A couple of nights ago, our family was eating dinner. These days, we usually eat in the living room. Some nights, we’ll actually eat at the dinner table, but those days are few and far between. One of my goals for 2017 is to eat more meals at the dinner table, but that’s a blog for another day.

Anyway, as we’re all sitting in the living room, enjoying our tacos, I looked around the room. My youngest was watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. My oldest was doing the same. My middle child was watching YouTube. My wife was looking on Pinterest and I was on Facebook.

None of us were really paying attention to our food, our minds were pre-occupied with other things. Then I started thinking, that’s just kind of normal, right? Every where you go, there seems to be something to distract you while you’re eating. Most restaurants have TVs all over the place now. Other restaurants may have a band playing. Rarely do you go somewhere that there isn’t something to entertain you while eating.

That led me to my list today. I started thinking, what are the top 5 places to get a meal and entertainment at Disney World?

There are the obvious dinner shows. Then there are the not-so-obvious. Here’s my list, in order of my preference:

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5. Whispering Canyon 

This restaurant is one of my favorites for so many reasons. I love Wilderness Lodge, I love the lobby there, I love the theme. And I like the food at Whispering Canyon. But what puts it over the top for me is the atmosphere. I won’t spoil a lot of it here, but the “entertainment” is largely on you to create it. Whether you participate or not, though, there’s definitely a lot going on for you to watch while you eat. Just make sure someone at your table asks for ketchup.

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4. Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater

First of all, you’ll have to explain to your kids what a Drive-In theater was, but once you get past that, slide into your car (I prefer the front seat so I can drive) and enjoy the food and show under the stars. Tom and Jerry cartoons and other favorites are played on the big screen. It’s a short loop (I think 30 minutes), so there’s a good chance you might start to see some repeats. But it’s good for nostalgia sake to dine here and experience the old Drive-in Theater feeling again.

3. Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe

Not one that a lot of people would consider dinner and a show, but if you can snag a spot in the main room, you’ll get to hear some of the unique stylings from Sonny Eclipse, the resident crooner/comedian at Cosmic Rays. The jokes are corny, the music is catchy and the baked chicken meal is one of the best values on property (you can easily share it between an adult and child).

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2. Biergarten

Ticky Tocky Ticky Tocky Oi Oi Oi! It’s Oktoberfest 365 days a year at Germay’s Biergarten. Enjoy some delicious German food and stick around for the band. Before you make your ADRs for Biergarten, make sure you check when the band will be playing, if you want that to be a part of your experience. They typically play at 1:15 p.m.,  2:15 p.m., 3:15 p.m., 4:45 p.m., 5:55 p.m., 7:05 p.m. and 8:05 p.m.  The only knock I’ve ever heard on Biergarten is that it’s banquet-style seating, so there’s a good chance your party of 4 could have 2 (or more) other people sitting at your table. But introduce yourself and by the end of the meal, you’ll most likely have made new friends.

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1. Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue

Come on now, anybody that knows me should know this would be my No. 1 pick. First of all, let’s talk about the food. Fried chicken, ribs, corn, beer, do I need to go on? There’s salad and beans too, but why eat that when you have all-you-can-eat friend chicken and ribs. Now, on to the show. If you like slapstick humor mixed with music, this is your show. Guaranteed to keep you in stitches and you can see the show as many times as you want and it still won’t get old because the crowd participation makes each viewing unique.

So, that’s my list. I left off a couple of obvious ones (I think at least), but I did that to get you involved. What’s your favorite dinner and a show at Disney World? Maybe Spirit of Aloha? What about dining during Illuminations? Coral Reef (the aquarium I would consider as entertainment)?

Chime in on the comments and have fun with it.

And remember, if you’re thinking about a Disney trip, email me at FTJBrady@gmail.com and let me take care of the pesky details. And be sure to mention this blog and my services to your friends. You’d be helping me out tremendously, and I appreciate it.

Have a great day and remember to let your conscience be your guide.

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