Over the many years that my family has traveled to Disney World, there is one restaurant that we never skip and that is Cape May Café. The buffet has finally returned with some minor changes. Check out why this restaurant has been a renown favorite for so many years!
Cape May Cafe
Whenever I began booking dining reservations for our Disney World vacations, Cape May Cafe was always one of the first places on our list. It was just a given. Over the years we have seen it through good times and bad, but it remains a must-do for us. The main reason we like Cape May Café is that there is something to please everyone here.
Now, this buffet is heavier on the seafood items, but those not interested in seafood will still find plenty of great choices, including fresh carved meats, salads, pastas, breads and more. This location is a great place to visit during Lent too! We visited here on a Friday in Lent and didn’t feel deprived at all. There were so many dishes we could still enjoy.
Return of the Cape May Cafe Buffet
Cape May Cafe reopened its doors to guests on May 18, 2021. The big difference upon it’s reopening was that the restaurant introduced a family-style menu due to the pandemic restrictions. Back in August, we announced that the very first buffet would be returning to Disney property at Boma located on the bottom floor of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Now, more and more buffets are starting to come back, and the long anticipated return of the Cape May Cafe buffet offering has been announced.
Cape May Cafe returned to buffet-style dining on February 15, 2022.
The ambiance of Cape May Café provides that relaxed beachy-vibe you want to experience when you go on vacation. Lots of beautiful pastel colors are used to accent the sea-themed décor and mural paintings on the walls.
The whole restaurant has a very family-friendly and welcoming atmosphere. We love the pastel beach umbrellas and croquet mallets that are used as decorations.
One thing that I miss so much are the white paper tablecloths. When I was a little kid, each table was covered with paper tablecloths that you could draw on with crayons. My family used to play hangman or tic-tac-toe while enjoying our meal together.
Sadly, these and the salt water taffy given at the end of the meal were removed a long time ago. When I asked a long-time Cast Member at the restaurant about them, we were told they removed them to save money. My heart will never stop hoping for the day they return.
The buffet setup is rather unique. It is a large square island in the middle of the restaurant with different food options on every side. The one long-time complication of this buffet (that has plagued it for years) is that there really isn’t a designated start/end to this buffet.
That means you have people moving in both directions often pushing you out of place because they started in the opposite direction as you. A simple sign delegating a direction might help to relieve this issue, but none has ever appeared all these years.
That being said, we will start our tour of the buffet with the salad bar section and work our way around from there!
On the salad bar section you’ll find plenty of fresh fruit including watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe and grapes. It’s easy to pass over the fruit station to save room for better things, but Disney’s fruit is always stellar. Everything is extremely fresh, cold and ripe.
Pre-pandemic, Cape May served two types of salads. One was Caesar (and they have a really good Caesar salad here) and the other was a cherry apple salad.
They also had marinated olives and a couple of cold pasta salads at this station. Each night, you could choose between two soups offerings: clam chowder and a soup of the day flavor. On my last trip to Cape May, the flavor was Tomato Bisque, but I have also seen other broth-based soups on occasion.
To the left of this station was another cold bar with peel and eat shrimp, cocktail sauce and lemons. The shrimp is good, but I am not a fan of peeling them so I usually skip them.
Moving to the left of the cold bar section, there is a nice spread of different cheeses including Vermont Cheddar and Fourme d’Ambert.
Hot Side Offerings
After you have have grabbed your cheese cubes, you move on to one of my favorite things on this buffet: Mashed Potatoes!
I am not a fan of lumpy mashed potatoes and I find that Disney is the place to go when you are craving ultra creamy and super flavorful potatoes. The brown gravy that was offered next to them had so much flavor, too. It was a perfect combination of comfort food!
Something that was new to me on my last visit before the closure were the chicken wings. I do not remember seeing them on our last trip and thought it was a good addition. I did skip over them, simply because you can get wings just about anywhere and there are some better stand out items on this buffet to try, such as the BBQ ribs sitting right next to them.
Normally I do not order ribs (unless it’s at Texas Roadhouse) because they are usually too much work for the amount of meat on them. These ones were totally worth it! They had a large amount of meat and the BBQ sauce was tangy and delicious.
The next item I need to bring to your attention to is the salmon. I love salmon with just about anything on it. Every time I visit Cape May, the flavoring is different but always spectacular.
On this particular visit, the salmon had a crispy bacon glaze with citrus ancho chili aioli (say that 5 times fast!). It was a total flavor explosion and most definitely my favorite salmon dish that I have ever had there.
In the “before times”, this was the point of the buffet where you have filled your plate high with tons of amazing foods then immediately regret all your choices when you get to the crab legs and steamed clams.
One thing that saddens me about Cape May Cafe’s reopening was the new upcharge for crab legs. Whereas before you could enjoy unlimited crab legs during dinner, after the reopening guests had to pay $29.00 per pound of crab legs.
Now that the buffet has returned, the price tag per pound of crab legs has increased to 29.99. Guests who want to add on a 1.3 pound Maine lobster, will have to pay an additional $42.00.
If you are an avid fan of crab legs, the ones served at Cape May are always cooked to perfection and are super sweet tasting.
Unlike the ones you get at chain restaurants, the crab legs at Cape May Café are pretty darn easy to de-shell and are very meaty inside. Pair that with some drawn butter and it’s heaven on earth!
Now with the price tag so high for crab legs, I can’t see myself “shelling out” the dough for this upgrade, no matter how good they are. The price is just too steep. A pound of crab legs might in theory sound like a lot of crab, but by the time you discard all the shells, you’ll be wondering what you paid all the money for.
My hope is that we will see something else replace the void the crab legs left behind on the buffet to continue to make Cape May Cafe such a great dinner meal.
No matter where you dine, I always recommend eating during off-peak times. Sometimes with buffets it can be hard for the Cast Members to keep up with the demand and refilling food trays. That was a mistake during my last trip to Cape May.
We booked a prime dinner hour reservation, and not only was the buffet very crowded but some items kept getting depleted and were slow to be refilled. I recommend visiting when the restaurant first opens or later in the evening. You will have a much more relaxed experience.
If clams and crab legs aren’t your thing that’s ok, too! There is still plenty to enjoy on this buffet and we are only half way there!
Meat Carving Station
Do not miss the meat carving station!
The coffee-rubbed strip loin brought out an amazing flavor and kept the meat extremely tender. It is amazing by itself, but there are usually side sauces of horseradish and onion jam to pair with it if you desire.
Next to the meat carving station, there is a huge assortment of breads and cornbread. I love their cornbread, especially since they have whipped honey butter to go with it. It is the bomb!
Cape May has a kid-friendly station, too. In the past it was filled with cheese pizza, penne pasta with meatballs and sauce, macaroni and cheese, roasted chicken legs, and broccoli (although if you asked me as a kid I would say broccoli is not kid-friendly).
Turning the corner and rounding out the end of our buffet tour is (in my opinion) the best side of the buffet.
In the past, certain items on this buffet were only available on certain nights of the week. We shall see if that returns or if Disney will stick with a daily menu. My favorite day to visit Cape May was on a Monday, because they serve the fried cod nuggets that day. The cod is flaky on the inside and crispy on the outside and is one of my must-get items.
On Mondays, you also could find steamed veggies, veggie pasta (which is excellent), chicken and spinach alfredo, and fried clam strips.
Another stand-out favorite of this buffet, for me personally, is the Paella. I love a good Paella! The yellow rice is fluffy and full of different items such as clams, mussels, chicken, shrimp and veggies.
As if all this food wasn’t enough, we haven’t even covered dessert yet! You will definitely want make sure to save room!
The dessert buffet is separate from the regular buffet and is closer to the main entrance of the restaurant.
One item that had disappeared on my last visit was the lemon chiffon cake. This was one of my favorite items on the dessert buffet, but it had been recently replaced with the key lime pie tarts. They were still light and tart, but I miss the moistness of the chiffon cake.
You really can’t go wrong with whatever you choose on this buffet. There is something to please every sweet tooth here. Whether you are looking for that rich chocolate taste such as the Oreo Bon Bon or Chocolate Mickey Domes, or you want something a little bit lighter like the fruit tartlets and panna cotta, you are sure to find something here that will knock your socks off!
Over the years, the dessert offerings have expanded and the need for a second dessert station was inevitable. On the second station, you will find baked goods like brownies, cookies, cupcakes (the red velvet ones are so good) and bread pudding.
While no Disney World restaurant is cheap, we find that the price of Cape May has always been worth it for the amount of food choices and quality of food they serve. During our last visit to Cape May Cafe in February 2020, the price per adult was $55.00 and $33.00 for children.
There are so many great options at Cape May Cafe to please everyone in the family. The food is always great, which is why we have returned again and again over the years. Next time you visit Walt Disney World, DO NOT skip it!
Have you been to Cape May Cafe for dinner? Are you looking forward to the return of the buffet-style offerings? Let us know in the comments below or on facebook!