…and no, it’s not Liberty Tree Tavern. I can see how Liberty Tree Tavern in the Magic Kingdom is a staple for any holiday dining experience in Walt Disney World. Or, if you are looking for more of a special occasion kind of meal, I could see how somewhere like the Yachtsman Steakhouse, at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, or California Grill on the 15th floor of the Contemporary Resort might seem to fit the bill. But there is one restaurant that is my absolute favorite place to make a reservation for dinner during the holidays, and that restaurant is…Biergarten!
Located in EPCOT’s Germany pavilion in World Showcase, Biergarten brings an authentic Oktoberfest experience right to Central Florida. It is a blast to dine here year-round with the live music, and, during non-COVID times, the ability to dance the polka in front of the stage between helpings of brats and nudel gratin. Of course, you also need to grab a liter of beer or a flight (you can get Riesling flights, too, if you prefer wine) and be sure to save room for apple strudel!
During the holidays however, the restaurant is even more of an experience where it’s decorated with Christmas lights and garland, and the show takes on a more festive vibe. I first dined here during the holidays on my Disney College Program, and if I were local to the parks I would have to make this an annual tradition! The musicians incorporate holiday songs into the show, and they tell the story of ‘Silent Night’ along with some German Christmas traditions.
During the park’s reopening, Biergarten switched from a buffet to family style service. I was sort of feeling hit or miss on the family style dining here during our last visit (not at Chef Mickey’s though I’ll explain…) but I could see that being more ideal for the holidays. I only bring this up because I wonder if one day we’ll see buffets permanently switch over to family style.
When I recently ate at Biergarten I missed the buffet, because they have a lot of variety in the food they serve, so putting it all in one platter on the table meant you only had a small portion of each item. Of course, you can always ask for more, so this really doesn’t matter, but I would have been fine with brats, meatballs, nudel gratin, and macaroni salad, so it felt like a waste.
I would like to see family style come back where it makes for a nicer experience, but in the future I would just ask only for the things you want. (Chef Mickey’s had less variety than Biergarten, so trying everything made more sense there and it took away the pressure of trying to go to the buffet but also not miss characters.)
It is sold out for this year, but if you are visiting Walt Disney World for the holidays next year, look into the dining package for Candlelight Processional and see if it’s available for Biergarten. It puts an additional fee on your dinner, but I stand by the value of Biergarten for a holiday dinner in EPCOT and believe it is still worth it, and then you get early access to the seating area for Candlelight Processional. On busy days this is the only way to guarantee yourself a seat, so between the show and the festive German Christmas feast, it can be a memorable way to celebrate Christmas in EPCOT.