Sunday, August 28, 2016

Why You Should Go to Disney World as a 20-Something Part 1 – Dining
Why You Should Go to Disney World as a 20-Something
Part 1 – Dining
by: guide4wdw - Caitlin
twitter: @guide4disney 
instagram: @guide4disney 

If you’re a dedicated Disney-goer (like myself), you are fully aware that Disney World lives up to its family friendly name. For those of you who are new to the Disney experience, you may not know that the parks are also chalk full of opportunities for the 20-something crowd. Disney World has amazing options for every age group throughout the property, and this one is certainly not overlooked. I’m here to share with you my top park picks for young adult visitors. I’ve decided to break it down into sections, beginning with a personal favorite, dining!
One of the best things about the Disney World property is the variety of dining locations found throughout it. Disney is unlike any other theme park when it comes to its cuisine. Every park has multiple types of dining options (walk up stands, counter service, over-the-top fancy seated restaurants) and they are all wonderful choices. Because I am mildly obsessed with Disney World dining, I feel as though I should share my top choices in each individual park (to be fair, of course).

Magic Kingdom
The Crystal Palace – Nestled in the heart of Main Street U.S.A. lies my restaurant of choice in the Magic Kingdom. The Crystal Palace is a buffet-style restaurant with wonderful service and even more notable food choices. The cuisine is American, and the options are plentiful. This restaurant does a fantastic job of serving a wide variety of foods for all diet types. There is a large expanse of vegetarian options (if you’re into that), a carving station in the middle, and an abundance of homemade cookies (I bet you can’t eat just one). If that isn’t enough, you can also meet the characters from the 100 Acre Woods. Let’s all be honest, we want our picture taken with Winnie the Pooh, even at the age of 25.
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Aloha Isle – Home of the famous Dole Whip! If you have never been to Disney World, do not leave without trying this fantastic treat. Dole Whip has become iconic at the parks due to its completely unique flavor and exclusivity of the treat itself (outside of Disney World/Land, it can only be found at the Dole plantation in Hawaii). In case you’ve been living under a rock, the dessert is a Dole pineapple flavored soft-serve. You can also try a Dole Whip float, which adds pineapple juice on top of the soft serve. It sounds simple, but your taste buds won’t soon forget this treat. 

La Cantina de San Angel – When I visit Epcot, Mexico is always the first stop on my journey around the world. This is not actually due to its placement on the World Showcase map, but because of the wonderful food to be found at this walk up counter location. My personal favorite – Empanadas. This crispy, cheesy, mouth-watering snack is the perfect way to start your adventures throughout the countries in Epcot. And, if you’re like most 20-somethings I know, Mexican food is basically an essential food group.  This location is a great place to relax for a moment and enjoy the view of the World Showcase Lagoon. Tip: On scorching hot days, take a left on the patio and look for a black door. This may appear to be for cast members, but it actually leads inside to the fabulously air conditioned indoor eating area. You won’t regret that decision either.

Le Cellier Steakhouse – This is my pick for a more elegant dining experience in the World Showcase. Le Cellier is housed in Epcot’s Canada pavilion, and you don’t want to miss out on this wonderful restaurant. For a while, it was one of Disney’s hidden gems. This is not the case anymore, due to its boom in popularity. If you want the opportunity to eat here, be sure to book your reservation months in advance (most Disney sites suggest 180 days). Also notable is that this restaurant is now 2 credits on the dining plan for both lunch and dinner. Le Cellier has a fantastic ambiance and even better food. Your meal begins with various types of breadsticks which represent the different provinces of Canada. If that doesn’t spark your interest, the main course will. My personal favorite is the miso-glazed salmon; it literally melts in your mouth. For steak lovers, don’t pass up the wild mushroom filet mignon. You’ll soon learn that dessert is always my favorite course, and the ones at Disney World are always memorable. Check out the chocolate moose (and no, that isn’t a typo). This dessert is both adorable and fantastically flavored. I am aware that Le Cellier comes with a hefty price tag for a 20-something, but it’s a can’t-miss spot on my Disney World food stops. Your wallet will forgive you later.  

Hollywood Studios
I have to be honest; Hollywood Studios is not my favorite place to satisfy my taste buds. After the recent closing of the beloved Pizza Planet (cue the ugly cry face), the park does not house many can’t-miss options. Hollywood Studios is going through several stages of changes, and, hopefully, in the next few years it will make it back on my list of favorite food stops in Walt Disney World.

Animal Kingdom
Pizzafari – I know what you are thinking, a pizza place? At Disney World? That’s right! This little gem is home to some of the best personal pizzas money can buy. Note: Pizzafari is very similar to the pizza that used to be found at Pizza Planet. It is currently helping me cope with the loss. Aside from the dramatics, this is truly a great spot to grab lunch at Animal Kingdom. The huge indoor seating area (bring on the AC), combined with the colorful décor makes for a great atmosphere to rejuvenate yourself. Is it just me, or is Animal Kingdom always 3000 degrees hotter than other parks? This quirky spot is easy on the wallet and tasty too.

Other Dining Options
Whispering Canyon Cafe – This dining location is found inside a ginormous log cabin, the Wilderness Lodge resort. Along with the phenomenal atmosphere, this restaurant is quite literally dinner and a show. If you’re shy or easily embarrassed, Whispering Canyon may not be the place for you. The servers are trained to be sarcastic, witty, and give each customer a hard time. For me, it makes for an incredibly entertaining meal. The cuisine is a backyard BBQ taste with southern charm. Drinks are served in mason jars, and the most popular entrée is brought to your table in a giant cast iron skillet. If you’re a 20-something male (or anyone will a large appetite really), this will be right up your alley. The Canyon Skillet is its name and is served all you can eat style. Whispering Canyon is much easier to find a reservation for and is often less crowded than other Disney dining locations. It’s an A+ for me. Just don’t ask for ketchup – I warned you!

The Yachtsman Steakhouse – If you’re looking for a meal to splurge on or celebrate a special occasion, this is the spot for you. The Yachtsman Steakhouse is located inside of the beautiful Yacht Club resort. Like Le Cellier, this spot can be difficult to find a reservation for and should be booked months in advance. The servers here treat you like royalty and the food quality is just as excellent. My recommendations are the artisanal cheese tray and the filet mignon. The cheeses are displayed beautifully and taste like heaven. Be prepared for your steak to be one of the best you’ll ever consume. This restaurant is a wonderful experience and dazzles in many ways. Rumor has it that Neal Patrick Harris frequents the location, and if you request it, you may get to sit at “his” table. Although your bill may make you cringe, I truly feel this meal is worth every cent. Give it a try when you’re in the Epcot resort area.

Chef Mickey’s – This is another wonderful buffet that can be found at the Contemporary Resort. Even if you don’t eat here, this resort is an amazing place to visit. The track for the monorail runs straight through the width of the building; it is truly a site to see. My favorite meal to eat here is definitely breakfast. Chef Mickey’s has a variety of American-style breakfast favorites, including breakfast pizza, mickey waffles, donut holes, and cheesy hash brown casserole. Like The Crystal Palace, you can also meet characters at this location. All of the “Fab 5” can be found at Chef Mickey’s.  If you’re an early riser, this is a great place to start your day.

Goofy’s Candy Company – This unique candy store can be found in Disney Springs and is one of my personal favorite spots on the Disney property. Of course, various candies can be purchased here, but that’s not what makes this my go-to dessert stop. The selling point of Goofy’s Candy Company is the Create Your Own Treat option. Here, you can pick various snacks to be custom created into a delicious, chocolaty treat. My favorite creation is a Mickey Mouse rice crispy treat, dipped in milk chocolate and coated with M&M’s and milk chocolate drizzle. For all chocolate lovers, don’t miss this delicious opportunity.

As you can see, Walt Disney World is full of amazing dining opportunities for all taste buds and price points. As a 20-something myself, eating at my favorite restaurants is always a highlight of my trip. I hope my top choices for dining at Disney will help you enjoy your time on the property as well. Let us know what your favorite eating spots are! Up next, I will be sharing the attractions you can’t miss during your time at the parks. From tea cups to Tyrannosauruses, there are so many choices of attractions at Walt Disney World.

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