18 September 2009

Disney Dining Alternatives
Some restaurants are very popular and difficult to get into, even if you call at your 180 day mark. However there are alternatives to some of your most popular choices. Here is a guide to help you choose a substitute.

One of the most popular dining experiences is Disney Princess Dining. The hardest restaurant to get an Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR) for princess dining is Cinderella's Royal Table. Located inside the castle in a dining room that looks like a royal banquet hall with it's high ceilings, medieval flags, grand lighting fixtures and special meet n' greet opportunity with Cinderella, make this restaurant highly popular. There are a few alternatives that are a little easier to get into. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall should be the first on your list of alternatives. This restaurant too is highly popular but is another chance to meet the princesses and have a special meet n' greet opportunity as well with one of the princesses. If all else fails, book 1900 Park Fare for dinner with Cinderella and Prince Charming. Located at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, it's your best chance for dining with a Disney Princess.
Another popular character dining experience is Chef Mickey's, where you can meet the fab five. There isn't another restaurant where you can meet all these characters in one location, but there are alternatives to meeting some of your favorites. Great alternatives to this restaurant are Cape May Cafe at Disney's Beach Club Resort, Garden Grill at Epcot and Tusker House Restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom. These are great choices to meet some of these characters.

Dinner Shows are very popular as well. If you can't get into the Hoop De Doo Musical Review or Mickey's Backyard BBQ, a great alternative for similar food and a fun, entertaining experience is Whispering Canyon Cafe at Disney's Wilderness Lodge and Trails End Cafe at Disney's Fort Wilderness. Spirit of Aloha Polynesian Luau at Disney's Polynesian Resort is a great dinner show experience featuring Polynesian food, there is really is no alternative to the great entertainment, featuring one of my favorite tunes from Lilo and Stitch, "Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride". However there are some restaurants that can give you your fix of Pacific Island food. Two of the best choices are 'Ohana and Kona Cafe, both located at Disney's Polynesian Resort. 'Ohana, a family-style restaurant serves delicious food and gets children involved in some fun activities. Kona Cafe, located next to 'Ohana, offers a variety of food from sandwiches to entrees.

Restaurants with great views for fireworks are difficult to get into. Some of the most popular restaurants are California Grill and 'Ohana for viewing Wishes. Instead of dining at either of these locations a wonderful alternative is Narcoossee's located on the pier at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Select tables have a great view of Wishes without leaving your seat. If you don't have one of those tables, you can walk outside and view them from the deck that surrounds the restaurant and you get to see the Electrical Water Pagent as it passes by. After dinner you can walk down to the beach for a relaxing time watching the fireworks. 

For those of you that love to enjoy a nice meal and catch IllumiNations: Reflection of Earth, Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room is the most popular location to view it during dinner. A great alternative for dining and getting a fantastic view of this nighttime entertainment is La Hacienda de San Angel. The music is even piped into the dinner room. Arrive a little early for your ADR and request a table by the window for the best experience.

During peak season and Disney's free dining promotion, Boma - Flavors of Africa at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge can be difficult to get into. In that case, consider trying Tusker House at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The menu was created by the chefs over at Boma and is very similar menu and it's served buffet style.

Two restaurants that can be difficult to get reservations for, especially if it's close to the date of your vacation, is Via Napoli and Tutto Italia Ristorante, both are located in the Italy Pavilion at Epcot. If you are craving great Italian food but can't get into either of these restaurants, try Il Mulino New York Trattoria. Located at Walt Disney World Swan Resort, it offers a delicious alternative in a beautiful setting.

The one restaurant that takes the cake for the most difficult restaurant to get dining reservations, is Le Cellier Steakhouse. This restaurant is so popular that I've been able to dine there only for lunch over the past five years. However, if you are a carnivorous person who needs their steak, no worries, Disney offers two amazing dining experiences to try in it's place - Yachtsman Steakhouse, at Disney's Yacht Club Resort and Shula's Steak House, at Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort.

For more information on Disney dining, including restaurants, dining plans, discounts and more, visit the Disney Dining FAQ page.

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