by Fairy Diva
Imagine having a delicious meal while sitting next to a stunning aquarium and watching a large variety of sea life (and possibly a scuba diver or two) swim by. This experience is possible at Coral Reef Restaurant, located in Epcot at Walt Disney World! Coral Reef Restaurant is located in the same building as The Seas with Nemo and Friends and is a great dining experience for anyone who loves to see the creatures of the sea. The restaurant serves both lunch and dinner.
On our recent trip to Walt Disney World, we had dinner one evening at Coral Reef Restaurant. The restaurant is located toward the back of The Seas with Nemo and Friends building, so we had to locate the restaurant sign and proceed down a sidewalk winding to the rear of the building. As with most restaurants at Walt Disney World, there was plenty of space available for parking strollers. The waiting area of the restaurant had lots of seating and was nicely decorated, giving an atmosphere of being under the sea. We were taken to our table shortly after we checked in. Our reservation was around 5:00, since we have little ones that are accustomed to having an early dinner. When we arrived there was not a large crowd waiting to be seated. However, when we left about an hour later, the waiting area was full and we had a difficult time squeezing through the crowd to the exit.
The dining room in Coral Reef Restaurant is quite a site! Lining an entire wall is the aquarium. This is the same aquarium seen and available to explore at The Seas with Nemo and Friends ride. The views of the fish and coral reef are amazing, and our kids had no problem waiting between courses because they were too busy watching the sea creatures floating by. In the main dining area, there are three tiers that move upward from the aquarium. Therefore, some diners are right next to the aquarium, while others are at the top of the third tier and some distance away. Diva Tip: Arrive about twenty minutes prior to your advanced dining reservation time and request to be seated next to the aquarium. While requests are not always met, you definitely have a better chance of getting the table you most want. The night we dined at Coral Reef Restaurant, it was rainy and we were a little late for our reservation. All of the tables next to the aquarium were full, and we received a table on the third tier. I was pleasantly surprised that we still had an excellent view of the aquarium and did not feel like our dining experience was any less special being on the third level.
Once seated, your hostess gives your table a fish guide, which helps you locate particular types of fish swimming throughout the aquarium. Our children were provided with ocean-themed menus and crayons. This helped entertain them when they weren’t glued to the sea creatures swimming nearby. Our food was plentiful and quite tasty. We are not very picky eaters, so we enjoyed our meal, as we have at most all of Disney World’s restaurants. We were on the Disney Dining Plan, so we received an entrée and dessert. My husband and I both had steak (I couldn’t bear to eat fish while watching them swim right next to me!). My son ordered the macaroni and cheese. The portion was so large it easily fed him and our two year old.
The best part of the meal were the desserts! I ordered the cheesecake, which was shaped like a turtle. My husband had the Chocolate Wave, which was delicious. My son ordered a cupcake, topped with fish-shaped sprinkles and an edible crab candy. Diva Tip: If paying out of pocket, consider having lunch at Coral Reef Restaurant. The prices are much less and some of the dinner options are listed on the lunch menu as well. The atmosphere is excellent regardless of the time of day!
Consider a meal under the sea at Coral Reef Restaurant during your next visit to Epcot. As with most restaurants at Walt Disney World, advanced dining reservations are recommend, and can be made 180 days in advance of your visit. For an additional review of lunch at the Coral Reef Restaurant, click here.