No trip to Walt Disney World would be complete, for our family, without a sit-down meal at one of the restaurants either in the parks or elsewhere on Disney property. With so many options to choose from, it can be hard, sometimes, to choose where we want to have that meal on property. One restaurant that we have eaten at and revisited several times over the last few years is Cape May Cafe, located at Disney's Beach Club Resort. Whether we are eating breakfast there or dinner, it is always an enjoyable experience. In my opinion, this dining experience is one of the better choices on property, and I thought I'd take a shot at doing my first dining review blog post to give an objective review for anyone who may be considering whether or not to make this part of their Walt Disney World vacation.
Cape May Cafe is situated right off the main lobby of Disney's Beach Club resort. It is a casual buffet eatery with much of the same beach-y northeastern seaboard theme that is present in the rest of the resort. It is a perfectly acceptable restaurant for theme park attire (i.e. shorts, t-short, sandals, etc). It's also fairly noisy, in the sense that it's not the type of restaurant where you would need to feel discouraged from taking young children to.
It definitely recommended to make reservations ahead of time either on the My Disney Experience app or by calling 407-WDW-DINE. They will take walk-ups on occasion, but the chances of getting into a restaurant as a walk-up without a long wait are becoming more and more slim at most sit-down restaurants on property. Just keep in mind that Disney now requires a $10 deposit on all reservations booked ahead of time. The amount is applied to your meal, but if canceled with less than 24 hours notice, it is non-refundable and cannot be transferred to another dining reservation.
Once you check in at the podium situated in front of the restaurant, it is usually a very short wait (if any at all) before you are called back. In the meantime, there is seating with a TV playing Disney cartoons in the lobby of the hotel right next to the restaurant that you can utilize to relax and keep the kids (or yourself) entertained.
All You Can Eat!
Cape May Cafe is an all-you-can-eat buffet that serves breakfast and dinner. This adds to the value of the dining experience, which is important when dining on property, because you're always going to find that dining on-property comes at a premium. My family and I like to maximize the value, especially, with a late breakfast, because it can double as breakfast and lunch.
Cape May also has good options for our kids. Of course, the Mickey waffles are served on the buffet. They also have a selection of cereals, fresh fruit, and pastries. One thing that is nice about the area of the buffet for kids is that it is lowered down to be at eye level for them. So, it is easier for them to get what they want on their own if you're so inclined to let them.
Breakfast vs. Dinner
I, generally, have said that it's really hard for a Disney restaurant to mess up breakfast. Even some of my lesser prefered restaurants on property do satisfactory breakfasts. We consider Cape May, though, as being on par with the highly-sought-after Chef Mickey's at Disney's Contemporary Resort, when it comes to breakfast. One of the biggest differences that you'll see between breakfast and dinner is the inclusion of Minnie, Daisy, Donald, and Goofy during breakfast. You'll find, though, that you pay more for this breakfast than you might at some of the other non-character dining experiences. Currently, the price changes depending on the time of year, and it runs anywhere from $35 - $40 for adults and $20 - $22 for kids ages 3 - 9, and it includes the all-you-can-eat buffet and a standard non-alcoholic drink. If you're on the Disney Dining Plan, it is 1 table service dining credit.
The offerings for breakfast include cold meats and cheeses, a yogurt bar, scrambled eggs, Mickey waffles (as mentioned earlier), pork sausage links, Cape May French Toast with Caramel Banana Sauce, and more.
Dinner is a much different and uniquely-themed New England clam bake all-you-can-eat buffet, and the characters are absent. The price for dinner also depends on the time of year and ranges from $48 - $52 for adults and $26 - $30 for children ages 3 - 9.
The offerings for dinner include Cape May Seafood Chowder, steamed mussels, and fried clam strips, fried shrimp, and steamed crab legs.
This buffet loses its value for those who don't care for seafood, but there are offerings for those people as well, like pork barbecue ribs, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn on the cob, red potatoes, and Key Lime chiffon cake.
Honestly, for the price point, if you're not into seafood, there are better places on property to get the most for your money, especially since there are no characters present at dinner. The breakfast, though, is definitely one of the better experiences on property and will satisfy pretty much anyone in your party.
Dining with Character
Breakfast at Cape May is one of over a dozen character dining experiences available at the Walt Disney World Resort. The price point for character dining is substantially higher than your average restaurant, but the characters come around to your table individually to take pictures and interact with your party on a one-on-one basis. When you factor in the all-you-can-eat buffet experience combined with the opportunity to meet some of the more popular Disney characters without waiting in line, it becomes a little easier to justify the higher price point. As was mentioned earlier in this post, it is only 1 table-service dining credit on the Disney Dining Plan, so it's definitely a good choice for you if you're using the plan. You can find out more information about the Disney Dining Plan and how it works at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/plans/.
Conveniently Located Near Epcot
Cape May Cafe is located in Disney's Beach Club Resort, which is a very short and relaxing walk from the World Showcase entrance to Epcot. Besides the food and the experience, my family and I enjoying eating breakfast here even if we're not staying at the Beach Club, because we can drive over and park at the resort, eat breakfast, and then walk to Epcot. During busier times of year, Disney may loosely enforce time limits on the amount of time that you're allowed to park at the resort, but for the majority of the year, there are no problems with parking at the resort, having a meal at Cape May, and walking to the park afterwards. There's also boat transportation at the resort going to Epcot, but the walk is short and, honestly, probably faster than waiting for the boat to arrive, load, and make its way to the park. It's also a great way to walk off some of those calories from your meal.
Epcot isn't the only park that you can easily access from this location.
Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park is a little further away than Epcot, but Disney's Beach Club resort also has boat transportation to this park as well. If you don't mind walking a little further (approximately 1.2 miles), you can skip the boat and take a sidewalk all the way from the Beach Club to Hollywood Studios.
If you do dinner at Cape May Cafe, you also have the added option of taking a short and leisurely stroll around Crescent Lake over to Disney's Boardwalk Inn. Themed after early-1900's Atlantic City, The Boardwalk has live entertainment nightly, midway games, food and beverage vendors, a dance club, and Jellyrolls, which is, in my opinion, one of the best dueling piano bars around.
With so many delicious and fun places to eat at the Walt Disney World resort, it can be tough picking just the right spot. With the added challenge of the almost necessity of booking your dining reservations months in advance, it can be especially hard to pick just the right spot. Cape May Cafe is not necessarily a "must-do" for our family, but it is a solid choice for breakfast or dinner and we always walk away satisfied. Also, with all I've mentioned about the importance of booking your reservations ahead of time, it actually is one of the restaurants on property that we've generally had a fairly easy time with getting last minute reservations. So, if you haven't tried Cape May Cafe at Disney's Beach Club resort, I definitely recommend trying it out on your next trip to Walt Disney World. It's a great excuse to stay at Disney's Beach Club resort, which is an absolutely fantastic experience or you can just pop over for a visit and enjoy a meal.
What are some of your favorite places to eat on-property that might not get as much publicity as some of the other highly sought-after restaurants? Keep the discussion going by commenting below or over at the All About the Mouse Disney Podcast Facebook group.