Home » The 11 Best Fine Dining Options on Disney’s Magic Kingdom Monorail Loop

    The 11 Best Fine Dining Options on Disney’s Magic Kingdom Monorail Loop

    Grand Floridian

    One of the most convenient aspects of the monorail system at Walt Disney World involves food. As Walt Disney envisioned when planning the Florida Project, residents and guests would all enjoy proximity to all of the restaurants and everything else the development offered. Even though the plans changed slightly after his death, Disney the company honored their founder’s intentions by placing a pair of resorts directly off the monorail. In the years that followed, a third resort was developed, and the one commonality is that all of them offer fine dining options.

    What follows is a ranking of the best table service restaurants on the monorail. There are a couple of caveats, though. The first is that some of these locations fall into the category of “special occasion” rather than “practical dining option” every trip. If I were simply ranking on quality of food, Victoria & Albert’s would eviscerate the competition, with Narcoossee’s and California Grill rounding out the top three. Instead of listing the establishments in terms of perceived reputation, I’ve weighted my rankings toward a combination of practicality and enjoyment. Without further ado, here are all the monorail table service restaurants ranked.

    #11 – Grand Floridian Cafe, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

    Grand Floridian

    Image: Disney

    The Grand Floridian Cafe enjoys the sort of stately setting you would expect for the crown jewel hotel of Walt Disney World. In terms of the meal, however, it’s just regular, casual dining, and you’ll never hear anyone brag about eating here over the more established locations at the property. The only positive is that it’s inexpensive, particularly compared to the other options at Grand Floridian.

    #10 – Spirit of Aloha, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

    Spirit of Aloha

    Image: Disney

    Spirit of Aloha is the proverbial “dinner and a show.” It comes with an opportunity cost, though. You’ll be tying up at least two hours of valuable park time, not including transportation and pre-show activities. So, you’re giving your night away for a fun show and a chance to see the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the beach. It’s lovely, and everyone should do it once, but that’s not enough to earn a place on a very competitive list. Also, you can get the same food at a different restaurant listed below. Finally, it’s one of the most expensive options listed here, and not all the seats are great.

    #9 – Citricos, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa


    Image: Disney

    Citricos is trickier and a bit more controversial. It certainly has its fair share of diehard supporters, but it has a couple of things going against it. For starters, if you’re just leaving the park to head to dinner, you’re likely underdressed. If you do dress up for your special meal, this restaurant won’t dazzle you. While it does overlook the water from some tables, it lacks many of the special views of other locations of the list, plus it’s pricey whether you pay with cash or the dining plan, which charges two credits for it as a signature restaurant. Citricos is lovely and I recommend it in general, but it loses the numbers game here. The sheer volume of quality monorail table service options is astounding. 

    #8 – Victoria & Albert’s, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

    Victoria and Alberts

    Image: Disney

    I can hear you grabbing your torches and pitchforks. Please hear me out. Victoria & Alberts is unquestionably the best restaurant in Orlando and possibly the entire state of Florida. No one would argue against that. There are too many awards that prove otherwise. Critics have gone so far as to name it one of the 20 best restaurants in America.

    Now, then. Here is my question to you. How many people do you know who have eaten at Victoria & Albert’s in the past five years but are not Florida residents? This is the ultimate special occasion restaurant on a list intended to show pragmatism. Some people simply can’t afford to eat here on vacation, and even those who can do so rarely. So, what I’m saying is that if you can afford to eat at Victoria & Albert’s, do so at least once. However, it’s the least reasonable recommendation on this list for the average theme park tourist, which is why it’s ranked so low.

    #7 – ‘Ohana, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort


    Image: Disney

    This restaurant offers a glorious combination of ambience and peasant food. While not quite a buffet, it is “all you care to eat,” as long as you understand the rules. Your server will bring you heaping servings of meats by course. The food comes from an open pit grill you can see in action if so inclined, and you’ll definitely get your money’s worth. Plus, you enjoy a view of Seven Seas Lagoon and Cinderella Castle. The other big advantage for fans of Lilo and Stitch is the fact that ‘Ohana hosts the morning character breakfast.

    The only knock against ‘Ohana is that the changing menu in recent years has alienated loyal customers. Whether you love chicken or pork loin, there’s always a chance that when you show up, they’ll have altered their courses so that it’s not served. I vividly recall hearing disgruntled guests complaining in 2014 about the absence of chicken, which didn’t bother me, but seemed to ruin their entire vacation.

    #6 – The Wave… of American Flavors, Disney’s Contemporary Resort


    Image: Disney

    This restaurant is one of the hidden gems on the Monorail. For whatever reason, it doesn’t enjoy the same awareness as many of the other restaurants on the list, which is unbelievable to me. It’s conveniently located at the Contemporary on the ground floor. You just head past the front desk and you’re in the lounge, right beside the dining room to your left. Bookmark The Wave in your brain, because it’s one of the few table service establishments on the Monorail or at Magic Kingdom itself where you can walk up and get a table in many circumstances. The only noteworthy exclusion is when there’s a convention at The Contemporary. It’s one of the trendiest establishments on the Monorail, offering American cuisine cleverly fused with bold international flavors.You should also keep it in mind for the delicious breakfast buffet. Once you’re done, you either walk out into the lobby for bus transportation or head up to the fifth floor for the monorail.

    #5 – 1900 Park Fare, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

    Park Fare

    Image: Disney

    I favor character meals, so your mileage might vary with regards to the top five. If you find them slow, tedious, or juvenile, you won’t appreciate 1900 Park Fare. During the morning it features the Supercalifragilistic Breakfast, which brings to life the world of Mary Poppins, plus Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter, Winnie-the-Pooh, and Tigger, too. Then, in lieu of lunch, they offer the Wonderland Tea Party for kids age four to 12. Once dinner rolls around, it’s time to enjoy Cinderella’s Happily Ever After dinner, including several storybook friends. You’ll want your autograph book and smartphone available for this one since the guest list of iconic Disney characters is variable and extensive. It’s one of the few places you can meet Prince Charming to, which is great for rare character enthusiasts! 

    The one drawback about 1900 Park Fare is that simply in terms of food, it’s one of the worst options on this list. They definitely skew young, but you can still find Disney’s signature Strawberry Floridian Soup on the menu. For many, that’s enough to justify the entire meal.

    #4 – California Grill, Disney’s Contemporary Resort

    California Grill

    Image: Disney

    The criticism of Victoria & Albert’s above don’t quite match with California Grill. Yes, it’s pricey and yes, it’s a two-credit option on the Disney Dining Plan; however, it still offers more in terms of repeat value. Many people do go to California Grill on a consistent basis because of a couple of inimitable, exciting Walt Disney World experiences.

    Guests check in for their meal at the California Grill on the second floor of the Contemporary. You’ll do most of your waiting on this floor. Then, you’ll feel like you’ve been let behind the velvet rope as you take an elevator up to the penthouse of the Contemporary. This is where the restaurant resides, and it offers a breathtaking view of many of the signature elements of Magic Kingdom. Windows stretch from the floor to the ceiling, and virtually everyone by now realizes that eating there during the fireworks provides one of the most magical views at Walt Disney World. Even if you finish your meal, you’ll be able to return to a viewing deck outside the building for the fireworks.

    Both of these benefits are strong selling points, but the food is also amazing. Plus, California Grill offers one of the best options as a stop on a Monorail crawl. If it weren’t so expensive, it’d be the number one overall option. People who can afford California Grill should and do eat there on every Walt Disney World vacation.

    #3 – Narcoossee’s, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa


    Image: Disney

    What’s to love about Narcoossee’s? Location, location, location! When you arrive at Grand Floridian, you’ll have a tendency to forget about this signature dining experience. That’s because it’s diametrically opposed from the hotel lobby, at the end of the hotel’s transportation boat dock. While that’s not ideal for people taking the Monorail, you’ll overlook your struggles in getting there once you’re seated at Narcoossee’s. The view here is spectacular, with most seats in the establishment offering a panoramic backdrop of the Seven Seas Lagoon.

    While a lot of locations near Magic Kingdom have a reputation for being a great place to watch Wishes, Narcoossee’s continues to slip through the cracks as one of the least competitive options. That’s ridiculous since it offers one of the optimal ground floor viewings in the area. Finally and most important, the food at Narcoossee’s is absurdly good. If you love fish, this is arguably the greatest place at Walt Disney World. Their innovative concoctions are as decadent as lobster macaroni and cheese and the Narcoossee’s Candy Bar, a dark chocolate-mocha bar with homemade Guanaja Chocolate Gelato. You’ll go for the atmosphere, the backdrop, and the beachy setting, but you’ll come back for the seafood and the desserts.

    #2 – Kona, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort


    Image: Disney

    Located on the second floor of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Kona is only 50 steps away from its more storied sibling ‘Ohana, but that’s what I love about it. As people sit in frustration, waiting for their ‘Ohana table to open, I smile as I easily walk into Kona to get my table.

    As I’ve mentioned before, this restaurant offers both my favorite steak and bread and butter. It also has a special seating area for sushi fans who want to be a part of the show as their meal is prepared. Kona is also one of the most intimate restaurants on the Monorail. They even have seating I can only describe as love seats on one wall. Plus, it has some of the most affordable prices of any Monorail table service restaurant on this list. I love Kona due to its bang for the buck, its atmosphere, its convenience, and its food quality. I seriously considered placing it first on this list, but it just can’t quite compete with…

    #1 – Chef Mickey’s, Disney’s Contemporary Resort

    Chef Mickey's

    Image: Disney

    Let’s work backward and start with the downside for Chef Mickey’s. At a cost in excess of $40 per adult and $21 for children under 10, it’s not cheap. Also, some of the buffet options are ordinary by Disney standards, which is a feature, not a bug. The target audience for Chef Mickey’s is the same one for Walt Disney World as a whole – children of all ages. The idea is to entice people with a smorgasbord of populist entrees and sides. When you’re eating at Chef Mickey’s, the “main course” is a misnomer. You’re not there for the fried chicken.

    The appeal of the place exists on several levels. The first is that you drive right by it on the Monorail each time you ride through the Contemporary, building a subliminal hunger for the experience. Once you exit the Monorail, you’re only a few steps away from the restaurant, making it the most accessible table service option listed here. The first thing you do at check-in is head right to take a family photograph, cementing Chef Mickey’s as a memory for the ages. Once you sit down, the most iconic characters, including Mickey Mouse, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy and even the cantankerous Donald Duck are all there to meet you. 

    Chef Mickey’s is impossibly loud, but you won’t care a bit. The noise stems from the raucous laughter of children. Disneyland’s slogan is that their park is the happiest place on earth, but I don’t believe that’s accurate. I have never been to a place that felt closer to pure joy than Chef Mickey’s. You can’t put a price tag on something as pure as eating at Chef Mickey’s (even though Disney does). It is THE monorail table service restaurant.