Rosa Mexicano Restaurants has announced a new fine dining restaurant with table service at Walt Disney World in 2023. This article covers the official details of the upcoming addition, what it replaces, and other reviews.
This will be Rosa Mexicano Restaurants’ first location in the Orlando area, joining the lineup of restaurants already stacked at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin in early 2023. With current locations in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Maryland, as well as upcoming openings in four other states, Rosa Mexicano restaurants will offer an “elevated fiesta” dining experience, including signature menu items and award-winning margaritas.
“Rosa Mexicano’s arrival at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin is a truly exciting moment in our expansion. The opening reflects our Founding Chef Josefina Howard’s vision to introduce Mexican culinary traditions and authentic Mexican heritage to the world,” said Jim Dunn, CEO of Rosa Mexicano. “Once the restaurant opens, we will bring a fresh take on Mexican cuisine, authentic Mexican heritage, culinary techniques and spirited dining to the Orlando market.”
The Rosa Mexicano Restaurant location at Walt Disney World is led by Manuel Trevino, Vice President of Kitchen, and will feature dramatic design elements to transport guests on a unique culinary journey. The 5,500 square foot restaurant will offer various seating areas with a capacity of approximately 300 people, including a bar for 30 people and a private dining room for 50 people.
Rosa Mexicano will be located in the Walt Disney World Dolphin, replacing the current Fresh Mediterranean Market restaurant. This restaurant will remain open until further notice, but will probably be open this year for a major renovation.
The Rosa Mexicano Restaurant menu will feature a contemporary take on authentic Mexican cuisine, including beloved classics and innovative, sophisticated dishes that pay homage to Mexico’s rich and diverse culinary regions.
Rosa Mexicano’s famous beverage program features more than 100 varieties of tequila and agave-based spirits. The restaurant’s signature frozen pomegranate margarita, named the best in New York, will also be on the menu at Walt Disney World.
“Rosa Mexicano is the perfect partner to enhance our current dining options,” said Sean Verney, Regional General Manager, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin. “We pride ourselves on providing the best quality dining experiences for our hotel guests as well as local Orlando residents, and Rosa Mexicano delivers on that promise. We are excited to welcome their first location in Florida beginning in early 2023.”
Guests can get a taste of Rosa Mexicano during the Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic, taking place November 11-12, 2022. Rosa Mexicano will be offering a tasting station during the popular annual festival.
Based in New York, Rosa Mexicano set a new standard for Mexican fine dining when it opened on the Upper East Side in 1984. Chef founder Josefina Howard played a leading role in defining what was then a revolutionary “new” cuisine for American diners. Rosa Mexicano continues to offer authentic, regionally inspired Mexican cuisine in an elegant, “elevated fiesta” atmosphere.
For generations, the signature guacamole and frozen pomegranate margarita have been considered best in class. Today, the company operates restaurants in the Northeast, including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Massachusetts.
I had never heard of Rosa Mexicano before this announcement, but judging by its locations in the northeast, I guess it’s probably quite similar to the existing Mexican restaurants around Walt Disney World that are operated by the Palmas Restaurant Group. Personally, I don’t mind, because these places have food that everyone can enjoy.
Either way, it will almost certainly be an unequivocal improvement over what it replaces. Along with Garden Grove, Fresh Mediterranean Market is probably the biggest exception to the claim that the Swan & Dolphin have “stacked” culinary ranges. Aside from this dubious duo, everything from cafes to flagship gourmet restaurants is excellent.
Speaking of which, I’m late to see Amare again at the new Swan Reserve, but that’s fantastic.
We dined at this restaurant with table service and had an excellent dinner, and we were one of the few parties in the entire restaurant. Everything we had was superlative – from signature pizza to steak to souvlaki. Obviously not totally on topic here since Rosa Mexicano is operated by a different restaurant group, but just thought I’d mention it while we’re discussing the Swan & Dolphin in case I’m not reviewing Amare. (In other words, we recommend it!)
We also recommend staying at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin and, most importantly, the new Swan Reserve. For those who are not familiar with them, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels are considered luxury hotels but are managed by Marriott. Due to an agreement dating back to Eisner’s time, these are the only third-party hotels that are treated as true luxury resorts and bookable by the public. (Shades of Green is similar, minus the last part.)
In addition to enjoying standard Walt Disney World onsite benefits and guest benefits, Marriott Bonvoy Rewards members can enjoy program benefits, including earning Marriott Bonvoy Points with every stay. We are Marriott Bonvoy members, have stayed at many other hotels in the chain and have found this to be a solid brand with quality service.
If you’ve made it this far in the post, you’re probably not one of the many Walt Disney World die-hards who dismiss the Swolphin out of hand because these hotels are “not Disney.” These people are making a mistake.
We’re big Disney fans, but don’t think hotel management is one of the company’s strengths. Marriott definitely has the advantage there. Of course, not everything is perfect in the Swan & Dolphin (the Magic Kingdom bus for TTC is the biggest strike against it) or even great. That said, our experiences here have generally exceeded those at Disney-owned properties.
Although the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort hotels are not owned by Disney, they are largely on-site hotels. Located on Lake Crescent, adjacent to the BoardWalk Inn and Yacht & Beach Club, The Swan & Dolphin is within walking distance of Epcot Studios and Disney’s Hollywood.
With this prime real estate, the Swan & Dolphin actually has a better location (in my opinion) than most Disney-owned hotels. To each their own, but I’d put Crescent Lake up there with the Magic Kingdom monorail loop.
The Swan & Dolphin also offers better on-site perks than most Disney-owned hotels now that Disney’s Magical Express has been retired and while the Disney Dining Plan remains suspended. In addition to early entry, Swan & Dolphin guests are eligible for extended evening hours, while Value and Moderate Resort guests are not.
Unlike other third-party hotels that are technically on-site, the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin truly offers the best of both worlds. All the perks (for now, at least) of staying at a Disney-owned hotel, plus a rewards program and better management. The only thing you miss is Disney IP infused into the hotel.
In fact, that’s not true. The other thing you miss with the Swan & Dolphin is the high prices.
Aside from a few anomalies, these hotels are competitively priced and currently offer discounts. (Although many of them have already booked from October to December.) In general, however, fares are much better at the Swan & Dolphin, especially for those with an affiliate discount or manage to make a good deal.
Ultimately, I can’t say I’m super happy with Rosa Mexicano’s arrival at Walt Disney World, but it should be at least an incremental improvement bringing a new kind of cuisine to Swan & Dolphin. To me, this doesn’t sound like an “exciting” restaurant that I would go out of my way to try, but every new addition doesn’t have to be.
At this point, the more restaurants added to Walt Disney World, the better. Fresh Mediterranean Market was underutilized (and with good reason), so this will be an upgrade. That said, tastes and preferences obviously vary, so maybe some of you will be very excited about this news!
Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Learn more about the hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotel Reviews page. To find out where to eat, read our Walt Disney World restaurant reviews. To save money on tickets or figure out which type to buy, read our tips for saving money on Walt Disney World tickets. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips article takes a unique look at smart on-the-go items. To know what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride guides will help you. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Travel Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
What do you think of the arrival of the Rosa Mexicano restaurant on the culinary scene at Walt Disney World? Do you think it will be a worthy addition to the culinary landscape around Crescent Lake, or just more noise in a crowded market not much different from the Mexican restaurants just steps inside EPCOT? Are you enthusiastic about this third-party offer or do you prefer original concepts? Do you agree or disagree with the thoughts? Questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback – even when you disagree with us – is both interesting for us and helpful for other readers, so share your thoughts below in the comments!