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
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 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
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
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
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.