You frog fans know we're all about vacation planning, especially when it comes to Disneyland. So it's no surprise that we're all about making Disneyland dining reservations as soon as our booking window opens up. While getting last-minute Disneyland dining reservations isn't quite as hard as it sometimes is at Walt Disney World, those who plan in advance have an advantage over those who do not. If you are visiting in summer or during holiday times, it’s smart to get those Disneyland dining reservations in place as early as possible. After all, the early frog gets the flies! We've put together this post as the ultimate guide to making Disneyland dining reservations.
When & How to Make Disneyland Dining Reservations
For Disneyland dining reservations, the booking window opens 60 days in advance. While two months might seem like a long time out to book a dining reservation, for Disneyland it's not.
If you know when you will be visiting, you can either call (714) 781-DINE or use the online reservations system to reserve your spot at restaurants in Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure, Downtown Disney and the three on-site hotels. It is also a good idea to reserve your character dining experiences in advance. You can also make (and cancel or change) reservations even more easily through the Disneyland mobile app.
Depending on the restaurant and dates of your visit, you might need to reserve early. You can often find Disneyland dining reservations on shorter notice on weekdays, especially during less busy times. If you are booking for a weekend, a holiday or other during busy times at Disneyland, you’ll want to book as early as possible.
If you are like me and like to keep your frogs all lined up in a row and guarantee that you get in all the dining experiences your family wants, reserve as soon as you know your travel dates. Less worry + less stress = a relaxing good time! If you do not like to wait for shows or get stressed about getting a good spot, you can also reserve dining packages that provide a voucher for shows or certain parades.
You can reserve to-go meals or table-service restaurant meals that give you a voucher for reserved viewing areas for Fantasmic! show in Disneyland Park, plus during festivals and celebrations there may be additional special dining packages. For example, during Pixar Fest (through September 3, 2018), you can pre-order a picnic-inspired meal from Plaza Inn (home of the delicious fried chicken) that comes with a FASTPASS for standing reserved viewing for the Pixar Play Parade. At Disney California Adventure, you can reserve table-service packages for shows such as World of Color and Frozen - Live at the Hyperion, as well as Paint the Night dining packages that come with vouchers for special parade-viewing areas. Another dining choice is a dessert party that offers the only seated viewing of World of Color with desserts and beverages. Plus there is the new Tomorrowland Skyline Lounge Experience at Disneyland, where you can relax and take in a unique view of the fireworks.
Disneyland Restaurants That Accept Dining Reservations
If you want to make advanced Disneyland dining reservations, here are the restaurants that accept reservations:
- Blue Bayou is located in New Orleans Square. Its seating overlooks part of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Lunch reservations book up quickly. It offers prix fixe meal plans with vouchers for watching Fantasmic!
- Café Orleans, also in New Orleans Square, has both indoor and outdoor tables with a view of the Rivers of America. Lunch reservations book up faster than dinner.
- Plaza Inn on Main Street does not require reservations for lunch or dinner, but advanced reservations are recommended for the Minnie and Friends character breakfast. During Pixar Fest, you can pre-order a picnic dinner as part of the Pixar Play Parade Dining Package.
- Carnation Café on Main Street does take reservations, but they also accept walk-ins if there is availability. If you have to wait you can enjoy yourself in the park and they will buzz you when your table is ready.
- River Belle Terrace used to be a cafeteria-style restaurant, but it has been converted to a table-service restaurant with a view of the Rivers of America. You can reserve a prix fixe meal with vouchers for viewing Fantasmic!
- The Hungry Bear restaurant is a quick-service restaurant that also offers reservations for on-the-go Fantasmic! meals that you can take with you or enjoy at the restaurant tables. You will receive a voucher for a Fantasmic! viewing area.
- Tomorrowland Skyline Lounge Experience offers advance reservations for the balcony lounge at the Tomorrowland Expo Center. It's open from 8:00p.m. to 10:00p.m. nightly and includes boxed treats with fruits, cheese and sweets along with hot or cold non-alcoholic beverages. If fireworks are shown that night, you'll be in for a sweet view of the show.
Disney California Adventure Restaurants That Accept Dining Reservations
California Adventure table-service restaurants that accept reservations include:
- Lamplight Lounge is the newest restaurant to be added to the Disneyland Dining Reservations system. This gastro pub located on Pixar Pier takes both reservations and walk-ins, but walk-in waits can be long. People with reservations may choose the full dining room or the bar when they arrive. Enjoy bubbly cocktails and fun eats with a view of the water and Pixar Pier.
- Carthay Circle books up about two weeks in advance, depending on the season. If you can’t get into this retro fine dining establishment, the swanky lounge and lobby have some tasty bar bits and cocktails that are sure to satisfy any walk-in. People tend to line up for the lounge before Carthay Circle opens for lunch around 11:30 a.m. and for dinner around 4:30 p.m. During Pixar Fest, they also offer Paint the Night dining packages.
- Wine Country Trattoria: Reservations are recommended to dine where Napa Valley meets Tuscany. During Pixar Fest, they also offer Paint the Night dining packages.
- Sonoma Terrace is not a table-service restaurant, but during Pixar Fest, it offers reservations for its Paint the Night Reception where you can sip and snack while you watch the parade.
- World of Color Dessert Party: This is not a restaurant, but it is a delicious way to relax and watch the World of Color while eating dessert and enjoying a beverage. Adult beverages are available, and kid beverages make a splash in a cool light up, wave-shaped World of Color stein.
Downtown Disney Restaurants That Accept Dining Reservations
The Disneyland dining reservations system also includes the many restaurants at Downtown Disney, which is in hop, skip, and jumping distance of both parks. There are many choices. Our old favorite is Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, but the new Splitsville Luxury Lanes offers mouthwatering spins on classics like ahi tuna and filet sliders, grilled avocado and hand-tossed pizzas. If you drool over fresh baked bread, then perhaps La Brea Bakery is for you.
Disney Hotel Restaurants That Accept Dining Reservations
There are some great restaurants in the hotels. Our favorites for a nice, relaxing dinner (sometimes without Tad and Lily!) are Napa Rose at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Steakhouse 55 at Disneyland Hotel. There is also Storytellers Cafe at the Grand Californian and Disney's PCH Grill at Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel. Each hotel also offers character breakfasts. You also make reservations for afternoon tea at Steakhouse 55.
Disneyland Character Dining Experiences
Disneyland offers some fun character-dining experiences available in Disneyland Park and each on-site hotel. Disneyland dining reservations are always recommended at the following locations:
- Goofy’s Kitchen is located in the Disneyland Hotel. Goofy’s Kitchen offers buffet dining at breakfast and dinner.
- Disney’s PCH Grill (in Paradise Pier Hotel) is where the surf’s up during the “beach party” breakfast hosted by Donald Duck.
- Mickey's Tales of Adventure is a buffet located in the Storytellers Café in the Grand Californian. (These critters are very friendly!) They also offer a weekend brunch.
- Plaza Inn in Disneyland has a Minnie and Friends character breakfast in the park.
Dining Packages That Accept Disneyland Dining Reservations
Reserved dining packages provide a prix fixe meal or an on-the-go meal with a voucher for priority viewing for shows such as Fantasmic, Frozen and World of Color or for parades during Pixar Fest. Keep in mind you can also get a free FastPass (we recommended getting them early in the day) for viewing World of Color Fantasmic! without buying a meal or a pricey dessert (you can find more money-saving tips at Disneyland here). There are no refunds on dining packages should the shows get cancelled or experience technical difficulties.
Fantasmic! dining packages include:
- Hungry Bear on-the-go meals that you can take with you or enjoy at the restaurant tables. You will receive a voucher for a viewing area.
- Blue Bayou (three-course prix fixe table service). You can reserve a dining package that gives you a voucher for a reserved viewing location.
- River Belle Terrace three course dinner can provide you with a voucher for a reserved viewing location, or you can upgrade to the 8 p.m. seating to watch the show from your table while you dine.
The vouchers for Fantasmic! will list the viewing area, time you should arrive and show performance time. Seating is on the ground, but guests with disabilities will be accommodated. Guests with free FASTPASSES for the show or in standby areas will be standing room only.
World of Color three-course, prix fixe menu dining packages at California Adventure are available at:
- Carthay Circle (lunch or dinner)
- Wine Country Trattoria (lunch or dinner)
Plus you can reserve the World of Color Dessert Party, which allows you to dine at tables in a preferred viewing area while you watch the show. (Note that World of Color is under refurbishment until late 2018.) This is a pre-paid event.
Frozen dining packages offer priority seating in a reserved section for Frozen—Live at the Hyperion! You may enjoy a 3-course lunch at Carthay Circle.
During Pixar Fest, through September 3, 2018, you can order dining packages that include vouchers for special parade-viewing areas. At Disneyland, you can order a picnic meal from Plaza Inn that includes a FASTPASS for the Pixar Play Parade. At Disney California Adventure, you can reserve a four-course, table-service dinner at Carthay Circle that comes with seated viewing for Paint the Night. You can also enjoy a three-course lunch or dinner at Wine Country Trattoria, which comes with vouchers for a standing-only viewing area (people with disabilities will be accommodated). A third option at Disney California Adventure lets you end your night by viewing the parade from the Sonoma Terrace Paint the Night Reception, which includes a charcuterie tray, desserts, wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages — plus a box of truffles, so you can take some of the sweetness home with you.
Should You Call or Make Disneyland Dining Reservations Online?
I like the flexibility of the online system and Disneyland app, which allows me to see what times are available or easily check different days. Plus there is no on-hold time, making it more convenient for a busy parent. Keep in mind that all Disneyland dining reservations require a credit card deposit. If you can’t keep your reservation, be sure to cancel with at least 24 hours’ notice. Otherwise your card will be charged $10. Most restaurants require 24 hours’ notice of cancellation, but be sure to check the cancellation policy when you make the reservation. Certain restaurants (like those during Pixar Fest) or events and holidays may require up 72 hours’ notice.
If your restaurant has no availability, check for other party sizes. It's easier to modify a party size at the restaurant (to add or subtract people) then to get into a full restaurant when you don't have a reservation. But if you can't get in, you can always check in with the restaurant cast members that morning. They may have some cancellations that day or walk-in availability. Also, lunch service usually starts about 11:00 a.m. and dinner starts at 4:00 p.m. If you can eat during the off times (like a 3:00 p.m. lunch or early dinner), they may fit you in better. That comes in handy if you have jetlag and are hungry at odd times.
Basically this is all you need to successfully reserve your dining experience through the Disneyland Dining Reservations system. Try to book as soon as you can, but relax. Keep in mind that the Disneyland Resorts are way more laid back than the Orlando resorts when it comes to reservations, so usually just a few weeks’ notice (and often less) is all you need to get your table.
Have a tip for making a Disneyland dining reservation that we haven't mentioned? Share in comments below, then let us know your favorite Disneyland table service restaurant!