Getting a dining reservation for a restaurant on Walt Disney World property can be difficult. If you’re planning a last-minute date you might not be able to snag a reservation for the most popular Disney restaurant. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t options. There are over 30 full-service restaurants at Walt Disney World, so the possibilities are endless and there is something for every taste bud. The following restaurants generally have reservation availability a week or so in advance.
Underrated Restaurants at Disney for Romance
Jaleo by José Andrés
Location: Disney Springs
Best for: Lunch, Dinner
If you don’t have Jaleo on your list of must-try restaurants, this is your sign. This restaurant concept by James Beard Award-Winning Chef, José Andrés, offers a menu full of delicious Spanish tapas. The restaurant design is beautiful and makes a whimsical and colorful statement, with a moody and romantic vibe, perfect for date night.
Order a pitcher of sangria to kick off the date. The sangria here is exceptional and you won’t want to stop at just one glass. Definitely order a few Spanish staples such as the croquetas de pollo and the patatas bravas. For seafood lovers, the Spanish favorite paella is a must. This is a great place to order for the table and share.
Trattoria al Forno
Location: Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
Best for: Breakfast, Dinner, Epcot fireworks after dinner
This might be the most underrated restaurant at Walt Disney World. I visited for the first time last year and was blown away by the flavor of the food. We told our waiter to guide us in our entree selection and he suggested the lasagna. And wow, it is the best lasagna I have ever had in a restaurant. The portion size is generous and your taste buds will thank you. Make sure to ask for the complimentary bread service. When I visited the bread service was not offered, but I asked our server about it and he said it is by request only. Trattoria al Forno is one of the few Walt Disney World restaurants that offers dining al fresco, so if the weather is good, feel free to ask the podium Cast Member for a table outside.
After eating all that pasta and bread you’ll want to take an after dinner stroll, and Disney’s Boardwalk Inn is the perfect place for just that. In fact, if you time it just right you’ll be able to catch glimpses of the Epcot fireworks show, Harmonious. This is a great way to make the evening extra special and create a memorable date.
Todd English’s Bluezoo
Location: Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort
Best for: Dinner
If you’re looking for a seafood restaurant at Walt Disney World then this is the place. Bluezoo aims to bring you the freshest seafood and my experience here was fantastic. The vibe of the restaurant is definitely geared towards adults, it is dimly lit and when you enter the restaurant you will first pass through a beautiful bar and lounge area. Because the Dolphin Resort sees more of a convention crowd you are likely to find less children in this restaurant.
The menu focuses on seafood and places fresh fish at the forefront of the menu. My red snapper was perfect and I opted for a lobster claw to top the fish to take it to the next level. I highly recommend the Risotto ‘Tots.’ These are rice balls with white truffle-infused into them. While they might sound like an appetizer they are listed as a side, and I almost missed them on the menu. Do not make that mistake!
Location: Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
Best for: Dinner with fireworks view
In the last several years rooftop restaurants have been popping up quite a bit around Walt Disney World, and the ever-popular California Grille is no longer the only option to get beautiful birds-eye views of the most magical place on Earth. In my opinion, Toledo at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is the most underrated restaurant at Disney World. In my two visits here I have found it to be a fantastic experience with great service by dedicated Cast Members. Toledo offers a menu of flavors inspired by the cuisine of Spain.
The vaulted ceiling of this restaurant takes center stage as it changes colors throughout the evening. It is truly magical, very unique and there is nothing quite like it in the Central Florida region. The 16th-floor dining room windows offer sweeping panoramic views of Walt Disney World, and if timed correctly you’ll be able to see glimpses of Harmonious fireworks at Epcot.
To top off the dreamy setting the restaurant offers delish tapas, steaks and seafood. The menu features Chef's Signature Dinner for Two ($145.00) which includes tapas, a charcuterie and cheese plate, a huge bone-in rib-eye and the stunning ‘Toledo Tapas Bar Dessert.’ This four-course meal is more than enough for two and will give a well rounded taste of the Toledo menu.
Ale and Compass
Location: Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
Best for: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Disney Imagineering reimaged this restaurant space several years ago and it is gorgeous, with nautical touches that are more elegant than what you might expect from a Disney resort. If you’re planning a brunch date, Ale and Compass offers a breakfast buffet that includes a selection of continental-style breakfast items as well cheddar biscuits with country gravy, and cinnamon rolls. The $23 price of the buffet also includes one entrée from the a la carte menu and a beverage of choice.
And, of course, Ale and Compass’ breakfast menu has signature brunch cocktails such as a Mimosa and Bloody Mary. This restaurant location puts you in a great spot to stroll through the other Epcot Resort Area hotels such as the Beach Club, Boardwalk Inn and Swan and Dolphin, or head into Epcot itself to keep the date going.
Underrated Casual Restaurants at Disney
Location: Magic Kingdom
Best for: Lunch or Dinner
Magic Kingdom tends to get a bad wrap when it comes to food, but Skipper Canteen is a hidden gem, and you can normally find last-minute reservations at this highly themed restaurant. Skipper Canteen is in Adventureland, not far from the inspiration for the restaurant, the Jungle Cruise attraction. This restaurant is a must-do for fellow adventurers. Those who remember The Adventurers Club from the days of Pleasure Island, part of what is now Disney Springs, will feel right at home at the restaurant. Skipper Canteen has multiple rooms with unique artifacts from far corners of the world.
The menu is inspired by Asia, South America, and Africa with something for everyone. Dishes include “Tastes like Chicken” Because it is! and Dr. Falls Signature Grilled Steak. Finish your meal with an homage to The Adventures Club with Kungaloosh!, an African-inspired chocolate cake, named after the former Adventurers Club greeting.
Trail's End Restaurant
Location: Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground
Best for: Breakfast, Dinner
Looking for a bit of adventure in the wild frontier? Ok, maybe not that wild, but you will have a bit of an adventure getting to Trail’s End, especially as a guest who is not staying at the resort. But, hear me out, dining at Trail’s End Restaurant will offer a date beyond just having a meal. In order to reach Trail’s End you’ll first need to park at Fort Wilderness. You will then head over to the resort buses and you’ll look for a bus that is going to the “Settlement.” If you have any questions, just ask the bus driver and they will point you in the right direction. Once you get to the Settlement you’ll be able to easily walk over to Trail’s End Restaurant.
Both breakfast ($19.99) and dinner ($29.99) are served family-style. It is a set menu and your server will bring you all the items right to your table, when you want more of something all you have to do is ask. I enjoyed the breakfast menu which features Pecan-smoked Brisket, Cheesy Potato Casserole, and more! Don’t forget to order breakfast cocktails, such as the Pioneer Mimosa featuring the Walt Disney World favorite, passion-orange-guava juice.
After breakfast walk over to Tri-Circle-D Ranch, where the horses of Walt Disney World live. You can walk inside the stables and see a part of Walt Disney World that many do not even know exists. With some advance planning, you can even book a horseback riding experience or take a carriage ride through the wilderness.
Location: Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
Best for: Family-style dinner
Sometimes kids have to come along for date night, or maybe you'd like a double date at Disney with friends. Sebastian's Bistro at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort is a great idea for either scenario. The tropical island flair will sweep you away. And the all-you-care-to-eat dinner is a great deal, relative to Disney pricing. For $29 per adult you can get your fill on Latin and Caribbean flavors. After such a satisfying meal, take a romantic stroll through Caribbean Beach Resort, or next door to Disney's Riviera Resort.
Want more underrated fun at Disney? Most people know about the fun of a monorail crawl, but a Disney Skyliner pub crawl sure is unique. And for other creative ideas, check out the most magical ways to celebrate a birthday or anniversary at Disney World.
All images by Brian Kirkwood (@briantreks)