If you’re planning your Disney vacation months in advanced, one of the first things to think about is your dining. You can book your dining 180 days before the day of your arrival. That’s 6 months before hand. And friends, it’s necessary. Many people, visiting for the 1st time or the 15th time, book their dining reservations this far in advanced. Making it very hard to get reservations for the most popular dining locations. Have no fear, if you’re making last minute plans check out this previous post by clicking this link for how you can still get these tough to get reservations. It can be very overwhelming to think this far in advanced of your trip which restaurants you’ll want to be eating at. So here are a few tips to narrow down your choice so you can make these reservations once and not have to change them as you countdown to your trip.
At this point of the planning process you’ve probably booked your Disney resort, and therefore know how many days you’ll be at Walt Disney World. Before you book your dining, figure out which days you’d like to be at which park. If you’re planning on park hopping than deciding which days will be park days will be enough of a blueprint. Once you’ve figured that out you’ll have narrowed down picking restaurants at the parks you plan on visiting on those days. When you’re picking these park days, check previously posted monthly calendars. There are multiple special events that you may want to experience or avoid, which would cause for last minute dining adjustments. If you’re heading down in October, check when the Halloween Parties are, if you’re heading down in February check when the Disney on Broadway is going to be. You don’t want to have to choose between a special event and your coveted dining reservation.
Character dining is extremely popular. It saves you time, because you’ll get your character meet and greets done while you’re eating. Most of these restaurants are buffets, which are great choices for families. If character dining is something you want to enjoy then look to see which restaurants offer this and check the characters. Some restaurants have different characters at different meal times, and some restaurants only have characters at breakfast. For the full list of character dining location check out this previous post. If you have a character that your kid is crazy about then check and see if and where they have a character dining experience. Let say you want to make sure you dine at a character meal with Cinderella, then your options are Cinderella’s Royal Table, 1900 Park Fare (for supper), and Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. One of our favourites is breakfast at Trattoria al Forno, at the Boardwalk In & Villas, where you meet Rapunzel, Flynn, Ariel and Prince Eric.
Walt Disney World has a beautiful assortment of restaurants, many offering different types of cuisine. Especially at Epcot and Animal Kingdom. If you love Mexican food, then you should choose one of the restaurants at the Mexican Pavilion. If you love Indian food, then you should check out Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Kidani Village. Let your palette guide your choice for dining. It’s a great chance to experience a wide variety of foods. If you’re looking for a high end meal, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from. These are signature restaurants, where the meals are exquisite, the service is top notch and the restaurants are quieter and typically less busy.
You can find some restaurants at Walt Disney World that put the diners directly into their restaurant theme. Have a dinosaur lover, than make sure to dine at Disney Spring’s T-Rex. Love the 50’s, check out 50’s Prime Time Cafe, where you dine right at the kitchen table being served by one of your cousins or aunts. So if you’re looking for entertainment during your meal then choosing from restaurants that are heavily themed will help narrow down your dining choices.
Some of these restaurants can be very expensive and others can be very reasonable. If you want to keep the cost of your dining low than use that as a deciding factor. Here are 5 restaurants that have a very low cost, and as a rule of thumb, buffet restaurants are more expensive. Remember not all restaurants have the same cost, it’s all dependent on the cost of the items on the menu.
If you’ve chosen to dine on one of the dining plans then you need to make sure you take this into account. You want to make sure you don’t end up with too many dining credits at the end of your trip or short. If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan then you’ll have 1 table service meal credit per night of your visit. If you’re on the Deluxe Dining Plan then you have 3 meal credits to use at either quick-service or table service restaurants. Check how many dining plan credits are used for the restaurants you’re thinking of booking to ensure you’re not using more than you have. Most restaurant reviews will give you this information and it’s also included on the disney world website.
Check your resort’s list of restaurants when you’re planning your restaurants because you may be staying at one of the 5 resorts that have multiple restaurants. You may not have to go much further then your hotel lobby to eat at a character meal or eat at one of the signature restaurants. It can make for a great way to start the day or a fantastic way to fill a non-park day.
If you get stuck between a couple of restaurants than read some reviews. Reviews will give you a better picture of whether the restaurant is the best fit for your vacation and your family. You can check some reviews here on our website or google it or type it into pinterest.
With these tips you should be able to narrow down some optimal choices. Weeding through the multiple choices that can overwhelm even a veteran visitor. Happy Planning, Friends.