Best Walt Disney World Restaurants for First Timers

What are the best Walt Disney World Restaurants for a first visit to Walt Disney World?  You will find them here! From character dining to unique themed dining, there are so many magical places to enjoy on your first visit to Disney!

Visiting Walt Disney World for the first time comes with a lot of decisions to make.  

Which Walt Disney World Resort are you going to call home?

How many days of park tickets do you need? 

What are the best dining locations?  

And the list can go on and on, right?  Enjoying character dining and uniquely themed dining on your Walt Disney World vacation is a “must do”.  As a first time visitor to Disney, it can be overwhelming!  You want a nice variety of meals, maybe some character dining, and you want to see other areas of Disney property, other than the theme parks.  

10 Best Walt Disney World Restaurants for First Timers

So, what are the best Walt Disney World restaurants for first timers?  I have put together my list of the 10 Best Walt Disney World Restaurants for First Timers.  In our experience, these have stood out time and again, and have become many of our personal favorites!

‘Ohana @ Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Currently ‘Ohana serves both breakfast and dinner.  Of the two, dinner is best! Chances are, this is already on your list.  This Hawaiian themed, family style restaurant is one of the most unique experiences at Walt Disney World.  The signature ‘Ohana Bread, wood fired meats, and ‘Ohana Bread Pudding offer guests a taste of the islands right at the Polynesian Resort.  Don’t forget a Lapu Lapu! Nothing says tropical vacation like drinking out of a pineapple!


Tip: Plan a later dinner, and ask for a window seat!  This will give you a view of Disney’s Enchantment while you eat.  Or, plan an earlier dinner and take a spot after on the Polynesian Beach to see the Magic Kingdom fireworks. 

Boma @ Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Boma offers both breakfast and dinner….and both are stellar.  This location  resembles a large African marketplace and guests can serve themselves buffet style for both meals. Breakfast offers both African and traditional American dishes…..and often you will find Simba waffles on the buffet!  


Dinner at Boma is much more African inspired.  Tabouleh, Lamb Bobotie, Durban Chicken, and African Spiced Beef Striploin are just a few of the authentic dishes you will find on the buffet.  This is definitely a unique experience along with fantastic food.

Tip: Book dinner at Boma at the end of your Animal Kingdom day.  It’s nearby, and adds to the theming of your day!

Be Our Guest @ Disney’s Magic Kingdom Theme Park

Be Our Guest not only has a menu of wonderful food, but the setting and ambiance are what really make it special.  You truly feel as if you have stepped into the classic Beauty and the Beast film. The ballroom is magical, the West Wing is gorgeous, and it’s all complete with a beautiful rose!  

Tip:  This is one of the hardest Disney Dining Reservations to book. Plan this for later in your trip, and be on My Disney Experience at 6AM EST to book it right away!

Chef Mickey’s @ Disney’s Contemporary Resort

As far as character dining, Chef Mickey’s is a classic. First, you can meet the “Fab 5” at Chef Mickey’s. Also, they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner…..which opens up more availability. And, the Contemporary is super easy to access.  I prefer breakfast at Chef Mickey’s, myself.  The Mickey waffles are fantastic, and they serve a cheesy potato bake with breakfast as well. It is AMAZING. 

Chef Mickey’s serves American, family friendly food. There is certainly something on the menu that everyone in your family will love. 

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Tip: Book Chef Mickey’s for a “non park day”.  Since it is located at the Contemporary, you do not need a park ticket to access it.  It’s great for breakfast on departure day as well! 

Yak and Yeti @ Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

I really think Yak and Yeti is one of the biggest hidden gems on all of Disney property.  It’s perfectly suited for Animal Kingdom, with its Pan-Asian menu and atmosphere.  Also, the wait times are usually low and guests with a Landry’s Select Card are entitled to priority seating.

Animal Kingdom does not have a lot of table service locations. But this one is so good, and definitely makes up for the lack of table service in the park.  

Tip: Yak and Yeti consistently has an amazing menu, so you won’t have a bad meal here!  Be sure to look for the Asian artifacts scattered throughout the restaurant. 

Cinderella’s Royal Table @ Disney’s Magic Kingdom Theme Park

Really, there is nothing more “Disney” or “magical” than eating inside Cinderella’s Castle. While the experience is a little different at the moment, the atmosphere and food still remains amazing. Cinderella does visit the dining room, to wave to her royal guests.  She is the only princess at the moment, whereas in the past you could meet 4 or 5 princesses during your experience. 

A walk up the winding staircase to the dining room overlooking Fantasyland starts your time off in a magical way.  We have enjoyed breakfast, lunch, and dinner here on various trips, and have never had a bad meal.  Each one was great, and the food is not only tasty, but presented in a gorgeous manner.

Tip:  Plan a breakfast either at or slightly before park opening. This gives you the opportunity to take some empty park photos in front of the castle before your meal.

California Grill @ Disney’s Contemporary Resort

If there is one thing that makes California Grill unique, it is that you can dine while watching Disney’s Enchantment literally right outside the window.  The views of Magic Kingdom from California Grill are unmatched, and definitely something a first timer will want to experience.  The lights dim, and the soundtrack is piped into the restaurant as the show begins.

California Grill makes for a fantastic “fancy” or “celebration” meal experience.  It is one of the pricier restaurants on property.  The nice thing is they also serve a great brunch, which makes it a great start to a day as well.  However the views at dinner are the best.

Tip:  California Grill may require guests to adhere to a dress code, as it is a Signature Dining Experience. Guests are expected to be dressed in nicer clothes, not theme park attire.  

50s Prime Time Cafe @ Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Do you want to step back in time?  Then 50s Prime Time Cafe is for you! Formica countertops, black and white TVs, aprons on the waitresses, and thick milkshakes are just some of the fun attributes that make this dining location one of our favorites.  This retro restaurant is just so much fun!

The Aunt Liz’s Fried Chicken is amazing, along with the side of mashed potatoes. The wait staff will remind you to eat your veggies, clean your plate, and keep your elbows off the table. You might even earn a “Clean Plate Club” sticker!

Tip: Ask for a Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake “to go” as a dessert after your meal!

Liberty Tree Tavern @ Disney’s Magic Kingdom Theme Park

Of all the restaurants on this list. Liberty Tree is my absolute favorite.  We discovered it about three years ago, as a “new to us” dining location we wanted to try. And we were hooked.  This is a classic, Thanksgiving, family style meal that is AMAZING.  The pot roast, turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing all are wonderful. But really, the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake dessert is what makes it absolutely stellar.

Liberty Tree Tavern is perfect if you have picky eaters.  The food is American, and so family friendly. It’s also served family style, which makes it very convenient for a larger group.

Tip:  If you cannot get into Liberty Tree, try for Diamond Horseshoe. It’s right next door, and serves the exact same menu!  In fact, sometimes guests from Liberty Tree are seated in the Diamond Horseshoe if necessary.

Via Napoli in the Italy Pavilion at EPCOT’s World Showcase

Via Napoli serves authentic, pasta, meat and woodfired pizza dishes.  It’s tucked away in the beautiful Italy Pavilion in World Showcase, and they serve both lunch and dinner.  We love Via not only because the food is great but also because it is a good value.  The portions are large, and it’s easy to share a pizza and an entree with your entire table. 

This is also a great location for dinner at the end of an EPCOT day.  Then, you can step out into a beautifully lit World Showcase and walk off your dinner!

Tip:  Take a close look at the wood fired ovens. They are named after three active volcanoes in Italy:  Vesuvio, Etna, and Stromboli.

While you may not be able to visit every one of these on your first Walt Disney World vacation, there are certainly some great options here! Character dining, themed dining, and unique menu items are all the things I look for when planning my meals at Walt Disney World.  

Which of these will you be visiting at Walt Disney World on your first trip?


Carrie Hurst

Married to my high school sweetheart, we are raising two pirates and a princess. A lifelong Disney fan, lover of good food, and all things creative, I hope you will join me in sharing joy and making memories everyday.


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