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6. Be Our Guest Restaurant

Image: Disney

Location: New Fantasyland (at Magic Kingdom)

Disney World’s first response to the Wizarding World model was Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland, opening in phases from 2010 to 2012. The reimagining of half of the park’s Fantasyland (mostly on the former site of the Lost Legend: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) ultimately took the form of mini-lands dedicated to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and Dumbo, each with all the placemaking and rockwork that would become standard in today’s era.

Image: Disney

The land’s two “immersive dining” features both fall within the Beauty and the Beast portion of the land. There, Gaston’s Tavern debuted with LeFou’s Brew (an attempt at matching Potter’s Butterbeer) whereas the epic and enchanting Be Our Guest Restaurant allows guests to dine inside the Beast’s castle in one of three rooms: the darkly enchanted West Wing, the musical Castle Gallery, or the iconic Ballroom from the film.

Image: Disney

Menu Must-try: Though dining in the Beast’s Ballroom could easily command five-dollar-sign menus, Disney did something uncharacteristically charitable: they opted to offer three times of day at three price points. Between breakfast ($$) and lunch ($), the menu and ambiance transform from quick service to prix fixe full service for dinner ($$$). There’s one staple that runs through all three: after curiously being absent from the menu at opening, the legendary “grey stuff” is available morning, noon, and night, albeit as a atop cupcakes (breakfast and lunch) or in an edible white chocolate Chip cup (dinner).

7. Tropical Hideaway

Image: Disney

Location: Adventureland (at Disneyland)

When the Modern Marvel: The Enchanted Tiki Room opened in 1963, the Polynesian bungalow was accompanied by the Tahitian Terrace - a luau-flavored table service dinner restaurant banking on the Tiki Craze that had taken the country by storm. In 1993, the restaurant was converted into Aladdin’s Oasis, but quickly fell into disuse. After a decade of serving as little more than a meet-and-greet, the shuttered dinner show was repurposed in 2018, becoming the sensational throwback Tropical Hideaway.

Image: Disney

Clearly a pre-emptive strike against the crowds expected to descend on the tiny, cramped Disneyland for Galaxy’s Edge, the quick service spot is best understood as a place to “Dole Whip and chill,” activing the park's unused space and absorbing crowds like a sponge to relieve Adventureland’s paths. But brilliantly, the Hideaway also intertwines elements of the land’s 1930s time setting and places guests into the expanded universes of Indiana Jones Adventure, S.E.A., and the Tiki Room. Somehow, this relaxed Tiki bar manages to mesh into one cohesive, adventurous space packed with details… and a rare Animatronic outside of an attraction!

Image: Disney

Menu Must-try: The quick service spot’s snacks include an array of steamed bao buns and peanut butter and jelly mochi buns. But of course, its main draw remains the legendary Dole Whip. Fans flocked to the Hideaway to try the pineapple soft serve in new flavors (raspberry, mango, and lemon, plus swirl) and new specialty versions like the Chili-Mango Whip with chamoy, mango, and chile-lime seasoning.

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Comments

Incredibly fun article, thanks for taking me there and reminding me of so many amazing meals I've had over the years!

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