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Best Disney World Restaurants When You Don’t Have A Reservation!

It’s happened to all of us — you need some eats and have no advanced dining reservation (ADR) for a meal at Disney World. No matter if it’s on purpose or by accident, sometimes those nights you have to “wing it” can end in a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter from the Hess Station if you’re not prepared (speaking from experience!). DisneyFoodBlog readers have pulled together their suggestions for the best Disney World restaurants they count on when they’re starving and minus a reservation (thanks again for everyone who contributed)! Quick reminder, though, when Disney World’s busy, you’re probably going to have a wait everywhere. These might get you in a little quicker…

Marrakesh
Restaurant Marrakesh, Morocco, Epcot’s World Showcase
Coming in strong at the top is Restaurant Marrakesh, serving authentic African Mediterranean dishes in a beautiful setting. Wind through Morocco’s medina to the back of the pavilion to find the small door of the restaurant. The King of Morocco sent his own artisans and tile-workers to create the Morocco pavilion, and Marrakesh’s decor is stunning. (Even if you’re not dining there, head in to take a picture or two!)

Marrakesh Dining Room

Marrakesh Dining Room

Marrakesh Decor

Marrakesh Decor

The Dinner Menu at Marrakesh includes plenty of couscous, the National dish of Morocco, along with chicken, mussels, and other authentic cuisine.

Atlantic Salmon

Atlantic Salmon

Sampler Platter

Sampler Platter

For more food photos, just visit the umbrella’d podium at the front of the Morocco pavilion; they’ve set up a cast member with a large photo album of food pictures of the dishes at Restaurant Marrakesh in hopes of driving more traffic to the establishment.

Bonus: There’s some great entertainment — belly dancers! — at Restaurant Marrakesh!

Biergarten, Germany Pavilion, Epcot’s World Showcase
Biergarten in Epcot’s Germany was a shock to me when it came in at the number two spot for places to go without an ADR (good to know that I can head over there anytime!)! Every review I’ve seen of Biergarten has been positive, and with family-style seating (meaning you’ll probably be seated at a long table with one or two other parties) and some fantastic entertainment, the restaurant offers great opportunity for fun.

Celebrating With Steins!

Celebrating With Steins!

Christmas Entertainment

Christmas Entertainment

Dancing the Night Away

Dancing the Night Away

Riiiiiiiicolaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Riiiiiiiicolaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Not sure the menu will agree with you? Biergarten is a buffet, which means there’s something for everyone! Lots of spaetzel, wurst, pretzel, and sauerkraut, but there’s mac n cheese, too, just in case!

Famous Pretzel Bread Rolls

Famous Pretzel Bread Rolls

Wurst and More

Wurst and More

Carving Board

Carving Board

Maya Grill, Coronado Springs Resort
Maya Grill came in a distant third in the poll, but it was mentioned several times and deserved a spot in the blog. This restaurant is located in Coronado Springs Resort and serves dishes representative of the resort’s southwestern USA and northern Mexico theme.

Maya Grill

Maya Grill

As a general rule, restaurants at Disney’s moderate-level and Disney Vacation Club resorts don’t fill up as fast as the theme park and regular resort restaurants, so these are good spots to stop for an unplanned meal.

Other Suggestions
While these three were the most-suggested, there were several others mentioned that you should keep in the back of your mind as “just-in-case” locations. Thanks again to everyone who contributed ideas!:

Captain’s Grille, Yacht Club Resort
Olivia’s, Old Key West Resort
Rainforest Cafe, Animal Kingdom Theme Park
Kona Cafe, Polynesian Resort
San Angel Inn, Epcot’s World Showcase, Mexico
Yak and Yeti, Animal Kingdom Theme Park
Turf Club, Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa
Mama Melrose, Disney’s Hollywood Studios Theme Park
Nine Dragons, Epcot’s World Showcase, China
Trails End, Fort Wilderness Resort
Grand Floridian Cafe, Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
ESPN Zone, Disney’s Boardwalk
Big River Grille and Brewing Works, Disney’s Boardwalk
Fulton’s Crab House, Downtown Disney
Raglan Road, Downtown Disney
The Plaza Restaurant, Magic Kingdom Theme Park

Let me know your thoughts (and YOUR top spots for grabbing an unplanned meal!) via facebook, twitter, or email!

Check out the other “Best Disney World Restaurants” in our series!

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

23 Comments

  1. We LOVE the Maya Grill. We went to there on our last trip to Disney and it was the best meal we ate on our whole trip. (and we had deluxe dining so you know we ate a lot on this trip) The food was FAB the service was even better. We have ate all over Disney and I promise that the Maya is one place you should take try.

  2. Heather says:

    We’ve always seemed to have luck getting into the Sci-fi. Maybe a lot of no-shows occur there….? Love their milkshakes!

  3. Shayne says:

    We are planning to eat at Restaurant Marrakesh in January. On our last trip in June, we walked through Morocco pavilioin at dinnertime and heard what sounded like a wonderful party going on inside! The food has always intimidated us a bit, but we wanted to try something new. Now that I’ve seen the inside of it, I’m looking forward to it even more!

  4. James (Disneynorth) says:

    Are you sure about San Angel Inn?? Everytime I have been there (with an ADR) they were turning away people because they were full.

    Another to add to the list is Tokyo Dining. I’m not sure about walk up, but I know I was able to get an ADR a day or two before we ate there. And the food was really good!

  5. AJ says:

    A’lis: Thanks for the info about Maya! I haven’t eaten there in AGES, and it wasn’t so wonderful back then. Sounds like some positive changes have been made!

    Heather: Great suggestion! I think that’s a good one to hit right when they open.

    Shayne: We’re doing one of the food and wine festival wine pairing dinners there and I can’t wait!

    James: Good point; maybe San Angel is another one to try to hit at off-times… It DID get a couple of votes from readers, though (maybe they’re traveling in the off-season!) Great point about Tokyo Dining, by the way!

  6. Tony says:

    We always find that the Coral Reef located in Epcot’s Living Seas is an easy walk-in as well. Maybe because the entrance is sort of hidden around the corner from the Living Seas entrance – out of site, out of mind to most who pass. Great food and atmosphere.

  7. AJ says:

    Good to see you, Tony! Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve heard that Coral Reef has much improved from a few years ago. You’re right that those hidden restaurants never make the top lists…lucky us to be able to sneak in.

  8. Audrey Brown says:

    I was just at Cafe Morocco two weeks ago, my husband and I usually make it a point to do Restaurant Marrakesh because it’s our favorite, but we were short on time. I just discovered your blog via Dismarks a few days ago, I’m excited about it!

  9. AJ says:

    Audrey, so glad you’re here! Isn’t Dismarks awesome? :-D Looking forward to checking out your blog and hearing more from you!

  10. Chris says:

    I can’t believe you forgot Le Cellier! Just kidding.

    I’ve been lucky with Les Chefs de France. I love the food there and it’s so pretty. Never had a bad meal.

    I have to second Grand Floridian Cafe. You can usually get a walk up and the food is really good, completely underrated.

  11. AJ says:

    Chris — I’ve never been to GFC. I will definitely have to try it next time.

  12. AJ says:

    Quick extra note courtesy @Jonathan_Cote via twitter: “biergarten in epcot can be tricky to get a reservation, especially during christmas.” Thanks Jonathan!!

  13. Another hidden new gem (quickly gaining in popularity) is The Wave at the Contemporary Resort. We made reservations there when we could not go to Spoodles during our visit in May. Really nice meal, close to the Magic Kingdom and quiet.

  14. Cindy M. says:

    We are planning to stay at Disney during the week of Thanksgiving and want to have a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

    Does anyone know what the best restaurant in the parks are to eat at on Thanksgiving Day for a traditional Thanksgiving meal? Also, what’s the best resort restaurant to eat at on Thanksgiving Day for a traditional Thanksgiving Meal?

    Thank you very much.

  15. AJ says:

    Hi Cindy! You can get Thanksgiving dinner just about anywhere on Thanksgiving in Disney World, but I would highly suggest Liberty Tree Tavern in the Magic Kingdom. For resort dining, I’d head to ‘Ohana! These are just MY suggestions however. I’ve put out the call on twitter and facebook to see what other suggestions we get from Disney Food Blog readers. I’ll put up a blog about it next week!

  16. Cindy M. says:

    Thanks, AJ. I look forward to hearing what others have to say. We love eating at Liberty Tree but wasn’t sure if there was any other place that would be serving all of the traditional items or not. I asked about the resort dining too because my mom will be joining us for dinner and she may not want us to buy a ticket just so she can go in to eat. I think she will like Ohana’s. The Poly was always my parents favorite hotel and my dad passed away in April so this holiday season is going to be extremely difficult for her.

    Thanks again.

  17. AJ says:

    Cindy — I’m sorry to hear about your Dad. Disney trips are always a part of my healing regimen after a loss or bad news, and hopefully the visit will be a celebration of your Dad for your family.

    I’ve gotten a lot of great responses from folks already regarding the Thanksgiving question, and although Liberty Tree Tavern is high on the list (definitely the most suggested), other thoughts were Artist Point at Wilderness Lodge, Crystal Palace at MK, and Cinderella’s Royal Table.

    I still like ‘Ohana, though. It’s all you can eat Thanksgiving food coupled with the joyful ambiance of the restaurant. Sounds good to me!

  18. Cindy M. says:

    Thank you, AJ. Yes, I think this will definitely be a celebration of my dad. I know we will need to make reservations soon so thank you again for all of your help.

  19. Gina says:

    Thanksgiving at Whispering Canyon also.. Look on the Disney website and search Thanksgiving dinner, and you will find a list of restaurants serving traditional.

  20. MAK says:

    Just got back last night from a 6 day stay and we’re going through withdrawals. We were a party of 4 (mom, dad and 2 daughters in their 20′s). We had the dining plan for the first time. Planet Hollywood (Downtown Disney), Liberty Tree Tavern (Magic Kingdom), Sci-Fi (Hollywood) San Angel, Biergarten (Epcot), Tony’s (Magic Kingdom) were our picks – we had reservations for all but Tony’s – it was a spur of the moment thing and we were very happy with this choice and it ended up being one of our top favorites. It’s on the right as you enter the park – it has a Lady and the Tramp Italian Restaurant theme – but fancy for the adults – loved it!!! We received birthday and anniversary cards from Lady and Tramp with their paw prints as signatures – so cute – because we were celebrating. It seemed that most these places were taking walk-ins but it could be because it was September and the crowd was smaller. All were wonderful. Liberty Tree was right up there at the top for best food and Sci-Fi for best atmosphere. Very happy with our choices.

  21. AJ says:

    Cindy — Let me know how it goes.

    Gina — Thanks for the info!

    MAK — What’d ya get at Tony’s? It’s been hit or miss for us. So glad you had a great time!

  22. MAK says:

    AJ – here’s what we had… chicken parmigiana, spaghetti with sweet Italian sausage, lasagna and my daughter that’s vegetarian was really happy with a dish they suggested – it had some kind of goat cheese with spinach and pasta – we all tried it and loved it. She kind of had limited selections everywhere we went so we were happy she had something delicious. Her dessert plate had a little picture of Lady and The Tramp in chocolate.

  23. Michelle says:

    I love Restaurant Marrakesh! I never seem to be able to plan ahead and make reservations for anything so I always end up at the less popular ones however, Restaurant Marrakesh should be a wonderful addition to anybody visiting Epcot. The food and service is excellent and in addition there is live music and belly dancers. I have eaten there numerous times and am never disappointed. I love the Morroccan pavilion’s decor and ambiance and especially love the food.

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