our favorite Disney restaurant theming, and hear about your favorites too!
San Angel Inn – Mexico Pavilion
Themed after a bustling Mexican village at night, restaurant visitors eat under a convincing night time sky with tables lit by candle light.
Festive lanterns hang over the shops located at the entrance to the restaurant. Building fronts are quite convincing, making you feel as if you are really inside a village.
The restaurant is bordered by water, where boats stream past as part of the Gran Fiesta Tour Disney dark ride. In the distance looms a huge pyramid next to a bubbling volcano.
I’ll never forget the time a woman seated next to us asked a cast member where the bathrooms were, and he pointed to the steps leading up the distant pyramid. For a second the woman bought the gag, before she and the cast member began laughing.
I quite enjoy Mexican food, and San Angel Inn’s fare is authentic and well prepared. But the best part about eating at San Angel Inn is the unique and convincing theme. I can spend hours inside the Mexico Pavilion. It literally seems as if you are entering a whole new world when you step out of the afternoon sun into the Mexican night. Enjoying a fine meal at San Angel Inn just adds to the fun!
Sci-Fi Dine In Theater
The Sci-Fi Dine In Theater is the ultimate in cool. Located in the Disney Hollywood Studios, this mock drive in theater features meals served in classic cars, a night time theme, and classic science fiction B-movies on a large video screen.
I’ll give you fair warning. If you are in it for the food, you are better off eating elsewhere. The Sci-Fi Dine In has always
been known for having average meals at extraordinary prices. But you just can’t beat the atmosphere. Particularly if you are a B-movie buff like I am.
Disney gets an A+ grade for this top notch restaurant theme which fits perfectly with The Studios park concept. My advice is to save the big bucks for The Hollywood Brown Derby if you want eat well at The Disney Studios.
But there is nothing wrong with splurging on a little lunch, or a nice milkshake at the Sci-Fi Dine In.
The Crystal Palace – Magic Kingdom
I had a difficult time coming up with a third favorite restaurant theme within Walt Disney World, as San Angel Inn and the Sci-Fi Dine In are so unique. After much consideration I decided that it was time to give love to the venerable Crystal Palace inside of the Magic Kingdom.
Why the Crystal Palace? The inside is quite striking with its tall ceilings, bright lights, and white exterior.The decor screams “fine dining” while remaining whimsical and 100% kid friendly. Window seats allow you to look out on Cinderella’s castle and the Magic Kingdom theme park. But what
puts the theme of this character buffet over the top is its location inside the Magic Kingdom.
There is something very cool about eating dinner inside the world’s most famous theme park (with the possible exception of Disneyland’s original version).
The buffet meal is a solid choice, though certainly you can find finer dining on Disney property. The character interaction with Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore is a lot of fun, but it’s not nearly the only character meal option on property.
Somehow it all adds up to a can’t-miss meal for the majority of our visits to Disney World.
So these are our two favorite Walt Disney World restaurant themes. What are some of your favorite themes on property?