Part of planning your theme park vacation is setting a budget. In other words, how much do you want to spend per day on souvenirs, games and food?
When we’re in one of Disney’s foodie parks, such as EPCOT or Animal Kingdom, the dining budget goes up.
When we’re in Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios, we’re planning more for foods like snacks and burgers.
Certainly, there are plenty of options for the kids at the Magic Kingdom that have a dish or two designed to keep the parents happy as well. And at the quick service Magic Kingdom restaurants, most of those are priced under $20.
But whatever your preference is, as long as you bring your wallet, you won’t go hungry.
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What are the best food items at the Magic Kingdom?
Let’s take a look at some of my favorites.
1. Pineapple Dole Whip
Aloha Isle, Adventureland
Dole pineapple juice is served with a choice of pineapple Dole Whip, vanilla Dole Whip or a swirl. It’s cool, refreshing and also delicious.
If you visited the Magic Kingdom and didn’t order a Dole Whip, did you even really visit the Magic Kingdom?
2. Grilled Beef Tenderloin
Cinderella’s Royal Table, Cinderella Castle
It’s best to have a reservation for this premier character dining experience in Walt Disney World.
At the current price of $79 per adult and $47 per kid aged 3 to 9 for lunch or dinner, you dine with Disney princesses and also choose one appetizer, one main course and one dessert from the Prix Fixe menu.
In my experience, the wait staff is top notch as is the food. Be aware, however, if your little one chooses chicken nuggets or mac and cheese, that $47 price tag is gonna sting a little extra.
Anyway, I recommend the Grilled Beef Tenderloin at this character dining experience.
3. Cheeseburger Spring Roll
Spring Roll Cart, Adventureland
Near the Adventureland entrance is a cart where delicious spring rolls are sold. Some of those spring rolls are filled with the stuff they usually put in cheeseburgers. It’s genius.
4. Casey’s Hot Dog
Casey’s Corner, Main Street
At the Magic Kingdom, Casey’s is a family tradition. It’s worth noting that the foot-long hot dog is only two bucks more than the regular.
Overall, Disney does sausages and hot dogs well. Hot dogs are a traditional favorite of Walt and Mickey, so no trip to the Kingdom is complete without a good Casey’s dog.
A lot of people point to the corn dog nuggets, but I’m personally not a fan. Corn dogs were not meant to be nuggets. I think it throws the breading-to-sausage ratio off.
If you’re wondering about the plant-based options, they are pretty good. My son is allergic to beef, so even though he’s a pork hot dog aficionado, he can’t have any of Casey’s main menu offerings. He gave the plant-based dog a thumbs up.
5. Dry-Aged Duroc Pork Chop
Be Our Guest, Beast’s Castle in Fantasyland
Am I telling you that I rate Casey’s hot dog over this fantastic pork chop served with mashed potatoes, stewed pepper piperade and sauce verte? Yes and no. Objectively, the pork chop is the better meal. However, with the $67 per adult prix fix menu, I’m choosing the hot dog 90 times out of 100 on our Disney vacation.
I do enjoy dining in the West Wing or the dining room or ballroom of the castle, hoping to see Beast wander through greeting guests. But for my family of five, it’s $307 plus tip and at least two of my kids are probably ordering chicken strips.
Guys, price certainly matters.
6. Gooey Toffee Cake
Liberty Tree Tavern, Liberty Square
We are not frequent guests at the Liberty Tree Tavern even though we enjoy it very much.
At $40 per adult for all you care to eat turkey, pot roast and oven-roasted pork, it’s a pricey meal. But beyond that, it’s a heavy meal which is less than ideal for theme parking in the Florida heat.
But we have dined there and the selection is good. The best, however, comes last. The famous Oooey Gooey Toffee Cake lives up to its reputation. It has vanilla toffee cake and chocolate sauce with vanilla ice cream.
7. Lobster Roll
Columbia Harbour House, Liberty Square
At the current price of $17, don’t expect a massive amount of lobster on your roll. However, what you get is very good. I generally find Columbia House’s seafood items to be reasonably priced and delicious but not overwhelming in the portions.
Once, the wife and I mobile ordered lobster rolls to go and took them up to Fantasyland where we could get the kids something to eat at Pinocchio’s. I waited outside, lobster rolls in hand and suddenly was the most popular person in the Kingdom. I probably had a dozen people stop and ask where I’d gotten it.
Walt Disney himself could have arisen in front of me and people would still be asking about the lobster rolls.
8. Chicken Tacos
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe, Frontierland
Chicken tacos are a staple at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe.
If you want to mix it up though, I also enjoy the Pork Carnitas Rice Bowl. I find the rice bowl to be the right mix of filling and energy-giving. It has rice topped with seasoned pork, grilled peppers and onions, black beans, lettuce, tomato, sour cream and salsa.
It’s not over-the-top spicy as Disney has to cater to a variety of guests, but it’s good.
But honestly, Pecos Bill offers a variety of Tex-Mex dishes and they are all good.
9. Bacon Macaroni & Cheese Hot Dog
Friar’s Nook, Fantasyland
While Casey’s will always be my favorite hot dog, I also enjoy the variety that Friar’s Nook offers.
Here, you can also get the delicious Curry Brat Tots, which are tots topped with chopped bratwurst, curry ketchup and apple slaw. If you’re on vacation, live a little.
10. Sweet-and-Spicy Chicken Waffle Sandwich
Sleepy Hollow, Liberty Square
This delicious option has chicken and waffles served in an easy-to-eat sandwich form with waffles serving as bread. The sandwich comes with broccoli slaw and a honey-Sriracha Glaze served with house-made chips.
11. I Lava You Float
Sunshine Tree Terrace, Adventureland
This float has Fanta strawberry soda and passion fruit flavor served with Dole Whip Orange. It’s also topped with popping candy, which is a fun and delicious sweet treat.
12. Fried Rice with Chili Garlic Shrimp
Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen, Adventureland
I love the options at Jungle Navigation Co., especially the Fried Rice with Chili Garlic Shrimp.
The Skipper Dan’s Dan Dan Noodles are also an excellent choice. In fact, this place may be the most overlooked eatery in the park. The Jungle Navigation Co. brings some much-needed spice to the Magic Kingdom culinary scene.
The Dan Dan Noodles are thin noodles tossed in a savory spicy chili sauce topped with crispy pork, pickled mustard greens, radish and cucumbers. They are not overly heavy but provide a perfect lunch or dinner option while in the park.
13. Turkey Leg
Liberty Square Market, Liberty Square
For years, I was leery of the turkey leg. It was a visual issue. Specifically, I didn’t want to look like I was a Renn Faire escapee wandering around the park.
Then, I was asked to try one, and so I did. My goodness, they’re delicious. They do taste a little like pork because of the brining solution, but that only adds to the flavor.
Now if I see someone walking through the park, wiping turkey leg juices off their face with their sleeves, I don’t judge. Those people have found Nirvana.
14. Lefou’s Brew
Gaston’s Tavern, Fantasyland
This drink is frozen apple juice with a hint of toasted marshmallow and topped with all-natural passion fruit mango foam. It’s one of the better drink options in the park.
Sweet and sugary, it gives a little zing of pick me up as you’re walking about. I’d pair it with a turkey leg, and then you’ve got a nice little lunch break.
15. Chocolate Pecan Brownie Milkshake
Plaza Restaurant, Main Street U.S.A.
This shake is hand-dipped chocolate ice cream blended with spiced pecans, brownies and chocolate sauce. It is one of several delicious options at the Plaza Restaurant.
I was tempted to go with the Original Banana Split, but the practicality that comes with drinking your ice cream from a cup is a real winner in the Florida heat.
16. Funnel Cakes
Sleepy Hollow, Liberty Square
Funnel cakes are another Disney classic. They are perfect for a sweet snack for a family to share.
Plus, you can add strawberries and whipped cream. Still, the classic with powdered sugar is pretty great.
17. Breakfast Buffet
Crystal Palace, Main Street U.S.A.
Here you can dine on Mickey Waffles and bacon with Winnie the Pooh and the Hundred Acre Wood crew.
If we’re doing buffet character dining, I’m almost exclusively planning it for breakfast if I can. It’s usually slightly cheaper than lunch or dinner, and we can usually make do with a light lunch later in the day.
Do I ever feel bad about paying $45 per head for assorted pastries and eggs? No, because I know most of the cost is in the character interaction.
Crystal Palace has a special place in my heart. They take their first reservations at 8 am. So, if you book early, you won’t miss out on a lot of park time with your character breakfast.
Pinocchio Village Haus, Fantasyland
In the past, I thought of this counter service as mostly serviceable. In particular, a place where the kids can sit, have a break and enjoy a little air conditioning at a place where the menu is accommodating to their tastes.
But the flatbreads? They’re pretty good. My wife is a fan of the Margherita Flatbread topped with tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella pearls and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
19. Fresh Fruit Waffle Sandwich
Sleepy Hollow, Liberty Square
This sweet dessert sandwich is served with strawberries, bananas, blueberries and chocolate hazelnut spread.
It’s very sweet and arguably a little heavy for a theme park day, but it is delicious.
20. Footlong Hot Dogs
Lunching Pad, Tomorrowland
If you can’t tell, I’m a big fan of Disney hot dogs. The ones at the Lunching Pad are also good if you don’t want to walk back over to Casey’s.
The Lunching Pad also offers a Cuban Hot Dog. Does it irk me that there’s essentially a second hot dog eatery in the Magic Kingdom, challenging Casey’s rightful place on the sausage throne? Reader, it surely does.
But respect is given where due. The Cuban is topped with diced ham, pickles, Swiss fondue and dijonnaise and served with a choice of sides.
21. The Cinnamon Roll
Main Street Bakery, Main Street U.S.A
This sweet roll is a classic way to pick up a quick breakfast bite as you’re entering the park to start your day. It’s a classic sweet treat at the Magic Kingdom.
Can you eat inexpensively at Disney?
Most of the time, grabbing a snack at Disney is not all that much more than when we stop and grab something on the way down.
However, there are ways to cut costs. In general, quick service is more affordable than table service restaurants.
Also, character dining is going to drive the cost up massively.
If you want to save on costs, you can also bring food into the park and set up a picnic in a common area as long as the food isn’t something that needs to be heated, comes in a glass container or is especially pungent.
For example, I read about one mom who brought a loaf of bread to the park and ordered a massive turkey leg from the Liberty Square Market. She then had enough meat to feed her entire family turkey sandwiches. That’s a genius idea.
If you’re staying at a Disney resort, you can always take a midday break and use Disney transportation to go back to the hotel room for lunch. However, you have to be willing to trade a couple of hours of lost park time to do that. And park time is quite valuable.
My general game plan is to do one full meal a day and then a regular lunch like a hot dog from Casey’s or a flatbread from Pinocchio Haus. For breakfast, we grab a fruit or a muffin or something quick.
I have a family of five, and two of the kids are young enough to get kid’s prices. It usually averages out to about $15 to $25 per person per quick or counter service meal, depending on drinks.
Of course, we like to splurge a little with table service meals, but that drives the food budget up quite a bit.
Do you have a favorite Magic Kingdom food item? If so, let us know in the comments!