Best Table Service Restaurants for First Timers at Walt Disney World

Planning a visit to the Walt Disney World Resort can be taxing for the most veteran traveler, but when you're planning your first visit to the House of the Mouse, it can be overwhelming. And many times I hear from those first-time travelers that they didn't know where to eat so they didn't make any reservations and they come home wishing they could have done things differently.

What's the best table service for first time guests?What's the best table service for first time guests?

As one of those "veteran" Disney-goers, I will admit that there have been visits when I come home and think "I wish we would have made a reservation" for a particular restaurant. It's really hard to fit it all in. But there are a few table service spots that could be considered "must do's" for a first time visitor. [Heck, a few of these are still on my must-eat-here list].

Let's start with Cinderella's Royal Table. Yes, it's pricey but you're eating IN the castle. That has to be at the top of any must-do list if it's your first visit to Disney World. Sure, it's two table credits on the Disney Dining Plan and rather pricey out-of-pocket too, but it's not like you're going to enjoy a meal in the castle with the princesses on any normal day.

Dining room at Cinderella's Royal TableDining room at Cinderella's Royal Table

Make that Advance Dining Reservation 180 days out and experience a meal inside Cinderella Castle. I like breakfast in the castle, early so you have the whole day ahead of you. But dinner is also lovely.

Staying at the Magic Kingdom, another favorite for first-timers (and veterans too) is the Crystal Palace. Even though I'm now parenting a teen and a tween we still love having a meal with Pooh and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood. This is another great spot for an early-morning breakfast, but I also love dinner here. After a long, hot day in the park it's nice to sit in the A/C for a while and enjoy a meal. Plus, you gotta love Winnie the Pooh!

Meet Pooh and friends at Crystal PalaceMeet Pooh and friends at Crystal Palace

Chef Mickey's was one of the first character meals that we took the kids to, almost 10 years ago! This is the one spot where you'll find the Fab Five: Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto. In addition to the characters, which are fun for kids of ALL ages, you'll also enjoy a pretty good buffet and get to watch the Monorail whiz by overhead. It's like all things Disney in one spot. One tip: it gets loud here...really loud. So be prepared.

Chef Mickey's is so fun!Chef Mickey's is so fun!

Stepping away from the character meals, there's another castle-based spot that you just have to visit and that's Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom. Breakfast and lunch at BOG are considered a quick service meal, but you still need a reservation. Dinner is a table service and again, make those ADRs on that 180 day mark.

As much as I love Cinderella Castle (and I do LOVE it), there is something spectacular about dining inside Beast's castle at Be Our Guest. Breakfast is an OK meal here, but lunch is a must. Dinner is pretty great too. Also, try the Grey Stuff. It really is delicious.

Master's Cupcake at Be Our GuestMaster's Cupcake at Be Our Guest

At Disney's Polynesian Village you'll find 'Ohana, where you can enjoy a family-style breakfast with Lilo and Stich, or an all-you-can-eat Polynesian dinner. The 'Best Friends Breakfast' is a great option to get the day started, but dinner at 'Ohana is a fan favorite. Also, there is Bread Pudding at dinner and you really can't go wrong with 'Ohana's Bread Pudding. It's the stuff of legends.

Bread Pudding at 'OhanaBread Pudding at 'Ohana

Disney's Wilderness Lodge
is home to one of my favorite places for breakfast - the Whispering Canyon Cafe. This is the place to eat (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) if you're looking for a rip-roaring good time. If you're looking for a relaxing dinner on the other hand, you might want to skip Whispering Canyon Cafe. The skillets here are delicious and let's not forget about the Bottomless Milkshakes. Is there anything better than Bottomless Milkshakes? No, there's not. Also, ask for ketchup. Always ask for ketchup. ;-)

And finally, our final can't miss spot for first timers is the 50s Prime Time Cafe at Disney's Hollywood Studios. You'll find traditional, homestyle meals here including fried chicken, meatloaf, and more. Just remember to keep your elbows off the table and eat all your veggies. Also, save room for dessert. You do not want to skip dessert here.

Delicious food at 50s Prime Time CafeDelicious food at 50s Prime Time Cafe

This is by no means a complete list of the best spots to dine on your first visit to Walt Disney World. Other places to add would be Boma, Sanaa, Via Napoli, and maybe even LeCellier. What spots would you recommend to a first-time visitor? Let us know in the comments.

Many thanks to the Disney Food Blog for use of their photos.

Kristen K. wrote on Tue, 01/31/2017 - 19:26:

Kristen K.'s picture

Whispering Canyon Cafe is one of my favorites!

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