I am a self-proclaimed foodie. I grew up in the food business and I appreciate a good meal. That being said, my family and I absolutely love eating while at Walt Disney World and some of the sit down restaurants are as important to us as the rides that we go on.
With the new style of Disney dining and the fact that we are a value resort budget family, with a meal plan that only includes counter service (unless you want to pay for the upgrade) we had to learn to look a little bit harder at all of the options and not view them as something negative.
One of our absolute favorite places to eat when we’re in Disney is the Flame Tree BBQ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. There is just something about the BBQ sandwiches that we love! Not only that, you can get baked bean, cole slaw, fruit plates and the outdoor seating is just wonderful – albeit hard to find sometimes.
At Epcot, we discovered that we really, really enjoy going to the Sunshine Seasons food court in the Land Pavilion. There is quite literally something for everyone there! From Asian fare, soups, salads and sandwiches, grilled meats, sushi and a bakery you would have no problem feeding your family there. The noise level is a bit much at times but this is also a great place to wait out your FastPass time for Soarin if you don’t feel like riding the boat through Living with the Land.
I am not a pizza lover but I really do enjoy the pizza at Toy Story’s Pizza Planet in Hollywood Studios. With their personal pan pizzas, salads and sodas it’s a fun place to eat no matter what your age. Even my boys who have been known to split a New York sized pizza between them, these little pizzas are filling and delicious.
I could eat all day at the Magic Kingdom and be happy! We always enjoy breakfast at the Main Street Bake Shop and whether you are getting a muffin or some french toast, their selections are just fabulous. For lunch, we have enjoyed Cosmic Rays and their chicken and sandwiches as a burger alternative.
But our favorite counter service place in Magic Kingdom for a lunch or dinner is the Columbia Harbor House. Their tuna sandwiches are amazing and my kids love their chicken strips or fish baskets. Again, it is just something different so that you don’t feel like you are having to eat at McDonald’s every day.
I did a review here on the MFL blog for the Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney that has an amazing assortment of freshly made sandwiches on warm bread that goes beyond what you would think of as a regular, boring sandwich lunch.
For dessert, since we’re not dining in the big fancy places with all of the ooey-gooey desserts, there is an ice cream shop on the Boardwalk that makes amazing milkshakes – Seashore Sweets. In Downtown Disney, I am told, there is a great place for candy (let’s be honest, we’re on vacation and we eat junk food!), cookies and ice cream – Ghiradelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop. The perfect way to get sugared up for running around the parks!
The thing is, don’t view the new dining plan for value resort guests as a negative thing. There are plenty of options that do not include burgers and fries for your family to enjoy. Plus, think of all of the time you save while not waiting for your dining reservation and for your food to be served. More time in the parks on the rides!