Planning a trip to Walt Disney World is one of my favourite hobbies, but there are folks out there who are under the impression that you don’t have to plan. Those people are right, because there are a number of restaurants, albeit limited, where you can still find a day-of reservation or even a walk-up!
This list gives you a starting point for last-minute vacations or local trips to Walt Disney World restaurants that are still great food…but may not be the top of mind for people seeking high-value Advance Dining Reservations.
Here are the Top 10 Last Minute Dining Reservations
1900 PARK FARE – GRAND FLORIDIAN RESORT
What’s it all about: Buffet-style eatery offering American style food with Character interactions.
Why is it in on the list? Well it’s quite simple. Restaurants that are located outside of the parks are usually a little easier to get a last minute reservation, and with the Grand Floridian being a simple monorail ride over…it’s definitely worth the adventure. Plus, if you can’t get a reservation at 1900 Park Fare, there’s always the Grand Floridian Cafe!
Related Article – Top Ten Character Meals at Disney World
BIERGARTEN – GERMANY PAVILION @ EPCOT
What’s it all about: Festive restaurant with Bavarian buffet, oompah band and beer served in steins
Why is it in on the list? The World Showcase is known for great shopping and amazing dining, with little in entertainment and attractions to draw the crowds throughout the day. This all changes at around 8pm, when EPCOT Forever begins to be a hot spot for the early birds to catch the 9pm fireworks show. If you get to Biergarten early enough, you shouldn’t have an issue getting a table at this “family-style buffet”.
Related Article – Ranking EPCOT Dining
WHISPERING CANYON – WILDERNESS LODGE
What’s it all about: Main draw of the cafe is the all-you-can-eat skillets, with bottomless milkshakes and lively entertainment from the service staff.
Why is it on the list? It’s closer to the Magic Kingdom than most guests think, with our mode of transportation being a boat…because being on the Seven Seas Lagoon on a small vessel is pretty memorable! Then when you get to the restaurant, it’s a completely different experience than what you’ll read in travel guides. Previously, it was more of a “summer camp” atmosphere with jokes and puns galore. When we went last, it was more of a homey experience with a nice variety of BBQ with a Disney touch!
ALE AND COMPASS – YACHT CLUB RESORT
What’s it all about: Eatery modeled on an old-fashioned yacht club, featuring great seafood, healthy vegetarian options, and steaks
Why is it on the list? EPCOT is a short walk from the Yacht Club, so with that comes a huge variety of well-known restaurants that are a bigger draw due to common knowledge of guests. This is a similar misconception to those who think that a 15-20 minute walk from EPCOT to Disney’s Hollywood Studios is too long;)
Although it’s evident that the Yacht Club is going in a new direction with the Ale & Compass Restaurant, it’s still fun to look back on one of our favorite restaurants of times gone by.
Related Article – 7 Table Service Restaurants for Vegetarian and Meat-Eater Couples
KONA CAFE – POLYNESIAN VILLAGE RESORT
What’s it all about: Relaxed cafe that infuses a bit of Asian zest into traditional American meals with an onstage sushi kitchen
Why is it on the list? Simple…it’s proximity to Ohana!
When folks are looking for an evening meal, they are more likely to go for something memorable with character interactions than an Asian influenced menu that has Sushi available. We had a great experience at Kona, minus the fact that we may have had our lunch at Capt’ Cooks too close to dinner to be completely famished prior to our dinner. #LiveAndLearn right?
TEPPAN EDO – JAPAN PAVILION @ EPCOT
What’s it all about: Lively hibachi house cooking up Japanese standards on table-side grills in the World Showcase
Why is it on the list? It’s basically dinner and a show at a reasonable price. The chefs are crazy talented and really provide great value and memories!
TRATTORIA AL FORNO – THE BOARDWALK
What’s it all about: Boisterous taverna on the BoardWalk, featuring Italian cuisine
Why is it on the list? Just like Captain’s Grille, any restaurant stuck in between EPCOT and Hollywood Studios has a difficult time to get the common guest who may not know about the second entrance to the park. If they do, then heading to the BoardWalk is a great way to splurge on a few of the hidden gems, including Trattoria al Forno!
TUSKER HOUSE @ ANIMAL KINGDOM
What’s it all about: Open-air eatery with a buffet of African Fare
Why is the on the list? Meeting characters in a super-relaxed environment is a huge draw. It’s also going to be in part of the Animal Kingdom that may start to slow down as soon as Pandora: The World of Avatar gets fully-operational. The buffet format makes it perfect for anyone who’s hungry enough to “eat a whole zebra” (Lion King Quotes are GREAT)
Related Article – Top Ten Disney Advance Dining Reservations to get ASAP
THE WAVE @ THE CONTEMPORARY RESORT
What’s it all about: Eatery serving an American menu in a bright, contemporary environment
Why is it on the list? The Wave has steep competition within the Contemporary, with California Grill and Chef Mickey’s all under the same roof. Does this mean that the food isn’t worth it? Absolutely not! Check out the menu and make sure that you can all eat comfortably and walk over…because seriously…it’s like a 7 minute walk from the Magic Kingdom!
BOMA AT DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM LODGE
What’s it all about: African-inspired buffet in a setting that includes thatched roofs
Why is it on the list? Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is by far the best resort for food on property due to the number of high-quality restaurants vs mediocre offerings seen at other Moderate / Deluxe resorts. With the close proximity to the Animal Kingdom, Boma often gets overlooked by guests who are spending time in the parks vs hopping on a bus to go the short distance to the lodge. It’s a little pricey, but remember to take advantage of credits when you’re on the Disney Dining Plan!
Did we miss a fav of yours? Is there a spot that you’ve had success on a walk-up last minute?