Must-try Restau­rants

Parents (USA) - - Lifeñfamily Vacation -

HOW FAR AHEAD YOU CAN BOOK

If you’re stay­ing at a Dis­ney ho­tel, you can make din­ing reser­va­tions for your en­tire trip 180 days be­fore your va­ca­tion starts. If you’re stay­ing off-prop­erty or haven’t booked a ho­tel yet, you can still make your first-day’s reser­va­tion 180 days in ad­vance, but you’ll have to wait un­til the fol­low­ing day to book ta­bles for the se­cond day of your trip, and so forth. It’s eas­i­est to search for reser­va­tions on the My Dis­ney Ex­pe­ri­ence mo­bile app, so down­load it.

GOOD-ENOUGH PLAN­NING

First, think about how many reser­va­tions you re­ally want, be­cause your kids may be just as happy eat­ing at the grab-andgo places at the parks, where there’s no rush­ing to get to your ta­ble on time. “We had one char­ac­ter lunch and ate at a cou­ple of buf­fets, but for the most part, we found food when we were hun­gry rather than let­ting reser­va­tions dic­tate the day’s agenda,” says Henry. “That way, when the kids wanted to linger in the ho­tel pool or go on an­other ride, we didn’t have to say no.” De­cide 60 to 90 days be­fore your trip—that’s when reser­va­tions start to fill up at most restau­rants. There are two ex­cep­tions, both in Magic King­dom: Cin­derella’s Royal Ta­ble (din­ing with the princesses in Cin­derella Cas­tle) and Be Our Guest (a newish restau­rant in Beast’s Cas­tle, which in­cludes a photo op with him) of­ten fill up 180 days in ad­vance. If ei­ther of these is on your must-do list, book it as soon as you can. If you can’t

snag a ta­ble, Ep­cot’s Ak­er­shus Royal Ban­quet Hall (an­other din­ing spot with princesses) and the 1900 Park Fare at Dis­ney’s Grand Florid­ian Re­sort & Spa (break­fast with Mary Pop­pins, Alice in Won­der­land, the Mad Hat­ter, Tig­ger, and Win­nie the Pooh) are great al­ter­na­tives.

LAST-MINUTE OP­TIONS

Rest as­sured, there are plenty of places to eat on the fly. “In the Magic King­dom,

I like the Columbia Har­bour House,” says Len Testa, coau­thor of The Un­of­fi­cial Guide to Walt Dis­ney World 2018. “There’s ex­tra seat­ing up­stairs—a good place to de­com­press with the kids.” Most of the year, Ep­cot sets up food stands in the World Show­case area that are a per­fect place for fam­i­lies to grab a fast bite, says Testa. And Woody’s Lunch Box, an adorable Toy Story–themed counter-ser­vice restau­rant, will open at Dis­ney’s Hol­ly­wood Stu­dios this sum­mer. You might even be able to score an eleventh-hour reser­va­tion at some of the most pop­u­lar sit-down restau­rants. “Dis­ney charges $10 per per­son for reser­va­tions not can­celled within 24 hours, so if you’re us­ing the My Dis­ney Ex­pe­ri­ence mo­bile app, you’ll see a lot of ta­bles open up 24 to 36 hours in ad­vance,” says Testa.

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