Choosing your Dining Reservations

Meeting Mickey at Tusker House

Meeting Mickey at Tusker House

Some people are more excited about the countdown to their 180 day mark when they can make dining reservations, than they are about the day they actually leave for Disney! This is perfectly understandable as there are so many choices for restaurants and dining options that planning way ahead is something that is perfectly reasonable!  The average stay at Disney is 4-5 nights which means that the average guest on the dining plan or otherwise is likely to have to choose about five sit down restaurants for their stay. 5 out of a sea of seemingly endless options is no easy task! Here is what I do.

A few weeks months before my trip I begin to plan out where I am going to be each day. is a great resource to check out crowd levels and determine which park will be best suited to which day of your vacation. Once you have an idea of where you are going to be you can start to determine where you should eat.

If it is a Magic Kingdom day you can eat at any of the restaurants in the Magic Kingdom or choose from any restaurant located within a monorail resort. A Magic Kingdom day could also include dining at Wilderness Lodge or Fort Wilderness as these resorts are an easy boat ride away from the parks! So, now you have narrowed your choices down. Some possible meals to consider on your Magic Kingdom Day are ; Crystal Palace, 1900 Park Fare, Whispering Canyon, Trails End, Liberty Tree Tavern and The Grand Floridian Cafe. I know,I left out some heavy hitters, but I will address those momentarily, I promise! The restaurants I have mentioned above are all one dining credit on the meal plan and will have availability, generally speaking, even after the 180 day window has come and gone! I personally like dining at the resorts as it gets me out of the parks and cooled off for a bit. Different scenery and a relaxing meal can do wonders to charge your batteries!

If Epcot is your park for the day you have not only all the choices within the park, but you can also take a boat to Beach Club, Boardwalk, and the Swan and Dolphin to eat. This is the same for Hollywood studios. Do not leave out the restaurants in these resorts when planning a day at either of these parks. Good sit down choices are almost endless in Epcot and include;Rose and Crown Pub, Teppen Edo, Garden Grill, Akershus, La Hacienda De San Angel, and Via Napoli. If you venture out of either Epcot or Hollywood Studios to one of the resorts some good options include Cape May Cafe for breakfast or dinner, ESPN club, Big River Grill, and Beaches and Cream.

Hollywood Studios is a little harder to find good restaurant choices but you can always rely on The 50’s Prime Time Cafe. The Sci Fi Dine in is also very popular among guests of all ages. Mama Melroses’s and Hollywood and Vine are also good choices and are choices that are included in the Fanstasmic Dining package which will get you reserved seating at Fanstasmic!

Animal Kingdom is a great park, but often closes around 5pm. This means if you are doing a sit down meal here it is likely for breakfast or lunch. I highly suggest Tusker House for breakfast in this park. It is one of the most delicious buffets you will find with great character interactions. Another great choice is Yak and Yeti for some good Asian style cuisine. Beyond this an Animal Kingdom day is a good day to finish early and perhaps eat dinner at Down Town Disney or head over to the Polynesian for a meal at one of their restaurants and watching fireworks from the beach.

Now, throughout this article I have mentioned restaurants that I feel are good quality with good food and are not too difficult to get into. They all also will only cost you one meal credit on the dining plan. If you are interested in one of the big headlining dining options you need to really plan that and be ready to book at the 180 day mark, preferably at 7am when the reservation open up. These choices include Be our Guest Restaurant and Cinderellas Royal table (2 credits or pre-pay required at CRT), ‘Ohana at Polynesian, Chef Mickey’s at Contemporary resort. Notice how most of the heavy hitters are in the Magic Kingdom area? ┬áThis means if anything, you need to plan out our MK days as best you can and as far in advance as possible!

Hopefully this little guide will assist you in choosing your dining locations!

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