What is a vacation without good food?  It’s no vacation if you ask me!  The wonderful minds at Walt Disney World have thought of the fact that you will be hungry on your multi-day visit to the World.  These same minds realize how important the dining experience is to a guest’s overall enjoyment of a vacation, so they have made restaurants a top priority here!

Because of the popularity of the Disney Dining Plans, advance reservations are a must for almost all Table Service restaurants in the parks and at the resorts.  It’s hard to believe, but Disney takes reservations 180 days from your dining date, so it really does make sense to plan your Walt Disney World vacation at least six months in advance to secure the hard-to-get restaurant locations!

Which restaurants are the most popular? When most people dream of a Walt Disney World vacation, that dream includes sitting at a table with Chef Mickey or Cinderella.  Yes, it’s true that Character Dining tops the list of restaurant preferences for Walt Disney World guests, so let me tell you about a few favorites.

Cinderella’s Royal Table offers breakfast, lunch and dinner with Cinderella and her Princess friends in Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom.  For many, this is the ultimate Disney Princess experience! The Princesses, which may include Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Snow White, Jasmine, Ariel and others, will come around to your table for pictures and autographs as you enjoy your meal.  This format is the pattern for all Disney Character meals.

Chef Mickey’s includes breakfast or dinner with the Fab Five—Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto—in the Contemporary Resort. This great option for girls AND boys is, in my opinion, a great way to kick off your vacation! Where else can you find a self-serve ice cream machine and get to wave your napkin in a celebration with Mickey Mouse?

If these two options are not available when you make your reservations, there are other choices for Princess and Classic Character dining. 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian has a Supercalifragilistic Breakfast with Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland Winnie the Pooh and a Happily Ever After Dinner with Cinderella, Prince Charming and the (hilarious) Stepmother and Stepsisters. You can even find the Princesses in Epcot’s Norway at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall for Breakfast, lunch or dinner! While you are in Animal Kingdom, you can enjoy breakfast or lunch at Africa’s Tusker House with Mickey, Donald, Daisy Duck and Goofy.

Another of our family’s favorites is the Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom, home of Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Disney World hosts fifteen character dining experiences property-wide; surely one will be perfect and available for your family!

disney dining sci-fi hollywood studiosCharacter dining is great, but you may want some fun, themed meals, too.  While Disney has some excellent Signature restaurants, the majority of the Dining venues offer a story and setting worthy of the immersive theme park and resort destination. There are over 100 to choose from; these favorites all take 180 day reservations.

Sci-Fi Dine In in Hollywood Studios is a dark, cavernous room with stars on the ceiling. It looks just like a drive-in movie theater complete with a huge screen showing black and white movies!  You dine in 1950’s classic cars and carhops serve you excellent burgers, sandwiches, salads, and homemade shakes. My boys love it here!

Whispering Canyon Café at the Wilderness Lodge is anything but whispering! Grilled and barbecue fare are served by cowboys and cowgirls who set a lively tone and keep adult guests on their toes!

Find the best ice cream on property and great prices at Beaches and Cream Soda Shop at the Yacht and Beach Club Resort. Cheeseburgers and sundaes are all the rage in this classic setting. You’ll fill your tank and keep your dollars here!

disney dining be our guest magic kingdom new fantasylandBe Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom is in New Fantasyland.  Very popular for lunch and dinner, the setting is straight out of Beauty and the Beast.  You’ll be transported to the ballroom, West Wing, or Rose Gallery. The menu is full table service at dinner and quick service at lunch, but delicious all day long!

Epcot’s Biergarten is straight out of a German village. Complete with a German band and dance floor, the restaurant celebrates Octoberfest every day!  The buffet is complete with German favorites and your children will dance the night away!

That’s just a start. Next month we’ll take a closer look at the Disney Dining Plans and I’ll review Disney’s Signature restaurants for you.  In the meantime, I’d love to answer your questions about Disney Dining or anything Disney-related!