Tour Guide Tuesday: Where to explore Walt Disney World dining options just outside the Magic Kingdom

in Food, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World

Although Walt Disney World is known for amazing attractions and incredible shows, it is also a place to come for great dining experiences. All of the parks have decent “counter-service” spots where you can grab a quick bite. However, sometimes these have long lines, and can end up taking almost as long as a table-service location. Also, many guests like the higher quality food and more relaxed atmosphere of a traditional restaurant. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get reservations, especially during the busier times of year. In fact, some of the restaurants are so popular that guests need to make reservations six months in advance.

Today, I ‘m going to talk about some excellent dining alternatives that are located in the resort hotels near the Magic Kingdom.

Contemporary Resort

When visiting the Magic Kingdom, many guests don’t realize how close they are to four deluxe resorts that all have good dining options. Many of these spots are better than the in-park restaurants. The Contemporary is only five minutes from the Magic Kingdom entrance, whether you walk or hop on the monorail. Although Chef Mickey’s and the California Grill are usually booked well in advance, The Wave is a good choice that often has available reservations up to the last minute.

Polynesian Village Resort

Continuing two more stops on the monorail, you will find the Polynesian Village Resort. Here, the Kona Cafe is a spot that typically has availability. Also, the brand new Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is a fun place to come for a break from the park. It features very unique drinks, as well as a light menu of interesting bar food.


The last resort on the monorail line is the Grand Floridian. Although it may take 10 to 15 minutes to get to from the Magic Kingdom, it only takes a few minutes when you are returning to the park. This resort is known for some of the better restaurants on Disney property, including Citricos and Narcoossee’s. Other than the busy seasons, both of these spots often have dinner reservations available up to a few days before your desired date. The Grand Floridian Cafe is slightly more casual and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The last location I want to mention at the Grand Floridian is 1900 Park Fare. It features both character breakfasts and dinners. This is a great alternative to Cinderella’s Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom, which is usually booked up close to six months in advance. 1900 Park Fare features Cinderella and Prince Charming at dinner, and has far better availability than the big castle over in “the Kingdom.”

Citricos – Top, Grand Floridian Cafe – Bottom

Last, but certainly not least, is the Wilderness Lodge, which is a short boat ride from the Magic Kingdom. An excellent spot for dinner at this resort is Artist Point, which often times has same-day availability. A more casual option is the Whispering Canyon Cafe. This restaurant has a fun (and loud) atmosphere, and serves very large portions. If you head to the Whispering Canyon, be sure to ask for the ketchup!

Whispering Canyon Cafe

The next time you are looking for reservations at the Magic Kingdom and are disappointed by the lack of availability, keep these resort restaurants in mind. Not only will it be a nice break from the crowded park, but you may find yourself having a better dining experience. I will write about resort restaurant options near the other parks in future articles. Bon appetit!

I hope you enjoy “Tour Guide Tuesday.” If you want additional tips while you’re in the parks, WDW Guided Tours is happy to help!

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