There is something magical about Disney, whether you are organising a trip to Disney’s Aulani resort, Disneyland, a Disney Cruise or Disneyworld, the magic begins when you make the decision to go and start planning.
Each trip has its own timeline, Disneyland requires little upfront planning, fastpasses can only be organised on the day, and restaurants can be booked 60 days out. There is not a huge range of restaurants available in the parks, with a higher quantity of table service restaurants. With more of the dining located in Downtown Disney only a small walk away from the Parks.
Whilst Disney cruises can be booked up to 15 months before depending on what time of year. For booking Port adventurers that all depends on your level on the cruise. ie Concierge and Platinum guests can book specialty restaurants and Port adventures 120 days out. Gold Castaway – 105 days, Silver 90 Days and First timers – 75 days out.
Disney Aulani, most bookings are done, either when you are there or in the weeks leading up to your trip.
However, Disneyworld involves a bit more planning. Fastpasses are booked either 30/60 days out depending on where you are staying. And most of the rides with long wait times will be all prebooked by that 60-day window. Restaurants are open for booking almost 6 months before your trip. So you are supposed to know 180 days before your trip what park you would like to spend each day at.
This took a lot for me to get my head around as we are normally very spontaneous with our meals especially when on holidays.
Disneyworld has over 55 restaurants, and another 24 restaurants in Disney Springs, Boardwalk and ESPN area. Food is such an integral part of the Disneyworld experience. Many of the restaurants are booked out 180 days out, and if you want to grab dinner at one of the more exclusive restaurants like Be our guest or Cinderellas royal table you don’t want to miss your ADR window.
If you are staying on property you can also prepay your dining through the Disney Dining plan.
In the lead up to our trip, we have been watching DFB on youtube and going through to work out our top ten restaurants we want to go to.
1. Be our guest
Who hasn’t wanted to have dinner in Beast’s castle, taste the grey stuff and see if it really is delicious. Be our guest is located in the Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom, in the theme and appearance of Beast’s castle. Be our guest is a Counter Service restaurant for Breakfast and Lunchtime and a Table Service Signature dining experience at Dinner time. Dinner is a 3-course prix fixe meal and if using the Dining Plan takes two Dining credits.
After Dinner, most nights you are able to meet the beast in the library after Dinner. Whilst they don’t guarantee you can see the Beast most nights he is there.
2. Cinderella’s Royal Table
Every young Princess dream is to have Dinner in a castle, and Cinderella’s royal table not only lets you eat in the amazing setting but allows you to meet multiple princesses in one dining setting. Cinderella’s royal table is also a 3-course prix fixe meal and if using the Dining Plan takes two Dining credits.
3. Rainforest Cafe
This might be an unpopular opinion, but in our family, we love Rainforest Cafe, each time we have visited Disneyland one of our favorite places to eat was the Rainforest Cafe. When our children wouldn’t sleep due to Jetlag, we would end up their late at night drinking their smoothies and eating their brownies. We were heartbroken when we heard that they were closing at Disneyland, so of course, we had to book into the Rainforest Cafe at Animal Kingdom on one of our AK days. We find the ambiance amazing, the smoothies divine and the Brownie’s delicious.
4. Liberty Tree Tavern
Thanks to the Musical “Hamilton” Our daughter loves American History, she has spent months learning all there is to know about Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington. So when she found out there was a restaurant themed to six influential American figures, this was the top of her list.
The food is in the theme of a Thanksgiving meal, who doesn’t love Turkey and sides.
5. Woody’s lunchbox
Woody’s Lunchbox is less about the food and more about the theming. Our youngest loves Toy Story, but then again who doesn’t, and when he heard that you can have Lunch at Woody’s lunchbox, it was the first place he wanted to visit. It is a counter service restaurant that has a fairly limited menu. With Soups, Sandwichs and melts on the menu.
6. Sci-Fi Dine Inn theater
Disney love theming, and from all accounts Sci-Fi Dine Inn theater has got theming down to a fine art. My oldest son loves the thought of eating dinner in a car shaped booth. Watching Sci-fi scenes on the big screen, whilst eating burger and chips. What more could an eleven-year-old want?
7. Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue
We love Ribs in our house, we also love Live music and being entertained and when we heard we could go to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and combine the two we where sold. Now we don’t like being part of the action so we made sure we didn’t choose the Level 1 seating. Instead, we will sit back munch on fresh salad, fried chicken and delicious ribs whilst watching the show.
8. Chef Mickey
Chef Mickey is the number one restaurant for our oldest, located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort it will be a great opportunity for us to explore one of the other resorts. Like most children, ours love Breakfast Buffets, the thought of being able to choose whatever food they like at breakfast really excites them. I still remember the looks on their faces when they went to Goofy’s kitchen for the first time and saw the collection of pastries, chocolate mousse, Mickey waffles. As soon as we started planning Chef Mickey was added to the list. The thought of being able to see the original Disney characters combined with all you can eat buffet. Simply amazing.
9. Aloha Isle
Who doesn’t love Dole Whips? One of our priorities when going to Adventureland in Disneyland is having a Dole whip, and when we heard that you can go to Aloha Isle in Adventureland in Disneyworld to get one, it was quickly added to our list.
10. Crepes des Chefs de France
The reason is in the title, Crepes. I love Crepes, and whilst they don’t have my favorite flavor, Lemon and Sugar I can’t wait to grab a Crepe to enjoy the light delicious snack when we head to Epcot.
If you have traveled to Walt Disney World, do you agree with our list?
What are the top restaurants you want to visit in Disneyworld?
Let us know in the comments below.