Inside dining room with tables

Top 20 Hidden Restaurant Gems for Walt Disney World Dining

Between the heavy crowds, long lines, fun rides and good times, you can really work up an appetite at the Walt Disney World Resort. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of dining options, with a veritable cornucopia of cuisines to choose from and enough different restaurants to last you several Disney vacations. 

Naturally, some are more popular than others, drawing tons of people and, often, leaving very few dining reservations available. However, if you know where to look, you can also find some under-the-radar restaurants at Disney World. Hidden gems hiding in plain sight, if you will. So, bring your appetite as we dig into our top underrated Disney restaurants. 

Dining Off the Well-Eaten Path at Walt Disney World 

Inside white cafe with dining tables

When visiting The Most Magical Place on Earth, it can be tempting to follow the crowds and eat where everyone else does, especially if it’s your first time at Disney World. After all, a restaurant is popular for a reason, right? However, with dining reservations up for grabs starting 60 days before and thousands of guests vying for one, tables at the Central Florida resort’s most in-demand eateries can often be hard to come by. 

Not to mention, with so many folks clambering for a taste of ‘Ohana’s famous bread pudding or views of the Magic Kingdom fireworks at California Grill, mealtime can often be anything but relaxing. Thankfully, that typically isn’t the case at the more underrated Disney World restaurants. 

It’s Easier to Get a Reservation – Or Don’t Require One at All

People take their Disney vacation planning seriously. And, thanks to the My Disney Experience app and Disney Genie, figuring out your itinerary is now even easier. For procrastinators and folks who prefer to play things by ear, this can be both a blessing and a curse, particularly when it comes time to eat. 

Competition for a table at some of Walt Disney World’s best restaurants can be fierce, with reservations often booked up weeks in advance. So, while it’s certainly simple to make a reservation, finding an opening on short notice at the likes of Cinderella’s Royal Table is a completely different story. Luckily, you won’t usually have that problem with these restaurant hidden gems in Disney World. 

Royal Table Dining Hall

Not only will most of these spots have reservation availability a week or so out, but most of them also have walk-up lists with relatively short waits throughout the day. Of course, if you’re short on time or feeling boozy, you can also opt to dine at one of the always-reservation-free lounges on our list. 

They Tend to Offer a More Relaxed Vibe 

Unless you’re dining at one of Walt Disney World’s signature restaurants, which are usually more subdued, dinnertime can often feel like a continuation of the theme park crowds. From battles over Butternut Squash Soup and Zebra Domes at Boma to stampedes of kids and characters at Disney character meals like Chef Mickey’s, you’re likely to leave feeling full – though, unfortunately, probably not very rejuvenated. 

These off-the-beaten-path Disney World restaurants, on the other hand, are usually more understated affairs (with one glaring exception, *cough* Whispering Canyon Café), making for a great place to unwind for a while during your jam-packed day. 

What’s more, while most of Disney’s hidden gem restaurants are found at the hotels, some of the best-kept dining secrets Disney World has to offer are actually hiding in plain sight at the theme parks and Disney Springs. So, there’s no need to hop on a boat bound for the wilderness – Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness Campground, that is. Just stroll on over to Adventureland instead. 

20 Best Hidden Restaurants at Disney World 

Drink with bar menu on table

At Walt Disney World, some of the best restaurants can be enjoyed with a little bit of work and some patience. Since many of these off-the-beaten-path favorites are located in the resorts, and hotel-to-hotel transportation is minimal or complicated at best, trying them out can often seem daunting to first-time visitors. 

However, as long as you allow yourself enough time for travel and familiarize yourself with the easiest way to get where you need to go (My Disney Experience is a great resource), taking the Monorail, bus or other Disney transportation to these secret spots is usually relatively simple. 

As for when you’re searching for something to eat in the parks or while souvenir shopping at Disney Springs, don’t just follow the stream of people – unless it’s to Aloha Isle for some DOLE Whip. Instead, seek out some of the park’s slightly less popular but equally delicious dining options. When it comes to underappreciated eats at The Most Magical Place on Earth, these hidden gems of Disney World take the cake. 

Walt Disney World Hotels

Trail’s End Restaurant at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

Tucked away at the back of Fort Wilderness Campground, just a short walk from Bay Lake, Trail’s End Restaurant feels like it’s far from the pixie dust-fueled craziness of the Magic Kingdom. While that’s great for the buffet restaurant’s rustic, away-from-it-all vibe, its relatively secluded location dissuades all but mostly campers and Trail’s End devotees (like yours truly). 

In fact, for this list, that’s sort of a selling point. Come here for bottomless comfort food favorites served family-style, including BBQ and banana pudding. 

Dining Availability: Reservation or Walk-Up List

Opening Hours: Breakfast and Dinner

Grand Floridian Café at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Hotel and monorail going by

Normally overshadowed by character dining at 1900 Park Fare and the hotel’s several signature dining experiences, including the AAA Five Diamond-awarded Victoria & Albert’s, the Grand Floridian Café  Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, is a refreshingly laidback yet spot. Dine on elevated classics like Avocado Toast, Buttermilk-fried Chicken and a Lobster ‘Thermidor’ Burger. 

Dining Availability: Reservation or Walk-Up List

Opening Hours: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Olivia’s Café at Disney’s Old Key West Resort

For down-home cooking with a tropical twist, head to Olivia’s Café at Disney’s Old Key West Resort. This table-service restaurant in the Disney Springs Resort Area is on island time, serving up Florida Keys favorites such as Crab Cake Eggs Benedict, Shrimp Fritters, Southernmost Buttermilk Chicken and Key Lime Tart. For an especially relaxing start to your day, stop in for the restaurant’s soon-to-be-daily brunch.

Dining Availability: Reservation or Walk-Up List

Opening Hours: Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Dinner

Kona Café at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Although folks typically head to this Magic Kingdom Resort Monorail hotel for neighboring restaurant ‘Ohana, Kona Café at the Polynesian Village Resort is a worthy alternative. In the morning, indulge in the restaurant’s signature dish, Tonga Toast. In the afternoon and evening, enjoy ‘Ohana-like dishes like Glazed Chicken Wings and Crispy Pork-Vegetable Pot Sticker. You can even order some of that famed Bread Pudding off-menu (shhh). 

Dining Availability: Reservation or Walk-Up List

Opening Hours: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village

While the perennially popular Boma at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House has Zebra Domes (and don’t forget the yummy soup bar), Sanaa on the DVC side of the resort, Kidani Village, has actual, real-life zebras – and giraffes, gazelles, storks and more. Watch them all out the restaurant’s wall-to-wall as you tuck into African cooking with Indian ingredients, such as a Methi Paratha Breakfast Sandwich, vibrant curries and an addictive bread service. 

Dining Availability: Reservation or Walk-Up List

Opening Hours: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Whispering Canyon Café at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Cafe seating in lodge

Whispering Canyon Café certainly isn’t a hidden gem because it’s unassuming. In fact, this kid-friendly, family-style restaurant at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is easily the most boisterous of the bunch. No, like the similarly rustic Trail’s End Restaurant, it’s just kind of out of the way and annoying to get to if you aren’t staying there. Fuel up on all-you-can-eat barbecue all day long, as well as cozy Smashed Potatoes and Granny Smith Apple Pie. 

Dining Availability: Reservation or Walk-Up List

Opening Hours: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Sebastian’s Bistro at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

Be whisked away to the islands at Sebastian’s Bistro at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. From the family-style dishes with tropical flair like flavorful meats and curry to the charmingly easy-going atmosphere, all at a surprisingly affordable price (only $29 per adult, ya’ll!), it’s a great value as far as Walt Disney World restaurants are concerned.  

Dining Availability: Reservation or Walk-Up List

Opening Hours: Dinner

Three Bridges Bar & Grill at Villa del Lago at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Large pyramid at pool with waterfall

Slightly more lounge than restaurant, Three Bridges Bar & Grill at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is well worth the trek to the sprawling convention hotel. Glittering from the middle Villa del Lago, this open-air, on-the-water restaurant dishes up Latin favorites with a splash of global flavors like Braised Pork Tacos, Curry Hummus, Poke Bowls and Tres Leches. Wash it all with a sangria flight and sunset views. 

Dining Availability: Walk-Up List only

Opening Hours: Dinner

Steakhouse 71 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Taking the place of another longtime, under-the-radar favorite, Steakhouse 71 is one of Disney World’s newest hidden gems. Nestled just off the lobby of the Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the restaurant takes its inspiration from Walt Disney World’s opening year, cooking up elevated riffs on retro favorites such as Walt’s Prime Rib Hash, French Onion Soup and grown-up Bacon & Eggs. End your meal with a sky-high slice of chocolate cake or a not-so-classic Ambrosia.

Dining Availability: Reservation or Walk-Up List

Opening Hours: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Boatwright’s Dining Hall at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside 

Restaurant with dining tables

After a busy day in the parks, slow things down with a leisurely dinner spread of Southern comfort food favorites and a healthy helping of hospitality at Boatwright’s Dining Hall at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort. Decked out like an old shipbuilding workshop, complete with an actual boat, it’s a fun spot for Cajun-Creole cuisine like Jambalaya, Nashville Hot Chicken and Shrimp & Grits. Afterward, keep letting the good times roll over at Scat Cat’s Club in nearby Port Orleans French Quarter, a hidden gem of a lounge serving up Mickey-shaped Beignets and live jazz music. 

Dining Availability: Reservation or Walk-Up List

Opening Hours: Dinner

Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

When it comes to rooftop restaurants at Walt Disney World, it’s usually popular spots like the Contemporary’s California Grill or Topolino’s Terrace at Disney’s Riviera Resort that top people’s lists. Instead, make your way to Coronado Springs. From its perch atop the hotel’s Gran Destino Tower, Toledo offers an atmospheric setting, sweeping vistas and delicious tapas and entrées that are every bit as eye-catching as the view.   

Dining Availability: Reservation or Walk-Up List

Opening Hours: Dinner

Geyser Point Bar & Grill at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Open air bar

Though technically a pool bar, Geyser Point Bar & Grill at the Wilderness Lodge feels more like a rustic, lakefront retreat just down the street from your outdoorsy uncle’s cabin in Washington State. Dishing up hearty fare with Pacific Northwest sensibilities, like a Bison Cheeseburger and Roasted Salmon, it’s the perfect place to escape from the craziness of the theme parks as you have a cocktail and watch the sunset over Bay Lake.

Dining Availability: Walk-Up List only

Opening Hours: Dinner

Magic Kingdom

Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen in Adventureland

Take your taste buds on a Jungle Cruise-inspired trip around the world over in Adventureland at Skipper Canteen. Along with cheesy dad jokes and silly puns, this laidback sit-down restaurant also serves up some surprisingly adventurous, globally inspired cuisine. Start your meal with Orinoco Ida’s Cachapas or Falls Family Falafel before moving on to “Hardy Har Char” Siu Pork or Skipper Dan’s Dan Dan Noodles. While you’re there, be sure to make some time to check out the many fun design details. 

Dining Availability: Reservation or Walk-Up List

Opening Hours: Lunch and Dinner

Epcot

La Hacienda de San Angel in Mexico Pavilion

Exterior of Mexican restaurant

This next underappreciated Disney World restaurant isn’t so much a hidden gem as it is hiding in plain sight. While the San Angel Inn Restaurante usually steals the show in terms of Mexican food at World Showcase, it’s the Mexico Pavilion’s other table-service restaurant, La Hacienda de San Angel, that is one of the best-kept dining secrets at Disney World. Resting in the shadow of the pavilion’s towering Mesoamerican pyramid, it’s the place to go for romantic vibes, fireworks views and authentic dishes.

Dining Availability: Reservation or Walk-Up List

Opening Hours: Dinner

Takumi-Tei in Japan Pavilion

Discreetly tucked around a corner at the Japan Pavilion, Takumi-Tei is a hidden gem in every sense of the word. Stepping inside, you truly feel as if you’ve been instantly transported to a fine dining restaurant on the streets of Kyoto. From the nature-inspired design details to the welcoming Japanese hospitality to the perfectly timed parade of dishes that are as wonderful to behold as they are to eat, the entire dining experience is a true joy.  

Dining Availability: Reservation or Walk-Up List

Opening Hours: Dinner

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Italian Dining indoor seating

With so much guest traffic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, particularly right next door to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, you probably wouldn’t think of any restaurants at the theme park as a hidden gem. But, hidden down an alley behind MuppetVision 3D, Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano on Grand Avenue certainly fits the bill. Cozily decorated like a local Italian joint, it’s a great place for families craving kid-friendly eats and a relaxing setting. 

Dining Availability: Reservation or Walk-Up List

Opening Hours: Lunch and Dinner

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Nomad Lounge in Discovery Island

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park is all about worldly experiences and the wonder of nature – and, you can enjoy them both at Nomad Lounge on Discovery Island. Located near the entrance to Pandora, the bar is attached to Tiffins Restaurant (also well worth a try). However, no reservations are required. In addition to the globe-spanning drink menu and a small selection of internationally inspired dishes, the real highlight here is the open-air patio, which overlooks lush forest and is dotted with plush seating. 

Dining Availability: Reservation or Walk-Up List

Opening Hours: Lunch and Dinner

Disney Springs

Jaleo by José Andrés

Prawns in a pot with seasoning

While Jaleo by José Andrés may have four locations nationwide, the Walt Disney World outpost of this delicious tapas restaurant is easily one of the best-kept dining secrets at Disney Springs. Flavorful dishes like crispy yet creamy chicken croquetas and chicken paella come to the table in a deliciously choreographed dance, making for a wonderfully relaxing way to unwind after a whirlwind day in the parks. 

Dining Availability: Reservations only

Opening Hours: Lunch and Dinner

Enzo’s Hideaway

How could we not put a restaurant called Enzo’s Hideaway on a list of the best restaurant hidden gems Disney World has to offer? After all, it’s basically part of the name. Tucked away in a tunnel beneath the bridge to Disney Springs West Side, think of this as a modern-day speakeasy cooking up yummy Italian food and Prohibition-era cocktails. 

Dining Availability: Reservations only

Opening Hours: Lunch and Dinner

Disney’s BoardWalk

Trattoria al Forno

Boardwalk on lake with hotel

You might be wondering, is there room for another Italian eatery on this list of underrated Disney World restaurants? For Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk, absolutely. Located just a short stroll from Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, this welcoming restaurant doesn’t just cook up arguably the best Italian food at Disney World for both breakfast and dinner, including a Caprese Omelet and Tiramisu-style French Toast. It is also home to one of our favorite Disney character meals, the Bon Voyage Breakfast with Ariel, Prince Eric, Rapunzel and Flynn Rider. 

Dining Availability: Reservations or Walk-Up List

Opening Hours: Breakfast and Dinner

Well, fellow foodies, that concludes our guide to Walt Disney World hidden gems of the resort’s dining scene. What underappreciated Disney World restaurants are your favorites? Let us know in the comments! Then, learn how you can expand your food budget with our discounted Disney World tickets.