3 Tips to Help you Avoid Crowds with Dining at Walt Disney World
During our frequent trips to the parks, our focus is on the food and the fun. But you know what lesson we NEVER learn? How to avoid crowds! Ever been in this situation?
You woke up at dawn 180 days out to make the PERFECT reservation for a 515pm Be Our Guest dinner ADR. Awesome right?
You spend your trip looking forward to dining in the Beast’s Castle and then you walk up at 5pm, get a buzzer…and you wait….and you wait…and you wait some more. 545pm comes around and you finally have the opportunity to get into the castle for a little magic. Your server is smiling, but just barely, because they won’t spoil the magic…but you know it’s a busy day.
Is this normal? ABSOLUTELY! When Disney allows you to book reservations 6-months out, it creates a backlog of guests who want a specific dining experience to make sure that their trip is “worth it”.
How do you escape the stress? Our recommendations will give you an opportunity to have amazing dining experiences during any time, even the holidays!
*Take our recommendations at face value and with as much or little value depending on your current planning stage. These strategies aren’t for everyone, but we just love to share our experiences:) *
Dine at “Off-Times” and “Use Your Full Schedule”
Breakfast is at 745 – 9am, Lunch is 12-1pm and Dinner is at 5-630pm
Our recommendation is to not make your reservations for these booking windows, as you’re just asking for stress.
Book your brunch (aka Breakfast meeting Lunch at WDW involves a possible bacon love story;)) for 1030-11am. Schedule your lunch as a “Late Lunch” at 3 or 4pm and have a “Late Dinner” at 8 or 9pm. This will allow you to be proactive in getting as much done when everyone else is eating…like meeting Buzz/Woody in Pixar Place @ DHS!
TIP: If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, use your snack credits to bridge a longer period between meals.
2. Go to Disney World during the Off-Season
We love LOVE love going to Walt Disney World in February and September. This allows you to get the best prices for your vacation…and maybe even get a Free Dining perk for booking. Remember that it’s all about having the best experience, and sometimes it involves a little vacation during the off-season to get those hard-to-get ADRs.
TIP: If you can’t make it during off-peak season, book your ADRs in advance but be open to changing up to 2-3 days out from your vacation. It’s amazing how many last minute Cinderella’s Royal Table or California Grill reservations come up 24-36 hours prior. Be flexible and you’re good!
3. Dine at the Resorts
Oh my goodness, this is probably my favourite recommendation of all! Dining at some of the resorts actually provide you with an even better experience than some of the restaurants in the parks.
Some of our favourite spots include Kona Cafe @ Polynesian Village Resort, Captain’s Grille @ Yacht Club and Boma @ Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge!
TIP: Remember that there are plenty of Resorts within walking distance of the Theme Parks. EPCOT has the Boardwalk & the Yacht and Beach Resorts, while the Magic Kingdom has the Resort Monorail that services the Poly, the Grand Floridian and the Contemporary…and they all have GREAT options for dining!
What more tips?
We’re proud of these tips…but we’ve got more! Check out our other Dining articles like:
- List of Restaurants to Avoid: Quick Service
- List of Restaurants to Avoid: Table Service
- Top ADRs to get ASAP