Early birds are already making their New Year’s Eve plans, and reservations go fast for many Walt Disney World Resort restaurants. But we’ve got some offbeat ideas for ringing in 2015 that don’t require a reservation (except for one).
If you’re at Epcot, you can still make a reservation for early dining at lovely Monsieur Paul upstairs in the France Pavilion (one of our top spots for fine dining). It’s a treat to lunch at Monsieur Paul, as it’s usually just open for dinner: there are still seats available at 11:45 a.m., noon, 2:15 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. This gracious experience ($85 per person plus tax and gratuity), starts with Cassolette d ’escargots Cauderanaise (escargot cassolette with white wine, bacon, shallots); a salad with Roquefort cheese, pear and caramelized pecans, or mussels soup with saffron and light fennel cream. Entrées include chicken with morels mushrooms and white sauce; broiled Maine lobster casserole, or beef short ribs braised in red wine with Parisian gnocchi with herbs. The sweet ending is a delectable French dessert.
If you can’t snag a reservation, another favorite is Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar in the Italy Pavilion, a cozy spot to sip Bellinis or martinis, or choose from a solid wine list. Small plates include pastas, Tuscan-style pork ribs, paninis, charcuterie and imported cheeses. La Cava Del Tequila in the Mexico Pavilion doesn’t take reservations either – try a flight of tequilas (more than 100 to choose from) and pair with chips and guacamole or a shrimp cocktail for a light bite.
If you prefer to watch Magic Kingdom Park fireworks from afar, grab a seat in the lounge at Cítricos at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The expansive wine and cocktail list pairs nicely with small bites from the kitchen like arancini (crispy risotto with sweet Italian sausage and mozzarella), Prince Edward Island mussels or slow-roasted Berkshire pork belly.
You can also see Magic Kingdom Park fireworks from Disney’s Contemporary Resort where The Wave . . . of American Flavors lounge (ages 21 and older) offers signature cocktails, beer and wine along with seasonal tastes such as steamed Florida Cedar Key clams, lump crab, Florida rock shrimp cakes and a sustainable fish taco.
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge offers prime outdoor seating with wine, beer and cocktails and a substantial menu – yes, you can get the famous Cobb Salad as well as Wagyu beef sliders, artisinal cheeses and charcuterie and Maine mussels (we love the desserts too, like the warm blueberry cobbler with crème fraîche and orange blossom honey).
Another tucked-away spot that’s got a view of Epcot fireworks from along the BoardWalk at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is casual Crew’s Cup Lounge – beer fans highly recommend the Sam Adams beer flight, but there’s a bounteous selection of other brews, cocktails and wine. The menu runs the gamut from a New England-style lobster roll to pappardelle pasta with braised short ribs.
And if fireworks aren’t an important part of your year-end celebration, for a lovely spot head to Victoria Falls Lounge at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, where you can sip a Coconut Elixir (non-alcoholic), a truffle olive martini or a fabulous South African wine while listening to live music. The menu is one of our lounge favorites: tandoori-spiced chicken wings, peri peri scallops, pork wings, crispy chick pea bites and artisanal cheeses. For guests looking for a heartier meal, Boma Flavors of Africa still has reservations available on New Year’s Eve.
Wishing you a happy, healthy 2015!