Disney’s Dolphin Hotel Dining in 2021

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Walk up to the Disney Dolphin hotel exterior
Image: Grace Hoyos

As an unofficial Disney resort, the dining at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel is going to look just a bit different from what you might expect. However, that doesn’t change the fact that the Disney Dolphin Hotel has awesome dining options, ranging from quick service to fine dining and everywhere in between. Most of the dining is right in the main part of the hotel, near the lobby or the BoardWalk entrance, making it convenient to find exactly what you need.

Unlike other Disney locations, the Dolphin Hotel divides its dining into four specific categories – Lounges, Quick Service, Casual, and Signature. Each of these options meets a different need or occasion throughout your stay, providing just the right food for the activity at hand. We know you’ll be pleasantly surprised in what you find at the Dolphin, and maybe even find some new favorites!


Dining at the Disney Dolphin Hotel


Lounges

For those that want a lighter bite or just need some adult time, a lounge can be a great option. You can also hang out at the Shula’s Lounge or the Bluezoo Lounge while you wait for your table to be ready, or to grab a quick drink before dinner.

Shula’s Lounge

Connected to Shula’s Steakhouse, this Dolphin Hotel dining delight is the perfect blend of fun and fancy. With TVs tuned in to your favorite sports, there is a bit of a conventional bar atmosphere. At the same time, the cushy bar stools, crisp and clear décor, and the high-class restaurant will make you think twice about arriving in your board shorts.

Enjoy an incredible array of sparkling, white, and red wines, of both the foreign and domestic varieties. Don’t be afraid to ask the bartender for a recommendation, especially if you want to pair your wine with your food!

One of the best parts of this lounge is that you can order off the full Shula’s Steakhouse dinner menu. This makes Shula’s Lounge a great option if you couldn’t get a table at the steakhouse, or if you want to be able to have a more relaxed feel.

Phins Lounge

Part of the updated lobby over at the Dolphin Hotel, Phins Lounge is another great midday dining option or light evening meal. Sit at the bar top or get your food over at the surrounding tables, the sharable items and delicious drinks will have you coming back again and again.

For something to share with your beverages, we suggest the Bavarian soft pretzel served with German mustard and beer cheese, or the delicious hummus trio if you want to go the healthy route. If you want something a bit more substantial, the Pork Belly Bao or Lamb Meatballs would be our recommendation!

Among the typical beer and wine offerings, Phins also serves several different specialty drinks. The one with the highest wow factor is the Smoke N’ Roses, a combination of Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, Bliss Maple Syrup, Amarena Cherry Juice and Fresh Lemon all served at your in a signature smoke box. This smoke box both holds in the flavor and adds to the drama with the reveal of your drink. Both the Swan and Dolphin also serve their own pale ale, Phins & Feathers, specially made for these hotels.

Todd English’s bluezoo Lounge

Unlike Shula’s Lounge, Todd English’s bluezoo Lounge has a menu all its own. Each item is a small plate to serve as an accompaniment to your drinks, great for a late night snack or a pre-dinner munchie. You can also grab one of the bigger items if you would rather have your dinner in the lounge.

Some of the smaller plates that we love are the crispy calamari, which also comes with fried pickles and shallot rings, as well as the crab nachos. The bluezoo lounge also has a couple of flatbreads, including an incredible blue cheese and fig option, which you can share or keep all to yourself. For more of a full meal, go for the bz burger or the fish and chips. Both are beyond satisfying, and to the level of quality you would expect from bluezoo.

With an expansive wine list, you’ll definitely find something to tempt your palate. On the cocktail list, one that stuck with us is the smoking cherry pie sangria. This delectable sangria brings together pinot noir, orgeat syrup, crème de mûre, banhez mezcal, and cherry shrub with a dusting of graham cracker and topped with liquid nitrogen for the smoky effect.


Quick Service Dining at the Dolphin Hotel

Picabu

Open for both breakfast and dinner, Picabu is one of those dining options at the Dolphin Hotel that is perfect if you’re on the go. A fun tropical theme, this quick service location goes with the island story that is the origin of the Dolphin, also while giving you a pick me up.

Breakfast

While the choices are few, the food is delicious! Start with one of the Picabu entrees – The Standard, the Picabu Breakfast, or the waffle platter. If you’re a breakfast platter lover like me, you’ll go for the Picabu Breakfast – scrambled eggs, choice of breakfast meat, skillet potatoes, toast, and your choice of grits or oatmeal. Platters like these are a great way to get everything you need to fuel your morning, and are perfect for splitting. If you prefer your own breakfast, the Standard breakfast sandwich or delicious topped waffles will do the trick.

You can also build your own breakfast a la carte with the assortment of side items. Get biscuits and gravy and then add a side of bacon, go for scrambled eggs and toast, or just have a bit of oatmeal. There are also plenty of other daily choices in the fridge cases, so be sure to check them out!

Dinner

At dinnertime, Picabu turns into a Taqueria, or taco stand, with all your Mexican favorites and fixings. Tacos, burritos, and taco bowls come in mix-and-match varieties, starting with a choice of meat between carne asada, guajillo pork, braised jackfruit or adobo chicken. From there, pile on your toppings, including different types of cheese, beans, queso fresco, guacamole, and more.

Picabu also has a couple of family meal options if you’re looking to feed everyone at once. Get a twelve-inch pizza with your choice of toppings, or snag a whole baked chicken with three sides. You can also get the half chicken with two sides for a smaller party or just two people to share.

For the kids, the options cover all types of eaters. Stick with Mexican and get a taco or cheese quesadilla, or go conventional with mac and cheese or chicken tenders. All the kids meals come with their choice of fresh fruit or French fries, again giving your kiddos the choice to build their meal.

Fuel

Fuel is a market-type dining location at the Dolphin Hotel. Not only can you get what’s on their menu, but you can also find plenty of your favorite snacks and drinks. Take your food on the go, or sit and eat in their small dining area. Either way, Fuel is a great place to stop on your way out to a busy park day!

On the official menu, the focus is primarily on beverages, making Fuel the perfect spot to get your morning coffee. Grab a cappuccino, chai tea latte, or an energy drink for that morning jolt, paired with one of the delicious pastries from the case. Fuel is also open at 6:00am, ideal for early risers and rope-droppers.

Fuel stays open all day long as well, so if you need to stop in for a quick snack or afternoon caffeine, this is the place!


Disney Dolphin Hotel Casual Dining

Cabana Bar and Beach Club

More than just your average pool bar, Cabana Bar and Beach Cub has gourmet-level appetizers and small plates, perfect for a satisfying lunch lounging by the pool. Cabana opens every day at 11:00am, and stays open until 8:00pm, so you can also get a relaxing dinner here after a long day out.

Food Items

If you’re looking more for appetizers, these shareable options are perfect! Try the crispy fried calamari, served with a chili lime sauce and queso blanco aioli for dipping. You could also just get a side of waffle fries or onion rings if you want something to much, both of which go perfectly with a cold beverage. Two different flatbreads, a classic Margherita or roasted mushroom with gruyère cheese and bacon, work both for splitting and as a meal for one. Cabana’s also has standard cheese and pepperoni pizza if that better fits your mood.

For something a bit more freshing, try the grilled watermelon with spiced ricotta cheese, topped with friseé lettuce and tomatoes. You could also go for the tuna poke bowl, sushi-grade tuna served over a bed of seasoned sushi rice, topped with avocado relish, red onion, and crispy wontons all drizzled with tamari ginger dressing.

Looking for a full meal? Don’t worry, Cabana has those too! Chicken tenders get an upgrade with downhome buttermilk batter, hot, crispy, and delicious, with honey mustard on the side for dipping. Adventurous eaters will love the chicken shawarma kebob topped with tzatziki sauce or the charred octopus topped with pea shoots and a lemon gremolata served with smashed fingerling potatoes and a side of smoked paprika aioli.

Cabana is even looking out for your kiddos! Find all their favorites, including pizza, chicken tenders, grilled cheese, and burgers, all of which you can get with the seasoned waffle fries.

Beverages

As for the beverages, Cabana Bar has plenty of fun signature cocktails in addition to the standard bar fare. Blast off with The Astronaut, a crazy concoction of rum, green chartreuse, Aperol bitters, grapefruit juice, cinnamon orgeat syrup. Sip liquid summer with the Strawberry Basil Lemonade Jar, strawberry and basil infused vodka mixed with house-made lemonade and rock candy syrup. You could also go for an interesting combination with the Mountains in Florida, a fusion of whiskey, blood orange liqueur, fresh lemon juice, with blueberries, orange, and passion fruit.

For bigger groups, you can go crazy with one of the Beachside Buckets – Kraken Pool Monster, Berry Blast, or Siesta Time. Each is their own mix of fruit juices, rum, and other liqueur that will have you feeling good in no time. Just remember to be responsible!

If you prefer beer or wine, you can also find plenty of that at Cabana Bar. Try the house Phins & Feathers pale ale, or go for one of the other local brews. Plenty of your standard favorites are hanging around as well if you have a go-to pool beer. For the vino, a selection of California wines and foreign delights is just waiting for you to spice up your pool time!

The Fountain

One of my personal favorite dining spots at the Disney Dolphin Hotel, the Fountain is an adorable diner-esque location with some of the best ice cream and shakes around! (Sorry Beaches and Cream, it’s true)

Not only can you get amazing sweet treats at the Fountain, but there are yummy diner classics if you want to make a full meal. Get seated at a table for a sit-down experience, or buy your ice cream at the counter, either way I know you’re going to love it.

Savory Delights

True to diner form, you can get a range of foods to fit any occasion or mood. Start with a warming bowl of soup in the cooler months, or snag a refreshing salad in the hot summer. Snack on warm pretzel bites dipped in gooey cheese or hearty chili cheese fries while you wait for your ice cream. For something different, try the house made onion rings with a zesty remoulade sauce.

If you’re looking for something more substantial, there are plenty of delicious burgers (and their veggie counterparts!) on the menu. However, we recommend the brisket sandwich – delectable house-smoked beef brisket smothered in white cheddar cheese, topped with charred tomato barbecue sauce, grilled onions, sautéed mushrooms, and pickles. For something a bit different, you might like the Buffalo chicken grilled cheese, braised chicken tossed in Buffalo sauce with Colby jack cheese and blue cheese crumbles.

Your kiddos will love their options too, a cheeseburger, grilled cheese, or hot dog with their choice of side and a fountain drink. Healthier choices include whole wheat pasta and meatballs or a turkey patty melt, both of which still have a side option and drink.

Sweet Treats

You might come for dinner, but you’re staying for dessert! I also wouldn’t blame you at all if you only came for dessert.

Shakes & Floats

Starting with the shakes and floats, the Fountain has nine specialty items…and that doesn’t include the build your own shakes or floats! One of our favorites is the Stawberri Kookies, and unique flavor combo you have to try. Strawberry Patch and Cookies & Cream ice creams get blended together with strawberry topping and chocolate milk (yeah, that’s right, chocolate milk), before it is topped with whipped cream and Oreo crumbles. Strawberry and Oreo might not be your typical combination, but you’ll love it once you try it!

There are adult shakes as well, with a kick of alcohol to go along with your treat. I recommend the Grasshopper, a delicious mix of Minty Chip ice cream, Bailey’s Irish liqueur, Crème de Cocoa, milk, all topped with whipped cream with a drizzle of Crème de Menthe and sprinkling of Grasshopper cookies. This is a great way to roll your after dinner drink and dessert all into one!

Ice-Cream

With all sorts of hand-dipped ice cream flavors, you can go crazy creating your own sundae or just getting your favorite flavor in a cone. If soft serve is more your speed, you can get chocolate, vanilla, or twist in a cone or cup. The Fountain also has amazing sundaes, from the fudgy and nutty Blastin’ Brownie Sundae to the sweet and homey Caramel Apple Sundae. You can even get a soft serve banana split with all the toppings! One of the coolest offerings is the Ice Cream Panini – a sweet Hawaiian bun sandwiched with your choice of ice cream and your pick between hazelnut crunch, chocolate coffee crunch, or candied cherries.

Plenty of other rotational dessert are in the case as well over at the Fountain, so feel free to grab a slice of cake and get ice cream to top it!

Listen – Beaches and Cream has my heart. However, on nights when it is packed, the Fountain is just as good!

Fresh Mediterranean Market

Open from 7:00am to 11:30am, Fresh Mediterranean Market is a great dining choice for breakfast or early lunch. As the name suggests, Fresh Mediterranean Market focuses on the flavors of Spain, Italy, France, Greece, and Morocco, also while giving you a health and refreshing take on your morning meal. Even though this is considered casual dining, it is still a table service, so make sure you have plenty of time if you choose this option.

Breakfast

Start your day with a massive Homestyle Breakfast platter, comprised of two eggs, breakfast meat, and potatoes with your choice of an English muffin, toast, or bagel, or you can go for a simple yogurt parfait if you prefer something a bit lighter. Wake yourself up with a specialty coffee or refreshing fresh-pressed fruit juice, or try a mimosa for a bit of a kick.

Fresh Market not only has standard menu items, but you can also do their breakfast buffet for $29. Enjoy all your favorites, from breakfast classics to Mickey waffles, in an all-you-can eat experience. Don’t forget to check out the create-your-own-omelet station!

This is a popular breakfast spot, so try to get here as soon as it opens. You might also want to save your Fresh Market breakfast for a non-park day, as it’s a lot of food and it’s not always the quickest.

Lunch

Even though Fresh Mediterranean Market closes at 11:30am, there are still some great lunch options if you’re an early mid-day eater.

To begin your meal, try the yummy potato croquettes, crispy potato puffs with a zesty remoulade sauce, or the unique sweet potato hummus to share with your group. There are also an assortment of delicious salads, which could serve as either a starter or a meal. The Southwest Steak Salad and the Thai Chicken Salad stood out to us. For the Southwest Steak Salad, flavorful ahar-grilled flank steak tops a bed of organic greens, accompanied by black beans, roasted corn, cumin-seasoned carrots, shaved radish, and crispy corn tortilla strips topped with a smoked jalapeno dressing. Meanwhile, the Thai Chicken Salad has fire-roasted lemon grass flavored chicken on top of Bibb lettuce with cucumber, shredded papaya, pea tendrils, cashews, finished with a tamarind-ginger dressing. You can also add fresh avocado to your salad for a bit of an upcharge.

All of the entrees are a wrap of some kind, even the burger! A unique experience, the burger wrap comes with all the usual burger toppings with the addition of a buttermilk dressing all rolled into a sundried tomato wrap. If you’re looking for something more plant based, the vegan wrap would be perfect. Rolled into the same sundried tomato wrap you’ll find seasoned tofu, chickpeas, tomatoes, and mixed greens, drizzled with a nutritional yeast dressing for that extra kick of flavor. All the wraps come with a side of potato chips.


Signature Dining at the Disney Dolphin Hotel

These signature experiences are the pinnacle of dining at the Disney Dolphin Hotel. Incredible food, expansive menus, and stylish atmosphere all come together to give you the best meal possible.

While they aren’t exclusively adults only, both Shula’s Steak House and Todd English’s bluezoo have a level of sophistication that definitely appeals to a more mature audience. With that in mind, don’t forget that you can get two hours free at Camp Dolphin if you dine at either of these locations!

Shula’s Steak House

Honoring the late Don Shula, head coach of the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins, Shula’s Steak House is the perfect option for an evening out. Opening every evening at 5:00pm and closing at 11:00pm, this incredible high-end steak house is ideal for late night diners or for a relaxing post-park dinner.

Appetizers

Begin your meal with one of the delicious starters, soups, or salads. Our recommendations would be the New Orleans-style Shrimp, which is Cajun-spiced shrimp with spritz of lemon juice tossed in savory garlic butter and served with toasted crostini. In the cooler months, or to complement the steak you’ll have later, go for the French onion soup – rich beef broth covered in melted gruyère and provolone cheese. For something more refreshing, try the roasted beet salad, rich, earthy beets atop a mix of greens with maple-spiced almonds for some crunch, creamy ricotta cheese, drizzled with an apple cider vinaigrette for a tangy punch.

Main Dishes & Sides

As Shula’s is a steak house, you’d better believe that there are amazing items coming off the grill. I’d personally go for the filet mignon with an addition of béarnaise sauce for the added richness. Shula’s also has a cowboy ribeye, porterhouse steak, and a New York strip.

Other entrees include the incredible herb-crusted prime rib (another personal favorite), served with an au jus for dipping and fluffy Yorkshire puddings. If you’re not a red meat person, the roasted brick chicken is perfect for you, with sides of spinach, mashed potatoes, and a delicious sherry jus. Seafood lovers can also check out the daily fish option, or try the Norwegian salmon or Maryland-style crab cakes.

All the sides are a la carte, but are huge. You could easily share a side between two people, so if you both want the same side, I suggest you do so. Veggie sides include roasted asparagus, broccoli, spinach, and sautéed mushrooms, or you can go the carbs route with mac and cheese or mashed potatoes.

Drinks & Desserts

In addition to the delicious beer and wine offerings, Shula’s has incredible signature cocktails. Two of our favorites are the Dark Cherry Smoked Manhattan and the Coming up Roses. For the Manhattan, enjoy a special blend of Bulliet whiskey, Cherry Herring, and Angostura Bitters, all infused with smoked Applewood chips. That hint of smokiness takes the whiskey to another level – whiskey lovers will be through the roof! Coming up Roses is an interesting drink with floral notes, bringing together gin, elderflower liqueur for the floral hit, finished with honeyed strawberry syrup and house sour for a sweet tang. Again, you can also get a wide variety of beer, ciders, and wines, including the house specialty Phins & Feather pale ale.

For dessert, we recommend either the molten chocolate lava cake or the vanilla crème brȗleé. The chocolate cake is everything you could hope for – rich chocolate cake with a gooey molten center, perfect for the end of a great meal. However, if you’re feeling a bit full, nothing beats the light taste of a creamy crème brȗleé.

Children’s Menu

Again, these signature options are more adult-centered, so it isn’t surprising that the kid’s menu is limited. There are two entrée choices, a French-cut chicken breast and a cheeseburger, with a la carte sides of mashed potatoes and mac and cheese. While I’m sure these are both delicious, if this doesn’t sound like it will appeal to your kiddo, you might want to consider Camp Dolphin or the Kid’s Nite Out in-room baby-sitting.

Todd English’s bluezoo

From the genius American celebrity chef Todd English, bluezoo (and yes, it’s all lowercase on purpose) is an unbelievable take on American cuisine. Far-out dishes, insane flavors, and interesting combinations will give a dining experience like you’ve never had before, all in this bright and beautiful atmosphere.

Appetizers

With the starters, you’ll already be blown away. Soft and delicious pork belly bao, with slow cooked smoked pork, hoisin, pickled vegetables, a spicy kimchi aioli make for the perfect sharing option, while greek style grilled marinated octopus served with chickpea purée, aleppo pepper, crispy potatoes is great for an adventurous eater. You could also go for the classic shrimp cocktail, served with an avocado puree and Bloody Mary cocktail sauce.

bluezoo also has a selection of flatbreads, which make for a good appetizer for the table or a meal for one. Go for a classic pizza style or a loaded meat lovers, or take it in a different direction with the spicy mushroom madness. Split a flatbread, get a salad, and have more room for dessert!

Speaking of salads, bluezoo has a classic Caesar and a health Tuscan kale salad, both of which pair nicely with one of the flatbreads or a cup of the signature clam chowder. With so much rich food, you might be glad for the hit of refreshment!

Main Dishes & Sides

One of the best parts of the bluezoo menu is the spectrum of choices. Much like American cuisine, the types of dishes and flavors span all inspirations, and bluezoo takes these to another level. If you want something close to home, try their house burger, topped with Tillamook cheddar cheese, grilled red onion, lettuce, tomato, special bluezoo sauce, served with a side of fries. Those looking for something out of the ordinary will love the steamed pumpkin nudi, or “naked ravioli.” Whipped ricotta cheese serves as the base of the nudi, with flavors sage browned butter, pumpkin gremolata, butternut squash puree forming the rest of the dish.

Personally, I would go for the veal osso buco. One of my favorite Italian dishes, this rich meal includes braised veal shank over a bed of heirloom polenta, topped with gremolata and a burgundy sauce, and veal jus on the side for dipping. The combination of the rich veal and the creamy polenta is perfect, and one you’ve got to try!

While the meals at bluezoo do come with sides, you can also get additional sides with your meals. Try the tempura green beans served with a decadent truffle aioli, or roasted Brussel sprouts with bacon and balsamic vinegar. One of our favorites are the shake and bake fries – incredible house-made fries tossed in rosemary, roasted garlic, and parmesan cheese for a rich and tasty experience.

Desserts

If you still have room after all that, you have to try one of bluezoo’s amazing desserts. Much like the other food items, bluezoo takes what you love about conventional dessert and kicks it up a notch. We love the pineapple upside down cake, a sweet and delicious cake covered in caramelized pineapple, topped with cherry ice cream and caramel passion fruit sauce. Another favorite is the key lime tart, a native Floridian favorite. This tart includes Florida key lime custard in a buttery and sweet tart shell, topped with coconut sorbet and white chocolate cream.

Children’s Menu

There’s definitely more for your kids here than at Shula’s, although we do still recommend keeping this a grown-up visit. Kids have the option of grilled chicken or a burger, both of which come with fries. They can also get pizza, fish and chips, or plain pasta. There are a couple of fun kid’s mocktails as well, a fun blueberry lemonade and a nonalcoholic mojito, as well as a soda and Swedish fish combination that they’re sure to love!

While the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel might not be your first thought when it comes to dining, you might have to start thinking twice with all these incredible options!


Grace Hoyos, Staff Writer

Grace is a life-long lover of all things Disney, particularly the parks at Walt Disney World. She is also an avid Disney Cruise Line enthusiast who regularly dreams of the white sands of Castaway Cay. Grace loves the fact that her Disney trips give her time to spend with her family, enjoy incredible food, and try new experiences.

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