For today’s Friday 5, we’re going to Epcot! It’s a park that families with young children often overlook and adults love. When many people think of Epcot they think of World Showcase and not about everything the park has to offer (perhaps a topic for another Friday 5 in the future). Both inside and outside World Showcase there are some fantastic culinary delights. Today, we explore 5 of my favorites that are worth your money whether using a dining plan or paying out of pocket.
1. Via Napoli. Anyone that knows me or anyone that has booked a vacation with me knows that this is my favorite Epcot restaurant, so no surprise it’s on the top of my list. Pizza, pasta, what’s not to love? This Italian girl hasn’t found anything on the menu she doesn’t like! Both on and off the dining plan, this location offers a great value. When using dining plan credits, you may not share pizzas from the menu, off, you may. We often go here and have an appetizer, share a pizza, and get some delightful sangria. It often has leftovers available for breakfast the following morning (don’t judge – I’m on vacation
2. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. Of any restaurant throughout Disney World, this is the best value for dining credits (at dinner). Breakfast and lunch value is also in the top 10. The biggest draw isn’t the food, it’s the princesses! The experience is similar to Cinderella’s Royal Table without the added expense, pre-payment, or the 2 credits on the dining plan. You’ll see a similar set of princesses here but the experience is a bit more unique at Cindy’s. The menu here is a bit unique. There are some authentic Norwegian dishes available for all 3 meals of the day. If you want your princess fix but have picky kids (or adults), try breakfast. Be aware that it’s a hike from the main entrance of Epcot!
3. Garden Grill. This location gets a nod because it is unique! Located in the land pavilion, you sit in a rotating dining area as servers bring your family style meal to you. The food is good, the characters (Chip n Dale) are fun and some of the food is locally sourced from Epcot’s gardens. Cool, right? Disney agrees with me as they just expanded service from dinner only to breakfast, lunch, and dinner beginning in early November! This means you can potentially grab a reservation before the park opens to have a character meal and still enjoy low lines. It’s a great way to enjoy Soarin’ standby after your meal and still have a FastPass for Test Track (hint, hint!)
4. Coral Reef. This is a great location for the visual aspect. Many say the food can be hit or miss and I agree. Built around the world’s largest inland salt water aquarium/tank, it’s a great place for families with kids who like to stay busy. There is all sorts of visual stimulation without having too much noise inside the restaurant. Again, check the menu! Lots of seafood options here but some good non-seafood choices as well. Portions are large enough to share here. Sharing is allowed between adult and child, child and child, and adult and adult depending on your level of hunger! Stretch those dining credits!
5. San Angel Inn. The last choice is hard! I thought Le Cellier, Teppan Edo, Chefs de France, but I’m only allowed 5, so Mexican wins the race for now. San Angel Inn is another great “Share a meal” destination. We typically share an appetizer and entree here and skip the dessert. The chips and salsa they bring out is a great filler. I personally prefer the lunch menu over dinner (and the cost fits a little nicer as well). On the dining plan, consider the prix fixe menu to stretch your credit a bit further – you’ll get an appetizer, entree, and dessert (so the appetizer is a bit of a bonus). Enjoy the surroundings here as well while boats go by from the Grand Fiesta tour attraction. Ask nicely to sit by the water when you arrive.
What are your favorite Epcot restaurants? Did I miss something you truly enjoy? I’d love to hear about your favorites in Epcot!