EPCOT’s Biergarten Restaurant Review

Written by Chris Wood. Posted in Features, Park Wise, Walt Disney World

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Published on November 08, 2012 at 5:01 am with 18 Comments

Biergarten, Epcot’s answer to a traditional German beer hall, is one of those locations that’s got something for everyone: Kids will be entertained by the traditional German folk music, adults will like the food, and Cousin Orville (who somehow tagged along for the trip) will like the abundant varieties of beer. Food is served at large communal tables just like a real Biergarten in Germany.  The room is large and well-lit, with three tiers of seating in a semi-circle, with a band and an area for dancing down front.  The band plays a 20-30 minute set of traditional German folk music every hour; during a regular meal, you’ll probably catch the show twice.  Children and adults are welcome to come down and dance. It’s lively and a bit loud, but not so loud that you can’t have a conversation with your table mates.

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Food is served buffet style but your server will bring your drinks.    If you’re on the dining plan, soft drinks are included but you’ll have to pay extra for beer.  The semi-circle buffet is the same on both sides, so you can start at either side.   For starters you’ll find rolls, potato and leek soup, assorted deli meats, pickles, and German-style salads like wurst salat (a meat salad) and cucumber with dill, as well as more familiar salads like macaroni and potato.  For entrees, there’s rotisserie chicken, sausage and sauerkraut, spaetzle (a short fat noodle that’s boiled and then sautéed in butter), schnitzel with mushroom gravy, red cabbage, carved roast pork and usually a potato dish or two.  Kids, and adults as well, can have the same macaroni and cheese that you’ll find on kids menus elsewhere in Disney World.  At dinner you can pay extra and add on German specialties like Sauerbraten and dumplings.

I’ve never seen a buffet in Germany.  In fact, I would even venture so far as to say that a buffet is rather un-German, but forget that bit of cultural insight and just enjoy. There’s a lot of food here and it’s part of the fun.  If there’s a problem with Biergarten is the distance from most tables to the buffet.  After a day of trekking around the parks, you might not want to make the long journey to and from the buffet tables.  Particularly if you’re a parent of small children, you’ll be doing a lot of running back and forth.

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Like most Disney World buffets, the food is plentiful and fresh.  I once read somewhere that 26.2 miles of sausage are served every 60 days in the German pavilion. Somehow, serving an entire marathon’s length of sausage makes it sound less appealing, don’t you think?  I mean, it’s not like I expected every sausage to be handmade by a local artisan using locally sourced, organic ingredients, but you know, I also didn’t expect my sausage to be so . . . mass produced, perhaps.   Regardless, it was pretty good, especially with the different condiments they had to go with it.

While it’s probably a stretch to label the thick little triangles of meat “schnitzel,” looking more like over-sized chicken nuggets than thin, crispy cutlets, they did taste good.  I’m a huge fan of spaetzle and I thought that Biergarten’s tasted like it could have been from a neighborhood Gasthaus in Germany.  The soup was good and the salads, while a bit unfamiliar, were pretty tasty.   Perhaps the best part of the buffet was the desserts.  In fact, I’ve found this to be the case in all the buffets I’ve eaten at in Disney World.   The buffet had several types of cake small enough to allow you to sample more than one. The apple strudel was also good, flaky and not too sweet.

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So how does the buffet do with kids?  Well, if your kids are picky eaters you might have trouble finding them something they’ll like.  Most little kids aren’t going to be fooled into thinking that the German sausages  are hot dogs. While I’ve heard that there are hot dogs on the buffet, they weren’t around when we were there.   My kids liked the bread and fruit though.  We didn’t get “our money’s worth” and I’d venture to say that most parents have a similar experience at the Biergarten, but I suppose not getting one’s money’s worth at a buffet isn’t such a bad idea.

Even if the food hadn’t been good, the conversation we had with our seatmates, parents and a three-year old, was worth every penny.  Clearly unhappy to be seated with a family with three small, rambunctious children, the mother started to get a bit tipsy.   At one point, she remarked to us that she and her husband would “kill themselves if they had as many kids” as us.  Well, I like a good ice-breaker, however awkward, and by the end of our meal, we’d exchanged life stories, medical histories, and email addresses.  Our waiter, a sweet attentive fellow from northern Germany, brought us our check and three gingerbread men for the kids while they enjoyed the music.  Later, we strolled out of the cool interior of the Biergarten into the bright December day, full of German food and with a good story or two.  You can’t beat that.

Have you tried Epcot’s Biergarten restaurant? If so, what did you think?

About Chris Wood

Chris Wood is frequent Disney traveler and travel agent. She considers Walt Disney World to be her home park.

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18 Comments

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  1. Long time ago have eaten here. I too had good food and fun and after that bit of awkwardness when you first sit down you get to talking and learn tips of the parks you may not have known and a little bit of history of themselves and where they live. Only thing I wish they would do is add the ride trough Germany as originally planed for the rest of the building. Good place to eat and take your time at it.

  2. Having traveled to Germany and Austria, a buffet isn’t German. Usually, they have table service restaurants. The food is best served fresh so I question whether it is such a good value to eat stale food (in the sense the food has been sitting there for awhile). The problem with a buffet is you should save your stomachs for beer.

  3. Considering I’m not a fan of buffets, I’ll pass on this one. I was hoping for a little more authenticity, but I’ll probably try it just to say I have.

  4. I don’t really like buffets. Hate seeing strangers hover over and sneeze on my food. Also, not crazy about the idea of sitting with strangers. BUT, I’ve got to say that I really enjoy the Biergarten restaurant at Epcot. It’s fun, the food is good and the ambiance is fabulous.

    If you are reluctant, you should give it a try, I think you’ll be surprised.

    • Thanks!

  5. Well, I’ve traveled through Germany a bit and yes, I have found a buffet in Munich. :-) However, generally speaking, buffets are not German. :-)

    I agree that the food isn’t exactly what you get in Germany, but it’s reasonably close and pretty good. And the spaetzel and the strudel in my opinion are quite good. My kids are (I guess in comparison to others) pretty adventurous eaters and so liked their “hot dogs.”

    As for authenticity, it’s more “authentic” than anything I can get near me (SF bay area) theming wise (I can get reasonably authentic food here though….) Hmmm. makes me want to get some good Knoedel….

    • I loved the spaetzel. I lived in Germany for 2 years and you’re right, it’s not totally authentic but it’s close. And it’s certainly not so close that most people will be turned off by it.

  6. I ate there 20 years ago when it was still table service and it was really good. So when I went back last year on a big family trip I insisted on making reservations again. It was terrible. For the most part the atmosphere and the show were still good, but the buffet was not good at all. In addition the staff was not very good including our hostess who was just rude. After already waiting for a long time to be seated, my mom needed to use the restroom. A moment after she left, the hostess called to seat us but when we told her that one member of our party was in the restroom, she reacted in way that said she was annoyed with us and we were wasting her time. She told we could not be seated unless our entire group was together. So now we would need to wait longer. After our meal, as we were leaving, I felt the need to apologize to our group. Very disappointing.

    • I’m sorry.

  7. I enjoyed my visit there. The social aspect is one of the best parts, even if most Americans are really not accustomed to such situations in a restaurant.

    The food is OK, but not remarkable. The entertainment is fun and beer plentiful. For those on a budget, I would say buffets are your best value among the restaurants at WDW. Since most people do not frequent German style restaurants, I tell people don’t play it safe with the Mexican or Italian restaurants which you might go to at home. Since you are on vacation, try something different. The German pavilion is certainly something to try.

    • Thanks for your comment. The nice thing is that if you’re without a reservation, you can usually get in there on short notice or even do a walk up.

  8. My one and only visit to the Biergarten didn’t go so well. The food was fine, but my table mates looked at me, a single park stormer, as if I were a serial killer about to strike. My few attempts at conversation were met with blank stares and mumbles, so it was overall a pretty uncomfortable meal. I’d like to go back someday, but not as a solo.

    • When I traveled to Germany via tour, we went to a Hofbrauhaus. It was quite fun. A Hofbrauhaus is designed to only drink beer and eat huge pretzels. It is fun to go with a group of travelers (mostly tourists). It doesn’t work out if you go by yourself. Usually they are loud so conversation is difficult. Solo traveling is hard. I wonder if it has a bar area, which would work better in this instance.

    • That’s too bad–I would have talked your ear off and so would my kids!

      Well, maybe that’s not the best selling point.

  9. My southern Californian family gets out to Disney World every few years and each time we try something new at World Showcase. We’ve tried France, UK, Morocco and Japan, and our last trip we tried Biergarten. We really enjoyed the whole experience. The food was very good, as I recall, the schnitzel was my favorite. The atmosphere is festive and enveloping. The four of us (two parents, two kids) adjusted quickly to sharing a table with strangers. The best part was the entertainment. The live band was terrific and it was so fun to see and hear the Alps Horns. It was Christmastime, so the singers sang traditional Christmas carols, including the traditional German “Stille Nacht” (Silent Night). We had such a great time that we ended up going back a few days later once our friends arrived to meet us. I would definitely go back on our next trip.

    • That sounds like a great memory. Thanks for sharing it.

  10. Thanks for sharing your review! Have you done Morocco yet? That’s another family fav. :)

    • No, but it’s on the list. Need to finally eat in mexico too, although it gets really mixed reviews.