While we all know that making dining reservations as early as possible (180 days out) is the best practice for securing your must-eat restaurants at Walt Disney World, sometimes we don’t always have that luxury of time. If you are planning a last minute trip, or your plans changed meaning that you need another dining reservation don’t fret! There are several table service restaurants at Walt Disney World that usually have some availability to make last minute reservations.
10. Nine Dragons, Epcot
While Nine Dragons in Epcot’s China Pavilion suffered for several years with negative reviews, the food here has improved and it seems like the staff is very interested in making it a competitor with the other World Showcase restaurants. Chinese food is generally one of the “ethnic” foods that most people are familiar with and enjoy from dining at home, so it is a good choice for someone who wants a World Showcase dining experience. And generally you can find reservations here close to travel dates—unless it is a really busy time like during the Candlelight Processionals at Epcot’s International Festival of Holidays.
9. Boatwright’s Dining Hal, Port Orleans Riverside
Port Orleans Riverside is my favorite moderate resort, and I love that there is a table service dining option right there are the resort. It is not one that people normally think of when making dining reservations, so many times you can get a reservation here a day in advance. The menu has a variety of southern favorites and New Orleans cuisine. And if you go on a night when Yee Haa Bob is performing in the lounge next door plan to stay a while and catch some of his show.
8. Grand Floridian Café, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
Grand Floridian Café is becoming more popular, but usually you can get a reservation here without any trouble. They are open for three meals a day, and the daytime menu is more of a brunch with a combination of breakfast and lunch dishes available throughout the serving period. For our last meal there I got the simple Mickey Waffle which was served with your choice of some delicious toppings.
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7. Spice Road Table, Epcot
Spice Road Table in the Morocco Pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase is one of those restaurants where many people are intimidated by the menu so you can often find availability for reservations on short notice. The location on the Lagoon is gorgeous, and the menu offers lots of small plates with Mediterranean flair. It is a great restaurant to share some plates, conversation and a great view.
6. Trail’s End, Fort Wilderness
Not only is Trail’s End usually fairly easy to reserve, it is also one of the best values at Walt Disney World with a delicious buffet at a great price. The trade-off is the complication of getting there since it is at the back of Fort Wilderness Campground (near the Marina & Bay Lake). You would need to take Disney Transportation to Magic Kingdom and then enjoy the boat ride over (just allow time), or you could drive to Fort Wilderness and take the internal buses back to the restaurant. Minnie Vans are also an option to drop you off right at the Settlement where you’ll find Trail’s End. The buffet features Fried Chicken and lots of comfort foods that keeps fans coming back for great food.
5. Sanaa, Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village
Sanaa is like a hidden gem. Like Trail’s End it can be difficult to get to, but the reward is great. Because of the location and the more exotic menu reservations (especially for lunch) are normally easy to make closer to travel dates. Once you arrive you will find one of the most beautifully themed restaurant interiors in all of Walt Disney World, along with a breathtaking view of the Savanna at Kidani Village. The menu does feature Indian and African foods, but the wait staff can help more picky eaters find something to their liking. If you go, don’t miss the bread service.
4. The Wave, Contemporary Resort
Often overshadowed by the Contemporary Resort’s headliner restaurants Chef Mickey’s and California Grill, The Wave holds its own with a great, fresh menu. If you are looking for a last minute breakfast or dinner reservation be sure to check out The Wave. At breakfast you can choose from the buffet or order off an a la carte menu. Dinner features creative dishes sure to please any palate. Plus, The Wave is within walking distance of the Magic Kingdom (or the first monorail stop after you leave Magic Kingdom on the Resort Monorail loop), so it is super convenient if you are looking for dining on the day you visit Magic Kingdom.
3. The Turf Club, Saratoga Springs Resort
Saratoga Springs Resort is one that not many people think about visiting, but it is a really pretty and quaint resort. It offers a very good table service option, The Turf Club, which is never very hard to get a reservation (even a day before or day of). The Turf Club offers a very “American” menu featuring Seafood, Steaks, and Pork—something to please everyone. It is all well prepared and makes a great dinner if you are in a pinch for reservations.
2. Olivia’s Café, Old Key West Resort
I love Olivia’s. It may be one of Disney’s best kept secrets (like they claim the Disney Vacation Club that surrounds it to be). Since it is at Old Key West Resort it is seldom visited or thought of like The Turf Club, other than by guests of the resort. And there are many loyal patrons of this restaurant, but it is still relatively easy to get a dining reservation if you are planning at less than 180 days. Olivia’s Café is open for 3 meals a day, and has a great menu inspired by the Keys. Banana Bread French Toast at Breakfast, Mallory Square Cobb Salad for lunch, or Southernmost Fried Chicken at Dinner—and of course Conch Fritters and Conch Chowder, you can’t go wrong.
1. Ale & Compass Restaurant, Disney’s Yacht Club
Ale & Compass Restaurant, the recently remodeled space at the Yacht Club Resort (that was Captain’s Grille), may be my new favorite breakfast restaurant at Walt Disney World. They have a spectacular and creative breakfast menu (get the Cornbread Waffle)—and I am pretty sure that until everyone finds out my secret you don’t even need a breakfast reservation at most times to be seated. I’ve even made a reservation from my room for 30 minutes later. They are also open for lunch and dinner, and you probably won’t have much trouble getting reservations for those dining times either—but if you are coming for dinner definitely try to get a reservation. The dinner menu is just as great as breakfast with a combination of seafood, steaks, pastas and more. And, the Yacht Club is within walking distance of Epcot—so if you can’t get a reservation in World Showcase you can just walk over and enjoy a great meal, then return to Epcot for fireworks.
If you are having trouble getting dining reservations for your vacation try checking off-peak dining times, you may find what you need. I’ve also found that if you check not only the “Breakfast” “Lunch” “Dinner” headings on Walt Disney World’s website to find times, but click through each 30 minute increment you may find different options available. And persistence is key—many people will cancel the day before to avoid the no-show fee Disney imposes if their plans change or they don’t need a particular reservation. What are your favorite restaurants and tips for getting last minute reservations?