4 Table Service Spots to Eat at without a Reservation
When you book a Disney vacation, one of the earliest tasks you’ll have in your countdown to your travel date is to make your advanced dining reservations. Whether you’re a family of six or a couple on an adults-only trip, ready to try the most exotic dishes or preferring your old standby favorites, Walt Disney World has a restaurant for every taste. Generally speaking, you’ll want to to plan ahead and make sure you get your priority restaurants on your travel itinerary by making your reservations as early as possible, beginning 180 days from your travel date (something your MickeyTravels agent can assist with, or do for you!).
But sometimes you just need to be spontaneous! Maybe your little wasn’t doing so great with characters and you decided to forego your Storybook Princess Breakfast at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, leaving you with an extra Table Service credit on your Disney Dining Plan. Or maybe you and your honey just want to get off your feet and have someone wait on you instead of hunting down a seat at Casey’s Corner. While many restaurants may be booked up, leaving you with a long wait to be seated, there are a few gems scattered around the Walt Disney World Resort that generally have last-minute reservations available (if you need one at all).
A word of warning: like any gamble, you can win or lose the restaurant lottery by waiting until the last minute, and what might be available on a Tuesday evening in July would require four months’ notice on Black Friday. But on an average day, these tasty destinations are often available and ready for your spontaneous dining-on-a-whim experience.
Boma – Flavors of Africa at the Animal Kingdom Lodge
A tasty buffet with a twist, Boma is set up like an African market, with all the fresh flavors to match the colorful decor. This is where you want to go if you want to introduce yourself or your kids to some new offerings, while still having some old standby options in the event of a picky eater.
The menu is as authentic as you might expect from Disney, with unique offerings like watermelon rind salad, pap and chakalaka (a South African dish made of tomatoes, onions, and beans), beef bobotie (a tasty spiced meat quiche), and plantain crisps served alongside standard fare like chicken nuggets and Mickey waffles.
Be sure you ask for the Jungle Juice — a refreshing mix of orange, passion fruit, and guava juices. And it isn’t just the food that hails from Africa! One of the most fun aspects of dining at Boma is the Cast, many members of whom call Africa home. It’s a fun way to introduce yourself to a new culture or two, with interesting conversation over a tasty meal.
Boma is open for breakfast and dinner, and is located in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. You can get there from any park or Disney Springs via the bus service, so it’s a nice way to start or end your day at the parks, especially if you’re over by the Animal Kingdom already. Save a few minutes before or after your meal to explore the amazing Animal Kingdom Lodge resort as well, and take in the sights in the breathtaking lobby or the savannah!
Whispering Canyon at Wilderness Lodge
This restaurant is a rootin’ tootin’ good time — just don’t let the name fool you, it’s not a quiet meal by any means! Whispering Canyon is the place to go when you aren’t taking yourself too seriously. While always attentive, the Cast can be…a little different. Ask your server to take a photo, and they might just snap a selfie (without you even in it!); ask for a straw, and you’ll likely get a handful. And just see what happens when you ask for ketchup with your meal!
Whispering Canyon’s food is good, down-home fare — think eggs, potatoes, breakfast meats, and waffles for breakfast; sandwiches, burgers, and salads for lunch; and steaks, pork shanks, and ribs for dinner. Each meal offers the opportunity to order individual entrees, or you can order the all-you-care-to-enjoy skillet, which includes all your favorite items served family-style (while still allowing members of your party to order their own meal, if they prefer). No matter the meal, don’t miss the all-you-care-to-enjoy milkshakes — the caramel shake is a winner any time of day!
Whispering Canyon is located just across from the registration desk at Wilderness Lodge, an easy boat ride from the Magic Kingdom or a bus ride away from any of the other parks. It’s especially nice to start your day here before enjoying the boat trip to the Magic Kingdom, or make your way there for a break from the crowds for a fun, memorable lunch. Explore the resort while you’re here — if you time it right, you might be able to catch Old Faithful erupt outside by the pool!
The Crystal Palace at the Magic Kingdom
It’s a celebration of friendship every day at The Crystal Palace! A gorgeous restaurant situated just off of Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom, this is where you and your party can meet the gang from the Hundred Acre Wood while enjoying a delicious meal. The decor is inspired by a Victorian era greenhouse, and filled with old and new friends — and old and new favorite dishes to enjoy too.
The food at The Crystal Palace is fresh and flavorful. Breakfast includes omelettes, pastries, and fresh fruit, and some tasty items you might not have tried before like Pooh’s puffed french toast or the breakfast lasagna, a decadent creation made with pancakes, waffles, pound cakes, pudding, and more. Lunch and dinner includes a huge selection of garden-fresh salads, peel-and-eat shrimp, carved meats, pasta and vegetable dishes, and sweet endings like tarts, brownies, and ice cream — and don’t miss the “honey pot”, an adorable chocolate tart crust filled with honey cream and topped with a tiny sugar bee.
The Crystal Palace is located just between Main Street USA and Adventure Land in the Magic Kingdom. While “normal” meal times might be more crowded, if you have some flexibility in your meal schedule, this can be a great way to extend your dining budget — a late breakfast or early lunch can easily serve as a “brunch” and keep you full until dinner, or a late lunch can keep you going until your late-night snack while you wait for Happily Ever After to begin. And as a bonus, those are the times you’ll most likely have the shortest wait or easiest reservation to snag!
Chefs de France in the Epcot World Showcase
This versatile cafe has something for everyone. It’s a seamless blend of casual and upscale, family-friendly enough for kids to join you but fancy enough that it can serve as a fantastic option for a romantic date. And the delicious French fare you’ll find here is just exotic enough to give you a taste of something new, but just familiar enough to keep picky eaters comfortable.
The food is well-crafted, authentic French. Starters include charcuterie and cheese plates, salads, and rich French onion or lobster bisque soups; entrees are just as fabulous, featuring beef, seafood, and vegetarian options with decadent sauces. For those wanting a little more deluxe experience, Chefs de France offers a prix fixe meal including an appetizer, entree, and dessert for one easy price.
The restaurant also boasts an extensive wine and cocktail list, with several wine options available by the glass or bottle as well as classic, custom cocktails and martinis. Desserts are easily shareable, or for a different twist, you can finish up early here, grab an ice cream at the nearby L’Artisan des Glaces, and stroll through the World Showcase or find a spot to watch Illuminations.
Chefs de France is located in the France pavilion at the Epcot World Showcase, one of the most beautiful spots in Walt Disney World Resort. Enjoy wandering the streets of Paris before enjoying a tasty lunch and continuing your worldwide journey, or end your Disney day with a decadent dinner date. Either way, you’ll be spoiled with a phenomenal taste of France!
These four table service spots aren’t a sure thing without a reservation — but with a little flexibility, they can help indulge your spontaneous streak by letting you enjoy a delicious table service meal on the fly. Give one (or all!) of them a try on your next trip to the tastiest place on earth!
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