The holidays and Walt Disney World just go together naturally, and what else could that combination possibly need but food? (And lots of it!) There are tons of options for where to eat at the Walt Disney World Resort, but if you’re looking to make your holiday trip a little bit more special we have some recs:
If I were local to Walt Disney World, The Boathouse would hands down be my go-to for every family gathering. It’s really difficult to find a menu that has items to please every member of the family and agreeable prices. The Boathouse is one of our picks for the best Disney date night because the atmosphere can’t be beat and there is so much flexibility for what you want to do with the menu. You can easily just hang out at the Dockside Bar for drinks, grab burgers and fries in the restaurant, or go all out with steak and lobster.
For a holiday dining experience, this means you can order a baked stuffed lobster if that’s your thing, try the mahi mahi tacos (one of my favorites), or go simple with one of the best burgers in Disney. The entire experience at The Boathouse is always top-notch, from the appetizers to the dessert, and you can easily make the experience even more special with an Amphicar tour or stroll along the dock to see the vintage boats.
Liberty Tree Tavern
For traditional holiday dining, Liberty Tree Tavern in the Magic Kingdom is the way to go. Dinner here is served family style and consists of holiday favorites like roasted turkey, pot roast, and oven roasted pork, with sides including mashed potatoes, vegetables, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, and salad. The entire feast is finished off with “Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake.”
If the whole family isn’t on board for the traditional holiday feast, visit Liberty Tree Tavern for lunch. While dinner is exclusively the pre-fixe family style feast, lunch allows you to opt for the shareable platters or order a single entree off the menu that includes everything from fish and chips to salads, pasta, and more.
Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria
Over in World Showcase, Via Napoli is another restaurant that covers a variety of tastes without being too out there or too “safe.” You can easily opt for a shareable pizza, salad, and/or appetizers, or let everyone order off the menu as they please. Via Napoli also has what I consider to be the best red sangria at Walt Disney World, and if you bring the whole family out you have no excuse to not order it by the pitcher, right?!
For the holidays specifically, Via Napoli is a win in my book if you’re looking to see Candlelight Processional. This seasonal holiday performance is extremely popular, and if you don’t opt for the dining package you may find yourself waiting in long lines to *maybe* get a seat in the back of the theater. Instead, book the dining package to guarantee that you’ll be seated before the standby guests. You can book a reservation nearly anywhere in the park for this, but Via Napoli is only one pavilion over from the theater so it’s an easy stroll to the show if you’re planning dinner just before the show begins.
California Grill is arguably the best special occasion dining experience at the Walt Disney World Resort. Not only do you have an incredible signature dining experience atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, but if you time it right you also have what is likely the best view of the Happily Ever Fireworks from outside the park. (If you don’t time it right, you can still go back to California Grill to watch the fireworks from the roof deck there as long as you had a reservation on that same day.)
The menu at California Grill is upscale and diverse covering everything from sushi to freshly prepared pasta dishes, seafood, steaks, entree salads, and more. This restaurant takes Californian cooking techniques and adds an upscale twist creating masterful dishes that can easily be the most memorable parts of your Disney dining experience. California Grill also offers brunch that is served with appetizers brought to the table, a cold buffet set up, and choice of entree (with mimosas included with your meal!).
It may be because I’m actually from New England, but the Yachtsman Steakhouse just feels like the right place to spend the holidays with the family. Part of this is that it definitely reminds me of the kind of restaurant where we’d go for a special occasion with the family at home in Massachusetts (only with the best lobster bisque… ever?). As its name suggests steaks are the specialty here, but if you’re not much into steak I can vouch for the scallops as well. (I’d also highly recommend a side of the truffle macaroni and cheese! 😍)
The Yachtsman Steakhouse leaves little wiggle room in the cost category, so if you’re not prepared to spend upwards of $50/person this may be best saved for a date night, or uniquely special occasion like an engagement, anniversary, etc.. rather than the holidays. That being said, if you’re up for the splurge it’s definitely a prime spot for celebrating with the family! It’s also in the Epcot Resort Area, which means you can explore that entire area along the Yacht and Beach Club, Swan and Dolphin, and the Boardwalk without using a park ticket for the day.
If you’re planning on spending the holidays in Disney, be sure to make your dining reservations asap. Seating at Disney’s table service restaurants fills up quick so if you have your heart set on a certain restaurant it’s important to make your reservations as soon as you have your dates in order. If you’re having a hard time finding the reservations you want, keep checking! Plans change all the time and you can sometimes have luck finding something that opens up closer to your trip. (I’ve scored reservations at some of the most popular restaurants even during my trip! I usually give the My Disney Experience app a once over in the hotel room before I go to bed to double check if I’m still looking for something specific).
If you have a favorite restaurant to celebrate the holidays at in Disney, share it in the comments! And let us in on how you’re celebrating the holidays wherever you may be by using #castlepartylife.