A note from Mommy Frog: Carthay Circle Restaurant at Disney California Adventure is undergoing refurbishment Jan. 6-30, 2020. It reopens Jan. 31, 2020. This affects regular dining and the Frozen Dining Package during that time. In other news, a new World of Color dining package buffet dinner is hoppening at Storytellers Café (as of Dec. 15, 2019), so be sure to read about it below!
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. Some locations are harder to get into than others. If you are visiting in summer or during holiday times, 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 and 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. In fact, sometimes Disneyland does not release some reservations until a few weeks out. So if you do not see what you are looking for, be sure to hop back again and again as more dates are released for some restaurants.
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 busy times at Disneyland, you’ll want to book as early as possible. If you are looking to enjoy a romantic meal at Blue Bayou Disneyland, snatch up one of the few Lamplight Lounge Disney California Adventure reservations or have a proper Afternoon Tea at the Disneyland Hotel, it’s best to book 60 days in advance if you can. That being said we've happened upon last-minute cancellations that have popped up as well. So don't give up. If you don't find what you are looking for, keep checking.
If you are like me and like to keep your frogs all lined up in a row, 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. The packages provide a voucher for viewing shows or certain parades.
You can reserve to-go meals or table-service Disneyland restaurant meals that give you a voucher for reserved viewing areas for the Fantasmic! show in Disneyland Park; plus, during festivals and celebrations, there may be additional special dining packages, so keep your eye out for those. At Disney California Adventure, you can reserve table-service packages for shows such as World of Color and Frozen — Live at the Hyperion. Another dining choice is a dessert party that offers the only seated viewing for World of Color with desserts and beverages. Plus, there is the 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 advance Disneyland dining reservations, here are the restaurants that accept reservations:
- Blue Bayou is located in New Orleans Square. Its romantic seating overlooks part of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. It's always evening in there no matter what time you dine. 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. It's the place to get your Monte Cristo and pommes frites.
- Plaza Inn on Main Street does not require or take reservations for lunch or dinner, but advance reservations are recommended for the Minnie and Friends character breakfast.
- Plaza Inn at times may offer dining packages for parade viewing (or fireworks viewing on New Year's Eve)
- Carnation Café on Main Street does take reservations for breakfast, lunch or dinner, 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. It serves lunch and dinner. You can reserve a prix fixe meal with vouchers for viewing Fantasmic! You can also upgrade to watch the show from your table.
- 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 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.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.
- Over in a galaxy far, far away, you can make reservations for Oga's Cantina, the watering hole of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. This is the only place you can buy alcohol inside Disneyland park besides the exclusively private Club 33. The process for making Oga's Cantina reservations is a little different from Disneyland's other restaurants. Oga's now allows 60-day advance reservations), so hop on over to that post for the most current scoop on how to get in (with or without your droids).
Disney California Adventure Restaurants That Accept Dining Reservations
California Adventure table-service restaurants that accept reservations include:
- Lamplight Lounge is one of the newest restaurants to be added to the Disneyland Dining Reservations system. This gastropub, 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 (lunch and dinner) with a view of the water and Pixar Pier. Hop in for delicious brunch Friday through Sunday!
- 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 around 4:30 p.m. for dinner. Carthay Circle offers Frozen and World of Color dining packages, as well.
- Wine Country Trattoria: Reservations are recommended to dine where Napa Valley meets Tuscany. This location offers World of Color dining packages.
- 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 tadpole 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 within a hop, skip and jump 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, filet sliders, grilled avocado and hand-tossed pizzas. If you drool over fresh baked bread, then perhaps La Brea Bakery is for you. Ballast Point Brewing recently opened, but their reservations are made through OpenTable.
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 Café at the Grand Californian and Disney's PCH Grill at Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel. Each hotel also offers a character breakfast/brunch as well as a character dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen. The newest character dining to join the lineup is the Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures Experience. This brunch brings princesses Napa Rose Thursday-Monday. You can 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. We always recommend getting Disneyland dining reservations at the following locations:
- Goofy’s Kitchen is located in the Disneyland Hotel. Goofy’s Kitchen offers buffet dining at breakfast (brunch fare served at breakfast) and dinner.
- Disney’s PCH Grill (in Paradise Pier Hotel) is where the surf’s up during the “beach party” breakfast and sometimes brunch hosted by Donald Duck.
- Mickey's Tales of Adventure is a buffet located in the Storytellers Café in the Grand Californian. Besides breakfast, Storytellers also offers a daily brunch. Brunch includes the same breakfast choices, along with daily lunch specials.
- Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures is the newest character breakfast at the Napa Rose in the Grand Californian. This option is available Thursday-Monday from 8:00 a.m. to 12 p.m. Breakfast and brunch selections are served the whole time.
- Plaza Inn in Disneyland has a Minnie and Friends character breakfast in the park.
If you happen to have Plaza Inn reservations (or Oga's Cantina reservations) before or at park opening, use the designated entrance. Arrive early, bring proof of your reservation, and you can enter the park to make your reservation on time.
Dining Packages That Accept Disneyland Dining Reservations
Reserved dining packages at Disneyland Resort restaurants 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. Keep in mind that you can also get a free FASTPASS (we recommended getting them early in the day) for viewing World of Color or Fantasmic! without buying a meal or a pricey dessert (you can find more money-saving tips at Disneyland here). At times, there are limited-time parade dining packages, so always be on the lookout for those. 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. Reservations made from 3:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. have vouchers for the first show. Reservations from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. are for the second show.
- Blue Bayou Disneyland (three-course, prix fixe table service). You can reserve a dining package that gives you a voucher for a reserved viewing location. This package may include a cushion to sit on.
- River Belle Terrace's three-course lunch (starting at 1 p.m.) or dinner (starting at 4 p.m.) can provide you with a voucher for a reserved viewing location. Or you can upgrade to the Premium Package with seating to watch the 9 p.m. show from your table on the outdoor patio. It's best to call to ask about the premium package.
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 has several different dining packages, including three-course menu dining packages, a buffet dinner (new as of Dec. 15, 2019!) and a seated dessert party. All dining locations are separate from the viewing area and give you a voucher to view the show from a reserved viewing area, except for the dessert party. The dessert party takes place at tables in the viewing area.
Here are the options:
- Carthay Circle - Lunch or dinner three-course, prix fixe menu.
- Wine Country Trattoria - Lunch or dinner three-course, prix fixe menu.
- World of Color Dessert Party - Dine at tables in a preferred viewing area with treats and a beverage while you watch the show. This is a pre-paid event.
- Buffet Dinner at Storytellers Café (located in Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa - All-you-care-to-eat buffet and non alcoholic beverage (must have theme park admission to enter the park).
Frozen dining packages offer priority seating in a reserved section for Frozen — Live at the Hyperion! You may enjoy a three-course lunch at Carthay Circle.
At certain times, there are dining packages that offer reserved parade viewing. The packages may vary, but you can make a reservation to eat lunch at a quick-service restaurant to receive a voucher. The voucher gives you access to a reserved viewing area later. Plaza Inn most commonly offers parade packages and even a fireworks meal and viewing package for New Year's Eve.
Should You Call or Make Disneyland Dining Reservations Online?
I like the flexibility of the online system and Disneyland app. They allow 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. Certain events or dining packages are not available through the app, so be sure to check online or call if you don’t see what you are looking for through the app. Call for upgrades to the River Belle Terrace Premium Package.
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 (sometimes per person). Most restaurants require 24 hours’ notice of cancellation, but be sure to check the cancellation policy when you make the reservation. Certain restaurants (such as those during special 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) than 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 be able to fit you in better. That comes in handy if you have jetlag and are hungry at odd times.
This is all you need know to successfully reserve your dining experience through the Disneyland Dining Reservations system. Try to book as soon as you can, but relax. Remember 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 the comments below, then let us know your favorite Disneyland table service restaurant!