Rosa Mexicano Restaurants has announced a new fine dining table service restaurant coming to Walt Disney World in 2023. This post covers official details of the upcoming addition, what it’s replacing, and other commentary.
This will be the first Orlando-area location of Rosa Mexicano Restaurants, which will join the already-stacked dining lineup at the 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 to Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin is a truly exciting moment of our expansion. The opening reflects our founding chef Josefina Howard’s vision of introducing Mexican culinary traditions and authentic Mexican heritage to the world,” said Jim Dunn, CEO of Rosa Mexicano. “Once the restaurant opens, we will offer the Orlando market a fresh take on Mexican food, authentic Mexican heritage, culinary techniques and lively dining.”

The Rosa Mexicano Restaurant location at Walt Disney World is helmed by Manuel Trevino, Vice President of Culinary, 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 capacity of about 300 guests, including a 30-person bar and a private dining room for 50.
Rosa Mexicano will be located in the Walt Disney World Dolphin, replacing the current restaurant Fresh Mediterranean Market. That restaurant will remain open until further notice, but presumably will sometime this year for extensive remodeling.

The menu at Rosa Mexicano Restaurant will showcase a contemporary interpretation of authentic Mexican cuisine, including beloved classics and innovative, sophisticated dishes that pay tribute to Mexico’s richly varied culinary regions.
Rosa Mexicano’s renowned beverage program boasts over 100 varieties of tequila and agave-based spirits. The restaurant’s signature frozen pomegranate margarita, named the best in New York City, will also appear on the menu at Walt Disney World.

“Rosa Mexicano is the perfect partner to enhance our current dining options,” said Sean Verney, Area General Manager of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin. “We pride ourselves on offering the best quality restaurant experiences for our hotel guests as well as local Orlando residents, and Rosa Mexicano delivers on that promise. We’re excited to be home to their first Florida location starting in early 2023.”
Guests can receive a first taste of Rosa Mexicano during the Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic, which will be held November 11 & 12, 2022. Rosa Mexicano will offer a tasting station during the popular annual festival.

Headquartered in New York, Rosa Mexicano set a new standard for Mexican fine dining when it first opened its doors 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 deliver authentic, regionally inspired Mexican cuisine in a stylish, “elevated fiesta” atmosphere.
For generations, the signature guacamole and frozen pomegranate margarita have been regarded as best-in-class. Today, the company operates restaurants across the northeast, including New York City, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Massachusetts.

I had never heard of Rosa Mexicano prior to this announcement, but judging by its locations in the Northeast, I’m going to guess it’s probably pretty similar to the existing Mexican restaurants around Walt Disney World that are operated by the Palmas Restaurant Group. Personally, this doesn’t bother me, as those locations offer crowd pleasing cuisine.
Regardless, this will almost certainly be an unequivocal improvement over what it’s replacing. Along with Garden Grove, Fresh Mediterranean Market is probably the biggest exception to the statement that the Swan & Dolphin have “stacked” culinary lineups. Aside from that dubious duo, everything from the coffee shops to the flagship fine dining locations are excellent.

Speaking of which, I’m overdue to review Amare at the new Swan Reserve, but it is fantastic. 
We dined at that table service restaurant and had an excellent dinner, and were one of only a handful of parties in the entire restaurant. Everything we had was superlative–from the signature pizza to the steak to the 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 don’t get around to reviewing Amare. (Suffice to say, we recommend it!)

We also recommend staying at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin and, especially, the new Swan Reserve. For those unfamiliar with them, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels are considered Deluxe Resorts but are managed by Marriott. Due to an agreement way back in the Eisner days, these are the only third party hotels that are treated like actual Deluxe Resorts and bookable by the public. (Shades of Green is similar, minus the last part.)
In addition to enjoying standard on-site Walt Disney World benefits and guest perks, Marriott Bonvoy Rewards members can take advantage of program benefits, including earning Marriott Bonvoy points with each stay. We are Marriott Bonvoy Members, have stayed at many of the chain’s other hotels, and have found it to be a solid brand with quality service.

If you’ve made it this far into the post, you’re probably not one of the many Walt Disney World diehards who dismisses the Swolphin out of hand because these hotels are “not Disney.” Those people are making a mistake.
We are big fans of Disney, but don’t think hotel management is one of the company’s strong suits. Marriott definitely has the edge there. To be sure, not everything about the Swan & Dolphin is perfect (the Magic Kingdom bus to TTC is the biggest strike against it) or even great. With that said, our experiences here have generally surpassed those at Disney-owned properties.

Although the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort hotels are not owned by Disney, they are very much on-site hotels. Located on Crescent Lake alongside BoardWalk Inn and Yacht & Beach Club, the Swan & Dolphin are within walking distance of both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
With this prime piece of real estate, the Swan & Dolphin actually have a better location (in my estimation) than most Disney-owned hotels. To each their own, but I’d put Crescent Lake right up there with the Magic Kingdom monorail loop.

The Swan & Dolphin also have better on-site perks than most Disney-owned hotels now that Disney’s Magical Express has been retired and so long as the Disney Dining Plan remains suspended. In addition to Early Entry, Swan & Dolphin guests are eligible for Extended Evening Hours, whereas Value and Moderate Resort guests are not.
Unlike other third party hotels that are technically on-site, the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin truly offer the best of both worlds. All of the benefits (for now, at least) of staying in a Disney-owned hotel, plus a rewards program, and better management. About the only thing you’re missing is Disney IP infused into the hotel.

Actually, that’s not true. The other thing you’re missing with the Swan & Dolphin is high prices.
Aside from some anomalies, these hotels are competitively priced, and actually offering discounts right now. (Although many of those have already booked up for October through December.) In general, though, rates are much better at the Swan & Dolphin, especially for those who qualify for an affiliation discount or manage to score a hot deal.

Ultimately, I can’t say I’m super stoked about Rosa Mexicano coming to Walt Disney World, but it should be at least an incremental improvement bringing a new type of cuisine to the Swan & Dolphin. To me, it doesn’t sound like an “exciting” restaurant that I’d go out of my way to try, but not every new addition needs to be.
At this point, the more dining added to Walt Disney World, the better. Fresh Mediterranean Market was underutilized (and for good reason), so this will be an upgrade. With that said, tastes and preferences obviously vary, so perhaps some of you will be very excited about this news!
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
What do you think of Rosa Mexicano Restaurant joining the Walt Disney World dining scene? Think this will be a worthy addition to the culinary landscape around Crescent Lake, or just more noise in an overcrowded market that’s not much different than the Mexican restaurants a short walk away inside EPCOT? Are you excited for this third party offering, or would you prefer some original conceptsDo you agree or disagree with thoughts? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

I’d clarify to New, Mexican restaurant not New Mexican restaurant. New Mexican is a type of cuisine unto itself and it is not traditional Mexican(just as much love but it’s not the same), as new Mexican, we are often forgotten.
I always enjoyed the restaurant in downtown DC. I’ll have to try it here. I’m not a Swan fan but stay when I can’t book a crescent resort last minute. It’s mostly the sticky, tiny bathrooms, the always horrible views, and the no magic bands that inconvenience me. I do like the location but it doesn’t feel magical. Oh well. At least it means I snuck in an extra trip.
I too have been to Rosa in NYC a few times, and it’s fine, not great (and overpriced). I love the Dolphin! Stayed there last December and paid just $215 per night (plus the $35 resort fee). Loved being able to go to the MK evening hours. Even though there’s no Disney theming, it felt festive during the holiday season — the lobby decor, and the walkway between the Dolphin and Swan was lit up and playing holiday music. Last week I checked, and the rate for the same dates in December was over $800 per night (yikes!!!), and now both are sold out. Looks like this holiday season is going to be very different than last year. I agree with the other comments, Tom you need to stop plugging the Swan/Dolphin!! 🙂
That’s…ridiculous. Maybe we just got too used to the 40% off military discount rooms and specials. The rates I’ve seen floated around are absurd. A.S.S. is the crappiest motel on property, and rooms there over $200 for what’s basically a Motel 6, no thanks. Only a 3 bedroom suite for a family of 8 is worth $800 a night… I think we may be going back to offsite rentals in the future, unless we find good DVC rental deals.
Sorry but having grown up in LA we have not been able to find any good Mexican in greater Orlando. But we will try it!
Probably not much great Mexican-style food anywhere in Louisiana. But I’m looking for Cajun/Creole food when I’m there…
I have to admit, this announcement shocked me, only because I had lost track of Rosa Mexicano. I just googled them and see that all three Manhattan locations are still open. Twenty years ago, their then-new location near Manhattan’s Lincoln Center was a tough reservation to get. New Yorkers were discovering upscale Mexican, and the restaurant design ticked every trendy box for the time. I loved their famed feature wall of sculpted mini cliff divers. The food was always excellent, especially the table-side guacamole. I think this is a great addition to the Swolphin line-up, which is already superior to most on-property resort options. On that topic: I wish you’d stop praising the Swolphin, Tom! Let the uninitiated hate on the 1990’s designs and leave availability open for Heavenly Beds at reasonable rates.
This is exciting news—thanks for the update
I have to be honest and say, I took the boat over to the Swan one evening this past August and I was NOT impressed and I am a Bonvoy member as well
It was dark, unwelcoming and the only people around were those sitting in the bar area
It was not at all a beautiful, fun, lively lobby to relax and people watch in
I quickly went back to my resort, the Grand Floridian, and vowed not to ever stay over there
On another note, I’ve heard of a new Mexican restaurant at Coronado Springs Resort
Have you been, Tom
You should have gone to the Dolphin. The lobby and lounge/bar are beautiful. Swan doesnt have much of a lobby
Yes, we stayed at Swan and found it to be quite bland and boring on the inside, with a crappy pool. And I’m not really much a pool guy, so that’s something. The Dolphin is much better.
Every time I try to book Swan/Dolphin the pricing is just sky high. Yes, maybe a few dollars below other Deluxe but not the savings that sometimes is quoted here. I keep trying though.
I love that this article was covertly an endorsement of the Swolphin in the guise of a restaurant announcement. And I agree with that! We did our first Swan stay last year and it’s hard to imagine staying anywhere else in the future given the location and service for the price. (And are yacht clubs, Victorian-Era Florida opulence, or faux-Mediterranean casino-ish towers any more “Disney” anyway thematically?)
As for Rosa Mexicano, I are there on a trip to NYC years ago and it was really solid. Nothing that blew me away but it’s a happy memory and will be a great addition to WDW.
However, I am a bit troubled by some of the comments here implying Mexican food can’t/shouldn’t be “upscale,” which feel uninformed at best and vaguely racist at worst. Mexico is a huge, diverse country with a wide variety of regional nuances and countless upscale restaurants (including of two of the world’s top 50 restaurants, and they ain’t taquerias). For most people in the US, what’s recognized as “Mexican food” is the cuisine brought by immigrants from a handful of Mexican states (there are 32 of them) and adapted to American palates. Or maybe the giant customizable burritos invented in San Francisco in the 1960s and ubiquitous today. Sometimes that can be wonderful but until you’ve tried regional Mexican cuisines prepared by master chefs you really don’t know what’s possible! (It’s like comparing The Olive Garden to a dinner in Tuscany, Milan, Sicily, or Rome).
Now I agree that US-based restaurants taking Tex-Mex staples and gussying them up (fancy fajitas! Top shelf frozen margaritas!) often fall flat, and I’m NOT saying Rosa Mexicano is the restaurant that’ll change anyone’s opinion on this. But to look at the bountiful food culture of a massive country like Mexico and say “sorry, your food doesn’t get to be both upscale and desirable” just shows we in the USA can be pretty darn uncultured a lot of the time.
Side note, if you don’t know much about the stunning diversity of Mexican cuisine, Rick Bayless’s PBS series “Mexico: One Plate at a Time” is a great place to start!
Hello Pete, it has nothing to do with reducing Mexican culture to tacos. Although even that is not in any way ‘racist’ as there is no race. Mexico is a country, not a race, so let’s just nip that nonsense out right now.
The bottom line is that no matter what they do, most places that try to be ‘upscale’ are just a few trite nods towards whatever culture they are trying to sell, while the food is still blase and the prices absurd. I agree, Mexico is a large place with highly varied culture. I have lived most of my life within an hour of the border and traveled in Mexico. I’d say 90% of so-called “Mexican” food in these USA is just basic junk even if edible. Tex-Mex is…well let’s just leave that alone. Unfortunately most people have either been to the tourist beach resorts or Taco Bell, neither of which is a legitimate representation. Also why I find the movie in the boat ride to be an insulting representation that reinforces stereotypes of Mexican culture. While all stereotypes came from somewhere in reality, it doesn’t make them an accurate example. You have to get away from those places and visit actual cities and small villages to get the real feel for it. Just like anywhere else! But Disney isn’t as interested in accuracy any more. Look what they did to Jungle Cruise, reducing tribal culture to a colonialised, whitewashed gift shop merchant.
Charging much more money for essentially beans and rice is not cool. Presentation is one thing, but it’s about the care and effort put into the actual dishes. Good ingredients, properly prepared, spiced, garnished. There’s a great place in Las Cruces, NM called Habanero’s. The chef is an actual chef, not some guy who one day decided to start selling burritos. And it shows in their food. I hope this place ends up being more like that instead of just hype and overpriced frozen food.
Thanks, MrNico for your response, and I appreciate and agree 100% with your explanation and thoughts. Also, of course I understand that “Mexican” isn’t a race — and there’s really no scientific basis for race anyway, it’s just a construct we humans made up in our instinctual desires to tribalize and separate ourselves from others. But the mind of a racist doesn’t really “get” that nuance (as we see too often in our society, unfortunately). I don’t think anyone commenting on this post is actively being racist, but as you noted about the Mexico pavilion boat ride and Jungle Cruise stereotypes, we have a tendency towards subtle subconscious prejudice and marginalization of other cultures when we try to create short narratives to explain them. I’m guilty of this as well! I think when we break through that veil, as one might when their eyes are opened to Mexico as not one monolithic/homogenous place but a rich and diverse culture like that of the USA, we gain so much because of it!
Rosa Mexicano in NYC is… fine. It’s fine. Nothing special. Solid. I don’t think we’ve bothered going back in at least a decade – it’s always felt a bit tired, honestly, but then it is the original, maybe their other restaurants have more pep. Pity they couldn’t bring in a Rick Bayless joint instead.
Wow – that’s some high praise, Melissa and MomOTwins. Thanks for sharing your experiences–that definitely makes me look forward to this more!
We are Brits who have visited, and stayed on property at every worldwide Disney Park aside from Shanghai and from my first EPCOT Center visit in ’88, have always hated the Swan & Dolphin due to it’s aesthetic … that is until we just plumped to stay at the Swan for our first “proper” WDW trip in a long time & whilst not perfect, we are so glad we chose to stay here.
Your comments are spot on. We did find the on-site offerings to be more expensive & not as good as the Crescent Lake hotels. Yes, we also found ourselves taking breakfast at the Ale & Compass or cocktails at Abracadabra & thinking “how nice would it be retiring to that room overlooking the lake right now” but quickly remembering we paid half as much as even guests in basic rooms at the Yacht or Beach Club & simply wouldn’t have chosen a WDW stay at the prices for those hotels.
Yes, the shower wasn’t incredible at the Swan. Yes, we would have preferred a slightly nicer view. Yes, some of the public areas were rooted in the 90’s but … our pool was much more relaxed & spaced out than ANY deluxe Disney hotel we visited … inc all the Bay Lake properties. On entering our lobby there was always an elevator waiting & we were in a very comfortable room within moments. Out hotel was serviced by the exact same friendship boats as 3 high-end Disney hotels. Our bus services were no better ( or no worse) than any Disney buses & the Magic Kingdom issue ? We visited twice … we are Brits who are used to staying off-property ….we LOVED taking the boat & monoral from the TTC BUT catching the first bus back to the Boardwalk or Yacht/Beach Club.
As a final, controversial note …. we are two adults. At no time did we find ourselves getting narky at spoilt little rich kids acting up like we did when visiting the lobby in the Disney Deluxe Hotels or awaiting particularly awkward guests checking-in with three trolley loads of luggage for a long weekend as we did at the Deluxe Disney Resorts. Just saying ….
I’ve gotta admit…I’ve started to come around on the aesthetic of the Swan & Dolphin. While Michael Graves’ postmodernism still isn’t my favorite thing, at least it has personality. That’s something that’s very much missing from so much architecture and design these days. It’s provocative, engaging, and interesting. And yes, sometimes ugly.
Of course, this is to say nothing of how it spoils the sightlines in World Showcase and Crescent Lake. That part of the Swan & Dolphin is awful. I’m simply viewing it in the vacuum of the resorts themselves.
We lived in D.C. for years and ate at Rosa Mexicano at LEAST once a month. I have no idea how their guacamole is always so perfect, but it is (made fresh tableside with LOTS of perfectly ripe avocado). In terms of overall quality I would say it is better than the two Epcot restaurants but not fine dining. I have never eaten at Swolphin because I prefer to eat at uniquely Disney places (character meals, places like Skipper Canteen with a “story”). But I absolutely will eat at Rosa Mexicano next year.
We’ve enjoyed Rosa Mexicana in Miami and in Atlanta in past years (looks like those locations are closed now). I thought that it was good food in more of an upscale setting I’m not sure I would call it elevated or fine dining or anything though. The margaritas were great so I’d definitely start there once it opens. I’m sure it will be a great addition and I would go again.
As for Swan and Dolphin – the location is fantastic and the rooms we had (twice) were quite large with an amazing view. I would say now the proximity to Epcot and HS are a draw since the bus goes to TTC but you could walk to a close by hotel and take their bus which would be 6 or one by the time you did that. Especially if you are Marriott Bonvoy and use some of that perks and points then those are nice too! Will definitely stay here again!
The Swalphin is our family’s favorite place to stay. The dining additions (especially Fuel) were a great benefit to us. But in the past couple of years, prices have really soared. I used to be able to find rooms for around $200-$300/night. I just tried to make a January reservation and the prices were around $500/night for a standard room despite being after the holidays! I love being able to walk to the parks and around Crescent Lake but at that price, I may as well stay offsite and take as many Uber trips as I want.
More than any other hotel at/around WDW, the Swolphin prices seem to fluctuate. (But I agree, they’re definitely up in general pretty significantly as compared to ~2017-2019.)
Maybe there’s a silver lining–if they’ve massively overpriced the rooms at $500/night, there could end up being great last-minute AP/FL rates for those dates!
I have at last learned not to get excited when I see “New Mexican restaurant” written somewhere. Chances are it means “new Mexican restaurant” and not “the cuisine of the state Albuquerque is in.”
I have to admit, this gave me a chuckle. Perhaps I should’ve titled it, “Mexican Restaurant That is New Coming to Disney World” instead! 😉
Yes, and northern NM “Mexican” food is tourist bait at best. Anything outside Dona Ana county is suspect. I mean, Sadie’s is pretty good, but still not great. You have to go down to Las Cruces for the good stuff. Andele’s, Habanero’s, Miguel’s, Si Senor, Chope’s (south of town).
More restaurants are always welcome IMO – considering that reservations are a chore at WDW.
As for the swan/dolphin – not really hotels I’m interested in- the theming is part of the fun for us. This December we are trying the Contemporary for first time- hoping its cool if for nothing else the walk to MK
Is there a good word for something I guess you’d call reverse snobbery? I ask because every time I’ve had “elevated” Mexican cuisine, it’s been a disappointment. That being said, I absolutely adore Mexican food. It’s near the top of my list for things I’d eat everyday if there were no consequences. It’s just I’ve always found I enjoy it more when it’s coming from a mom and pop taqueria vs. some haute chain restaurant with slick marketing.
Our favorite Mexican restaurant right now is Frontera at Disney Springs. Love their drinks and their food.
I don’t know what the term might be, but I totally agree. I’m game for upscale dining here and there, but am much more in my element at hole in the wall spots. In general, I think they’re more likely to deliver on cuisine because there’s nothing else to prop them up.
For what it’s worth, my favorite burrito is from a gas station in North Hollywood ( My second favorite one is from a grocery store. There’s no shortage of great Mexican spots around Anaheim that are in totally unassuming strip malls, too.
The word upscale simply doesn’t belong with Mexican food. Always a joke. Guacamole is gross in any case, but in a frozen margarita, even more so! Yes, I’ve lived most of my life within an hour of the border so I do know…
Laura E., I’m with you! The chicken mole at Fromtera Cocina would be my “last meal” request. I love that restaurant and find it to be grossly underrated by many Disney commentators. I find it illogical to attack upscale Mexican when so many of Disney’s menus are charging elevated prices for what is essentially upscale comfort food. (Not throwing shade at the many excellent iterations of fried chicken in WDW – just saying it’s in the same ballpark…)
Haha, it’s not about it being a nice restaurant with a little design thought and fewer screaming kids, which I prefer. It’s because when you hear ‘upscale’ it almost always means a bunch of snooty poofy nonsense and trying to fancy-up what is in the end mediocre food. Kind of like how Le Cellier is constantly rated so highly by some folks, while serving merely ‘okay’ steaks no better than a Texas Road House (which are actually far better in my experience).
I’m a New Yorker and Rosa Mexicano is close to my office. Have eaten there a few times. It’s fine. A bit played out Tex Mex style food, not really Mexican. But you could do a lot worse. It’s one of the more “Disney” restaurants in NY, and I say that as a big Disney fan who doesn’t exactly view Orlando as a culinary destination.
Thanks for sharing this–almost exactly what I expected, but nice to hear confirmation.
I work near one of their nyc locations as well. It’s a common place for us to go for after work drinks and food. Always solid meals but I can’t name anything truly memorable. Solid and consistent but nothing more.
Never been to one, but I imagine it’s more like Olive Garden than even something like Maggiano’s, for chain comparisons… Better than Taco Bell (what isn’t?) but nothing special.
tom, do you know, or maybe anyone reading, if swan/dolphin offer rooms/suites for parties of 5?
I’m pretty sure there are, but you might have to call to book. There are definitely rooms at the Swan Reserve that sleep 5, but those are going to be more expensive because it’s nicer/newer.
There is so much Italian food around WDW, it’s nice to have some more Mexican, as that cuisine seems to be enjoyed just as much. And some “elevated” sounds very good (we’ve eaten some very good Mexican in NYC and Chicago that is beyond the standard tex-mex. It sounds like this might live up to that.)
As for the Swolphin – I’d put it beyond the monorail loop resorts. Walking to 2 parks is better than walking to one! (Though the change during the pandemic to bussing to the TTC is a large negative, as you say.)
“Though the change during the pandemic to bussing to the TTC is a large negative, as you say.”
When we stayed at the Swan Reserve recently, we did it as part of a split stay and did our MK mornings on the other half of the trip. That, plus Park Hopping made it easier.
I know split stays are easier for us than most families, but that’s a big reason why I love–and recommend–them so much.
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