Can You Pick Between These Two Disney Restaurants?

in Walt Disney World

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A lot goes into planning a Walt Disney World vacation. You need to pick what time of year you’re going to travel, which Resort you’re going to stay at, which Parks you’re going to visit, what order you’re going to visit them in, if you want to use Genie+ or not, where to book your dining reservations… making so many choices can be difficult, especially if you have a big family who wants lots of different things!

As far as dining reservations go, there are literally hundreds of options to choose from during your vacation. Often, seasoned Disney fans will point you toward the most popular or fan-favorite places. After all, they’re popular for a reason! While these are usually safe, familiar, and delicious options, snagging a dining reservation at popular spots can be difficult, and you may miss out. Luckily, Disney fans can also recommend popular alternatives to the most coveted dining experiences… but are these alternatives just as good as the original? Could they even be better? Or are you missing out?

Let’s take a look at some of the most often compared Disney World restaurants, and let us know which one of the options you’d go for in the comments!

Classic Character Dining: Chef Mickey’s vs. Garden Grill

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Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort is one of the hardest-to-get dining reservations at Walt Disney World and for good reason. Who doesn’t want to start off their day at a high-energy buffet filled with delicious food and the most famous Disney characters? However, those who miss out on making a reservation there are often pointed to Garden Grill at EPCOT, a family-style experience with Mickey & Pals in a more relaxed setting, and some would argue better food. You save a few dollars at Garden Grill as well; Chef Mickey’s is a $51 breakfast and $62 dinner for adults, while Garden Grill is a $55 per person dinner.

Chef Mickey’s

  • Pros: Classic Disney experience, get to meet the Fab 5 (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto), offers all three meals high-energy, a wide variety of buffet options, fantastic for kids
  • Cons: Very loud, very busy, “meh” food, chaotic environment, more expensive option, hard-to-get reservation

Garden Grill

  • Pros: Dine with classic Disney characters (Mickey, Pluto, Chip, and Dale), unique and interesting environment (rotating restaurant with a view into an attraction!), much quieter and more relaxing, family-style dining, delicious and fresh food, less expensive option, reservations are easier to get
  • Cons: Less variety with food, missing most of the Fab 5, not as exciting

Princess Dining: Cinderella’s Royal Table vs. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

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If your sights aren’t set on Mickey Mouse for your character dining, chances are they’re set on Princesses. There are two very popular options for Princess character dining at Walt Disney World; Cinderella’s Royal Table and Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. Cinderella’s Royal Table has the unbeatable magic of dining inside Cinderella Castle (with a hefty price tag at $79 per adult for dinner, and not highly favored food), while Akershus is a much more low-key experience with all the same Princess magic, although your little ones might not be fond of the Norwegian menu. Both restaurants offer all three meals and pretty much the same lineup of Princesses, save for a Cinderella & Belle switch at Royal Table and Akershus, respectively.

Cinderella’s Royal Table

  • Pros: Eating inside Cinderella Castle, beautiful environment, more traditional menu, dining with the classic Princesses
  • Cons: Food deemed not worth the price, VERY expensive, extremely hard-to-get reservation

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

  • Pros: Much easier to get a reservation, less expensive (dinner is $63 per adult), buffet-style dining, dining with the Princesses
  • Cons: Less familiar Norwegian food, environment duller than Cinderella Castle

Steakhouses: Le Cellier vs. Steakhouse 71

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A night at a steakhouse can be a great option for a date or an adults-only night at Walt Disney World. While you have a few options to choose from, the most popular picks are Le Cellier at EPCOT and Steakhouse 71 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Both offer a classic steakhouse experience, with Le Cellier adding a French-Canadian flair and Steakhouse 71 offering a more relaxed environment. While Le Cellier is constantly named the best restaurant in Walt Disney World, the shockingly affordable (in comparison) prices at Steakhouse 71 make it a worthy competitor.

Le Cellier

  • Pros: Absolutely delicious food, cozy environment, inside EPCOT, unforgettable meal
  • Cons: Pricey, restaurant is very small so reservations are hard to get

Steakhouse 71

  • Pros: Less expensive, very good food, much easier to get a reservation
  • Cons: Outside of the Parks, just not quite as good as Le Cellier

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Sci-Fi Dine-In vs. 50s Prime Time Cafe

Sci-Fi Dine-In vs. 50's Prime Time Cafe
Credit: Disney

These restaurants often get compared to each other despite their different theming, as they both reside in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and offer traditional, comfort food menus. However, they’re also two of the most popular sit-down restaurants in the Park, so it can be hard to snag reservations at either. They both offer HIGHLY themed experience, with Sci-Fi Dine-In seating your party in a car to enjoy old sci-fi movies on a giant screen, and Prime Time Cafe bringing you all of the joys (and family annoyances) of your mom’s house in the 1950s, complete with being made fun of by your annoying cousin.

Sci-Fi Dine In

  • Pros: Incredibly unique theming, watching a compilation of old movie clips while you dine, classic burgers and shakes, kids will love it here
  • Cons: Cars can’t fit parties bigger than six, you may be seated with another party in the same car, not a lot of non-burger options, loud environment

50s Prime Time Cafe

  • Pros: Fun and interactive environment, classic comfort food menu, funny staff, usually slightly easier to get a reservation here
  • Cons: Those who don’t like audience interaction or possibly being poked fun at may not enjoy it!

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