When visiting Walt Disney World, Guests have no shortage of iconic places to grab a bite to eat. Whether getting a full Character Dining experience from the Crystal Palace or grabbing a Dole Whip from Aloha Isle, it’s important to keep your energy levels up when Park-Hopping throughout the day. That being said, there are many wonderful dishes and delights waiting in the wings.
It’s no secret that there are just some Disney restaurants and snack stands we visit simply out of tradition. Even some of Disney’s individual food items, like Dole Whips and turkey legs have become pop culture symbols. There’s nothing wrong with tradition, but sometimes it’s OK to deviate from the norm.
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However, if visitors are willing to be a little diligent and attentive, they will expose themselves to a new menu of delicious and delectable delights. For your next Disney trip, consider visiting some of these establishments and sampling these lesser-savored menu options before booking your table at Cinderella’s castle.
Starting with an easy example, let’s talk pizza. You can get a pizza from pretty much anywhere on Disney property, but one of the most popular and praised places for a pie has to be Via Napoli at EPCOT’s Italy pavilion. The restaurant is home to some of the most delicious pizza on the planet, but there’s one hidden gem that could truly singe those three famous fiery ovens. Located in the cradle of Disney Springs sits Pizza Ponte, a quick-service pizza joint that offers traditional pepperoni and cheese pizza by the slice along with some alternative choices like Parma Cotta and San Gennaro. What the place lacks in menu size, it more than makes up for in flavor. This writer managed to snag a slice on his most recent trip and can easily say it left Via Napoli’s pizza in cinders.
A good piece of Pizza is all well and good, but what about something to wash it down with? One of the most time-honored at Walt Disney World traditions since its inception has to be a visit to Trader Sam’s at the Polynesian Resort. Known for its famous tiki bar, the Grog Grotto is notorious for filling up fast, sometimes with an over three-hour waitlist. If Guests can’t get a table, however, there’s a little tropical hideaway located just upstairs from the famous watering hole. The Tambu Lounge is almost literally a hidden gem as it’s tucked away right beside the Polynesian’s Ohana. Since the restaurant is primarily open for breakfast and dinner, we managed to get ourselves a prime seat in the middle of the day. While the Tambu offers a variety of cocktails and appetizers, their mocktails like the Keiki Lemonade was sweet and refreshing after a long morning at the Magic Kingdom.
Sometimes, you want a big meal after a day of Park Hopping, but sometimes that’s not always in the budget. Have no fear, Guests can still eat like royalty without having to shill out the gold for a space at the table. Walt Disney World is home to a huge assortment of budget-friendly options without sacrificing flavor or satisfaction. We recently covered the highly-praised Polite Pig at Disney Springs, and while most of their menu options are indeed reasonably priced, the most delicious feature is arguably the plate of sides for about $16. With options like burnt ends chili, baked mac and cheese, street corn, and some of the most delicious tots in the Springs, Guests can’t go wrong with this flavorful and frugal choice.
Of course, we can’t talk about Disney food without mentioning a few sweets and treats. Chances are, many guests immediately run to the nearest Dole Whip, Mickey Bar, or Beaches and Cream for their sugary fix, but we recently went off the road less traveled and took a detour to EPCOT for our dessert of choice on our last trip. L’Artisan des Glaces is home to a wide variety of frozen favorites, but their Croque Glacé is starting to become a rising star. This brioche ice cream sandwich might soon be the Dole Whip’s downfall as it continues to get more and more attention thanks to it’s TikTok stardom. Guests better get them while they’re cold, they have sold out before.
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Every Disney fan worth their salt has their favorite restaurant, but sometimes it’s worth it to try something less-recognized. What’s frequently popular might not always be a winner, but these hidden gems certainly were in our book. Whether it’s pizza and ice cream or smoked beef and cocktails, Guests won’t go hungry at Walt Disney World.
Have you tried any secret spots at Walt Disney World? Tell Inside the Magic in the comments below!