If you are planning a trip to Disney, scoring a spot at the most popular Disney World restaurants can be a challenge! We’re going to review the hardest Disney World dining reservations to make, and how you can maximize your chances of getting a reservation before your next trip. Disney World is not just about characters and rides, Disney offers some amazing dining experiences, you just have to know where to look!
Check out these tips to score a Disney dining reservation early and enjoy a meal at one of the most popular Dinsey restaurants. If you are planning on eating at one of these restaurants, follow my advice, because these are the hardest dining reservations to book. Planning a last minute trip? Check out our suggestions for booking great last-minute reservations at popular Disney restaurants.
Do you need to make reservations at Disney Restaurants?
The short answer is yes! Of course, many Disney World restaurants accommodate walk-in seatings, but having a reservation is the best way to ensure you won’t be disappointed on vacation. Reservations at Walt Disney World restaurants are important to get because thousands of people are there visiting every day and the popular restaurants simply can’t accommodate all of them. This makes it difficult sometimes to book the reservations you want while planning a vacation. In particular, character meals and Signature Dining are in such high demand among so many, that even the most diligent planners can miss out.
Should I Get the Disney Dining Plan?
Whether or not to get the Disney Dining plan is a personal decision that is based a lot of your eating habits and goals for your vacation. We have gotten the dining plan in the past and it was nice to know EXACTLY how much our entire vacation was going to cost. If you don’t eat large portions or tend to order the cheaper items on the menu, you might want to think twice about the dining plan.
Of course, one of Disney’s most popular promotions is their free dining discount. This year, Disney is offering free dining from July 5-Sept 30 2019. A huge steal over the summer months!! Please visit our recommended Disney Travel Agent for more details on how you can snag this deal!
The Most Popular Disney World Restaurant Categories:
- Character Dining
- Signature Dining
Generally, dinner is the most popular time for reservations. You can sometimes score a reservation at a popular restaurant for breakfast or lunch last minute. If you are looking to keep to a budget on your Disney Vacation, I would highly recommend booking a table service restaurant for breakfast or lunch. You will save a lot and still get an amazing experience.
For more Disney budget hacks, check out our 5 hacks for staying under budget at Disney
How to make Disney Dining Reservations:
If you are wanting to dine at a popular Disney world restaurant, be sure to follow these tips:
- Book as soon as you are able to.
- Book the most important reservations first.
- Schedule your most important reservations toward the end of your trip as there will theoretically be less competition.
- If you miss your shot at a table, check back regularly in case there are cancellations. Every day is a new opportunity.
How early can you book dining at Disney World?
Disney lets you book dining reservation 180 days in advance of the START of your trip and the clock starts at 7:00 am ET. That means that if you are on the west coast, set your alarm for 4:00 am. Yikes!! If you are planning a 10 day trip to Disney world you can book your dining for the ENTIRE trip 180 days before the start. This means it will be easier to book the most popular reservations towards the end of your trip as there will be fewer individuals eligible at that time.
The Hardest Disney World Dining Reservations:
Cinderella’s Royal Table
This is the crown jewel of Disney’s character dining experiences. It is the leader among the hardest dining reservations. Meet with princesses and eat a lavish feast within the walls of Cinderella Castle. The beautiful setting is to die for. It’s the most sought-after reservation. The menu is just diverse enough to please practically anybody who’s hungry. Overall, there is a very good reason it’s difficult to get in.
To add a little more magic, consider letting your kids dress up in costume for this occasion. Although princess dresses aren’t required, you’ll be sure to see lots of little princess and other Disney characters at Cinderella’s Royal Table.
- Cinderella Royal Table Menu
- Character Dining with the classic Disney Princesses
Right next door to the Magic Kingdom is Mickey’s premier character restaurant. This buffet is located within the Contemporary hotel. One of the benefits of dining here is that a theme park admission is not required. Being on the monorail, this restaurant is just a short stop away from the Magic Kingdom.
Chef Mickey’s offers a buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Kids will get the chance to meet and interact with their favorite classic Disney characters including, Mickey, Minnie, and the whole gang.
If you are planning to partake in a character dining experience don’t forget your Autograph book. We ordered these autograph books online and saved money compared to the ones sold in the parks.
- Chef Mickey’s Menu
- Character dining with classic Disney characters
Victoria and Albert’s
This restaurant, located within the Grand Floridian will not feature any cartoon characters or princesses. It’s popular for a completely different reason. It is the most refined and elegant meal you are likely to have in Disney World. Victoria and Albert’s has been a AAA Five Diamond Award recipient since 2000.
This meal is also the most expensive meal at Disney. This meal will set you back the price of one night in a deluxe Disney resort! Is it worth it? Check out its incredible rating on TripAdvisor and see for yourself if it lives up to the hype!
- Victoria and Albert’s Menu
- Elegant dining
Like Cinderella’s Royal Table, Akershus provides a lavish dining experience mixed with princess meet and greets. The setting is not quite as extravagant as the castle, but it does have its regal atmosphere nonetheless. Akershus is located in the Norway Pavilion of Epcot right next to Frozen Ever After, but don’t expect to see Anna and Elsa in the restaurant.
This restaurant offers a ‘Taste of Norway’ with a variety of Norweigan inspired selections for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Akershus menu
- Character dining with Disney princesses
Be Our Guest Restaurant
This Magic Kingdom restaurant has had guests charging the Beast’s castle-like villagers with a battering ram since the day it opened in late 2012. The articulately themed restaurant lets you dine within the forbidden west wing and the iconic ballroom from the film Beauty and the Beast. You will want to request your preferred room as there is a third room which is nice, but less magical. This Summer, Be Our Guest began a new Prix Fixe dinner menu for a more luxurious and authentically French experience.
- Be Our Guest Menu
- Themed dining
Tips for Last Minute Disney Dining Reservations:
On our last trip to Disney, we booked less than 60 days before the start of our trip. By the time we got around to planning our fast passes and our dining reservations, there wasn’t much left! We were still able to dine at Chef Mickey’s, T-Rex, and Jiko (Signature Dining) despite being so last minute. Here are my tips for booking dining last minute:
- Check the app every day! There are a million reasons that some families need to cancel a reservation. Sometimes a great reservation will become available last-minute. We scored a reservation at Chef Mickey’s the two days before our seating. I checked the app every morning and all of the sudden a 5:30 pm prime time reservation was available! It is worthwhile checking and rechecking on the app if you have a specific reservation in mind.
- Be flexible with timing. If you are booking last-minute you are less likely to have access to the best times to dine. We usually like to have dinner early since I like to keep my son on a pretty strict bedtime routine. On our trip, we had to make a few late reservations so that we could enjoy the restaurants we wanted. We were able to compensate by grabbing afternoon snacks and even taking an afternoon nap so that everyone could be refreshed for a great dinner.
Need help planning your Disney Vacation?
There is a lot that goes into planning a Disney Vacation! We ALWAYS use a travel agent because it doesn’t cost extra and Disney agents are always full of helpful information to make your trip more magical! You can check out our recommended Disney travel agent for a quote on your next Disney vacation.