The My Disney Experience app has made it easier to check availability for everything from FastPasses to dining reservations in real time as we plan our Disney vacations. But what if you’re not much of a planner? Or, what if you planned your Walt Disney World vacation too late to score some of the most popular dinner reservations? We’ve got you covered with some of our favorite last-minute restaurants to try to grab a bite, reservation or not.
The Wave… of American Flavors
Located just off the lobby of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, The Wave… of American Flavors tends to fly under the radar especially compared to the resort’s other notable restaurants like California Grill and Chef Mickey’s. There is a lot to love about The Wave though, especially if you find yourself looking for quality table service dining without a reservation on the monorail loop.
For breakfast, The Wave offers a choice between a table service or buffet (and all of the entrees from the menu are available on the buffet, so it’s perfect if you tend to be indecisive!). And for lunch and dinner, The Wave’s menu features a hearty mix of American cuisine with locally sourced veggies, many of which come right from the Land pavilion in Epcot.
Spice Road Table
It’s always surprising to see reservations typically available at Epcot’s Spice Road Table given the tasty menu and expansive views of World Showcase. Whatever the reason though, you can often walk up and score a table at this Morocco staple reservation, or not. As the restaurant’s name suggests, dining here will take you on a foodie excursion through some of Moroccan cuisine’s most popular spices. With dishes like spicy garlic shrimp and coriander crusted lamb, waterfront views, and an array of specialty cocktails, Spice Road Table is easily one of our favorite last-minute Epcot restaurants.
Animal Kingdom’s only signature dining location, Tiffins, is home to one of the best lounges to stop and grab a drink and some small plates at the Walt Disney World Resort. Nomad Lounge has a lengthy menu of shareable apps, many of which are pulled from Tiffins’ menu so you can enjoy the same flavors, reservation or not.
If you are a fan of charcuterie boards, Nomad Lounge serves one of the best on Disney property, and other favorites on the menu include smoked pork ribs, wagyu beef sliders, and a specialty bread service. Tiffins (and Nomad Lounge) is also one of the most intricately designed restaurants at Walt Disney World, so be sure to take in some of the stunning architectural details during your meal.
Couldn’t grab a reservation for ‘Ohana? Don’t worry, Tambu Lounge is here to save the day! Located right next to ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Tambu Lounge has a small food menu that just so happens to feature a mixed grill kebab (aka the meats from the ‘Ohana grill) and you can even order a side of noodles and bread pudding for dessert!
Plus all of this will come at a fraction of the cost for dining at ‘Ohana. Of course, this meal isn’t served all-you-care-to-enjoy style like ‘Ohana, but if you aren’t able to get a reservation get to Tambu Lounge early (around 5:00-6:00 p.m.) and order up some of your favorite specialties reservation-free.
Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano
The most popular restaurants in Disney’s Hollywood Studios are without a doubt found closer to Hollywood Boulevard (like the Hollywood Brown Derby and the 50’s Prime Time Cafe). As a result, Guests sometimes forget about Mama Melrose’s which is located back by Muppet Courtyard. Mama Melrose’s is a fun, family-friendly spot offering a variety of Italian dishes from flatbreads to classic pasta dishes, chicken parmigiana and more. It’s also reasonably priced (in terms of Disney dining) and with a well-rounded menu it offers something for the whole family.
Located in the lobby of the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort, Phins is a wonderful stop for when you just can’t quite find a brunch reservation in Walt Disney World. This bar includes a Sunday Sips menu that features “Brunch in a Glass,” an extensive list of Bloody Marys that are so packed with toppings they satisfy the need for a full meal.
Each of the Bloody Marys are based on another restaurant at the resort: The Zoo Mary for instance, inspired by Todd English’s Bluezoo, is topped with Old Bay, Crab Louie, a lobster tail and shrimp cocktail, while the Maria Italiano takes its cue from Il Mulino with Giardiniera, Italian seasonings, and packed antipasto skewers. Not a fan of Bloodys? The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resorts are home to 17 restaurants, so you’re sure to find a table at the resorts if you’re without a reservation.
Still wishing for dinner at Be Our Guest or brunch at California Grill? It never hurts to keep checking availability as sometimes other Guests do cancel as their vacations draw closer. And to take even more of the stress out of planning your Disney dining, contact our preferred Disney travel agents at Academy Travel. They can stay on top of dining reservation planning for you and help you decide if the Disney Dining Plan makes sense for your family. Click here for a free, no obligation quote, and start checking our some new restaurants to try for your next trip!