Here are our five favorite stops, where you should be able to grab a seat without a reservation (though it’s nice to plan in advance).
- Kona Cafe, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Just steps from the resort’s monorail station, this casual spot is the quickest getaway for a table-service lunch. This might be the biggest challenge without a reservation, so best to call ahead (sometimes early or late lunches work best without a reservation). The dish to taste: fish tacos with seared tilapia, tomato salsa and mango mayonnaise, also a great selection of hand-crafted sushi made to order. And, yes, the legendary Kilauea Torte is still on the menu.
- The Wave… of American Flavors, Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Jog downstairs to the first floor from the monorail station to this casual table-service restaurant. Again, reservations are nice, but not always necessary. Dish to taste: the build-your-own burger with Florida-raised and grass-fed beef. Add a little candied bacon, caramelized onions, guacamole – lots of delicious toppings. Organic draft beer too.
- Grand Floridian Cafe, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The monorail stops on the second floor, so make your way to the lobby to this airy, pleasant cafe where you reservations are preferred but not necessary. Dish to taste: the tuna Niçoise salad with a medium-rare tuna steak with greens, eggs, fingerling potatoes, green beans, Kalamata olive and tomatoes, served with fresh black olive bread. You can always add a glass of wine.
- Contempo Cafe, Disney’s Contemporary Resort. No reservations necessary, and it’s just steps from the monorail station of the resort’s fourth floor. Contempo Cafe is quick service, and a fun diversion from Magic Kingdom Park. The specialty cupcakes and desserts are not to be missed. Dish to taste: the hot smoked turkey sandwich with Brie, arugula, green apple slices, apple butter and honey mustard on challah bread. Fries on the side.
- Epcot. So it’s impossible to choose just one restaurant, and this requires a much longer departure from Magic Kingdom Park, but it’s doable, and reservations are best. While it’s a hike from the monorail stop to the World Showcase restaurants, a quicker stroll is Coral Reef Restaurant in The Seas with Nemo & Friends – and you get a dazzling live show from the fish, sharks, turtles and rays in the giant aquarium. Dish to taste: the divine lobster bisque with tarragon and brandy has been on the menu since Day 1, but the grilled New York strip steak is a crowd pleaser.
Tell us your favorite! For reservations visit DisneyWorld.com/dine or call 407-WDW-DINE.