Eating at Disney World is an adventure in itself. Not only are there hundreds of options to choose from, you also need to know the ins and outs of making dining reservations and getting into the best places. From the moment you start thinking about a Disney World vacation, food and your restaurant reservations need to be one of your top priorities! This is especially true if you’re hoping to get into some of the more “prestigious” restaurants, so to speak. I’ve been there, struggling to find somewhere else to eat when my top pick was already full even at a full 180 days out! So, here are some great Disney Dining swaps.
If you can’t get into Cinderella’s Castle try Akershus in Epcot
If I am being honest, I have actually never even tried to get a reservation at the infamous Cinderella’s Castle, nor have I eaten there. That is not because it isn’t supposedly amazing. But this is because the hassle and the cost far outway the perks of actually eating inside of the Castle. Also, I never do Disney World without using some sort of Disney Dining Plan and Cinderella’s Castle is just a pain to get into without actually outright paying for your meal at booking. That is why I often opt for princess dining at Akershus in Epcot’s Norway pavilion.
I love the relaxed, still royal feeling of Akershus, and it comes with all the princesses you could want to meet, without the hype. Also, for some reason you can basically always get into eat here, which I think is CRAZY. So, next time you’re in Disney try eating at Akershus in Epcot. Upon entry to your brilliant Norwegian buffet, you get a photo with Belle. Then throughout your meal you will have time to meet, and get photos with all the rest of your favourite Disney princesses!
If you can’t get into California Grill Grab Seafood at The Boathouse
California Grill is hands down one of my absolute favourite restaurants at Disney World, and I have literally changed plans to incorporate a reservation here. But I realize this is not always possible. California Grill combines the best of seafood, sushi and steak. The meals are mouth wateringly good.
However, if you can’t secure a reservation at California Grill to get your seafood on, then head over to the Boathouse. This restaurant is located in the amazing Disney Springs area and you will be served inspiring dishes containing shrimp, tuna, lobster and Maine salmon! With views overlooking the water
If Reservations Don’t Happen at Le Cellier Get Steak at Hollywood Brown Derby
Le Cellier is a go-to steak restaurant in Disney World. The steak, cheese soup and well, basically the entirety of the menu is absolutely to die for at Le Cellier. I could be slightly biased, being Canadian and all, but the meal here is one of my absolute favourites in all of Disney World!
But it is also really hard to get reservations at, especially on Canada Day (we know, we’ve made them!). The last time we went to plan a Disney vacation the only time we could get a reservation was at 8pm. We booked it, obviously, but most days an 8 pm eating time is not conducive to our plan! So, if you can’t get into Le Cellier, grab a reservation at the Hollywood Brown Derby in Hollywood Studios.
Hollywood Brown Derby has an old Hollywood (obviously) style vibe and gives you a fantastic meal. You will feel like you should be in the world of Marilyn Monroe and Fred Astaire. I find walking into this restaurant you feel like you should be dressed to the nines and enjoying soothing jazz music. It is definitely one of those restaurants at Disney World that hit the nail on the head in terms of styling and atmosphere. Oh! The food is amazing too!
If You Can’t Get Into Be Our Guest, Cry A Little and Go Drink Around the World in Epcot
Well, this one is hard. Be Our Guest, is a restaurant in Disney World that can be rivaled by no other and so there are not a lot of Disney Dining swaps for this one. There is no restaurant that remotely compares throughout the entirety of WDW. Walking into the restaurant you are completely transported into the world of Beauty and the Beast. It is like you have walked into the Beast’s castle. The food is delectable, and you can even eat the “grey stuff”.
So, if you can’t get a reservation here, there is unfortunately only one thing to do: Head to Epcot and drink your way around the world! Start at Canada or Mexico and grab one of the cultural drinks from each pavilion (but pace yourself and drink responsibly!).
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