Home » How to Dress for Dinner Reservations at Disney

    How to Dress for Dinner Reservations at Disney

    Dining at California Grill

    Dining at Walt Disney World is often as exciting as some of the rides. You make your reservations months in advance, study the menu for weeks, and count the hours all day till your much-anticipated meal. After working up an appetite circling the park, the food tastes that much better, and you’re sure the enjoy an experience you’ll remember for years to come. In all this prep, you’re bound to hit on that dreaded question – what to wear?

    Whether you’ve booked an over-the-top evening of elegance or you’re grabbing a burger between roller coasters, we have you covered. Here are all the essentials you need to know when you’re dressing to dine at Disney.

    The Signature Dining dress code

    Dining at California Grill

    California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
    Image: Leigh Caldwell, Flickr (license)

    Walt Disney World has a handful of Signature Dining restaurants that have a dress code different from the majority of resort restaurants. These restaurants include:

    • Jiko – The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
    • Flying Fish Café at Disney’s Boardwalk
    • California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
    • Citricos at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
    • Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
    • Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
    • Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
    • Monsieur Paul at Epcot World Showcase

    These destinations all have a modest dress code that most guests will find extremely easy to comply with. Women are asked to wear capris, dress shorts, skirts, dresses, or jeans. Acceptable attire for man includes a collared shirt and khakis, dress shorts, slacks, or jeans.

    The biggest takeaway from this is that jeans are fine, but casual shorts are not. Tee shirts are permitted, but they may not have any type of vulgar or offensive graphics or language. Men may not wear hats or tank tops. Swimwear, cut offs, and torn clothing are inappropriate for both men and women.

    Dressing up even moderately will have you well within the guidelines of the official dress code. However, you should note that restaurants that are sophisticated enough to have a dress code often draw guests who are looking to dress up for the evening. If you don’t want to risk feeling underdressed next to the other diners, you may want to go a step above jeans and tee shirt. If you’re looking for an excuse to slip on a nice dress or just get a little gussied up, these are great places to do it.

    Victoria & Albert’s fine dining dress policy

    Victoria & Alberts

    Victoria & Alberts at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is indisputably the most elegant and opulent dining option available at Walt Disney World. It’s won the AAA Five Diamond Award since 2000, includes 7-course and 10-course feasts on the dining menu, and doesn’t permit children under the age of 10. Naturally, there are some requirements for your attire here.

    At Victoria & Alberts, men must wear a dinner jacket, dress pants or slacks, and closed-toe shoes. Ties are optional, so do what makes you comfortable. If you’re dining on a $210 ounce of caviar, my instinct is to go with the tie. However, one could also argue that you’re paying $210 for just one of the meal’s seven courses, so you deserve to be comfortable and ditch the tie if it gets in the way of your gustatory delights.

    Women at Victoria & Alberts are asked to wear a cocktail dress, nice dress, skirt and blouse, or dressy pant suit. If you like to dress up, you’ll want to go all out for this experience. Jeans, capri pants, shorts, flip-flops, sandals, and tennis shoes are not permitted on any guests here.

    Character dining considerations

    Chef Mickey

    Chef Mickey
    Image: Ashley, Flickr (license)

    There’s no dress code for character dining experiences, but many guests opt to dress up for these occasions. Character meals are a prime photo-taking opportunity, both for your own casual photos and for official photographer shots. Younger guests often opt to stop in at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique before a character meal so they can show up all decked out like one of the princesses they’re going to meet.

    Do note that costumes are fine for small children, but they’re not permitted for guests age 10 and up. Adults will have to stay away from dressing up like their own favorite Disney characters outside of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.

    Theme park casual

    Dining at Disney

    Theme park casual is the standard pick for nearly all dining opportunities at Walt Disney World. If you’re dining in one of the parks, you really have no option but to wear the same clothes you’re visiting the park in. It doesn’t make sense to dress up too much when you’re walking around in the heat and humidity all day, so tennis shoes, tank tops, and shorts are all fine.

    If you can wear it in the parks, you can wear it to your lunch or dinner reservations. Swimwear and clothing with offensive language or images is not permitted in the parks. Men should always wear a shirt and everyone needs to wear shoes (seriously, wear your shoes).

    Dressing for your experience

    Dining at Disney

    Image: Derek Hatfield, Flickr (license)

    Though you’re not required to dress up for most Disney dining experiences, the theme park crowd is incredibly diverse, so you should never worry about looking overdressed if you do. If you’re celebrating a special anniversary with dinner in Epcot and you want to wear something special, by all means, do.

    If you’re dining at a resort for dinner, there’s a greater chance that those around you will be dressed a littler nicer. This is a great opportunity to slip into something just a little more formal to honor the special experience of dining at a nice Walt Disney World restaurant. After a long day of slathering on sunscreen, sweating it off, and getting splashed by questionable water on the attractions, it can feel divine to take a quick shower and put on clean clothes for a nice dinner.

    The bottom line with Disney dining is that while there are a few modest restrictions, you should do what makes you feel the best in most situations. Put on a glitzy cocktail dress just to order dessert in Epcot’s Italy, or revel in the fun of indulging in elegant filet of beef at The Hollywood Brown Derby in a pair of shorts and your much-loved Chucks. Make the most of every moment and – whatever you’re wearing – savor every bite.