When it’s countdown time to your Disney vacation, the excitement can sometimes mask our ability to think clearly about some of the decisions we must make in advance. When it comes to booking your dining reservations for locations that are inside the parks, there are a few rookie mistakes that you will need to avoid. Here are five mistakes you should avoid when planning your in-park dining.
Making a Reservation for a Different Park Without Park Hopper
If you are a first-time visitor, it might be difficult to know precisely where all the restaurants are located, especially which ones require a ticket for the park to enter. For example, there are many restaurant options in the EPCOT area, though not all are located inside the park and require a ticket to access. Ensure you have access to the park you are making a reservation in, either with plans to be there that day or access to Park Hopper to move from one to the other. Remember that if your plans for the day change and you don’t have the Park Hopper Pass, you may also need to change or cancel some reservations.
Scheduling Your Day Too Tightly
‘Let’s just jump on this one last ride before we go!’ These can be famous last words when the line moves slower than expected, and suddenly, you are 40 minutes late for your reservation. When possible, the cast members will try to fit you in when something becomes available; however, if you are visiting during a particularly busy time, that one lapse in judgment could throw off your whole day. Leave a bit of extra time so that you aren’t stressed and running from one place to another at the last minute.
Don’t Expect Your Table To Be Waiting
Scheduling your dining experiences too tightly with Lightning Lanes or other time pressures is a big no-no. Even though you have booked for a specific time, there is a good chance you will need to wait for your table to be ready in the more popular locations. This means you might be waiting anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes. Unless you are dining at the restaurant’s opening, there is a good chance you will have a slight wait time. Disney can’t judge exactly how long each table will be occupied, resulting in occasional late stayers pushing back the rest of the evening. Leave a block of time open after your meal so that you can not feel stressed if your dining runs late, or fill it with casual attractions if everything runs on time.
Not Leaving Enough Travel Time
If you don’t know how to navigate your way to a restaurant, leave extra time to get to it. This is useful when walking in the parks and when park hopping or finding transport between two locations. There can be a big difference in your arrival time depending on how many people are waiting on the bus or boat line ahead of you. Don’t leave yourself feeling stressed and anxious by leaving insufficient time to transit between locations. Even if you are driving your own car, traffic can be unpredictable at certain times and still leave you arriving later than anticipated.
Don’t Forget To Check for a Dress Code
Most dining locations you will visit have the same dress code as the parks, a general fusion of nothing-offensive and use-your-common-sense. However, some restaurants that come under the Fine Dining or Signature Dining banner will have a slightly more sophisticated requirement. Even though you may find that this isn’t routinely enforced, no one wants to feel underdressed.
Guests are asked to adhere to the minimum dress code requirements at the Signature Dining experience. Dressier attire is also welcome. Please explore the minimum dress code requirements:
Men must wear khakis, slacks or dress shorts and collared shirts. Jeans may be worn if in good condition. Sport coats are optional.
Women must wear Capri pants, skirts, dresses or dress shorts. Jeans may be worn if in good condition.
Not permitted are tank tops, flip-flops, swimsuits, swimsuit cover-ups, hats for gentlemen, cut-offs, torn clothing and t-shirts with offensive language and/or graphics.planDisney
If I’ve forgotten anything, please leave them in the comments below!
Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.
Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.