Walt Disney World restaurants aren’t just about the food available. Sometimes the atmosphere of a restaurant can take the dining experience from great to out of this world.
With food and beverages completely removed from the equation, let’s look at some of the best-themed restaurants on property and why you absolutely should visit them for an all-around unforgettable dining experience.
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater
Travel back in time to the glory days of the drive-in theater in this restaurant that, back in the day, was the most popular restaurant in all of Walt Disney World property!
Opening in April of 1991, this restaurant is set in the prime days of the drive-in, with the tables that are modeled to look exactly like convertible cars that were commonplace in the ’50s. Better yet, there is even a huge screen at the front of the restaurant that plays the role of the classic movie screen, showing trailers from some of the best monster flicks and B movies from the time.
These include “The Blob,” “Teenager from Outer Space,” “The Amazing Colossal Man,” and perhaps the most famous of them all, “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman.”
It’s very easy to forget you are in a restaurant and not a movie theater once you are settled in your car which makes this a dining experience that is still unforgettable, almost 30 years after opening.
Be Our Guest Restaurant
One of the more recent additions to Walt Disney World in our list, despite opening way back in December 2012, this restaurant is arguably one of the best-themed restaurants on any Disney property.
Based on Beast’s castle from the 1991 animated classic, “Beauty and the Beast,” this restaurant contains three separate dining areas (all giving a slightly different dining experience). It’s a restaurant that will make your day without you even needing a bite to eat. Let’s look at the three different dining areas.
The Grand Ballroom
Famously where Belle and Beast danced together in the movie, guests can relive this magical experience as its setup as a dining area as snow falls in the scenic French mountains. During the holidays the room is even more magical with the addition of a giant Christmas tree.
The West Wing
The West Wing is arguably the room with the best atmosphere in the entire restaurant. Much smaller than The Grand Ballroom, the famous West Wing from the movie includes the rose alongside the occasional falling petal. Keep an eye on the room when a petal falls–things could get interesting…
The Rose Gallery
While some might argue that The Rose Gallery is the least inspiring dining area of the restaurant, the paintings in this area are incredible so it shouldn’t just be the room you choose because the other two are full.
In doesn’t matter too much what dining area you get placed into (or choose if you’re there for a quick service meal), guests are free to wander around the entire restaurant.
Dining at Be Our Guest restaurant really is an experience in itself and even if you can’t get in for a table service dinner, the restaurant is still amazing as part of a quick-service breakfast or lunch.
Although it is incredibly difficult to take food out of the equation when covering Le Cellier, let’s try and focus on what makes the atmosphere in this restaurant so good…
Cheating a little bit here but the theming of the Le Cellier actually begins way before you enter the restaurant. The surrounding gardens lead for a picturesque setting and if you time it right, you won’t even feel like you’re in a theme park. It’s one of those locations that very few people walk through and if you’re lucky enough you may be able to spot a bit of wildlife. We’ve seen baby rabbits hopping around the gardens on numerous occasions. The gardens in this area are based on the Butchart Gardens found in Victoria, British Columbia.
Onto the main event: Le Cellier is located inside a huge Château modelled on the Château Laurier hotel in Ottawa Canada.
Heading inside the Château you suddenly realise you are sat in a Canadian cellar. The setting is fairly intimate, and perfect for couples and families alike, wanting to enjoy a relaxing meal where conversations can be heard and time can be taken to enjoy the meal and atmosphere. This is the complete opposite of what you will find in a restaurant like Planet Hollywood or Rainforest Café.
San Angel Inn Restaurante
While eating lunch in perpetual twilight might not sound amazing when you first hear it, San Angel Inn Restaurante is one of the most romantic restaurants on Walt Disney World property. Located inside the Mexican Pavilion within World Showcase at Epcot, the restaurant is modelled after a 17th-century hacienda at the base of a Mayan ruin.
If you are really lucky or prepared to wait a bit longer for your reservation, you are able to sit just by the edge of the water and watch the boats go by from the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros.
You can sit back, enjoy a margarita and really feel like you are sat in Mexico. Another location in Walt Disney World where if you get the right table, you couldn’t tell you were sat enjoying a meal in a theme park. Disney really has captured the wonder of a hacienda here.
50’s Prime Time Café
The final restaurant on the list is perhaps the most controversial as it really is a location that visitors either love or hate. Now surprisingly, it isn’t the food that doesn’t go down well with guests here (remember we promised not to talk about food), but the atmosphere and treatment of guests, even if it is all meant in jest.
Travel back in time to the ’50s (the clue is in the name after all) as you are seated into a diner straight from the era. All the servers are dressed in a similar fashion to June Cleaver from “Leave it to the Beaver” and there’s a strange but fun bit of acting where they act like your mom and make you eat your vegetables before ordering dessert and tell you off if you put your elbows on the table. You can see why guests either love or hate it.
The diner setting is wonderful and there are even televisions showing classic shows from the ’50s as well. If you can get into the acting from servers and love the classic American diner, this is a perfectly themed restaurant!