DINING AT DISNEY SPRINGS
Disney Springs, formerly Downtown Disney, is one of the places on Disney property where no matter how often you visit, you are bound to find new adventures—especially when it comes to dining.
Of course, there are restaurants that have stood the test of time, like Fulton’s Crab House and, more recently, Crossroads at House of Blues, but these days it’s all about the new and exciting options opening almost monthly.
Let’s look at the classics first.
Fulton’s Crab House is hard to miss even among all of the construction around every corner. It’s the big floating restaurant that looks very much like the steam ship in Magic Kingdom. Don’t let the outside fool you, though. Not only is this still one of the best restaurants on property, it is also one of the highest-end. Price is always something to consider when going to Disney, but here, it’s best to leave your Scrooge persona at home, and just indulge.
Fulton’s has seafood in abundance, so get your bib on and get ready to dive in to so many decadent dishes you won’t know where to start. Go for the “towers,” so you can try a little bit of everything. I remember going here as a child, back before I understood what money was, and wasting my parents’ money on expensive desserts that I didn’t even know I didn’t like.
When I was a bit older, I remember wanting nothing more than to experience the rock and roll bar-type surroundings of Crossroads at the House of Blues. To a teenager, the food, atmosphere and music here really are second to none in the area. Crossroads is all about the comfort food. Sliders to start, then fried chicken or ribs are a great way to utilize this restaurant’s assets.
Looking for something quick to wet your whistle at Disney Springs? Stop in at Ghiradelli’s Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop right next to World of Disney for some ice cream, a salted caramel hot chocolate, or one of the most amazing shakes you will ever have in your life.
If you’re in the mood for something light and you’re closer to The Landing, check out The Tea Traders Café by Joffreys. The chocolate pu-erh tea and pretty much any of the pastries are a great way to keep your stomach from rumbling throughout the day.
FOOD REVIEW Morimoto Asia - Disney Springs - Walt Disney World
But if you are in the mood for a meal but don’t have reservations and don’t really want to wait, the options are almost endless. Restaurant-wise, Wolfgang Puck Express has some of the tastiest quick options on all of property; their soups, salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and more are unique and delicious. Also, the bacon-wrapped meatloaf is absolutely drool-worthy.
If it’s sandwiches you’re looking for, there may be nowhere better on the entire planet than Earl of Sandwich. The Original 1762 and the Holiday Turkey are definite favorites. A word of advice, though: grab something to share. Even with two people, these sandwiches can easily make an entire meal.
Maybe you’re so pressed for time that you can’t even sit down to enjoy a meal. Disney has thought of that too. Recently, food trucks have made their way to Disney Springs. Each truck is themed after one of the parks in Walt Disney World.
At Namaste Café, you can taste food inspired by Animal Kingdom. Superstar Catering features favorites found around Hollywood Studios. World Showcase of Flavors features some of the top dishes Epcot has to offer, and, of course, Fantasy Fare gives you a taste of some of the best quick dishes in Magic Kingdom.
And if you want to go back to basics, Disney Springs offers a whole variety of choices. Some restaurants have been around for ages—personally, Raglan Road has always been a favorite, as old-school flavor in a plate of fish and chips, shepherd’s pie or bangers and booz always reminds me of home. And yes, it does taste just like mom used to make, assuming your mom is from the UK.
For the past few years, a new restaurant has become a staple in our visits. T-rex Café, by the same people who brought us Rainforest Café, not only has the ambience to entertain kids and adults alike, it also has some of the greatest tasting, standard dishes you can get (plus the names are just plain fun!). Whatever you try, start with the Megalosaurus Mozzarella, and finish with the Chocolate Extinction—you won’t be disappointed.
Recently, there’s been something new and exciting on every visit to Disney Springs. We visited Walt Disney World twice in 2015, and both times we ate at restaurants that weren’t there 6 months before. We were lucky enough to try out two of them recently, and we have to say both absolutely blew us away.
We started out at Jock Lindsay’s Hangar Bar with a couple of appetizers. The bar is based on Indiana Jones’ friend Jock Lindsay, and if you enjoy ambience, you won’t find more of it anywhere else. From replica props, to actual props, to hidden Mickeys and even hidden inferences to other Disney staples, you could spend days and still not scratch the surface of this bar. If that wasn’t enough, the appetizers (note that appetizers, rather than full meals, are all you’ll find here in the way of food) are to die for. The Rolling Boulder Sliders quite literally melt in your mouth, while the Good Dates were an unexpectedly rich and satisfying dish.
We later made our way to The Boathouse for dinner and have to say that for a fine dining establishment, it was more than reasonably priced, and the food was delicious. The appetizers definitely center around seafood but once you get to the main courses, your options certainly open up. The steaks rival that of even top steakhouses, like The Yachtsman, on property.
And this fall also saw Iron Chef Masaharu morimoto open up his first pan-asian themed restaurant that is upmarket yet casual - and chic yet family friendly. Folk have been raving about food like sticky ribs, bao, deep fried oreos, and the famous buri bop - so I can’t wait to make an Advanced Dining Reservation for my next trip!
Which leads us to what’s up and coming this year for Disney Springs. Two restaurants definitely grab your attention in the early announcements of what’s opening soon.
STK Steakhouse has been deemed one of the greatest steakhouses in the world, so it will certainly be in good company among the other world-class steakhouses on property.
The most interesting announcement thus far has to be The Edison. It almost sounds like a replacement to the Adventurers Club of old. A 1920’s-themed restaurant reminiscent of a classic dinner theatre, it will feature live performances ( contortionists, DJS, and palm readers, among others) while you enjoy your meal in themed rooms like the Radio Room, the Ember Parlor, and the Lab Performance Space. I can’t even talk about this restaurant without getting goosebumps.
The bottom line, really, is that Disney Springs is already THE place to be when you are hungry, and it just keeps getting better each and every day.