This Disney Destination Boasts The First Theme Park Restaurant To Win A Michelin Star

Let's be honest: theme park food can be lousy sometimes. If you've perused our list of the best and worst places to eat in the Magic Kingdom, then you'll know Disney World is no exception to that. Sure, you might have fond memories from when you were a kid of nachos piled high with toppings at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe. However, when you return there as an adult who's been sampling non-Disney restaurants from the Michelin Guide, it puts poor Pecos Bill in proper perspective. Suddenly, you see that his toppings bar is a mess (or not even there, since it disappeared during the pandemic). Suddenly, you wish you were anywhere but this quick-service restaurant in a theme park where souvenir-crazed tourists with screaming kids worship the golden calf of a mouse named Mickey.

That's how Anton Ego, the animated food critic in Disney and Pixar's "Ratatouille" film, would probably characterize it, anyway. Fortunately, there's a place not far from the Magic Kingdom where your inner Anton can escape the noise and nachos and dine on a Michelin-starred meal at Disney World. In late April 2024, Victoria & Alberts, located in the Grand Floridian Resort, made headlines when it became the first restaurant owned and operated by a U.S. theme park to ever receive a Michelin star. The hotel and restaurant are located just outside the Magic Kingdom on the monorail loop around the Seven Seas Lagoon. There's a walkway connecting them directly to the park.

Michelin meets the Mouse House at Victoria & Albert's

At Victoria & Albert's, a choice of two multi-course chef's tasting menus awaits you. The cuisine is contemporary American, with "influences spanning from Asia to the Nordics," as Michelin puts it. The restaurant, named after Britain's Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, has a selection of 500-plus wines. Some have been aging to perfection since the early 1900s when the queen died and the real Victorian Era ended.

The team of chefs at Victoria & Albert's is led by Matthew Bowers, who had a hand in the opening of the Remy restaurants aboard the Disney Cruise Line. Those restaurants and their theming, including their wine offerings, were inspired by "Ratatouille" and its Parisian rat chef. In a roundabout way, that heightens the feeling of the dinner guest at Victoria & Albert's being Anton Ego, right at that point when a bite of delicious food reawakens the character's childhood memories and lost epicurean wonder.

At any rate, it's better than the "rat pizza" advertised at PizzeRizzo. No need for Disney Adults to worry about screaming kids, either, as Mouseketeers under 10 aren't allowed at Victoria & Albert's. The dress code is semi-formal/formal, and it will take an advance reservation and a $295 minimum to get you fed. However, Michelin notes it's "by no means an easy reservation" to secure. Each day, there's a single seating for dinner; this isn't the kind of Disney restaurant where you'll be waiting for bussers to clear tables.

A grand meal at the Grand Floridian

Michelin calls the meal at Victoria & Albert's a "leisurely, three-hour waltz," so even if you opt out of the $155 wine pairing, you'll pay about $100 an hour to be included in that one exclusive seating per night. In addition to the restaurant's main dining room, there's also the private Queen Victoria's Room, where live harp music accompanies four couples. At the Chef's Table, six guests dine right in the kitchen under a floral chandelier. The surrounding hotel, meanwhile, is reportedly the most expensive one at Disney World, with rooms averaging $900 a night.

As a native Floridian who now lives in a city with the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, I've sampled everything from one-star street food to three-star fine dining. Going from that to the breakfast buffet in another Disney hotel in recent months was a sobering reminder that all-you-can-eat isn't all it's cracked up to be in every theme park resort. You may know the feeling if you've experienced the best and worst of Disney's character breakfasts.

Fresh off a recent Michelin tour, my wife and I agreed that our palates were more refined now, and maybe nothing at Disney could ever compare again. As it happens, though, the Grand Floridian is the last place we visited on the last day of our last Disney World trip. If you can afford it, Victoria & Albert's may be the first place you want to visit on your next trip.