Some restaurants are very popular and difficult to get into, even if you call at your 180 day mark. However, there are alternatives to some of your most popular choices. Here is a guide to help you choose a suitable substitute.
One of the most popular dining experiences is Disney Princess Dining. The hardest restaurant to get an Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR) for princess dining is Cinderella’s Royal Table. Located inside Cinderella’s castle, the dining room looks like a royal banquet hall with high ceilings, medieval flags, grand lighting fixtures and special meet n’ greet opportunity with Cinderella, make this restaurant highly popular. There are a few alternatives that are a little easier to get an ADR. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall should be the first on your list of alternatives. This restaurant too is highly popular, but it’s another chance to meet the princesses and have a special meet n’ greet opportunity, as well with one of the princesses. If all else fails, book 1900 Park Fare for dinner with Cinderella and Prince Charming, located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, it’s your best chance for dining with a Disney Princess.
Another popular character dining experience is Chef Mickey’s, where you can meet the fab five. There isn’t another restaurant where you can meet all these characters in one location, but there are alternatives to meeting some of your favorites. Great alternatives to this restaurant are Cape May Cafe at Disney’s Beach Club Resort (breakfast), The Garden Grill at Epcot and Tusker House Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (breakfast and lunch). These are great choices to meet some of these characters.
Dinner Shows are very popular as well. If you can’t get into the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review or Mickey’s Backyard BBQ, a great alternative for similar food and a fun, entertaining experience is Whispering Canyon Cafe at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Trails End Cafe at Disney’s Fort Wilderness. Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at Disney’s Polynesian Resort is a great dinner show experience featuring Polynesian food, there is really is no alternative to the great entertainment, featuring one of my favorite tunes from Lilo and Stitch, “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride”. However, there are some restaurants that can give you your fix of Pacific Island food. Two of the best choices are ‘Ohana and Kona Cafe, both located at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. ‘Ohana, a family-style restaurant serves delicious food and gets children involved in some fun activities. Kona Cafe, located next to ‘Ohana, offers a variety of food from sandwiches to entrees.
Nighttime Entertainment Viewing
Restaurants with great views for fireworks are some of the most difficult to get reservations for. Some of the most popular choices are California Grill and ‘Ohana for viewing Wishes. Instead of dining at either of these locations, a wonderful alternative is Narcoossee’s located on the pier at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Select tables have a great view of Wishes without leaving your seat. If you don’t have one of those tables, you can walk outside and view them from the deck that surrounds the restaurant and you get to see the Electrical Water Pageant as it passes by. After dinner, walk down to the beach for a relaxing time watching the fireworks.
For those of you that love to enjoy a nice meal and catch IllumiNations: Reflection of Earth, Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room is the most popular location to view it during dinner. A great alternative for dining and getting a fantastic view of this nighttime entertainment is La Hacienda de San Angel. The music is even piped into the dinner room. Arrive a little early for your ADR and request a table by the window for the best experience. Tokyo Dining in the Japan Pavilion sits up high in Mitsukoshi with a fantastic view. It’s one of the most overlooked great views!
Boma – Flavors of Africa
During peak season and Disney’s ‘Free Dining’ promotion, Boma – Flavors of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge can be difficult to get into. In that case, consider trying Tusker House Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The menu was created by the chefs over at Boma. The menu very similar menu and it’s served buffet style too.
Le Cellier Steakhouse
The one restaurant that takes the cake for the most difficult restaurant to get dining reservations, is Le Cellier Steakhouse. This restaurant is so popular that many guests have been unable to get a reservation even when calling 180 days out. However, if you are a carnivorous person who needs their steak, no worries. Disney offers two amazing dining experiences to try in its place – Yachtsman Steakhouse, at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and Shula’s Steak House, at Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort. Both Signature Dining restaurants offer fantastic steaks worthy of substitution.
Good Italian food is hard to come by and Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria and Tutto Italia Ristorante, located in the Italy Pavilion at Epcot, are the best. These two can be difficult to get reservations for, especially if it’s close to the date of your vacation. If you are craving great Italian food, but can’t get into either of these restaurants, try Il Mulino New York Trattoria. Located at Walt Disney World Swan Resort, an Epcot resort, it offers a delicious alternative in a beautiful, elegant setting.