My Disney Top 5 - Breakfast Spots in Walt Disney Worldby Chris Barry, contributing writer
Welcome back to another Disney Top 5. This is going to sound like a strange statement, but one of the best things about a trip to Walt Disney World is sleeping! That's right, sleeping at Disney is second to none. Considering all there is to do in the world's most popular tourist destination that may sound like an odd statement, but trust me, it's 100% true. There is nothing like a Disney sleep. It must be the combination of comfy beds, those pitch-black room darkening curtains, and, of course, the sheer exhaustion that you put yourself through on any given Disney day. When I hit the pillow at the Yacht Club after a long day storming the parks, I'm literally out like a light and in a blink, I'm waking up. No tossing and turning. No waking up for any reason. I'm out cold the entire night. It's so thoroughly satisfying. Those are the kind of sleeps I truly look forward to.
After one of those stellar nights of sleep, I wake up ready and raring to go. I can't wait to get the day going and see where we're going to end up next. But first, the most important meal of the day has to take place. I'm a huge breakfast fan. I could eat breakfast for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and be quite content—and I actually have. How can you beat bacon, hash browns, toast, pancakes, waffles, cereal, French toast, sausage, bagels, home fries, grits, and biscuits all washed down by a tall, cold glass of orange juice? How about accompanying all that with scrambled eggs, poached eggs, eggs over easy, eggs over medium, omelets, eggs Benedict, hard boiled eggs, and however else you can imagine an egg being prepared. A great breakfast is the meal I love most and it's all I need to get me going as I prepare for yet another day of magic and mayhem in the parks.
I readily admit that I can't possibly have a big whopping breakfast every day, not even while I'm on vacation. My years have caught up with me. I'm not 20 anymore, and I can't indulge in my favorite breakfast foods on such a regular basis. On the special mornings where we set aside time for a good breakfast in Walt Disney World, I've definitely got my favorites. Let's take a closer look at the best places to have the most important meal of the day with my Top 5 breakfast spots in Walt Disney World.
5 – 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian
1900 Park Fare is a classic character meal at the Grand Floridian Resort. It's an interesting mix of characters, focusing mostly on those hailing from the United Kingdom, such as Winnie the Pooh and his pals, Mary Poppins, and Alice. This restaurant gets mixed reviews from a lot of folks out there, but there are three very simple reasons that I have it on my list.
The first reason is the diverse selection of characters. My kids have always enjoyed meeting Pooh. He's a legend in our family. But at the same time, it's kind of cool to be able to meet Alice and the Mad Hatter. The last time I was there with my twin boys, Alice kept referring to them as the Tweedles. That was good for a laugh for the remainder of the trip.
The next two reasons are food choices that you can only find in this restaurant. The 1900 Park Fare breakfast buffet is good but pretty typical morning fare. That is, except for the lobster Benedict and the bananas foster syrup for your Mickey waffles. Bananas foster is one of those things that could make anything taste amazing. It's one of my favorite things to eat anywhere, and imagine my surprise when I saw a big bowl full of it to pour all over my waffles. Why doesn't everybody do this everywhere waffles are sold? Yes, it's sweet and over the top but...actually there's no but... just yes, it's sweet and over the top and that makes it downright yummy and decadent.
Speaking of decadent, perhaps the ultimate breakfast food is eggs Benedict. Take a fluffy poached egg, drop it onto an English muffin with a slice of Canadian bacon, and then slather it with rich, creamy Hollandaise sauce. How can you beat that? How about adding lobster? It's a treat for sure. Go try it the next time you're there. It's the only time I've ever had lobster for breakfast and I can't imagine you'll be disappointed. I certainly wasn't.
4 – Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie at Epcot's France Pavilion
The bulk of World Showcase opens at 11:00 am, aside from Norway where guests flock for breakfasts with princesses. That's a full two hours later than the other side of Epcot, Future World, which opens for the day at 9. What most people don't know is that Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in France also opens at 9 for breakfast.
This bakery is one of those little-known treasures of World Showcase that becomes much more apparent to guests that stay at the Crescent Lake resorts and enter Epcot through its back door, the International Gateway. The walk through the United Kingdom and Canada in the early morning hours as we make our way over to Test Track or Soarin' has always been a favorite. The World Showcase pavilions are just about empty and it's wonderful to see them this way.
This past summer, just after it opened at 9:00 am, we found ourselves literally alone on the bridge that leads into France from the International Gateway. Think about that for a moment. We were alone in World Showcase on a beautiful summer morning. The only thing better than that solitude was arriving at the patisserie to find it completely empty. The whole place was ours. We ordered some breakfast, put a few tables together outside, and enjoyed fresh croissants, some with eggs, some without.
We may as well have been in an actual cafe in France. It was downright tranquil and a wonderful way to start off a day at Epcot. Make sure you have the beignets. What appears at first to be a standard powdered doughnut is actually stuffed with a chocolate hazelnut filling that's simply out of this world good.
3 – BoardWalk Bakery
Here's how the typical morning works when we're at our favorite Walt Disney World resort, the Yacht Club. The kids and I are sawing wood deep in the final hour or so of one of those aforementioned heavenly Disney sleeps. My wife wakes up at the crack of dawn to go for her run around the boardwalk and down to Hollywood Studios and back.
As she powers down on the return, she stops for her coffee at the classic BoardWalk Bakery. She also brings back something good for the rest of us. Maybe a Mickey Mouse chocolate muffin, or fresh croissants. If we put an order in to her the night before, maybe it's one of their delectable egg sandwiches like the Butter Butter Sandwich—brioche bread, shaved ham, scrambled eggs, and buttery fontina cheese.
We sit out on the balcony, watch the resort "wake up," and prepare for the magical day ahead of us. Those mornings out on the balcony eating something delicious from the bakery with Diane and the kids are typically some of my favorite moments on our Disney trips.
2 – Kona Cafe at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort
Those of you that know Walt Disney World well enough know exactly where I'm headed with this one. You're probably saying, "He must be talking about the Tonga Toast," and you'd be spot on correct. If you're lucky enough to be staying at or visiting the beautiful Polynesian resort, you're already happy.
Then, you head to the Kona Cafe for breakfast and your order of Tonga Toast arrives. If you've had it, you know. If you haven't had it, you need to. Sure, the macadamia nut pancakes and the French toast with caramel-banana sauce are both pretty awesome at Kona, but you haven't really lived at Walt Disney World until you've had Tonga Toast at the Kona Cafe in the Polynesian Village Resort.
1 – Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom
I knew the first time I walked into the Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom that I would end up having a long-standing love for the place. My daughter was four. She was a Disney believer from the moment we arrived on property and 15 years later she still is. As I said above Winnie the Pooh is pretty huge in this house, so the opportunity to meet the silly old bear and his pals up close was a huge deal back then. She ate it up, as did my sons when it was their turn. The Crystal Palace became a family tradition, and I celebrated my 50th birthday with breakfast there this past summer with 26 of my closest family and friends.
The restaurant itself is quite beautiful, modeled after Victorian era greenhouses and named after similarly styled structures built in London for the Great Exhibition of 1852 and in New York for the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations in 1853. The palace is predominantly windows and stained glass, letting in ample daylight to lend the whole space an air of openness with the surrounding greenery of Adventureland to one side and the Victorian splendor of Main Street USA to the other.
As far as the food goes, this has always been my favorite spot for breakfast in Walt Disney World. In my opinion, they've got the best omelettes, made to order right there in front of you, as fresh as can be. I love the grits, the smoked salmon and capers, and the puffed French toast. But the real star of this buffet is the breakfast lasagna. Waffles, French toast, sliced bananas, berries, and pound cake are soaked in custard, baked, then slathered in pastry cream and topped with more sliced bananas and brown sugar caramelized under the broiler to create one of the most decadent dishes served anywhere.
I've made it myself at home and it's pretty serious. It's dense. It's sweet. It's really something else and it goes down as one of the best things I've ever eaten anywhere. The breakfast lasagna alone propels the Crystal Palace straight to the top of my list. I've steered plenty of folks to the Crystal Palace over the years and the positive reports are always the same; beautiful space, great food, fun characters, and oh yeah, that breakfast lasagna is crazy good.
So, those are my top choices of places to start off your Walt Disney World day. If breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day, then finding the perfect one on vacation has to be even more important. These are the spots that make me happy, that I look forward to as I plan out my upcoming trips, and that I recommend most to friends when asked for my advice. Some days, I'm more than happy to have a light bowl of cereal and some fruit out on the balcony. Other days, I want to eat a breakfast fit for a king. Whatever your breakfast desires may be, they can be satisfied all over Walt Disney World. From delicious pastries and breads to one-of-a-kind specialties, it's all there for the picking.
As usual, I'd love to hear what you have to say. Click on the link below, let me hear your thoughts and your Walt Disney World breakfast choices and I'll see you next time with another Disney Top 5.