Adding Magical Experiences: Dinner Packages and More at Walt Disney World

Please note: Many indoor restaurants remain closed or with limited service. Please check the Walt Disney World website for the latest information.

We’ve already talked about Character Dining, but there are so many other special dining options at Walt Disney World resorts that include more than just eating. Some are complimentary upgrades, and others you pay a premium for.

There are few dinner experiences that are just so unique, they are noteworthy on their own.

Before we had our daughter my husband and I had an excellent meal at Restaurant Marrakesh in the Morocco Pavilion in EPCOT. This restaurant, besides serving excellent Mediterranean food, features bellydancers tableside. So cool! In addition, when we ate there we got priority seating for the Candlelight Processional, a special Christmastime show offering. No additional fee required.

I’ve noticed over the years that Disney World often offers dining packages with priority seating for in demand shows. Sometimes, like in this instance, it is offered for free by taking a less desirable dining time (late afternoon), other times it’s offered up as a premium package with desirable reservation times followed by the show.

The Biergarten Restaurant in EPCOT’s Germany Pavillion offers German fare like sausage and saurkraut along with a show. Oompa music, yodelling and more are showcased at this buffet. I’ve always wanted to do this, but the idea of eating heavy meat and potatoes when it’s hot outside is never appealing. Maybe next visit.

San Angel Inn Restaurante in EPCOT’s Mexico Pavilion offers a unique nighttime dining experience all day long. It appears you are the base of ruins under a night sky. Food here often offers a mixed rating, but the setting often makes up for it.

Be Our Guest restaurant in the Magic Kingdom has been a hot ticket since it opened. And Disney has noticed, making it a premium offering for dinner. The theming of this restaurant is unmatched and truly an experience. In the past, the restaurant was counter experience (read cheaper) for lunch, but that may have changed.

Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge not only offers excellent fine dining African cuisine, but you can also view the Lodge’s Sunset Savanna area which includes Giraffes, Zebras and more! This is included in your experience, no upgrade! We did this on last visit and had a delicious meal with top notch service.

Raglan Road in Disney Springs is a crowd favorite, not so much because of the food, but because of the live music and Irish step dancing. It’s not making any foodie’s list, but the entertainment is enjoyable. I haven’t been myself yet.

If you are looking for dining with a Magic Kingdom Fireworks view, California Grill at the Contemporary Resort is one of your best bet. This is a hot ticket though can and be difficult to get, as the Grill has a sterling, legendary reputation, and perfect views. Narcoosee’s at the Grand Floridian is also an excellent choice. Known for their seafood, they also have excellent steaks.

An inexpensive option is some take away food from Captain Cook’s at the Polynesian and watching the fireworks from a grassy area on the hotel property. We did this and had a wonderful, relaxing evening, complete with the famous Dole whip! The barbecue sandwiches were tasty too.

If you want the best views of EPCOT’s end of day spectacular HarmoniUS, Rose and Crown’s patio in EPCOT is where it’s at. You can purchase a dinner package for a premium and watch the show from your table, or take your chances with a regular dinner reservations. Other options without the premium “package” price tag include La Hacienda de San Angel in Mexico Pavilion and Spice Road Table offering a Mediterranean small plates menu in the Morocco Pavilion.

There are also dessert party packages for both Magic Kingdom and EPCOT shows. At last visit to the Magic Kingdom we did the dessert package, and although it was pricey, I thought it was worth it for a special treat. The desserts are all you can eat and excellent. After you finish eating you sit in a special roped off area in the grass directly in front of the castle. As someone who doesn’t like fighting crowds for anything, this allowed us to relax and spread out. It also saved us a lot of time as some can wait hours staking out the best spots for the fireworks.

I also sat in a premium seating area for EPCOT back when it was Illuminations. I don’t recall how I scored this spot, but it was on my trip with my husband. We were on the opposite side of the lagoon from World Showcase and it didn’t strike me as a particularly good spot. Watching the EPCOT show is not nearly at a premium as the fireworks in Magic Kingdom, so I would skip this.

This is just scratching the surface, there are plenty of other premium dining packages that incorporate show reservations, tours and other unique experiences that can tap into your special interest.

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