For anyone embarking on their first Walt Disney World adventure, planning park visits and picking rides might take top priority. And with four parks and over 170 attractions, that wouldn’t be a mistake. But take it from someone who has spent a lot of time at Disney: Eating and drinking are as important to the vacation experience as the roller coasters. With more than 200 places to eat within the entire resort, narrowing it down can be tough, especially if you’re looking for great cocktails.
Magic Kingdom is a mostly dry park; there are wine, beer, and a few pre-mixed cocktails at sit-down restaurants. The other three parks — Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom — all serve liquor. There’s also Disney Springs, the shopping and dining district that’s part of Walt Disney World but not in any parks, not to mention 32 resorts across the property that all have restaurants and bars. And it’s a lot to explore.
Luckily, there are folks out there (ahem) who have visited Disney enough times to know which spots are right for which occasions. On a day you don’t mind braving the wait for a seat inside Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, the magical tiki-inspired bar is a can’t miss. But when time is short and you’re thirsty — or you just want a break from the crowds — stick to places that aren’t as well known. Sure, they might be tucked away and a little harder to find, but most of the best bars are. And when you’re navigating Walt Disney World, whether it’s your first time or your 10th, knowing where to get a stiff drink and a little respite is worth every penny.
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From secret space stations to tropical lounges and rooftop escapes, here are the best hidden bars at Walt Disney World. Keep this list handy and use it well!
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is a moderate-level resort, but it’s hiding one of the most chic and artistic restaurants in all of Walt Disney World. On the top floor of the Gran Destino Tower, Toledo is a Spanish-inspired restaurant decorated in a stunning Surrealist design; its bar, Dahlia Lounge, might just be the most beautiful watering hole anywhere on property. Inside, there’s an expansive bar with sculptural art installations. Outside, the rooftop patio has prime viewing of Epcot and Hollywood Studios fireworks. Order tapas like ham and cheese bocadillos and tortilla espanola with cocktails like the Gran Gin & Tonic, with house-made saffron-orange tonic, and El Pepino, with Xoriguer Gin de Mahón, Ancho Reyes Verde Chile Poblano, St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, lime, and cucumber.
There’s no simple way to get to the Dockside Bar, which sits out in the middle of Lake Buena Vista at Disney Springs and is part of The Boathouse. To make your way out to the dock, you need to enter the restaurant, navigate through the people waiting to sit (there’s always a crowd at this bustling seafood restaurant), walk around the enormous raw bar and inside bar, and open a door to the deck that looks like a service entrance. Then, you’ll see a walkway out to the bar: Start staking out your spot as soon as you head that way. The floating bar serves the full Boathouse menu, as well as cocktails, a selection of Florida craft beers, and more than 40 wines by the glass.
Disney’s Polynesian Resort, on the Seven Seas Lagoon, has a lot of places to get tropical concoctions and is a popular spot for adults looking for a quick cocktail break from Magic Kingdom across the water. The overlooked one is Tambu Lounge, a tiki bar on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House. There, you can order Hawaiian-inspired snacks and tropical drinks with a real punch, like the Lapu Lapu: Plantation Original Dark Rum and tropical fruit juices served in a fresh pineapple, topped with Gosling’s 151 Rum.
Epcot’s space-themed restaurant is one of the hottest reservations at Disney, with tables booking months in advance. What many people don’t know, though, is that there’s a Space 220 Lounge with tables and an expansive bar, and a separate lounge menu of appetizers and cocktails. Head to the restaurant and put your name on the lounge waiting list (don’t worry, the quoted wait time is almost always longer than the actual wait). Once you’ve gone up the elevator into the stratosphere and you’re in the Centauri Space Station, take a seat at the bar and order a space libation: The Orion Old Fashioned has Four Roses Bourbon, Grand Marnier, and chocolate bitters; the Atmospritz has New Amsterdam Vodka, Aperol, blood orange, orange juice, and a cotton candy cloud.
Inside Rainforest Cafe in Disney Springs, there are animatronic animals and enormous fish tanks — and lots and lots of kids. Outside, the Lava Lounge is a serene oasis directly on Lake Buena Vista, which you can access by walking through a “lava tube” built into the building’s exterior, which just happens to be a volcano that erupts in flames every few minutes. While you’re there, order a speciality cocktail that fits the theme: The Mongoose Mai Tai is made with Don Q Coconut Rum, Myers’s Original Dark Rum, DeKuyper Crème de Almond Liqueur, orange and pineapple juices; the Cheetah Rita has Sauza Blue Silver Tequila, Patrón Citrónge Orange Liqueur, and fresh lime juice.
Disney has a few beach-inspired hotels on property, but there’s a particularly serene, coastal vibe to Disney’s Old Key West Resort, with its pastel buildings and its views of the Sassagoula River. On the dock where the water taxis load and unload passengers, the Gurgling Suitcase Libations & Spirits is a laid-back bar serving tropical cocktails like the bar’s signature Turtle Krawl, made with Siesta Key White Rum, Parrot Bay Coconut Rum, and Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, plus grenadine, pineapple, orange, and key lime juices.
One of Hollywood Studios’s most unforgettable dining experiences is the ‘50s Prime Time Cafe, a retro television-themed restaurant decorated like a house. There, you could be seated at a kitchen table or in the living room, and every table has a TV playing footage from Disneyland’s opening day in 1955. Attached to the restaurant is the tucked-away Tune-In Lounge, a walk-up bar that looks like your grandma’s rec room. The signature cocktails, like Dad’s Electric Lemonade (made with vodka, blue curaçao, sour mix, Sprite, and a souvenir glow cube) tend to be very sweet, but there’s a full bar and you can order your drink of choice while you wait for a table, or just take it to go and stroll around the park as you sip.
Victoria Falls Lounge
Step inside Jambo House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and you’ll be greeted with a soaring lobby atrium full of African art and enormous windows that overlook the resort’s savanna where giraffes and zebras roam. There’s so much to take in that no one would blame you for not seeing the unmarked staircase off to the side, which leads to a mezzanine between the lobby and Boma, the restaurant below. On that mezzanine is Victoria Falls Lounge, a small bar serving South African wines and cocktails that put African spirits at the forefront, like the bar’s signature Flame Lily, with Cruxland Gin andVan Der Hum Tangerine Liqueur, plus Campari and lemon juice, served with a souvenir lotus glow cube.
Maria & Enzo’s is a travel-themed Italian restaurant in Disney Springs. Walk past the restaurant and down a set of curved stairs, and you’ll find a neon sign welcoming you to Enzo’s Hideaway, a speakeasy tunnel bar serving antipasti and fresh pasta. There’s an extensive Italian wine list, but it’s one of the only places at Disney you’ll find a Negroni Sbagliato on the cocktail menu.