It's no surprise to many that it can be challenging to book a dining reservation at some of Walt Disney World's most popular restaurants. Even though you can book 180 days in advance, many people are shocked to find out that their favorite restaurant is booked solid the second they log on. And although you can constantly call or check the Disney website, sometimes you have to bite the bullet and realize that you may not get that dream reservation. But don't panic! For every popular Disney restaurant, there are a few similar alternatives that will still make everyone in your party happy.
1. The First Choice: Chef Mickey's
Chef Mickey's is a big must for character and classic Disney lovers. Not only is it located on the main floor of Disney's Contemporary Resort, a short walk or monorail ride away from the Magic Kingdom, but it is a buffet that features the "Fab 5" (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto) all wearing their chef inspired costumes.
Alternatives: Cape May Cafe for breakfast and The Garden Grill
Cape May Cafe, located in Disney's Beach Club Resort, offers Minnie's Beach Bash breakfast. In this character buffet, you meet Minnie, Goofy, and Donald all wearing their beach and sailing outfits. Not only is the menu very similar, but the price is better, with each price per person being about $10 cheaper. It's location is also great, because it's only a short walk away from Epcot or a boat ride over to Disney's Hollywood Studios. Just be aware that, while Cape May does have a great buffet dinner, the characters only meet during the breakfast service.
Another great option is The Garden Grill in Epcot's The Land pavilion, which is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There is a difference in the menu here - instead of a buffet, each table is served family style, although it is still "all you care to eat." However, both Chef Mickey's and The Garden Grill serve traditional American meals. All meals are also hosted by Farmer Mickey, as well as Pluto, Chip, and Dale. Not only is the restaurant in Epcot, it's also easy enough to hop on a monorail and make your way over to Magic Kingdom.
Both of these restaurants are generally easier to book, have similar dining options, and are full of classic Disney character fun!
2. The First Choice: 'Ohana dinner
'Ohana's dinner service is one of the best and most unique in Disney World. The family style meal includes waiters who walk around the restaurant with skewers of grilled meat, which is served with Polynesian inspired side dishes and desserts. If you are lucky, you might also get a window seat that overlooks Cinderella's Castle across the Seven Seas Lagoon, perfect for watching the fireworks.
The Alternative: Kona Cafe
Kona Cafe is actually located right next to 'Ohana on the second floor of Disney's Polynesian Village Resort. It might not be an all you care to eat family style meal, but it does offer similar Polynesian and Asian inspired menu items, like pot stickers, grilled chicken wings, noodles, and chicken, pork, and steak dishes. And if you are looking forward to the fireworks, you can always take a short walk outside to the pool area where you get a great view. Both restaurants have similar themes and menus, although it is usually much easier to get a reservation at Kona Cafe.