Today’s tips are brought to you by my current state of hunger. Having an empty belly, thinking about our upcoming trip to Walt Disney World, I just started brainstorming important things about selecting table service restaurants…only, here in Louisiana, the brainstorm is more like a brain hurricane!
For us, the selection of Disney dining options begins exactly 180 days from our vacation – as soon as that window opens up for making ADRs (advance dining reservations), we are booking maniacs. Planning the actual selections begins even sooner than that! We love the opportunity to sit down together as a family (usually once each day) and enjoy some of the delicious dining options Walt Disney World offers – at a fairly leisurely pace. We love the number of table service options there are to choose from. We love trying new things and revisiting old favorites.
Disney World Table Service – 5 Random Tips
Tip #1 – If you’re thinking, “I don’t know what I’ll feel like eating so far in advance!” get over it! You don’t have to book ALL your ADRs at 180 days, but if you’re even toying with ‘Ohana, Le Cellier, Be Our Guest, and/or a few others in the uber-popular category, book a reservation at the earliest possible moment! I would be so sad if my family was really counting on eating at one or more of the most popular places and we couldn’t get in. If what you want is not available when you first try – keep checking! Cancellations happen all the time. My cautionary tale: We were once waiting for our ADR at ‘Ohana when a lady with a very long blond (totally artificial) ponytail (I remember the weirdest details) walked up to the podium and asked for a table. When told there were none available, she said, “We don’t care about the wait, we’ll take whatever you’ve got!” – she was completely (tragically) shocked when the cast member explained that all available tables for the entire evening had been booked. Don’t let this happen to you!
Tip #2: Are you picky? If you’re more about a particular food than an experience, do some research. Menus and reviews are available all over the interwebs! Looking for a good steak? There are quite a few choices. Keep in mind that the way steak (or your other favorite food) is prepared where you live may be a bit different than it is at Walt Disney World. Different regions seem to have different criteria for rare, medium, and well-done. Be as descriptive as possible! Say, “Warm and slightly pink in the center” or “No pink in my steak at all” or “Moo-ing gently as I cut into it” – this will get you a lot closer to what you want than the generic beef terminology.
Tip #3: Are your kids picky? We feel your pain! We have yet to find a table service restaurant that wouldn’t help us figure out how to feed our picky eater. Ask your server for suggestions. Tell them if your picky one has special dining needs (like no food must touch!) It’s been our experience that they’re usually more than happy to work with you to make sure your experience is the best it can be. When in doubt, we’ve gone with one of the many buffets available. The kid-friendly sections are really great!
Tip #4: FYI – Walt Disney World typically does not do pizza well. Don’t count on finding good pizza there. In fact, I’ll go ahead and just say that the pizza is notoriously awful. Your best chance is in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion at Via Napoli. If you can make it a week without a pie, you should try to do that. Please, oh, please – if you’ve GOT to enter Pizza Planet at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – go for the arcade games!
Tip #5: Save room! Nothing makes me madder than when I sit down at a great restaurant (like the Flying Fish Café on the Boardwalk, Raglan Road in Downtown Disney/Disney Springs or ‘Ohana at the Polynesian Village Resort) and I’ve eaten so much earlier in the day that I’m not going to be able to do the meal justice. That’s the beauty of tip #1 – you’ll know when you need to hold back and make sure you’re good and hungry when you arrive for your ADR!
What is your best table service tip? What’s your favorite table service restaurant?
Need info? There’s always helpful information at the Disney Food Blog!