Magical. Transportive. Immersive. Nostalgic. Disney World may be a LOT of things, but one thing it isn’t is predictable.
Sheer originality and spectacle go into each and every Disney detail, from the rides to the merch, and increasingly so, this sentiment also applies to new restaurants.
Even if a Disney World restaurant serves similar food to something you might find at home, it’s the environment, the atmosphere, and the overall awe-inspiring experience that really sets it apart.
This has LONG been true of classic restaurants, like Be Our Guest and Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen, but with Disney World’s newer restaurants, it’s increasingly clear that Disney is going for GLORY with dining experiences like no other! Here are some of the things that make Disney’s newest restaurants, from Space 220 to Steakhouse 71, DIFFERENT — and game-changers!
Hyper Attention to Detail and History
Rather than slap some signage on a building and serve up some steaks, Disney World is increasingly going above and beyond with thoughtful details that even the most ardent Disney fan might miss.
This is particularly true of Disney World’s newest meat mecca, Steakhouse 71, whose name is a nod to the year Disney World (and Disney’s Contemporary Resort hotel in which it resides) opened: 1971. Similarly, the 15 layers in the Steakhouse 71 Chocolate Cake is a reference to the 15 floors of the Contemporary!
It’s all a part of telling a greater story, honoring Disney’s history, and welcoming diners into a world like no other — extending Disney’s world-famous storytelling beyond the parks and into its dining rooms.
More Casual Lounges
We’ve all been there: struggling to snag a dining reservation for a hard-to-get-into restaurant, only to come up woefully short. Especially if you’ve got your heart set on a particular meal, this can be quite the disappointment!
Fortunately, Disney has clearly heard our cries, as evidenced by the uptick in casual lounges adjoining main dining rooms, giving guests without a reservation a newfound opportunity to experience the environment and the food!
After places like Nomad Lounge — adjacent to Tiffins Restaurant — pioneered the trend, new restaurants like Steakhouse 71 and Space 220 have followed suit with lounges that serve some or all of the restaurant’s menu items. New Disney World restaurants can be impossibly difficult to get into, so these no-reservations lounges provide a plan B, with the added bonus of also offering more budget-friendly menu options!
Offering More Options for Dining Styles
In a similar vein, Disney is obviously all about OPTIONS these days, because the new restaurants are coming with different types of dining styles under one roof!
Just look at La Crêperie de Paris in EPCOT for instance. The buzzy new crêpe restaurant features BOTH Table Service and Quick Service options and menus, as a way to appeal to a much wider audience. Heck, even Be Our Guest was doing this pre-closure!
In case you can’t get a table for sit-down service, or you’re simply looking to save a few extra bucks, these added options are a way for Disney to extend the magic of these exciting new environments for as many people as possible, and we’re HERE FOR IT.
Immersive Experiences and Designs
Taking a cue from its rides, Disney restaurants have become so immersive and intricate that they’re basically full-blown attractions in their own right! Sometimes the food can almost feel like an afterthought compared to the splendor of these places.
Arguably the most incredible new restaurant in Disney World right now, Space 220 is a WHOLE experience that makes guests feel like they’re rocketing 220 miles up into space! It feels more like an actual ride that happens to culminate with a meal.
This looks like it’ll also be the case at the upcoming Roundup Rodeo BBQ in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which echoes Toy Story Land’s immersive attractions with adorable toy rodeo theming that’ll make guests feel like they’re in Andy’s backyard!
More Prix Fixe Options
Between the lounge spaces and Quick Service options, Disney is definitely highlighting casual choices for guests, but on the other end of the spectrum, they’re also going high-end!
We’re seeing more prix fixe tasting menu options pop up in new restaurants. Space 220, La Crêperie de Paris, and Be Our Guest are all offering prix fixe menus, and there’s also a new 50th Anniversary Celebration prix fixe at California Grill.
Prix fixe menus can help restaurants pair down the kitchen stock needed (a boon during times when there could be supply chain interruptions, like today). From a restaurant operations perspective, they also allow more focused prep for busy times (and what time isn’t busy at Disney World right now?), and help make the time of service more predictable, to assist with reservations and turning tables. All of that sounds perfect for some of the business challenges Disney World is facing.
But from the guest perspective, many people also enjoy prix fixe menus because they can be a good deal for a full meal, rather than ordering things a la carte. And they allow us to sample more dishes and stay in those amazing Disney World dining rooms longer to drink in all the theming!
Restaurants Are Telling Their Own Stories
In the spirit of Disney’s iconic storytelling, as seen on pretty much ALL its rides with detailed characters, settings, and narratives, newer restaurants and cafes are writing their own back stories in true Disney fashion.
Gideon’s Bakehouse has its own full slate of characters and mythos, from the gargoyles to mysterious characters such as Valentine Carmichael, who “wasn’t all there even when he was all there”. It’s an extension of the restaurant storytelling we’ve seen at places like Skipper Canteen and The Edison, with its steampunk-inspired theatrics.
You’ll also find fun back stories to explore while you nosh on Snakebite Sliders and Chicken on the Egg at Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, or Spaghetti alla Chitarra at Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante. It’s yet another example of that Disney magic pouring over into your anything-but-average dining experience.
New Restaurants Are MADE For Instagram
For some guests, when it comes to a memorable meal it’s ALL about a photo moment, and Disney knows it. From the design of new restaurant spaces to the over-the-top and colorful menu items, these Disney World places are increasingly looking primed for Instagram.
Everything about Space 220 is MEGA photogenic, especially those wonky cocktails! Even Steakhouse 71 exceeds predictable American steakhouse expectations with an atmosphere that clearly looks focused on design and style.
From the singular ingredients highlighted on menus (like Space Ice Cream at Space 220 or the 15 layers of chocolate in that Steakhouse 71 cake) to the eye-catching decor that only Disney could afford, everything about Disney World’s newest restaurants is stunning — and VERY Instagrammable!
Now that Disney World has been around 50 years, guests’ expectations for awe and magic have only grown. Over time, Disney has learned how to evolve and how to bring the wow factor with each new attraction and each new resort. And just like with the rides and hotels, Disney knows guests don’t want anything typical for mealtime. By crafting highly immersive spaces, offering more accessible options, and incorporating storytelling, Disney World restaurants are becoming as exciting as its attractions.
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What’s your favorite thing about Disney’s new restaurants? Let us know in the comments!
The post What’s DIFFERENT About Disney’s Newest Restaurants first appeared on the disney food blog.