Everyone who visits Walt Disney World frequently discovers their favorite places to eat.
What we don’t discuss as much is that we also unearth a few dining experiences we’d rather not repeat.
So, I’m about to reveal the restaurants I believe are the worst at Walt Disney World.
Please remember that these are merely one person’s opinions. The rankings reflect some experiences I’ve had that you (hopefully) won’t.
One of the challenges with this exercise is separating the food from the atmosphere.
To wit, I tell all my friends to visit several of the restaurants on this list. However, I often warn them to lower their expectations for the cuisine.
For example, Storybook Dining at Artist Point with Snow White embodies everything exceptional about Disney character meals.
The Evil Queen and Grumpy sneer and fight with guests, with Snow White warming our hearts with her kindness.
As for the food, well, it’s definitely thematic. Disney sells the concept that you’re dining in the enchanted woods, where the Huntsman and other fairytale characters come to life.
Alas, the theming leads to some culinary choices that just don’t work for some people.
The menu is overflowing with weird, which is excellent for those who enjoy oddities. But I’m a meat and potatoes guy. So, it just doesn’t work for me.
I’ll still go back repeatedly, though. I relish the chance to exchange smack talk with the Evil Queen.
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
Look, I don’t ask for much from my burgers. I expect them to come in solid form, though.
At Cosmic Ray’s, I delight in the throwback concert performance of Sonny Eclipse, an Audio-Animatronic who appears like he was built in 1965.
Then, I start eating my food, and, well, the burger looks and tastes like goop. This has not happened just once or twice. It’s an ongoing issue.
The demand at Cosmic Ray’s has proved so consistent over the years that the assembly line-style food preparation often fails.
Seriously, the signal-to-noise ratio here is so bad that I often wonder why I eat here. But then Sonny’s show starts. Suddenly, I’m six years old again.
My advice is for you to order dessert here and watch the show. Then, for the love of all you hold dear, eat your main course elsewhere.
Here’s another restaurant where I love eating but don’t care much for the food.
Crystal Palace’s existence circles back to the earliest days of Magic Kingdom. It has remained a staple here for half a century.
In recent years, Winnie the Pooh and other residents of Hundred Acre Wood have taken up residence at the restaurant.
When Disney hosts character meals, this one’s among the most charming. I mean, who doesn’t love Tigger?
As with many buffets (including the next one on our list), the food here qualifies as adequate but little more.
You can fill up on vegetables and fill up your belly at the carving station. On the whole, it’s just a generic buffet, though.
Hollywood & Vine
Minnie hosts a seasonal dine here that is legitimately one of my favorite things at Walt Disney World.
In fact, if we go back a few years, the Jedi Mickey’s character meal during Star Wars Weekends was somehow even better.
So, I’ve always had a great time…except when the meal begins. Somehow, Hollywood & Vine is looking up at Crystal Palace in terms of food quality.
Seriously, the next upper-tier meal I eat here will be the first…and I’ve dined at Hollywood & Vine A LOT.
When I think about mediocre Disney buffets, this is honestly the place I have in mind. Unfortunately, it’s just so…blah.
I would estimate that two-thirds of the places I list here are ones where many people have eaten great meals.
Conversely, if someone told me they loved the food at Hollywood & Vine, I’d worry about them.
Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano
Let’s try this one Jeopardy style.
This Disney restaurant proves that not all Italian cuisine is tasty. In the form of a question, “What is Mama Melrose’s?”
In fact, I might ask that question from an existential perspective. But, like, what’s the point here?
People around the world adore Italian cuisine for its bold flavors and unforgettable plates of pasta.
Meanwhile, Mama Melrose’s cannot even cook a steak right, much less lasagna.
I’m pretty sure Ms. Melrose’s children ate out as much as they could to avoid Mama’s cooking.
The idea of a rat serving pizza isn’t an appetizing one, Ratatouille notwithstanding.
For whatever reason, Remy has earned a level of trust. Noted food critic Anton Ego can’t be THAT wrong, right?
Alas, Rizzo the Rat looks like a Muppet whose felt Jim Henson purchased at the dollar store. Even by rat standards, that thing’s ugly.
Therefore, I find PizzeRizzo’s terrible pizzas thematically fitting. This is what a rat chef’s pizza would probably taste like.
You definitely don’t want to pay for it, and Disney knows this. That’s why PizzeRizzo has evolved into a seasonal restaurant. It’s for desperate circumstances only.
Planet Hollywood Observatory
I hate to attack this place, but I’ve felt overly cruel to Rainforest Café during the pandemic. So, I wanted to pick someone else for a change.
Planet Hollywood’s menu isn’t bad per se. Instead, it’s precisely what you would expect at a chain restaurant that caters primarily to tourists.
I often describe Planet Hollywood as a poor imitator of Hard Rock Café, which is nothing special on its own. If you’re looking up at that, you’re in trouble.
Still, I will say that the milkshakes here, while containing a month’s worth of calories, are divine. So, the building itself is remarkable.
This is a fun hangout spot when you want to drink and maybe share appetizers and desserts. Just don’t order an entrée.
Tony’s Town Square
If you’re not getting the point, I cannot stand lazy Italian food. If you cannot cook decent Italian, please don’t call yourself a chef. It’s that simple.
Tony’s Town Square comes with the most convenient location of anything on this list. You enter Magic Kingdom, walk a few steps on Main Street, USA, and you’re there.
As for the premise, the restaurant celebrates The Lady and the Tramp, straight down to his signature Spaghetti & Meatballs dish.
What’s the best thing you’ll eat here? The bread. yeah It’s that kind of place. By the way, I’m not saying this as a joke.
Once you’ve finished the bread service, you’ve got nowhere to go but down for the rest of your meal.
I still eat here when Tony’s Town Square offers the Festival of Fantasy Parade package, though. I’ll happily overpay for lousy pasta if it gets me a better view of Maleficent.
Ok, here’s the most controversial selection. I am painfully aware that many Disney fans perceive Tusker House as one of the best restaurants in Orlando.
There must be some sort of Sliding Doors scenario where they’re having the great experiences that I’m somehow missing.
Seriously, every time we’ve dined here – and I think we stopped at three meals – it’s been a total debacle.
Once there was even crying. I wish I were joking. The food made my wife so sick she lost the lunch she’d just eaten.
While engaging in a protein spill, she forgot her phone, forcing us to return to the scene of the crime an hour later…after traversing most of the park.
I know that none of this should apply to the food. So, here’s my most incendiary hot take.
Somehow, the same flavors taste night and day better at Boma – Flavors of Africa.
The buffet there is vastly superior to the one at Tusker House. So, we eat at the hotel instead.
What are your least favorite Disney restaurants? Let us know in the comments!
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Feature Photo: Disney