I was hesitating to make a ‘best-of’ list because everybody does it.
But, doggone it, they are so much fun to read. And even though completely subjective, I still can’t help myself.
I’d like to do one of these periodically, and this first one deals with dining and drinking options. Future columns will focus on best DVC pools, gift shops, fireworks views, and – ta-da – best overall resort.
Best quick-service restaurant:
Sure, they have usual burgers and pizza, but a good number of specialty dishes dot the menu at surprisingly (for Disney) low prices. My wife Lori and I especially love the Thai coconut meatballs.
If you like pulled pork nachos, get set for a huge portion. The pork-fried rice is also very good. There’s even a Hawaiian pizza in keeping with the theme. Oh, the banana-stuffed tonga toast for breakfast is superlative.
The ambiance is quite nice with cool vintage posters on the wall and there are two indoor seating areas. We’ve never had to wait for a seat. And even if you did, you can avail yourself of the outside tables overlooking the pool. The tiki torches just add to the overall mood.
Honorable mention: Gasparilla Grill (Grand Floridian): Burgers and pizzas here are a cut above other places. I’m only sorry they got rid of the stromboli.
The atmosphere of this African- and Indian-themed restaurant is to die for. And the food? Awesome.
Boma offers entrees for the adventurous palate – anyone for curry-coconut-cauliflower soup or bobotie?
The seasoning on traditional offerings, including chicken and roasted turkey, can’t be beaten. I am crazy about the nut-crusted salmon.
Honorable mention: Trail’s End (Fort Wilderness): If you’re a meat and potatoes-type diner (as I am) this place is for you. Skip the dinner show at Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue if you’re on a budget. It’s the same food. Great ambiance all around.
What other lounge on Disney property can compete? The lounge on the 16th floor features an outdoor deck with the best-unimpeded view of Magic Kingdom fireworks. But it’s not just that. Inside, lap up the retro feel of the place as you drink or eat.
There are no huge entrees here, but then, this is a place to have a few drinks and have lighter food. The last time I went, my wife and I ordered the Vegetable Crudite. I am told the cheese plate is exceptional.
This place is DVC-only, but it fills up quickly when fireworks time nears. I suggest you get there one hour before that.
Honorable mention: Belle Vue (BoardWalk): This is truly a hidden treasure. I am a lover of old-time radio and memorabilia, and this lounge evokes a 1930s-40s atmosphere. Sink into one of the spacious felt seats or couches or sit outside on the porch. Either way, you will be transported to another time and place.
Where else can you have a whiskey and soda and listen to an episode of The Shadow in the background?
(Note: I have not yet visited the new Enchanted Rose lounge at the Grand Floridian or the Voyageurs’ Lounge at Riviera so I cannot comment on either).
My wife Lori and I bought into Saratoga Springs in 2014 and added Copper Creek Villas in 2017. We typically visit a resort and the parks every two months or so and never looked back on our decision to become DVC members.