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7 Things Walt Disney World Insiders Love About Table Service Dining

Dining at Walt Disney World is an integral part of you vacation. And the table service restaurants are a huge part of that. These restaurants offer amazing food and beautiful theming. And did I mention the food? We’ve all dreamt about the food, right? I’m not alone in that, right?

In any case, there are many reasons to love the table service restaurants at Walt Disney World, here are my top seven.

7. Air Conditioning

It should come as no surprise that Walt Disney World is hot. Not all of the counter service restaurants have indoor seating. Which means those restaurants don’t have air conditioned seating. But, you will find air conditioning in the table service restaurants. There’s nothing better than sitting down in a cool room when you’ve been traipsing through a hot and humid park. I’ll be honest, I’ve looked for last minute lunch reservations just to get some time out of the heat!

6. Try New Food

The chefs at table service restaurants go above and beyond to create memorable meals. And trying something new is the best way to remember what you ate even years after your vacation. By sampling flavors and cuisine you’ve never had before, you’ll be making memories with your family. And isn’t that what vacation is all about?

5. Tables in Wonderland Discount

Annual Passholders and Florida residents are eligible to purchase the Tables in Wonderland card. The card costs (at the time of this writing) $150 for Annual Passholders and $175 for Florida residents. When using the the Tables in Wonderland card, your whole party (up to 10 guests) will save 20% on the meal, including appetizers and alcohol. Unfortunately, there are blackout days on some restaurants, usually around major holidays. But here’s a neat tip: while the Tables in Wonderland usually applies only to table service places, it does work in the counter service restaurants in the Value hotels (because there is no table service option).

4. Firework Views

Some restaurants offer firework views! Eating dinner at California Grill at the Contemporary Resort will give you a spectacular view of Happily Ever After in Magic Kingdom. The sit down restaurants in Disney’s Hollywood Studios offer priority seating for Fantasmic! (not exactly viewing from the restaurants, but you do get special seating, and these tables fill up fast). And then there’s World Showcase. You can see Illuminations from Rose and Crown (United Kingdom), Monsieur Paul (France), Spice Road Table (Morocco), Tokyo Dining (Japan), and La Hacienda de San Angel (Mexico). At any of these locations, an Advanced Dining Reservation is highly recommended for about 90 minutes before the fireworks start. Arrive a little early to your reservation, and request a window table (patio at Rose and Crown), and be willing to wait for it.

3. Character Dining

Character dining is extremely popular among families with young children. You can sit, enjoy your meal, and still get to meet characters! Many character meals are buffets, which also works well for families. The options for characters are pretty wide: obviously you can meet Mickey and the Fab Five at several locations, but you can also meet Winnie the Pooh and friends, princesses, Disney Jr. characters, Mary Poppins, and Alice and her Wonderland gang. To search the many options, use the “character dining” filter tool on the Walt Disney World website, and read the restaurant reviews here on Disney Dining!

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2. Talking With the Cast Members

Did you know the Cast Members working in the World Showcase pavilions are from those countries? One of my favorite things to do is ask the Cast Members about their hometown. You can see their face light up when they get to talk about it! Asking about the cultural differences between, say, Morocco and America is a wonderful learning experience for everyone. The table service restaurants are particularly suitable for this kind of interaction, since the servers normally begin by telling you their hometown. Some of my most memorable moments with Cast Members have come from asking my World Showcase servers about their life back home.

1. Sitting

Getting the chance to sit down for about an hour has got to be my favorite part of the table service restaurants. I’ll be honest, on my last vacation, we used the My Disney Experience App to find a last minute Dining Reservation just because we wanted to sit down and eat. It sounds crazy now, but at the time it was wonderful!

What is your favorite table service restaurant at Walt Disney World? Mine is a tie between Sanaa (Animal Kingdom Lodge) and Rose and Crown (Epcot). Do you have a reason to love the restaurant that isn’t listed here? Let us know!

About Robin Swanson

Robin’s Disney journey began with Beauty and the Beast bedsheets, a Jasmine dress up set, and a purring Nala plush. As a child in the 1990s, the renaissance and classic animations alike captivated her imagination. In 2008, Robin visited Walt Disney World for the first time, and the obsession really took hold. Since then, Robin has enjoyed visiting the Happiest Place on Earth many more times. She lives in the Chicago suburbs where she is wrapping up a Masters in writing. When not at Disney World, Robin enjoys researching fairytales, eating ice cream, Netflix binging, reading and, of course, planning the next Walt Disney World vacation!