Disney Dining – What a PAIN!

I am still in the process of getting our Disney trip planned.  The part I hate the most (besides paying for it!), is setting up the Priority Seating at the restaurants.

I mentioned before that I’m a hotel snob.  Let me also say that I’m a bigger food snob.   I despise fast food, and while an occasional french fry is a delight, they are full of so many nasty fat grams that I try to avoid them.  Fried food gives me heart burn, and I’d rather save the calories for something a bit more refined, such as crab cakes or  stuffed shrimp.  Drool

By forcing visitors to make Priority Seating arrangements, a lot of the spontaneity of the vacation is destroyed.  Unless we eat at food booths the entire vacation, or eat off site, we are pretty much forced to play the PS game.  The first time we went to Disney, we were tickled to discover that there is a restaurant in Cinderella’s Castle.  We were equally ticked to learn that it was booked for the entire day, and our chances of eating there were nil.  Since that visit, I spend at least an hour on the phone, booking our meals, 3 months in advance of our trip!!  How stupid is that? 

There are a couple of things that I think Disney can do to make this a more level playing field.  First, don’t take Priority Seating.  This isn’t even a real reservation, as you still have to wait, sometimes for quite a while, before you are seated at your table.  I wonder how many people make PS arrangements, and then change their plans without calling and canceling.

Second, open more full service restaurants.  There is obviously a demand for them, if you have to make PS arrangements more than 90 days in advance!  I guess we could just travel over to Downtown Disney for dinner, but everything there is a chain restaurant.  We could just as easily eat at the Rain Forest Cafe at Great Lakes Crossing, as in DDD.  It was novel the first time we went to Vegas, and I had never seen such a wonderfully themed restaurant before, but now that they are popping up all over, it’s just not the same!  Ditto for Planet Hollywood and House of Blues.  They have been added to most large tourist destinations, and are no longer special.

This year, Dean listed 3 places that he wanted to dine at again, and he left the rest of the meals to my discretion.  His three favorite places are Cinderella’s Royal Table, the Coral Reef, and the Brown Derby.  I didn’t want to eat at Cinderella’s again, until I learned that the menu has changed, and it’s now character dining.  Since he would never attend a character meal before, I figure this is my only chance to sit with Mickey or Pluto for a few minutes. 

This year, I thought it would be fun to eat at some of the deluxe resorts, since we sure can’t afford to stay at one, and we could check out the themes of the various hotels.  We are going to be eating at Jiko at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Citricos at the Swan, the California Grill at the Contemporary.

I am also going to succeed in my plan to eat my way around Epcot.  To help with this goal, we have PS at the Canadian restaurant, Le Cellier,  one of the countries that foiled my plans last year.  This is also the first year that we will not be eating in Italy or Morocco. Morocco has a cafe, so I’m not worried about that, but Italy might be a problem.  We might have to try to squeeze into the restaurant for dessert.