Not too long ago, an ill-informed op-ed made the internet rounds claiming that people without kids shouldn’t go to Disney World. I can’t expound any further on that theory, because I didn’t bother to read the piece, because the premise is dumb. Not only should everyone who wants to go to Disney World go to Disney World regardless of whether or not they have offspring in tow, Disney World has one quality that is of interest to adults in particular: it’s full of good stuff to eat and drink.
This may come as a surprise to the Disney World novitates. Theme parks do not have the reputation as good eating spots, and, until somewhat recently, Disney World was not exactly exempt. But bland, greasy and overcooked is no longer the standard there. There is a wide range of solid restaurants across all the parks and resorts, plus special snacks and desserts only available at certain locations. In Epcot alone, you can get about a dozen different kinds of cuisine, and this isn’t even counting their seasonal events like the Food & Wine Festival (which, as you might expect, offers way more). The Signature level of table service restaurants have high-quality meals and dress codes. You can get vegetarian, vegan and/or gluten-free food. And there’s a dizzying array of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic conconctions to drink. Nowadays, the food is one of the best reasons to go to Disney World.
I go to Disney World often. Maybe not as often as Serious Disney People, but once a year for the past several years. I do go with my own kid, but we never went when she was very young, and have also included a grown-up family friend in recent years—so my experiences are not that much different than it would be to go with an all-adult group. And I am here to tell you that you need to be thinking seriously about what to eat and drink there.
Which is why I create a spreadsheet.
Some notes on the spreadsheet:
Underlined items link to the Disney landing page for said establishment, complete with full menus and maps. So you can do your own research from there.
This is not a comprehensive list. This is my own personal reference guide for 2019’s trip only. If you go to Disney World often and want some new recommendations, or just want a place to start for your own guide, it might be helpful. But this is not my you-must-eat-this master list of recommendations. If you want an overall list of must-eats, you’ll want to consult something like the amazing Disney Food Blog. Or maybe in the future I’ll compile my own comprehensive list.
This list is more flexible than my list usually is. After packing our schedule full of restaurant reservations the past couple of years, this year I left more open room for snacks, counter service and lounges. We’ll see how that shakes out.
This is a list of ideas. I do not make any claims that I will eat or drink every single thing on this list. Although I might. But I probably won’t. Although I might. (I probably will.)
In conclusion, you should 1) go to Disney World and 2) eat a lot of good stuff. I am available for specific recommendations upon request.