Counter Service Restaurants

Table Service Restaurants

Food Carts

Food at the Magic Kingdom has improved noticeably over the past several years. The Crystal Palace at the end of Main Street offers a good (albeit pricey) buffet chaperoned by Disney characters, while the Liberty Tree Tavern in Liberty Square features hearty family style dining. Cinderella's Royal Table, a full-service restaurant on the second floor of the castle, delivers palatable meals in one of the World's most unique settings.

Fast food at the Magic Kingdom is, well, fast food. It's more expensive, of course, than what you would pay at McDonald's, but what do you expect? It's like dining at an airport—you're a captive audience. On the positive side, portions are large, sometimes large enough for children to share. Overall, the variety of fast food offerings provides a lot of choice, though the number of selections at any specific eatery remains quite limited. Check our mini-profiles of the park's counter-service restaurants before you queue up.

Here are dining recommendations for a day at the Magic Kingdom:

  1. Take the monorail to one of the hotels for lunch. The trip over and back takes very little time, and because most guests have left the hotels for the parks, the resorts' restaurants are often uncrowded. The food is better than in the Magic Kingdom; the service is faster; the atmosphere is more relaxed; and beer, wine, and mixed drinks are available. Decent dinner buffets are served at Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary and at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian. Both feature characters; don't expect quiet dining. Commuting to the buffets is a snap by monorail. A more adult option is the family-style skillet dinner served at Whispering Canyon Café in the Wilderness Lodge and Villas. Lunch is also available. To reach the Wilderness Lodge and Villas, take the boat from the Magic Kingdom docks.
  2. Full-service restaurants that accept advance reservations for lunch and/or dinner fill quickly in the summer and during holiday periods. To obtain advance reservations in advance, call (407) 939-3463 or hotfoot to your chosen restaurant as soon as you enter the park. Advance reservations is explained and all Magic Kingdom full-service restaurants are profiled here.
  3. Of the park's four full-service restaurants, Liberty Tree Tavern in Liberty Square is the best. Tony's Town Square Restaurant on Main Street and Cinderella's Royal Table in the castle also serve decent food. Because children love Cinderella and everyone's curious about the castle, you need to make a advance reservations before you leave home if you want to eat breakfast at Cinderella's Royal Table. Advance reservations for dinner are easier to arrange.
  4. A good rule at any full-service restaurant in the park is to keep it simple. Order sandwiches or basic dishes (roast turkey and mashed potatoes, for example).

Following are some comments from readers about Magic Kingdom full-service and counter-service restaurants. First, Cinderella's Royal Table character breakfast:

We were able to get into breakfast with Cinderella at the castle thanks to strategies described in your book. However, we were some-what disappointed. The menu was extremely limited, space very tight, and the characters available for very brief amounts of time. Is worth every bit of trouble; not only do the kids love it, the food is good, and you can have all you want.

The food was okay - a lot of characters: Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Sleeping Beauty, Fairy Godmother, Mary Poppins. The place was not that big. but the characters spent a lot of time at each table - so much time that we only got to meet Snow White and Belle. The boys were bored. Was not worth the trouble of getting the seating.

Walked in for lunch with no reservations at 11:15. Waited 45 minutes, but it was inside the castle with air conditioning, and Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother sat on their thrones the first 15 minutes. $12 chicken Caesar salad and $5 kids' meals. My husband's sandwich was not good, and [when] he made a face, our waitress saw him. She came over and asked if he'd like something else and replaced it quick!

Fun, good food, and an unimaginable din was this reader's summation of the Crystal Palace character dinner:

Great food, great service, good price. Got to meet characters at dinner. We went at 4:30, and the din from small children was loud. (We did not care!!)

Pecos Bill's Café and Cosmic Ray's are two Magic Kingdom counter-service favorites among our readers:

If you are looking for heart-healthy meals, Pecos Bill's Café has a great chicken wrap. Pecos Bill's also has a pretty tasty hamburger with an outstanding fixin's bar (grilled onions and mushrooms, hot cheese and chili) for those not looking for a heart-healthy menu. At Cosmic Ray's], we had the "Family Meal" of a whole chicken and a generous serving of mashed potatoes for $15.99; with drinks the total was $21.00!! It was great, plus entertaining for the kids.

As a footnote Cosmic Ray's was the first counter-service restaurant in any of the Disney theme parks to offer a kosher menu.