When in Disney World, it's not all about the eats. There are many other things to plan of course, but your meals are obviously something you have to consider. The Disney dining plans can be expensive, the food can be very children-oriented (chicken tenders, burgers, fries) or it's super expensive and not great quality. There are ways to save some money on food and still eat deliciously, but no matter what it'll be a fairly large chunk of your trip. I recommend going to the parks early to avoid crowds and the heat so eating a light breakfast is essential. Most hotels have spots where you can grab something quick and easy, such as yogurt, granola or fruit. While travelling in the parks, a handy tip is to pack granola bars or small bags of trail mix. This saves money on the non-healthy snacks that can REALLY add up (turkey legs should be an exception.) Mid day when the temperatures rise and you are wiped from your morning in the park, head out for a big lunch/dinner to re-fuel. It may seem a little more expensive at the time, but the benefits are much greater than spending $18+ on a burger and fries. Most places won't cost you more than $30, but you're eating real food, plus gaining an invaluable dining experience. You'll stay fuller longer and feel much more energized. This post covers where/what we ate in Epcot, since we spent a lot of time there.
Tokyo Dining & Hibachi (Japan)
I think this is my favorite restaurant in Epcot taking into account the meal, service and experience all together. The absolute sweetest staff will take care of you the moment you walk in the door. Here we found one of the best deals for lunch - $19pp including miso soup + dessert. There is a selection for everyone on the lunch special menu - from chicken to beef to a fresh sashimi bowl. Shown on the left (beef yakiniku) was extremely satisfying without being heavy. The sides were different and a good way to get a taste. The green tea soft serve was perfect - a not-too-sweet and refreshing way to end a great lunch. I also recommend trying their plum wine and taking a peek at their cocktail list!
TIP: make reservations early and request a window seat to overlook Japan! Even better for a late dinner to get an unparalleled view of the fireworks & Illuminations!
Tutto Italiana (italy)
Besides the floors and interior being super gorgeous, everything we ate here was fairly solid. The service was impeccable and the bread and olive oil was the real deal. This is the most expensive place we ate with the entrees on the dinner menu ranging between $22-$30 but everyone was able to mix and match to accompany their budget. We ended up splitting a few dishes so it worked out to be fairly reasonable. The portions were a solid size too, but I felt for the price some entrees were a little basic. Everything was good, but our favorites included the calamari, espresso martinis and Polenta Valsugana (polenta with short ribs.) Those espresso martinis...
VIA NAPOLI RISTORANTE E PIZZERIA (ITALY)
If you're looking for something a little cheaper in Italy, visit Via Napoli a few doors over. It's still a bit pricey but the pizzas serve anywhere from 2 to 6 people. Even the individual size is fairly large. Here you'll find classic wood-fired Neapolitan style pizzas with fresh, flavorful sauce, perfectly thin crust and endless topping choices, but they offer other appetizers and entrees as well. I regret not trying the pizza with truffle oil! Reservations highly recommended.
Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie (France)
One of the first places to open in Epcot in the morning and the smell of fresh baked pastries fills the air. Don't be alarmed by the long lines, we strolled right into this charming bakery for breakfast upon arrival. A bacon + cheese roll, spinach quiche, a lemon tart & some espresso shots were among the delights we ordered. Very reasonably priced and oh so delicious, this counter-service only restaurant is definitely worth the stop.
$ (under 10)
Rose and Crown (England)
Right across the entrance gates, you'll find this gem located in England. First and foremost, the service here was outstanding. Extremely memorable. The food of course is great as well. We had Fish & Chips, House-made English Meat Pies and the Shepherd's Pie. Everyone loved their meals and the portions were large enough to keep us satisfied for the remainder of the day. The hype is definitely real here for the Fish & Chips, everyone. If you're looking for a refreshing alcoholic beverage, go for the Cider & Black. (cider + a shot of black currant juice.) It's not overly sweet and definitely dangerous.
& a few TASTY TREATS...
Caramel Pecan Corn
VINS DE FRANCE KIOSK (FRANCE)
Frozen martinis. (tart lemon Grey Goose Slush or orange Grand Marnier Slush.)
Where do you like to eat in Epcot? There's so many options and not enough time to get to all the countries! I'll have to create a new post after my next visit, as I hope to venture into the Norwegian, Canadian and Mexican cuisines!