La Hacienda de San Angel

In the summer of 2009, my family spent the most amazing weekend at Walt Disney World.  Unlike our vacation six months earlier, this visit was completely unplanned.  We moved through the parks at a calm pace, saw just our favorite rides and shows, and enjoyed the pool at the Pop Century hotel.  Some of my favorite Disney memories were made that weekend including the evening we spent at EPCOT.   On our previous trip we went to bed early each night because of the winter park hours and the break neck pace we kept up throughout the day.  This time we took a nap each afternoon and enjoyed quiet moments, giving the kids the energy to see the parks at night, feel the warm summer breezes, and experience that magical feeling that comes from staying up past your bed time.

On the night that we chose to watch Illuminations at EPCOT, we arrived early and ordered food from an easy little counter-service restaurant right across from the Mayan pyramid in the Mexico pavilion.  We realized that our table would be the perfect viewing location for Illuminations, so my husband and I took turns taking the kids for a bathroom break, then enjoyed churros as the sun went down, all the while holding our prime location.  After dessert, we still had a short time before Illuminations began, so the kids and I ran to ride Gran Fiesta Tour: Starring the Three Caballeros, purchasing a light up Mickey and light up TinkerBell on the way back to our seat.  When the lights dimmed, we snuggled in together as a family by the water’s edge and enjoyed the spectacle that is Illuminations.

The entire evening was pure Disney magic.

Then we returned the following December to find our special place under construction.  The sign let us know that behind the wall of MDF, a new casual dining service restaurant was emerging.  I have to admit – I was sad.  I immediately saw higher prices on a menu, reservations that were difficult to obtain, Candlelight Processional packages that were sold out, and Illuminations dining packages that were out of my frugal price range.  Okay, I wasn’t just sad.  I was bitter.

But earlier this month, La Hacienda de San Angel opened to pretty great reviews!  I had the pleasure of speaking to three Disney fans who have enjoyed a meal at this new table service restaurant, and I asked them to share their feedback with Resourceful Mommy readers.

“La Hacienda is a beautifully decorated Mexican restaurant with a wonderful ambiance. I loved the detail in the decor and enjoyed the food I sampled. I hear the 6 different margarita flavors are worth trying, though I wasn’t able to try one myself at the time that I visited because I was pregnant.”

Melanie Edwards – Owner, Ella Media and

“Right now, the incredible margaritas and stellar Illuminations view are the two main reasons to visit La Hacienda.  Portions are simply too small for the price, and quality is still inconsistent.”

AJ – Owner,

“I loved ALL of the food at the opening, but have heard since that the quality is not so good.  I still hear wonderful things about the shrimp tacos.  Tacos de Camarones are a must-have, the combination of fresh shrimp and chipotle-lime aioli is just heavenly.  Definitely try a margarita while there, freshly made, with interesting combinations like mango, blueberry, and basil – my personal favorite!  Definitely try to book an advanced dining registration around Illuminations time as the views from the floor to ceiling windows are simply breathtaking.”

Suzannah from

If you’ve had the pleasure of trying La Hacienda, we’d love to hear your opinion!  Also, I think I need a new favorite spot to view Illuminations, so I’m taking suggestions in the comments. 😉

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  • I cannot wait to try La Hacienda. I didn’t realize they have floor to ceiling windows, I can only imagine the spectacular Illuminations views!

  • I’m planning on a trip to Disney this winter (my family needs a break from brutal Boston weather)I can’t wait to check out La Hacienda! I consider you my go to girl when it comes to anything to do with Disney!

  • Janet

    I haven’t dined at the new La Hacienda de San Angel, so I can’t offer you an opinion on their food. However, it sounds like you’ve gotten a very nice cross-section of opinions from some very knowledgeable folks. Nothing that I’ve read here in your post has scared me off to the place, and I’m taking that as a good sign.

    My family has spent a lot of time in Walt Disney World over the past 16 years. We’ve discovered that every restaurant eventually has an off night (don’t we all?). We’ve also discovered that some restaurants with a less than stellar reputation have given us some very wonderful meals (who would have thought?). Because of this, we try not to let others’ opinions sway us too much. If we did, we’d miss out on some very memorable family vacation moments.

    Since it sounds like you like La Hacienda’s location, I think you should book a reservation and give the new restaurant a try. Keep your expectations manageable (and it sounds like you will since you’ve gotten three very good reviews) and simply enjoy dining with your family. I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time.

    As to where my family prefers to watch Illuminations, I can’t give you a set location. We’ve been fortunate to have been guests at some private events that incorporated the Illuminations show. Those locations, as you can imagine, were right on the waterfront. However, to be perfectly honest, I actually prefer to watch the show from the sidewalks. There’s nothing quite like experiencing Illuminations with lots of children (and adults) standing side-by-side with you. The emotion that flows from the crowd always magnifies my own emotion to the show. It’s one show that always brings tears to my eyes.

    No matter what you choose to do, I hope you have a wonderful time in Walt Disney World. My family hopes to be there next year.