One of the best – and most challenging things about planning a Walt Disney World vacation is deciding where you want to eat while you’re there. Disney allows you to make ADR’s (advance dining reservations) 180 days prior to your vacation, which is great, but daunting at the same time
As an all adult party, we want to try and get a good mix of places, some that are more “adult friendly” (ie – ones that have good wine and beer lists and fine dining options!) as well as a few that feature characters (because deep down aren’t we all just big kids?). Also, we knew there were some places we had to revisit, but wanted to make sure we were trying new things too
So where do we begin? Well, for us, we know there are a few “must do’s”, which include:
Chef Mickey’s – A chracter meal where you get to meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and
Donald while enjoying a range of buffet options. Often overlooked by ‘food snobs’ as being sub-par in the buffet department, but
I have always loved it – especially the soft serve ice cream sundae bar!
Crystal Palace – Another character meal – this time Winnie The Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and
Piglet roam the dining room for hugs and pictures while you enjoy a delicious buffet that serves up 3 meals a day. The food is
a lot better than at Chef Mickey’s, and the location of this restaurant is great – its right on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom
Raglan Road Irish Pub – We’ve been to this Downtown Disney twice now, and can’t get enough of its huge bar
menu (with a big beer selection), amazing Irish dishes, and live entertainment. A must do, for sure
And of course we will want to try some new things, including Be Our Guest in the New Fantasyland, and some Italian at Via Napoli over in Epcot would be a great new experience for us too!
We will be using the Disney Dining Plan, which entitles each of us to 1 Table Service (sit down), 1 Counter service (fast food type) and 1 snack per person, per day, so this means that we will be planning 1 meal per day in advance. One thing that kind of throws a wrench in things is that we will be there at Christmas time, which means the Parks will be crowded, and that everyone will want to have a “special” meal booked for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Of course the Parks do some special meals to help people celebrate, which means that it will be even tougher to get a restaurant reservation for those days.
I guess at the end of the day, I will plan it out as best I can, and if we end up eating Butterfinger cupcakes and Turkey Legs for our family Christmas Dinner, who cares? At least I will still be with the people I love most at the place I love most!
So the best advice I can give to someone who is trying to plan their Disney meals is to use the Walt Disney World website to do some research and try something new – you’re on vacation after all, so step our of your comfort zone and try some African food, or Chinese or Japanese to mix it up!