HOLIDAY Tips from the DFB Guide: Where to Dine When You Don’t Have a Reservation in Walt Disney World

It’s a pretty common occurrence. You’re in the middle of your Walt Disney World vacation, it’s the holiday season, and you’d love to enjoy a table service meal.

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But there’s only one problem: you don’t have an advance dining reservation (ADR).

Maybe your plans changed, or the weather did. Or it could just be that you planned to grab counter service, but now you’re rethinking that move. Whatever the situation, you might think that all hope is lost. There’s no way you’re getting into any Disney table service restaurant that you didn’t book 180 days out. Right?

You might be surprised to learn that I book a lot of tables just days before I head to Walt Disney World. And it’s not all that rare for me to change things up at the last minute — even during the busiest times of the year!

How do I do it? Flexibility helps a LOT. But if that’s not an option, what you need are some tried and true spots where you can probably score a table with very short notice, or even as a walk up.

Here are our suggestions for Where to Dine When You Don’t Have a Reservation in Walt Disney World. And if you love what you see here, be sure to check out the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining for tons of great tips!

The Wave…of American Flavors

One of my favorite resort dining spots is The Wave…of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Bonus: it’s within walking distance (or monorail ride) of Magic Kingdom!

The Wave offers a hearty start to your day. Enjoy an a la carte breakfast of some of the restaurant’s specialties, like Sweet Potato Pancakes.

Sweet Potato Pancakes with melted butter and maple syrup

Sweet Potato Pancakes with melted butter and maple syrup

And if you can’t make up your mind between sweet and savory, you can opt for the Buffet. [Read more…]

Review: The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge

Cheers from The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge!

The Brown Derby Lounge sits just outside The Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Its reputation stems from that of the original Brown Derby Restaurant in the City of Lights — a hot spot of the 1930s and 40s where stars of the Golden Age of film came to “see and be seen.” The outdoor lounge (which was added to the Disney World location in 2013) offers a spot for walk-ups without Advance Dining Reservations to enjoy a taste along with a bit of the ambience of the signature restaurant.

The Lounge serves food along with cocktails and bar service. And with some new items added to the menu this summer, we thought it was a good time to travel back to Hollywood’s heyday with a visit to the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge.

Atmosphere

For a newer location, The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge blends so seamlessly within its surroundings that its hard to remember that it hasn’t been here all along. And, to be fair, the patio and tables HAVE been here all along, but they weren’t functioning as a lounge at the time.

Below is a shot from its opening day in October 2013.

Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge

Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge

Not much has changed in the past almost-two years, except for [Read more…]