I’ve had an annual pass to Walt Disney World since 1989, and I’m pretty sure that I eat there more often than I actually ride the rides there. Why? Because Disney World—like the other theme parks in Orlando—has put an enormous effort into providing amazing in-park dining. If you don’t believe that the parks are the place to go for world-class restaurants, think again. Disney’s Epcot, all on its own, includes many stellar dining options—including two on my list, below, and also several other impressive eateries, including Chefs de France in the French pavilion, San Angel Inn in the Mexico pavilion and Restaurant Marrakesh in the Morocco pavilion. Other theme parks around Orlando offer similarly outstanding dining experiences. So when you’re planning your trips to the theme parks, make sure to make at least one in-park restaurant reservation. It’s a great way to take a luxurious break from an otherwise hectic day—and savor terrific food.
This classic French restaurant is tucked away on a winding street in Epcot’s France pavilion. Inspired by famed French chef Paul Bocuse (named Chef of the Century by the Culinary Institute of America), who first opened the larger Les Chefs de France in Epcot in 1982, the menu features well-seasoned cuisine created by Francisco Santin, who worked with Bocuse in Lyon, France. Ask for a window table!
Consistently named one of the best theme park restaurants in America, this Universal Islands of Adventure spot offers creative, delectable fare at reasonable prices within a beautiful, cavernous setting. Waiters are attentive and helpful, and the kitchen is quick, so you can duck in here for a relaxing meal and be back to riding the coasters before you know it.
Be Our Guest
One of Walt Disney World’s newest culinary offerings, this Beauty and the Beast-inspired spot within the Magic Kingdom’s new Fantasyland expansion is nothing short of magical. It’s a quick-service eatery at lunchtime, but make sure to come here for dinner. You’ll find yourself inside the Beast’s castle, where you can see snow falling on the French countryside outside the window while you dine on French cuisine. The Beast himself even makes an appearance.
Sharks Underwater Grill
The walls of this restaurant are actually glass windows into a huge shark tank, so you can watch the impressive creatures swimming by while you dine. The seafood here is a little on the pricey side, but it’s reliably good, and the spectacular views are worth it. A visit here is a quintessential SeaWorld experience.
Le Cellier Steakhouse
Another fabulous Epcot spot, this one in the Canada pavilion—set in a cozy cellar, with vaulted ceilings—evokes the warmth of a Canadian chateau-style hotel. The steaks are tender and delicious, and the poutine fries are addictive, but it’s the signature cheddar cheese soup that has guests coming back again and again.