The Disney Parks were designed with families in mind, to serve as escapes from the real world where parents and kids can have fun together. But have you ever noticed that a certain element of the family tends to be overlooked? Do you know what it is? It’s the demographic Disney forgot: teen boys. Now I’m not a teenage boy, but I do know that Disney has something for everyone. I have a teenage brother who loves Disney as much as anyone, despite the lack of commercials and ads directed toward his age group; and so, I sat down with him for the scoop on what Disney World has to offer teen boys like himself. But where to start? Food, of course! I mean, we are talking about teenage boys, aren’t we? So for the first installment of this new series, check out The Demographic Disney Forgot: Best Disney World Restaurants for Teen Boys.
10. ESPN Club – My Disney Bro is a walking sports encyclopedia in a teenage body and he has been wanting to check out the ESPN Club for the past few years, but it’s just never worked out. But then, last June, we finally got the chance and it just happened to be during NBA Finals! You see, the ESPN Club is the ultimate dining destination for your sports-crazed teen as the walls are covered with dozens upon dozens of television screens and sports memorabilia. Also, this restaurant has a basketball court for a floor and even television screens in the bathroom, just so you won’t miss a minute of the game.
If your teenage boy has endured a lot of princess dresses and voyages on “it’s a small world,” reward him with a ESPN Club’s VIP Premium Club Seat, where guests get a front row seat in front of the giant screen in a cushy recliner! ESPN Club doesn’t take advance dining reservations, except when it comes to these special seats. If this is something you’re interested in, call (407) WDW-DINE. Now let’s talk about the food. As you might expect, ESPN Club does serve sports bar food, but it’s anything but average and is sure to satisfy those picky, macho appetites and those willing to try anything once. If you’re playing it safe, check out the Pub Nachos or Center-Cup Top Sirloin, or maybe even the chicken and waffles; but if you’re eating adventurously, consider taking on the interesting PB&J Burger. By the way, if you plan visiting ESPN Club for a particular game, my Disney Bro recommends arriving early, especially if it’s an end of the season event. We grabbed a table forty-five minutes to an hour before game time. If you do the same, this means you will be at ESPN Club for a long time. Here’s what he suggests: order one of the many ESPN Club appetizers when you get seated and then put in your meal order when the game actually starts. Finally, the ESPN Club has a connecting arcade and shop filled with ESPN merchandise, a teen boy’s paradise!
9. Columbia Harbour House – When interviewing my Disney Bro about his favorite restaurants, he was quick to list the Magic Kingdom’s Columbia Harbour House, a quick service restaurant known for its nautical setting and seafood menu. Now not everyone likes seafood. In fact, my teenage Disney Bro isn’t really much of a fan himself, but he does love Columbia Harbour House’s fried fish and Clam Chowder. He was also quick to add that he likes the second floor of the restaurant. Most guests don’t realize that there is a second level, or that you’re allowed to go up there, but you are! It’s almost always less crowded, sometimes even empty, and with lots of corners and alcoves to retreat to and with windows looking over both Fantasyland and Liberty Square. It’s definitely one of his favorite Disney World retreats.
8. Chefs de France – Looking to enjoy a cultural experience at Disney World, but not sure if it’s your teen’s thing? If so, my teen Disney Bro recommends Epcot’s Chefs de France. He’s not really into experimenting with his meals and could easily eat pizza and burgers every day of his life, but Chefs de France allows the rest of my family to enjoy international dining while offering something he likes too. First of all, Chefs de France is situated towards the front of Epcot’s France pavilion and is so picturesque that you can easily fool yourself into thinking you’re in Paris instead of Central Florida. The interior of the restaurant is gorgeous, but the atrium and windows at the front offer perfectly postcard views of this pavilion and give diners a chance to do a little people-watching. My Disney Bro actually likes the location, especially if we are seated by a window; but the real draw for him is Chefs de France’s menu with its Pre Fixe Menu, or three course option. Hey, all teens like to eat, right? My teen always orders the French Onion Soup, Croque Monsieur (melted ham and cheese sandwich), and the Vanilla Creme Brulee. I’ve tasted the Croque Monsieur myself and I can personally testify that it is delicious! The Gratin di Macaroni (baked mac n’ cheese) is also incredible, just so you know, and always ask for more bread when offered. My Disney Bro is convinced that the French baguettes served here is the best bread in all of Disney World.
7. San Angel Inn – I must admit, this pick from my Disney Bro surprised me. San Angel Inn is a restaurant found inside the temple at Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion. He recommends the restaurant for teens for two reasons, the first being location. The restaurant is indoors, but looks like your outdoors at night with a smoking volcano and a Mayan ruin to one side and an open-air market on the other. Also, the boats from the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros attraction float past while you dine. Despite all the activity, the restaurant itself is quiet and relaxing, but there is no shortage of things to see so he was never bored. It also wasn’t so fancy that he felt uncomfortable. The second reason is the menu. After all, what teen boy doesn’t love Mexican food? I will warn you that San Angel Inn’s menu is a little more refined than just tacos and fried rice, but it’s still sure to please your teen boy more than other international menus at Epcot.
6. Writers Stop – While most guests flock to Hollywood Studios’ Starring Rolls bakery for a sugar rush, my teenage boy likes to skip the crowds and retreat to the Writers Stop. Why? It’s tucked out of the way and is often missed by the masses, and he has a slight addiction to chocolate croissants. The Writers Stop is also a cool place because it’s like a hidden coffee shop with comfy chairs and rows of bookshelves stuffed with not only Disney books, but also novels and magazines too. Being a bit of a bookish nerd myself, I’ve found books here that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else on property. My Disney Bro likes to grab a sweet snack and get comfortable while he checks his phone and flips through a book.
5. Be Our Guest – Okay, I know what you’re thinking. What teen boy could possibly be exciting about dining in a princess castle, right? Wrong! My Disney Bro listed the Magic Kingdom’s Be Our Guest Restaurant as one of his favorite places to grab a meal because this isn’t Cinderella’s Castle, this is the Beast’s Castle with snoring suits of armor, gargoyles guarding the bridge, and a spooky West Wing. Our family ate in the West Wing for dinner during one of our trips and loved it! The claps of thunder, changing portrait of the Beast, and enchanted wilting rose made for one memorable dinner; but we also liked the ballroom. Even my Disney Bro admits that this dining room looks just like what you see in the Beauty and the Beast film, and the variety of dining rooms is one of the reasons he likes eating here so much.
I must admit, I thought that Be Our Guest’s menu would be lacking in areas as the restaurants draw is the setting, not the food. But I was wrong! The menu for both lunch and dinner were delicious and pleased everyone, including my teen Disney Bro! You see, the Be Our Guest menu is a blend of French and American flavors, so it’s not too exotic for more picky eaters but still satisfying for those of us with more adventurous taste buds. My Disney Bro loves the Pommes Frites, which are really scrumptious french fries, and the Potato Leek Soup which sounds a little out there, but is actually the most delicious soup we have had at Disney World. For dinner, my carniverous teen Disney Bro springs for the Grilled Strip Steak. Our waitress said it’s one of the best steaks on property, and my Disney Bro agreed. Lastly, Be Our Guest has managed to make cupcakes masculine for your teen with the Master’s Cupcake, a chocolate cupcake topped with the restaurants’ signature “Grey Stuff.” Note: Changes are coming to Be Our Guest, read all about them here!
4. Trails End – This Fort Wilderness restaurant is all about the rugged frontier and country cooking and is one of my teenage Disney Bro’s favorite Disney World dining destinations. Trails End has a cozy, log cabin setting with splashes of Americana and Davy Crockett adoring the walls, a much welcomed “macho” setting for the males in your family in comparison to the character meals and fancier restaurants around the Disney property. Trails End offers an a’ la carte lunch, but a buffet for breakfast and dinner. My family tends to head here for dinner towards the end of our vacation, when we’re craving something home-cooked like fried chicken, ribs, mashed potatoes and gravy, and veggies. My Disney Bro also loves the dinner option because he gets to eat what he wants and as much as he wants! Teen boys, after all, are known to have bottomless stomachs. Trails End also offers take-out when on the go or to take back to your Fort Wilderness cabin. The offerings are deliciously impressive, such as biscuits and gravy or sticky buns for breakfast and fried chicken, barbecue pork, pizza, and cobbler for dinner! So yeah, your teen boy is guaranteed to be full and satisfied after a visit to Fort Wilderness’ Trails End.
3. Via Napoli – Ask a teen guy what he likes to eat, and I’m sure pizza will be at the top of the list. Now there are plenty of places to enjoy a slice of pizza at Disney World, but my Disney Bro hasn’t stopped talking about Via Napoli since we first dined here a year ago. For one, like many teens, he loves Italian food; but he also explained that Via Napoli’s pizza was one of the best he’s had. Via Napoli is famous for their huge wood burning ovens named after volcanoes in Italy, such as Stromboli, Mt. Etna, and Vesuvius. The ovens have stone faces, which he thought were cool. Also, Via Napoli is known for importing the flour and spring water used in their pizza dough from Italy! No wonder it tastes so good! The menu was huge with build-your-own pizza options, as well as some special pizzas and pastas and salads. Via Napoli also has delicious desserts, like Tiramisu, gelato, and more. Another thing teens will appreciate about Via Napoli is that, while very nice, it’s laidback and not overly fancy.
2. Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater – Whenever my family and I are planning our dining reservations for our upcoming trip, my Disney Bro always votes for Hollywood Studios’ Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater. Once you have seen this restaurant, it’s not hard to understand why. Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater lets guests experience a vintage drive-in experience. The dining room looks like an outdoor drive-in at sunset with a giant screen showing clips of cheesy, old monster flicks, dancing snacks advertising the concession stand, and even clips of Walt Disney. My Disney Bro can’t get enough of this place. For one, you actually get to dine in an old vintage car! Cars and teen boys go together like burgers and milkshakes, which you can also enjoy at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater and which brings me to my next point: the food! We’re talking burgers, ribs, and New York Strip Streak, plus sundaes and even a hot glazed donut dessert.
1. Le Cellier – My Disney Bro requires that we book a reservation for Canada’s Le Cellier Restaurant at Epcot when we are planning a Disney World Vacation. All teen boys love steak, and Le Cellier’s signature Filet Mignon is, according to him, the best piece of meat on property. He also raves about the restaurant’s Cheddar Cheese Soup and Pretzel Bread. He actually recommends dipping your bread in the soup, so keep that tip in mind when you visit. Now Le Cellier is hidden away in the Canada pavilion and the interior of the restaurant is meant to look like you’re dining in a cellar. My Disney Bro thinks this is pretty cool. It’s dark and out of the way, kind of like a hideout. Now if you’re thinking about dining at Le Cellier, keep in mind that this Epcot restaurant is pricey and costs two dining credits on the Disney Dining Plan; but in his opinion, this is one fine dining option that teens will enjoy just as much as their parents.
So what do you think of my teen Disney Bro’s Top 10 Favorite Disney World Restaurants? Do you think your teen would enjoy any of these dining destinations?