Best Disney Magic Kingdom Sit Down Table Service Restaurants

by josh on May 27, 2010

Best Magic Kingdom Sit Down Table Service Restaurants Disney World

The Magic Kingdom doesn’t offer many surprises in the dining category, at least as far as food selection is concerned.  Three of the five sit-down restaurants are buffets during at least one meal and the other two restaurants are a sandwich shop and an Italian restaurant similar to Mama Melrose’s at the Hollywood Studios.  Cinderella’s Royal Table is the most popular restaurant at the Magic Kingdom and it’s nearly impossible to get a reservation, despite the $57 price tag per adult at dinner.  Overall, the Magic Kingdom offers decent choices, but you’ll find much better restaurants at the Monorail Deluxe Resorts and Epcot.

Be sure to read over the full reviews for more information on any of the restaurants listed.  You can either click here for the full list in alphabetical order or click the individual highlighted links throughout this post.

Most Unique Menu

1. Cinderella’s Royal Table

2. Crystal Palace

3. Liberty Tree Tavern

4. Tony’s Town Square

5. Plaza Restaurant

Few of the entrées at any of the Magic Kingdom’s restaurants are particularly unique and it’s unlikely you’ll see something you’ve never previously tried.  Cinderella’s Royal Table is in the top position because of the unique sauces and side dishes, but the entrées are the usual lamb, steak, and chicken that are widely available.  Crystal Palace has some interesting buffet items as well, but nothing out of the ordinary.  Liberty Tavern serves turkey, beef, mashed potatoes, and similar items and Tony’s Town Square offers a menu consisting of basic Italian dishes like spaghetti, chicken parmigiana, and seafood diavoli.  The Plaza Restaurant offers a variety of sandwiches, a hamburger, and many types of ice cream.  Overall, the Magic Kingdom is fairly pedestrian when it comes to food types and flavors.

Best “Value” AKA Most Expensive Meal on the Dining Plan

1. Tony’s Town Square (Average Entrée Cost $20.09, Average Dessert Cost $5.49, Most Expensive Entrée Cost $27.99, Most Expensive Dessert Cost $6.49, Most Expensive Entrée + Dessert + Beverage $38.48)

2. Liberty Tree Tavern Dinner (Adult Dinner: $29.99, Child Dinner: $14.99)

3. Crystal Palace (Breakfast: $20.99 for adults and $10.99 for kids ages 3-9, Lunch: $20.99 for adults and $11.99 for kids ages 3-9, Dinner: $28.99 for adults and $13.99 for kids ages 3-9)

4. Cinderella’s Royal Table (Breakfast: $47.23 for adults and $31.05 for children 3-9, Lunch: $50.96 for adults and $32.29 for children 3-9, $57.19 for adults and $34.78 for children 3-9)

5. Plaza Restaurant (Average Entrée Cost $11.43, Average Dessert Cost $5.53, Most Expensive Entrée Cost $12.99, Most Expensive Dessert Cost $6.49, Most Expensive Entrée + Dessert + Beverage $24.48)

Cinderella’s Royal Table falls into fourth place because it costs two credits on the Disney Dining Plan, so the cost can be halved to find the “per credit” cost, which is lower than the other restaurants at $28.56.  Tony’s Town Square comes in first, with a respectable maximum value of around $39 per credit.  Both of the buffets are in the $30 range for dinner, which is about the average cost of a Disney buffet.  The Plaza Restaurant is the only one that can really be considered a “waste” of a table service credit, considering the maximum value is just under $25.  When it comes to dining, the Magic Kingdom is actually the cheapest of Disney’s theme parks.

Best Value Out of Pocket

1. Plaza Restaurant

2. Cinderella’s Royal Table

3. Crystal Palace

4. Tony’s Town Square

5. Liberty Tree Tavern Dinner (For lunch consideration, read the last few sentences of the following paragraph)

The Plaza Restaurant is one of the cheapest table service restaurants in all of Disney World.  For less than the chicken and ribs combo at Cosmic Ray’s counter service, you can have a relaxing sit-down meal at the Plaza.  The sandwiches are only $2-$3 more expensive than a sandwich or wrap at a counter service and they are much higher quality.  Despite the excessive cost, Cinderella’s Royal Table comes in second because dining inside of Cinderella’s Castle is such a unique experience.  The meal also includes the imaging package, which includes pictures of your group with Cinderella.  This package would cost about $30 at other buffets like Tusker House.  Crystal Palace is ahead of the last two choices because of the high quality buffet items, the fact that it’s a character meal featuring Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet for all meals, and the wide variety of items available.  Tony’s Town Square is on the expensive side considering the low cost of many of the ingredients.  The spaghetti and meatballs and vegetable lasagna are both $17, which isn’t much of a value.  The chicken parmigiana is probably the best bargain on the menu.  Liberty Tree Tavern comes in last due to the high cost of the meal and the fact that there’s nothing particularly special about it.  Unless you can eat about 17 pounds of food it’s unlikely you’ll get your money’s worth.  With only turkey, pork, and carved beef for entrées, there’s simply nothing here that makes it worth $30 per adult.  For lunch, Liberty Tree is a much better value with all entrées less than $20 and several in the $12-$15 range.  If you’re a party of two, one person can order the turkey and the other can order the braised beef and you basically have the evening’s main buffet items for a total of $33, rather than $33 per person.  Of course, adding two salads and two desserts would put you in the same price range as dinner, so if you usually eat three courses you’ll probably want to consider dinner over lunch.

Best Atmosphere

1. Cinderella’s Royal Table

2. Tony’s Town Square

3. Liberty Tree Tavern

4. Crystal Palace

5. Plaza Restaurant

Cinderella’s Royal Table has the best setting in all of Disney World.  Set high atop her castle in the middle of the Magic Kingdom, the Royal Table features appearances by Cinderella, the Fairy God Mother, Snow White, Belle, and Aurora (although different characters may be present).  In addition, the decorations and details inside of the seating area are second to none.  You absolutely will not be disappointed by the Royal Table’s atmosphere.  The other four restaurants at the Magic Kingdom are nothing to write home about in the setting category.  Tony’s Town Square is the second best, but it’s certainly not interesting enough that you’ll want to eat there just to see the inside of it.  Both the Crystal Palace and Plaza restaurant feature a Victorian setting which seems a bit odd in a theme park, but that’s how Walt Disney apparently envisioned it.  The Crystal Palace is actually an interesting glass building, whereas the Plaza Restaurant isn’t as ornate.  Modeled after an 18th century American Inn, the Liberty Tree Tavern is full of colonial artifacts and authentic touches.  It’s a neat space, but there is no alcohol served, despite what the name of the place would lead you to believe.

Best Food

1. Plaza Restaurant

2. Liberty Tree Tavern

3. Crystal Palace

4. Cinderella’s Royal Table

5. Tony’s Town Square

The Plaza Restaurant churns out the best tasting food at the Magic Kingdom.  Although a sandwich is a fairly simple product, the Plaza uses high quality ingredients and prepares each sandwich carefully.  There’s also a wide enough selection that everyone should find something that they like, whether it be the tuna salad croissant, Reuben, turkey, vegetarian, cheese steak, or angus hamburger.  Their milkshakes and ice cream are also among the best. The food at Liberty Tree Tavern is excellent, especially considering it’s made in such large quantities.  The turkey is moist, the mashed potatoes are prepared with just the right consistency, the salad is crisp and flavorful, and the other entrées and side dishes are delicious as well.  Both Crystal Palace and Cinderella’s Royal Table are best experienced at breakfast.  Crystal Palace’s French toast puffs are many visitors’ favorite food item of their entire trip.  You will also find a wide variety of high quality dishes throughout the day.  While it’s still a buffet, many of the dishes could easily be served as part of a menu at a traditional sit-down restaurant.  When it comes to food, Cinderella’s Royal Table is lacking, especially at lunch.  Expect a bland entrée that may or may not be served hot.  Because of the limited menu and the desire for fast turnover, the kitchen is always preparing food, whether anyone has ordered it or not.  Considering the hefty price, it’s unfortunate that more care isn’t taken in the preparation and execution of the food.  Tony’s Town Square’s entrées are also bland and not particularly authentic.  In an attempt to please the common American palette, and younger visitors in particular, the flavors are dumbed down so they won’t offend anyone.  If Olive Garden style “Italian” food is your favorite then you may enjoy Tony’s, but don’t expect authentic Italian.

Overall Best Sit Down Table Service Restaurant at the Magic Kingdom

1. Cinderella’s Royal Table

2. Plaza Restaurant

3. Liberty Tree Tavern (Lunch)

4. Crystal Palace

5. Liberty Tree Tavern (Dinner)

6. Tony’s Town Square

For those who can afford the high cost, Cinderella’s Royal Table is the best sit-down restaurant at the Magic Kingdom.  It certainly isn’t something most visitors will want to do every trip to Disney World, or even on their first trip, but it is certainly a unique experience that’s well worth doing once.  The “free” imaging package sweetens the deal, providing a nice picture keepsake to take home.  Similar to the Rainforst Café, you’re paying for the experience of dining in Cinderella’s Castle with Disney princesses, more than you are paying for the food.  Don’t expect a world class meal just because of the cost, because that isn’t what you’ll be receiving.

The Plaza Restaurant comes in second, with its low cost and quality sandwiches.  The only downside is the limited seating area.  Although its location on Main Street makes it less popular than it would be if it were in another of the “lands,” you’ll definitely want to make a reservation.  Liberty Tree Tavern for lunch is a traditional sit-down restaurant with a menu and moderately priced entrées.  The food is similar to what you would get at the dinner buffet and the prices are much lower.  There also won’t be (as much) pressure to stuff yourself silly in order to “get your money’s worth.”  Crystal Palace offers a wider food selection than Liberty Tree Tavern and features characters from Winnie the Pooh, which is why it’s above Liberty Tree Tavern for dinner.  If you don’t care about the characters and love Thanksgiving style food then Liberty Tree Tavern may be better for your group.  Tony’s Town Square comes in last.  There’s nothing particularly special about the food and service is generally on the lousy side.  With most entrées $17 and above, it isn’t cheap either.  While the lunch menu does offer some slightly less expensive options, the other restaurants on the list have more upside.

Your chances of having a terrible meal at any of the Magic Kingdom restaurants are low, even if you choose Tony’s Town Square.  Knowing the pros and cons of each choice will make you better equipped to choose the best restaurant for your group, even if that restaurant is rated low on any of the above categories.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve October 6, 2010 at 2:14 pm

I was surprised about the low rating for Tony’s. We were there in May with a 3-yr old and a 1-yr old and will be going back in Nov. We thought the food was good, portions were decent, and was well suited for kids. We actually did the “come before reservations start” option around 4:45pm for an early dinner.

Korey January 23, 2012 at 4:02 pm

I liked your comment about eating 17 pounds of food at the Liberty Tree… The one and only time I ate there, I left traumatized… They just kept bring me food and drink…Take a sip from your glass – they brought me another full glass.. The macaroni was nothing special, but everything else was great…But again, I took a bite, and they brought me more… They even gave us dessert for 4 (and there was only 2 of us)…

They just kept bringing more and more food and drink..I actually had to go back to my hotel room after eating there, just to recover…2 years later, Im still trying to recover from it

Judy Teichmann October 1, 2012 at 9:56 am

We have eaten at the Brown Derby once and that was enough. The food was horrible, the service was worse and the reservations meant nothing. This was for a Thanksgiving Dinner. It was soooo bad I would not eat there if it was the only restaurant in all of Disney World.

Todd January 22, 2013 at 10:06 am

We always make it a point to eat at the Brown Derby.

Cobb salads all around.

A great place to get away for lunch and it’s so relaxed you may even forget you’re at Disney World.

truckdriverfritz February 6, 2013 at 7:34 pm

we too, always get the “Cobb” at the Derby followed by pretty good coffee and the Grapefruit Layer Cake… one of our must-do’s along with O’Hana, Bistro, Artist’s Point, Boma, the list goes on…..

Judy Burton July 17, 2013 at 5:55 pm

FYI, Rainforest Cafe at Animal Kingdom IS on the Disney Dining Plan.. I believe they added it last year and we ate there September of 2012. It is average and very noisy. Don’t plan on eating there again

Dannielle P September 24, 2013 at 9:57 am

I love your dining posts. Have you considered having at least one image on a given page? I, like a lot of girls, am a pinner. I have a Disney Pinterest board and I pin all of my favorite Disney tips, to-do’s and eats on my board. I can’t pin from your blog because there are no images to pin :(
Just a thought!

lnv January 5, 2014 at 11:30 am

i am actually surprised not to see t-rex cafe on any of these lists. and, OK, OK, i know its a third party restaurant but it is in downtown Disney and a staple for all our Disney vacations. so in my mind its included lol

Tamera February 4, 2014 at 8:35 am

We ate at the Brown Derby & had a wonderful lobster bisque, followed by Duck. The Cobb salad was just ok compared to the duck. The Grapefruit cake was delicious. I would eat there again, but be careful of the VIP Plan, 59 a person may beige than you bargained for.

Melissa March 28, 2014 at 10:57 am

I’m surprised to see that Tony’s Town Square didn’t fare better. I thought the food was very good. My family and I ate twice in one week there because we enjoyed it so much!

Eve April 4, 2014 at 11:03 am

We recently came back from a weekend trip to Disney World and ate at T-Rex Cafe in Downtown Disney and Tony’s Town Square in the Magic Kingdom Theme park. We celebrated my son’s 15th birthday at T-Rex and they were very nice and gave him a beautiful birthday celebration. The food was great as well. Tony’s Town Square was also a wonderful celebration. All of the employees at Disney were very friendly and we received excellent service.

Anonymous May 13, 2014 at 12:30 am

Tony town square is good. I eat there so surprised it didn’t score higher. I will eat there next week thank u and it is my fave Disney place to eat. Best chicken parm.

Stephen May 13, 2014 at 12:32 am

Tony town square portions are big and love atmosphere. The place is great and compared to all Disney places at magic kingdom its best and most unique menu. Its a must on my trip

Kathryn July 18, 2014 at 6:36 pm

What are your thoughts on the “be our guest” restaurant? Making plans for a trip in man 2015.

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