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Best Lunch Choices at the Parks

Posted on March 16, 2012 at 10:30 AM

I expect a lot of people assume the dining options in the parks are all roughly equal in terms of quality and value.  This is most definitely NOT true.  Today's recommendations will focus on lunch options that I think represent the best combination of a good meal and a decent price.

  • In the Magic Kingdom, there are two options I recommend, Peco Bills and Cosmic Rays.  Depending on which side of the park you are on at lunch-time, pick the closest option.  Both restaurants are reasonably similar in what they offer and both offer a large selection of options.  My personal favorite at both places is the make you own burger bar.  However, the variety of choices makes it easy for everyone in the family to find something they'll enjoy.
  • In Animal Kingdom, the hands-down choice is Flame Tree Barbeque.  While the menu is small, the food is great.  The BBQ Chicken Salad is a winner as are the Onion Rings.  For kids, the baked chicken is a favorite.
  • In Epcot there are a lot of quality selections, but my favorite is Sunshine Seasons in The Land.  If you follow my suggestions for hitting the park early and doing the big rides first, you should exit Soarin' in time for an early lunch with the extra added bonus of beating the crowds at this popular restaurant.  The great thing about Sunshine Seasons is the variety and the freshness of the food.  A lot of the produce used is actually grown at Epcot.
  • The worst place for lunch options is Hollywood Studios.  I can't honestly say I have a favorite here.  If you let your kids pick, you will probably end up at Pizza Planet.  The nicest thing I can say is "it isn't terrible".

My last tip for the day is actually about breakfast, not lunch.  I highly recommend eating breakfast before you go to the parks.  If you are staying in a place with a kitchen, this is simple, but even if you are staying in a hotel, I recommend hitting a grocery store at some point and picking up some simple breakfast food.  You will save a lot of money and you won't waste valuable early morning time getting food instead of riding the big rides.  


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