disney dining at california grill for dessert
Michele’s Walt Disney World Dining Bucket List

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Here in no particular order (and IMHO) are the top five restaurants that should be on your Walt Disney World Disney Dining Bucket List…

I remember it like it was yesterday!

The family of four were at my station to check in at Disney’s Grand Floridian Beach Resort. Before I could even get the “Welcome,” out of my mouth Dad asked me, “What’s your favorite thing to do here?”

I didn’t even have to think about a ride, show or shop.  I blurted out, “Eat!”

20 years later, fooding is still a major part of every trip to Walt Disney World Resort for me.

A Dinner Show must is the Hoop De Doo Musical Revue at Pioneer Hall in Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground. It is the longest, continuously running dinner show at Walt Disney World.  It’s lasted this long because it is a, “Rollicking, Western-themed,” good ‘ole time for kids of every age and their adult companions.  And, the food, is well, sumptuous.  Fried chicken, BBQ ribs, fresh-baked cornbread and strawberry shortcake for dessert.  You’ll leave singing, “Hoop-De-Doo, Hoop-De-Doo…” Advance Reservations & Prepayment are Required.  Two table service credits from your Disney Dining Plan (depending on your seating).

COVID UPDATE–The Hoop-De-Doo is currently unavailable and the Disney Dining Plan has been cancelled through at least the end of 2020.

hoop de doo strawberry shortcake

When you’re at Disney’s Hollywood Studios be sure to go visit Mom at the 50’s Prime Time Café.  You’ll need to put away your electronic devices and get your elbows off the table.  Don’t forget to eat all your vegetables or there will be no dessert for you.  Just in case, order one of the best milkshakes anywhere (and I mean anywhere in the world—not just Disney) when your order your meal.  I am partial to the Guest favorite the PB&J.  Advance Reservations are Strongly Recommended.


I learned about the Disney Spring Roll delight, that I had missed out on for 20+ years, when I took the most recent VIP Tour offered at the Magic Kingdom.  The Taste of Magic Kingdom Park VIP Tour.  A highly recommended experience that we can book for you to add a little extra foodie goodness to your day at the Magic Kingdom.

COVID UPDATE-The Taste of the Magic Kingdom Park VIP Tour is currently unavailable.  However, we are able to confirm private VIP Tour Guides to enhance your experience.  Ask your Memory Maker if a private tour guide option is a good one for your trip.

For the best Topolino’s Terrace at Disney’s newest DVC resort, the Riviera Resort.  It’s a character experience where you’re practically guaranteed to meet the Big Cheese himself, Mickey Mouse.  It’s a table service breakfast–but, you can eat all you want.  Advance Reservations are required to be allowed onto the hotel property, which is accessible via both the Skyliner and Bus.

Caveat, if you want a full-fledged Princess Experience, this is not the best character dining for you. (You can read about princess dining on last week’s blog!)

COVID UPDATE-The restaurant is one of only 3 character dining experiences available currently at Walt Disney World.  You will only be able to take selfies and socially distanced photos with the characters.

My favorite restaurant for foodies is located in Disney’s Contemporary Resort.  It’s California Grill.  (I’m sure you were expecting me to say the famous Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian.  AND yes, that should be on your #DisneyDiningBucketList.  But, the restaurant I will choose to go back to over and over again—anytime I can—is California Grill.)

You get to the restaurant via a private elevator which takes you to the 15th floor and one of the best Disney Happily Ever After & Once Upon A Time fireworks views around.They will even pipe in the music. But, I digress.

It’s really all about the food.  The menu changes with the season and always has a wine list of over 300 bottles for pairing.  But, for me, the reason to go to any restaurant is for the dessert.  California Grill excels in the dessert department.  I honestly can’t pick a favorite:  White Chocolate Crème Brulee, Yuzu Match Cake or the House-made Churros with toppings that include Spiced Choclate Ganache.

The restaurant has also recently started serving a bunch on the weekends that includes mimosas, live musical entertainment and the chance to interact with the Disney Chefs through the open kitchen.You’ll see me crossing that off of my own Disney Dining Bucket List on my next trip.

COVID UPDATE-Availability is limited.  Please allow your Memory Maker to check into reservations for you or suggest a similar foodie dining experience.  Disney Fireworks and the California Grill Brunch on both closed with no updates on future dates.

If you’re ready to create your Disney Dining Bucket List for your next trip your Makin’ Memories Travel Advisors have lots of ideas to share.

Contact one of us right now to hear about the Disney Dining Packages that are available for certain dates and resorts.Do you have a favorite restaurant I should add to my list?  I’d love to know.  You can hit me up at michele@makinmemoriestravel.co. You can always follow the MMT Magic Makers and our dining adventures on social.

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