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Old 02-24-2013, 10:31 PM   #1
Spring time trip to Disney!
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Join Date: Feb 2013
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No Reservation Meals & Drinks for Adult Trip

Hey, hoping for a few tips about eating/drinking/dinning in the parks, resorts and downtown for adults with out reservations:
My wife and I are planning a trip to DW at the end of April/ Early May; 5 park days & a couple resort/universal studio days, staying at the Caribbean Resort . (NO kids on our trip)
While we do have a couple tours booked and a breakfast reservation at Kona (gotta have that coffee) for our non-park day. We tend to be travelers that have a few 'must try/do's' but really like to explore based on how we feel and see what looks good/interesting as we go... So, don't like the idea of booking lots of lunch and dinner reservations. (I've noticed nearly every website say you MUST make reservations if you want to eat at Disney World. But weeks out I can't imagine micro managing my trip that much.)
We could be considered 'foodies' and enjoy a very wide range of foods. We enjoy fun & interesting dinning environments and enjoy the social/people watching of cafe, pub, take away, picnic style eating. (We are not into eating lots of american style fast-food. We do like a enjoy pub/ park food occasionally but not everyday.)
Coffee is about all we eat before 8am and when traveling we often eat at odd hours... breakfast 9-10, lunch 2-4, dinner 7-9. I'm hoping this will open some options for us.
We are thinking about hitting as many of the world show case places as we can... We will also be there during the flower/garden show and hope to check out the extra foods associated with the show/event.
Anyhow, any tips on eating well... places to sit and have a drink maybe a light meal with out reservations...???

Last edited by mcj79; 02-24-2013 at 11:24 PM.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:08 PM   #2
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We do the same thing. We don't like being tied to a specific park on a specific day at a specific time. And Epcot is the best place for people like us! Most of the countries in WS have a counter service option. I suggest doing what we do, which is eating our way around the world. We make a plan to try something in each of the countries that we can't easily get at home and, if possible, that we haven't tried before, starting in Mexico and ending in the UK (We used to end in Canada until they discontinued the beavertails )

Have a great time!!
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:27 PM   #3
Spring time trip to Disney!
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DisneyBum303, what is the best place for Mexican in the Epcot or Downtown?? We currently live in the NE but used to live in SoCal and totally miss good Mexican food

We might rent a car to go to Universal one day... was wondering if we could find good Mexican out in about...

I have not been to Disney in over 15 years! This trip my lovely wife and I will be celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary and her B-day!
This will be my wife's 1st trip ever to Disney World! We will be there for her B-Day!!
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:36 PM   #4
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I have done the same thing with my husband and my daughter a few times. We schedule the places we really want to go and fly by the seat of our pants for most meals.
The time of year you are going is slower and you may even want to make reservations in the morning as your days develop.
We really like Earl of Sandwich for breakfast and a quick sandwich in Downtown Disney. Don't be put off if there is a line, it moves very quickly.
For a nicer meal check out BlueZoo in Swan/Dolphin? sorry I forget which one, but really nice adult restaurant.
Don't forget to check out the counter service in the Epcot area-many restaurants share the same kitchen and cheaper meals that are just as good-Rose Crown, fish and chips are awesome.
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:29 AM   #5
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We tour the park a little like you. We do make reservations, generally one per day. What we do however is make it for breakfast or dinner. That way we can easily hop to another park either after breakfast or for the dinner reservations. We almost never do a lunch reservation because then we need "tied" to that park.

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Old 02-25-2013, 01:39 AM   #6
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I know you said you don't like reservations, but here's what my husband and I did on our last trip. Before the trip, I looked online at the different menus and wrote down two things on each menu that looked good for each of us. (We have quite different taste.) I sent this to myself in an email, so it would be easy to pull up in the parks. Whenever one of us started to get hungry, I would pull out the phone and ask my husband what he felt like eating. (Or if there was a restaurant nearby we would look on the phone to see if anything about the food caught our eye.) When my husband decided, I would pull up the My Disney Experience app and book a soon-available reservation. That way we knew that when we got to the restaurant a table would be available, but we still weren't tied down to one particular restaurant at a certain time months in advance. Of course, if you're looking for a really popular restaurant (like Be Our Guest) this strategy doesn't work.
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Old 02-25-2013, 02:54 AM   #7
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My husband and my father had success at a few different places to eat over New Years (the busiest time) outside of the parks. Most restaurants will let you eat at the bar, so if you are amenable to that, you may have more choices. They were able to eat at the Flying Fish and Kouzzina without mucho of a wait.
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:04 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by mcj79 View Post
DisneyBum303, what is the best place for Mexican in the Epcot or Downtown?? We currently live in the NE but used to live in SoCal and totally miss good Mexican food

We might rent a car to go to Universal one day... was wondering if we could find good Mexican out in about...
We tried both San Angel and La Hacienda and although both were really good we preferred La Hacienda. Atmosphere was really nice, food and service were great. We did make reservations though.

Our trips are DH and myself - empty nesters - and any of the real "popular" restaurants you definitely need reservations. We did decide at the last minute in November to try Askeraus and were able to get reservations the next day. Any character meal you will have a problem.

I don't want to be tied down to reservations all the time but if it is a place we really want to go to we bite the bullet. Usually either a breakfast or a dinner - not both on the same day. Rose & Crown, Le Cellier we never have had luck with walk up. There are so many places to eat you will find something.

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Old 02-25-2013, 08:54 AM   #9
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I think "playing it by ear" is a great way to enjoy an adults only trip.
I few things I noticed and experienced regarding walk-up reservations:

TS lunch tends to be easer to get than dinner...if you're will to go a little off the "normal" dinner and lunch times you have a better chance.

The not-so-popular places and restaurants tend to be easier to get into and very nice surprises. Also resort restaurants (except for the real popular ones like ohanas) can be less crowded. Olivias at OKW is wonderful. I've eaten at Kouzzinas various times and never found it over crowded. One afternoon we decided to try Capt. Jacks in DTD for lunch and were pleasantly surprised...it was a very good meal. I've always wanted to try the Wave at the contemporary.

Though I haven't eaten here - I would think the restaurants at the Swan and Dolphin might be less crowded as they are not included on the dining plan. I've heard very good things about them on the boards.

As far a WS restaurants - Marrakesh seem to usually not be overly corwded - I think some are not too sure about the cuisine ... I have always enjoyed it. I haven't been in a long time, but I remember 9 Dragons was never that difficult to get into...we tend not to go 'cause to be honest, we can get Chinese anytime and though good, there's nothing overly special about the food here. Now that there are 2 restaurants in Italy, it may be easier to get into one of them. I would think Tutti as Via Napoli is newer, though I have easily gotten lunch walks ups at Via.

If you're flexible and open to try different places and don' t mind maye eting your meals a little off hour, you will be fine and have a great time.
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:37 AM   #10
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You should be able to find a place to eat just don't expect to get your first choice for a table service meal.
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:57 AM   #11

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WE do this almost every trip, we always manage to have a sit down meal. here are my tips.

1) When you wake up, call disney dining. These folks are really helpful. I've gotten tons of last minute cancellations to the supposedly popular places. I've gotten CRT, Le Cellier and via napoli all "day of".

2) be flexible in your time. remember 11-1 and 5-7 are prime grazing hours. We've gotten walk ups for early dinners. This should be easy for you.

3) don't forget the resort restaurants. IMO they are far superior to the park ones. Can't get Le Cellier? Please! the better steaks is a short walk out the back of epcot to Shulas steakhouse. You will have no problem getting into there. Tutto Italia booked? No worries Portebellos and Il Mulino all have great italian. In fact we rarely in the parks anymore.

Personally there isn't one wdw restaurant that I consider "to die" for, I haven't tried the food at BOG but I doubt that is any thing spectacular either so it's easy for me to go without adr's.

I think the "must have ADR's" is simply a marketing ploy disney advocates to ensure the restaurants will be full. They insinuate this big "fear" that if you don't have them, you will be doomed to eat fast food all week. That is so ridiculous it's almost hysterical.

You will be absolutely fine. LOL. Welcome to the dark side.
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Last edited by eliza61; 02-25-2013 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:18 PM   #12
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As far as I know, there are only two Mexican places to eat, both in Epcot. The TS restaurant inside the building and the CS area, where we usually stop. For anything else, I think you would have to go offsite.

I understand your desire for good Mexican food. If I ever moved out of Texas, I don't know what I'd do!! Learn to make my own?
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:03 PM   #13
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There are three Mexican restaurants in the mexico pavilion at Epcot. One inside the pyramid is called San Angel Inn. One outside across from the pyramid and is only open for dinner called La Hacienda and its our favorite! The third is attached to la hacienda and is cs for lunch and dinner.
Also, the Turf Club at SSR is a must do bits got a nice casual country club atmosphere with really good food! It's a hidden gem in Disney but only open for dinner.
Tutto Gusto in Italy at Epcot might be another good choice. It's a small Ts but with wine and drinks and small plates. However you can also order off of tutto italias menu. Tutto Gusto does not take reservations.
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:28 AM   #14
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We have often called the Disney dining number on the spur of the moment and always had several nice restaurants to choose from. That's how we found one of our all-time favorites....BlueZoo!
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