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6 Immersive Restaurants that Double as Disney World Attractions

6 Immersive Restaurants that Double as Disney World Attractions

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What could be more fun than extending the magic into mealtime? Here are 6 Disney World restaurants that are so immersive that they could be considered theme park attractions themselves!

Immersive Disney Dining

Credit: KtP Writer Christina

Disney Foodies know that not only does Walt Disney World have some world-class dining to indulge in during your stay, but sometimes it is possible to extend the magic into meal time! This is because there are some Disney restaurants that are so well-themed and immersive that they are practically stand-alone theme park attractions themselves.

I (Katie) am not speaking of dinner entertainment like Hoop-De-Doo Musical Review or those with heavy theming like Be Our Guest. Certainly, restaurants like Sanaa provide an excellent cultural experience. There is amazing entertainment at places like Raglan Road. But what I am thinking of takes things a bit further.

While almost every Walt Disney World restaurant is themed, some simply go above and beyond. Here are 6 Disney restaurants you will want to consider visiting if you want to experience fun meals that extend the magic by doubling as attractions. These restaurants might not always have the top-rated food you hear people rave about on their visits, but they will deliver in terms of experience.

1. Space 220

Credit: Katie P.

Space 220 has been one of the hottest Advanced Dining Reservations to land since its opening. Part of the appeal is that it is an immersive dining experience that takes visitors to the Centauri Space Station 220 miles above EPCOT! 

The restaurant itself is a theme park attraction featuring a fun virtual elevator ride where Guests watch the Earth shrink away as they ascend into space. Once they arrive they are treated to heavy space theming. Many guests consider it a must-try. After all, what restaurant could be more fun for a kid than one that has a ride to and from outer space built into it?

Credit: Katie P

Not only that but once you are there, the views emulate what it would be like to look out over the Earth and the great expanse of space beyond. Now and then a shuttle passes or an astronaut or two float into view. Children love watching for all the things happening outside the windows while they wait for their meals.

The meal ends with a special gift for children only. Each child receives a packet of trading cards to take on their descent back to EPCOT.

And, the best part is that the food here has improved since its opening. You can check out a review of the original menu here and a review of the menu updates here! Also, you can see what it is like to eat in the lounge vs the dining room here. Finally, read about the restaurant from the perspective of children here.

2. Garden Grill

Credit: KtP

Another restaurant that doubles as a ride, albeit a slow dark ride, is Garden Grill. You will find this restaurant in the Land Pavillion. This restaurant is unique in that it moves! It rotates slowly in a circle, giving diners views of the pavilion as well as the Living with the Land attraction!

Kids love spotting the various Animatronics and ride scenery they see during the meal. It can be quite a fun and unique experience that doubles as a ride. As an added bonus, this restaurant is also a character meal! Chip, Dale, Pluto, and Farmer Mickey visit the tables throughout the meal.

Credit: Maggie

And, since it is an all-you-care-to-enjoy, family-style dining experience, there is no need to miss a thing while you visit the buffet!

Wondering what the food is like? You can enjoy a review right here and right here.

3. Sci-Fi Dine-In

Credit: Jaelyn

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant is located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It is a dining experience like none other in the parks. The restaurant is designed to emulate a drive-in theater. Diners even get to eat in a car.

Well, technically, it is a booth resembling a car. There are a few traditional tables available as well, but they are not nearly as fun! For a little kid, the idea of eating in a car is unfathomably cool, so be sure to request one rather than a picnic table.

Credit: Monica

The menu is relatively standard, offering burgers and fries. Kids can order ice cream as one of their sides if they desire, which is relatively appealing.

The restaurant’s theming doesn’t end at cars. There is an actual big screen inside where Guests can watch clips of campy horror films. These are interspersed with spooky cartoons.

Credit: KtP

While these are not meant to be scary, they might scare some of your younger or more sensitive travel party members. You might want to take this into consideration if anyone in your family is particularly fearful when it comes to monsters, even the campy ones.

Since there is a movie mash-up playing, the restaurant tends to be very quiet. In fact, it may be Disney’s quietest dining experience in terms of human sounds. It is actually peaceful in an eerie way.

Credit: Disney

The dining room is also nice and cool, and the dim lighting makes it seem like even more of an escape from the elements outdoors. It is truly one of the best places to take a break in Hollywood studios.

I do not find the food to be terribly exciting. However, the experience itself makes it worth going once if you and your family like campy sci-fi stuff and don’t mind a little bit of creepy content. For Kenny’s full meal review, click here.

4. Coral Reef

Credit: Disney

Located in Epcot’s Seas Pavilion, this restaurant is an attraction in itself. One entire wall of the dining room is a saltwater aquarium. It is like dining under the sea!

You and your kids can enjoy watching fish, sea turtles, and sharks swim about as you enjoy your meal. You might even see a scuba diver or two. It can make for a very entertaining meal for little ones, particularly if they love aquatic life.

Credit: Katie

The nice thing is you don’t really even need to get up to enjoy the fish. The aquarium is quite large. Of course, your children will probably want to get a bit closer if you are not seated at one of the nearest tables.

Another nice thing about Coral Reef is that while it is air-conditioned like any other restaurant, it tends to feel even more like a nice respite from the heat because of the serene aquatic nature of its ambiance. I always feel particularly relaxed when I go there.

Credit: Susan

Coral Reef tends to get a lot of hate in terms of food. It was at one time pretty terrible, but I think that it has improved. In fact, lately, the food can range from mediocre to fine to pretty darn good on any given day with the desserts being the surprisingly delightful highlight of the menu.

Sure, it isn’t at the top of my foodie dream list. However, it is a cool place to visit, and the kids love it. For Susan‘s full Coral Reef reviewclick here.

5. T-Rex

Credit: KatieP

T-Rex Cafe is located in Disney Springs. It’s the only restaurant in the area with a huge T-Rex skeleton out front; you can’t miss it! The T-rex is definitely an indication of what awaits you inside. If you have a dinosaur fan in your house, then this restaurant is sure to delight.

T-Rex Cafe, like Rainforest Cafe, is a Landry restaurant. You can enjoy perks here as well if you are a cardholder.

Credit: Katie

The Landry’s card might just come in handy. This restaurant tends to be very popular, and advanced reservations disappear quickly. It books fast for good reason. What little dinosaur fan wouldn’t want to dine in a restaurant filled with dinosaurs?

The interior of the restaurant has prehistoric theming to make diners feel like they are in the midst of the age of the dinosaurs. Naturally, it is filled with life-sized animatronic dinosaurs to delight fans of all ages.

Credit: Katie

Additionally, the restaurant contains what is known as the “Dino-store.” There, you can shop for dino merch. You can even build a Build-A-Dino™ by Build-A-Bear Workshop®. This could be great fun for kids and might be an experience worth saving up for.

Dinner surrounded by dinosaurs and a chance to build a prehistoric pal sounds like a good time to me. If DINOSAUR in Animal Kingdom is too terrifying for your little dino fans, then this might make for the perfect prehistoric fix!

6. Rainforest Cafe

Credit: Katie P.

Rainforest Cafe is not unique to Disney. It is a chain that can be found in several malls around the country. However, it does have two locations in Walt Disney World: one in Animal Kingdom and one at Disney Springs.

It is a Landry restaurant, which means that if you are a Landry Select member, you get benefits here. This includes guaranteed seating, which is a great perk if the park is busy.

Credit: Katie P.

If you have one local to you, I would not suggest taking the time to dine here. In fact, you might visit the local one if you need an animatronic and theming fix.

However, if you do not have one nearby and your kids are into animatronics, the rainforest, or exotic wildlife, this could be a fun eating experience for them. I remember going when I was young, and I thought it was the coolest thing – like eating in a scene from a dark ride.

Now, admittedly, Rainforest Cafe does not have my personal favorite menu. It gets panned frequently in reviews. It can be relatively mediocre. However, if you enjoy chains like Chilis, you will probably like it just fine for a meal.

Credit: Katie P.

The fun comes from the ambiance, the props, and the animatronics. The entire interior of the restaurant is decorated with a life-like rainforest. It is complete with all sorts of rainforest sounds. These sounds can be a bit much for some children, especially if they are wary of storms.

Throughout the restaurant are animatronic animals of the rainforest including gorillas and tropical birds. Kids who love animals and the idea of eating in the jungle will find the place thrilling.

Want More Disney Dining?

credit: Katie

One thing is for sure, there is no shortage of food at Walt Disney World. Here are some guides we have to help you along the way:

Do you know someone who is planning a trip to Disney World and would love to know about these immersive attraction-like restaurants? Be sure to share this with them to help them decide what reservations to book! Do you love any of these restaurants? Let us know in the comments.

Using a Travel Agent can help you navigate the ins and outs of planning! I am here to help! Please fill out this form and put my name (Kate) in the Special Request box.

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Ethan Rasiel

Sunday 16th of April 2023

The new Toy Story restaurant, Roundup Rodeo BBQ belongs on this list!


Monday 17th of April 2023

Thank you for reading! Isn't Roundup Rodeo fun? I wrote this piece before I had a chance to try it. I ended up going the day this post went live. LOVE the little shenanigans.

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