Ask the Disney Moms – Disney Dining Plan or Not?

Reader Jessica asks:

If you had to recommend one restaurant in WDW, what would you suggest? I need to reserve restaurants soon for an April trip and I am totally clueless!

Wow Jessica! Narrowing down all the places to eat on property to just one favorite would be pretty hard.  Here are my suggestions by park and in the resorts.  Hopefully that will help you make some decisions.  A couple of things to think about – who are you traveling with?  Kids (and some adults) really want to do character meals.  These meals are a great way to see a lot of characters without standing in line in the parks to see them.  Do they have a favorite meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner)?  This could make a difference when you’re making your reservations.  For groups that aren’t big breakfast eaters, making an Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR) for a breakfast buffet might not be a good idea.   If you’re using the Disney Dining Plan, make sure whatever you decide accepts the plan.  Now on to my family’s personal favorites:

Disney Hollywood Studios – Non-character: Mama Melrose Character: Hollywood and Vine Play and Dine  Mama Melrose has never served us a bad meal and the service here has always been beyond amazing!  Hollywood and Vine is the only character meal and it features Disney Junior characters.

Epcot – Non-character:  Coral Reef   Character:  Garden Grill  Coral Reef offers an awesome atmosphere and the food’s always been good on our trips.  Garden Grill was a chance ADR on our last trip and we loved it! The restaurant rotates and you overlook Living with the Land which is really cool to see how things change while you eat and the characters come visit you.

Animal Kingdom:  Non-character:   Character: Tusker House   I don’t have a recommendation for a non-character meal here since my family’s never personally eaten a non-character sit down meal.  We generally enjoy the awesome counter service this park has to offer.

Magic Kingdom:  Non-character:  Character:  Cinderella’s Royal Table  There aren’t many non-character places to eat a sit down meal in the Magic Kingdom.  We’ve never done The Plaza because of it’s menu.  We can do counter service if we simply want sandwiches to eat.  We’ve eaten at Tony’s Town Square before Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and weren’t impressed with the food and even less impressed with the service.  On our upcoming trip we’re trying Liberty Tree Tavern so hopefully that will be great.  In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with The Crystal Palace either in Magic Kingdom.

Outside the Parks:  Non-character: Grand Floridian Cafe  Character:  ‘Ohana at the Polynesian, Cape May Cafe at The Beach Club orChef Mickey’s at the Contemporary

In addition to my suggestions above, take a little time and look at the menus on Allears to see if you’ll enjoy what’s offered before you commit to an ADR.  Many of the establishments are also reviewed on TripAdvisor so you can check there to see what others had to say.

Hopefully this will help you narrow down your choices for your upcoming trip.  April is a great time to visit!!  Enjoy your vacation planning.

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