TouringPlans is pleased to welcome back guest author Ted Wioncek III.
Let’s be honest, who hasn’t dreamed of taking a little solo trip to Walt Disney World – just you, the parks, and an endless array of pixie dust right at your fingertips! Just one issue… MEALTIME. Sure, mobile ordering from your favorite Quick Service location can make for a less awkward one-on-one dining experience. But what if you are in the mood for something a bit more indulgent?! After all, it is one thing to trip the life fantastic all by your lonesome whilst zipping through the Los Angeles freeway in a super-stretch! But sitting down to destroy some bread service at a high-top for one? That just seems horribly wrong – even if you can devour all nine sauces without any help from your friends! All joking aside, we understand that the thought of eating alone can be a bit scary for some. Thankfully, Walt Disney World has got your back by providing several fantastic options for you. So, take a seat and get ready to not share your fries, because these are the Best Dining Options for Solo Travelers! (Note: Some dining locations may be modified or closed temporarily due to COVID-19.)
Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto (Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort)
This beloved tiki-clad watering hole is a great place to mingle, make friends, and/or simply observe the antics around you. In fact, the interior is so intimate that even if you are sitting all by yourself, you’re still (more than likely) only two feet from another party! Not to mention, the drinks go down easy (sometimes too easy) and most of the food is bite-size served tapas style. So, should you find yourself feeling exceedingly shy, you can make this particularly entertaining meal short and sweet. Bonus Points: Grab a frozen sweet treat from Pineapple Lanai on your way out! Because no one ever judged anyone while eating a Dole Whip!
Chefs de France (EPCOT – World Showcase)
I know what you’re thinking – a fancy French restaurant in World Showcase, is he crazy? Hear me out! Chefs de France has a plethora of window seating, which means… people watching! This certainly helps to pass the time between courses. Bonus Points: Grab an ADR between Lunch and Dinner and you’re likely to find this location much less crowded.
Tune-In Lounge (Disney’s Hollywood Studios)
Feeling a bit nostalgic for days gone by? Nothing quite hits the spot like a homecooked meal from 50’s Prime Time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! But it can get a bit weird being told to “keep your elbows off the table” without anyone else there to share in your embarrassment. Fortunately, this gem from yesterland has a bar area that packs all the ambiance with none of the reprimanding! So, go ahead – order that Peanut Butter & Jelly Milkshake and suck it back knowing that no one is watching!
Nomad Lounge (Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park)
No doubt that you’ve heard about the foodie-wonderland that is Tiffin’s at Animal Kingdom Theme Park, right?! Well, did you know that this Signature Dining location has a little baby sister known as Nomad Lounge? Here, you will uncover banners and flags with drawings and art from Disney Imagineers inspired by their world travels, as well as quotes and questions meant to inspire conversation about travel. If this doesn’t speak to the adventurous spirit of the solo traveler then I don’t know what does! Due to the cornucopia of eclectic knickknacks throughout, you can rest easy knowing that you are not the focal point. Better yet, get up and take a look around. We promise, what you will explore will be ten times more interesting than that conversation you were pretending not to listen to from the table next to you. Come on, we’ve all done it!
HONORABLE MENTION: Satu’li Canteen (Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park)
Inventive global-style dishes, this place is not to be overlooked. No, it is not a Table Service location. However, if you are really not loving the idea of booking a table for one, this is probably the best Quick Service meal you will find in all of Walt Disney World. That’s right, I said it!
EXTRA CREDIT: Did Some Say… ROOM SERVICE?!?!
Okay, okay… maybe I am cheating a bit with this one. But having experienced this myself, I can honestly tell you that it was one of the most gratifying dining experiences I have ever had at Walt Disney World. Now, in all fairness, I did have a Savanna View Room at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House. But there was something so liberating about grabbing Sanaa to go and heading back to my room, amidst all the hustle and bustle. Here, I was able to throw on some Walt Disney World Resort TV, head out onto the balcony, and dine al fresco while gazing at the magnificent wildlife below! To-go options from resort dining and room service offerings provide a great meal that you can enjoy in your room.
No matter where you end up, there is no better place on earth than Disney to partake in a solo culinary experience! Calm and peaceful, this is all about you. Order what you want, eat as fast as you want, take as much time as you want, give yourself a minute to just catch your breath and marvel at the wonders around you. Soon, you may discover that this unique and (once upon a time) scary adventure is something you now look forward to, inside and outside of the most magical place on earth.
There are so many wonderful dining options for solo travelers within Walt Disney World! Do you agree or disagree with the restaurants that made it on this list? Are there any that you would add? Let us know in the comments.
Ted Wioncek III is a Walt Disney World Annual Passholdin’-D23 lovin’-DVC card carryin’-Theme Park Journalist, whose work has garnered him a reputation as a “master in storytelling.” He specializes in theatrical review, food critique, travel planning, and double-blind Dole Whip taste testing. Ted lives in sunny Florida with his beautiful wife, Kimberly, and their adorable rescue beagle, affectionately named, Professor Indiana Bones. You can contact him at TheRealTraderTed@gmail.com.