Now that I've convinced you in a previous post, 5 Reasons You Need Advanced Dining Reservations, how important it is to get those reservations, I wanted to share the top 10 most popular ones. These are obviously the one that will be booked up the fastest so if your favorite is on the list, be prepared to fight for it. By fighting, I mean you will have to be diligent in your attempts to grab the reservation before they are all gone. That might sound crazy, but after all of these years of doing this, I have learned that it's serious business. When you reserve your vacation package, the clock starts counting down the days until your arrival. Anyone visiting Disney World can make dining reservations 180 days in advance of their arrival, which means you have a lot of competition with on -property guests and off-property guests. Don't forget the local residents also like to make reservations for the popular restaurants. This is what I mean by serious business. There are several places you can watch the countdown to your arrival and of course you can mark your calendar as well. One of the perks for the Disney on-property reservations guests is that they can make reservations for their entire vacation, whereas the off-property guests can only make them one day at a time. I will provide you with a link and a phone number to call at the end of this post.
Now let's get down to the real purpose of this post and look at the Top 10 most popular dining reservations that are booked in advance:
- Cinderella's Royal Table – This is number one because it it the hardest to get and THE one that sells out first. What little or big princess wouldn't want to dine inside Cinderella's castle while the real princesses stroll around for pics and autographs. This is also the most popular dining place if your princess has been to the Bippity Boppity Boutique to get all decked out like a Disney Princess. Don't forget that if you have the dining plan, this reservation takes 2 Table Service credits.
- Be Our Guest – Even though you can catch breakfast and lunch at BOG as a Quick Service meal, dinner requires a reservation and 1 Table Service credit if on the dining plan. Dinner is more elaborate and has a more true feeling of the movie. Guests feel the ambiance with a French inspired menu and three large dining rooms. The largest dining room has a wall covered in windows that feature snow falling over the French countryside.
- Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary Resort – This is and has always been one of the most popular character meals serving a large buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You do need a reservation for all three of these meals. It's popularity continues to make it one of the hardest reservations to grab for families with small children as it's one of the few places you can see all the major characters in one place. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy stroll around the tables to interact with the kids and pose for pictures. Chef Mickeys has become a family tradition for generations. I took my daughter there when she was 10 and now she is 37 and we have taken my granddaughters. It's definitely one of those classic Disney moments you can't miss. The Monorail runs right through the middle of the resort, so part of the attraction is getting there. If you don't want to drive to the Contemporary, most guests take the bus from their resort to the Magic Kingdom, where you can board the monorail to ride over there.
- Victoria and Albert's at the Grand Floridian – Very popular as they are a world-classic award winning restaurant and also very popular for locals so it's hard to get a reservation. I can't really classify this as a family dining location. There is a strict dress code including dinner jackets required for men, no shorts, jeans, sneakers, or flipflops. It is not recommended for children under 10 and the menu items tend to be very pricey. While you might not plan on having an upscale dining experience at Disney World, the reviews have been very highly rated and you might consider adding it to your bucket list of once in a lifetime special occasions.
- Akershus at the Norway Pavilion at Epcot – Buffet style dining with all the major princesses in attendance for pics and autographs. This was one of my granddaughters favorite experiences at Disney World. I have to admit I really enjoyed it too. We were there for the breakfast buffet and the food was good but the start of the show was of course the Disney princesses walking around the room interacting with the kids. There was no hurry up and snap a pic so I can move on. They actually spent time having a conversation and gave you the feeling of “this is how a real princess acts” . They even had a little parade around the room and had all the kids join in while they weaved in and out of the tables. It was so much fun and we made so many lasting memories.
- California Grill – Gourmet dining on the 15th floor of the Contemporary Resort with spectacular views of the Magic Kingdom and Seven Seas Lagoon. The most hard to get reservations here is just before the fireworks start at the Magic Kingdom. I have heard that if you had eaten there earlier in the day, you can bring your receipt to the hotel and gain access to the observation area. They serve California cuisine and the decor has a California vibe.
- O'hana Dinner – A family style all-you-can-eat character breakfast with Lilo, Stitch, Mickey, and Pluto at the Polynesian Resort. Dinner includes an all-you-can-eat family style barbeque. There are no characters, but you get a front row seat to the view of Wishes the nighttime show and fireworks at the Magic Kingdom.
- Spirit of Aloha Luau Dinner Show – Authentic Hawaiian Luau with Polynesian dancers and entertainment. A party for beginning to the end with a dinner show and crowd interaction. The food is a tropical family style feast and endless (all-you-can-eat) but they also have american food for the picky little ones. If you let them know ahead of time they will also arrange for special dietary needs. This reservation uses 2 dining plan credits.
- 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian – The cast of Cinderella join you for dinner including Cinderella, Prince Charming, Madame Tremaine, and the Stepsisters. The meal is buffet style and all the food reviews I have read have been excellent. The dinner is a very relaxed atmosphere and the characters really spend quality time with the kids and interact with the whole crowd. Their Supercalifragilistic Breakfast buffet is also popular with the Mad Hatter, Alice, and Mary Poppins.
- 50's Prime Time Cafe – This cafe has been popular since it first opened. You will step back into the 50's when you walk through the door. The wait staff put on a show and interact with the guests yelling orders and chastising you if they catch you putting your elbows on the table or not finishing your vegetables. The food is popular comfort food from the 50's era with fried chicken and gravy or Mom's Famous pot roast and the milkshakes are to die for!
There are so many other popular and wonderful places to dine around the Disney parks and resorts and I haven't even touched on all the new ones at Disney Springs. You can also make advanced dining reservations at those too. The entire list can be found on the Disney Dining site. Just click on the link and check them all out. Just remember that this top 10 list is what I've experienced as the hardest to get reservations for. You can do it, I just want to let you know that you need to be diligent and stay aware of the calendar days to your arrival day.