Rather that sharing a “Top 5” today I’m sharing 5 dining locations across property, in no particular order, that I consider to be vastly underrated. While “underrated” is somewhat subjective, the dictionary definition largely centers around something that is evaluated too low or even underestimated. In my mind, these locations refer more to the latter part of that definition. Some of these locations may not be the perfect tucked away gem of a restaurant that always has walk up reservations available (mostly because those have basically gone away these days), but instead these are the restaurants that tend to be off of the beaten path or off the radar of the typical guest touring the parks.
While many of these require reservations, they’re more often that not meals that are available to book the day before your arrival or even quite possibly not even require a reservation. With that slight introduction to our list out of the way, let’s dive right into the details!
Yak and Yeti
Yak and Yeti was a restaurant I put off trying for years. Now, looking back on it, I can’t help but metaphorically kick myself for avoiding it all of those years. As strange as it may sound, considering how many food related posts are on this site, I am a fairly picky eater and I’m not the most “adventurous” person to say the least. As a result, I kept putting Yak and Yeti off time and time again due to the unnecessary worry that I wouldn’t be able to find anything I enjoyed on the menu. Having dined there many many times now, it always amazes me how dumb it was that I thought of the restaurant from that aforementioned perspective.
Without exaggeration, I have tried over half the menu at this point and have not been disappointed or unhappy with anything I’ve tried. Sure, some of the menu can get rather “authentic” for lack of a better word, but it’s done so in away where it can still appeal to a very large audience or it is presented in a way that is modifiable to meet a given guests desired preferences.
If you are concerned about food and preparation, don’t be. Even from an allergy standpoint they are very accommodating and will alter menu items to meet your needs. For example, my sister Caitlin is mildly allergic to Tuna. However, she wanted to order the Ahi Tuna Nachos because she liked everything on the nachos and after seeing them on other tables she was hooked on the idea. When we inquired about the issue, we were immediately offered chicken as a substitute and it made for an incredible meal and one that exceeded all of our expectations.
My one word of warning here is that the portion sizes do vary drastically based on what you order. To overcome this, typically we’ll split a variety of different meals and appetizers across our dining party so that everyone gets to try something unique and different while slowly yet surely working through the entire range of offerings on subsequent visits. As an added bonus, we do accumulate points through the Landry’s Select Club to use on future visits, and do receive priority seating as well! The card is one of the best purchases we’ve made and is well worth the initial investment! To read more about that, check out our post all about it here.
Truthfully I consider this underrated because more often then not it tends to get pushed back a few spots in the majority of recommendations in favor of dining at Tusker House, Flame Tree Barbecue, or even Tiffins. While each of those are iconic WDW meals, Yak and Yeti is a good way to be a touch more adventurous without going full throttle into some more eccentric cuisine. Not to mention, they do take walk up reservations, and with the Landry’s card you’ll get seated almost immediately! (we are not being paid by Landrys to say that! – even though that would be cool lol)
The Polite Pig is a newer offering that’s really starting to gain traction but does tend to stay out of the “limelight” and off the “must-do” list of many Disney parks guests. Truthfully, it is one of the best, if not the best, quick service meals on property. It’s table service level of quality food paired with the time commitment of a quick service offering makes it a near ideal place to stop during a night at Disney Springs!
From the pulled pork, to the salads, to even the sides, you’d be hard pressed to find anything on this menu that isn’t good!
The restaurant does remain quite crowded so it isn’t underrated in that aspect but in a unique way it’s a location that is off the beaten path and in turn off the radar of most guests touring the parks. One reason is that it’s outside of the parks, and a second is that it’s not quite picked up the social media attention it deserves. In 2 years, this will be the hot ticket, must-do, meal of Disney Springs and as word spreads I see it getting more and more crowded as time marches on. For a full review of one of our experiences there, check out: A Shockingly Good Counter Service Meal – The Polite Pig
The Fountain (ice cream window and restaurant)
The Fountain is perhaps the greatest hidden gem on this list and for good reason. This location is on the ground floor of the Dolphin resort a short walk or boat ride away from Epcot, Yacht and Beach Club, and the Boardwalk and is well worth the journey over and the time away from the parks to check it out. While the menu is rather simple, the ice cream selection is where this spot really shines. Our go-to here has always been the walk up ice cream window. They offer a nice array of flavors, a great deal for the money, and as strange as it sounds some of the best soft serve ice cream you’ll ever come across. After you grab your cone or other tasty treat, ride the escalator up to the main lobby for some live music, a wander through the gift shop, or even take the time to make a lap around the hotels grounds because they are simply beautiful. If you want to jump right back into the Disney realm of theming grab your desert and make the short 7-10 minute walk over to the Boardwalk (see how close it really is in the photos below as the Swan sticks up behind the Boardwalk sign) to watch the street performers or simply enjoy the sunset as day slowly turns to night and the sky opens up with color! If you’ve never tried this spot, try the walk up ice cream counter at the very least and even put the table service offering on your radar if you’re looking to try something unique and different that most guests tend to overlook.
We avoided this spot for years, but when a freak storm popped up one summer night that pretty much locked us indoors while staying a the Swan, we decide to give this little hidden gem a shot and it exceed our expectations. Another unique offering the Dolphin has available is a location called Picabu which features a rotating menu and an “always open” philosophy if you’re looking for a late night dining location!
Cape May Cafe
Cape May Cafe baffles me. More often that not reservations are readily available the day before your desired meal time, and often even the day of your desired meal time. At the same time, it is quite possibly the buffet I recommend more that any other buffet on property. How this one remains off of the social media “must-do” lists blows my mind! The food is incredible, the buffet offers a wide range of seafood and non seafood offerings, and did I mention they have all you can eat CRAB LEGS!
Breakfast here remains the popular option because it is a character meal during the breakfast timeframe. Lunch is not offered but dinner is, without a doubt, one of my favorite meals on Disney property.
One thing to note is that it is not a budget friendly meal and that is likely one of the reasons it stays somewhat hidden in a round about way. A dinner for four here is going to run you near $200 after a tip. In my opinion it is well worth it. If you are traveling with kids it will be substantially more budget friendly.
The plaza is one that may eventually fall off of this list because it is gaining some popularity in the busier months, but it’s rarely a struggle to secure a reservation. The Plaza is likely the most budget friendly table service meal in Magic Kingdom. The menu is fairly limited but all of what is on the menu is quite excellent at its price point. I won’t tell this is an experience that will compare to a meal at Crystal Palace or Be Our Guest, but if you’re simply looking for great food at a reasonable price and a place to escape the heat for about an hour, book this dining location and it wont disappoint you.
At some points during the year walk ups are available and while that is rarely guaranteed, if you are willing to wait they can typically slide you in. I wouldn’t bank on just getting a table when you get to the park, but if you cant find availability or simply decide you need a break from the heat and a nice place to relax for a bit, there’s no better option in Magic Kingdom to secure a walk up reservation in my opinion. It’s not perfect, but it really is a great place to grab a meal and the cast often go above and beyond to create an excellent experience for you and your family.
As always, if you have thoughts, concerns, questions, or even some tips of your own to share, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on Facebook or your favorite social media platform. Give us a follow while you’re there, and we’ll keep the conversation going in the future. We’re not the largest Disney community, but we’re one that’s here and one that listens. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day wherever you are!
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A few short years ago, I was sitting in a college apartment trying to figure out what was "next" and came up with this idea to share my accumulated knowledge of the Disney Parks and Resorts with others. The end goal was to help others make the most of their Disney experience and it's been quite the journey!