Sometimes I hear that when people are planning a family vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort, they’re not making their hotel reservations until they’re able to secure their dining reservations.
Yup. You read that right. Sound crazy?
Well, if you’ve spent any amount of time reading the Disney Restaurants forum on DISboards.com, you know how incredibly important it is to plan ahead for your Walt Disney World vacation…and I’m not just talking a couple of months ahead, I’m talking 6+ months ahead. Some folks have no idea just how popular some of these restaurants are. If you need some help figuring out when your 180-day mark is, take a look at our Advance Dining Reservation Date Calculator.
You might have your heart set on dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table where you’ll be visited by various Disney Princesses throughout your meal. You might believe that you can absolutely not live for one second longer if you aren’t able to secure a reservation for your family at Be Our Guest Restaurant during your upcoming vacation.
Well, don’t despair!
I thought I’d share some of my family’s favorite dining locations that we are typically able to book very last minute reservations for – like next weekend! There are so many absolutely wonderful restaurants at the Walt Disney World Resort and I recommend that if you don’t find exactly what you were looking for, try something new! You might just be pleasantly surprised!
1. Grand Floridian Café
This restaurant is one that my family dines at each time we visit Walt Disney World. They’ve got a great, simple menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the pricing is very reasonable too. I don’t ever have an issue getting a last-minute dining reservation here either as it’s not typically extremely busy when we’ve been there.
Pictured above is my VERY FAVORITE item on their breakfast menu – Vanilla Laced French Toast – seriously. It’s brioche bread dipped in vanilla-flavored batter served with bacon or sausage; very simple and simply delicious! The Grand Floridian Café is located just off the front lobby of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa which is right on the Magic Kingdom monorail line!
2. Teppan Edo
We have a rule in my family since we are fortunate enough to be able to visit Walt Disney World so often and that is – we try a new-to-us restaurant on each visit.
I was able to get last-minute Advance Dining Reservations for this restaurant and boy did we love every second of it. The tables, which seat up to a party of 10, have the grills built right into them just like a traditional Japanese Steakhouse. The chefs are interactive with their tables as they prepare your meal right in front of you. Everything is fresh and delicious and gives you a really cool experience on top of it! Teppan Edo is located in the Japan Pavilion in the World Showcase section of Epcot.
3. Whispering Canyon Cafe
The All-You-Care-To-Enjoy Breakfast Platter at this restaurant happens to be one of my very favorite meals in all of Walt Disney World. The food comes out piping hot and fresh in a gigantic skillet with enough for everyone in the family. You’ll be happy to stay right at your table and simply ask your server for more of anything on the platter that includes scrambled eggs, Western home fries, bacon, sausage, those famous Mickey Mouse waffles, buttermilk biscuits and some of the best sausage gravy I’ve ever had! They also have an a la carte menu that you can order from if the skillet doesn’t suit your fancy.
So, for a rowdy, rootin’ tootin’ good time, put this restaurant on your must-do list. The Whispering Canyon Cafe is located in the front lobby of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge which is just a quick ride on a water taxi from Magic Kingdom Park.
Oh, and while you’re there, be sure to ask for ketchup!
There are two Table Service dining locations in the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot. This is the one located on the water’s edge and my family gave it a try for their first time (my second time) last month.
We had an 8:00 p.m. reservation because I’d heard that they dim the lights and pipe the music in from Epcot’s nightly fireworks show, Illuminations – Reflections of Earth and the show started that night at 9:00 p.m. You can’t be guaranteed to be seated at a table right by the window, but you can certainly request it when you check in at the podium. We were seated about 3 tables away from the windows and had an unbelievably perfect view of the whole show! It was just awesome!
As for their menu, well, it was some fantastic Mexican fare for sure. The spinach salad pictured above is quite possibly my most favorite salad on the planet. It had spinach with queso fresco, tomatoes, pomegranate, pine nuts and avocado, with mustard vinaigrette dressing – just fantastic! I’ve never thought of putting pomegranate seeds on a salad, but I sure do now!
My husband and I shared the Parrillada “La Hacienda” which was a mixed grill offering New York strip, chicken al pastor, chorizo and vegetables, served with beans and fresh salsas and if I tell you that each bite got better as we ate, I wouldn’t be exaggerating…it was fabulous! You’ll definitely want to try it during your next visit if you like Mexican food.
5. The Wave… of American Flavors
Oftentimes when my family heads to Walt Disney World for the weekend, we stop for breakfast at some point on our way home and it’s usually somewhere off of Walt Disney World property. I had heard that The Wave… of American Flavors served a classic American breakfast where you could either order a la carte off their menu or you could choose the buffet that included Eggs Benedict as well as their signature Sweet Potato Pancakes served with Pecan-Honey Butter, so we decided to give that a try. I was able to make a same-day reservation for the four of us and there were several times to choose from. We all decided to go with the all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet and it was fantastic. They had a yogurt bar with ingredients to make your own parfait, the fresh fruit was plentiful, fresh, and delicious, and their pancakes and eggs Benedict were out of this world.
The best part? The price! When we ate there, it was only $21.99 for ages 10 and up with children 9 and under costing only $14.99. Please note that pricing is subject to change at any time, but this was a very reasonable cost when compared to other all-you-care-to-enjoy breakfast buffets. This restaurant is conveniently located on the first floor of the lobby of Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
I sure hope this list of some of my family’s favorites gives you some ideas on alternate locations to enjoy some pretty fabulous meals on your next trip to the Walt Disney World Resort!
Did I leave any of your favorites off my list? Please share them in the comments below!
Senior Editor for The DIS and DCL Fan | Disney Vacation Club Member | Thrilled to have been a '13/'14 Disney Parks Moms Panelist (now planDisney) | Lover of all things Disney; the Magic of Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Disney Cruise Line | ºoº