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Why You Should Make Dining Reservations for Disney

If you are heading to Walt Disney World for a family vacation, one of the big decisions you have to make revolves around food. Disney offers so many fantastic dining options at Resorts and Parks that you need help figuring out where you want to eat.

We have some top reasons why you should make those dining reservations for your upcoming trip.

Credit: Disney

1. Ensures Your Experience

The number one reason why you will want to make a dining reservation for your upcoming Disney vacation is that it ensures your experience. Many of the most popular restaurants at Walt Disney World fill up two months ahead of time.

If you have a specific dining experience, such as Space 220 or Cinderella’s Royal Table, you will want to make a dining reservation to ensure you get to eat there. Although some table service locations offer walk-ups, most are booked months ahead.

Make sure you know when your booking window opens up for your trip, and be ready on the My Disney Experience app or website to make your reservations.

2. Set a Budget

Another reason why you will want to book dining for your Walt Disney World vacation is that it will allow you to set a clear budget. Dining is a big part of a Disney budget, and by booking some reservations, you will know what your cost should be per family member.

While we await the dining plan to return, booking table service locations is a good way to preplan your budget.

space 220- Disney
Credit: Disney

3. Food Everyone Will Enjoy

Finding a location, everyone enjoys can be tricky at Walt Disney World. By looking at menus and booking table service locations ahead of time, you can ensure that there are items everyone will enjoy. The My Disney Experience app is a great place to find menus. Use these to determine where you want to eat.

Table service locations are also fantastic for allergy needs or dietary restrictions. The Cast Members and chefs at these locations are fantastic and will help you find something safe to eat.

Tusker House, Disney's Animal Kingdom
Credit: Disney

4. Enjoy the Parks

Reservations are a great way to get some extra time in the Parks. If you book a breakfast early in the morning at Cinderella’s Royal Table, Tusker House, or Hollywood and Vine, you can enjoy a few moments in an empty Park. Often you can find Cast Members around to take your photo on Main Street, U.S.A., in front of the castle—a truly magical moment.

You can also look at booking the last reservation at night. This can give you some time in the Park under the lights. Although Cast Members encourage you to head out, you can slowly walk from Oga’s to the front of the Park or Liberty Tree Tavern.

By making reservations, you can enjoy that extra time in the Parks that most Guests don’t enjoy.

Mickey Tusker House

5. Meet Characters

If you have little ones wanting to meet characters while on vacation to Disney, making reservations is a great way to do so with less stress. Have a princess fan? Book a meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table or Akershus in EPCOT. Here princesses meet Guests while they enjoy some great food.

There are many dining options for meeting Mickey Mouse and his friends. Chef Mickey’s, Tusker House, Garden Grill, and Topolino’s Terrace are all fantastic dining options where Mickey and his friends stop by.

We also enjoy seeing Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore at Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom.

Character dining is a great way to visit with these characters with less stress and lower waits than in the Parks. These are some of the more popular options, so make sure that you book those reservations early.

Cinderella's Royal Table
Credit: Disney

6. Take a Break

Another reason why you will want to make dining reservations because they can be a significant break in the day. It is nice to have a restaurant booked when it gets hot and crowded in the afternoon. This can give you a nice sit-down meal in the air conditioning. These meals can be a great reset for those needing time to rest, relax, and have great food.

Think about having those meals booked in the last afternoon between one and three when the Parks get the busiest. This can allow you to take advantage of the lower crowds in the morning and then step away when the Parks get busy.

steakhouse71 Disney

7. Have a Schedule

Dining reservations can be helpful when creating a plan for your Walt Disney World vacation. By having a dining plan, you can use that to help plan and guide your day. You can schedule your dining to help you be in Parks, Resorts, and Disney Springs throughout your trip. This is a good strategy for making a plan.

California Grill Fireworks
With sweeping views of Magic Kingdom fireworks from atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the re-imagined California Grill also features a new design inspired by mid-century modern California, and a new menu showcasing seasonal ingredients and a lighter touch. Known for its stellar wine list, the restaurant now boasts about 250 wine selections, 80 by the glass, an expanded sake list, eight kinds of craft beers and ciders and signature cocktails created by staff mixologists. Disney’s Contemporary Resort is located at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kent Phillips, photographer)

8. Together Time

Finally, having dining reservations can be a great way to ensure the whole family has time together throughout the day. Even when traveling with larger groups, booking reservations can be a great way to have some set time together. Allow everyone to do their own thing throughout the day, then come together for a meal. Use this time to discuss what everyone has been enjoying throughout the day and make plans for moving forward.

If you enjoy great meals and have some time away from the crowds, you should consider making dining reservations at some of Disney’s top restaurants. These are great ways to enjoy delicious meals and have quality time together.

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Jennifer Retzlaff

Jennifer became a lifelong Disney fan during her first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of her life. She quickly started to introduce her love of Disney to her family with a Disney honeymoon and then family trips when her youngest was 18 months old. She loves the magic that Disney brings to people through theme parks, cruises, and adventures. As a teacher, she tries to bring Disney magic into her classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” She is also part of the Magic Vacation Planner team as a personal travel advisor. With this team, she can now help others plan magical vacations. She loves bringing her love to Disney to readers with How to Disney.

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