First choice would be Big Thunder BBQ. The food was consistently good and flavorful (remember those huge turkey legs) and great value. The ambience of the place and quiet gave one a wonderful break from the crowds. At dusk the Disney Cats might be spotted slinking around the area. I remember a family sitting near us one evening and their little boy was so excited about the appearance of one of them. He was sure it was a Mountain Lion he was seeing.
Runner Up is Captain Hook's Pirate Ship and Skull Rock. Chicken of the Sea originally sponsored it and they had the best tuna sandwiches for a quick lunch on the run. Hardly qualifies as a restaurant but it had loads of atmsophere and was one of the original attractions. I wonder if future generations will have such fond memories of the Tortilla Factory in DCA.
1. Tahitian Terrace circa 1970s.
2. Aladdin's Oasis dinner show with smoking genie lamps.
3. Sunkist Citrus House and I Presume
4. Coke Terrace in 1967 Tomorrowland with the rising stage.
5. Top of the Park at the DL Hotel.
6. Original Soda Fountain @ Carnation on Main Street!
7. Maxwell House Coffee House with the mocha cake.
8. Frito Kid machine
9. Plaza Pavilion with Spaghetti
10. Carnation Plaza Garden's Ice Cream and big band thing.
I'd put the ranch but it's reopening.
Although these aren't all bonafide restaurants, they represent those amazing signature tiems you crave when you come to the park.
"As usual he's taken over the coolest spot in the house"- Father re: Orville 1963
I loved the Tahitian Terrace and as a child/teenager was in awe of the fire knife dance. The food was good and reasonably priced. I was sad to see it go.
I also liked the original Carnation Cafe (where the Main Street Bakery is). They had a great roast beef and avocado sandwich called the Crossroads of America, and a large selection of sundaes (Splash Mountain, Matterhorn, Snow White, Big Thunder, etc.)
Most of all it was reasonably priced table service which is hard to find at either park.
Sunkist Citrus House
Dole Whips on a hot day (But they are returning : > )
The Old Menu at PCH grill inside the Pardise Pier Hotel. The new menu stinks : > (
Lastly, nothing like getting a Pancake Breakfast at Aunt Jehmima's (now the River Bell Terrace) Even though you can still get the same food the ambiance was better back then - Probably because I was much younger when visiting back then too.
I also miss talking to a live person to order food at Taste Pilots Grill. Those machines are a waste of money since the person at the counter still has to enter in the order for the cooks to fill out. Whose brilliant idea was that? Adding computers for self service is not cheaper than keeping on an employee especially since most of them are part time anyways.
But what I really miss is the days of cheaper prices.