by Disney Magic Diva
You’ve booked your Walt Disney World vacation, and the planning has begun! Yippee!! As you start your Disney Countdown, there are many tasks to be accomplished along the way as you get ever nearer to your magical day. One important – and sometimes daunting – activity is making your Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR) 180 days prior to your arrival day. While not required, many of the most popular Disney table service restaurants are booked solid so having a reservation is a necessity.
Over the years, our family has had the opportunity to dine at many of the more popular table service restaurants at Walt Disney World. Here’s a park-by-park synopsis of the ones we’ve enjoyed.
Be Our Guest This is one of the hardest reservations to get. It’s a beautiful restaurant, and definitely worth visiting at least once. There are three separate dining areas – the Grand Ballroom, the West Wing, and the Castle Gallery – all stunning. The West Wing is very small and dark, the Castle Gallery has lovely portraits and a beautiful revolving statue of Belle and the Beast dancing, and the Grand Ballroom is a magnificent replica of the iconic ballroom in the movie (although we find it a bit loud.) For breakfast and lunch it is a quick service meal, (although you can still make reservations!) and for dinner it is considered table service. The Beast appears at dinner, and while he doesn’t visit each table like other character meals, he does walk through each dining room, and you can have your photo taken with him after you are through with your meal. We enjoy the atmosphere more than the food, but definitely recommend adding this to your Disney Bucket List. Be sure to try the “gray stuff!” Darlin’ Diva has more details in her review.
Diva Tip: We love going here for lunch. The braised pork is a really yummy dish, and our go to choice from the menu. Since it’s quick service, it is less expensive, and you can choose your table so you can (hopefully) get the room you prefer.
Cinderella’s Royal Table Another iconic restaurant! Eating inside Cinderella Castle is like a dream come true for little princesses. We’ve dined here for both breakfast and dinner and really enjoy it. Princesses receive a wand and princes a sword with their meal. The menu is prix fixe, and everything we’ve tried is absolutely delicious! You meet Cinderella (and have a photo taken) before you go up the spiral staircase to the gorgeous dining room overlooking Fantasyland. While you dine, more princesses visit your table. While the meal is not cheap (2 table service dining credits if on the dining plan), we have found it to be an opportunity not to be missed! Nothing says “Disney” like eating inside the castle! You can read London Diva’s review here.
Crystal Palace We’ve chosen Crystal Palace for an early morning ADR so we can enter the park before it opens to the public. In the past, you could get some wonderful “empty park” photos this way. With the new opening procedure on Cinderella Castle stage rather than at the train station, it’s not quite as easy, but still possible to grab a few photos before the park becomes really crowded. The food is typical buffet, and characters were Pooh, Eyeore, Tigger, and Piglet. Read Daisy Diva’s Crystal Palace Breakfast review here.
Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen We tried this once shortly after it opened, and not really something we’d probably do again. The menu has undergone several changes, so be sure to check it to see if there’s food you’ll enjoy. The concept of the restaurant is really fun, and, like Jungle Cruise, your experience will greatly depend on your cast member interaction. The atmosphere was remarkable – lots of atmosphere and fun details to find. You can read my full review, here.
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall We done this for breakfast a few times when we’ve traveled with our grandkids so they could meet princesses. It’s a fun atmosphere, and the chance to meet so many princesses in one stop (and without spending as much money as Cinderella’s Royal Table) is a big perk! It’s a hybrid family style-buffet meal. Eggs, meat, and potatoes are brought to your table. But there is also a buffet with breads, fruit, etc. you can visit.
Diva Tip: On our last visit, I really wanted Mickey waffles for breakfast, and was disappointed to not find them on the buffet! I politely asked our server, and she was able to find me some in the kitchen! So don’t hesitate to ask anytime you have a special request! Disney Magic might happen for you!
There’s a photo op with a princess before the meal (we had Belle but it can vary), and a princess parade during the meal. You can read Fairy Diva’s full review here.
Biergarten Restaurant Located in the Germany Pavilion of World Showcase, we tried this one time with our adult sons. They thought a beer hall sounded fun. If you love German food, you’ll love it, but we found it to have very limited choices otherwise. You will probably share a table with other parties, and the entertainment, while fun and different from a cultural standpoint, is very loud. It was hard to have a conversation. If you aren’t a fan of community tables, this can be a bonus while dining, but it also takes away any chance of having a conversation with your own family. We are glad we tried it once, but won’t be going back. Fairy Diva offers her insight, here.
The Garden Grill We ate here with the whole family (9 of us!) a couple years ago. Everyone loved it! The food was really fresh (some of it harvested from the plants you see growing in Living with the Land) and it’s fun to have the restaurant rotate. Characters (Farmer Mickey, Chip and Dale, Pluto) were less rushed than other character meals we’ve had. It’s a family style meal. Servers bring your table big platters of food, and keep bringing them as often as you want. The desserts were scrumptious! We would definitely do this again! Minnie Diva provides a review of dinner, and Pixie Dusted Diva tells us about breakfast.
Le Cellier Steakhouse Another winner! We’ve eaten here a few times, and my husband and sons always want to go back. In fact, the chose this as where they wanted to have dinner on Christmas Eve on one trip, and for the birthday on another. The filet and poutine is excellent! Probably not the best choice for little ones, since the atmosphere is dark and intimate, but we have seen families with small children. Pink Diva thought it was the perfect place for a romantic dinner. You can read her review here.
Rose and Crown If you are looking for a fun meal, try Rose and Crown! One of our best Disney memories is having lunch here on St. Patrick’s Day with about 20 other parents when we chaperoned a high school show choir trip! There have excellent fish and chips, as well as many other delicious menu choices! Our granddaughter even loved eating here. The Rose and Crown also has a pub area for a truly fun time – you can read a review here.
Other Epcot Table Service Restaurants
There are so many other restaurants in Epcot we just haven’t had a chance to try! It’s no wonder Epcot is the host to the Food and Wine Festival each year – there are so many wonderful places to try new and scrumptious cuisine! Someday, we’ll try all these restaurants, but until then you can read the reviews by other Divas and Devos. Just click below.
Another French restaurant you may want to try is Monsieur Paul.
We’ve enjoyed the quick service restaurant La Cantina de San Angel in the Mexico Pavilion. In fact, it’s one of our favorite quick service dining options at Epcot! The nachos are delicious, and the grandkids love sitting outside in the gazebo overlooking the lagoon. (Bonus – you can feed the ducks swimming by!) But we’ve never enjoyed the sister table service restaurant, La Hacienda de San Angel, but you can read about it here.
San Angel Inn Restaurante This is the restaurant inside the pyramid in the Mexico Pavilion. Whenever we ride Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros, I tell myself we’ve got to try this place! Someday.
Spice Road Table One of the newest table service restaurants in Epcot, I must admit I’ve been a little intimidated with the menu here. My sons are more adventurous, and someday we’ll try it. Until then, you can read about it here.
Tokyo Dining Another Japanese restaurant, Tokyo Dining is a contemporary spot with stunning views of the lagoon!
Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria We’ve tried the pizza from Via Napoli’s walk up window, and frankly weren’t very impressed. But someday we want to go to the actual ristorante to give it another try! You can read a full review here.
50’s Prime Time Cafe I would recommend this one! It is a lot of fun…the servers really add to the down-home atmosphere. Imagine going back to the 1950s, with your Mom reminding you to finish your vegetables, and get your elbows off the table. It truly is an immersive experience! There are small, vintage black and white tvs with at some tables, showing classic television shows. And the FOOD!!! Delicious comfort food just like Mom made….and lots and lots of it! We had an absolute marvelous time, and would highly recommend dining here. You can read more about it, here.
Hollywood and Vine Probably one of the most popular restaurants at Hollywood Studios, this is a character buffet. We think the food is pretty mediocre, but young kids love seeing the characters, and the theme of the restaurant changes depending on season. We went most recently for Minnie’s Holiday Dine, and the grandkids loved it. You can read Fairy Diva’s review, here.
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater We had breakfast here a few years ago as part of Star Wars Weekend. It’s an interesting atmosphere — tables are set in cars, and you watch old movies on a big screen, like a drive-in. The food was ok, but the theming was more of what we were looking for, and the special Star Wars theming we experienced did not disappoint! You can read more about the “normal” Sci-Fi Dine-In experience here.
Hollywood Brown Derby For a truly swanky meal, you’ve got to try Hollywood Brown Derby! It’s a bit pricey (2 table service dining credits), but something a true movie buff or foodie will definitely enjoy. Read Darlin’ Diva’s review, here.
Tusker House Restaurant As the only character meal in Animal Kingdom, this is popular with families. We think the food was a little better here though than most buffets in that there were choices of a more interesting nature. While the African themed food is slightly more exotic than the typical Disney food, there are plenty of choices for a more American appetite. Characters were Safari Donald, Minnie, and Mickey. Tangled Diva has a review for you here.
Yak and Yeti Restaurant It’s been awhile since we ate here, by we all have very fond memories of it! The food was really good – we just haven’t had an opportunity to go back because we usually don’t spend much time in Animal Kingdom (Pandora – The World of Avatar may change that!) The coconut shrimp was fabulous, and the fried wontons are not to be missed! This restaurant is unique in that it has BOTH quick service and table service options. Beauty and the Beast Diva explains.
Rainforest Café at Animal Kingdom We ate here years ago with a show choir trip. I remember it being pretty much like any other restaurant – not anything in particular stood out. What is nice is that you can dine here without entering the park, so no park ticket is required.
Tiffins The newest signature dining restaurant in Animal Kingdom, Tiffins offers an exotic cuisine for travelers. Although we haven’t been yet, it seems like a perfect stop once you return from your travels to Pandora – A World of Avatar. As is typical of signature restaurants, it is 2 dining credits on the Disney Dining Plan.
OUTSIDE THE PARKS
Considering each moderate and deluxe resort has a table service restaurant, not to mention all the tremendous choices at Disney Springs, it’s pretty overwhelming to think about all the choices you have at Walt Disney World Resort. Here’s my insight (and links to other reviews) to the ones my family has tried!
Chef Mickey’s A classic Walt Disney World experience! Meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy. Watch the monorail go by. It’s a typical character buffet, and probably one of the most popular ones. You will get a family photo before you eat. Although we usually find it to be a bit noisy, it’s a great way to see some classic Disney characters and many families consider it a MUST DO! Pixie Dusted Diva shares why it’s her family tradition here.
1900 Park Fare Located inside Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, this is a wonderful character dinner with Cinderella, her Stepmother and step sisters, and Prince Charming. Interacting with the stepsisters is often the highlight of a trip (although on our last trip they were really more interested in teen age boys than our young grandkids). The food is typical buffet. If you prefer breakfast, you’ll meet charcaters such as Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, The Mad Hatter, Winnie the Pooh, and Tigger! You can read JollyFrogger Diva’s review about the Supercalifragilistic Breakfast here and Minnie Diva’s reasons to skip dinner here.
Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White Disney’s Wilderness Lodge probably doesn’t leap to mind when you think about Snow White and the dwarfs, but after all they lived in a forest! The character interactions are wonderful – Snow White, Dopey, and Grumpy come to your table (the only place outside of Halloween or Christmas parties you can meet dwarfs!) The Queen, however, doesn’t mingle – instead she looms over you, watching and almost daring you to approach. (But do! It’s priceless!) The food is wonderful! Appetizer and desserts are served family style, but everyone is able to order the entree of their choice. Presentation is unparalleled compared to other character meals. You can read my full review, here.
Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue: This amazing dinner show is at Fort Wilderness. My family absolutely loves it. (I think it’s cute, but they rave and rave about it!) Lots and lots of food (fried chicken, ribs, baked beans, salad, cornbread, strawberry shortcake) and beer and wine is included (which may be a big part of the draw for the guys!) It’s kind of a vaudeville show, and they pull a few people from the audience. It is lots of fun, and very entertaining and interactive. We’ve done it 3 times I think, and I’m sure we’ll be back! Cruisin’ Diva shares her thoughts here.
Cape May Café We enjoyed Minnie’s Beach Bash Breakfast on a getaway day during our stay at Beach Club, and loved it! It’s not a character meal that springs to mind, but I’d really recommend you give it a try! The food was fresh and delicious. (We were the first reservation of the morning) It’s a character buffet, but much calmer than others we’ve done. Minnie, Donald, and Goofy appear in their beach attire. You can read my full review here.
Boma – Flavors of Africa We’ve never had the chance to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge, so we never had much of an opportunity to try this popular restaurant. But on a quick trip with just my husband and I we finally were able to get breakfast here and it was one of the best meals we’ve had! Delicious! It was quiet, calm and beautiful. We loved the made to order choices on the buffet, and the specialty juice. We also loved walking around the Lodge and seeing the animals on the savannah. You can read more here.
‘Ohana It’s my Disney confession that I’ve never eaten here. It’s a widely popular dining experience – many families don’t consider a trip to Walt Disney World Resort complete with a stop here. Someday we’ll make it. For now, you can read Devo CabDisney’s review here.
Kona Café Right next to ‘Ohana at the Polynesian Resort is Kona Café. It’s famous for it’s Tonga Toast, so we had to give that a try. It was fabulous! You can often get a walk in reservation, but don’t count on it!
Kona Café serves breakfast, lunch and dinner; Darlin’ Diva compares the experiences here.
Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ One of the popular additions to Disney Springs, Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ offers southern comfort food in a delightful setting! The Thigh High Chicken and Biscuits were unbelieveably delicious! The menu offers so many options, and many of the dishes are prepared with locally sourced ingredients. We were seated by the patio, overlooking the water, and felt like we were transported to a quaint southern home. It was a charming way to enjoy a relaxing meal. We would definitely recommend it!
The BOATHOUSE We absolutely love this restaurant. The food is excellent (especially love the clam strips and lobster roll), the service is wonderful and the atmosphere is amazing! The views of the lagoon are beautiful, and you can even choose a table on the patio. It is a little expensive (2 table service credits on the Disney Dining Plan), but well worth it! And if you go at lunch, you can get a discount on a ride in the Amphicars! (That sold it for us on one trip, and we had a blast on the Amphicars! Read about it here.) We can’t wait for our next visit to The BOATHOUSE!
So which restaurants are your favorites? We’d love to hear it!
If you need help making reservations for dining or even booking your entire trip to Walt Disney World, you can have Patricia at All for Dreams Travel handle it all for you! Her services are FREE! Click here for a quote, today!
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