Fancy some Japanese A5 wagyu? Curious about table-side caviar service? Interested in pairing each course with carefully-curated water offerings chosen by an on-site sommelier? Surprisingly, these are all experiences you can find at Walt Disney World (WDW). But expensive restaurants at the most magical place on Earth can make vacationers question whether or not pricey meals should really be part of their travel itinerary.
Are high-end dining experiences at WDW worth it? The house of mouse can truly be the most delicious place on Earth, too, with hundreds of highly-themed restaurants embracing globally-infused menus. Here, food is much more than just something to sustain you: It's a tantalizing departure from humdrum theme park food that transports guests to galaxies far, far away. Instead of simply meeting Cinderella, you feast in her royal castle on thematically-appropriate bites.
The Florida vacation destination is packed with splurge-worthy meals from award-winning fine dining spots found across the property's theme parks and resorts. Here are the most expensive Disney meals ... and why they're worth it.
Victoria and Albert's
Located at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Victoria and Albert's is the pinnacle of fine dining. The AAA Five Diamond Award-winning restaurant has been wowing guests (and draining wallets) for over two decades. After undergoing a refurbishment, it recently reopened, showcasing a lavish-yet-modern atmosphere themed around Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee.
The menu is prix-fixe and begins at $295, with an ever-changing spotlight on seasonal ingredients. Since you're already splurging, go for the additional wine pairing, as the restaurant houses one of the largest collections of wines at WDW, with over 500 options — including some varietals over 100 years old. The reopening also brought along a new curated water-pairing program, led by an on-site sommelier.
Cinderella's Royal Table
If you've ever dreamed of dining inside a castle, now is your chance. Cinderella's Royal Table, located at Magic Kingdom Park, is practically a rite of passage for any Disney fan. But dining in the opulent setting will cost you — a prix-fixe dinner begins at $62 per person — that is, if you can even get in. Landing an advanced dining reservation here is nearly impossible, but if you're lucky enough to make your way inside, you'll be feasting like king or queen on beef tenderloin and spice-crusted pork in a setting fit for a fairytale.
"Cinderella's Royal Table is an experience unlike any other," travel writer Julie Tremaine tells Yahoo Life. "The food is good, but don't go if you're just looking for fine dining — go if you're looking to feel the kind of magic you can't feel anywhere else."
Here, you'll want to go all out with the Royal 50th Celebration Champagne Flight, which uses a bubbly exclusive to WDW.
California Grill has long been a Disney fan-favorite thanks to its sweeping views of Magic Kingdom Park (and its jaw-dropping fireworks) high in the sky atop Disney's Contemporary Resort. The highly-regarded restaurant received a bit of a makeover in celebration of Disney World's 50th anniversary — in the form of a new prix-fixe menu, priced at $89 per adult with the option to add wine pairings. Don't worry: The Braised Beef Short Rib Wontons remain as a crowd-pleasing starter, but they've been joined by dishes that celebrate the restaurant's origins, like a duck prosciutto and confit pizza.
The restaurant's steaks have always shined, but on this special anniversary menu lies a 35-ounce beef rib-eye tomahawk steak (available for an $80 surcharge) that's been the metaphorical icing on the cake of this anniversary celebration.
"California Grill is known for their impressive meals, but the 35-ounce tomahawk is next-level," Bethany Vinton, a Disney content creator, tells Yahoo Life. "The presentation is honestly a work of art, but the star of the show is the steak. It's perfectly marbled, was cooked to perfection and is an incredibly flavorful cut. It's served with carrots and an aged gouda mac and cheese, easily making it the best steak I've had in Disney World. California Grill always delivers a great meal, but this is worth the splurge."
After indulging in what could best be described as pure carnal opulence, for the perfect nightcap you can enjoy a $300 2-ounce pour of Remy Martin Louis XIII.
One of WDW's newest restaurants brings a bit of global flair to the property. Amare, located at the swanky Swan Reserve hotel, is an upscale Mediterranean culinary hotspot focused around its expansive open-air kitchen. In addition to house-made pastas and sustainable fish, its impressive wine list includes a flight celebrating some of the best grapes of the region. Meal highlights include hand-made manti dumplings filled with bahrat-spiced lamb and the signature Amare Flatbread topped with leek, potato and savory gruyere cheese.
The menu may be a little more adventurous than others on the list, but the restaurant executes the unique flavor combinations to perfection. While it is on Disney property, the overall feel offers a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the nearby parks and more family-focused resorts.
You may be surprised to learn that the largest seller of Japanese A5 wagyu happens to be on WDW property. Morimoto Asia, located at WDW's shopping and retail district, Disney Springs, serves the exotic beef (for $34 an ounce) at the fine dining establishment helmed by the famed Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. The menu continues to impress with drool-worthy sashimi — including delicate toro — served in one of the most gorgeous atmospheres, with stunning glass chandeliers cascading down its ceiling. House delicacies include fall-off-the-bone, sticky and sweet Morimoto Spare Ribs and a succulent house-roasted whole Peking duck.
Looking to go all out? Ask for the "omakase experience," which leaves it all up to the restaurant's team of highly trained chefs as they guide you through a multi-course meal at their intimate sushi bar — and the Iron Chef himself is known to appear from time to time.
Jiko – The Cooking Place
Combining impeccable theming with top-notch food and world class service, Jiko — The Cooking Place exemplifies Disney dining at its best. Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, where the restaurant is located, is an experience in and of itself — and the dramatic setting is home to some of the best dining on property.
Jiko — The Cooking Place is where Disney takes signature dining and gets creative, with a menu that's both adventurous and approachable — from wild boar tenderloin and Moroccan Lamb Shank to the longtime Disney fan favorite Oak-grilled Filet Mignon with four-cheese macaroni. It's a celebration of a culture that brings guests together through a mutual love of cuisine.
Jay and Sam Bonsignore are creators of the YouTube channel, Theme Park Foodies. "Jiko combines Disney's signature story-based dining with high quality and artisanally-crafted delicacies," Jay tells Yahoo Life.
"The price may be high," says Sam, "but reflects the one-of-a-kind experience only Disney can provide. They boast the largest South African wine collection outside of Africa and pair [the wines] perfectly with their flavorful vibrant appetizers and desserts."
"Stepping into Jiko truly transports you to Africa — complete with a color-changing sunset and soaring birds," adds Jay.
There's a bounty of standout seafood to be found at Disney World — you are in Florida after all — but Flying Fish takes the cake for its thoughtful approach to classic dishes with modern sophisticated twists. At this hidden Disney fine dining gem, located along Disney's BoardWalk, the focus is sustainable seafood served in an elegant setting that oozes nostalgia and celebrates the yesteryear of Atlantic coastal towns.
In addition to a riff on Lobster Bisque that utilizes Sambuca, its signature dish continues to impress. The restaurant's Potato-wrapped Red Snapper ($58) is a beloved favorite of regulars: The flaky fish is enveloped and smothered in a leek fondue and Cassis-red wine reduction. Surprisingly, their carnivorous selections are also some of the best on the property, including a Char-crusted New York Strip with a decadent Béarnaise sauce.
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