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Best Walt Disney World Restaurants

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Walt Disney World restaurants vary widely, from pricey and ho-hum fast-food to world-class cuisine and unique dining entertainment. Some of the best restaurants can be found at Epcot's World Showcase, with its unique international eateries highlighting 11 different countries. Still other top restaurants – such as Wolfgang Puck’s — are at Downtown Disney and several are located at the resort hotels. Victoria & Albert's at Disney's Grand Floridian and Jiko—The Cooking Place at Animal Kingdom Lodge, California Grill at The Contemporary and Shula’s and BlueZoo at the Swan & Dolphin are standouts. No matter what restaurant you choose, dining at Disney is not cheap. If you’re staying at a Disney hotel, you can buy the Disney Dining Plan, which does offer discounts on meals. The dining plan estimates about $35 a day for adults (for quick service restaurants), and close to $15 for  children; our experience dining without the plan is that food will cost much more, but you also get much more flexibility. To save money on some meals, consider taking a picnic lunch into the park. Lockers are available for small coolers. If you do dine at Walt Disney World you must have reservations for table service restaurants. To make reservations at any Walt Disney World restaurant, call 407-WDW-DINE. If you're staying at a Walt Disney World resort, you can call up to 180 days ahead and book reservations for up to 10 days of your stay. What do you do if you forget to make reservations? Some restaurants will take walk-ups, but it's best to go early or late to avoid the rush. Even then, you'll probably have to wait. And remember that, for restaurants located inside of the four parks, you’ll need a valid park admission for that day to get to the restaurant. You can reach restaurants at Downtown Disney and in the hotels without entering any of the parks, so no need for a ticket to get to those. There are entire books written on the restaurants of Walt Disney World, but here are our tips for the best restaurants at Walt Disney World.

Fulton's Crab House

Neighborhood: Magic Kingdom
Price: Expensive
You can't miss this restaurant in the heart of Downtown Disney—it's housed in an authentic riverboat replica. This ever-popular eatery features more than 50 fresh seafood selections daily, and has a 2,000-bottle wine cellar. Popular dishes include Alaskan Crab Legs and Australian lobster tail. We like the Grilled Pacific Swordfish with the salsa verde and the Blue Crab Cakes. The children's menu includes the usual crowd-pleasing favorites of spaghetti, hamburgers and hot dogs. You must have a reservation to even think about dining here.

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Fulton's Crab House  

Jiko—The Cooking Place

Neighborhood: Disney's Animal Kingdom Price: Expensive
If you're planning one upscale dinner during your Walt Disney World resort stay, this might be the place to do it. With its sophisticated flair and African wines and flavors, Jiko is quite unique. This restaurant located in Animal Kingdom Lodge puts an African spin on familiar favorites, from grilled shrimp curry to maize-crusted halibut. Jiko has some of the best vegetarian cuisine at Walt Disney World. Try one of the African beers or South African wines. You can watch the chefs do their magic in The Cooking Place, the restaurant's show kitchen.

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Victoria & Albert's

Neighborhood: Magic Kingdom
Price: Expensive
Seating only 60 guests, this elegant restaurant at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is more of an experience than a meal. Victoria & Albert's is an adult-oriented, intimate dining atmosphere. Plan on spending at least two hours on dinner. Service is impeccable and each lady receives a long-stem rose. The 6-course prix fixe menu changes daily ($125 and up), using only the freshest ingredients. Once guests have made their selections, they receive their personalized menu as a souvenir. Jackets are required, and no children under 10 are allowed. Reservations, as you can imagine, are a must.

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Les Chefs de France

Neighborhood: Epcot Price: Moderate
Located inside of Epcot under the Eiffel Tower, as you can guess from the name, the food here is delightfully French. That said, the team of internationally acclaimed chefs focus on fresh ingredients and lighter sauces with less cream and butter than traditional French cooking. The result is scrumptious cuisine that won't hurt your waistline—too much. The onion soup and escargot are simple, but tasteful appetizers. Try the plat de cote de boeuf au cabarnet avec pates (Beef short ribs braised with cabernet) or the filet de saumon,broiled and served with tomato béarnaise and  ratatouille. French wines complete your European dining experience. The restaurant interior is charming and intimate. Reservations are recommended.

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50's Prime Time Café

Neighborhood: Disney's Hollywood Studios Price: Moderate
This light-hearted restaurant serves food just like mama used to make it. Golden fried chicken, meatloaf and grilled tuna casserole are just a few of the comfort foods on tap. The 1950s TV  Land setting makes dining here even more fun, with plastic laminate tables and black-and-white TV clips running throughout the room. "Mom" is your server, and she'll remind you to keep your elbows off the table and mind your manners. (She'll even cut up your food if you need it.) Only when you've cleaned your plate can you order dessert. The s'mores and Boston cream cupcakes are popular favorites.

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50's Prime Time Café  

Biergarten

Neighborhood: Epcot Price: Moderate
We like this one for the German experience, rather than the food. If you've ever been to a German beer hall, you know the lighthearted atmosphere that comes from the combination of good friends, beer and comfort food. The Biergarten at the Germany pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase captures that spirit well. Long communal tables fill this large restaurant where the beer is served in steins, the waitresses wear dirndl dresses and the entertainment often includes cowbells and accordions. Food is served buffet-style and you'll see all the German favorites, including bratwurst, cucumber salad and spaetzle.  Reservations are recommended. Prices range from $15 to $35 for lunch or dinner.

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Lotus Blossom Cafe

Neighborhood: Epcot Price: Budget
The beautiful China Pavilion, with its Temple of Heaven and serene gardens, will put you in the mood for yummy Chinese food. The Nine Dragons Restaurant offers upscale Chinese cuisine, but if you're looking for a quick and cheap Chinese food fix, stop at the Lotus Blossom Café. This fast-food eatery next to the China shopping gallery offers orange chicken, Mongolian beef, pot stickers and more common  favorites. Seating is available at covered outdoor tables.

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Lotus Blossom Cafe  

Kringla Bakeri og Kafe

Neighborhood: Epcot Price: Budget
This little bakery in the Norway Pavilion is one of our favorite stops at Epcot. The reason can be wrapped up in one word—kringla. This Norwegian pastry is sweet bread (that is sometimes filled with almond paste) and topped with icing and more almonds—all shaped like a pretzel. One can feed the whole family. Of course, the eatery serves more than sweets. You'll find filling soups, smoked salmon or roast beef sandwiches and chicken salad. There is no seating at the bakery, but there are plenty of tables on the outdoor patio.

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Pinocchio Village Haus

Neighborhood: Magic Kingdom
Price: Budget
If you have little ones, you might want to visit the Pinocchio Village Haus. Located next to Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, tables outside offer a view of the passers-by. The restaurant looks smaller than it is, but there are half a dozen dining rooms inside. Decorated with characters from "Pinocchio"—Monstro the Whale, Geppetto and Figaro the Cat, to name a few—this fast food eatery is a crowd pleaser. The kid-friendly menu includes pizza, salads, fries, yogurt, cake and more.

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Flame Tree Barbeque

Neighborhood: Disney's Animal Kingdom Price: Budget
To find this budget eatery in Animal Kingdom, simply follow your nose. The scent of all that barbeque is enough to draw anyone in—especially when you have a hungry family to feed. Flame Tree Barbeque offers a variety of wood-roasted barbeque styles, including mustard-based Carolina style and tomato-based barbeque. Be sure to try the hickory-smoked St. Louis ribs—Disney produces some 1,200 pounds at a time. For dessert, the key lime mousse is a winner.

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