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Disney World Dining for Non-Planners: Easy Lunch and Dinner Reservations in the Parks

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Do you really need to be up at the crack ‘o dawn, ready to reserve your Disney World dining 60 days out? Good news for non-planners! We spent some time collecting data to answer this question, and that’s a no for many places. This article contains a rundown of 12 Table Service dining reservations at the Disney World parks that are easy to get at the last minute. (They’re also likely to have Walk-Up Waitlist availability.)

You might wonder why you want to keep reading, instead of just picking something off the list when you get there? The problem is: just because you can get a table with ease doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy the experience. So our list below highlights which easy reservations are great grabs according to our survey data. All the in-park restaurants on this list serve the same menu for lunch and dinner, except for those that don’t serve lunch at all.

Note: if a restaurant that appears in your search isn’t on the list below, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad bet. It could be one that’s great and only shows up 50% of the time. But the ones on this list should be safe choices; they scored a thumbs up in 85% or more of our surveys, and more usually 90% or above.

What Does It Mean To Be “Easy to Get”?

With tools like the Walk-Up Waitlist and 10-day dining search, finding a last-minute table while you’re on vacation has never been easier. That said, last-minute dining reservations demand a little flexibility. You may need to take a table time that’s outside of peak meal hours, and if you have your heart set on a particular spot you might need to be flexible about the date.

We collected our data by searching for party-of-four reservations same-day, 1-day, and 2-days out from our target date over two “typically busy” weeks in February. Our list contains mostly restaurants and meal periods that came back in every single one of our searches, and with at least 10 table times in each search. But keep in mind that many restaurants serve for hours over a single meal period; there can be 10 different table times and still not one during the peak hours of that meal.

Typical crowd levels during the weeks we searched

You’ll want to remember that a restaurant that is easy to reserve in August may not have the same availability during Spring Break, and that a party of 10 will not find tables as easily as a party of 4. Character dining may be more in demand when school is not in session, and if you’re visiting during Free Dining that will make a difference too. But everything is relative: for your party size and the time of your visit, the spots on this list should be some of the easiest places to find a table.

Now, before we get to the list I just have to give credit to our amazing research team that manually collected all the reservation data. They prefer to remain anonymous, but they deserve a hurrah anyway.

Easy Dining Reservations in the Magic Kingdom

One spot with great name recognition that you won’t find on the list below is Be Our Guest; although it came back in 100% of searches we can’t currently recommend that meal. Survey respondents generally agree, as it scores a well-below-average 73% thumbs-up. Tony’s Town Square is another option that you’ll see a lot but should be wary of, with only 77% favorable ratings on surveys; our parks team’s experiences here range from bad to meh throughout the years.

⭐ Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen (or merely “Skipper Canteen”, as that’s a mouthful) serves Asian-inspired cuisine in Adventureland. No one can talk about this menu and resist the opportunity to point out dishes with names such as “Tastes like Chicken” Because it is! and Baa Baa Lamb Chops, and you can see the full menu here. Skipper Canteen’s entrees range from $23-38, it costs 1 credit if you’re using the Disney Dining Plan (DDP) and survey respondents give it a 👍 91% of the time.

Skipper Canteen brings the humor of the Jungle Cruise right to your menu.

⭐ Liberty Tree Tavern in Liberty Square serves Thanksgiving Dinner year-round. This All-You-Care-to-Enjoy meal (read: unlimited refills on food and included drinks) will take you back to colonial times, or at least, to last year’s turkey fest. The menu is the same at lunch and dinner (see it here), with the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake commonly considered a highlight. Liberty Tree Tavern is priced at $42 for adults and $23 for the littl’uns, not including tax and tip, or 1 credit on the DDP. The restaurant scores a 92% 👍; the food is not only familiar but tasty too.

⭐ The Crystal Palace is a character meal with Pooh & Friends; you’ll eat in a Victorian greenhouse located just off Main Street U.S.A. The buffet meal features American cuisine, and while the quality went through a rough patch right after the pandemic, our experience and recent reviews indicate that it’s once again tasty and served at the proper temperature. The official menu is skimpy as is typical of buffet menus at Disney World, listing “Seasonal Salads” and “Seasonal Pastas”, but the fried chicken is always present. The Crystal Palace scores 85% 👍 on surveys and is priced at $61 per adult and $40 per child, not including tax and tip, or 1 credit on the Disney Dining Plan.

Easy Dining Reservations in EPCOT

We’ve already mentioned that lunch and dinner menus for in-park restaurants tend to be the same, but EPCOT has some of the widest differences between lunch and dinner availability. In fact, one of the restaurants below made our list of the hardest reservations to get, for dinner – but it’s a lot easier at lunch.

⭐ The Garden Grill is a rotating restaurant that offers sometime views of the Living with the Land ride below, and greens grown in the Land Pavilion’s greenhouses are used in the dishes. Chip & Dale’s Harvest Feast features All-You-Care-to-Enjoy American fare including turkey and gravy with mashed potatoes (see the full menu here), and you’ll visited by Farmer Mickey, the hosts Chip & Dale, and Pluto. The meal costs $62 per adult or $40 per child, plus tax and tip, or it’s a single credit on the Disney Dining Plan. On surveys it gets a 👍 90% of the time, and we found it in 94% of our searches.

⭐ Biergarten is one of the most reasonably priced buffets on Disney property, at only $49 per adult and $27 per child plus tax and tip, or one credit on the Disney Dining Plan. This may be because it is also one of the few buffets that doesn’t feature characters, but that doesn’t mean it lacks entertainment; there’s a 25-minute “oompah” show that runs once an hour for a rousing good time. The food is good too, a sampling of German favorites (partial menu here) that will stick to your ribs, along with a selection of German beers. Surveys results show a 👍 91% of the time, and we found it in 94% of searches at lunch and 89% at dinner.

The food at Biergarten satisfies, but the show is what makes the meal a great experience.

⭐ Spice Road Table serves a variety of Mediterranean small plates ranging from $9-13, including a sampler for those who are indecisive. (View the menu here) The restaurant also accepts the Disney Dining Plan; your credit is handled through a variety of shared plates and individual selections. Everyone using the plan shares a Tagine and a Dessert Platter, and each guest selects two small plates as well. The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating; although Harmonious can be seen from the patio the ceiling obstructs the view unless you’re seated at a table near the water. Spice Road Table appeared in 93% of searches, but averaged only 6 table times when we found it; survey respondents give it a 👍 90% of the time.

⭐ Le Cellier Steakhouse used to be one of the most difficult reservations at Disney World, and it still is — at dinner. Lunch is a different story; the menu is identical (see it here), but we found a table in 92% of our searches, with an average of 10 table times. Steak is (surprise!) the name of the game here, but the quality is excellent, and 92% of surveys give a 👍 rating. Price might be the sticking point, you’ll pay $54-62 for that steak, with a few cheaper vegetarian or seafood options, and the restaurant costs 2 credits if you’re using the DDP.

Easy Dining Reservations in Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios is no bastion of fine dining, but the lowest thumbs-up score for any of its Table Service restaurants is 82%. The highest is 89%, which means that everything in this park is solid, but nothing is truly exceptional. (Except for the fried chicken at Prime Time Café. That is definitely exceptional.) Almost all restaurants routinely have tables available except for the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, which made our list of the hardest-to-get, so the ones below are just the best of the rest; the ones that routinely pull over 85% in surveys.

⭐ Hollywood & Vine is a Mickey & Friends character buffet serving the same food at lunch and dinner (see the menu). But the lineup changes throughout the year; the meal often has a seasonal overlay that includes both the dishes on offer and the character costumes. On surveys it scores 88% 👍, and we found it in every single search. The meal is $63 per adult or $40 per child, plus tax and tip, or one credit on the Disney Dining Plan.

The 50’s Prime Time Café offers a meal, and also an experience. Servers will refer to you as ‘Cousin’ and won’t hesitate to help your children mind their table manners as you visit the past with some classic home cooking. We know that the show aspect isn’t to everyone’s taste, so keep that in mind when eyeballing the 89% 👍. That’s especially a good idea since this restaurant is moderately priced with entrees between $17 and $30, and it’s one credit on the DDP. (See the menu) We found Prime Time in 100% of our searches, so if you’re willing to be flexible on meal times you should find it easily too.

It may not look the prettiest, but if you love fried chicken the plate at 50s Prime Time Cafe is one of the best.

The Hollywood Brown Derby offers a fine dining take on American cuisine, in a setting that speaks to the luxury heyday of Hollywood. The quality has been a little inconsistent in the past few years, but survey respondents still give it an 89% 👍. Entrees range from $25 to $49 (see the menu), and this Signature Dining location commands 2 credits on the Disney Dining Plan. We found it in every search but one, and with a wide selection of table times.

Easy Dining Reservations in Animal Kingdom

There are only four Table Service restaurants in Animal Kingdom, and two of them are below. Honestly, my personal opinion is that both are better than Yak & Yeti which is on our list of hardest-to-get. The fourth venue, Rainforest Cafe, does score positively on 80% of surveys, but unless you need to eat without entering the park, the food game at Animal Kingdom is so strong that you can do much better.

⭐ Tusker House is a Mickey & Friends character meal that’s often described as “Boma lite”. In case you’re not familiar with Boma, that’s high praise as it is commonly regarded as the best buffet at Disney World. The menu boasts African-inspired flavors, which means interesting dishes that aren’t so far off the beaten path that you need to be an adventurous eater to enjoy them. (See the menu) The price is typical for in-park character buffets at $62 per adult and $40 per child plus tax and gratuity, or one credit if using the Disney Dining Plan. 91% of surveys show Tusker House with a 👍, and we found it every time we looked.

The buffet at Tusker House appeals to adventurous and picky-ish eaters alike

⭐ Tiffins offers fusion cuisine inspired by global flavors, and there’s some history that’s worth noting here. When it first launched, it was definitely the “for the adventurous” counterpart to Tusker House’s ethnically-inspired but more familiar fare. Opinions vary on whether menu changes were driven by cost cutting or the need to appeal to a wider range of diners, but there’s no question that there are fewer unique or rare ingredients. It’s still more adventurous than Tusker House, and still worth your time if you’re a foodie. (See the menu) Entrees range from $34 to $68, and as a Signature Dining restaurant you’ll need two Table Service credits to dine at Tiffins using the Disney Dining Plan. Tiffins rates a 👍 with survey respondents 92% of the time, and we found it 100% of the time at lunch and only slightly less often at dinner.

What’s your favorite place to score a last-minute dining reservation in the parks? Let us know in the comments!

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Jennifer Heymont

Jennifer has a background in math and biology, so she ended up in Data Science where she gets to do both. She lives just north of Boston with her husband, kids, and assorted animal members of the family. Although it took three visits for the Disney bug to "take", she now really wishes she lived a lot closer to the Parks.

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