One of your worst nightmares has come true: you missed out on booking dining 180 days in advance and are now stuck without any good table service restaurants to eat at during your vacation.
Fortunately, it’s not that bad! There are plenty of great restaurants that don’t fill up quite as quickly as some of the marquee dining locations and give those an opportunity who missed their early reservation window or just want to find a nice place to eat while in the parks. Guests can walk up to a lot of these restaurants and get a seat at some point that day, but it’s always safe to make reservations with the My Disney Experience smartphone app or by contacting your travel agent, even if it’s just a couple of hours before dining.
Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen
The Skipper Canteen is a fantastic table service restaurant in Magic Kingdom® Park and rarely receives the traffic that many of the other restaurants in the park receive. As the name implies, the restaurant feels just as if it was meant to accompany the fan-favorite Jungle Cruise® Attraction. It has plenty of familiar options for picky eaters, such as a New York strip steak and crispy-fried chicken, but it also has some unique selections, like curried vegetable stew, char Siu-marinated pork, a whole fried fish, and Thai noodles with chicken, tofu, and seasonal vegetables. Kids can find a coconut-curry, grilled steak, chicken noodle soup, macaroni and cheese, and crispy chicken.
Epcot®’s World Showcase is a prime location for last-minute reservations, but Biergarten is the pick here. This Germany-themed restaurant will have you seated a table with guests from another family while you watch live entertainment. The buffet includes sausages, rotisserie chicken, roast pork, fish, cabbage, sauerkraut, potatoes, spaetzli, schnitzel, frikadellen and an assorted selection of desserts. It’s got a quality mix of food options for the picky and those wanting to try some of the more authentic German foods.
Biergarten demonstrates the family-centered fun of Disney better than most restaurants on property, but if you’re looking for something a little quieter and private, you might want to turn to Nine Dragons Restaurant in the China pavilion or Restaurant Marrakesh in the Morocco Pavilion.
Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano
The Italian-themed restaurant in Disney’s Hollywood Studios®is the perfect spot if you missed out on grabbing a reservation at one of the more popular spots. It has a lot of the staples you’d expect at an Italian restaurant, and the menu is big enough that everyone should be able to find something to their liking.
Yak & Yeti™ Restaurant
This Nepalese-style restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park serves pan-Asian food, so while you likely won’t find a super unique dining experience here, but one that’ll perfectly satisfy your craving for a good sit-down meal. It features one of the larger menus for restaurants on Disney property, along with a list of shareable dishes that are meant for two people and have fairly reasonable prices. If you want to indulge more in the same atmosphere after getting off of Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain® Attraction, this is the perfect dining spot.
Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’
If you won’t be in the parks but are still on property during your stay and need a quality table-service restaurant, then look no further. It does get a little busier during peak times, but Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ serves some of the very best food on all of Disney property and it’s a wonder how it isn’t packed every single night.
Homecomin’ gives a taste of quality southern cooking that you might expect to find in Florida, and both the food and atmosphere give off a homemade-but-premium feel that you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. All of the wooden beams that make up the restaurant were made from Florida cypress trees and the art has been designed by local Florida artists, a testament to the authenticity of the entire production.
It’s known for taking famous southern dishes and elevating them with unique twists. The appetizers feature fried green tomatoes with shaved ham and remoulade sauce, house-made hushpuppies with pimento cheese and red jalapeno jelly, and one of the most universally loved charcuterie boards on property that has smoked fish dip, pimento cheese, shaved country and Tasso hams, bread and butter pickles, candied pecans, and buttermilk crackers. The menu has plenty to offer from salads to burgers to buttermilk-brined fried chicken. Add fresh fried catfish, fried chicken & donuts, braised short ribs, and shrimp & grits to the list and you’ll find tons of offerings that perfectly reflect the best of southern cuisine. It’s all food you’ve likely seen before, but it’s done at such a high level that it might change the way you cook your favorites at home. Most of the ingredients are locally raised or made in-house, down to the homemade hot sauce that is bottled and placed on every table.
Even if you manage to get all of your dining reserved at the earliest possible moment, you should strongly consider making a reservation at Homecomin’, it’s a cannot-miss and is widely regarded as having some of the highest-quality food on property.
The copyright for the photo used in this post belongs to Disney.