09 September 2019

Serving up Seasonal Deliciousness

You have a lot options when it comes to dining in Walt Disney World, specifically when it comes to table service restaurants. One of the most popular options for dining continues to be the buffets, for convenience, value, speed, and, in many cases, those ever loveable character meet and greets. Within the genre of buffets there are a ton of choices when it comes to what and where you’re looking to eat. Everyone has a favorite, everyone’s favorites are different, and we’re no exception. Today, we felt it was high time we give you our list of our five favorite buffets throughout Walt Disney World. There’s no real order here, just some of the reasons why we love these specific restaurants and why we think you’ll love them too!

Let’s start with a restaurant that’s only a buffet for breakfast, and happens to be one of the quietest and high quality breakfasts on property. The Wave… of American Flavors has a buffet that includes continental favorites, such as assorted pastries, bacon, eggs, and fruit. In addition the buffet has Tillamook cheese grits, sausage gravy, biscuits, granola and yogurt parfaits, and several varieties of eggs benedict. It seems like a small spread, but everything is phenomenal and is replenished continually.

It is worth mentioning that The Wave also has a regular menu at breakfast that includes one of my personal favorites, the citrus-scented French toast. However, here’s a little secret and one of the reasons we love The Wave for breakfast, besides the low crowds and noise that are paired with a great buffet. If there is a dish on the menu, but not found on the buffet, you can order it as part of the buffet and they’ll bring it right to your table. That’s what I call a win-win!
Next up, we’ll venture into Disney’s Animal Kingdom for Tusker House. This buffet is similar to Boma, with dishes that highlight cooking techniques and flavors from Africa, but comes with the addition of characters like Donald, Daisy, Minnie, Mickey, and Goofy decked out in their best safari garb. Couscous, spiced meats, samosas, and a ton of vegetable dishes are all on this menu. While the family noise quotient can be high, and who doesn’t get excited to see some of their favorite characters, the food, atmosphere, and interactions with characters are all top notch.

There is a balancing point to this buffet that you should be aware of. If some of the food mentioned above sounds like food for an adventurous eater, then it may very well be that Tusker House isn’t the meal for you. On the flip side, those of you who consider yourselves adventurous in your tastes may find this buffet a little on the mild side. We believe it strikes a happy medium, but can totally understand if you choose to pass for either of these reasons.
Let’s stick with Minnie, Mickey, and the gang for our next top buffet, but head on over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. At Hollywood & Vine you can catch Minnie’s Seasonal Dine Dinner. As the name suggests, this dining experience and menu changes with the season and includes themes tied to Halloween, Christmas, award season, spring, and summer. This fare is more of your typical buffet fare, with heartier favorites popping up in the fall and winter, while fresh vegetables and chilled salads taking center stage in the spring and summer. Each of the seasonal offerings comes complete with a different character being the focal point character (complete with Photopass photographer), such as Santa Goofy during the holiday season, and costume changes all around.

I will mention that several years ago the missus and I had a horrible experience at Hollywood & Vine that included waiting more than one hour after our reservation time, food that was continually empty, dirty tables everywhere, and a manager who didn’t seem concerned about our frustrations. It took a long time, and the addition of Minnie’s dinner party theme, to convince us to give it another go, and I’m certainly glad we did. The visits we have had since then only continue to make us larger and larger fans of this restaurant.
The Magic Kingdom’s Crystal Palace buffet also features characters, but this seating comes with a variety of friends from the Hundred Acre Wood. I think of this buffet, which is continually celebrating Friendship Day, as a rite of passage, and definitely something you should do at least once. Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet will make their way to your table and will turn even the grumpiest of diners into a bear loving child again.

The food itself includes a variety of garden favorites that likely came straight from Rabbit’s garden, including roasted carrots, cucumber salad, and fresh green beans that pair well with any of the sausages, carved meats, or other proteins. However, if you want to know what the real draw is food-wise at the Crystal Palace, it is the desserts. These sweets are not only adorable, with sugar bows, carrots, and bumblebees, but they are also delicious and have something chocolatey, fruity, and every taste in between.
Lastly, but most assuredly not least, takes us across the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake to Trail’s End at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. It helps that it shares many of its menu items with the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue next door, but there are no characters and nothing fancy happening here, just home cooking done right.  In fact, if you have nothing besides the cornbread, fried chicken, and strawberry shortcake, you’ve still done Trail’s End one-hundred percent correctly!
I know there are those of you out there who are yelling at your screens right now, “What about Garden Grill, 1900 Park Fare, Boma, Ohana, Akershus, or insert-your-favorite-buffet-here?!?!” I hear year, but that’s the best part about having so many options, everyone can have their favorites for their own reasons. I hope you heard something today that makes you think about buffets a little differently, consider a buffet you’ve previously shunned, or that I just made you hungry and sad missing your favorite all-you-can-eat spot. Leave us a comment and tell us which of the buffets that we listed, or especially if it’s one we didn’t include, that is your absolute favorite!

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