Grown Up Night Out: Adult Dining Options at Walt Disney World

by Kim Cooper, PassPorter Guest Contributor
Last modified 10-26-2012

Photo illustrating Walt Disney World - Dining

Walt Disney World is the ultimate family vacation destination.

Between the dining, the attractions and the hotels, it's a place just built for making you and your family happy. Once in a while, however, it's nice to escape the kids and take a night out for yourselves, as adults. Some grown-ups find enjoying Walt Disney World without children a bit challenging. That parental guilt takes over. Even though Walt Disney World caters towards families and children, it can also be a great and magical place for adults to hang out. The World offers a wide array of activities and dining-options that are super adult-friendly. You can make your vacation about you, too. It';s ok. Leave the kids at home and enjoy your adult time, guilt-free.

Food and Wine Festival Cake at Epcot photo
Food and Wine Festival Cake at Epcot

Food and Wine Festival dining

A perfect place to start on your sans children vacation is with food. Food is the universal fuel of love. It will kick-start your adult play time experience. The dining choices in Walt Disney World are filled to the brim with gourmet meals and elegant atmospheres. While the World is very kid-friendly and doesn't balk at the attendance of children for their fancier fare, the kids won't necessarily appreciate the complex flavors, inviting atmospheres, and elegant service some of the world-class restaurants have to offer. So stuff yourself to the gills with great food, great wine, and relaxing atmospheres.

One place to start is the Coral Reef Restaurant in Epcot. It is a perfect choice for adults who want to relax and enjoy a great meal. The Seas with Nemo and Friends definitely lends itself to pleasing children. The Coral Reef restaurant is quite the opposite, best enjoyed by adults. The elegant dining room is decked out in soothing blues and sea greens. The underwater view of the pavilion's aquarium and all it has to offer can be a romantic sight for those looking to inject a little pizzazz into their love lives. The meal choices, including mahi mahi, strip steak, and lobster pasta, are appreciated by the sophisticated palate. Meals at this restaurant runs around $36 to $59 per person. It is a restaurant that, based on food options and atmosphere, is a fantastic starting point to your adult experience.

The Cape May Cafe, located in the Beach Club resort, may seem like a child’s best experience at first glance. They even have paper tablecloths and buckets of crayons adorning every table. Really, this place is about the adult choices available. The expansive seafood collection is impressive, stuffed to the brim with crab legs, mussels, and clams. The landlubber side of the buffet offers carved meats, ribs, and pastas. Plus, it is much easier to manage your own buffet plate when you're not juggling two dozen plates for the kids.

When it comes to a grown-up dining experience, the Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the ultimate option. It oozes a Golden Age of Hollywood feel. It is a rather authentic replica of the original restaurant located in Hollywood, California. The walls of the dining room are outfitted with caricatures of old Hollywood stars who aren’t on the radar for children today. No Justin Biebers here, only Bogie, William Holden, and Eve Arden. The dining room is elegant, quiet, and dressed in warm colors. The dining choices include the famous Cobb salad, filet of beef, and duck two ways. The dessert menu will blow your mind. For a great treat, order the world-famous grapefruit cake. In addition to the great food choices, adults over 21 can request wine pairings with any of their meals. Leave the kiddies at home and enjoy an experience of times past.

The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival takes place each year between September and November. This isn’t your classic, sit-down establishment. The Food and Wine Festival exists to be enjoyed by adults. There may be some adventuresome children out there willing to try lamb sliders or escargot, but most can tell you they’d rather have a PB&J. The Food and Wine Festival is the place for grown-ups who appreciate cultural experiences, delicious food, and sophisticated drinks. In 2012, the Festival offers a vast selection of craft beers, desserts, champagne, and food from dozens of countries. Beverage seminars and culinary demonstrations are also available for the extreme foodie. Grab a craft brew or a glass of wine, pick up a plate of international chow, and stroll the World Showcase, taking in all it has to offer.

Easily accessible by monorail, Narcoossee’s in the Grand Floridian Resort offers a coastal dining experience not easily forgotten. It is situated in an eight-sided pavilion along the Seven Seas Lagoon. Grab a table after nightfall and you may catch the fireworks from Magic Kingdom while you dine. How’s that for a romantic treat? Standard fare includes scallops, wild king salmon, and whole Maine lobster. Grab your other grown-up friends and nosh on a delicious seafood dinner.

Being an adult in the greatest place on Earth can be challenging. Make your vacation about fun, delicious foods and adult alone time and it doesn't have to be. Food is a great place to start any trip!

Hollywood Studios - The Hollywood Brown Derby photo
Hollywood Studios - The Hollywood Brown Derby

The Hollywood Brown Derby entrance.

About the Author:
Kim Cooper is a freelance journalist and first-time contributor to PassPorter News.

Recent Walt Disney World Articles:

How Disney Trips Helped Me Overcome My Fear of Flying

How Disney Trips Helped Me Overcome My Fear of Flying

A Disney Parks Planning Article

The Star Wars Launch Bay at Hollywood Studios

The Star Wars Launch Bay at Hollywood Studios

A Walt Disney World Attraction Review

Premium Events at the Magic Kingdom

Premium Events at the Magic Kingdom

A Walt Disney World Event Review

Walt Disney World in a Wheelchair

Walt Disney World in a Wheelchair

A Walt Disney World Special Needs Article

Visiting Walt Disney World While Pregnant

7 Essential Lessons for Pregnant Moms at Disney World

A Walt Disney World Planning Article

More Related Links:
The Health Nut's Guide to Quick Service Dining at Disneyland

The Health Nut's Guide to Quick Service Dining at Disneyland

A Disneyland Dining Review

Aulani Character Breakfast in Ko Olina

Aulani Character Breakfast in Ko Olina

An Aulani Dining Review

Skipper Canteen

Skipper Canteen

A Walt Disney World Dining Review

Club 33 at Disneyland - Part 3

Club 33 at Disneyland - Part 3

A Disneyland Dining Review

Reader Comments:

Great article. We enjoy a parents' night out as much as anyone, but may have shot ourselves in the foot (feet?) by raising our children to appreciate fine dining! If we were to go to any of these restaurants alone, the kids would NOT let us forget about it. At Cape May our 9 and 12 year old won't go near the kids' buffet. Our tiny-appetite 9 year old often orders a mussels appetizer as her entree, and our 12 year old gravitates to anything with lobster, scallops and crab (in that order). It is really nice to be able to enjoy a great dinner with the kids and count on them to behave appropriately, of course, but have learned the hard way that we have definitely chosen an expensive pathway! Now, the only place we can go that the kids don't insist on joining us is Victoria & Albert's (ouch).:crazy:

     kit&kirimom on October 26, 2012 @ 12:11 pm
I don't really reccommend Coral Reef. I think it is one of the worst places to eat in Disney. The menu is small and the food is overpriced. And it is LOUD in there. The Shark restaurant at Sea World is much better.

     DMAC91 on October 26, 2012 @ 1:14 pm
I was a little surprised to see Coral Reef on the list. We just ate there for the first time last month, and I was expecting a quieter, more romantic atmosphere. But it was really loud in there!

We were seated very near the aquarium, so kids were all over the place wanting to see the fish. I didn't mind -- we were at Disney, after all -- but it just surprised me that the atmosphere was so chaotic.

We love HBD (both with and without kids), and I might also add Jiko.

     shnewell on October 26, 2012 @ 2:53 pm
This is the second time this week that Narcosee's has popped up as somewhere to go. We are staying at BLT and want something at Epcot, MK or the monorail to have for our no kids dinner. We are taking built in babysitters.

     lynnp on October 26, 2012 @ 3:45 pm
I wouldn't say the the Brown Derby is the ultimate in adult dining. My vote would be Victoria and Alberts. I wonder why it wasn't mentioned. I finally got the chance to go to the Food and Wine festival this year and had a great time. I would definitely recommend it for the adults.

     woodall86 on December 18, 2012 @ 3:18 pm
Interesting article. I too wouldn't recommend Coral Reef

     jimmymac on December 18, 2012 @ 3:40 pm
blankView all 6 comments in forum thread

So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)

Updated 10-26-2012 - Article #865 

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 50,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch! We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list.

Copyright 1998-2016
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

PassPorter ~ 1998-2016 ~ 18 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online and by e-mail.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.

PassPorter in the News