If youre anything like us, the real excitement after booking a Walt Disney World vacation really sets in at the 180-day mark. “Why,” you ask? Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs)!!! 180 days out from the start of your vacation, bright and early, you can start booking those much anticipated Table Service meals. However, often with great excitement comes even worse frustration as some reservations are extremely difficult to lock down. There’s no telling how many guests have sat down at their computer with a nice cup of coffee dead-set on getting everything they want. There’s nothing more disappointing (from a planning perspective) to have youre heart set on a specific dining experience only to realize that they weren’t quick enough on the trigger and that one reservation (the one everyone actually agreed on) isn’t available. It’s happened to almost every one of us.
Truth be told, some reservations seem entirely impossible to book and fill rather quickly. Some don’t, that’s just the nature of the beast. Guests spend the next 180 days scouring the internet and My Disney Experience app just waiting for someone to drop one of these illustrious, holy-grails of Disney dining (we’ve been there too). With a little bit of luck and some pixie dust sometimes you can find one! It’s a debacle like none other as many times an entire trip is planned around dining. So, to make matters a little easier for you, we thought we’d talk a little about the reservations that you can expect to most likely break your heart as you start booking.
The Magic Kingdom
The Magic Kingdom offers up an immersive storybook theme, and it’s dining is no different. Two featured locations are “must-do’s” but are not always easily accessible to guests booking trips. Although if you can get them, they are very much worth the price tags:
Cinderella’s Royal Table – This is without a doubt the most sought-after reservation on Walt Disney World property and it probably isn’t close. Lunch or dinner inside Cinderella’s castle is every Disney fans dream, however, it is an extremely difficult one to force to fruition. Complete with princesses straight out of your favorite Disney film and a beautiful atmosphere, you can expect to be searching for this reservation right up until vacation time. We don’t blame guests for eating these reservations up so quickly, however, as it is a one-of-a-kind experience.
Be Our Guest – Did you know that there are actually two castles in which you can dine at the Magic Kingdom? Yep…and they are both difficult to book. Located in the Beast’s castle, Be Our Guest is similar to Cinderella’s Royal Table in that it offers a unique, beautiful, and highly sought-after dining experience. Although easier to get, it is still a challenge to book, especially for dinner. Belle and the Beast make appearances for the dinner reservations accompanied by the decor and immersive theming that make you feel like you’re part of the story.
Epcot is home to the World Showcase, which offers arguably, some of the best dining at Walt Disney World. The park is a dining hot spot and it offers up several unique options to guests, the most popular of which can be very difficult to reserve.
Akershus Royal Hall – Although many guests who can’t get that coveted Cinderella’s Royal Table reservation settle for Akershus, it doesn’t mean that it’s easy to get. Similar in nature, this storybook experience tucked away in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot, offers an abundance of princesses for you and your little ones to enjoy. In addition, Akershus boasts some fabulous eats! In my experience, as with Be Our Guest, it’s much easier to reserve lunch-time dining here compared to dinner, but it can be done (if you’re fast enough)!
Le Cellier Steakhouse – Who doesn’t love steak? Ok maybe it’s not for everyone, but people enjoy it enough to make this is another hard-to-find reservation at Epcot. Located in the Canadian Pavilion, this small restaurant offers an incredible menu with (as you may have guessed) fabulous steak! It’s definitely worth your time if you’re able to search continuously for an open spot as the cuisine here is simply to die for.
Teppan Edo – Hibachi at Disney? Yes, please! However, you’ve got to be an early bird sometimes to get your hands on this reservation. The traditional Japanese fair, accompanied by great entertainment, make this dining facility a hot spot for guests looking for a show with their food.
Restaurants aren’t solely based within the parks at Walt Disney World. In fact, most Moderate and Deluxe resorts play home to one, or maybe even a couple of enticing dining spots. Even when staying within the resort, reservations aren’t always a guarantee.
‘Ohana – ‘Ohanais the Cinderella’s Royal Table of resort dining options! As it’s a rare character dining option located in one of the property’s premier resorts, guests literally drool over a breakfast, lunch, or dinner reservation here. Combined with spectacular park views and a breakfast that is arguably one of the best on the property, Ohana’s fills up very quickly! Lilo, Stitch, and Mickey make this a worthwhile get, and who doesn’t love checking out the Polynesian while you’re at it?
California Grill – Located within the Contemporary Resort along the monorail track (just outside of the Magic Kingdom), the California Grill is another resort favorite. The views and outstanding cuisine (including brunch) are a big draw for guests to Walt Disney World. Many book dinner here to get a front row seat of nightly firework spectaculars that take place over Cinderella’s castle. This makes the California Grill an amazing, but difficult option to book.
Narcoosse’s – Sticking to deluxe resort dining, the Grand Floridian offers up some interesting choices for guests. Narcoosse’s, with its coastal fair, is another very popular choice among guests booking advanced dining reservations. As with the Contemporary and Polynesian resorts, the Grand Floridian and Narcoosse’s offer up fantastic park views as it sits just over the bay from the Magic Kingdom.
Victoria & Albert’s – As a Five Diamond Award recipient located in the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, this option looks as exclusive as it feels. American cuisine meets Victorian-style elegance, creating a beautiful and classy environment for guests. With a private dining space (Queen Victoria’s Room), “refined opulence,” and world-class delicacy, Victoria & Albert’s is about as exclusive of a reservation as one could look for.
Other than maybe Epcot, there is probably nowhere else on Disney property that offers as many food choices as Disney Springs. The shopping area is often a highlight, but this makes reserving dining just as difficult in some places as it would be in a park or resort.
Morimoto Asia – Many non-Disney owned restaurants can be difficult to reserve as they don’t make all of their dining reservations exclusive to Walt Disney World guests. Morimoto Asia is one of these. This upscale restaurant offers delicious pan-Asian food to guests. It is absolutely a favorite of those shopping around Disney Springs. Combined with the fact that not all seating is reserved through Disney, this makes it difficult to snag at times.
T-Rex – As with Morimoto, T-Rex is located in Disney Springs and not owned exclusively by Disney. This immersive, prehistoric themed dining option (featuring American cuisine) is a favorite of guests, especially those with children. Who doesn’t want to eat with dinosaurs, right? Complete with hands-on experiences and delicious food, this can be a tricky reservation to lock down as well.
In closing, all reservations for advanced dining at Walt Disney World resort can be difficult to get if you don’t act timely and accordingly. There is indeed a reason reservations open up to guests 180 days prior to their stay. However, if you’re looking for some of these aforementioned studs, be ready with a plan B list of dining options just in case. But please don’t give up hope! If your desired reservation isn’t there on day one of ADRs, keep checking back…you may be surprised to find that highly sought-after Cinderella’s Royal Table or Victoria & Albert’s reservation space starring you in the face, even as you check into your resort.
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