Disney has some of the best dining around, and it’s a big part of a Disney vacation. That’s why it’s important to do what you can to make it a truly wonderful and memorable experience. Here are 10 suggestions for having a great experience at Disney restaurants.
10. Make Reservations
First things first, make reservations! You can’t have a great Disney restaurant experience if you can’t get a table. Reservations open up 180 days in advance, and people really do think that far ahead, especially when it comes to the popular locations like Be Our Guest and Chef Mickey’s. Do a little planning ahead and you’ll be set for a good time!
9. Preview the Menu
You can view the menus for all the dining locations at Disney online or on the My Disney Experience app. View the menus before you decide where to make your reservation. This way you’ll know you’ve made a reservation at a restaurant that has food you and your party will enjoy.
8. Dress for the Occasion
Most restaurants at Disney, especially quick service locations, don’t have any kind of dress code. Signature dining restaurants have some guidelines, such as no swim suits, flip flops, tank tops or cut offs. Victoria & Albert’s has a much more strict dress code as it is fine dining. If you dress according to the dress code, you’ll feel more comfortable and at ease during your meal.
You could also dress according to the theme of the restaurant. If you’re eating with royalty a princess Disneybound is a way to enhance your dining experience. Or if you’re dining at the Polynesian, let the tiki style of the resort inspire your outfit. Let your Disney side show and you’ll create memorable experiences.
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7. Eat Off-Peak Times and Mobile Order
Not a fan of crowded dining rooms or big lines? Eat off-peak times at both table service and quick service restaurants. It may also be easier to obtain a sought after reservation and you will have a better chance at a quieter dining experience. Most quick service restaurants now accept Mobile Ordering which can be done via the My Disney Experience App. Order and pay for your meal on the app, then pick up your meal at the select Mobile Ordering window. This is a great way to beat the crowds!
6. Go to a Dinner Show
If you’re looking to have some fun at dinner, then head over to the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue. This dinner show features vaudeville style entertainment, there’s singing, dancing and a ton of laughs to be had, not to mention the delicious fried chicken and strawberry shortcake. For a dinner show that’s completely different try the Spirit of Aloha dinner show at the Polynesian. Here you’ll find hula dancers, drummers, and a fire-knife performer. Either dinner show is a fantastic way to get the most out of your dining experience at Disney.
5. Look Beyond the Entrees
Remember you can order whatever you want at a restaurant, there are no rules saying you must have an entrée followed by dessert. If you want to just have an appetizer, then do it! If you want to only have dessert, you can do that too. Order whatever will make you most happy and you’ll be sure to have a delightful time.
4. Always Ask
Your server is there to assist you and answer any questions you might have. Do you have a dietary restriction, or an allergy? Ask the cast member for the menu that shows guests which items are okay for those with particular dietary restrictions, or ask for their recommendations. Disney is very accommodating, but you never know just what they can do or how they can accommodate you if you don’t ask. That doesn’t mean they can always do exactly what you want, but they will work with you to find the best possible meal for you.
3. Don’t Believe the Hype
Some restaurants have a lot of hype around them for reasons that may not be that important to you. Be Our Guest is popular because of the theming, Chef Mickey’s because it’s a great family experience with Mickey and friends, and Cinderella’s Royal Table is the place to meet princesses and dine inside the castle. If you don’t care about meeting characters but instead prefer inventive entrees, these may not be the restaurants for you. Jiko at Animal Kingdom Lodge may be more your style. Take into consideration what the hype is really about around the popular restaurants and listen to your own instincts about whether that restaurant is the place for you. Ultimately, choose your dining experience because there’s something that really appeals to you there, be it the theming, the characters or the food.
2. Do Character Dining
Disney characters make a dining experience a magical and memorable one. A character meal is also a fantastic way to bypass the long lines to meet characters. The characters will come to you at the restaurant, so you can enjoy your meal while you wait to meet them.
Disney restaurants are the perfect place for celebrations, be it a birthday, anniversary, honeymoon, a graduation or a first visit. Whatever the reason, your celebration will feel extra special at a Disney restaurant. Make sure you mention what you’re celebrating when making your reservation or when you arrive at the restaurant because you never know, a little pixie dust might be sent your way!