h. Where to Eat at Walt Disney World

By Dave Shute

How to Eat    Where to Eat    The Dining Plan    Guide to Disney Dining

WHERE TO EAT AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

Where to Eat at Walt Disney World from yourfirstvisit.netSome of the best family experiences at Walt Disney World are the meals.

But with more than a hundred very different alternatives, the most fun of which sell out months in advance, dining is more complicated at Disney World than you would think.

Moreover, because of the popularity of the dining plan (see How to Eat), reservations for your table service choices are absolutely a must.

This site takes care of dining for you.

It selects all your Walt Disney World and Orlando dining sites and times, and the To-Do List includes all of the dining reservations you need to make, and by when you need to make them; these dining destinations are also listed in your itinerary.

Your dining sites have been selected based on how well-loved they are by families, kid-pleasing menus, how effectively they achieve their show intent, value for money, and convenience.

If you can’t follow the dining instructions in the itineraries, see Dining Alternatives.

SPECIFIC DISNEY WORLD DINING DESTINATIONS INCLUDE:

  • The dinner show Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue, hokey but loved for generations
  • “Character Meals” (where Disney characters join you for greeting, autograph, and photo sessions) at Cinderella’s Royal Table, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Chef Mickey’s,  and the Crystal Palace
  • Other meals in especially interesting and kid-friendly settings, such as the Rainforest Cafe, the San Angel Inn, and the Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues; and
  • Fun snack and/or “fast food” locations such as Beaches and Cream, Sunshine Season Food Fair, Pecos Bill’s, Aloha Isle, the Sci-Fi Diner, and the Boulangerie Patisserie.

COMPLETE LIST OF DISNEY WORLD DINING SITES IN THE BASIC ITINERARY

Magic Kingdom:

  • Cinderella’s Royal Table (Character Meal)
  • Pecos Bill Café
  • Crystal Palace (Character Meal)
  • Dole Whip at Aloha Isle (Snack)

Hollywood Studios:

  • Backlot Express
  • Sci-Fi Diner (Snack)

Epcot:

  • Akershus Banquet (Character Meal)
  • Sunshine Season Food Fair
  • San Angel Inn
  • Boulangerie Patisserie (Snack)

Animal Kingdom:

  • Flame Tree Barbecue

Resorts:

  • Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue (Fort Wilderness, Dinner Show)
  • Chef Mickey’s (Contemporary, Character Meal)
  • Beaches and Cream (Beach Club, Snack)
  • Dole Whip at Captain Cook’s (Polynesian, Snack)
  • Plus your hotel’s counter service and your hotel room!

Downtown Disney:

  • House of Blues Gospel Brunch
  • Rainforest Café

Retired from the Basic Itinerary in September 2009 (to save money and simplify days): 1900 Park Fare, Whispering Canyon, 50′s Prime Time Cafe, Liberty Tree Tavern

MORE ON WALT DISNEY WORLD DINING



181 comments

1 Mommy02 { 03.24.08 at 12:47 pm }

We based our restaurant reservations and our location options around Extra Magic Hours. We tried to have a dinner reservation in or near the park that had Extra Magic Hours for that night, since we planend to arrive late each day and stay as late as possible.

We loved Mexico at EPCOT, Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom, Bongo’s at Downtown Disney. Whispering Canyon was a great dinner but was TWO HOURS!! It’s better for brunch the day you leave after check out. We’re big fans of The Land at EPCOT.

We love Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge, thought the sit-down place at China was cheap chinese food with a high price tag, we weren’t thrilled with Big River Grill at the Boardwalk. We loved dessert at Beaches and Cream. Everything was amazing at Le Cellier in Canada. We budgeted $200/day for 2 kids and 2 adults. We tried to get one sit-down reservation per day and two counter service meals per day. We also brought PBJ & non perishable snacks from home and kept fruit in the fridge of our hotel room.

Dining is a big problem for most families because they take in too much sugar and fat, then run out of steam throughout the day. Eat healthy snacks and drink lots of water all day so everyone is in a good mood and has energy!

2 mary { 08.21.10 at 12:13 pm }

Is there a bar you can eat at the Brown Derby? Sometimes we like to stop somewhere for a quick meal and would like to try their cobb salad and a cold drink without sitting down for a full meal. thanks!

3 Dave { 08.21.10 at 12:25 pm }

Mary–I don’t know!

Such is not typical for the theme park restaurants–other than a few at Epcot.

Maybe another reader knows and can post here?

Dave

4 Dave { 08.25.10 at 7:28 am }

Mary–I was in the Studios yesterday, and asked your question. Short answer–there’s no real bar, but sometimes, if not busy, they will sell a cobb salad to go…you can’t count on it, but you can try!

5 Hossie { 07.07.11 at 9:44 pm }

What is the snack at Sci-Fi Diner? I am guessing we don’t need a reservation.
Thanks!

6 Dave { 07.08.11 at 11:34 am }

Hi Hossie!

The thought is that you’ll be there late enuf that they will seat you for a snack–if they are fully booked with reservations, this won’t work.

The snack itself is up to you–I’d get a milkshake myself! You can see a menu here: http://allears.net/menu/menu_scid.htm

7 Anonymous { 07.08.11 at 12:07 pm }

This is a great suggestion. Thanks so much!

8 Eva { 01.30.12 at 6:55 pm }

Hi Dave :)
What is your opinion about Chef Mickey’s for dinner vs. breakfast? We have dinner reservations for 6:40, Thursday May 10th, but they can be changed.

9 Dave { 01.30.12 at 7:01 pm }

I have not eaten dinner there, but from the reviews I’ve seen, it’s great. The food is a buffet, so all should be able to find something to their taste…

10 Sheena { 01.31.12 at 10:05 am }

Hi Dave,

I would like to do two character meals. One for the girls with the princesses and a character meal for the young boys. Which do you recommend for the princess and a character meal for the boys? And which day is and meal time is best to do either? I’m arriving Sat to Sat (June 1-8, 2013). Thanks!

11 Dave { 01.31.12 at 12:17 pm }

Hi Sheena! See the list of character meals in order on this page: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/dining-alternatives/character-meals-and-dinner-shows-ranked-in-order/

1, 2, and 4 are princess meals;
3 and 5 are great boy meals.

Most of these top 5 are in theme parks, and the two that aren’t–Chef Mickeys and 1900 Park Fare–are both near the Magic Kingdom, so pick your dates for them depending on which parks you are in which days…

12 Danny { 02.27.12 at 5:45 pm }

I have a nine yr. old that doesn’t want to eat off the kid’s menu (under disney dining plan) can I purchase an adult dining plan for her?

Thanks in advance!

13 Dave { 02.27.12 at 6:19 pm }

Danny that’s a great question. For sure you can if you list her as 10yo–but that means slightly more expensive tickets…

14 Michele { 02.29.12 at 1:43 pm }

Hi Dave- We are planning a WDW trip for 7/24-7/31. I’m not sure about which dining plan is best for us, but there are 2 things we would like to do. One, is to go to dinner for my Dad’s birthday on 7/26. He likes fish, but the rest of our party (total 6 adults and 2 children ages 4 & 7) are not big on fish. I saw the menus of a couple of the seafood restaurants and they seem to have things to accomodate non-seafood eaters. Which restaurant do you recommend? I would like to order a cake as well and have it brought out to the table at dinner. The next thing we really would like to do is a character meal. Which one do you recommend with my children being 4 & 7 when we go? Thanks!

15 Dave { 02.29.12 at 6:28 pm }

Hi Michele! For the birthday dinner, given your dad’s preferences, I’d go with the Coral Reef, inside Epcot–for a menu see this: http://www.wdwinfo.com/wdwinfo/dining/diningdetail.cfm?Restaurant.ID=80 and for Disney’s page see this: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/coral-reef-restaurant/

For the character meal, tell me a little more about the kids–boys or girls? Winnie the Pooh or Mickey or Princesses??

16 Michele { 02.29.12 at 10:22 pm }

Thanks Dave! I should have given you a bit more information on my kids. I have 2 boys and the would love to see Mickey!! :)

17 Dave { 03.01.12 at 7:36 am }

OK, then go with Chef Mickey!

18 Colleen { 04.01.12 at 7:48 pm }

Dave, we are planning our first visit with our kids the week of 10/13/12 and I am getting ready to make our Disney dining reservations next weekend. I read somewhere that the hoop dee doo revue will be closed while we are there for a renovation or something. Have you heard this? I am so sad as it is one of my fondest memories from my Disney visits as a child. Assuming it is true, what would you substitute? Is mickeys BBQ even a close second? I am so disappointed we might not be able to do the hoop de doo! Thanks for your help and suggestions.

19 Happy Fourth Birthday To YourFirstVisit.net | Military Disney Tips Blog { 04.02.12 at 7:43 am }

[...] Besides the great resources mentioned above for deciding when is the best time for you to go to Disney, Dave recommends what to do once you are there. Check out his itineraries and dining recommendations. [...]

20 Dave { 04.02.12 at 8:13 am }

Hi Colleen, I have not heard that about Hoop. (It may be true–just I haven’t heard.) The BBQ is OK, but unless you are already staying at FW, WL, or the Contemporary, it’s not really worth a special trip to FW to see…although very different, if you end up having to miss Hoop–and again, I don’t know that you will–I’d replace it with Whispering Canyon at WL.

21 Colleen Duffy { 04.03.12 at 12:44 pm }

Dave, I did confirm with WDW today that the Hoop de Doo will be closed from October to December 2012 while they make renovations. Thanks for the suggestion to do Whispering Canyon. Will try that instead. Still so sad we won’t be able to do the Hoop!

22 Dave { 04.03.12 at 1:39 pm }

Wow…I’m sorry to hear that! But thanks for the heads up…

23 Theresa { 04.13.12 at 4:49 pm }

We plan to go to WDW the 3rd week of Sept, 2012. We plan to camp @ FW. I’m trying to figure out which character dinner we should do (2 boys, one is 7, the other is 4). A friend suggested Mickeys BBQ v. Chef Mickey because she was disappointed the characters at Chef Mickey were dressed in white, not character clothing (for pictures, you know) (and I wonder what type of clothes the characters at the BBQ wear). But if we are already staying @ FW would you suggest doing the BBQ & the Hoop? Or spread things out?

24 Dave { 04.14.12 at 10:52 am }

Hi Theresa! In many meals the character costumes are tied to the setting, so at Chef Mickey they aren’t out of costume, but rather dressed in chef costumes. It won’t make a difference to the kids, as it’s the faces that make the characters. I’d go with Chef Mickey’s…

25 Jill { 05.10.12 at 4:51 pm }

We will be at wdw 9/1-9/6 with our 4 year old triplet (boys) and 2.5 year old twins (girls)! I have made some reservations and will second guess myself until it’s over! Tell me what you think. Night of arrival 9/1 – 8:15 at Whispering Canyon, we will probably get to our resort AKL around 5/6.
9/2 7:50pm at Tony’s on Main, hoping for a table on the porch for the Electrical parade!
9/3 10:15am Tuker House and 8:30pm O’hana
9/4 10:15am Hollywood and Vine
I’m thinking of changing Whispering Canyon, just not sure of having a reservation the first night. Maybe scheduling 1900 Park Fare for breakfast on 9/5?

26 Dave { 05.11.12 at 6:41 am }

Hi Jill!

OK, here’s my honest opinion: I think you a re over-scheduled, and in too many parks. Given the ages (and numbers!) of your kids, I would not aim for so many sit-down meals, and there’s just not that much at HS and AK for kids that age…I would have no arrival night schedule, and drop one or the other of your 9/3 and 9/4 meals and go back to MK that day instead…

27 Jill { 05.11.12 at 10:53 am }

Thank you Dave! We are planning to do MK on Wednesday and Thursday if there’s anything we still want to do or want to do again (Dumbo! ). The only reason we are doing Hollywood Studios is to see the Disney Jr. Characters at Breakfast and I have big Toy Story fans! I do realize we will spend shortened days there and AK, just hitting the things for preschoolers I’m going to cancel our arrival night dinner.

28 Dave { 05.11.12 at 10:55 am }

Jill, thanks for the explanation, I’m much more comfortable with your plan now! :)

29 Jill { 05.11.12 at 10:56 am }

So, with that additional info, do you have any other suggestions for us? We have five day tickets with dining plan so, i feel we have to use them! Just reying ito figure out the best way to do it. Thanks for your help, Jill

30 Dave { 05.11.12 at 11:29 am }

Jill, is your basketball team a group of ealry risers?

31 Jill { 05.11.12 at 6:01 pm }

They will be up by 8. I guess thats not too early! But, they will immediately want cereal or fruit, i plan to have those staples in our room for when they wake. My plan then is brunches around 10:30, lunch around 1:30 snack after nap then late dinners. ey will do well witg thi

32 Jill { 05.11.12 at 6:02 pm }

Oops.. with this schedule. As they are definitely more night owls!

33 Dave { 05.12.12 at 8:29 am }

Jill, all looks good with the exception that you really need to be at the parks 15 mins before they open–and you’ve picked a morning extra magic hours day or two, so you’ll need to get the kids up a little earlier than they are used to…

34 Kristina { 07.02.12 at 4:11 pm }

Hi Dave,
We are just starting to plan (ie. reseraching the trip and contacting AAA) our trip to Disney for 10/3-10/8/2012 – are we too late to start? We are two adults and a 6yr old little girl and she may not even be 40inches by then – little one :) If we arent too late, should we wait until she is taller? I’m pretty sure you will say yes, but Daddy is over the top about taking her this year and I think I’ve stalled as long as I can! I am looking at the Poly, bringing or having groceries sent at arrival to cover breakfast most days, A Princess and/or Micky character meal, lunch at Le Cellier, one or two meals out say at Whispering Canyon, and no meal plan…is that enough – am I off base – love the site but I am way overloaded~k

35 Dave { 07.03.12 at 8:06 am }

Hi Kristina! As long as she can come back when she’s older, going in Oct will be fine. You aren’t too late–but you may not be able to get your preferred dining options. Making dining reservations is your key step. Personally I’d skip Le Cellier–Epcot doesn’t have enough for a 6 year old girl to be worth the ticket day it will cost you…

36 Christine { 07.12.12 at 4:47 pm }

I wanted to let you know that I called this morning for a reservation for Oct 4, 2012 for Hoop Di Doo and was able to get one! I was told they have cancelled the refurb. that was scheduled at the end of the year. I thought you might want to let Colleen( the lady that previously posted about it) know so she can change her reservations.

37 Dave { 07.12.12 at 5:37 pm }

Hi Christine! Thanks for the heads up, but see this from about a month ago: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/06/10/hoop-dee-doo-revue-not-closing-for-rehab-fall-bookings-to-open-this-week/

38 Jamie { 07.28.12 at 3:24 pm }

Hi Dave,
I am planning on going to WDW Feb. 9-Feb 16. We are doing the Disney Dinner Plan. I have been looking for something special to do for Valentine’s day but am finding that there isn’t much for Valentine’s day at Disney. We won’t have kids with us on our trip. I see that the California Grill will be closed for renos during that time. (I was so looking forward to doing the California Grill for Valentine’s!) I don’t want to spend a lot of money on a meal as I am already doing the dinner plan (so Victoria and Albert’s is out). What do you suggest?
Jamie

39 Dave { 07.28.12 at 4:34 pm }
40 Krystal { 09.13.12 at 3:43 pm }

I first off want to say that I love, love, LOVE your site and thank you so much for all of your help!!! So I understand having to make your reservations as soon as that 180 day in advance mark rolls around. My question is do I have to make 1 revservation everyday for the duration of my trip or can I make them all at the same time? For example (not real figures) I am going to Disney July 1-7th, making 180 days in advance January 1-7th. Do I have to make my reservation for July 1st on January 1st, my reservation for July 2nd on January 2nd, my reservation for July 3rd on January 3rd and so on or can I make my reservations for my whole trip on January 1st? I hope you understand what I mean!!!!! Thanks for your help!

41 Dave { 09.13.12 at 6:53 pm }

Krystal, if you don’t have a WDW hotel reservation, then it is day for day just as you note–but an actual 180 days, not 6 months (e.g July 2 is not 180 days after Jan 2). If you book a WDW resort, once day 180 rolls around, you can book on that day out to day 190….so you can do ten days of booking in one day

42 Krystal { 09.13.12 at 7:42 pm }

Thanks so much for the quick response! Sorry for the bad math!! I was just trying to use a quick reference!!!! :)

43 Dave { 09.14.12 at 2:52 pm }

Hey Krystal…sorry about the math thing, but I had to be sure you (and anyone else reading this) got it!

44 Danny { 09.30.12 at 11:40 am }

Hi Dave

Akershus and San Angel Inn don’t appeal to me that much. Looking on the 7 day itinerary. Do you have replacement recommendations for those 2 dinners. I was think maybe Tutto Italia might be could? What do you think?

45 Dave { 09.30.12 at 5:57 pm }
46 Danny { 09.30.12 at 11:50 pm }

Thanks Dave. I will go with Tutto Italia then.

47 Diane { 10.28.12 at 9:52 pm }

Dave,
We have reservations for crystal palace on Wed Nov 22 and Whispering Canyon on Thursday, Nov 23, Ohanas Friday Nov 24 , Chef Mickeys Saturday Nov 25 and Liberty Tree Tavern on Sun. Have recently read so many negative reviews about Whispering Canyon’s new menu. Should we try to change that reservation ? Staying @ Polynensian party of 11. 6 adults 5 children ages 7 -15.

48 Dave { 10.29.12 at 6:43 am }

Hi Diane, the fun of Whispering Canyon is the staff, not the food. While it’s too bad that the menu has changed, the food is still fine and the staff is still fun!

49 Diane { 10.29.12 at 3:45 pm }

Thanks so much Dave. We value your opinion!

50 Geetika { 11.17.12 at 2:11 am }

Hi Dave,
I am planning a 3 night stay at Disney World Dec 9-12. I have not made any reservations so far. After browsing your site it seems that I am super late in my plans, however I still want to try. Where do you recommend I make the dining reservations? I have a 4 yr old son who will probably enjoy a character meal.

51 Dave { 11.17.12 at 7:09 am }

Hi Geetika, I’d try these meals in order http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/dining-alternatives/character-meals-and-dinner-shows-ranked-in-order/ but skipping the first two as perhaps too “girly”!

52 Sherri { 11.25.12 at 12:01 am }

Hi Dave,
OK, so I am getting a little overwhelmed, but it’s all good. Thanks for ALL the great info. My question is about whether or not to get the dining plan. We will be 4 daults and one 6yo going 10.19.13 for 7 nights (hopefully staying in AK DVC villa). Looking at the dining plans I just can’t imagine eating all that food. But I don’t really know what food costs if you pay cash. I mean, we certainly don’t need a dessert with every meal, and will likely just eat breakfast in the room. Would it still be a good deal?

53 Dave { 11.25.12 at 7:18 am }

Hi Sherri, you are welcome!! The dining plan I recommend–the regular one, which gives you one table service, one quick service, and one snack per night–saves some money, but only if you would have eaten that many meals anyway… It sounds like you may be looking at one of the more expensive plans that gives three tables service meals a day??

54 Candlelight Dinner { 12.27.12 at 10:58 pm }

I am back! I was looking at the info on the Disney site about Candlelight Dinner- starting the Friday after Thanksgiving. Two questions – where would you recommend we eat for this? Do you watch the events from your table seat? or does it just give you preferred seating? Also, does the Disney dining plan include these events? I am not sure I get the whole idea…but it looks like fun!

Thanks again,

Wendy

55 Dave { 12.28.12 at 7:29 am }
56 Be Our Guest { 12.30.12 at 2:39 pm }

OK – so the Candlelight event will not work since I got great plane tickets leaving on Friday of Thanksgiving, so on to other meal questions. Should we plan lunch or dinner at Be Our Guest? It looks amazing! We are doing make-overs for the girls at BBB and we think lunch right after at the princess character lunch while the girls are dressed up – but should we do Be Our Guest for dinner that same day or come back to the park another day for lunch there?

You really are a wonder – thanks so much for taking the time to help people plan their dream vacation.

Wendy

57 Dave { 12.31.12 at 9:58 am }

Thanks Wendy you are so sweet! Be Our Guest should be fun–I’d advise dinner over lunch, and each day seems to book up the first day it becomes available, so sign up for it at 6a online at your 180 day mark!

58 Be Our Guest { 12.31.12 at 6:17 pm }

I have it on my calendar already! Am I correct that I can book 180 days from the day I arrive to stay at AofA? We arrive on Nov 23rd – May 27th, I think, is they day I can book it all. Am I correct? 6AM EST – correct? Worth it to get up at 3AM in CA!

Thanks and happy 2013!
Wendy

59 Scott { 12.31.12 at 7:02 pm }

Wendy,

My family and I (wife, 18 year son and his fiancee and 6 year old son) were at Disney from December 7 through December 16 and were fortunate to have dinner at Be Our Guest on December 15. We also had quick serve lunches there twice during the week. I recommend both lunch and dinner. The quick serve lunch was well worth the wait, which was approximately 30-45 minutes.

The dinner at Be Our Guest was our favorite, followed by Kona. We also dined at Cinderella’s Royal Table, which I do feel is worth two dining credits.

We also did the Candlelight Processional Dinner package and ate at Le Chef de France. The food and service was just OK and felt the language barrier contributed to this as the waiter spoke broken English. We loved the Candlelight Processional though and it was our favorite activity during our stay.

We stayed at the Art of Animation and loved it. We spent two nights in a Lion King suite and the other nights in a Cars suite.

60 Be Our Guest { 01.01.13 at 6:03 am }

Thanks, Scott! Great info – thanks for taking the time to write…

I will make a dinner res and plan on a lunch there, too.

Happy 2013,

Wendy

61 Dave { 01.01.13 at 8:08 am }

Yes you can Wendy. However, something–given that whole 3a thing–that’s worth doing is to call Disney dining reservations a couple of days before your 180 to make sure that they are counting the same way you are! The number is here at the end of “C”: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/to-do-list/to-do-lists-for-alternative-itineraries/to-do-list-v2-of-2009-autumn-winter-spring-itinerary/

62 Dave { 01.01.13 at 8:11 am }

Hi Scott and thanks for checking in! I need to add BOG to the dining stuff I have…how did your kids like its menu?

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63 Scott { 01.01.13 at 12:23 pm }

No problem Wendy. I hope the information proves helpful. Happy 2013 to you also.

Dave..no problem at all.

My six year had the steak for dinner and liked it a lot. With regards to the lunch we ordered the quick serve lunches from the adult menu for him. He had the turkey sandwich and the steak sandwich. The latter being the better of the two.

Overall I rate Be Our Guest very high. The food was very good and well worth the dining credits for both the quick serve lunch and the table service for dinner.

Already looking forward to our next visit to Disney. Although I am not sure when that will be.

64 Gretchen { 01.13.13 at 10:06 pm }

Hi Dave,
I have two dining questions for you. First, have you eaten at Be Our Guest yet and what are your feelings about it for kids who are “not that adventurous.” Second, my oldest son is 9 but will likely be 10 or 11 when we go back to Disney. My husband and I would like to try Sanaa. On the Children’s menu, pizza and cheeseburgers are listed and that would be good for our younger sons. Would it be a problem if our older son ordered one of the items off the children’s menu? We would likely not be doing the Dining Plan so it wouldn’t be an issue of what type of credit to use. I just didn’t know how “strict” Disney restaurants tended to be about the age on the Children’s menu.Thank you!

65 Dave { 01.14.13 at 8:09 am }

Gretchen, I haven’t eaten at BOG yet–I haven’t’ been able to get a dinner reservation, and my family has not been willing to wait 30 minutes plus for lunch…though I am hoping for a meal in late January when I’ll be there solo and won’t have to deal with the whining!

I share your concern about options for young unadventurous picky eaters there, and think of it as more an adult restaurant that kids can love, rather than a kid restaurant that adults can love.

Re Sanaa and the kids menu–you’ll be fine. The heavy hand only comes down for younger kids on the dining plan trying to order off the adult menu–cash customers, or older kids ordering from the child menu, is not a problem.

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66 brian { 01.14.13 at 11:28 pm }

going to be at animal kingdom on mothers day this year. 2 adults and 3 kids age 10, 5, and 8. Would you recommend ‘ohana or boma for 1st timers and a mothers day out

67 Dave { 01.15.13 at 7:18 am }

Umm, Brian…neither of those restaurants is in the Animal Kingdom…are you looking for a Mother’s Day choice in the Animal Kingdom, anywhere in WDW or, between those two–one of which is at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and the other at the Polynesian?

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68 Sheila { 01.15.13 at 1:58 pm }

Hi Dave! nice to talk to you again! I was wondering, do I have to be a guest on the Hotel to make a reservation at Chef Mickey? Beacuse I´m staying outside Disney.

Best regards from El Salvador

69 Dave { 01.15.13 at 3:46 pm }

Hi Sheila, nice to hear from you again! You do not need to be a hotel guest to reserve any Disney hotel restaurants, so go for it!

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70 Andy { 01.22.13 at 10:26 pm }

Dave,
We will be heading to WDW a week from tomorrow and my 3 year old daughter is absolutely in love with the princesses. Is Akershush Royal banquet good for a 3 year old? Is every meal there a princess dining experience? Is it something we would have to make reservations for before we leave?

Thanks!

Andy

71 Dave { 01.23.13 at 8:08 am }

Andy yes it will be fun for her! But it may be already booked up, so make a reservation ASAP here https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/ or by calling (407) WDW-DINE (939-3463).

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72 Trisha { 01.28.13 at 3:55 pm }

Love this website! We are looking for somewhere to have dinner in Downtown Disney. Your website suggests Rainforest Cafe, but we have one here in MI and we are not big fans. Where else would you suggest? We are arriving on Sat May 4, 2013 and we are planning on being downtown that night. I have followed your 7 day itinerary and have made all of my dinner reservations for the week we are there..Thank You for all of the great planning ideas! My daughters are 9 and 11. We would love any suggestions you could give us. If I need to make a reservation, I would like to do that before we arrive. THANK YOU!!

73 Dave { 01.29.13 at 6:34 am }

Thanks, Trisha! The next best family choice is T-Rex.

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74 KE { 02.24.13 at 10:49 am }

Dave-

We are headed there in December with 4 adults and 3 kids (2 yr old girl, 2 yr old boy, 6 yr old girl). We will be there for a short trip that we do not foresee as being our last visit. We will have 4 nights with 3 days actually in the parks (AK and MK only w/no hopper option). We’re planning on doing the MVMCP one of the evenings we are there and I’m looking into the Terrace Fireworks Dessert Party.

Our party is pretty adventurous when it comes to eating but we do have a peanut allergy (toddler). We are okay with buffets since those are the character meals, but would like one or two other experiences to round out this short trip.

First here is our MUST for this trip:
1900 Park Fare (Cinderella Dinner)

The rest of the 3 table service meals are pretty open, though they have to be at MK, AK or a resort close to either of the two since these are the only parks we are visiting.

Here are some of the restaurants I’m looking at:
Tusker House (lunch w/characters)
Crystal Palace (breakfast w/characters)
Tony’s
Ohana (breakfast w/characters or dinner)
Be Our Guest (can’t decide if a QS or TS is better for this one)
Yak & Yeti
Chef Mickey’s (breakfast or dinner w/ characters)

Would love to take advantage of as many character options as possible, but would also like to have meals that are much more than standard buffet offerings and at least one adult option without characters.

Not sure about breakfasts…Are they really worth it? I hate the thought of “wasting” a better dining option to go with a breakfast when we could easily eat in the room or grab a small snack when we arrive at the park each day. Also do not want to miss opening because those are some of the BEST moments!

Any suggestions or thoughts are welcome…

75 Dave { 02.24.13 at 4:25 pm }

Hi KE! I’m assuming you are using the dining plan from some of your comments. I’m not keen on breakfasts as a use of dining plan credits–value for money–and they also get in the way of being at the parks when they open, whihc is the best time to best the crowds.

All the choices you’ve listed are great except Tonys, which is unexceptional, and Tusker House, which is good but not great. I’d add ot your list of possibilities Hoop Dee Doo Revue at Fort Wilderness (see http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/04/24/review-the-hoop-dee-doo-musical-revue/ ) and Whispering Canyon at the Wilderness Lodge. Each is just a short boat ride from MK.

For help in sorting thru all these options, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/dining-alternatives/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-dining/

Hope this helps!!

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76 Katie { 03.03.13 at 6:13 am }

Hi Dave…..we are going to Disney this fall. However I have been trying to “practice” making a reservation for dinner at Be Our Guest. There are 3 of us….my husband, son and I. When I put 3 in it will give me an incredibly late dining reservation…..when I put 2 or 4 members in for the party size it gives me times over the dinner hour(i.e. from 4-6pm). I am doing this right at 6 am when you can start making reservations. What’s going on, do they not have many tables for 3?

77 Dave { 03.03.13 at 4:02 pm }

Hi Katie, I dunno, but am guessing you are right. In your shoes I’d just book for 4…

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78 Shana { 03.11.13 at 2:01 pm }

Dave, I’m in the process of planning our Disney trip for this October. Our daughter will be 5 when we go. I checked out the Be Our Guest Restaurant online and it looks very nice from an abiance perspective, but she’s 5….I don’t think she’s going to touch any of the food they have on the menu! Is it worth it? Or should we stick to Cinderella’s Royal Table and maybe Akershus? Also, we would like to do Bibbity Bobbity Boutique with her and since she’ll be all dressed up, I thought we could maybe do a fancy dinner or lunch that day. Based on where that is (the Boutique), which restaurant do you recommend we do afterwards? Thanks!

79 Dave { 03.12.13 at 8:10 am }

Hi Shana, I agree that BOG doesn’t have much on the menu for a typical 5 year old. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/03/12/review-counter-service-lunch-at-be-our-guest-in-the-magic-kingdom/

There’s two BBB locations, one in Downtown Disney and one in the Magic Kingdom. You should go to the one in the Magic Kingdom, and then do Cinderella’s Royal Table after!

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80 Anonymous { 03.23.13 at 9:41 am }

Hi Dave, This is my first time in Disney staying Polynesian resort on August18-25 With 4 girls ages7-11 Staying 7night 8days with magic your way plus dining, 4 day magic ticket with water park. First Sunday ecopt @6;15 Akershua ,Monday M.K Cinderalla 12:10 noon lunch, Tuesday water park, Wednesday Wednesday water park @6;15 Citico , Thursday A.K , Friday Hoolywood Studio @5pm Hollywood vine show 8:30 ,Saturday water park @6:45 Mickey’s Chef , Sunday getting ready to leave plane leave 2:15 pm. Please need your help because with this i made the reservation with AAA but your site help me Sooooo much . I still can cancel reservation please help . Maria

81 Dave { 03.23.13 at 2:33 pm }

Hi I’m not sure what help you are looking for–??

82 maria { 03.23.13 at 3:27 pm }

Hi I didn’t expected a respone so quickly thanks. I wasn’t sure about the dining part especially Citico . I cancel Citico and added Ohana @8:30pm on Tuesday and Boma on Thursday 4:30pm . I would like your feed back in anything you think that can work better on my vacation.Thanks Maria

83 Lorrie { 03.23.13 at 8:20 pm }

Hi Dave this is my first time visiting and there is only two adults. At the resorts when dinning is included what meals or what is all included

84 Dave { 03.24.13 at 1:43 pm }

Hi Maria–yes, I think you made a good call to replace Citricos with Ohana. Citricos has great food, but is not much fun for the kids. You also strike me as having too many water park days and not enough days in the theme parks. You could easily spend six days in the theme parks–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/how-long-to-stay/

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85 Dave { 03.24.13 at 1:50 pm }

Hi Lorrie, none of the Disney resorts have dining included. You can buy something called the “Dining Plan” –there are several different versions–which give you varying amounts of meal credits. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/02/11/the-disney-dining-plan-at-walt-disney-world/

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86 Sarah { 03.25.13 at 11:47 am }

Hi Dave,
Well I just booked my Disney Vacation today. Tomorrow will be 180 days out. as of now it won’t give me the option to practice booking for tomorrow. my concern is….when tomorrow hits…will it allow me to book the rest of the week…even though the calender stops at each day?

87 Dave { 03.25.13 at 12:52 pm }

Hi Sarah! Assuming you are in a WDW hotel–and I know that was your intention–yes, you can book your arrival day and nine days more on your 180 day mark.

PS you can practice booking today, by using the day before your arrival date as the date you are trying to book…

88 Sarah { 03.25.13 at 3:16 pm }

Thanks Dave! And yes we are staying at a WDW resort! I appreciate all your help! Thanks for everything.

89 Dave { 03.25.13 at 4:23 pm }

Good luck, Sarah!

90 Sarah { 03.26.13 at 1:38 pm }

Well Dave,
Today was supposed to be my 180th day out to reserve all my dining experiences and Disney’s damn server is not working for booking reserverations right now! What are the odds! Woke up early and everything! LOL

91 Dave { 03.26.13 at 5:12 pm }

Sarah, what a pain! Were the telephone reservationists at 404-WDW-DINE off the system too?

92 Sarah { 03.26.13 at 9:06 pm }

Yes they were for awhile. I tried back around 5pm tonight and I was able to make a few more reservations. I was still not able to make Hollywood and Vine. She said that resturant and Ohana were still having issues! I guess I’ll try again tomorrow! Crazy huh!

93 Dave { 03.27.13 at 7:51 am }

Good luck today, Sarah!!!

94 Deb Wright { 03.27.13 at 1:55 pm }

First, I want to say even though I’ve been to WDW about 10 times I find your site very helpful in reminding me of things I’ve forgotten. You also update me on the new adventures available. Question – I love the tagliata di manzo @ Tutto Italia, is it still on the menu? Thank you for all your hard work!
All the Best,
Deb Wright

95 Dave { 03.27.13 at 5:20 pm }

Hi Deb, and thanks!! Here’s a link to the Tutto menu–my scan did not show the tagliato… http://www.wdwinfo.com/wdwinfo/dining/diningdetail.cfm?restaurant.id=86#menu

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96 Anonymous { 04.01.13 at 7:19 pm }

Hi Dave , This is Maria i follow your advice and cancel the water park and added 6 park tickets and if i decide to buy water ticket for 1 day then i will buy them there. Thanks so much for your hard work. I used your site for my vacation plan. I am so happy i did. Polynesian resort, parks, dining or i added photo plus. Please feel free to jump in and give me advice. Thank you soo much

97 Dave { 04.02.13 at 7:01 am }

Hi Maria, that’s great! Get back to me with any more questions you have…Dave

98 Michael H { 04.02.13 at 10:49 am }

Hi Dave/others,

My 180 days out will be next month, but I am having a blast planning this trip. All I have for a honeymoon restaurant thus far is Califrnia Grill… any other suggestions? I have 5 nights there so 5 tabe meals and 5 counter service.

Also, I heard that it is better to cash in your snacks (from the dining plan) in the theme parks, as the variety is better… does this sound right?

Mike H

99 Dave { 04.02.13 at 12:51 pm }

Hey Michael, see the stuff on the lower right of the image on this page: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/dining-alternatives/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-dining/

And I think it’s true in general that there’s more snack variety at the parks, but it depends a bit on the resort…

100 Carrie { 04.02.13 at 7:15 pm }

I love your site as I really am planning our first visit to disney with our 2 and 4 yr olds. We are going next week and staying at Art of Animation. I did make some dinner reservations for your recommended places. We are doing Crystal Palace one morning, but the other mornings I had planned on eating a quick breakfast at Main st bakery in the park and getting some coffee in the morning. I see now that it is closed! Do you recommend any other places for a quick easy breakfast (like an egg sandwich or something)? We can eat something small in our room, but this will not be enough to get us through lunch. We do have the dining plan. We will probably head straight to Fantasyland when the park opens. Any good breakfast places in that area (with good coffee too)? Thanks very much!

101 Dave { 04.03.13 at 7:40 am }

Hi Carrie, and thanks!! Your best bet is the AofA food court, which will open at (if memory serves) 6a–double check in case it’s 7a. Your early time in the park is much better served by going on rides before the lines build than to a breakfast in the parks (at least befroe 10.30)…

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102 Scott { 04.06.13 at 11:39 pm }

Hi Dave,

Is it possible to make dining reservations without yet having room reservations? As an example, if we plan to go in early December but are not 100% sure of the exact dates other than narrowed down to a 7-10 span could we make reservations on the 180 day of each date of that 7-10 day span? I hope this makes sense and is not too convoluted.

Thanks,

Scott

103 Dave { 04.07.13 at 7:31 am }

Scott, anyone can make reservations so long as they are 180 days or less away. You do not need to have room ressies to do so!

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104 Scott { 04.07.13 at 4:56 pm }

Thanks Dave. I figured that was the case but was looking for confirmation.

105 Lora Switalski { 04.26.13 at 1:30 am }

Hi Dave,
I have learned so much from your website! We will be going to Disney June 5 thru June 10th. We are first timers and my daughters are 18 and 21. This is for their graduation, one from high school, one from college. I am looking for one restaurant that will be a “wow”! Something 4 adults would like. We are staying at the swan and this is a surprise for my girls. Thank you for your time.

106 Dave { 04.26.13 at 1:11 pm }

Hi Lora, and thanks!!

If by wow you mean fine dining, see the options in the lower right box of this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/dining-alternatives/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-dining/

All are WOW restaurants!

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107 Michael H { 05.08.13 at 1:47 pm }

Hi Dave! I don’t know where the schedule is to find out the evening I should book California Grill to see the fireworks(?) show. And if I have the schedule, what am I looking for on it? Thanks. Mike.

108 Dave { 05.09.13 at 8:21 am }

Hi Michael, I’m not sure what you are asking!

109 Michael H { 05.09.13 at 1:27 pm }

I can’t find the fireworks show schedule for viewing from California Grill.

110 Dave { 05.10.13 at 1:25 pm }

Michael, what dates are you targeting? California Grill is closed for rehab right now. I’ll let you know the Wishes fireworks sked once you tell me your date…

Or you can work with this: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/entertainment/magic-kingdom/wishes-nighttime-spectacular/ There’s a tiny calendar icon on the right side just below “Friday May 10″ You can use that to check a specific date.

And just in case you don’t alreayd know this, Wishes is much better from within the Magic Kingdom, facing the castle from the Main Street side, than from the California Grill. The CG is a great option once you’ve ssen Wishes the right way once, but isn’t a subsitute for that…

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111 Michelle { 05.13.13 at 3:37 pm }

I’m planning a September trip, with two sit down dinners at Magic Kingdom. (Dining plan). Be Our Guest is totally booked, and for one of our dinners, we’ve decided on Liberty Tree. What would you suggest for our second table credit? (We’re not really into buffets!)

Thanks!

112 Scott { 05.13.13 at 8:26 pm }

Michelle,

Since you cannot get a reservation at Be Our Guest I would recommend Kona, which is in the Polynesian. You can take the monorail from the Magic Kingdom to the Polynesian.

Scott

113 Michelle { 05.13.13 at 10:04 pm }

Kona looks FABULOUS! Thanks for the recommendation; I never would have even considered going anywhere beside MK (I was so not looking forward to Tony’s). The park closes at 7, dinner is at 7:45, then, it looks like the floating electrical parade will be at 9. Sounds like the perfect ending of our trip.

114 Dave { 05.14.13 at 7:49 am }

Scott, thanks for helping Michelle out!!

115 Scott { 05.14.13 at 6:47 pm }

Michelle,

I think you will enjoy Kona very much. We dined there (on the Dining Plan) in December and it was well worth the dining credit. The lamb chops were great.

Dave,

My pleasure. Glad I was able to help.

Scott

116 Brandy { 05.20.13 at 2:50 am }

I LOVE this site. I just returned from my trip 4/27-5/5. Had a wonderfully WET time. It was my 4th trip, but first trip for some of my family. I wish I had found your site before going, and I can’t wait to share it with other board members from other sites (if that is allowed). I did not know I was taking my trip until about 60 days prior, we did not stay onsite, and found reservations tricky. I wanted to remind those that are going to keep trying for reservations. I was able to get Crystal Palace for 4 at 8:05 (early park entry and PERFECT castle pictures) just 2 days before we needed them. I also scored Tommorowland Terrace desert party the day of. It seems the closer to the date you need reservations, the more likely they will be available (I’m sure it has to do with the cancellation policy)
My question is about T-Rex. My entire party LOVED this place. The food was above average, but my 6 year old is still raving about the dinos. We are planning our return for Jan 25- Feb 8, 2014. You recomend Rainforest Cafe, will this atmosphere disapoint compared to T-Rex? I hope we are able to do both, but I really don’t want to spend 2 days at DTD. Is the Rainforest Cafe at Animal Kingdom comparable to DTD?

117 Dave { 05.20.13 at 9:07 am }

Hi Brandy, and thanks! And please do share away on your boards!

RF is very similar to T-Rex–not as scary, but just as detailed. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/01/21/review-the-rainforest-cafe-downtown-disney/ And the AK version is just great! I send people to the DTD one only because they are in DTD that night anyway if they are following one of my itineraries!

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118 Matt { 05.26.13 at 9:45 pm }

We are going the week after Thanksgiving (Nov30-Dec7) and are going to have a party of 10 for all meals. I know it says to make reservations for the Character meals but should I also make reservation for all our other meals as well? Both Quick Service and Table meals? One or the other? Do meal times (Bkfst,Lunch,Dinner) make a difference? Thanks for all the information on this site. It has made my planning much easier!

119 Dave { 05.27.13 at 5:39 pm }

Hi Matt, and thanks! You should reserve all of your table service meals–whihc would include all character meals. You can’t reserve quick service meals…

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120 Matt { 05.27.13 at 8:11 pm }

Thanks! Is there anywhere it will tell me the max table size for the variuos Disney Restaurants? For example, Sci-Fi Dner looks like a max of maybe 4-5. Will I have to make 2 reservations for 5 each or 1 for 10 and they will give us multiple tables? Thanks again for all your help!

121 Dave { 05.28.13 at 7:40 am }

Matt, to answer your specific question, not that I know of, but the drop down menu under party size for e.g. Sci-Fi went up to 30 people before I stopped looking…

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122 Matt { 05.28.13 at 9:32 am }

Thanks for all your help.

123 Dave { 05.29.13 at 6:38 am }

You bet, Matt!

124 Kevin { 05.29.13 at 11:57 pm }

We are going to Disney in June with a child that has an extreme food allergy called FPIES. She only has 27 ingredients she can eat. I have to say that Disney has been GREAT. Every restaurant we booked has gotten in touch with us to inquire specifically about what she can and cant have. Each chef has come up with a special meal just for her and they are all purchasing the special ingredients from stores in Orlando that carry them just for her. I couldn’t believe how accommodating they have been! I wanted to share that before asking my question. Now, with our dining plan we have a certain number of snacks per day per person. We are going to be eating two nice sit down meals a day, so we most likely wont be snaking too much. I’ve been told you can use all of the left over snack credits on your last day to load up on snacks for the trip back. I was just curious if there is any kind of list anywhere of what items can be purchase with snack credits. Thanks for all of the great info!

125 Dave { 05.30.13 at 7:29 am }

Kevin, first, thanks for word on how helpful Disney has been. There’s plenty of parents in similar–though perhaps not often so complex–shoes, and your story will reassure them. Come back here after your visit and do a report on how the FPIES dining wnet, will you?

Second, I’m not aware of any list of what’s available as a snack. It really runs the gamut and my guess is that there’s more than a thousand different items if you added everything up everywhere…though the majority will be cookies/baked goods/ice cream bars/fruits/etc

Check out the search results here for some links to consider playing with: https://www.google.com/search?q=best+dinsey+dining+plan+snack&rlz=1C1LENP_enUS492US492&oq=best+dinsey+dining+plan+snack&aqs=chrome.0.57j0l3j62l2.5454j0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

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126 Kevin { 05.30.13 at 8:10 pm }

Dave, Thanks for all the great info. I will definitely come back and post after my trip to give an update on how the trip went.

127 Dave { 05.31.13 at 7:53 am }

Thanks, Kevin! Have a great trip…

128 Jennifer M { 06.04.13 at 5:52 pm }

Hello Dave! We just put our deposit down on the Disney Vacation from Feb 28/14 to Mar 9/14. We can’t book a package yet, but I was just curious on your thoughts on the disney Dining Plan. I’m on the fence on it being any cheaper. I’ve checked out a spreadsheet that I found on the touring plans website, and it is telling me that it would be cheaper to not get the dining plan. I would only get it for convenience. My first question is do you think there is any chance of a free dining plan at that time? Also, would it really be any more convenient to just have the dining plan? Out of those 10 days, 2 are travel, and two are not going to be spent in Disney. I am also wanting to go to either Cinderella’s table or Askershus and Hoop De Doo. So those require 2 credits each. what would your thoughts be? any suggestions?

129 Dave { 06.05.13 at 7:12 am }

Hi Jennifer!

The dining plan used to be a great deal, has come a lot closer over the last 5 years to being not much of a saver, but rather simply a budgeting tool, and my guess is that the 2013-2014 prices, which should come out any minute, will make that even more true. All things considered, if you don’t care about its value as a budgeting tool, it’s simpler to use cash. And no, I don’t think there will be free dining then…

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130 Jennifer M { 06.07.13 at 3:30 pm }

Hi Dave! I don’t know if anyone has asked this, but Now that the hotel and flights are booked, I’m trying to decide on dinner reservations. I’ve read reviews of both Askershus and Cinderella’s Table. I don’t think everyone else in the party will want two princess dinners, so which would you suggest? And are there any other must do restaurants that you suggest?

131 Dave { 06.09.13 at 7:30 am }

Jennifer, if your plans already include Epcot–whihc they should, unless your kids are all or mostly under 8–then Akershus is almost as much fun, but much less expensive, than Cindy.

My other must-dos are all at the bottom of the page in the section that starts “COMPLETE LIST…” You can also use this to sort and filter: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/dining-alternatives/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-dining/

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132 Regina-Agent with Destinations in Florida { 07.01.13 at 8:48 pm }

Hello, I recently visited the Magic Kingdom over Memorial Day weekend for training and had dinner at Tony’s Town Square–if you haven’t been there, it is a must! Quaint little restaurant based off Disney’s Lady & the Tramp. Food was delicious, waitress was fun & engaging and the ambiance was delightful! There was a couple at a table across from us celebrating their anniversary–dinner was complete with the famous candle in a wine bottle! Bella Noche!

133 Dave { 07.02.13 at 8:43 am }

Thanks, Regina!!

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134 Kelly { 07.09.13 at 9:41 am }

Hi Dave! Thanks so much for this site, it’s really incredible all the work and love you’ve shared here! We are planning our 3rd trip to WDW for our 10th anniversary this next Feb. (I know, not a fave time, but we love the cost difference and we honeymooned at Disneyland, so feel it only right to spend this celebration at WDW.) We have 3 girls, who will be 7, 6, and 4 at that time. I was starting to lean towards The Spirit of Aloha dinner show, which we’ve never done, for a big Valentine Anniversary dinner, but I’m seeing mixed reviews on this. What is your opinion and if SOA is out, what would you suggest? We’re doing very few dining experiences to cut costs this trip, so any suggestions will be so helpful. We have been to Cinerella’s Royal Table 2x’s already and were wanting something a little different this time. Not necessarily fancy and romantic, just an all around great family experience to celebrate our anniversary. Thanks so much!!

135 Dave { 07.10.13 at 8:37 am }

Hi Kelly and thanks!

I think that Spirit of Aloha delivers the lowest value for money of anything at WDW.

I’d strongly suggest Hoop Dee Doo–see http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/04/24/review-the-hoop-dee-doo-musical-revue/ If that looks to corny, or you’ve already seen it, then Akershus–a fun lower key and less expensive princess meal at Epcot–woudl also be a great choice.

If you’ve done both, or want more options, then take a look at this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/dining-alternatives/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-dining/

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136 Kelly { 07.10.13 at 9:10 am }

Thank you so much, Dave! We haven’t done either of those and I am sooo glad I asked you about Spirit of Aloha before spending that amount for a less than amazing experience! I will definitely be choosing one of those other options, thanks so much!

137 Dave { 07.11.13 at 8:08 am }

You are welcome, Kelly! :)

138 Mike { 07.11.13 at 2:28 pm }

Hello Dave, If we are staying in a WDW resort ( the GF ) and we have a early morning breakfast at another WDW resort ( Cape May ), how do we get to the resort. GF to DTD then a bus to CM or is there something else?

139 Dave { 07.12.13 at 8:37 am }

Mike there’s no easy way to do this without taking a cab–there’s cab stands outside both hotels. Other options waste a lot of time…

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140 Samantha { 07.29.13 at 10:45 pm }

I just found this site and I love it! So helpful! I wanted to know your suggestions on places to eat with a 5 year old boy. We have reservations for breakfast at chef Mickey and Hollywood vine and dine. Dinner at ohanas and T. rex. I looked at others and didn’t see things on the menu a 5 year old would eat… Help please! :)

141 Dave { 07.30.13 at 8:03 am }

Samantha, I focus on older kids, so don’t really have a ton to add beyond the lists and charts already here. See this, for example, if you haven’t already: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/dining-alternatives/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-dining/

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142 Maria { 08.03.13 at 11:38 am }

Going in February and trying to decided where to eat. I have booked a dining plan and was wondering if I can use this at any restaurant of my choice or if it just applies to some?
Thanks,
Maria

143 Dave { 08.03.13 at 12:08 pm }

Maria, it’s available for use at most, but not all, restaurants. Disney has a brochure that indicates which places accept credits, and how many. The current draft of the 2014 version is here: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/media/wdw_nextgen/CoreCatalog/WaltDisneyWorld/en_us/PDF/2014Dining.pdf

More restaurants will eventually be in than are currently listed. Some restaurants at Disney World are owned by third parties, and negotiations between some of them and Disney tend to go down to the end of December…

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144 Zara { 08.03.13 at 1:01 pm }

Thanks Dave,
Your info is really useful.
What buffet restaurants would you recommend for our trip in March?
Zara

145 Dave { 08.04.13 at 8:49 am }

Hi Zara and thanks!

I don’t really think in terms of buffets when I recommend restaurants–rather, I focus on the quality of experiences.

Of my recommended restaurants that show up on pretty much all my itineraries, Chef Mickey’s and The Crystal Palace are buffets, and there’s probably others.

There’s a extensive section in The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2014 on buffets if you need it!

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146 Jennifer M { 08.12.13 at 10:45 am }

Hi Dave! Someone has probably asked this but I can’t find it. Where is a good place to eat to meet Goofy, Mickey, Donald, etc. (Just the original Disney characters)? Also, a good character meal for my 6 year old boy? We will be doing a princess dinner for my almost 9 year old daughter, but I would like my son to enjoy something. He is into pretty much all usual boy stuff, nothing out of the ordinary. Maybe somewhere in Downtown Disney? or Hollywood studios? It will be their first time and probably their last time till they are much older (like young adults).

147 Tom { 08.12.13 at 10:51 am }

Jen, the best place would be to have dinner at “Chef Mickey’s”; otherwise you’ll have to wander a bit around the park to meet&greet them all. Mickey is now at the hall by the main entrance at MK, Pluto can be found (not always) by the flagpole nearby and Daisy as well, Goofy used to be near Splash Mountain and Donald near Liberty Tree Tavern. Minnie is sometimes at the same spot that Mickey, I have found her seldom not always.

So, if you ask me, the best place to meet all the regular characters is Chef Mickey’s

148 Jennifer M { 08.12.13 at 3:50 pm }

Thanks Tom! I was also wondering about a 6 year old boy? Is there any character meals that maybe the toy story crew or something geared towards a young boy?

149 Dave { 08.13.13 at 6:43 am }

Jennifer, besides Tom’s great point about Chef Mickey, also think about as a “boy meal” the Hoop Dee Doo Revue—see http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/04/24/review-the-hoop-dee-doo-musical-revue/

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150 Jennifer M { 08.13.13 at 10:34 am }

Thanks Dave! We are planning on going there. It sounds like a lot of fun. I was looking at T-Rex in Downtown Disney. What is it like there? Would you reccomend it?

151 Dave { 08.14.13 at 6:44 am }

T-Rex is a hoot, and very fun. Loud, active and colorful…and loaded with ginormous dinosaurs! One of my weaker photos is of it–it’s here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/01/21/review-the-rainforest-cafe-downtown-disney/#comment-125403

152 Katherine { 08.24.13 at 4:53 pm }

We are staying at the GF in October. We are trying to decide between restaurants with a view of wishes. Do you recommend narcooses or CA grill? Leaning towards narcooses for convenience, but wanted your opinion. Thanks!!!

153 Dave { 08.25.13 at 8:35 am }

Hi Katherine! Frankly, I recommend being on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. If you have already seen Wishes from there, then the California Grill is by far the best restaurant choice for watching Wishes again, and since it’s just a monorail ride away from GF, it’s not that inconvenient.

154 Maria { 09.05.13 at 10:51 am }

Hi Dave, Thank you, Thank you what can I not say about you and your excellent work. This was our first time to world Disney and we stood @ the Polynesian Resort @ Tahiti building it was fabulous all the transportation was near we follow your instruction I took snacks and small boxes of cereal in the luggage it was the best idea I was up by 5am then girls we was out by 7:30am . We didn’t had to wait on line for any rides I couldn’t believe it we went on every single on none we had to wait I didn’t had to take fast pass it but we did just in case but it wasn’t necessary . the only things I didn’t enjoyed was the food @ akershus food it was terrible . Cinderella’s Royal Table the food was excellent .Ohana it was fabulous . we didn’t go Garden view tea room because my two oldest grandkids 10 and 11 years wasn’t cooperating so I cancel . I really wanted to go. Boma was a nice African buffets is not inside animal kingdom . chef Mickey’s was really nice but I felt pressure by the waitress to leave . Hollywood &Vine it was okay but Fantasmic !!!! was out of this world . Polynesia experience was beautiful I felt that I was on vacation especially the way you have it program. we went back to the resort and da kids had a blast in da pool, sand ,@ night movie @ da sand , @ night fire of Disney it was all beautiful. making plan for next august 2014 . it wasn’t full @ all it was just right. I thought that after Disney I was going to need a mini vacation and I book a four days to Puerto rico I wish I had stayed in da Polynesian instead but I did had a wonderful time in Puerto Rico no regrets. Do you have or do you know any site for Disney curise or to Africa. I want to say to you you are da man. thank you sooo much

155 Dave { 09.06.13 at 6:32 am }

Maria, thanks so much for your kind words and I’m so glad the site helped! Thanks for the detailed report too.. This is all I have–nothing on the Cruise Line–but it’s pretty well covered in books like The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2014.

156 Wendy { 10.15.13 at 10:06 pm }

Hope your week is going well – I have yet another question…

As of now, I have reservations for a Fantasmic meal at Brown Derby for our group AND I got Fastpass+ for the same show. Will those Fastpass+ seats be as good as the ones for the meal? We love the BD, but it would be nice to save the money if they are close to as good. In addition, do we get to arrive at the same time for both?

Thanks,

Wendy

157 Dave { 10.16.13 at 7:18 am }

Wendy, the Fantasmic meal seating, which used to be lousy, is now great–and the FP+ seats are right next to it! So either way these are good seats. My FP+ had a return window that ended 15 minutes before Fantasmic showtime. I went in at the 20 minute mark and still found great seats…

158 Wendy { 10.16.13 at 3:17 pm }

Thanks! At a busy time (Thanksgiving week,) would you suggest more like 45 minutes?

159 Dave { 10.17.13 at 10:22 am }

No Wendy, there’s the same amount of dedicated seats and available FP+ either way. It can’t hurt to get there earlier, but I don’t think you don’t have too!

Also, did you see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/10/17/major-changes-in-disney-world-thanksgiving-week-calendar-especially-magic-kingdom-openings/

160 Wendy { 10.17.13 at 9:16 pm }

Good to know about the number of passes – that makes sense. I did see that about the extra hours! I just do not know if I can get the crew there at 7:00 (4:00AM for us) – but I will try. The late hours shock me, too. 1-3AM – I wonder if that might be better than getting up so early?

Wendy

161 Dave { 10.18.13 at 7:16 am }

OMG Wendy…4a on your body clock will not be fun. However…with FP+ sharply targeted at the rides that you otherwise should get on first thing, you could try skipping rope drops..at least on the first couple of days, while you adjust to the time change…

162 Wendy { 10.18.13 at 11:33 am }

That is what I am thinking – but we will see. When I was in college and visiting Rome, my dad sent me 10 pages on legal paper of all the things I need to do in my 3 days stay…and at the end he said, “You know, you do not need to sleep when in Rome.” That is exactly how my dad approaches all glorious thing in life…maybe that will work at WDW, too! Though, I must admit, I did sleep in Rome…just a bit. Of course, when we return, right back to school I go…cannot fall asleep while teaching thesis statements! Maybe sleep on the plane? It is a long flight…

163 Dave { 10.19.13 at 8:25 am }

I love your dad’s attitude!! Just take afternoon breaks for naps…I used to teach thesis statements too, as a freshman comp instructor at the University of Virginia! This site would be much better if I rewrote each page so I lead with the question addressed on it and its answer!

164 Wendy { 10.19.13 at 1:06 pm }

My husband taught the same at University of Nebraska…funny.

Your writing is why people come to the site – you give them info in a way they can understand and your writing considers audience and purpose….makes an English teacher (I teach middle school) happy.

Until the next question…

Wendy

165 Dave { 10.20.13 at 6:47 am }

OK, Wendy, I admit, that in the core content of the site, you are right :)

166 Nickey { 10.29.13 at 10:50 pm }

Dave, I am confused what is the difference between San Angel and La Hacienda and which do you prefer for dinner?

Thanks!

167 Dave { 10.30.13 at 2:40 pm }

Nickey I get myself mixed up over this…

San Angel Inn is the restaurant I recommend. It is inside the Mexico pavilion, and imitates evening dining in an outdoor cafe in a Mexican city square. See https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/epcot/san-angel-inn-restaurante/

La Hacienda de San Angel is outside the pavilion, on the water. See this: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/epcot/hacienda-de-san-angel/

168 Meghan { 11.04.13 at 7:19 am }

Hi Dave –
We’re following the A-W-S itinerary for a 5/3/14 trip. I’d like to plan a dinner out for my husband and me on Thursday; while the kids stay with their Uncle. What do you recommend for a restaurant? I’d prefer a resort based restaurant, since we won’t be using a park ticket that day. Here’s the last tricky one….would love to have a Brown Derby Cobb (had one at Floridian Cafe about 11 years ago) but am having trouble finding it on menus! Obviously paying cash.

169 Dave { 11.04.13 at 7:26 am }

Meghan I dunno about the Cobb! Might be worth checking in with AJ at http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/

On my general thoughts on adult dining, anything in the right column on this page would work: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/dining-alternatives/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-dining/ Locations are ID’s so you cna toss the theme park options…

For a stunning, and stunningly pricey, dining option, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/05/23/review-victoria-and-alberts-at-walt-disney-world/

170 Lauren { 12.01.13 at 9:30 pm }

Hello,
We are headed to MK for one day the first week of January, after visiting family in South Florida. I’ll be toting a one year old and 3.5 yr old girls. I know, I know, I was the one who said I would never change a diaper in Disney:). My 3.5 year old will be delighted, and life is short, so we are booked. Having said that, I want to keep the day flexible considering their ages. Anyway, I decided on a few character events-here it goes. Arrive Sunday, enjoy the hotel and pool. Sunday night take my 3.5 daughter and myself to Chef Mickey’s for dinner at 7pm. I could only get reservations for 2, which is fine, so my husband can hang out either back at the hotel with the wait for us with the baby at the Contemporary. Then I thought we could watch the fireworks from the 4th floor or take the monorail to the beach at they Polynesian. Any preference?

Monday-MK. I have a 7:30 am reservation at O’Hana Polynesian, with the idea that we’d then take the monorail to the park by 8:30ish. My instinct tells me that this may be too tight of a schedule in the morning and that I should head straight to the park to see the characters and head to Fantasyland/Dumbo rides. It’s doable because my children are up before the sun comes up, but what do you think? I could switch Lilo & Stitch to Tuesday morning, which is our travel day at 1pm flight. If so, what time would you recommend for breakfast? First thing to avoid lines?

Or, I can just hold out on Lilo & Stitch (and the princesses meals)until next time. This trip is just a dabble at Disney:) I do plan on Ariel’s grotto and I will try to meet as many of the princesses I can during the day at the Magic Kingdom.

Finally, do you think it’s a must to see the fireworks again at the MK Monday night if we already saw them on Sunday? They both will be tired. I did see that you can meet Cinderella at 10pm at MK, but I thought that was when the park closes that night. Confusing!

PS Do you babysit? Thanks!

171 Dave { 12.02.13 at 6:58 am }

Lauren, on the important question…no I don’t babysit!

I would move Ohana to Tuesday for sure, and considering your flight times I’d aim for 8a. The restaurant doesn’t really hop til then. Monday, if I were you, I’d get to MK early and head straight for Enchanted Tales with Belle.

Wishes from within the park is profoundly different–and much better–than seeing it from the Contemporary or the Poly beach. And between the two, I’d do the 4th floor Sunday night–not worth the extra logistics of getting to the Poly. So yes, if you can stay awake for it, do see it Monday night!

172 Lori { 01.05.14 at 9:16 am }

Can you recommend a couple of choices for table service meal with teenagers? We will be going in August, and we have a 15 year old boy, 14 year old girl, and 7 year old boy. I am not too worried about keeping the 7 year old happy because he is an easygoing kid who will enjoy wherever he is. But my teenage daughter especially will resist any place she perceives as being too “kid-oriented” or uncool.

The whole family are pretty adventerous eaters. We parents would like to have really good food, so we don’t want to sacrifice on the food for the sake of the experience but do want a place that the kids will remember as being special/fun.

What do you suggest?

Also, I’m thinking of reserving @ the T-Rex restaurant for me and the 7yo. Should I take just him, or would the teens be likely to enjoy it, too?

Thanks for all your help! Your site has been a godsend in planning our trip, even though we are ignoring your advice and going in August ;)

173 Kristi { 02.24.14 at 7:29 pm }

Hi again Dave!
Quick Q: We need to decide between Chefs de France or Garden Grill for dinner at Epcot. (We have two days at Epcot and the second day is at Akershus.) Just as an FYI we also have Chef Mickey’s and Grand Floridian Cafe when at MK so kids aren’t missing out on Character dining! So while I know they’re two different experiences your thoughts on CdF vs GG are greatly appreciated!

174 Dave { 02.25.14 at 7:14 am }

Kristi, I don’t have a strong feeling on this, as they are so different. Garden Grill has more kid appeal, Chefs better food…

175 Kristi { 02.27.14 at 8:55 pm }

Thanks, Dave… just the validation that Chef’s has better food works for me – the kids have enough character meals and I’d like a good meal/unique dining experience, so the choice is made; Chef’s it is. :)

176 Dave { 02.28.14 at 7:17 am }

Ok Kristi, let me know what you though of Chefs when you get back!

177 Lisa { 04.02.14 at 10:24 pm }

Hey there,
We are going to Epcot and dining at Coral Reef. This is our second time and we have reservations. Is there a way that you are aware of we can get a seat next to the tank. Is there a method to the madness or just a luck of the draw even with a reservation?
Thanks!!

178 Dave { 04.03.14 at 7:25 am }

Hi Lisa, since almost everyone wants those seats, there’s no real certain way to get them–show up early, request them, and note that you are willing to wait…if you are celebrating anything, wear a button…be perky and cute, even if you have to borrow someone else’s kids to do so…

179 Lisa { 04.03.14 at 1:42 pm }

Hmmmm my 8 year old will come in handy for that!! LOL We are celebrating her birthday so maybe that will do the trick! Thanks again!!

180 Dave { 04.04.14 at 2:01 pm }

Make sure she’s wearing the button, Lisa! And also see the second half of this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/02/01/is-walt-disney-world-free-on-your-birthday/

181 Joy { 05.30.14 at 11:12 am }

Hi again Dave! I will be at DW Nov 28 – Dec 7. I purchased the dining plan. According to your calendar, I can book dining reservations June 1st. Will it let me book the entire week’s dining? Will I need to call or will it all be available online?

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