One of the best things about living near the magic is the flexibility to dine at Disney restaurants more often or snag those last minutes reservations that pop up. Being a local also means you have the ability to be a little more picky when it comes to dining at Disney. Once you have experienced so many places, you realize where to go for the best food on property. Paul and I are officially becoming Floridians at the end of this month. In that spirit, here are five restaurants on property that have been consistently good that I can’t wait to visit more often as locals.
Steakhouse 71, Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Steakhouse 71 is a new restaurant that was previously occupied by The Wave. While The Wave was loved by many, including our own Pete Werner, Steakhouse 71 did not disappoint. Paul and I had dinner here last week and I thought the food was amazing. The prime rib was perfectly cooked, juicy, and flavorful. The au gratin potatoes had the perfect amount of bubbly cheese and savory sauce, and their new version of The Wave’s trademark dish, bacon and eggs did not leave me disappointed. Best of all, I felt we were getting signature dishes at a place that didn’t have signature prices.
Sanaa, Animal Kingdom Lodge- Kidani Village
When I first looked at the menu for Sanaa, I honestly thought it would be a little too adventurous for my pallet. This Indian/African inspired restaurant is located inside Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Kidani Village. What I learned by finally deciding to try it out a few years ago was that I loved the flavors this restaurant brought to the table. We have been back many times since and it is consistently good.
The Indian Bread service is one of my favorite appetizers on property. With a variety of naan breads and sauces to try, there are flavors there for nearly any kind of eater. A few other notable dishes I love are the butter chicken and cilantro coconut vegetables. If you are unsure if this place is for you, lunch is even more approachable with a tandoori chicken naan sandwich and burger. As a newfound Floridan, I can’t wait for our first local date night at Sanaa complete with exploring out the savanna after dinner.
Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’, Disney Springs
This past week, we happened to be at Disney at the same time some West Virginia friends of ours were passing through Orlando. We decided to meet up together at Disney Springs for lunch. Because they had not been to Disney since they were young, it was up to Paul and I to choose the restaurant. It was important to pick something that would make for a tasty and memorable first ‘Disney as adults’ experience for our friends. We found a reservation at Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ and snagged it as quickly as we could.
Homecomin’ has always been high on our list of favorites at Disney, but I’m embarrassed to admit it had been a few years since we last ate there. Our lunch last week reminded us how on point it always is. Some of my favorite dishes here are the thigh high chicken and biscuits, hushpuppies, mac & cheese, and church lady deviled eggs. The chicken is always juicy and tender with perfectly crunchy batter. Our West Virginia friends were very content with their lunch. It turned out to be the perfect place for two soon to be locals to take their out-of-town friends and show them that Disney can have great food.
The Boathouse, Disney Springs
The Boathouse at Disney Springs is another favorite of ours and one we plan to frequent as locals. We have both enjoyed not only the seafood here, but many of the other dishes. The pimento cheese dip is one of our favorite appetizers on property. It’s now served as a duo of dips with salsa. We always asked for them to skip the salsa and give us two servings of pimento dip instead and they always oblige. You’re welcome for that life hack. Other notable dishes are the truffle fries and the variety of great desserts. The Boathouse was the first place we took both our moms when we brought them to Disney for the first time and we had a great dinner together.
We have done both breakfast and dinner at Topolinos and both were a fantastic experience. This restaurant is currently one of the best on property. For breakfast, you can choose an entrée ( I recommend the steak), as well as ask for sides of the other dishes you want to try. For example I wanted to try to quiche and they still brought me out some. I was also able to ask for a side of potatoes. Plus, you get to experience the characters during breakfast (socially distanced, but still makes for great photos). Dinner is a little more formal. I love the fresh made pastas. After dinner, you can take in the beautiful views overlooking Riviera Resort, Caribbean Beach, and the Skyliner. You can also see the fireworks if you’re there later in the evening. It is definitely a great place to go for a date night.
I’m interested to hear your opinions. As Disney World locals or even frequent visitors, what on property restaurants are consistently good every time you go? What are your favorite places to eat at Disney as locals?
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