Monday, November 18, 2013

Dining in Magic Kingdom

So you've booked your hotel.  You've picked your dining plan.  Now it's 180 days (or less) before your vacation and you're thinking, "There are so many options!"  I've been there.  How do you decide between restaurants around Disney property and in each of the parks?

I'm here to help.

There are 6 table-service dining options within Magic Kingdom, with distinct personalities and experiences to satisfy every vacationers needs.

First stop: Be Our Guest Restaurant in Fantasyland.
Ideal for: The Planner, The Romantic
Price Range: $15-$20, or 1 table-service credit
Link to Menu: Be Our Guest
  • This restaurant is best for the planner because, as it is the newest restaurant in Magic Kingdom, reservations need to be made also 180 days in advance.  It's great for the romantic because it throws you right into the middle of Beauty and the Beast.
  • Pros:
    • Interesting French food
    • Nostalgic atmosphere (the ballroom is right out of the movie)
    • Only place in Magic Kingdom to serve alcohol
  • Cons: Service has been notedly inconsistent
  • Other notes:
    • The Beast is in the "West Wing" during dinner
    • Alternatively, Be Our Guest is open as a quick-service option for lunch.  This requires no reservation, but has the same menu!  (Hint: for the impulsive)

Next Up: Cinderella's Royal Table in Cinderella Castle.
Ideal for: The Romantic, The Spender
Price Range: $55-$70, or 2 table-service credits
Link to Menu: BreakfastLunchDinner
  • This restaurant is best for the romantic, because every princess and prince charming deserves to dine with the princesses inside Cinderella Castle!  It's good for the spender because it's the most expensive dining option in Magic Kingdom, for great reasons!
  • Pros:
    • The view and experience of dining inside of the castle is very memorable
    • Includes picture package
    • Offer a proposal package for those planning on getting engaged at the parks
  • Cons:
    • Character dining means that many children will be there
  • Other notes:
    • Getting an 8 AM reservation means that you'll likely be in the park before it officially opens.  This allows for great pictures in front of the Cinderella Castle without other visitors in the background

Next: The Crystal Palace in Main Street U.S.A.
Ideal for: one?
Price Range: $25-$40, or 1 table-service credit
Link to Menu: BreakfastLunchDinner

  • The meal is a little more expensive, since it is character dining, but the buffet style means that you can fill up on as much as you want while dining here!
  • Pros: Includes many of the "favorite" dishes from around the parks (such as Mickey Waffles for breakfast)
  • Cons:
    • Character dining (especially since it's the Winnie the Pooh characters) means families with small children will likely be the primary guest.
    • Often requires a reservation far in advance
  • Other notes:
    • Cast members here are known to be great at acknowledging "special occasions," so be sure to let them know what you're celebrating if you go.
Honestly, I would not recommend going to the Crystal Palace.  It's hard to get a reservation, it's character dining with Winnie the Pooh, and the buffet style is very unspecific.  Unless you have a passion for buffets or characters, stick to another option in Magic Kingdom.

My boyfriend's pick: Liberty Tree Tavern in Liberty Square
Ideal for: Those who want to have Fun
Price Range: $15 for lunch, $35 for dinner, or 1 table-service credit
Link to Menu: LunchDinner
  • The "Thanksgiving Style" dinner meal is really fun to experience in the middle of Magic Kingdom, and the atmosphere of the restaurant takes you back to the time period!
  • Pros:
    • If you go for dinner, it's served family style on platters.  If you run out of any of the dishes, they'll bring you a refill!  It's easy to really fill up on food here.
    • The food is (from my experience) really delicious
  • Cons: During busier times of the year, waits can be long even with a reservation
  • Other notes:
    • I really recommend going for dinner, not lunch.  The family style experience is a really good time, and all of the food is really good.
    • My boyfriend (a meat and potatoes kind of guy) liked this because he could eat as much as he wanted of the stuff that he liked, and we were both stuffed at the end of the meal.

And next: The Plaza Restaurant in Main Street U.S.A.
Ideal for: The Saver, The Impulsive
Price Range: $11-$18, or 1 table-service credit
Link to Menu: The Plaza
  • This table-service restaurant is best for the saver, because most of the entrees are comparable in price to quick-service options, if not using the dining plan.  It's good for the impulsive because there are often reservations, even the day before.
  • Pros:
    • Really good sandwich options
    • View of the castle from inside the restaurant
  • Cons: Service can sometimes be inconsistent
  • Other notes:
    • The ice cream on the menu comes from the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor next door.  You can save time waiting in line there by ordering dessert after your meal.  If you're trying to save money, get a banana split and share!

And last, but not least: Tony's Town Square Restaurant
Ideal for: The Impulsive
Price Range: $15-$25, or 1 table-service credit
Link to Menu: LunchDinner
  • This restaurant is best for the impulsive because, like The Plaza, there are reservations even the day before.
  • Pros:
    • Cute Lady and the Tramp theme
    • Many pasta options
  • Cons: Not the highest quality food in the park
  • Other notes:
    • If you get into the restaurant about an hour before the parade, you might get lucky and be seated by a window, and have the parade pass right by while you eat!

I hope that helps you make a decision when it comes to dining in Magic Kingdom!
Agree?  Disagree?  Have questions?  Leave a comment!  I'll be happy to help!

Next post: Dining in Epcot

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