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…]

DFB Reader Questions Answered: Best Disney World Breakfasts Without Characters or Buffets

We’re tackling another question from the DFB Reader mailbag! And today, it’s all about breakfast.

The Samoan at Kona Cafe

The Samoan at Kona Cafe

Our reader asks:

Where can we get a good breakfast if we are NOT into characters or buffets?

There are lots of spots to enjoy a terrific breakfast at Walt Disney World — even if you prefer not to have characters, and you’d rather order a la carte.

We’ll break down a few of our favorites below, and share why these spots are tops for starting your Disney Day.

Good Counter Service Options

If you are crunched — for time, money, or both — then consider some of Disney’s best Counter Service Breakfast options.

Deluxe resorts are some of my favorite spots for counter service eats. Roaring Fork at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge offers Mickey Waffles with a variety of toppings. We love the Bananas Foster option!

Wilderness Lodge Waffles

Wilderness Lodge Waffles

And at Captain Cook’s, located in the Polynesian Village Resort, you can indulge in an iconic Disney breakfast — Tonga Toast — without paying table service prices!

[Read more…]

Disney Food for Families: Getting Kids to Try New Foods at Walt Disney World

It’s no secret that my daughter Louisa is more than a little produce averse. There was a period of about four years when NO fruit or vegetable crossed her lips, and even now at age 12 she still has to be cajoled into having more than a bite or two of something as innocuous as sweet potato or banana.

Frozen bananas, a gateway fruit.

So you can imagine my surprise when, on a recent trip to the Animal Kingdom’s Yak & Yeti restaurant, she consumed nearly the entire plate of wok-fried green beans we had ordered for the table. It was one of those parenting moments where you hold your breath and move slowly so as to avoid breaking the spell.

Yak & Yeti wok-fried green beans. My hero!

Those Yak & Yeti yummies didn’t turn Louisa into an inveterate bean eater, but she is now occasionally willing to nibble on a tempura string bean if we’re out for Japanese. Based on our prior track record with legumes, I’m going to count that solidly in the win column.

The Theme Park Food Effect

What was it about the Yak & Yeti beans that made Louisa such a fan? Yes, they were quite tasty, and yes, the green part was handily obfuscated by a crunchy, yumtastic fried breading coating; but we had tried similar ploys in the past to no avail. My theory is that the Yak & Yeti beans were flavored by the spice of (cue the orchestra) The Theme Park Food Effect.

Much like campers will say that meals eaten on the trail are the BEST, you know that their experience is colored by the fact that their senses are overwhelmed and they’re starving from an [Read more…]