With all the recent changes at Disney World and virus concerns, it has brought up a new question from readers: where to dine outside at Disney World? With four parks (and Disney Springs) to cover, we provide a comprehensive guide to the best outdoor dining at Disney World (and of course, what you need to know before making a reservation!)
Disney Springs Outdoor Dining
Let’s start off strong with Disney Springs. With 64 dining locations to choose from, Disney Springs certainly offers the most variety when it comes to grabbing a delicious drink and enjoying a tasty dinner. When it comes to outdoor dining, Disney Springs offers three restaurants to choose from: Blaze Pizza, Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ and the Boathouse.
Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza
If you are looking for a hot and fresh pizza that is tasty, then Blaze is your spot. Here, at WDW Vacation Tips, we jokingly call Blaze the “Chipotle of Pizza” because you can customize your pizza, choosing everything from the type of dough you want to all of your toppings and sauce (there’s over 40 options to choose from). Once you select your toppings, they’ll cook your pizza in 180 seconds. Seriously!
It costs $10.95 to build your own pizza and Blaze also offers guests the option to order cauliflower, keto and gluten free crust. They also offer a huge selection of signature pizzas. Our recommendation is the Red Vine, which has mozzarella, parmesan, basil and an olive oil drizzle. This restaurant is located in the Town Center in Disney Springs.
Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’
While this restaurant may be one of the most difficult to snag a reservation at, we have some tips! Located in the Landing section of Disney Springs, this American-inspired eatery is definitely one we recommend for locals and vacationers alike. What makes this restaurant so unique is the fact that it offers farm-to-fork food, so you know everything you’re eating is fresh! It also doesn’t hurt that Art Smith is a world-renowned chef, who famously worked for Oprah and several major political figures.
Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ is known for their Southern cuisine. The menu includes but is not limited to okra fries, fried catfish, braised short ribs and Art’s Famous Fried Chicken. You can make a reservation for brunch, lunch and dinner; The Rise ’n Shine Brunch is only available on Saturday and Sunday from 9:30am-1:00pm, which includes signature items such as the short rib hash and hallelujah biscuit – an open faced biscuit topped with pimento cheese, fried chicken and two over-easy eggs.
Dinner is moderately priced, with entrees costing about $20-$30 per person.
Reservations can be made either online through Disney’s website or by calling (407) 560-0100. Because this restaurant can get crowded quickly, it’s recommended that you visit after the lunch and dinner rush has concluded. Also, the middle of a weekday may fare better since many families are most likely still spending time at their resort or at one of the other parks.
The Boathouse is easily one of my favorite restaurants at Disney Springs for several reasons. First, they are home to the Vintage Amphicar Tours which takes guests from land to sea all in a stylish 1960s Amphicar. What’s so cool about eating outside is that it offers a clear view of these cars as they drive around Lake Buena Vista.
Second, though, is the food. The Boathouse is home to delicious seafood, including everything from Maine Lobster Tail Oscar to filet mignon. They’re also home to that cute blue cocktail with the rubber duck floating in it – yup, the Duck, Duck Razz! This cocktail is a Stoli raspberry blue martini and is perfect for the ‘gram (and your taste buds).
After you’ve wrapped up dinner, you can purchase a ride on one of the Amphicars. It’ll cost $125 for a 20-minute trip around the lake. The cars fit three people.
Due to the popularity of this restaurant, we strongly recommend making a reservation for this unique eatery. It’s usually open until 10:00pm, so it’s a perfect way to end the night and there’s plenty of nightcaps to choose from.
Read more: Boathouse Dining Review
Epcot Outdoor Dining
While you can enjoy tasty treats from around the world, both the Spice Road Table and Rose & Crown Pub tend to land highest on the list of best outdoor dining options at Disney World.
Spice Road Table
Spice Road Table, located in the Morocco pavilion gives guests a stunning view of the World Showcase all the while offering up a unique and flavorful Mediterranean menu. Such menu items include fried calamari, hummus fries and spicy shrimp. This restaurant is known for serving small plates, so be prepared that you won’t be getting the same sized meal you would at other dining locations.
Both the indoor and outdoor dining has water views, so no matter where you sit you’ll be getting a gorgeous view of the lagoon and Spaceship Earth (which looks even prettier at night!)
While this restaurant is worth visiting, the menu may be a little *too* exotic for those traveling with picky eaters in their party. The good news is that this restaurant does offer a kid’s menu with chicken nuggets and beef sliders.
Pro tip: This restaurant no longer accepts reservations, however, in our experience, we have never really had to wait very long when walking up to grab a table.
Read more: Spice Road Table Review
Rose & Crown Pub
Now that we’ve explored Morocco, let’s head on over to England, home of the Rose & Crown Pub. You’ll find classic British dishes here like fish and chips and sausage rolls and chips. This pub also has an extensive alcohol menu, with 20 different pub blends to choose from.
This pub has such a quaint and cozy atmosphere that really makes you feel like you’re dining in England. The best perk about this restaurant is that it offers what will be considered a prime view of HarmonioUS – a new nighttime spectacular that was supposed to open in 2020. Due to the unexpected closure of the parks in 2020, a date for when this show opens has not *technically* has been released, but there has been talking of it debuting for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary this year. Be sure to check back for updates when this will be.
Once this does open, though, be wary as outdoor seating is limited and this space will surely fill up quickly. Your best bet is to try and snag a reservation between 7:00pm – 8:00pm for the best views of the show; just walk up to the hostess to see if something is available.
Read more: Rose and Crown Review
Hollywood Studios Outdoor Dining
While it’s not a full service restaurant, you can grab a drink and bite to eat at the The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge in Hollywood Studios. Here, you can grab a signature Derby cocktail such as a Gin Mule and Hollywood Manhattan (how fitting) as well as different appetizers. It’s a great way to unwind during a busy day at Hollywood Studios.
Read more: Hollywood Brown Derby Dining Review
Magic Kingdom Outdoor Dining
Magic Kingdom is home to seven full-service restaurants, however only one of them offers outdoor dining: Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. And if the name of this restaurant sounds familiar, it’s because it’s where Lady and the Tramp shared their first kiss! Fun fact: you can even spot their paw prints in the cement outside the restaurant!
You’ll find this little Italian eatery on your right hand side as soon as you enter Magic Kingdom. Here, guests can order fried mozzarella balls, chicken parmigiana, fettuccine alfredo and a host of other Italian favorites. The best part of this restaurant is the view it offers of Main Street U.S.A. and Cinderella Castle.
However, Tony’s Town Square Restaurant has earned a *bit* of a troubled reputation over the years. From salty food to boisterous crowds to subpar service, this has often been touted as one of the worst dining experiences Walt Disney World has to offer (ugh). So why did it make this list? Outside of being the only outdoor full-service dining location at the Magic Kingdom, what makes this restaurant unique is how much your kids will love it. From the heavy Lady and the Tramp theming to the ability to watch some of the Festival of Fantasy parade (when it’s back in action) and different cavalcades offer families an opportunity to take a break from wearing their mask, eat some moderately priced food, all while enjoying a great view.
Read more: Tony’s Town Square Restaurant
Animal Kingdom Outdoor Dining
Flame Tree Barbecue
Love barbeque? Us, too, which is why you’ll always find us grabbing a smoked pulled pork sandwich during every visit to Animal Kingdom. This barbeque joint is located in Discovery Island and offers guests everything from the pulled pork sandwiches we mentioned above to baked macaroni and cheese to ribs. Meals here will usually cost you anywhere between $10.99-$16.29 and the meals are all pretty filling.
While the food is great, what I love about this restaurant are the views. Depending on where you sit outside, you get a perfect view of Expedition Everest – and who doesn’t like to be closer to Disco Yeti?
Read more: Flame Tree BBQ Dining Review
Found in Pandora – the World of Avatar, this fast-casual dining offers guests a variety of healthy meals. In fact, Satuli Canteen is the only place to grab something to eat at this section of the park. They’re home to one of my personal favorites – the Cheeseburger Steamed Pods – Bao Buns; these bao buns are stuffed with ground beef, cheddar cheese, mustard, ketchup, and pickles and trust me, everyone in your party will love them.
There’s usually a lot of seating options to choose from here, especially since the parks have reopened and have a reduced capacity.
Guests can build their own salad and chicken and rice bowls. Please note that this restaurant offers a lot of hearty proteins and healthy meals, which will cost you anywhere between $13.99-$16.99 for lunch and dinner.
Read more: Satu’li Canteen Dining Review
Tips for Snagging a Disney Dining Reservation
First and foremost, plan, plan, plan ahead. With the current Coronavirus restrictions, dining reservations are now available up to 60 days prior to your arrival so make sure you mark this day on your calendar so you can try and snag a dining reservation as soon as this time frame opens up.
Second, be flexible. While you may really want to eat at the Boathouse during sunset (which, same, it’s gorgeous) but they only have lunch available, I promise you’ll still have a great time!
Before the pandemic, I would usually figure out what days and times were available for the restaurants I wanted to visit during my trip and make reservations before purchasing tickets. However, since you have to check for park availability prior to buying tickets, this has changed the process slightly. I recommend pulling up two different tabs so you can quickly check to see if park passes and dining reservations for your selected restaurant are available for the same day. Just be sure to do this quickly as I have had park passes sell out, especially if it’s a popular time to visit.
Another trick I’ve used in the past is calling up Walt Disney World myself. While this isn’t always guaranteed to get you a reservation, I have been lucky enough to grab a reservation at the California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary resort by calling a Cast Member myself, even though the website said there weren’t any spots available. Remember, Disney is all about making magic so if there’s something you really want, they may be able to help you if circumstances allow.
Like we’ve mentioned in other articles, visiting Walt Disney World right now is a personal choice, as is whether or not you feel comfortable dining indoors at any point during your trip. I have visited the parks three times since the pandemic and the Cast Members have done a wonderful job of adhering to safety protocols and making guests feel safe. In fact, Walt Disney World has recently updated their mask policy, requiring guests to keep their masks on when interacting with Cast Members while placing an order and while waiting for their food and drinks to arrive at the table. In addition to this, certain locations such as Olivia’s at Disney’s Old Key West are screening guests’ temperatures prior to entry, as well as making sure guests are always seated more than six feet away.
Just know that regardless of how you want your Walt Disney World vacation to look, we promise you that there are options available to you to make that happen. This is your vacation so you should enjoy it however you feel most comfortable with.
Have you eaten at any of these restaurants before? Let us know in the comments what your experience was and if you’d eat there again.
As a self-proclaimed Mouseketeer, Courtney Dercqu is a fan of all things Disney. Between decorating her desk with souvenirs from the park, to making unique mouse ears and having a dedicated Disney Instagram, Courtney is a true believer in the magic of a Walt Disney World vacation. Having had more than 200 articles published on various content, Courtney’s excited to share her knowledge and experience with everyone! Be sure to follow her on Instagram for all the Disney magic.