Monday, December 27, 2010

Disney Dining Part 1

One of the things that I most look forward too any time the Hubby and I go to Disney is the food - Disney is a foodie's paradise. I'm going to do a few posts in the next couple of weeks to highlight my tips and favorite places for dining on property at WDW. One thing I learned quickly is the need to have advanced dining reservations (ADRs in disney-fanatic speak) for any sit down meals you want to enjoy. These can be over the phone or online - has a very comprehensive dining guide with menus for all on-property restaurants and a complete guide to dining plans and the reservation system.

Before any trip, I like to map out each day and determine where we'll be in the evening and start making dinner reservations from there. Trust me, spending a day in Animal Kingdom and then having to rush from bus to bus to get across the World for dinner the Contemporary is no fun. I start with dinner because 1) the evening spots fill up the quickest at the more popular places and 2) knowing what time we'll eat dinner helps me decide if I need a lunch reservation or if a late breakfast would work better. Typically, we eat two meals a day at sit down restaurants and have either a light breakfats or mid day snack as our other meal.
Personally, I don't eat the fast-food counterservice type food at home, so we don't eat it at Disney, either. It is good quality and tastes good in the few times I've had it, but I'd rather savor the experience of eating than gobble down burgers. And the Husband would throw a FIT if I even suggect a fast food place.
I make a spreadsheet to capture my tenative choices, the park we'll be in during a given day, and how long transporation will take between the places, and then use that to make ADRs. For example:

3:45 Leave for Race
6:00 Race Start
9:30 Back to hotel
10:30 Shower, change
12:00 Leave for epoct
1:00 San Angel Inn
Magic Kingdomn - monorail trip
8:05 Cinderella's Castle Dinner

One caveat to the system: many places only have a few tables for two at any given time but have several for larger parties. However, the online system only places 2s at two-top tables. If you are a party of two and can't get an online reservation, you'll be better off calling the dining number, which can override the system and put you at a larger table.

Up next: where to go?


  1. As a HUGE Disney fan I'm really excited to hear your dining choices. The Huz and I always make California Grille a top priority and we love to have a buffet in Germany too (we think the food is so-so but we love the whole set up!) We tried Saana for the 1st time in September and think that the animals and amazing wine selections make it worth a trip too. We were also VERY pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food at the 50'd diner in DHS- we had low expectations (we knew it would be a fun meal- but who knows about the food!) but it was pretty great.
    Can't wait to see what your ADR's are!

  2. I love the 50s diner too - so good in an "atomsphere restaurant"!

  3. I LOVE THE DDP!!! We are doing Delux in January! :0) That's my husband's favorite part of our WDW trips! He loves all the food! lol