And they call it Bella Noche
March 15, 2007 2:06 PM   Subscribe

Hitting Disneyworld at the end of April, and am looking for a good place (on site) where I can take my wife for a good romantic dinner while the kids busy themselves with kid things.

We've already reserved the princess dinner for my daughter, and I've got a few reservations at places where my other kids want to eat, but now I'd like to focus on my wife.

We've been to Disney a number of times, but we've never had the opportunity to eat alone. Now that we're going there on the meal plan and my son is old enough to babysit his siblings, I want to take her out someplace special.

She deserves all the romance and enchantment that the parks can dish out, so I'd like to find the best way I can serve it to her.
posted by thanotopsis to Travel & Transportation around Orlando, FL (18 answers total)
I don't necessarily know that it's "romantic" (I suppose it depends on what your wife is into; I do, however, know some women who would be wowed by it), but I think that having dinner on the outside patio at the Rose & Crown in Epcot's UK during IllumiNations is pretty great.
posted by uncleozzy at 2:33 PM on March 15, 2007

Epcot is the way to go. I'm not recalling names and am a bit lazy to look them up, but the rest. in the Mexico pavilion has a real romantic feel with the Disney re-imagining of the night sky and the Mayan style temple, France has 2 really good rest. with the feel of Paris one a bit more exclusive than the other, the undersea rest. is in the middle of an aquarium. This link might be helpful.
posted by jeffe at 2:48 PM on March 15, 2007

You may feel like you're inside the frame of a Kinkade "painting," but Artist Point at Wilderness Lodge looks fun in a Shores of Kitschy-Swoony kind of way. (You'll drop some serious coin here, though, so ask or check online for reviews first.)
posted by rob511 at 3:10 PM on March 15, 2007

I've never been to Disney on the East Coast, but I recommend the site Mice Age -- particularly, for you, the Mice Chat Walt Disney World Resort forum.

This thread, specifically, looks like it could help you out. Or just start a new thread -- it's a pretty friendly forum.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 3:38 PM on March 15, 2007

Best answer: Victoria and Albert's (at the Grand Floridian) costs an arm and a leg, but it's great food. The place itself is very well-themed and well done, and they had a lot of nice little touches; souvenir copies of the menu, they gave me a rose (and implied that my boyfriend had requested it, which he in fact had not), the after-dinner coffee was made in a weird contraption, the whole works. My only caution is that it really is a seven-course meal (I think that was how many it was) and after about four courses I was extremely full. So, if your wife is a tiny person, think elsewhere. I will never forget my meal at Victoria and Albert's, it was extremely intense. I went at the tail end of summer and they gave me a stack of different-colored heirloom tomatoes that was like eating sashimi.

Also romantic is a restaurant at the very top of the Contemporary (California something - the California Cafe or something like that). If you go at the right time and get a good seat you can watch the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom. And, unlike V&A, they do take the meal plan (or did in 2005), although it costs two meals. I think the food was almost as good, but the service wasn't as impressive and attentive. Ultimately, going this route will almost certainly save you money, if that's a concern at all. Also, it's more vegetarian-friendly.

Finally, along with the already-mentioned French places in Epcot, the restaurant in Mexico that overlooked the ride looked really romantic to me. I can't vouch for the food because I didn't eat there, but the mood lighting was pretty nice.

2nd Karlos re MiceChat. Also, is a good place to ask around. MiceChat and its parent website MiceAge were founded by a Disneyland person so I've always felt like the forums were very CA-heavy, although I confess I haven't haunted them regularly in quite some time.

Wow, I hope this helps, I wrote a lot more than I intended. There are tons of great places to eat at WDW and I'm sure you'll find someplace good.
posted by crinklebat at 4:04 PM on March 15, 2007

Haha, I didn't see that the restaurant in Mexico was already mentioned. Glad to see my impressions weren't unique :)
posted by crinklebat at 4:06 PM on March 15, 2007

What's your price range? For the high-high end, Victoria and Albert's is supposedly excellent. My parents went there for their birthdays (they're two days apart). (--did I just use all three of those words in the same sentence?!--)

Oh wait, the meal plan. Shoot, I can't remember which restaurants count. Somehow I'm not thinking V&A counts. I know that the Hollywood Brown Derby is another favorite of my parents, and that it takes the meal plan thing.

Here's a brochure that says which restaurants count. It looks like most of the good places take two "meals."

If you don't want to use two, I'd choose either the restaurant at The Sea in Epcot, or the Cellier (at Canada). Those are my two favorite Epcot restaurants. The Canada restaurant is MEATS and the Coral Reef is FISHES.

NB: I grew up in Florida close enough to Disney to go more times than I can count--my parents still go about 3 times a year (generally for weekends).
posted by that girl at 4:09 PM on March 15, 2007

Room service.
posted by peace_love_hope at 5:26 PM on March 15, 2007

Response by poster: Crinkle: The California thingy might be the winner, as my wife is a vegetarian. Although the Grand Floridian does sound like something out of our honeymoon (we spent it on Mackinac Island in Michigan, and the Grand Hotel dinner was something like that). I'll have to look at some reviews for those two places, but it's good to know that those exist.

Thanks for the site suggestions, folks, I think they'll come in handy for more than just the restaraunts.
posted by thanotopsis at 5:36 PM on March 15, 2007

I'll also recommend Victoria & Albert's, though I've never been there. It's a secondhand recommendation, but the people who went there had their honeymoon dinner at that restaurant and several anniversaries since.

From personal experience: Alfredo's in Epcot. It's my favorite restaurant at Disney World. I've heard it's more cramped due to the dining plan, and I haven't visited in years, but I always loved it. Alfredo's is closing permanently on 8/31 this year.

Another highly recommended option is Jiko, in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. I'll be there in a few months, but haven't visited yet. Going to check it out.

I'd also recommend AllEarsNet's Dining and menus section. It's among the most complete that I've seen. Another excellent site is Intercot.

Photos and menus at both sites, and discussion (excellent) at Intercot.
posted by cmgonzalez at 5:42 PM on March 15, 2007

Ah, your wife is a vegetarian. so am I. Disney's great for that.

Most sit-down places have at least one vegetarian item on the menu, but if it doesn't suit your tastes, you can call them beforehand and they'll try making something else (For example, one place, I believe it's Sci-Fi diner, has a grain stuffed pepper on the menu, and I don't like peppers, so if we go, I'll be calling and asking for something else).

Giving the chefs time is recommended, as they'll often try to make something a bit more special. But last minute often works as well.
posted by cmgonzalez at 5:47 PM on March 15, 2007

Vegetarian thing is good to know. I don't think I'd go so far as to say Disney is great for vegetarians (but then, I'm from California, which in general is pretty great for us). In my experience, there was exactly one thing I could eat on pretty much every menu as a vegetarian. I got a bit more leeway as a pescetarian. Definitely call ahead at V&As because I definitely ate two fish courses there. I know they do have some kind of veg accommodation, but I can't speak to its quality.
posted by crinklebat at 5:51 PM on March 15, 2007

By saying they're great for that, I meant more that they're always highly accommodating, and their chefs enjoy the challenge, especially if you call ahead and give them time to get ingredient deliveries.

As I mentioned, most places have just one vegetarian item on the menu, but you can always order off menu.

Victoria and Alberts does have a vegetarian menu. A copy of a two-year old version is on that AllEarsNet site, and you can always contact dining for new information.
posted by cmgonzalez at 6:54 PM on March 15, 2007

Another vote for Victoria & Albert's. My wife and I had our anniversary dinner there last year, and it was the most amazing meal we have ever had. It is expensive, but worth every penny. We will be going there again this year, without a doubt.

For slightly less, there are several good restaurants at Epcot. I have been to the one inside the Mexico pavillion several times and always enjoyed the food. It is much more crowded, but the low lighting helps make it feel more intimate than it really is. Le Cellier in Canada is an excellent steakhouse, we ate there on our wedding night and thoroughly enjoyed it.

On a random tangent: definitely have lunch with the kids at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Restaurant in MGM. Dinner is overpriced, but the lunch is reasonable and the kids will love it. It's my favorite "fun" restaurant in all of the parks.
posted by Lokheed at 8:41 PM on March 15, 2007

I'm going to go against the grain :-)
Vicki and Al's never thrilled me or wifeHawk - the food was good, but not great the two times I've been there...

That being said, the Cali Grill up in the Contemporary was fantastic. The service has always been great, and if you are there at the right time, you can walk out onto the roof and watch the fireworks from MGM, Epcot and MK.

Also of note, I am "mostly" veggie and severely allergic to Fish and Shellfish. If you let your server know when ordering, they will accommodate you - to the point of cleaning off,wiping down, and using all new utensils to make me veggie Sushi (which is not on the menu).
posted by niteHawk at 5:44 AM on March 16, 2007

I just want to clarify - are you looking for inside one of the parks so you can keep tabs on the little ones, or are one of the surrounding hotels ok?

Surrounding hotels:

California Grill is wonderful. If you can make the priority (reservation) early enough, call the restaurant directly ((407)828-2222 can connect you) and ask if they can seat you in the wine room. Any place in the Grill is lovely but it can also get quite loud, the wine room can help mitigate this albeit you lose direct view of the kitchen.

Jiko at Animal Kingdom Lodge. It's an absolutely gorgeously themed hotel, and the restaurant is wonderful as well. They may have a wine room too, I’m not sure, but the general restaurant is not terribly loud and any seat would be fine.

Victoria & Albert's, IMO, is too much. It's very sophisticated, very well done, but you can find a romantic atmosphere and wonderful food at several of the other restaurants with less pomp and circumstance. But hey, maybe you two want to dress up. I'll put it this way, Victoria & Albert's is the only restaurant out of WDW's offerings that has a separate reservation and etiquette system.

On the other side, Citrico’s at Grand Floridian is right down the hall from V&A and is quite beautiful itself. I would try to do Citrico's earlier in the evening, if you could, as the view outside is worth seeing before the sun goes down. California Grill is the reverse of this; the view is fine in daylight but becomes better as the surrounding area lights up.

Artiste Pointe, mentioned above, is also quite nice. Lovely theming, and more 'earthy' type menu items. Please check out allears or mouseplanet or any of those sites to check out some sample menus!

I'm sorry but I have no familiarity with the meal plan. You'll have to check with Disney or with one of the sites listed above to determine where you can use it regarding the hotels.


Epcot. You're just not going to find better options in all four parks. MK has only one good sit down, and that's Cinderella's Castle, and there are too many kids. MGM has a few good sit downs, but they are kitsch, not romantic. Animal Kingdom isn't open late enough unless you want to Rainforest, yech.

CAUTION on Mexico. It's a great restaurant, really great food; HOWEVER the ride that lines the background is currently being refurbished. I would check when your travel dates are and check to see if the environment is OK before a priority here.

Le Cellier in Canada is nicely themed. It is a steakhouse primarily, so that might nix it.

Coral Reef in Living Seas has a wonderful view, their seafood used to be divine, have not been there lately though. I hear they went to a stock menu as opposed to a paper, updated on the fly menu.

Rose & Crown, Paris, and Morocco are all on the same next level. Good.

The rest are mainly buffet or fast food, unless you'd like to do a Teppanyaki (dancing knives, table of 8) type dinner in Japan.


And like everyone said above, they are very industrious about dietary needs. You can even let them know while making the priority so that they may try to do something in addition to their usual vegetarian offerings.
posted by cavalier at 8:13 AM on March 16, 2007

Ok, not that I already typed too much, but I saw the dining plan PDF file and I have a few more comments:

Flying Fish Cafe at Boardwalk. Lovely!! High brow fish, pretty, can get a bit loud due to its narrow floor plan.

Artiste Pointe .. lol.. lose the e's.. is 'Artist Point' at Wilderness Lodge.

In the parks:
Cinderella's Castle.. ahem.. is Cinderella's Royal Table.

I'm a recovering disneyphile. If I can be of any more assistance, just shoot!
posted by cavalier at 8:26 AM on March 16, 2007

I love the Mexican pavilion, mostly for their tortilla soup. That being said, it is NOT the place for a romantic meal unless you want to struggle to see your menu. Additionally, it is in a park which usually means lots of kids.

I've always been happy with both the California Grille at the Contemporary and Narcoossee's at the Grand Floridian. Narcoossee's is a lot of seafood and it's on the water with lots of windows. It's nice.

I also love the restaurant at the French pavilion in EPCOT (the one upstairs, not the one downstairs). It's really quiet and the food is great. You'd never know you were in the middle of a theme park.
posted by awegz at 1:56 PM on March 16, 2007

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