Coming between Christmas and New Years will be the worst decision of your life. You’ll rarely find any good restaurant openings and wait times will be insane. That’s why I recommend you come to Disney during the offseason or if that isn’t possible, at least the weekdays so that you can avoid some of the local crowds too. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been to the parks on the weekend. It get’s a little too crazy for me sometimes.
People bail on their dinner reservations without canceling. By walking up to a restaurant, you might luck out and get seated very quickly. However, this all depends on the time and season. Beaches and Cream, for example is perfect for late night walk-ins despite the fact that there’s like 3 tables and a barstool inside (jk they just did a remodel and it’s so much bigger). So when in doubt take a leap of faith and see if a restaurant can accommodate you in a timely fashion.
Okay let’s be honest. It’s impossible to get a Be Our Guest reservation for dinner within 175 days (I say 175 because you can actually find times 176-180 days out, usually). You can check your app everyday to see if there’s any openings but it’s SO HARD. That’s why I recommend you just walk up and ask to put your name on the list. You may luck out and get a table within 20 minutes. It happens. So don’t get discouraged and have faith!
Resort restaurants are usually always emptier than the ones at the parks especially if they aren’t character meals. You’ll have better luck just walking up to the check in counter and getting seated immediately. Or worse case, maybe a 5-10 minute wait, max. The only times that I’ve noticed when restaurants are more crowded besides dinner and breakfast is during a really rainy day, since most people tend to hang out at the resorts as opposed to venturing out to the parks.
A lot of people assume that thee are only a few good restaurants at Disney and that they are always 100% booked everyday. But believe it or not, there are actually some other equally as good restaurants and alternatives that people should check out. And best of all, these restaurants are basically hidden gems meaning that they are always emptier than most. For example, some people go to ‘Ohana just for the bread pudding. But did you know that you can get an individual portion from Tambu Lounge, right in front of ‘Ohana? (You can also avoid this situation entirely by using these surefire tips to get an Ohana reservation)
Let’s face it, crowds suck, especially at restaurants. That’s why it’s smart to eat during off times. Now, although slow times are becoming more and more rare at Disney you can still find times that are a lot lighter than usual. Anytime between 2-4 pm is always prime time for emptiness. Early mornings, not too much, since most kids and parents are up pretty early.
Do you prefer buffets? How about character meals? Or maybe a romantic dinner looking out to the Seven Seas Lagoon. You will truly find something for everyone. The hardest part is just making your decision amidst all the choices.
The last thing you’d want to do is show up at a restaurant and find absolutely nothing that’s edible on the menu. That’s why I truly recommend doing your research so that you can find the perfect restaurant that fits yours and even your party’s dietary preferences. This applies to both snacks and full meals.
Just because some restaurants are emptier than others in the morning doesn’t mean that you can just walk in. Now don’t get me wrong it does happen, but since time is usually your most precious asset, the last thing you’d want to do is wait 30 minutes for a table at Captain’s Grill as opposed to making a breakfast reservation for 10 minutes beforehand and walking straight in.
The last thing you’d want to do is get within 2 weeks of your trip and every restaurant that you dreamt about eating at is completely booked. That’s why is’t so important to make advanced dining reservations as soon as it’s 180 until your trip. And if ‘Ohana is on your list, I got you.