By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2019, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.





h. Where to Eat at Walt Disney World

By Dave Shute

WHERE TO EAT AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

Some 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 Disney Dining Plan, reservations for your table service choices are absolutely a must.
Where to Eat at Walt Disney World from yourfirstvisit.net

If you are following one of my itineraries, this site takes care of dining for you.

The itineraries indicate all your Walt Disney World a dining sites and times, and their To-Do Lists 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.

The dining venues in the itineraries 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 the discussion lower on this page.

SPECIFIC DISNEY WORLD DINING DESTINATIONS INCLUDE:

Most of my itineraries include the following (shorter ones don’t have them all)

  • 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, the Crystal Palace, and Tusker House
  • Other meals in especially interesting and kid-friendly settings, such as the San Angel Inn

Over the years, other venues have also been in this list, including 1900 Park Fare, Whispering Canyon, 50’s Prime Time Cafe, Liberty Tree Tavern,  House of Blues Gospel Brunch, and the Rainforest Café.  These are also worth considering.

For what it’s worth, the following are the hardest-to-get reservations:

  • Be Our Guest Restaurant [Magic Kingdom]
  • Trattoria al Forno breakfast [Boardwalk]
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table [Magic Kingdom]
  • Chef Mickey’s [Contemporary Resort]
  • ’Ohana [Polynesian Resort]
  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall [Epcot]
  • 1900 Park Fare Dinner [Grand Floridian Resort]
  • California Grill [Contemporary Resort]
  • Crystal Palace [Magic Kingdom

 

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166 comments

1 Mike { 05.12.15 at 9:54 am }

Just want to thank you for your advice on which days to visit each park. Today was our 180 day till WDW and we used your charts to plan our meals and we got everything we wanted at the right time. We were on line at 6am and was done by 615 am. Before we used my way and it was a real hit and miss and almost scheduled anger manners class. Now we wait for our fast passes. Thanks again Dave.

2 Dave { 05.14.15 at 7:46 am }

Great, Mike!

3 Jane { 05.18.15 at 5:55 pm }

Hi Dave, if we don’t get BOG or Cindy we might do Liberty Tree. However, it is closed for its big refurbishment until a day before our vacation starts. I know things like this sometimes take longer than expected. Will they be letting us book it for later that week? If they do, what happens if it’s not available? I guess they couldn’t really offer us something else b/c it would all be booked…

4 Dave { 05.18.15 at 6:07 pm }

Jane they won’t let you book until they are sure it’s gonna open. What about Crystal Palace??

5 Jane { 05.18.15 at 6:53 pm }

Hi Dave, we are already going to do Crystal Palace. We are planning one full day and one half day in MK, with the first part of the day at AK. Our ideal is to have everyone eat at CP and BOG, and then split up for just my daughter and I to go to Cindy and the others to go to Liberty Tree. I guess I’ll book them into the Plaza as an alternative. We haven’t been to Liberty Tree or Plaza, but we liked the long history of Liberty Tree. I know we could do counter service but we had such an easy time with no lines last Thanksgiving week, and it was largely due to having reservations for both lunch and dinner. We are aiming for the most relaxation we can get!

6 Dave { 05.19.15 at 1:12 pm }

Jane, I meant no dis on Liberty Tree, just that I’d forgotten you were already doing CP!! Liberty Tree is a fine choice, Plaza is cheaper.

7 Kylie { 06.08.15 at 1:20 pm }

We are staying on property with another family. They arrive one day before we do. We have our reservations linked. Can I make our reservations for both families on their 180 mark or do I have to wait the extra day to our 180 mark to make them?

8 Dave { 06.09.15 at 7:54 am }

Kylie, they can make reservations that include you, but you can’t make reservations that include them til your own 180 day hits.

9 Tammy { 07.17.15 at 10:59 pm }

Hi Dave!
In your experienc with ADR’s in November week before Thanksgiving, have you waited to get into restaurants for lunch and dinner during prime meal times even with an ADR? If so, which restaurants do I need to be planning to wait to get into? I read in either yours or Josh’s review that BOG lunch definitely has wait times even with an ADR but as for the others recommended, I can’t seem to find anything on. Thank you so much in advance for all your help. Couldn’t have planned this without you!

10 Dave { 07.18.15 at 3:51 pm }

Tammy, I’ve waited even with an ADR a million times at all different times of the year, including a week that I ranked as crowd level “lowest” where I waited 30 minutes for one ADR and 40 for another. Check in 10-15 minutes befroe your ADR starts.

11 Tammy { 07.28.15 at 4:23 pm }

Again, I come back for your advice! What would we do without you!???
This time my question is about SciFi. You have it as a snack in the itinerary. I saw the comment you left near the top here that it is intended for a late arrival walkin. Should we be looking for an ADR to ensure entry or is that not allowed? We really want to experience SciFi but have an ADR with 50’s prime time for dinner.

12 Dave { 07.30.15 at 8:48 am }

Hi Tammy!!

Frankly, the only way to guarantee entry is via an ADR. What you then order is up to you!

13 Wendy { 07.30.15 at 10:34 am }

Hope your summer has gone well – mine has left a great amount of time to plan our Nov trip to HP and WDW.

I am thinking of our Epcot days – and I see that the bakery in France is open at 9:00 – but the World Showcase is not open until 11:00. How does one get in to eat there at 9:00?

Thanks!

Wendy

14 Dave { 07.31.15 at 7:23 am }

Hi Wendy and welcome back! There’s several dining options in World Showcase that open before 11a–Princess breakfasts at Norway, and, as you note, the Boulangerie in France. You just walk to them…

15 Wendy { 07.31.15 at 5:25 pm }

That seemed too easy – thanks!

16 Kelly B - Agent with Destinations in Florida { 08.01.15 at 9:27 am }

Hi Wendy,

I’m not sure what your travel dates are, but just this week, Disney opened up reservations for a character Breakfast (and lunch) at Garden Grill (in The Land Pavilion in Future World in Epcot) for reservations starting November 8th.

17 Wendy { 08.01.15 at 6:43 pm }

Thanks – I did see that on-line last week, but my kids are not interested in character meals…sniff, sniff.

18 Jeanne { 11.24.15 at 8:18 am }

Hi, Dave. My 7 year old granddaughter lives Peru and doesn’t get over to see us very often. When I found out she could stay for a longer than usual visit I decided to plan a WDW trip for her as I don’t know if and when we will ever get another opportunity. The dates we have to go however, are not ideal, nor is the fact that we’re only a little over 30 days from our trip. Needless to say I’m doubtful that we will be able to get reservations for any character meals at this late date, since every thing is booked.
So in light of the fact reservations are doubtful, should I just not get a Dining plan? Also, both a standard view room and a club level standard view room are available at the Polynesian with the club. I am trying to figure out if the extra $1000 is worth the club food and the concierge help that comes with that price tag. Our party of four includes me, my 18 year old son, my 33 year old son and my 7 year old granddaughter and we will be at WDW from the 3rd -9th. It seems like the convenience factor of eating our breakfast and snacks there might be worth it, or worth at least half of the extra charge if I’m calculating correctly. What do you think?

19 Dave { 11.25.15 at 7:34 am }

Jeanne, absolutely skip the dining plan. The concierge service is of little value–you need to book your FastPass+ NOW— but the food and drinks can replace some meals and alcohol purchases. First timers aren’t usually in their rooms enough to get a lot of benefit from this, though…

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