With so much to see and do at the Walt Disney World Resort, you might be tempted to skip lunch just to save a little time.
Don’t do it.
In fact, make plans to enjoy dinner, snacks and a couple of beverages. You’ll need the fuel to fortify your journey through the parks and Disney Springs, plus the Disney magic extends well beyond rides and shows.
There’s so much to taste, it can be overwhelming. But Suzy Fleming Leonard, food editor at Florida Today (part of the USA TODAY Network), has narrowed it down to 10 of our favorite things to eat and drink, as well as places to sit down and enjoy a meal.
You can’t really have the complete Walt Disney World experience without a Dole Whip. The frozen treat made its first appearance at Disneyland and Walt Disney World in 1986 when Dole became the official sponsor of the Enchanted Tiki Room and the Tiki Juice Bar in Adventureland, according to the DisneyFoodBlog.com.
The classic soft-serve pineapple Dole Whip comes in a cup and is certified vegan. If you want to stray from the classic, you’ve got plenty of options, including a vanilla-pineapple swirl, raspberry, a float and a version for grown-ups that’s blended with rum. You can find a Dole Whip in most of the Disney parks as well as at the Pineapple Lanai at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
A few words of caution, though: Watch out for brain freeze.
S’mores are everything good about dessert. They’re sweet, gooey, chocolatey heaven. They’re also messy and have about a 40% chance of ending up in the campfire. Here’s where The Ganachery comes to the rescue.
This tiny-but-mighty chocolate shop at Disney Springs has high-end chocolates and other treats. Order a s’more and watch as a chocolatier sandwiches chocolate and a marshmallow between graham crackers, carefully heats them with a torch, then gives the creation a Mickey tattoo of powdered sugar.
PHOTOS:Ganachery at Disney Springs in Orlando, a tiny-but-mighty chocolate shop
Navigating Disney:5 tips to get you in and around Walt Disney World parks easily
Though Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at the Walt Disney World Polynesian Resort doesn’t open until 3 p.m., you’ll find a queue at the door by 1:45 – even on a random Tuesday . The dark, mysterious room only seats 51 people, and the tiki mugs inside are filled with strong spirits and a touch of magic.
The skippers behind the bar don’t just mix drinks, they bring their cocktails to life in a show that demands guest participation – or else. Try the Uh-Oa, which supplies the alcohol and entertainment in one (rum) punch. Named for the goddess of disaster, the Uh-Oa is a potent combo of light and dark rums, fruit juices, falernum and a spark of cinnamon. It’s made to share.
Luke Skywalker drank it, now you can too. We’re talking blue milk (“Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope”) and green milk (“Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi”). These colorful favorites from the remote outpost planet Batuu can be found at the Milk Stand at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios.
The beverages are a frozen plant-based blend of coconut and rice milks. Give the cocktails an adult spin by adding rum or tequila.
► Can’t get enough? Why Disney World sweets, treats, desserts are SO worthy of Instagram
► For the foodies:Check out our tour of Disney Springs and 5 restaurants created by award-winning chefs
Five James Beard Award-winning chefs have restaurants at Disney Springs, and with a little pre-planning and a big appetite, you can visit them all.
It’s never too early in the day for a Night Blossom at Pongu Pongu, outside the Satu’li Canteen in Animal Kingdom’s Pandora — The World of Avatar. Purple desert pear and green Granny Smith apple flavors join forces in this sweet, colorful frozen drink that’s topped with passion fruit juice poppers.
Looking for something more filling? Craft your own protein bowl inside the Satu’li Canteen using ingredients including wood-fired chicken, slow-roasted beef, crispy fried tofu, rice, beans, slaw and boba balls.
There’s a reason the Alebrije Margarita at Epcot’s La Cava del Tequila has become a TikTok sensation. It’s designed to be a complete immersion of the senses. As the 12-ounce cocktail is being crafted, the colors from a light-up cube dance in the glass.
A bartender pours tequila, mezcal, passion fruit liquor and lime juice over the light show, and tops the drink with a smoke bubble. Pop the bubble, and breathe in the smoky aroma before taking your first sip.
Savor the cool elixir as it slides down your throat. Oh, and make sure you have a friend shoot video. This is an experience you and all your TikTok followers will want to remember.
Journey to the bottom of the sea – or at least feel like it – without donning a scuba mask at the Coral Reef Restaurant in Epcot’s Future World. Set back from the main drag, the Coral Reef is the perfect complement to neighboring The Seas with Nemo and Friends attraction.
The restaurant is decorated in shimmering greens and blues, and a giant aquarium, home to more than 2,000 sea creatures, takes up an entire wall. Dine on mahi-mahi, shrimp and grits or salmon while watching rays, tarpon, sharks and other sea life swim by. Not a seafood fan? The menu includes steak, chicken and plant-based options. Make reservations at go.com.
New at Epcot:Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure: Grab your toque and join this charming rat race
This rooftop restaurant on the 17th floor of the Four Seasons Orlando gives the quintessential view of fireworks from Walt Disney World theme parks. Capa is the place to book for special occasions or whenever you want to treat yourself.
There are two large outdoor terraces that offer views of the resort’s gorgeous grounds. All this while dining on everything from caviar (starting at $172 an ounce) to A-5 Wagyu beef ($32 an ounce). There also are plenty of small plates and tapas starting at $5. Need more convincing, Capa was named among the Best 100 Wine Restaurants in the United States by Wine Enthusiast magazine.
There’s a new street, or rather rue, tucked behind the French pavilion at Epcot, and it’s lined with flavor and fun. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure awaits at the end of the street, but before you get there, stop in at La Crêperie de Paris. Both opened Oct. 1.
La Crêperie offers table and quick service options and features sweet crepes and savory galettes, along with some of Brittany’s famous hard ciders, on a menu curated by celebrity chef Jérôme Bocuse. The restaurant draws its inspiration from the Brittany region of France.
Viera-based travel and theme park writer Michelle Spitzer contributed to this story.
Support local journalism: Find offers for new subscribers at floridatoday.com/subscribe.