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Disney Springs


Restaurants In the Disney Parks Resorts Epcot At Universal / Islands of Adventure CityWalk

Disney Springs is a mall where visitors can go in the evenings after days in the parks. Ferries (above left) connect the resorts to Disney Springs via a network of canals, rivers and lakes. The ferry rides through beautiful areas of lush forest, open grassland and occasionally condos or a golf course are part of the charm. Buses also pick up and drop off on their way back and forth between parks and resorts. The two huge draws in Disney Springs are the World of Disney Store (right), where they sell every piece of Disney memorabilia ever made, and Cirque du Soleil (above right), the incredible French circus.

However, there are also seven excellent restaurants here. You can either eat early and make the 9 pm Cirque de Soleil performance, or spend an hour or so shopping in World of Disney and eat late. There's also a performance of some sort every evening on the lakefront stage across the walk from World of Disney and in the plaza in front of Fulton's Crab House.

You need reservations at these restaurants. And they don't all accept the Disney Meal Plan.

If you only have time to eat at one Disney Springs restaurant, it should probably be Fulton's Crab House. It's the priciest, but you get what you pay for. Arrive early and enjoy the live music outside. The three deck river boat is pretty impressive; try to get a third floor starboard window table so you have spectacular views of the sunset on the lake. We have pretty high standards for seafood restaurants and Fulton's ranks up there with the best. The Clam Chowder and Lobster Bisque are excellent, and as an appetizer the Crab Dip is very good. Signature items are the Crab Cakes, Flounder, Sea Bass, Dover Sole and King Crab Legs. They change the menu according to what's available, so from season to season you can't always get the same items. Probably the rarest item on the menu is the Yellowfin Tuna, but when they have it, we definitely recommend it. They usually serve their Flounder with a Cilantro Relsih, which is the only place we've ever tasted this. It's delicious. Their Baked Lobster is excellent, as are the Redfish and Mahi Mahi. The wine list is extensive and includes a dozen really good Whites.
Save room for dessert, because their Key Lime Pie is an award winner.

If Fulton's seems too pricey or you can't get a reservation, we recommend Captain Jack's. It's kind of historic : this was the first restaurant that opened at Disney Springs. This is a much smaller dockside restaurant just as you get off the ferry. However, it is still a good establishment with great views looking across the lake. Captain Jack's serves other entrees beside seafood : Pot Roast, Chicken, etc. The Pastas are a little skimpy on meat. There's a Chicken Parmesan Open Face Sandwich that is kind of unusual, could feed two people, and is definitely worth ordering for anyone burned out on fish. But they still stake their reputation on their seafood, and they do a fine job with it. For starters, the Shrimp cocktail is memorable. It's not only delicious, but is so generous you might not need an entree. They have a fairly small menu but it includes the usuals : Clam Chowder, Flounder, Salmon, Shrimp, Catch of the Day, Crab Cakes, etc. Leave room for dessert. The Cheesecake is very good. Captain Jack's does accept the Disney Dining Plan.

The Rainforest Cafe is one of the zanier places to eat at Disney World. This one is located just up the steps from Captain Jack's, next to the ferry dock. The Rainforest Cafe building runs along the lakefront on two sides. Inside you'll have tropical birds, huge fishtanks, a thunderstorm every 30 minutes, and large animatronic jungle animals peering at you through the lush vegetation. The menu is spotty; some items are very good, others only average. Among the appetizers, we like the Chili (melted cheese, tomatoes, onions, green chilis) and Chimi Cha Cha (wonton stuffed with chicken, corn, onions, beans, lime, roast red peppers, cheese). Their Tomato Basil Soup and Clam Chowders are very good. There are six pretty good salads, of which the best two are the Calypso (lettuce, baby greens, goat cheese, cranberries, strawberries, red onions, pecans) and Volcanic (grilled chicken, lettuce, bleu cheese, olives, tomatos, chopped egg, carrots and bacon). They offer eleven burgers and sandwiches. The best entrees may be the Paradise Pot Roast, Amazon Feast (rotisserie chicken and slow roasted ribs) Tilapia Salmon, and the New York Strip Steak (huge; two normal eaters could share one). Does Not Accept Disney Meal Plan and does not take advanced reservations. Average wait is 60-90 minutes.

Raglan Road Irish Pub is at the top of the hill South of the lake. It offers authentic Irish cuisine, an excellent choice of Irish brews including Ales and Ciders, and a gift shop with Irish memorabilia. You'll be entertained by Celtic fiddlers, flutists, singers and dancers (think : River Dance). Insist on being seated in the main viewing area, even if you have to wait another five minutes, because from the wings you don't really get a good view. Food's great, too. Appetizers include Smoked Haddock, Portabello Caps and Flatbread. Not Chowder is unusual and very good. Their signature items are the Shepherd's Pie (meat and vegetable stew, one of the best versions we've ever tasted), Beefy Murray (tender beef in a pastry with curry), the Ribeye with Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Bangers & Mash, Scallop Forest, and of course Fish n Chips. Spaghetti & Meatballs is not an Irish dish, but theirs comes in a Wine & Marinara Sauce which gives them a really unique taste. Their Ribs are soaked in Whiskey. The Bread Pudding with butterscotch and cream toppings is one of the better desserts at Disney. There's a patio outside for pleasant evenings. This is the most authentic building on Disney property. It was built and stood in Ireland. The entire building was jacked up and transported all the way to Orlando and installed here.

We include the T Rex Cafe here because you have to go inside whether you plan to eat there or not. It is a spectacular example of theming, which looks like it belongs over in Seven Islands of Adventure in the Jurassic Park area. Especially if you have young dinosaur loving children, this will be a favorite stop. There's a gift shop your kids will enjoy, and you can take several photos of the restaurant interior. If you plan to stay and eat, be aware that with all the kids this place is really LOUD. As for the food, it's not a gourmet restaurant. The menu features mostly fried items. However, some of them are surprisingly good. The Salads are pretty good. Portions are large, as they usually are at Disney restaurants. Probably their best entree is the Ribs. Every 20 minutes a meteor shower lights up for five minutes and all the animatronic dinosaurs go berserk, while the adults get migraine headaches. For kids younger than five it might be overstimulation but for those aged 6-16 it's Paradise.

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