The Coral Reef restaurant is tucked away in the back of The Seas Pavilion in EPCOT’s Future World. Although I have spent a lot of time in The Seas Pavilion looking for Nemo and checking out the fish tanks, I have never eaten at Coral Reef. After years of opting to try other restaurants due to the mixed reviews I have read, I finally decided to give it a shot.
Making a Reservation at Coral Reef
We made a reservation for an early lunch on a Friday at Coral Reef. Walt Disney World recently changed their restaurant reservation policies and guests can now make dining reservations up to 60 days in advance. With the Food and Wine Festival going on, and the reduced capacity at the park, this reservation was fairly easy to get.
We arrived just before noon and requested a table by the tank. I highly recommend doing this. You can certainly see the tank from everywhere in the restaurant, but there is something special about sitting up close.
Since it was early in the day, the staff at Coral Reef had no problem fulfilling our request and we were seated right at the front of the restaurant. A giant stingray was sitting by our table, waiting to greet us as we sat down.
Dining with a View
Walt Disney World is still currently requiring guests to wear masks while on property and in the parks, but our server told us that we were welcome to remove them as soon as we were seated. The tables surrounding ours were left empty in an effort to maintain physical distance between us and other guests. How capacity will look in Disney restaurants in the coming months remains to be seen, but for now, this means that there are fewer tables available next to the tank. For this reason, I would recommend booking the earliest reservation you can get if you visit at lunchtime.
Our server, Dino, was very helpful in making recommendations. He also seemed to know a lot about the sea creatures in the tank, so we learned a few things during our meal. We chose the shrimp cocktail as an appetizer, ordered our drinks, and settled in to watch the fish swim around.
The shrimp were large and the cocktail sauce was good. We enjoyed this as an appetizer, but it was pretty standard as far as shrimp cocktail goes. If you absolutely love shrimp cocktail, it’s worth getting. If not, you could skip it and save some room (and money) for dessert.
One thing I noticed as we were placing our orders was that the menu seemed somewhat limited. Whether this is a temporary or permanent change, I can’t say. The drink menu, however, did not seem to be limited at all and we had many choices. I went with the Rum Swizzle and my friend ordered the Coral ‘Rita. We really enjoyed both of these drinks.
I decided on the seared mahi mahi for my entrée while my friend ordered a Caesar salad with grilled salmon. This wasn’t listed as an entrée, but our server had no problem fulfilling her request.
I really enjoyed my meal! My fish was a tiny bit overcooked, but the coconut and cilantro-lime sauce was really delicious and kept the fish from being dry. I ate every bit of my entrée and would certainly order it again.
In lieu of dessert, we opted to order another drink, called The Abyss, and enjoy the scenery in the tank. We got a little bit of a treat when 3 divers entered the tank. They brought food with them to feed the fish and the tank really came to life! It was so much fun to watch!
We really enjoyed our experience at Coral Reef! Despite hearing so much different feedback about this restaurant, I am glad I finally took a chance on it. The scenery alone made it worth a visit. I have a nephew who absolutely loves aquariums, so Coral Reef will definitely be on my list of dining reservations the next time I visit Epcot with him.
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