You frog fans know we're all about vacation and theme park 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. Dining windows are filing up 60 days out, which is unusual for normal times, but that's the norm right now. Some locations are harder to get into than others (cough, cough Blue Bayou and Carthay Circle). And with more and more dining locations opening up following Disneyland's reopening, it's especially important to plan ahead.
In restaurant news, Disneyland recently announced the return of several character dining experiences and the reopening of Carthay Circle's dining room. Woo hoo! Carnation Café is making a comeback too! Sadly, Disneyland also announced permanent closures of two hotel restaurants: Steakhouse 55 at Disneyland Hotel and PCH Grill (home of the Donald Duck Seaside Breakfast) at Paradise Pier Hotel. We are hopping to find out what will replace them.
If you are visiting in 2021, 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.
What to Know About Disneyland Dining Reservations Right Now
As Disneyland returns to more normal operations, dining options are limited, and demand is high for all table-service reservations. During this time and through the end of 2021, book your Disneyland dining reservations as soon as you can (these open up to 60 days in advance, but some locations do not book that far in advance, so keep checking back if you cannot find a reservation). More and more restaurants are opening all the time.
It's tricky to figure out exactly what time dining reservations go live these days. We start checking in the middle of the night at 3 or 4 a.m. and often see things pop up between 6 and 7 a.m., however, we have also seen times get released in the afternoon or even a few days later! That means if you do not see what you are looking for early, keep checking throughout the day and as time goes on. You may even pick up someone else's cancellation. Also, try adjusting your party size if you can't find what you want. You can usually add or subtract a guest when you check in.
Things are operating a little differently right now. Disneyland limits capacity through a theme park reservation system. You'll need both a valid theme park ticket and a park reservation for the same park on the same day to enter a theme park (dining or hotel reservations do not guarantee entry). Park hoppers need to reserve the theme park they wish to enter first and then may hop after 1:00 p.m. if there's availability. Plan your reservations around that schedule.
You can book for the days you hope to get reservations for (and remember to cancel if you cannot visit that day). Or, you can make your theme park reservation before booking dining. we book dining just in case and cancel if our theme park plans change.
One thing that we have encountered with dining reservations lately is that a virtual queue Boarding Group will get called, and it always seems to occur at or near a time that conflicts with our dining reservations. If that happens we hop by the restaurant first to see what we should do. We have managed to get in to dine sooner or several hours later than scheduled to accommodate our Boarding Group. Although we have had some restaurants give us problems if we do not check in with them before riding. We take screenshots of all our reservations and Boarding Groups just in case so that nothing disappears after our reservations time passes. We can usually add or subtract a guest from the reservation as people's plans or hunger levels change. We have always found the restaurants to be very accommodating to our changing needs as long as we have a reservation and communicate.
Which Restaurants Are Open?
First of all, make sure you hop over to our post on what's open at Disneyland for a full list of the rides, experiences and restaurants that will be available to enjoy!
The following table-service (or buffet) dining experiences are open, with more opening soon:
- Alfresco Tasting Terrace for Legacy Passholders and their guests)
- Blue Bayou
- Café Orleans
- Carnation Café (reopens Sept. 16)
- Carthay Circle Lounge – Alfresco Dining (outdoors)
- Carthay Circle Restaurant
- Goofy's Kitchen (characters return for buffet breakfast and dinner Sept. 16, 2021, and before then the buffet is open without characters)
- Lamplight Lounge (brunch has returned on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only)
- Note that additional Lamplight Lounge — new Boardwalk Dining requires no reservation!
- Napa Rose
- Napa Rose Lounge
- Napa Rose — Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures
- Oga's Cantina
- Plaza Inn — Minnie & Friends Breakfast
- River Belle Terrace
- Storytellers Cafe
- Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar (New to Disneyland dining reservations, bookings for lunch and dinner open Aug. 11 for dining reservations as of Aug. 15.)
- Wine Country Trattoria (reduced hours)
Be sure to look at menus ahead of time as offerings may be limited at this time. For example, the Monte Cristo at Cafe Orleans is now a half order and it comes with pommes frites. You cannot order a basket or side of pommes frites. They only come with the Monte Cristo and three-cheese Monte Cristo.
Which Restaurants and Dining Experiences Are Closed?
Some character dining remains closed for now, but a few are returning in July and August. These table-service restaurants are closed (but keep checking back as we expect to see some begin to return):
- Dining packages and experiences, such as Fantasmic! Dining Packages, Plaza Inn Dining Packages, Tomorrowland Skyline Lounge Experience, World of Color Dining Package and World of Color Dessert Party
- Donald Duck’s Seaside Breakfast (the restaurant where it is held is being permanently closed)
What's New in Disneyland Dining?
Besides a limited number of choices of restaurants, there are few new changes. You can now join a Walk-Up List at select table-service restaurants. When you approach the restaurant, pull up the Disneyland app and tap Join-Walk-Up List. A red notice should tell you if the restaurant is at capacity. But you might get lucky. You might want to use this strategy when you cannot find a reservation. Another strategy is to keep checking for openings as your visit approaches. You might pick up a cancellation.
As mentioned above, you can still make reservations for Lamplight Lounge; however, the upstairs part (Boardwalk Dining) now has walk-in availability. So if you cannot get a reservation, you might still have access to those delicious lobster nachos!
Other big news is now that Blue Bayou has returned, you can enjoy beer, wine and New Orleans-themed cocktails with your meal. This is a big deal because alcohol is not served at Disneyland Park, except for Oga's Cantina in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. But that's like a whole other planet. For non-drinkers, new variations of the famous nonalcoholic Mint Julep are in the works. Yum!
Several characters are making their way back to character dining. And the wait is over for Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar. You can make reservations instead of waiting several hours for this popular tropical-themed destination.
When you make a reservations online or through the app, you can now add a celebration cake to the reservation. It's a fun way to surprise someone in your party or celebrate a special occasion.
And since we are positive-thinking frogs, we expect the world we know and love to slowly return to normal. So we are going to leave our advice and information about Disneyland Dining Reservations right here. Some of the information is still valid, such as booking up to 60 days in advance. Many of the experiences are simply unavailable at this time. Read ahead and add some choices to your wish list for a future visit. And don't froget about Downtown Disney! The shopping and dining district is hopping with restaurant choices and fun. Here's the inside scoop on every Downtown Disney restaurant. If you leave the park with a rumbling belly, there is plenty to eat in Downtown Disney.
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 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. What time do reservations go live? Some restaurants seem to go live at 3 a.m. PST; others shortly after 6 a.m. Sometimes in the afternoon. It's tough to figure out. We Frogs have lost sleep trying to reserve our future dining!
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 Park, 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. But during the Disneyland phased reopening, reservations book up very quickly. 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 reservations or have a fine dining experience at Carthay Circle, it’s best to book 60 days in advance if you can. That being said, we've hoppened 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. People may cancel closer to their event and you can pick that up.
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, celebrations and certain parades, 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. 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 (some of these experiences are temporarily unavailable):
- 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!. New adult drinks have arrived! A Hurricane on a hot day sounds perfect!
- 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 was converted to a table-service restaurant a few years ago. It has indoor dining and outdoor dining 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 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly and includes boxed treats with fruits, cheese and sweets, along with hot or cold nonalcoholic 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 and Blue Bayou. 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 (some are currently unavailable):
- Lamplight Lounge is a gastropub located on Pixar Pier. 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!
- Lamplight Lounge — Boardwalk Dining offers some "shorts" to share and drinks. Check the app for walk-up availability
- Alfresco Tasting Terrace is the newest addition to the Disneyland Dining reservations system. This fun spot is open to Legacy Passholders and their guests. It has drinks that are themed to Disney California Adventure and savory bites to share.
- Carthay Circle books up well 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 bites 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 — Alfresco Dining offers smaller bites at lunch and dinner outside on the patio.
- Wine Country Trattoria: Reservations are recommended to dine where Napa Valley meets Tuscany. This location offers World of Color dining packages (when available).
- 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 most of 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 freshly 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. One of our favorites for a nice, relaxing dinner (sometimes without Tad and Lily!) is Napa Rose at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. There is also Storytellers Café for a more budget-friendly family meal. Two hotels offer character breakfasts/brunches, 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 to Napa Rose Thursday through Monday. We cannot wait for it to reopen!
Disneyland Character Dining Experiences
Disneyland offers some fun character dining experiences available in the parks and some on-site hotels. 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. (Characters return Sept. 16, 2021.)
- Mickey's Tales of Adventure is a buffet located in the Storytellers Café in the Grand Californian. Storytellers also offers a daily breakfast and brunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday). 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 through Monday from 8 a.m. to noon. 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! and World of Color. 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 canceled or experience technical difficulties.
Fantasmic! Packages (temporarily unavaialble)
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 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. have vouchers for the first show. Reservations from 7 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, the 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 Packages (temporarily unavailable)
World of Color has several different dining packages, including three-course menu dining packages, a buffet dinner 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 World of Color dining package 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 nonalcoholic beverage (must have theme park admission to enter the park).
Plaza Inn Packages (temporarily unavailable)
At certain times, there are dining packages that offer reserved parade viewing or reserved dining for special events. The packages may vary. For parades, 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. There's a special reserved meal for Disneyland After Dark: Sweetheart's Nite event. You must have a party ticket to reserve it.
You can make it a magical day at Disneyland when you book the Magic Happens parade dining package at Plaza Inn. Each package comes with one lunch entree and drink, a voucher that provides access to the parade's viewing area and a Plaza Inn credential. The packages run $40 per adult and $24 per child ages 3 to 9. Annual passholder discounts apply.
Lunch reservations are available between 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Parade vouchers are for the second parade. The menu includes short rib, chicken thigh, pesto-infused mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, corn relish and dessert. Vegetarian options are available. The kids menu includes fried chicken tenders, mashed potatoes, corn relish, dessert and a choice of applesauce or baby carrots.
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. It's not easy to get a person on the phone these 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 hold times have been longer than usual, so use the app and Disneyland site as much as you can.
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 to 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 at about 11 a.m. and dinner starts at 4 p.m. If you can eat during the off-times (such as a 3 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 to 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!