One of the more stressful aspects of planning a Walt Disney World® Resort vacation is making those Advanced Dining Reservations. For some people these can make or break your vacation. If you do not get that coveted reservation at Cinderella’s Royal Table or Chef Mickey your whole vacation is ruined. However, over the years Walt Disney World® has added some other great options for Character Dining, and in some cases they are even better than the stand-by classics!
Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot and 1900 Park Fare at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa have become great alternatives to Cinderella’s Royal Table. Not only do they offer great character meeting opportunities, they are also both only one credit on the Disney Dining Plan.
Akershus is located in the Norway Pavilion in the World Showcase at Epcot® . Guests walk into an an old Norwegian Castle where 5 of the more popular Disney princesses great guests while they dine on Norwegian fare. Belle, Cinderella, Aurora, Snow White and Ariel are all available for pictures and autographs. The food itself is excellent and there is something for even the most pickiest of eaters. Princess Storybook Dining is available for breakfast, lunch, dinner. One of the cool things is that once you finish eating with the princesses, you can go on Frozen Ever After and meet Anna and Elsa.
1900 Park Fare is located in the Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Besides being a great spot for character dining, it allows you to explore the beauty that is the Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. There are two different character options at 1900 Park Fare. For breakfast, you can mingle with Pooh, Tigger, Alice, The Mad Hatter, and Mary Poppins. Dinner is a little different. Here you get to dine with Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, and Drusilla. If you are a Cinderella fan, this is one meal you do not want to miss. It is a buffet with pretty standard choices that will fit your family’s taste.
Chef Mickey is another one of those restaurants that everybody wants to eat at, but getting a reservation can be tough. A great substitute is Donald’s Safari at Tusker House in Disney’s
Animal Kingdom® Theme Park. Tusker House used to only offer a character meal at breakfast, but because of the popularity it is now offered for all three meals. Here you get to meet those classic characters we all love. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Daisy are walking around dressed in safari garb greeting you while you dine on African inspired dishes. The food itself is worth the trip, but the character interaction makes this a must do for any family. In addition, you can pair a meal at Tusker House with a dining package for Rivers of Light, where you will get seating in a reserved section for the show.
Always remember, just because you do not get that coveted reservation do not give up hope. Here are a few tips to help.
- Make sure you know when you are able to make your Advanced Dining Reservations. Popular places like Be Our Guest, ‘Ohana, Cinderella’s Royal Table, etc. are always the first ones to book. Make sure you are ready to go at 6am EST to make those choices. Your Key to the World Travel® agent will be happy to make these for you, as well as make suggestions for dates and times.
- Be Flexible. Sometimes to get that hard reservation you may have to either go on a different day, a different time, or instead of breakfast you can get a lunch. If meeting those characters are there key, be flexible.
- Do not give up. People sometimes will book that tough reservation numerous times during their trip because they are undecided when they want to go. Others may cancel their trip entirely. Keep checking My Disney Experience. Reservations come up all the time. When you are in the parks, take a walk over to that restaurant and see if they have any availability. Some restaurants keep some tables open for walk-ins. Just remember these are first come first serve and you may have to go over early in the morning to get them.
Finally, always remember just because you do not get that one dining reservation, your vacation is not ruined. There is so much magic at Walt Disney World® Resort to experience, one dining reservation is not going to make or break your vacation.
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Brian is a travel planner with Key to the World Travel. Contact him today using the links below.