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I’ve wanted to eat at Epcot’s Coral Reef Restaurant for a while now, but I was always nervous that my picky family wouldn’t find anything to eat.  I’m not the biggest eater of seafood, but I wanted to experience Coral Reef Restaurant just once.  What can I say?  The aquarium views and the temptation of dessert drew me in.  Here’is our experience.

Our Reservation to Coral Reef Restaurant Approaches

I booked an opening Advanced Dining Reservation, or ADR, so we would have the best possible chance of sitting near the aquarium.  Actually, the best I could get was 11:30 a.m.  I was a little worried that we wouldn’t have an amazing experience if we were seated too far away from the aquarium.

We entered Epcot at rope drop from the International Gateway between France and Great Britain.  For the first part of the trip, we stayed at the Boardwalk Inn, so we were just a quick air-conditioned boat ride from our resort to this back entrance.  We didn’t have many people waiting with us either.  When the park opened, we walked straight to Soarin’ since World Showcase wasn’t open yet, and I used our Fastpasses for Frozen Ever After.  We walked right on to Soarin’.  We also took a ride on Figment and Spaceship Earth before I thought we should get in line to meet Alice.  We’d never met her before, so we wanted to give it a try.

Alice in Epcot, Walt Disney World

Luckily, we were thrid in line, so as soon as we met Alice, we walked briskly back to Future World to the Living Seas.  We arrived just a few minutes before our ADR.  We checked in and sat in the cool waiting area.

Waiting Area Coral Reef Restaurant Epcot

I asked for an aquarium-side table, and the hostess said she’d do her best.  We weren’t right up by the glass, but our booth did face the aquarium. Coral Reef Restaurant Epcot

Relatively speaking, we were pretty close to the fish.  Here is the view from the back of the restaurant; we were seated in front of that first wave wall.

Coral Reef Restaurant Epcot

Lunch Time at the Coral Reef

As I mentioned, I was nervous about what my family would eat.  I planned to order the strip steak.  I convinced Jeff to give it a try.  Kristin was disappointed that they didn’t have her staple of life when dining out–chicken strips.  In the end, she decided to try the shells and cheese.

First, we had drinks.  Kristin ordered a drink with a glowing Tinkerbell.

Drink at Coral Reef Restaurant Epcot

Soon, we had bread service.  Yum!

Bread Service Coral Reef Restaurant Epcot

I ordered the strip steak without any alterations.  It was so good!

Steak at Coral Reef Restaurant

Jeff ordered the same, but he substituted fries.  I’ve found Disney to be pretty accommodating; if they can find a way to make it work, they will.

Steak with Fries at Coral Reef Restaurant

Kristin really wasn’t a fan of her shells.  She said they were too cheesy.  I know.  Who says that?  I think Jeff ate some of it.

Kids Shells at Coral Reef Restaurant Epcot

Dessert at the Coral Reef

I was definitely looking forward to this part of the experience.   I’d read about a certain cheesecake that I knew I had to try.

Coral Reef Cheesecake Epcot

How cute is that?  And yummy, too!  I couldn’t finish it, though, so I took the rest back to my room.  In case you were wondering, yes, you can get to-go boxes in Disney parks.  Since we were heading back to our room at the Boardwalk for an afternoon break, I took it with me.

Kristin had this adorable cupcake.  We are quite fond of cupcakes at Disney.

Kids Cupcake at Coral Reef Restaurant Epcot

Final Thoughts

Overall, I’m glad we gave this a try even though my daughter had a lunch consisting of rolls and a cupcake.  I know we probably won’t ever go back, but I’m grateful my family indulged me and let me make a Disney memory.  If you enjoy seafood, or even a good steak, you’ll enjoy this restaurant.  I also loved the atmosphere; it was fun to watch the fish and try to identify them with the provided chart.  Coral Reef Restaurant was a win for me, but my picky eaters would give it a pass.

Click on the following links to read more about dining experiences in Disney!

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno

Chef Mickey’s

Cinderella’s Royal Table

Coral Reef Restaurant Epcot
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22 Comments

  1. I love aquariums! This restaurant sounds fabulous! My little girl would love that glowing tinkerbell straw, and those desserts look fantastic.

    P.S. The shells were too cheesy?? Kids are hilarious! My children have been known to say things like that, too.

    • What a great description of your dining experience! I appreciated the way you shared your morning leading up to the meal. You seem like a very efficient Disney traveler! Thanks for the post.

      • Stacey Reply

        We are getting better at doing Disney. Thanks for reading!

    • Stacey Reply

      It really does have nice atmosphere. I’d go again in heartbeat.

  2. Thanks for sharing. We have never tried it because it reminds me of the Aquarium Restaurant chain which we frequent. But…those desserts are absolutely adorable though. Only Disney can make something that magical!! Will consider when we go next time perhaps for a sweet treat. Thanks!

    • Stacey Reply

      Disney does make everything magical! I’ve always wanted to try one of those Aquarium restaurants, but I don’t know of one nearby. Maybe someday!

  3. I’ve always wanted to dine next to the aquarium at Epcot! It looks very serene with the view of the fish!!! But too cheesy mac & cheese???? No way!

    • Stacey Reply

      I know! My kid is crazy. It was a rather peaceful dining experience, at least by Disney standards!

  4. My husband and I ate at this restaurant when we were in Disney World on our honeymoon! I loved the aquarium and the food was yummy. I don’t remember what we ate, but I remember it being tasty! The glowing Tinker Bell straw is a fun addition for your daughter. I bet she loved it. All of the restaurants in Disney do such a great job on their desserts. The special touches and unique flairs they add to each dessert makes it extra magical!

    • Stacey Reply

      I agree about the desserts. I hardly ever order dessert when I eat out, but I make exceptions at Disney!

  5. I am a huge Disney fan, I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this restaurant! I’m currently planning my next trip for my boyfriend and I and this has moved to the top of my list. Thank you for showing me something new! I can’t wait to try it out. Fingers crossed I get a reservation

    • Stacey Reply

      Yay! I don’t think you’ll have too much trouble getting an ADR if you get it close to your 180 days. I don’t remember having trouble scoring it.

  6. I can’t believe we haven’t tried this place yet. I’ve had so many friends eat here and enjoy it, but we just haven’t made it over there yet. Good to know they have non-seafood items on the list (which I figured they did, but the boys aren’t convinced yet).

    • Stacey Reply

      You’ll have to continue your date night series to include Future World and give it a try! 🙂

  7. I love the Coral Reef! I went with my sister a few years ago for her birthday dinner. We are pescatarian, so we do love seafood — I can see how it may be a challenging menu for kids. It’s also one of the Epcot restaurants you can have cakes delivered to, so we had my sister’s cake brought out for dessert and they sang happy birthday to her as well! So fun! We were lucky enough to get a tank-side table, but that’s probably easier when you’re a party of 2. Great post!

    • Stacey Reply

      I’m glad you had a great experience! I’d go back in a heartbeat, but my family would ditch me. Ha!

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