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Best Restaurant for Adults in Epcot

Best Restaurant for Adults in Epcot

Epcot is my favorite Disney theme park at Walt Disney World. Every trip that includes a hopper pass or annual pass for me means that I end the majority of my Disney theme park days in Epcot. There isn’t anything better than walking around the World Showcase in the evening. Plus, Epcot is home to a huge variety of high-quality restaurants that are aimed at adults rather than kids, which is a plus for me. Choose just one restaurant as the best restaurant for adults in Epcot is nearly impossible, there are so many!!!

You could literally spend a 2-week vacation in just Epcot and eat at a different table service restaurant each night and still have a few leftover. I count 17 options in all (assuming all are open, which is currently not the case). But which of the 17 Epcot restaurants is the best for adults?

I couldn’t narrow this down to just one, so here are my top two Best Restaurants for Adults in Epcot

This was a very difficult decision for me. Choosing a restaurant in Epcot is like going on a mini-vacation. Which country do you want to eat in tonight is typically a problem for extremely rich folks who own a private jet, not for the rest of us. I enjoy most of the Epcot restaurants, and just about all of them could have made the list, so narrowing it down to two was nearly impossible. To do so, I left of my two favorite places to eat, plus a few others that we hit every trip.

  1. Chefs de France – Not everyone can visit Paris just for dinner, but in Epcot, that is a possibility nightly. Chefs de France replicates a beautiful Parisian brasserie, complete with incredible views of the World Showcase walkway to complete the experience. Even the waiters are French (and a bit snobbish). Not sure what the menu items are? Your waiter will be happy to explain. Have a picky eater? No problem, the Filet de boeuf grillé is perfect (basically a tenderloin steak). Having personally lived in France for a few years, I love Chefs de France. It is hard to find a good Cassoulet or Boeuf Borgingon anyone outside of French, but it is possible at Chefs de France. Finish off your meal with a Crème Brûlée and spend some time enjoying the ambiance. If possible, ask for a window near the windows, there isn’t anything more French than people watching while you enjoy an incredible meal.
  2. Rose & Crown Dining Room – While I am not sure Rose & Crown has the best food in Epcot, it does have the best seating area. When you arrive, insist on an outside table, preferably waterfront. If you have to wait a while, it is totally worth it. Grab a pint and relax. The waterfront tables have a direct view of the World Showcase Lagoon and is the best view on property for dinner. Dining later at night, you may be lucky to catch the show that takes place in the lagoon each night. The Fish and Chips are excellent, but it is hard to pass up a good Shepherd’s Pie or the Bangers and Mash to complete the feeling of dining in an old English Pub. Do you want to complete the feeling, order yourself some Mushy Peas or Bubble and Squeak along with a pint of your favorite Ale, Cider or Stout and you will be speaking with a British accent in no time.

What is your favorite restaurants for adults in the Epcot?

disney free dining

Why Disney Free Dining isn’t really Free

Every year since 2006, Walt Disney World has released a Disney Free Dining discount, typically for Fall dates, though early on we did see some Spring dates included. The Disney Free Dining discount for 2018 was released earlier this week. Historically, this is the most popular and most looked forward to discount for regular Disney visitors. The basics are the Disney Free Dining discount is that you book a package at a Walt Disney World resort that includes your hotel and park passes, and Disney includes the dining plan for free. But, it really isn’t free.

One thing to note here, Disney DOES NOT love you, they are not giving you something free because you have been a great customer, or because they think you deserve it, Disney releases discounts, whether free dining or any other package or room discount, to fill rooms. If there is a time when they can’t fill up at full rate, they offer an incentive to get you to come to Disney. Disney Free Dining is just another marketing scheme to get you to come to Disney. Plus, Disney is smart, they know that when people hear “free” they go crazy and don’t even consider doing any math to see if it really is free, or even if it is a good deal.

Why Disney Free Dining isn’t really Free

  • Minimum Night Stays – As part of the 2018 Disney Free Dining discount, Walt Disney World requires you to stay a minimum of four nights, a maximum of 14. While this really does not affect many people, there are some that may want to visit Disney just for 1 or 2 nights, but must extend their vacation an extra day or two in order to get free dining.
  • Minimum Ticket Purchases – Disney requires the purchase of a minimum 4 day ticket with you Disney Free Dining package. This is a requirement regardless of the length of ticket you really want. If you are an annual passholder, you still must purchase a 4 day ticket. If you are a Florida Resident and have access to cheaper tickets, still, you must purchase a 4 day ticket. If you have tickets left over from another trip or happened to purchase tickets elsewhere, everyone on the package must purchase a 4 day ticket. While this doesn’t sound like a huge deal, a 4 day base ticket is roughly $405 per person, so for a family of 4, you are talking a minimum ticket purchase of $1,620 just for the right to get the free dining.
  • Park Hopping Add-on – Another requirement added in recent years, in addition to purchasing the minimum 4 day ticket, Disney also requires that you purchase the park hopping add-on for everyone in your room. The park hopping add-on runs about $75 per person, so a family of four must pay an additional $300 whether they want park hopping or not.
  • Limited Resorts – As part of the 2018 Disney Free Dining discount, Disney did not include many of the popular resorts as part of the discount. Want to stay at Port Orleans Riverside or French Quarter or a Little Mermaid room at Art of Animation? Contemporary or Wilderness Lodge? All-Star Movies?You are out of luck. Plus, many of the resorts were included, but have zero availability? While this doesn’t necessarily increase your cost, you may have to stay in a resort that you have no interest in staying in just to get a discount. Many of my clients have actually had to upgrade to a more expensive resort to get the Disney Free Dining, they want to stay in a Value resort, but because they are all sold out, they are forced to pay more and upgrade to a moderate resort just to get a discount.
  • More expensive rooms – Availability with Disney Free Dining is very tight. While you may find a room at Pop Century (your preferred resort), they may be sold out of the standard view rooms you normally stay in. So, you are forced to upgrade to a more expensive room just to get a discount.
  • Bypass other discounts – At Walt Disney Wold,  you are not allowed to use more than one discount. Even though Disney released two discounts the other day, the Disney Free Dining and the Late Summer discount, which overlap for many of the Disney Free Dining dates, you cannot use both discount. So, if you opt to take the Disney Free Dining discount, that means you exclude yourself from the Late Summer or any other discount that comes along.

I am not saying that the Disney Free Dining discount can’t be a great deal, but DO THE MATH! I have clients that can get a better deal with a different discount, they insist they still want free dining, because it was “free”, even though they end up paying more in the end. Sometimes it is hard to understand that free really isn’t free.

When booking your Disney vacation, I would strongly suggest to book your initial reservation at a price you are comfortable with, and do not expect to see any discounts. Then, if and when a discount does come along, consider that as a bonus and upgrade your resort or dining plan and have a better trip than what you were expecting.

best adult restaurant animal kingdom

Best Restaurant for Adults in Animal Kingdom

When Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened in 1988, the restaurant choices were very, very limited, and there was only one sit down restaurant in the entire park (two if you count the Rainforest Cafe, but it is technically outside the park, located near the entrance). That really was not a big deal as the park typically closed around the time that the sun went down, so most people just went elsewhere for dinner. With the extension of the park hours in the last year, and the new night time show (Rivers of Light), there is an increased need for additional sit down restaurants in the park. Disney recently added Tiffins, a signature restaurant located near the Tree of Life. Unfortunately, Disney will not be adding another table service restaurant once the new Pandora (Avatar) section of the park opens. there will only be once new restaurant there, Satu’li Canteen, which will be a fast/casual restaurant. Hopefully at some point they will make dinner a table service restaurant at some point in the future.

Best Restaurant for Adults in Animal Kingdom

Best Restaurant for Adults in Animal Kingdom

  • Yak & Yeti Restaurant – Trust me, at this point, it isn’t even close. Yak & Yeti features asian inspired meals in a fantastic, beautiful setting. Some of my favorites are the Pork Pop Stickers, the Ahi Tuna Nachos, the Crispy Honey Chicken and the Seared Miso Salmon. Yum! Yak & Yeti serves both lunch and dinner as a table service meal, both meals offer the same menu and the same prices. Yak & Yeti is also on the dinning plan, and counts as one table service credit. Also, please do not be confused. In Animal Kingdom, there is also a quick service restaurant that goes by the name Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe, and while the food is quite good there, it isn’t the same thing.

While Yak & Yeti won’t make my top 10 list of Disney World restaurants, it is head and shoulders above the other Anima Kingdom options. Tiffins launched last year, and looked very promising, but to this point, the restaurant has had really poor reviews for both food and service. Maybe someday this will be a decent option for adults, but for now, just stop by the Nomad Lounge and enjoy a cool drink. Tusker House is a fun restaurant, but the food is served family/buffet style, and it tends to be pretty loud and busy, not relaxing at all. While the food is decent, it just isn’t on par with Yak & Yeti. Rainforest Cafe is Rainforest Cafe, you pay for the atmosphere and not the food. If you idea of a nice dinner includes gorillas and elephants along with a lot of thunder and lightening, the feel free to stop by.

Want to enjoy something outside the park, but close by? Animal Kingdom Lodge has three great restaurants, Boma, Jiko and Sanaa. Both Jiko and Saana are better than Yak & Yeti, and Boma is quite good, if you like buffets. Animal Kingdom is only a 5 minute bus ride away, and a nice break from the park.

What is your favorite restaurants for adults in the Animal Kingdom theme park?