Walt Disney World For College Students: Resort Dining

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College students are famous for essentially being broke. Food is especially important for college students; it needs to be cheap, wholesome, and most importantly, edible.

Even though Walt Disney World, is expensive food-wise, there are hidden resort dining gems scattered throughout the resort area.

Without further delay, here are my seven, yeah seven, best resort dining options at Walt Disney World that won’t break your wallet, but are well worth the price, keeping all you college students happy.

NOTE: This list is my opinion – feel free to (politely) disagree with me in the comment section below!

  1. Kona Cafe (Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort & Villas): Known for its sushi bar and Asian-infused and seafood options, Kona Cafe offers one of the most unique menus on property. For breakfast, try the $16 Tonga Toast, cinnamon-rolled, banana-stuffed french toast served with strawberry compote sauce. Lunch and dinner menus are the same, and the sushi bar is open for both, with options ranging from $13-24. The $19 Asian Stir Fry or $21 Mango-Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast are both great lunch/dinner options. Also, try the Pot Stickers or Kona Crab Cakes as an appetizer. Any way you cut it, Kona Cafe is an excellent dining option.

  1. Capt. Cook’s (Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort & Villas): Capt. Cook’s might be the best counter service restaurant in a resort on property. Like the other restaurants at the Poly, Capt. Cook’s also has an Asian-infused menu. There are so many options here, it’s crazy. Some of the highlights of the menu are the Pork Fried Rice (a good portion for $8.99), the Fish Tacos (two with a side of chips or fries for $9.29), and the Pulled Pork Nachos (also priced at $9.29). Capt. Cook’s also has a good assortment of salads and beverages, so everyone in your group can find something they’ll like here. Overall, you pay for what you get for and more – a great value for a great meal.

  1. Contempo Cafe (Disney’s Contemporary Resort): Located on the fourth floor of the Contemporary, Contempo Cafe is a hidden gem for resort dining, offering an assortment of salads, flatbreads, sandwiches, and various other entrees. Some highlights are the Braised Beef Grilled Cheese at $10.99 and the Sustainable Catch Sandwich at $12.79. Also a hit are the desserts, especially the cupcakes. Contempo Cafe is well-known for their imaginative, creative cupcakes, so when you’re there, go check out what’s featured. They continuously change their cupcake menu. There is a lot of variety and with the portions you get, it’s a good bang for your buck.

  1. The Mara (Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House): Located on the bottom floor of the Jambo House at Animal Kingdom Lodge, very close to the Uzima Springs pool area, The Mara offers an assortment of meals, including many African-inspired dishes. Highlights of the menu include the Tamarind Barbecue Pork Sandwich at $10.79, the African Potjie at $8.49, and the Hand-carved Sandwich at $10.99. They also offer American comfort foods, like burgers and hot dogs. To top it off, they have the famed Zebra Domes from Boma, a white cake coated with white chocolate and a dark chocolate drizzle, meant to resemble a zebra. The meals are large and the prices are reasonable, putting The Mara towards the top of resort dining.

  1. Gasparilla Island Grill (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa): Located on the first floor of the main building, facing The Captain’s Shipyard, Gasparilla Island Grill has several different stations serving hot and cold sandwiches, flatbreads, salads, other entrees, refrigerated meals, and a dessert cart. Menu highlights include: the $12.99 Chicken & Brie Sandwich, the $11.29 Sausage & Mozzarella Pizza, and the $9.99 Roasted Turkey Sandwich. TIP: The music from Happily Ever After will be piped into the marina area, so get dinner around that time and watch the fireworks while you eat! 

  1. Landscape of Flavors (Disney’s Art of Animation Resort): Who would’ve thought a value resort dining location would be on here, but this place is good – really good. Landscape of Flavors has several different stations offering a very unique and plentiful menu with lots of different food options. Some menu highlights are the the $10.49 Curry Chicken, the $12.99 Mongolian Grilled Fish, and the $13.29 Surf and Surf Burger. They also have soups, salads, pasta, sandwiches, and a large dessert menu, including gelato and freshly prepared smoothies. Very much underrated, Landscape of Flavors has cemented its place amongst the finest resort dining options on property.

  1. Pepper Market (Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort): Another underrated resort dining option in a non-Deluxe resort, Pepper Market, located at Coronado Springs, offers a wide array of entrees, including many Mexican dishes, sandwiches, pizza, burgers, salads, and soups among other specialties. Some menu highlights are $14.99 BBQ Ribs, the $13.49 Aztec Burger, the $14.99 Crab Cake Sandwich, the $11.79 Cheese Empanada, and the $10.99 Market Nachos. The options are plentiful and the food is prepared well, and despite where Coronado Springs is located, the trip is well worth it.

I don’t even know where to go next, but I guess it’s time for the parks – the water parks that is!! 

About the author

Alex Murphy

Alex is a sophomore multi-platform journalism major at the University of Maryland. He has frequented the Disney parks since he was a child. He is also way to obsessed with Wonders of Life. Feel free to contact Alex at [email protected]