After the big news, yesterday, with Disney releasing news of the Villains Unleashed party on August 23rd. Dad is going to slow things down a bit today and talk about some of the lower-cost/hidden gem table service restaurants.
This comes out of a discussion I was having with my spouse, last night, about potential restaurants to eat out when we are down for the Villains party in August. Yes, Dad scored tickets! And a room at Yacht Club to boot! We are not using the Disney Dining Plan for this trip – a first for us. So, we went looking for hidden gem restaurants around Disney World since we are paying “out-of-pocket” for these table service meals
So, let’s go around the World and find some Hidden Gems:
Beaches and Cream Cafe – Beach Club
Probably the most well-known of the restaurants on this list. But, it’s not known for its dinner menu. It’s known for The Kitchen Sink dessert item.
This behemoth of a dessert is eight scoops of vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and mint chip ice cream topped with every topping at the Beaches and Cream Soda Counter. It’s $28.99 which makes it the most expensive item on the menu.
Smaller, sharable versions are now available in other locations.
The restaurant does not have an expansive lunch/dinner menu. In its 50s soda shop theme, it has burgers, hot dogs, and some deli sandwiches on the menu. Nothing extravagant but enough to leave room for dessert. Dessert is where this restaurant shines with a wide variety of milkshakes, floats, sundaes, and banana splits. It is well worth a visit for a meal if you not on the dining plan. There is also a walk-up/take-out window as well.
Grand Floridian Cafe
Amidst all the elegance of the Grand Floridian Resort lies the second gem….The Grand Floridian Cafe. The restaurant is one of five table service restaurants at The Grand Floridian so it tends to get lost in the shuffle. It doesn’t have character meals like 1900 Park Fare. It doesn’t have the AAA Five-Diamond Awards like Victoria and Albert’s. It doesn’t have a memorable name like Citricos or Narcoossee’s. But what it does provide is a solid meal for guests at a reasonable price and for that it makes our list.
The Grand Floridian Cafe is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as a sit-down table service restaurant. The lunch and dinner menus are very similar with more salads and cold sandwiches offered at lunch time. It is a very solid restaurant in a great location just one monorail stop or boat ride from the Magic Kingdom. This makes it a great place to stop in for a casual lunch or dinner before heading into the parks.
Breakfast Menu: http://allears.net/dining/menu/grand-floridian-cafe/breakfast
Maya Grille – Coronado Springs
I’m going to be up front and say that this menu shocked me when my wife and I were researching restaurants last night. This restaurant has a FANTASTIC menu with a lot of options. Maya Grille is located at the Coronado Springs Resort.
The restaurant is described as Mexican cuisine. Upon further inspection, the restaurant looks more Mexican-American or Southwestern US cuisine. The menu has fajitas, chimichangas, and enchiladas along side pan-seared chicken, grilled pork, steak, and fish.
Maya Grill is only open for dinner.
Olivia’s Cafe – Old Key West
Another restaurant located at one of Disney’s “lesser known” resorts in Old Key West. Even though, Old Key West is the original Disney Vacation Club resort, it has been “passed over” by the newer vacation club resorts located closer to the parks.
Still, Old Key West has one thing that those resorts don’t have….Olivia’s Cafe. Olivia’s Cafe is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner though the lunch and dinner menu is exactly the same.
You find standard restaurant fare at Olivia’s but cooked and styled with a Key West/Caribbean flair. Lots of soups, sandwiches, and grilled steaks, chicken, and shrimp can be found on the menu.
Because of Old Key West’s location, guests will find a restaurant that is not very crowded and a place where they can enjoy a quiet meal.
Plaza Restaurant – Magic Kingdom
The only restaurant on the list that is located within a theme park. Plaza Restaurant is a lot like the Grand Floridian Cafe in that is a solid restaurant but just doesn’t have a lot of things that other table service restaurants within Magic Kingdom have. The Plaza doesn’t have the princess experience like Cinderella’s Royal Table or Be Our Guest. It doesn’t have a character experience like Crystal Palace. It doesn’t have the theming like the colonial feel of Liberty Tree Tavern or Lady and the Tramp feel on Tony’s Town Square.
It is a place to go where guests can go sit down and get a solid meal. The menu is mainly sandwiches and salads. It’s appeal comes from the dessert where guests at the restaurant have access to some of the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor menu items as well.
Lunch/Dinner Menu: http://allears.net/dining/menu/plaza-restaurant/lunch-dinner
Plaza Ice Cream Parlor Menu: http://allears.net/dining/menu/plaza-ice-cream-parlor/snacks
The nice thing about all of these restaurants is reservations are easier to obtain than the more “well-known” Disney restaurants. My wife and I were able to have our choice of reservation times at Maya Grille and Grand Floridian Cafe when we made reservations less than 80 days out from our trip for the Villains Unleashed party in August.
A large majority of the guests want the character experience or the luxury dining or both. With the dining plan, they can have that experience. For guests who aren’t on the dining plan or who simply just want a quiet meal away from the crowds, these restaurants are for you.
What are some of your hidden gems that I may have missed?
I am collaborating with a friend of mine, Kim Jordan, who is a travel agent with Magic of Mickey Travel. If you ever need a person to help you plan your Disney vacation, she is an excellent resource and would be more than welcome help you plan the vacation. Her contact information can be found on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KimJordanMagicOfMickeyTravel
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